Games:Burning Empires

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Bazzalisk will be starting a campaign of Burning Empires after christmas. The game will be held at his place in Battersea. It runs every Sunday, in the afternoon. There's a session log available (for as long as Kath can remember/be bothered to keep it up).

Athens/The Second Moon of Hephaestus

Hephaestus is a large gas giant planet with a number of rocky moons. Human habitation in the system has been in existence since the days of the old Federated Empires, and the second moon of Hephaestus in particular has a long and varied history. Bitterly cold and with an atmosphere hostile to human life the moon nonetheless supports a variety of large marine creatures in it's deep oceans of liquid ethene. The human habitation is confined to heated and insulated cities either cut out of the regolith or sheltered beneath force-field domes. The rare conditions of the moon itself make it perfect for the production of large interstellar warships, and the high level of technology (reaching Index 6 in places) means that the moon is a power to be reckoned with.

Up until a hundred years ago the moon was the hereditary property of His Grace the Duke of Hephaestus, a title handed down through the Agathon family for centuries. The Dukes of Hephaestos had, at some point lost in the distant history of the satellite, mandated that only the nobility be permitted sexual reproduction. The vagueries of natural birth were too inefficient for the early settlers on the moon, who needed to spend their every day working to keep the harsh environment at bay. The workers were grown in ex-wombs, from genetic material specifically selected to fulfil a rôle in the order of this planned community. The nobility, living in the orbital ship-yards above Hephaestus itself retained the ancient practice of marriage and pregnancy. As the economy of the moon developed, however, life became easier. The technology of that lost golden age made the worlds of Hephaestos into paradises for those who lived their, and fomented the growth of a new privileged middle class. Initially composed of the white-collar workers in the ship-construction industry and the privileged commoners who controlled the reproductive systems this middle-class quickly became a thorn in the side of the ruling nobles, who were forced to make concession after concession to the rapidly growing class of Citizens, who through long cultural conditioning remained appalled at the idea of natural reproduction, but now had control over the selection and production of their own children, and the mercantile groups who came with them, many of them quickly taking over the ship construction industry.

A hundred years ago the two hundred and third duke, Perseus XXIV attempted to wrest control of the moon back from the Citizens. A brief and bloody civil war led to the formation of a new compromise constitution. The Civilian Commune would rule the moon, with a legislative house elected from amongst the citizenry, but the upper house would remain reserved for the Lords Pilot, who would also retain the exclusive right to maintain Hammer forces. The Duke retained his title, and some influence, but was severely reduced in power.

For a hundred years the power of the Commune has continued to grow.

Figures of Note

The current Duke of Hephaestos, his Grace Perseus XXV recently succeeded his father Alexander XIX. Perseus is a political animal of great cunning, and an influential force within the house of Lords-Pilot. He is a strong royalist, believing in the re-establishment of the traditional powers of the Aristocracy. His opposition to the government of Shintan Zhang Orat Mossten's Athenian Party is well known.

First Speaker Shinten Zhang Orat Mossten is the head of the Athenian Party, the single largest group within the Assembly. Since sweeping to power on a platform of supporting the rights of the Citizenry and opposing the position of the Aristocracy his only significant action has been to change the official name of the moon to Athens. His rhetoric has been deeply divisive, however, and his power struggle with Perseus seems almost guaranteed to bring this world to civil war.

Natascha Wisla (48) - recently brought in as the head of Perseus' personal guard. A noble from the distant planet from Wodze. She has a relationship with the Duke and STEVE's partner, and Duchess Artemisia's bodyguard, a Kerrn named Shezrah Bothari. Wishes to become the Duke's next wife. Infamous amongst the military for a scandal involving friendly fire.

Vito Cascio Ferro - Vito part owns a wide range of businesses on the planet, all seemingly legitimate. He recently bought a suite on the recently-refurnished ex-military space station "Mount Olympus", and conducts most of his consulting business from there. Has an unfortunate growth at the base of the neck, which despite initial frantic concerns turned out to be nothing serious. There is a rumour that "Phos" is on his client list.

Phos - rumours abound about the current boss of the criminal underworld! The disowned son of the current Duke, an alias used by the organised crime, a ghost, a corrupted group within the police, a Vaylen infiltrator etc. It's not known whether he actually exists, as those who have met "him" aren't talking..

Shia-Moss-Orat-Karras - Romantically involved with his bodyguard, the noble Elena. The Progress Party, allied with the Merchant League party.

Atalanta Artemisia - Had a son, His Excellency Alexander Agathon, (current heir of Athens) and an insignificant daughter with Perseus. Is always accompanied by her Kerrn bodyguard, Eltee Bothari, who has something of a reputation as a Kerrn rights extremist, with possible links to the Omgaert.

Not so Notable Figures

Guiseppe Russo - capo in the Family.

Puleesh Sheef - Slightly corrupt police chief of Athens. Daughter romantically involved with Luciano Luggio, a fine upstanding citizen.

Luciano Liggio - aka "Silent Death". Fearful assassin. Rumoured to be Phos' bodyguard.

Sheef Bleave is the leader of the planet's Kerrn Diazspherah. Disatisfied with the low quality of treatment which his people currently receive he has instigated a series of strikes, and civil disobedience which have weakened the planet greatly. In talks with both the nobles and the Athenians he has so far refused to take sides in their disagreement, whilst attempting to see who will offer him the best deal in exchange for his support. Bleave has officially condemned the actions of the militant Kerrn group known as the Omgaert, but rumours persist that he turns a blind-eye to their activities.

