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Author Topic: Unpublished Stormfront material  (Read 2054 times)

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Offline Clark

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Unpublished Stormfront material
« on: March 08, 2011, 09:28:25 PM »
Galactic Chaos
The initial success of Operation Planetstorm appeared to augure favourably for the sentient species of the Milky Way. The Machine Empire had been delt a reeling blow, pausing the advance of the Legions of Steel. As history would reveal though, this temporary victory was a mixed blessing.

The League of Aliens, originally formed out of necessity and fear, did not seem to be so necessary anymore. For many of its members, the fear of the Machine Empire was suspended and this galactic alliance of convenience has outlived its usefulness. The fighting on the Azaramian front had also been reduced to a low level of skirmishing. A few associate and full members officially pulled out of the League. Many remained, ostensibly, while pursuing their own ends. Politics continued, culture continued and war continued, this time within the League and not just at it’s perimeter. The coherence of the Interstellar League For Mutual Home-World Defense From Extragalactics was beginning to fade.

The Cardinal Council, having no particular love for each other but seeing the greater implications of what was transpiring, began to take measures to enforce cooperation within the League. While the Council - both individually and collectively - were quite powerful, they still required the participation of the full and associate membership to ensure long-term security from the Machine and Black Empire threat. The Galactics (the Cardinal Council members) shared many characteristics. They possessed the highest levels of technology in the known galaxy. They possessed sizable physical resources. Most were fully integrated empires or republics; the majority were not colonial or slave holding. The military strengths of most of these powers lay in their interstellar navies. With them they could protect their own planets while reducing those of their enemies to uninhabitable rubble. All of the Galactics operated some form of constabulary but most did not keep a sizable standing army. None could afford the full ground forces mobilization necessary to deal with the Legions of Steel and the Machine production complexes, at least not without compromising their naval stregth vis-a-vis each other and when compared to the Azaramian Imperial Fleet (estimated to be the largest interstellar navy in the galaxy) and the Machine Battle Fleet (the second largest but with the highest growth and replacement rate). The Cardinal Council need the participation of League ground troops. The Galactics needed cannon-fodder.

One of the first actions was the formation of a force of League soldiers who would be charged with preventing and stopping in-fighting between LOA members. The concept which the Galactics began with was the League Peacekeepers. These would be soldiers drawn from full and associate members who were: a) politically in tune with the aims of the Cardinal Council and, b) possessed the proper combination of resources, technology, ferocity and discipline to make them suitable for such a task. Sometimes, though, even Galactics don’t get everything they want. What resulted would appear to a casual observer as merely semantics but the mandate for this force ended up radically altered from the Council’s original intention.

Peacekeeping is a funny business. Keeping the peace involves preventing hostilities as opposed to stopping them. Aggressive action is simply not an option unless in self-defense. For a Peacekeeper, self-defense is usually defined as returning fire. What bothered the membership about becoming League Peacekeepers was that they had to wait until someone else started shooting and then, if they were still around, fight a defensive withdrawal from the battle. There were other things as well such as the Council’s idea to have the Peacekeepers equiped with special transponders which would readily identify them. The logic was that it would be a severe faux pas for beligerent states to shoot at Peacekeepers, so cases of mistaken identity should be avoided by a clear electronic signature. The membership argued that the transponders would make them a soft touch for electronic lock-on; they would be sitting ducks in a firefight. Overall, the members from whom the Peacekeepers were to be drawn considered the danger to their soldiers too great. A compromise had to be achieved.

The troops rules for engagement were loosened. Self-defense now included preemptive attacks on a menacing force. In addition to preventing hostilities, the troops were allowed to, if feasible, impose peace on beligerents through military action. Transponders became optional, at the discretion of the local commander. Once violence erupted, command passed from the League’s political representative to the military representative. It was clear that with such measures, these soldiers would not be merely keeping the peace. The force was therefore renamed the League Peacemakers. Some thought that these measures would cause distrust of the Peacemakers by those they were making peace between, thereby leading to more hostilities. The Peacemaker members asserted, however, that they were not prepared to emasculate their troops before inserting them into a potentially volitile situation.

