The Q'raj Void Protectorate (hereafter QVP) is the latest House book to appear from Iron Crown Enterprises for its popular space fighter game, Silent Death. The book describes a House that began as a confederation of smaller colonies, all of which originated from the regions of the Middle East on Old Earth. While writing the book I attempted to capture the broad richness of this area and its people; there are Arabs, Jews, Turks, Palestinians, and even some polytheistic neo-Canaanite throwbacks along for the ride. The options for Silent Death players are equally diverse. It is safe to say that no expansion thus far has the range of ships and platforms available as you will find in QVP, and each one is designed to perform its job well.
The book begins with a historical section. It traces the early formation of the QVP and the problems the new government faced in bringing together a wide range of peoples and backgrounds. There were great calamities and crises, such as the Grub Wars and the fall of the Galactic Empire that helped weld the QVP into a cohesive government that boasted a smart, tough fighting force. This section also details the Dinar War; a most unconventional war fought by the Q'raj against the Draconians.
Following this is a series of short articles on the political situation between the QVP and the other surviving Great Houses. This is important reading for those QVP players who want to know who they are likely to be playing against. It also contains some important history, such as the story behind the QVP's response to the coming of the so-called Prometheans, collective name given to cover two non-human races, the Primates and the Draconians. The decision of whether to extend aid to Primate refugees was reached in the following way:
Q'raj consultants and scientists were given one month and as many resources as necessary to answer a single question: Are the Primates a threat to our interests? Communications were established, and the Q'raj diplomatic corps and intelligence community spent thousands of hours reviewing Primate records, and questioning Primate representatives about their past, their class system, and their experiences with other races. A final report was written and placed on the desks of the central Cabinet members. The answer to the question from the various experts was a unanimous and resounding maybe.
In the end, it was Q'raj tradition that decided the response. Q'raj officials were able to confirm enough of what the Primates claimed to establish that they were, in fact, refugees from a hostile power. The ancient tradition of hospitality and granting refuge to those who were displaced took precedence over the legitimacy of their alleged grievances.
The third section concerns QVP military technology. The QVP introduces a new house weapon known as the Proton Arc. This weapon comes in small (Kanjar), medium (Sayf ad-Din), and Warhound-sized (Evil Eye) varieties, and is a bit unpredictable. The base damage is multiplied by the result of 1D4. This means that in some cases, a hit will only tickle the armor plating. In other cases, it can eviscerate its target. Nearly all QVP ships carry at least one Proton Arc weapon.
Following this comes a section on the Q'raj Warhound fleet. This expansion contains several refits of existing Warhounds in addition to one new one. Players will find these refits to be significant improvements over the standard configurations; faster and a better weapons mix. Most of them also carry the Warhound variant of the Proton Arc, the dreaded Evil Eye. This section also contains a timeline of QVP history up to about 14 years after the fall of the Galactic Empire.
Next we have the planetary catalogue. In this section the seven component states of the QVP are described in greater detail. Primarily, the QVP makes its money from rich reserves of natural resources, but the individual worlds have other ways of making money. There are shipping magnates, financiers, and even holy dervishes to be found, each contributing to make the QVP a very interesting place.
The QVP military and order of battle are the subject of the next section. QVP units fall into several categories, but the most important line units are built around the Saladin-class Carriers. This chapter presents the descriptions and strengths of squadrons belonging primarily to the 3rd Carrier Group and its auxiliary units. Most of these units have a part to play in the scenarios that ome later in the books.
Naturally, after describing the units, we must move on the ships. The QVP warships are the continuation of an experiment in Silent Death ship design that began when Lee Erickson and I wrote the expansion Silent Death: Fighter Tactics Manual. The ships in that expansion caused quite a stir, even some outrage. We couldn't have been happier with their reception. The ships in QVP are an extension of the design philosophy that was so successful in SD:FTM. I told Lee what I wanted, and Lee worked out the specifics. The result is a collection of ships that offer unprecedented combat capability and a wide range of options for SD players. There are six new ships, from the light and nimble Jambiya to the brutally armed Lilith gunboat. The Saladin is a new carrier with space for eight fighters, usually the Shedu, which is a capable single-seat medium fighter.
QVP also has a large number of refits, including the Epping QVP Minelayer, new versions of the Talon, the Sentry, a Black Widow reconfigured as a minelayer/minesweeper, and the Nemesis QVP gunboat. Warhound refits include new versions of the Megafortress, the Fletcher, and two Stingray variants, one of which is a heavy minelayer.
You may have noticed that mines play a larger role in QVP military strategy, and in addition to these static defenses, QVP also sports several new platforms and satellites. These static defenses include platforms designed to hold cargo for campaign games, and platforms that can keep several fighters on duty in support of far-flung outposts. Some of these platforms have some nasty surprises, but I'll leave that pleasure for readers to discover first-hand.
Finally, we have a section containing twelve scenarios. These deal with different conflicts, and many of them are intended to be played in sequence to help play out a larger conflict. There are Grub War scenarios, Dinar War scenarios, a few pirate raids, and one last one concerning a small border incident between the forces of the QVP and House Colos. The last one is what I believe is known as foreshadowing.
As to the future, look for another major expansion involving the QVP to come out near the end of this year. Don Dennis, the editor at ICE, has given the go-ahead for a major conflict book featuring a major war between Colos and the QVP. This book will include lots of new ships and refits, and some campaign rules Lee and I have been kicking around lately. All in all, it's going to be a wild ride.
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