Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Imperial Fiefs

A quick look at the Imperial Fiefs of FS3, you should notice a number of changes over the FS2 material. A number of new personalities have been added to give face to some of the changes within the Phoenix Empire.

Imperial Fiefs
Emperor Alexius Hawkwood I rules the Phoenix Empire and his law and currency are the official standards of the Empire. His position requires a delicate juggling of rivaling Noble Houses, Church Sects and League interests, for though his Majesty commands the Empire it is ruled in his name by these major factions. The Emperor himself has direct authority of only over four worlds: Byzantium Secundus, Nowhere, Tethys, and Stigmata, although he holds prime territories on the newly rediscovered world of Rimpoche, and the human territories on the Vau border-worlds also fall under the Emperor’s direct jurisdiction.

Byzantium Secundus
Star: Solaris Primis (yellow star)
System: Vesuvius (0.16AU), Santius (0.85AU), Byzantium Secundus (1.46AU; Jericho; Spacestation: Diadem), Aden (16.18AU; New Malta), Spacestation: Cumulus (21.3AU), Magog (31.0AU; Tuszla, Amida, Cyril), Iblis (41.0AU; Derelict), Jumpgate (41.35AU)
Jumps: Aragon, Criticorum, Leminkainen, Madoc, Pentateuch, Pyre, Shaprut, Sutek, Tethys
Capital: Viridian – the Imperial City
Resources: agriculture, aquaculture, tourism
Exports: grain, politics, fashion, culture

Important People
Emperor Alexius I (born 4949): Emperor Alexius has consolidated and increased his rule since his ascension to the Phoenix Throne in 4993. The demands of state ensure he rarely has time to leave the Phoenix Court or to travel through his domain. Instead he receives diplomats and envoys from all across the Empire and beyond. His will is carried out by the cogs of the Imperial Bureaucracy or, if of the upmost importance, by the Order of the Phoenix.
Sir Chamon Mazarin (possibly born c. 4920): Sir Mazarin is an old knight, misshaped at birth, who has served at Alexius’ side since the Emperor was a boy. Sir Mazarin was instrumental to Alexius rise to power within House Hawkwood, and is now the Emperor’s Spy Master, commanding an elite cadre of agents and overseeing the Emperor’s personal security. He also liaises closely with the Imperial Eye.
Duchess Oelestre Xanthippes (born 4923): Duchess Oelestre has held the post as Director of the Imperial Eye since 4980 and has reformed the organization and quietly purging those disloyal to the Emperor. Her own elite agents form a psychic ‘thought police’ within the bureaucracy of the Eye. The duchess is herself a psychic and of considerable age, although she appears in her mid-30s, due in no small part to her use of longevity serums.
Lord Admiral Kalid Rashtan al-Malik (born 4960): The recently appointed Lord Admiral of the Imperial Fleet, Lord Admiral Rashtan is a quiet, thoughtful, and for a naval commander, a casual figure. He has served with distinction within the Imperial Navy for the past decade, rising to prominence due to his command and strategic vision. His lack of military bearing leads many to underestimate Lord Admiral Rashtan, but he enjoys the fanatic loyalty from his crew and troops. 
Marshal Hector McKerron (born 4967): McKerron is the first to serve as Marshal of the Phoenix Order, an office created in 5007. The Marshal was one of the first Hawkwood nobles to enlist with the Phoenix Order in 4996, having served under Alexius I since before he became Regent (4983). He was wounded in battle during Prince Flavius Li Halan’s bid for the Phoenix Throne (4993), and has been confined to work as an administrator since.
Sister Theafana al-Malik (born 4972): Sister Theafana was born on Stigmata to two garrison soldiers, and was raised by a local Brother Battle temple. She first met Alexius Hawkwood on Stigmata in 4991 during the Miracle of Sylan and Theafana was there when Alexius was first hailed as Emperor by the Stigmata Garrison. She was taken in by Alexius’ entourage and soon became one of his most ardent supporters, protector and even lover. When Alexius took the Phoenix Throne many assumed Theafana would be his empress, but instead the two become somewhat estranged, and Alexius I has since cultivated other romantic interests.
Archbishop Marcus Aurelius Palamon (born 4930): Archbishop of Byzantium Secundus is a powerful figure within the Universal Church, and a reluctant supporter of the Phoenix Empire. Palamon is a theologically conservative follower of St. Maya and a shrewd politician who fought for decades to be ordained as Archbishop of Byzantium Secundus in 4981. He is a favorite candidate to replace Patriarch Hezekiah when the aging pontiff’s time comes, but Palamon is himself advanced of years. Nevertheless, Archbishop Palamon surrounds himself with a retinue of Urth Orthodox clergy and acolytes, as well as celebrated members of other Church Sects.
Consul Oliver Lords (born 4954): Consul Lords is a Scravers’ Guild success story. Consul Lords struck big when he uncovered a First Republic military depot bunker on Holy Terra in 4990, which he smuggled off-world and promptly peddled to Alexius. This eventually awarded him the position of Merchant League ambassador to the Phoenix Throne. He is a fervent supporter of Emperor Alexius I (“he’s generally good for business”) and is sometimes called a turncoat by other guilders.