Politics of Athens

-187 First legal notation of different laws regarding self governance for a group of citizens.

-163 The Commune is first set up, to govern interactions between citizens on planetside. It is initially a set of judges, working under the lord-anvil Agamemnon who was sent to oversee the commune.

-149 Citizens successfully apply (with rumours of having bribed their way into) a pair of citizen elected members to represent them on the Commune.

-130 to -115 The judges on the communes steadily come to favour the position of the Citizens more and more. As time goes on, more and more elected positions are put onto the commune. During this time the Lord Anvil who was overseer of the Commune becomes more and more rich. The Dukes are happy with the situation since it allows them to receive a continual tax of the world while removing the need for them to govern actively.

-115 The Lord-Anvil dies. A post-mortum examination of his files shows that he has been taking huge bribes and suffering under a gigantic amount of blackmail for the last 48 years. The newly appointed Lord Achilles sees what is going on and attempts to stop the expansion of citizen power.

-114 to -113 The great strike. Citizens strike in the vital space ship foundries. For two years, no citizen works. This high tech industry cannot survive without the educated middle class, and is forced to shut down. the Duke is called before the Emperor and asked to explain why this jewel in the crown, this high index military forge world is no longer supplying the needs of the Empire. He explains his difficulty and the Emperor sends an inspector back to the planet.

When he arrives, he meets the commune who promptly tell him that without self determination there will be no work. They agree that they will still support the Forged Lord and the Lords-Pilot and still tax, but they see no reason why they cannot rule themselves.

Their main argument is that while they can be killed by the military supremacy of the lords, then no one will remain with the high index training to operate the orbital factories. They represent a monopoly of valuable skills. Annoyed, the Emperor's representative agrees on several terms, including a almost ruinously high tax regime for the Lords-Pilot and a very high quota of ships to be produced.

-112 to -104 Resenting the arrangement made for him (even though he eventually complied) the Duke becomes more belligerent. The people of the commune struggle under the heavy weight of the agreement they made and dissent rises on the Moon. To many self rule seems too expensive.

-103 The beginning of the civil war. Sensing the disturbances the commune faced, The Duke makes a deal with some disaffected citizens to regain him rule of the planet in a military strike. This action serves to reunite the planet against him and starts a general civil war.

-103. 2 The orbital docks suffer acts of extreme sabotage, rendering many of them unusable. The cities prove that they have point defense weapons constructed in secret during the run up to war. A stalemate begins.

-102 The death of Laconia. One of the shield bubbles is destroyed during an elite strike action with the lords fielding Iron. A city is exposed and destroyed by orbital bombardment. This causes A reminder among the citizens of "remember Laconia" whenever they are annoyed with the nobility.

-101 The Duke suffers in a disastrous foreign campaign on behalf of the Empire. His Hammer fleet lose many ships and are unable to get repairs. The merchant guild seem to be hiring a fleet to come to the assistance of the commune in exchange for concessions in the new charter of rule.

-101 - -99 The war continues. Several Cities are destroyed, but at great cost to the Duke.

-99 The Duke makes an attack on the capital, using his largest force and Hammer support. After a long and bloody fight, which destroys three of the five domes, the citizens manage to destroy most of the force and it's Hammer units nearby. The Lord-Anvil in command, having seen an armed populous and his evacuation method destroyed, submits and changes sides.

-98 The Duke's fleet is a shadow of it's one time might. The constant action, costly attacks and lack of high quality repairs is beginning to show. While he believes he can win the war, it is only winnable via extermination of the planet, and hence his power base. He offers peace to the planet.

The Lord Anvil who has defected returns to the duke with the demands of the population. The people of the commune are weary from war, and recognise that without a significant Hammer force of their own they cannot win the war. The loss of cities in the war drives home this home. They demand free rule and that the Duke no longer be the owner of the moon.

The duke counters that he will agree on certain terms; to whit that the planet not raise a hammer force, but instead support the forces of the Lords-Pilot, who will protect the planet, and that the Lords Pilot remain the upper house in the Commune. The people, weary of war and death agree.

-97 First open planetary elections:

Major Parties

The XXX party: These believe that the planet, as one of the last bastions of high technology does not need the outside universe. The quarantine should become total and the planet should cut itself of from the universe. Economically they are capitalist.

The People's Party: these believe that the people earned their freedom via blood and toil, working together. They hate the nobles with a fierce passion. They believe in a strong government which looks after all of it's citizens and has a great degree of control in their lives.

Order of the Flame: Minority faith-based party. Want the world to become a theocracy. The church had been a major comfort in the rebellion, and hence initially it was powerful.

(some more parties)

The election is won by the People's Party. This leads to a tense time in government as the Lord-Pilot's veto is repeatedly exercised.

(more to come)

Goods and Services on Athens

Primary Export: Military Capital (+1D to resources tests to acquire in play).

Regulated Goods/Services
Good/Service Priority Code Regulatory body Resources Obstacle Black Market Res. Ob.
Slavery 1 Commune +3 +2
Livestock 1 Commune +3 +0
Psychology 2 Commune +2 +1
Marriage 2 Nobles +2 +1
Military Manufacture 2 Merchant League +2 +1
Medical Practice 2 Commune +2 +1

Quarantined Goods/Services: Everything (e.g. off-world labour, medical machinery/instruments, cryonic equipment) except tourists and fresh fruit/food. [+1 Ob to Res tests, no obstacle when acquired on the Black Market.]