Monday, April 24, 2017

States, nations and polities of the New Alderamin sector, part II

Following up on this post, here's the next part.  To avoid these posts becoming too long, I'm going to probably going to have ended up splitting the list into thirds.
  1. The Dhangetan Cartel—I've talked a fair bit about the Dhangetan's themselves, mostly on the planet entries for Tar Dhangeta and Tars Bruttium so I'll avoid repeating myself here.  The actual Dhangetan alien species, who look like Tsathoggua with gug-like arms and legs and reproduce through budding, but who eat most of their off-spring anyway so as not to compete with them is a nice enough place to start, but really in actual practice they are less Lovecraftian and more a combination of Fu Manchus and Barbary corsair beys in space.  The Dhangetans are, of course, really quite rare even in their own feudal state.  For the most part, they represent lone warlords, loosely allied together, who rule over conquered nations.  So, the Dhangetan Cartel, unlike human states such as the Bern Monarchy (which is mostly settled, peopled, governed and ruled by humans of Earth-stock) is ruled over by only a few Dhangetans, and is peopled mostly by aliens that have been conquered by the Dhangetans or their allies.  Many humans live here, and many planets were originally human-settled, or human-majority planets, although a rather bewildering array of other aliens also live here and do much of the day-to-day work of running commerce, the state, and whatever else is done.  The Dhangetan cartel would therefore be equivalent to their Barbary Coast: Salé, Rabbat, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, etc.  The really scary thing to its neighbors is the more secretive infiltration of the Dhangetans, however, and how much they may or may not be pulling strings behind the scenes more broadly than within Cartel-space per se.
  2. The Seraean Empire—If you can imagine a totalitarian empire like the Nazis or the Soviets, but ruled over by a long-standing Lovecraftian cult of psychics, mystics and warlocks, then you're on the right track to understanding the Seraean Empire.  The core Seraean population is a group of xenohumans who have a chalky gray-white skin tone, and often pale white or gray hair, and nearly colorless eyes.  This isn't a lack of pigmentation, as in Earth-stock albinos; they actually are pigmented with a different compound other than melanin to appear chalky gray-white.  The Old Ones of Phobetor have a similar appearance (albeit usually with black hair), but that appears to be coincidental, as DNA studies do not show a close relationship.  Other types of humans and even aliens also live and work in the Empire, although often in lower castes than the ethnic Seraeans themselves.  These other humans and aliens are more common and more politically prominent the further away from the center of the Empire you get; since the New Alderamin sector only has the far western edge of the empire (this is even more true in some colonies, such as the Outremer region).  The Seraeans obviously have designs on conquering literally everything that they know about, but they're patient, and know that such would be the work of many generations.  In the meantime, other states can get along with them—after a fashion—although few trust or like them.
  3. The Carrick Grand Marches—The largest Bernese colony; seven contiguous systems, plus another four closely allied native ones is, of course, a major political organization, even if it were to be independent.  Backed by the Monarchy (albeit rather far, and separated by the better part of at least a couple of months of bulk jumps from even the nearest leading edge of regular, uninterrupted Bernese space), Grand Duke Ander Gadriar is a conscientious ruler, highly regarded locally, and considered a rather romantic, heroic figure back at home.  This isn't unfair to the real Grand Duke, but it also ignores an important part of his character—he disliked Maddav Bern personally, and was a man of action, frustrated and annoyed by the cloying atmosphere at Court in Dimidium.  Although he still retains an estate on Dimidium Secundus itself, and his brother rules a grand duchy within the Monarchy proper, Ander was able to maneuver himself to be appointed Grand Duke for himself and his heirs to Carrick.  Carrick was originally established by rather fractious laborers, former soldiers, and merchants who disliked being told what to do, and have often been troublesome for prior leaders sent to govern the colony (less than fifty years ago, they actually murdered the Grand Duke and declared independence, although the popular support wasn't with them as they thought, and the instigators mostly were either executed for treason or fled to Dhangetan space or the Carthen colony.)  Ander Gadriar has managed to gain and maintain their trust, confidence and respect, however.
  4. The Carthen Colony—The history of the Carthen Colony is a little bit unusual; it is actually an expansion from the Carrick Grand Marches.  Many of the insurgents mentioned above fled to this sparsely populated section of the colony and continued to press their claims for independence.  The Republic, sensing an opportunity, offered to back them.  Within a few years, the Republic had managed to maneuver the Carthen systems into accepting direct Republic rule, and it became the Carthen colony.  However, they found that the independent nature of the people already living there, as well as their deep-rooted cultural ties to Carrick (in spite of their political disagreement) meant that they were unable to turn into a regular Republic-ruled colony.  Some of the bigger cities still operate much like any other Republic city, but once you get a few miles beyond city limits, or out of the major port areas in space, Carthen looks a lot more like a part of Carrick.  Tensions between the Republic and the Monarchy have occasionally arisen due to this odd situation here, but in the last several decades, the tensions have been more local than otherwise.  Republic troops and secret police attempt to ensure that rumors of secession and realignment with Carrick don't materialize, but their attempts to crack down actually make it more likely rather than less.  The cultural Carricks who make up much of the bedrock of the population simply dislike being told what to do too much for the Republic to ever manage them effectively.  A few leaders have started to realize this, and are actively attempting to swamp the colony with people of other stock in an attempt to overwhelm them politically, but this will also be the work of a few generations before it really comes to full fruition.