Byzantium Secundus is a watery world with swampy island continents dotted by city sprawls.  It is a warm and humid world with the surface being more than 87.5% water, and torrential rains regularly wracking the planet’s six major continents. Ocean levels have risen steadily for over five centuries, likely a side effect of the Fading Suns phenomenon from which the system’s sun suffer more than most.  Its moon Jericho, was terraformed with a breathable atmosphere and full ecosystem during the Second Republic, but was reduced to a dead rock in the Siege of Jericho in 4994. Though Byzantium Secundus suffered terrible destruction in the Emperor Wars much of what was destroyed has since been rebuilt. Grand monuments have been raised in honor of Emperor Alexius I as well as dead heroes from all sides of the war.
The planet was first colonized in 2320 by IOPEC, a powerful zaibatsu energy consortium, who named it “New Mecca”. Within a few generations the planet began rebelling against its zaibatsu owners and in 2599 the local noble House Hamid laid claims to the world and renamed it “New Istanbul”, before liberating it in the famous Battle of New Istanbul the following year. In time the planet came to be ruled by the Market Authority, which soon spread its influence across human space, eventually joining forces with similar commercial powers on Leagueheim to birth the Second Republic in 3500. New Istanbul served as the capitol world until the Ten Great Houses forced the Second Republic to its knees in the year 4000. The planet was renamed “Byzantium Secundus” and became capitol of human space once more when Vladimir Alecto united the Known Worlds against Vuldrok barbarians in the 4540s. The planet served as capitol of the Regency from Vladimir’s death in 4550 and was hotly contested during the Emperor Wars. The worst devastation was felt during the the Hazat sacking of the world in 4979 and the Final Battle of Byzantium Secundus in 4994. When Alexius Hawkwood abdicated as Prince of House Hawkwood to claim the Phoenix Throne in 4993, Byzantium Secundus was the obvious choice for his seat of power.
As the centre of Imperial politics and intrigue, every major faction (and numerous minor ones) of the Known Worlds have representation here, and even the barbarian realms and the enigmatic Vau send their envoys here to scheme and do business. Viridian is a vibrant cosmopolite that caters to almost any taste and here political games can make or break someone overnight. Politics is a pastime here and everybody, from the lowliest serf to the mightiest aristocrat engages in political speculation, argument, and machinations. Millirice grows like wildfire almost everywhere and aquaculture is also strong, resulting in grain being one of the few resources exported.
With a largely urbanized population of some 6 billion humans and about 600,000 aliens and very limited land area, Byzantium Secundus is a crowded planet. There is, however, plenty of work to be found within the military and administrative branches of the Imperial bureaucracy, as well as in the service and tourism businesses, so poverty is relatively rare. 
On Byzantium Secundus, high and low share much the same cultural references and identity of maritime ideas and imagery, and an air of pride and cosmopolitism are found even among serfs. Byzantium Secundus export fashion and culture like no other world known to the Phoenix Empire, and odd off-world customs and fashions are accepted here as a rule of law for no citizen of the Phoenix Empire are to be discriminated against on the Throne World. Orthodoxy is the ruling denomination by a landslide, although numerous minor cults also practice here.

Star: Eon
System: Cyclops (0.42AU), Nowhere (2.98AU; Ananda), Soma (21.56AU), Gargantua (38.24AU; Astarte, Kali, Persephone), Jumpgate (75.4AU)
Jumps: Stigmata 
Capital: Necropolis
Resources: Second Republic artifacts, ores, minerals, fossil fuels
Exports: refined ores, fuels, Second Republic artifacts, nomad cultural items.