PEACE THROUGH EXCESSIVE FIREPOWER

The second measure taken by the Galactics to have representation among the ground forces was the formation of the Cardinal Council Plenipotentiate. Instead of fielding full units, the Galactics would develop a limited number of PBA and RXS incorporating their best technology. These suits would be assigned to specially recruited and trained envoys who would operate as both diplomats and soldiers. These envoys would then be attached to various League battle forces. There was thought to be several benefits to this approach. It would allow for the inclusion of Galactic technology in the League forces without actually divulging it to the membership. Strategic morale could be improved by the perception that the Cardinal Council was sending some of  “their boys” into the fray instead of just hanging back and telling everyone what to do. Finally, taking a lesson from the Fantasian use of rekorders, the Galactics could monitor the League membership through the conduct of their armed forces.

The great wars of the galaxy were in remission, at least for the time being. But the little wars took their place. The massive battles between the LOA, Black Empire and Legions of Steel ceased. What replaced them was wide spread skirmishing, both across borders and within them. Each of the galactic powers took measures to deal with internal dissension but with limited success. The situation at present, while not anarchy, it is definately chaos on a galactic scale.

Offline Clark

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2011, 09:44:50 PM »
UNE

Background

The humans of Earth attempted to create order in their little neck of the woods out of the galactic chaos which had overun the League of Aliens. But there were many forces at work, some benign, some malevolant and some which were simply curious. Earth and the UNE were rising in status within the League due to the directed action of the Human politicians, scientists and industrialists. Many of the internal problems which plagued other star-faring powers were coming into play for the UNE which made continual progress for Earth within the galactic village an evermore difficult enterprise.

The UNE Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Mathew 5:9

The most siginificant political manoeuver was the inclusion of humans within the League Peacemakers. For its population, the UNE had made a commitment of troops which was unsurpassed by other members. This commitment spurred another round of recruitment, training, equiping and deployment of soldiers. In the same way that the League sought out the most appropriate members to fill the role of Peacemakers, so  did the UNE. Many of the UNE Peacekeeping forces at work on Earth were combed for personnel to form the core of the extra-planetary UNE Peacemaking force.

The Canadians were singled out to provide a complete battalion - a sizeable force out of proportion with its population. Canada had been the leading Peacekeeping nation of the 20th and 21st centuries. The reasons for this were much the same as those which led to the election of a Canadian as the president of the UNE: it is a first world nation (and G7 member to boot), it is a non-nuclear middle power, it is politically central and had a history of choosing the right (ie victorious) side in various wars and commiting troops before the outcome was a fait accompli. In short, the rest of the world trusted Canadians. They had the money, education and the resources which the second and third world nations lacked but without the jingoism of the superpowers (ie USA, Germany, China and Japan although France would engage in and draw a sizable amount of fingerpointing as well).

The Pegasus Rides Again

To fulfil this role the Canadian government needed to create a new unit. Ironically, a regiment which had been disbanded more than a century previous following a peacekeeping incident was reincarnated for the task. Political debate had stalled reinstatement during the mobilization leading up to Operation Planetstorm and the title “commando” had been passed to those soldiers who penetrate the Machine production complexes. The organizational structure of the unit was different from the original as was its mandate.  The logo remained unchanged however; the Pegasus would ride again. The unit motto - Osons or “We Dare” - remained but by the time troops were being deployed on their first mission, the unofficial motto was “Now We’ve Got Teeth.”

The Outlands

While Earth was only a minor power within the League of Aliens it still represented the single largest and most technically capable Human planet within the League. There were several other Human occupied planets spread out along “The Path” but most were feral worlds with little or no technolgy or centralized government. The Cardinal Council did not want to deal indivdually with every little rock floating in space that just happened to support intelligent life. However, the resources and population of these planets could prove useful. The Galactics therefore developed a protectorate policy whereby members (both associate and full) would take these feral worlds under their wing and develop them socially and technologically.

The first such assignment for Earth was the Abatis system which, due to the sizeable Fantasian population on the planet, was a politically charged move. The next assignment was not nearly so controversial, at least on an interplanetary scale. The UNE was charged with the development of four planets, each in close proximatey to Earth and each with its own population of Humanity. These planets became know collectively as the Outland Protectorate or simply, the Outlands. Of course, no one informed the planet’s inhabitants about this arrangement.