  5. The Rhyne Colony—The Rhyne Colony is much more a small slice of the standard Republic in population and culture, just geographically separated from it.  Ethnically much more similar to the rest of the Republic (some of which are of Earth-stock, but many of which belong to one of two xenohuman breeds; either bright red skinned with dark hair and pale blue eyes, or pale-skinned with dark brown eyes and natural hair colors that are bright red, green, blue, lavender, etc.—Psarians and Jaffans, respectively) as well as many aliens.  This is also the vector by which the swamping of Carthen by more loyal Republicans instead of fractious and individualistic Bernese is happening; something that the Carthens are just now beginning to realize.  In general, the whole Rhyne, Carthen and Carrick situation is much more of an impending powder-keg than most realize.
  6. The Bechtel Marches—Compared to Carrick, Bechtel is in relatively good shape.  More or less peaceful relationships exist between Bechtel and the Cilindareans and the Altairans.  In fact, they're so peaceful, that many Bernese from Bechtel are getting excited and taking up arms against Outremer and the Calder Settlements as privateers with letters of marque issued by the Altairans, usually, although some are by the Machesk Counts.  The Bechtelians are starting to get a reputation as troublemakers because of this, and the margrave, who spends most of his time in Dimidium anyway, has found suddenly that his position is threatened as King Bern is rapidly losing confidence in his ability to prevent trouble from seeping out of his colony.
  7. The Altairan Ascendancy (North)—The blue-skinned Altairans are a significant interstellar race that almost rivaled those of Earth-stock in forming the old Marian Empire, but their numbers and influence have been on the decline for many, many generations.  While there are still many of them that live in the Monarchy, in the Republic, and in this sector as a whole either as a minority population, or on small, independent worlds, their relatively large Altairan Ascendancy was a point of pride for the people overall.  Until recently, most of subsectors III-1 and IV-1, as well as parts of III-2 and IV-2 all belonged to this multiworld federation.  Crusaders from the Empire have conquered nearly half of its territory in the last century, though—killing and/or enslaving untold millions of Altairans as they established the brutal Crusader States of Outremer.  Now, the Altairan Ascendancy is split in two; the "North" and the "South".  Two brothers rule here; Konaii Goaulda is the king of the North part.  The South is more isolated, and unable to effectively coordinate with any allies; the North, on the other hand, is surrounded by smaller polities that are more sympathetic to it than they are to Outremer (although many would just as soon see it fall expecting that they could gobble up some of it in the wake of the fiasco.)
  8. The Principality of Tan Kajak—The first of the Imperial "Crusader States"—now, keep in mind that I actually see the historical Crusader States are protagonists and sympathetic for the most part; I have rejected the false narrative that the Crusaders were the villains there.  Nonetheless, the crusaders in this sector are Imperial crusaders, and their religion isn't Christianity, it's a Lovecraftian daemon-worshipping cult.  So the Crusader states in this domain are definitely antagonist states; independent and powerful entities from the Empire that wanted to rule their own powerful states autonomously, and had enough political, financial and military wherewithal to do so.  The Principality of Tan Kajak; named for the Crusader King who established it, this one is very "normal" in most respects, for an Imperial territory.  Compared to the contentious and individualistic lords of Outremer, this is much more like territory that you'd expect to find within the Empire itself; just with a large, native conquered underclass and more mercenaries and other auxiliary troops that help support the continued occupation.
  9. Outremer—I pulled the name from the Frankish and Norman French term for "overseas" which was used as a nickname for the Crusader states overall, but a correspondence is not to be expected too closely—this more resembles the more morally questionable Baltic Crusader States than the Levantine ones.  As I said for Tan Kajak above and for Thanatos specifically, this was as much about reclaiming the Empire's heritage, in their minds at least, as it was anything else.  Having a powerful colony on the other side of the sector from the main border of the Empire was only a desirable side effect.  In many ways, though, the colony is too fractious and contentious and independent-minded to really serve as a proper beachhead for Imperial culture and expansion; Tan Kajak does a better job than that.  Still, situated smack dab in the middle of a political hot spot, and surrounded on all sides by polities that are rivals if not outright enemies, Outremer has done a fantastic job of maintaining itself in spite of mounting political and military difficulties.

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