The SA and the BC are not officially at war, neither are they at peace. They have only a sort of unofficial truce. Neither of them would send a large force against the other, nor would any of their ships hesitate to blow one another up if they met.
The dark elves try to stay out of everyone’s way and only make attacks if they feel they are being threatened, need some kind of resource or technology and are stealing it, or they think they can take out their opponent without any trouble or repercussion.
The humans are in an all-out war with one another, and each of the major factions has sent a sizable force to aid the side which favors them.
There are also such things as “free zones”, in which war is barred. These places are for trade and recreation. Any member of any faction might walk in at any time and sit down with any other member of any other race to do anything from talk politics to sell wares. There are huge magically-protected areas where tournaments are held between the factions (with a sizable wager going to the winning faction).
And of course, there are sub-factions such as guilds, dissenting factions, and little independent planets that attempt to remain autonomous to the rest of the galaxy.
Brief History of Galactic Politics:
Galactic Standard Year 1082
The Erdassi Empire crumbles when the Erdassi race mysteriously disappears, leaving the planets under its rule to their own fates.
The elves colonize Telembriel. The Elven Star Empire is born.
Orcs and goblins on Bal’Shan form the Black Confederacy and begin interstellar colonization.
The dwarves begin interstellar colonization.
The gnomes begin interstellar colonization.
Dwarves and gnomes make first contact. Peace treaties and trade agreements are forged. The two nations remain friends and allies to this day.
GSY 1253 – GSY 1270
Several previously independent human planets discover one another. War breaks out between them. The humans of Athatar Prime are vitorious. During this time, gnomes and humans make first contact. Due to the war, the gnomes and dwarves decide to wait for the outcome before initiating political interaction. After the war, both sides opt for a policy of mutual toleration and neutrality.
Due to political tensions and racism, drow and high elves choose to segregate themselves. Each forms its own political party.
Elves make first contact with dwarves. War between them is only narrowly averted due to the intervention of several prominent gnomish politicians.
Bands of pirates, originating from human territories, begin raiding in remote space lanes.
Elves and humans make first contact.
A BC scout vessel encounters a dwarven asteroid mining operation. A firefight almost immediately ensues, resulting in half a dozen casualties. Each side points to the other as being bloodthirsty killers and a threat to the galaxy. The gnomes side with the dwarves, while humans and elves prefer to stay entirely neutral. The BC decides that all-out war should be avoided and does not re-initiate contact. Later that year, human ambassadors are sent into BC space to negotiate for free trade between humans and the BC.
Space pirates attack a drow ship in the Terasin 13 system. During the fight, some of the drow allegedly used forbidden necromantic spells. The entire crew is sentenced to death.
GSY 1370 – GSY 1380
The Elven Civil War breaks out. The drow, furious over the Terasin 13 incident and fueled by racial tensions, unite to overthrow the emperor. The elven government, through a remarkably successful propaganda campaign, convinces the other galactic governments, including the dwarves and the BC, to form a military coalition to exterminate the drow. A small number of drow are able to escape the massacre and disappear beyond the edge of known space for the next several hundred years. Following this, the coalition split up, doing little to change the state of affairs between the nations.
The orc Ralak Arn is appointed as the new Supreme Chancellor of the Black Confederacy. He begins a radical campaign for population and territory expansion. He begins massive infrastructure improvement projects and drastically expands the BC navy.