Important People
General Albrech Brech (born 4971): The Imperial Governor and Garrison Commander of Nowhere, General Brech is a bastard son of a Hawkwood mother, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Emperor. He prefers to handle conflicts with the desert nomads through diplomacy, and maintain a high morale in his forces by operating a rotation system for off-world leave and allowing families living off-world to regularly visit the troops.
Bishop Lucio Borges (born 4908): Bishop Borges of the Cathedral of St. Claudius (St- Lextius’ page) is a blind old man of failing health. Although the leading priest on Nowhere, Lucio Borges is a mere Bishop as the planet falls under the See of Stigmata and the Archbishop Lycrecia. The natives of Nowhere see Bishop Borges, rather than the Imperial Governor Brech, as their leader for he is a native of Necropolis.

Nowhere is a broken desert world, it soil black and cursed. The atmosphere is faint and the climate a dry tropical and breathing apparatus are required for long-term outdoor travel or short-term exertion. Nowhere is largely a dead world, with few areas of native vegetation, although the mountains hold some fresh water. The reason for the planet’s current condition lays in a mysterious planet-wide devastation that occurred nearly a thousand years ago. This destroyed what used to be a lush world and even the planet’s shallow seas, which once covered 1/5 of the surface, are now all but gone. 
Nowhere, originally named “Sao Paulo”, was discovered in the 25th century and properly settled in the early 29th century. The planet yielded a bountiful agricultural crop and the ruined Ur-structures dotting the planet attracted some interest. During the Second Republic, Sao Paulo was a backwater bread-basket planet run by agro-clans. It acquired some fame in the last century before the Fall when a breakthrough in android and cloning technology made Sao Paulo the center of such research. When the Second Republic collapsed the planetary defense force closed the local Jumpgate in 4012 to escape invasion. When rediscovered in 4388, Sao Paulo had transformed from a lush garden paradise to a dead wasteland, the cause of which is still unknown. Pockets of natives had survived by adapting to a desert life, but they could not shed any light on the devastation. House Masseri claimed the world and renamed it “Nowhere”. It was conquered by House Alecto in 4514 and it is often speculated that the successes of Vladimir Alecto some decades later was due to some Ur artifacts found on Nowhere. Nowhere became a Regency fief after Vladimir’s death and although there was some resistance to off-world rule, central control was quickly welcomed in the face of Symbiot invasion of the 50th century.
As the name suggests, Nowhere is rather unimportant in Imperial politics. Few off-worlders have any interesting in the planet, except for the steady stream of pilgrims coming to visit the Ur sites. The economy is heavily influenced by Scravers machinations, and the authorities tolerate the smuggling of goods, especially weapons, into Nowhere as travelling the wilderness without carry a slug gun equals suicide. However, the ban on smuggling wares and artifacts off of Nowhere is strictly enforced and even nobles have been publically executed for such crimes.
Around 1.7 million humans inhabit this world, the vast majority of which are desert nomads. The population is strictly divided between the urban centers under Imperial control and the desert dwellers who desire self-government. These “desert rabble” survive by any means available, including begging, thieving, and smuggling. They are an ingenious people and with them nothing goes to waste – centuries and even millennia old equipment is commonplace, and some still drive 300 year old petrol vehicles maintained by the same family for generations. Today, Nowhere is famed only for Urzenkai, the great Gargoyle of Nowhere that imparts omens and visions to worthy, and each year more pilgrims make the risky journey to seek its guidance. Many pilgrims never return home, instead blending into the desert population to eking out a living in the sands.

Star: Solen (yellow-orange star)
System: Blood (0.45AU), Ubix (0.82AU), Celadon (1.23AU; Gozo), Stigmata (1.93AU; Martyr), Spacestation: Ventris 2.53AU), Sargasso Belt (3.57-4.23AU), Krag (15.74AU; Caltrop, Least, Mulwen), Vixen (31.12AU; Predator, Prey), Spacestation: Keard (43.2AU), Jumpgate (45.62AU)
Jumps: Bannockburn, Istakhr, Shaprut, Nowhere, Absolution (warning: Symbiot world), Daishan (warning: Symbiot world),
Capital: Damark Station
Resources: minerals, deuterium
Exports: none