Each of the Outland planets were low-tech; industrialized and scientific but pre-electronic. They were highly balkanized, composed of a number of competing sub-continental empires. All of these political entitties were patriarchal, hereditary groups: clans. It has not been verified whether there had been contact between the various planets in the past, either amongst clans which have been subsequently eliminated, or through some interstellar agent. The similarities in the historical socio-political development would suggest this, however.

All of the clans profess an ethos of personal honour and independance. Modern political scholars regard the clan system as being very close to Anarchy with fraternal bonds at the clan level. There are not formal governmental systems but there are hereditary titles which carry weight and give legitamacy to an individual’s opinions. Decisions, especially ones with far-reaching effects such as public works programmes, are made on the basis of a “rough consensus”, which requires something more than 50% but less than unanimity to ratify. The economy is mostly capitalistic but the concept of a corporation is foreign. Partnerships are common, however, and public work projects are handled in a rather socialist fashion, being done for the benefit of the clan with no individual being able to lay claim to them. Personal ability is highly respected while personal wealth is not. Thus, while a successful entrepreneur gains honour for himself by making his first million, subsequent acquisition becomes more difficult - people become incensed at the people who “throw their money around.” There is a loose caste system in place. All able bodied males are expected to be able to fight to defend their clan, their family and themselves. Various hereditary titles are noted for their  expertise in a particular field and this becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophesy as the family in question will tend to concentrate their efforts in that particular field so as to maintain their honour. Movement of members between families is not uncommon though, when someone shows aptitude in a particular area which is outside of their hereditary field. The religions of the clans could be compared to Buddhism or Taoism but with an element of monotheism and ancestor worship. There is a figure known as “Father” who has a religious significance. When, for instance, a clansman says something like, “as my Father is my witness”  he is referring to a figure with whom he has a personal, individual relationship with and yet, paradoxically, is the same figure which another would refer to in the same way. The Father seem to be a personified agent of the universe rather than the Almighty.

All of this proved confusing to the Earthlings who encountered it. The lead UNE scouts’ perceptions and opinions of the society fluctuated between idyllic, barbaric and preposterous. A communal spirit was evident but so was violence and lawlessness. Vigilante justice was the rule and sometimes descibed as a “wild west” mentality. The average person worked only six hours per day but most, and not just the aristocracy, spent another two to six hours per day involved in what was called “clan affairs.” The Earth scouts referred to it as political activity. It took the form of some type of communication: meetings, writing, public speaking, publishing. The cynics amongst the scouts called it nothing but systemic schmoozing and propaganda. Was this indeed anarchy, a society of petite bourgoise courtiers or the ultimate expression of a developmental liberal democracy? A total psycho-social profile of the Outland Clans is far from being complete or understood by the UNE. This sort of confusion caused difficulty in the interaction between the UNE and the Outlands.

The UNE had infiltrated the planet but establishing a credible identity for their agents proved to be a complex task. Unlike our mobile, modern, technocratic world filled with faceless bureaucracy, Outland society operated on a more personal level. It seemed as though everyone knew everyone. An agent could not pose as a local. The farther away the ficticious home town was, the less the chance of being caught directly in the charade but this also increased the level of suspicion amongst the locals. The strategy of inserting several agents prior to revealing the UNE to the population was eventually abandoned. An alternative plan - kidnapping high ranking clansmen and replacing them with surgically altered look-alike agents - was vetoed in its earliest stages.

The next scheme involved sending agents into towns where they would contact the local aristocracy and then profess themselves as being extraterrestrials. Some high-tech gadgets would accompany them to prove that they were not of this world. This met with varied levels of success. In a small number of cases the agents and the gadgets were burned at the stake for being a herald of evil. Many were dismissed as being mad scientists who had made some secret technological development but were completely insane. Some, though, were taken at face value able to establish a dialogue which eventually led up to a small ship being landed in the middle of the town square. Then the real trouble began.

News of  the landings propogated, causing ripples of frenzy across the countryside

Offline sergeant_hastp

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 02:26:23 AM »
Fascinating reading!

I remember in the magazine 'Havoc' we got the first glimpse of one of the Galactics.  I was underwhelmed. I thought 'oh great, now we get into the super-duper-soldiers.  Is this going to be like Palladium's RIFTS?'

But after reading this write up, it makes a whole lot more sense.

I love the Pegasus Rides Again bit.

