Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2006

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the eighty-seventh issue of The Guild Companion.

"Friends & Rivals" Has Arrived

Friends and Rivals: A Character Collection for HARP ™ is now available from RPGNow Edge as pdf and spreadsheet archive, competitively priced at 5 US dollars. I can "see" the looks of bewilderment now - what is Friends & Rivals? Easy, it is the publication name for the project formerly known as HARP Heroes. We've included an excerpt article in this month's issue and you can buy the product through this direct link:

Contributors should expect to receive their complementary copies shortly.

That's the second of our New Year's Resolutions delivered. I can also report that there now exists a complete manuscript for The Construct Toolkit, so it will be a race between it and Essence Companion to see which one of those two projects achieves publication first.

Heroes of the Terran Federation

The Tintamar (sometimes called the Portals) universe will be ICE's house setting for HARP SF. In previous editorials, I have given general overviews and insights into the technologies of the setting. This month, it is time to look at the Terran Federation and its organisations.

The Terran Federation was founded in 2220, shortly after the discovery of faster-than-light technology. The existing governments of Sol System (Earth, the Lunar Alliance, the Protectorate of Venus, the Martian Republic, the Belter League and the Jovian Confederacy) signed the Declaration of Man. This required every existing and future human settlement to be bound in perpetuity to the pact of mutual assistance and united defense that is the foundation of the Terran Federation. Membership in the Terran Federation is compulsory, although voting rights require a minimum population size of one million citizens.

Member governments of the Federation are wholly responsible for their own internal affairs. Moreover the Federation does not prescribe any particular system of government - participatory and representative democracies, moneyed oligarchies, constitutional and absolute monarchies, and more can be found within the Federation's borders. However, the Council of the Federation can and has imposed sanctions and authorized military intervention against governments that have repeatedly committed crimes against humanity. Four colonial systems who desired total freedom from Federation oversight have been permitted to undergo Interdiction, where they have renounced faster-than-light travel and active membership in the Federation in favor of complete self-rule.

You're in the (Astro)Navy now

The Federation AstroNavy has been the cornerstone in the Federation's mission to preserve the unity and peace of mankind and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. In the last few years, defending humanity against aliens has become a real concern for the AstroNavy. The Silth War was a wake-up call for a navy that had become complacent on a diet of piracy suppression and modest peacekeeping missions. The lessons of the war and the requirements of portal travel have substantially altered strategic thinking and naval construction. Very large ships (such as dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts) now guard the entry and exit zones of portals in Federation space. Rapid reaction forces of smaller vessels, such as cruisers, destroyers, and frigates, are held in readiness in portal systems to be dispatched whenever and wherever the alarm is raised. New ship types that are designed to exploit the advantages and disadvantages of portal travel are being trialled.

The AstroNavy, unlike most other space navies, has no enlisted personnel. All crew are either officers or officers in training (cadets). All officers are expected to master at least one specialty (navigation, gunnery, comms, engineering, etc.) and be competent in a second specialty. AstroNavy starships, unlike merchant vessels, always have enough crew members so that each position can be manned continuously. Merchant vessels, and even corporate exploration scoutships, tend towards minimum crews and a reliance on ship's AIs for routine watch keeping.

I fell in love with a Starship Trooper

A planet can be conquered from space and coerced into submission by the threat of saturation bombardment, even if its cities are sheltered by magneto-gravitic shields. But to truly control a world, soldiers are needed to take and hold the territory. In the Terran Federation, the men and women of the Starsoldier Corps are those soldiers.

The responsibilities of the Corps include base security for Federation installations, providing "marine" complements (at platoon and company strength) for the AstroNavy, peacekeeping missions, planet-based defense, and assault forces to take enemy territory. Starsoldiers are intensively trained and equipped for combat in terrestrial, non-terrestrial, and space-based environments.

Transporting large numbers of troops, support staff and combat vehicles across interstellar distances (by conventional FTL means or the portals) is a difficult proposition. Hence Starsoldier doctrine emphasizes flexibility of response and effective use of small units to deliver precision attacks.

Starsoldier assault forces make extensive use of gravtanks and gravcarriers. Gravplanes, assault helicopters, and occasionally combat hydrofoils and submarines also play a role in planet-side operations. For actual insertion into a combat zone, Starsoldier tactical units will be deployed from orbit via waves of AstroNavy assault shuttles screened by starfighter squadrons.

Every Starsoldier counts in the Corps.

This could be a case for Mulder and Scully?

The Federation Police, more commonly called simply FedPol, are the sole law enforcement organization in the Terran Federation that has jurisdiction beyond the borders of any single member government.

FedPol is the only body with legal jurisdiction for investigating crimes that occur in space (as opposed to on planets or in orbital habitats). Whenever a serious crime is committed against an alien anywhere in human space, FedPol officers will either assist the local authorities or take complete control of their investigation. The Federation does not want wars started with alien civilizations through some thug maiming or killing an important alien visitor. Likewise FedPol Investigators will help alien police forces in pursuing human criminals who have committed crimes in alien-controlled space.

Within the Federation, undercover operatives are responsible for detecting and/or suppressing illegal research such as dangerous bioweapons development and unethical biological or cybernetic experimentation on humans. Covert operations are also undertaken against megacorporations and governments - where the normal legal process of arrest and prosecution cannot be pursued, FedPol Agents will occasionally be authorized to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

Farewell for now ...

Time for me to return to writing up more of the Tintamar universe. We'll be back in June, but until then...

Keep gaming and have fun,
Nicholas HM Caldwell
General Editor for The Guild Companion