Important People
Baroness Lucinda Dulcinea Hazat (born 4950): Baroness Lucinda was a childhood friend of (the then) Alexius – Son of Utar Vincius Hawkwood, but during the Emperor Wars the two stood on opposite sides, and in 4979 she lead a legion of Hazat infantry against the Hawkwood during the Sacking of Byzantium Secundus. After the war the now Emperor Alexius offered her the prestigious post of Stigmata Garrison Commander, usually reserved for the most loyal of allies, a post she has held longer than most. Traditionally, the Regent appointed the Garrison Commander for 10-year stints, but in 5005 Emperor Alexius personally asked Lucinda to accept a second term. Normally, garrison soldiers retire after 20 years of service and are granted land on Stigmata, and the time grows near for Lucinda, but the reason for her accepting the second term were promises from the Emperor that afterwards she would be allowed to spearhead the Imperial forces in a crusade against the Kurga Caliphate, although Alexius now seems reluctant to attack the barbarian realms.
Adept Hector de Gould (born 4979): Adept Hector was orphaned at a tender age and raised by the Brother Battle order. He excelled in his studies of strategy and tactics though by his own admission was only a passable warrior. Though the Adept has served on the various pilgrim trails and participated in anti-piracy actions across the Phoenix Empire this is his first tour of duty on Stigmata. His ability to organize on a strategic level has been valuable in the face of changing Symbiot tactics and maintaining the state of readiness amongst the Brother Battle and the Manifest Light for when the next push comes.

Stigmata is an Urthlike world wracked by war. It is dominated by a primary continental landmass surrounded by smaller continents and islands. An arboreal world, whole regions were laid waste by aerial and orbital bombardment, though these regions have been reclaimed by weird Symbiot sprouts. Symbiots control the seas, humans control space, with the land (33% of the surface) a jungle hell. The last few years have seen little fighting on Stigmata as the Symbiots seem to have faded into the jungle, which now grows so fast and thick that Garrison patrols become lost and disoriented over night. Fire and defoliants are used to hold the jungle back, but these methods are increasingly ineffective and some outlaying communities have been completely overrun by forest creepers.
The planet was discovered and sparsely settled early in the Diaspora era, then known as Shiraz. Later it began to experience massive geological upheavals earning it a new name – Sepulcher. During the Second Republic terraforming efforts proved to fail, and sometimes backfire, but nonetheless, the population steadily grew. After the Fall, House al-Malik and the League shared control of Stigmata, until the Symbiots attacked in 4900. The al-Malik defenses were shattered and most of the noble and League fiefs and holdings were surrendered to the authority of the Regency, who rushed in the fleet and armies to hold Stigmata. The stalemate continued until the Emperor Wars brought a shift in martial focus, leaving the Stigmata Garrison underfunded, underequipped, and undermanned. In 4991 the then Stigmata Garrison Commander, Countess Carmetha Decados, took most of the Regency armies and attacked Criticorum. The Symbiots seized the opportunity and pushed the defenders back all the way to the military headquarters at Sylan. This began the five months long Siege of Sylan that almost ended human presence on Stigmata, but just as rations and ammunitions had all but dried up, what is commonly called the Miracle of Sylan occurred. The Stigmata Garrison was saved in the nick of time as Hawkwood and Regency forces, under the banner of Alexius Hawkwood, arrived to relieve the garrison and push back the Symbiot Menace, a feat instrumental in Alexius later acquiring the Phoenix Throne.
Stigmata politics revolves around the defense of the Phoenix Empire against the Symbiots, and it is home to the Stigmata Garrison, the finest collection of troops in the Phoenix Empire bar only the Emperor’s elite Phoenix Guard. Levies are sent from all over the Phoenix Empire to protect this bottleneck to Symbiot space, and any veteran of Stigmata is a Hero of the Realm.  Stigmata is also home to one of the Cities of Refuge declared by Adolpho II, Shurgar Station has in many ways become a free city under Veteran rule, as a society they are highly organized and militarized and protective of sizeable surrounded parcels of land awarded to Veterans for their service. They have also made a serious effort to control the rogue criminal element that used to call the city their sanctuary.
The human civilian population of Stigmata is estimated to 70-75.000, mostly Stigmata veterans awarded a patch of land for their 20-year war service, or descendants thereof, although a few original settlements have also been reclaimed. Even these communities are closely tied to the war effort and are depended on a military economy, buying military surplus materiel and protection with whatever produce they can spare after the harvest. 