I find myself having a typical Canadian reaction though to the part detailing with why Canada is so well entrenched with the UNE.  That reaction is of course modest denial.  Seems like excessive praise?

Would there still be a G7 (G8, G20?) organization in 100 years?  Mightn't it be up to G50?

The Outlands:  Wow.  What a great setup for the potential Roleplaying aspect and future scenarios.

The distinction of Peacekeeper to Peacmaker...loosene d rules of engagement...two-thumbs-up (Wish I was a Fantasian so I could give four).



Offline Clark

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2011, 08:36:03 AM »
This was written over a decade ago so the G7 reference is out of date.  It's been replaced by the G8 but you are right that the G20 - perhaps a G50 - would likely take ovwr their role.

I am totally aware of the irony involved with talking about jingoism as I toot Canada's horn. It is both intentional and yet somewhat logical.

The Outlands are loosely based on the Scottish Highlands combined with some mental mastrubation about political philosophy drawn from sources as diverse as political professor R. Manzer and the Internet Steering Committee. Outlanders, the Oth tribes and other selected groups would use "Barbarian Morale" which makes them more likely to break but far easier to rally. The fluff bit for the Oths illustrates this but it is a very real distinction as exhibited by the Mongols and their mounted archers.

The peacemaker bit is pure wish fulfilment that I tried to articulate as a reasoned argument.

Offline grendeljd

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 03:37:33 PM »
All great stuff - I agree with JP about the Outland material making for some enriched background that would suit an RPG really well.

Anyone else ever read the old 'Alien Legion' comics? This new material is reminding me of the flavour of that setting. A military that is ruled over by so many layers of inter-galactic politics that it rarely gets to do its job properly, is under appreciated and looked down upon by most citizens, doesn't ever get a break or know what it's next mission will be until they arrive on scene, often under-equipped... and had once repelled an alien race that was attempting galactic conquest but is currently held in check. I think this LoS setting would work well within that kind of feeling.
I hate people generally, but I like them specifically - John Malkovich

Offline Clark

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 08:16:56 PM »
The creative differences over the RPG draft came about because we tried to come up with some universal excuse to take the characters here there and the other place.  I agree that the Outlands would be a great setting, but how do you get off that setting ?

Has anyone played Republic of Rome?  It's a board game but the more the merrier and you have to negotiate with other players.  Each plays the leader of a faction.  You control familes including senate members, generals and such.  There are a couple of ways to win including being declared dictator for life or having your general march on Rome.  The trick is being able to win without the republic falling from barbarian invasions or foreign wars or internal revolt.  Black Empire, anyone?

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2011, 07:13:40 AM »
I'd skip the word "jingoism" and replace it with "stigma". Jingoism implies each individual superpower was guilty, stigma implies that, guilty or not guilty, it's how others perceive you that matters. And really, to the average Middle Eastern power, even the most humble and diplomatic C23 America would still be tainted with the C20 - C21 idea of "The Great Satan". Just an example.

Offline Clark

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 08:00:00 AM »
I remember comedian John Wing going on: "You never hear anyone say 'Canada is Satan!'  We're not Satan; we're Satan's little neighbour."

Offline grendeljd

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 11:27:09 AM »
The creative differences over the RPG draft came about because we tried to come up with some universal excuse to take the characters here there and the other place.  I agree that the Outlands would be a great setting, but how do you get off that setting ?

You could still tweak the concept, since its not officially released yet... maybe some of the colonies are more interactive/receptive to the offworld support/influence. Either way, dropping in player characters on one of those worlds could still be for a limited campaign since, well, if they can be dropped off on a given world for a task [even if secretly], they can be evac'ed the same way at a set time...
I hate people generally, but I like them specifically - John Malkovich

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 06:06:11 AM »
If you look at the real world, people are always coming and going where they're not supposed to be. Sure as hell there'd be a black market, shadow economy, that sort of thing. Being subversive makes it risky. You have to know people. Lots of potential subterfuge and drama.

Offline Clark

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 06:33:38 PM »
Cut back to the RPG thread and there is a sense that the LOS RPG should be combat heavy given its origins.  That is the tension.

Offline rcbecker1

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Re: Unpublished Stormfront material
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 08:35:44 AM »
Yes combat heavy, Think Specail Ops going after a drug lord.