Star: Agni
System: Amon (0.31AU), Kaanta (0.82AU), Tethys (1.1AU; Spacestation: Tethys Shipyards, Soma), Aragon (3.09AU), Azlan (7.24AU; 6 moons), Goya (12.27AU; 3 moons), Turan (38.27AU), Jumpgate (59.17AU)
Jumps: Byzantium Secundus, Delphi, Urth (lost jumproad, no jumpkeys known to exist)
Capital: Nuevo Madrid
Resources: ores, agriculture, aquaculture, salvaged materials, fossil fuels
Exports: Refined ore, industrial chemicals, weapons tech, medical tech, think machine tech, industrial tech, vehicles, starships

Important People
None: Tethys is governed by a vast faceless and impersonal bureaucracy.

Tethys is the industrial center of the Imperial fiefs, kept healthy solely by atmosphere engines. Strip-mined, over-developed, and suffering from centuries of pollution, most of the native flora and fauna is long gone, the existing species mostly descending from Urth imports. However, there are places here where deforestation has not occurred, and it boasts isles and mountains as pure as those of other worlds. Tethys is 43% water; it used to have more, but plaster deposits filled up some of the bays and inner seas. Plankton farms dot the seas while the land is given up to military industry and food production. Tethys is roughly the size of Holy Terra, with a year of 359 days and gravity slightly lower than Urth standard (0.96 G). The temperatures are stable and pleasant, the arctic regions being warmer than Urth’s and the hottest regions milder. 
Once Tethys had a jumprout, now lost, connecting it with Holy Terra and this was one of the first worlds discovered by humans. However, it did not become the subject of aggressive colonization and development until the early 25th century, when it was acquired by the agracorp Verdeco. It remained loyal to Urth for the remainder of the First Republic, and only after New Mecca (Byzantium Secundus) fell to the royalists in 2600 did Tethys tentative declare independence. Tethys’ most famous native was St. Amalthea, born in 2701. She grew up in a peaceful time, which was shattered in a brutal three-year civil war in which Major Huang, head of the planetary security force, tried to seize the planet for Urth. With the Huang rebellion crushed, Tethys found itself under the rule of the Sung family, who began as democratic reformers but within three generations ruled as despots. It was under the Sung that the strip-mining of Tethys began, and the Second Republic largely depleted the world of vital ores, timber, uranium, and fresh water. By the late 39th century, over 90% of native life forms faced extinction and oxygen-producing engines were erected to keep the air breathable. When the Second Republic Fell, the corporate rulers were so despised that the nobles were welcomed, although it was the Crafters Guild, who had shrewdly bargained for self-governance in return for low-cost munitions and foodstuffs, who ruled as governors. Twice Tethys fought off large-scale Vuldrok attacks, first at the Battle of Amazonia in 4304, when native forces defeated the invaders, and again in 4537 when Vladimir Alecto arrived to help the Tethys militia defeat the dreaded King Froljir’s chief lieutenant, Ragnor Thorsonn in the Battle of Two Horse Fields. Every Regent since then carved a piece of Tethys for their family, but Tethys managed to remain independent despite many a Regent’s attempting to seize the world wholesale. The threat of eyeing Regents came to an end with the birth of the Phoenix Empire, when Tethys became an Imperial World. Now, Tethys is a foundation stone of the Empires military might, and great factories produce the munitions and materiel for the Imperial war machine. 
The Imperial Bureaucracy rules Tethys, although much control is delegated to various guilds. Spying, bribery, and blackmail are rife here, for so fierce is the competition for contracts, and many off-world powers seek inside scoops on just what the Imperial industry is currently up to. In orbit over the world is the renowned Tethys shipyard that produces and maintains the might of the Imperial Navy.
The Sanctuary Aeon Sect holds much sway in local culture and many regardless of their secular affiliation also venerate Saint Amalthea, although ecclesiastical politics is dominated by Orthodoxy. In the aftermath of the Emperor Wars many common soldiers were awarded knighthoods and land on Tethys in return for their service. Also a small number are retired members of the Order of the Phoenix and they are the first of a new breed of aristocrats tied directly to the Emperor, the likely beginnings of a formal Imperial House.