For my first five-day blitz, I’m retconning the Dark Nebula faction turns up to April 3201. Let’s begin with the status at December 3200, just before the campaign begins.
I spent a long time trying to work out what would be the optimum thing for each faction to do strategically, then decided I was overthinking it; it’s only supposed to take 15 minutes at the end of each session, not the days I’ve been spending on it. What actually matters is that what the factions do makes sense in the context of what the PCs already know.
Established continuity for the Dark Nebula as known to the crew of the Collateral Damage is:
- The Great Archive and Mizah Combine build Surveyors in January, send them to Kov in February, and establish Bases of Influence there in March.
- The Solomani Confederation is at war with the “space bugs”, whoever or whatever they are. So that this action stays on the map, I have relocated the bugs from their former position beyond Simba to Karpos, which may be their homeworld or just an outpost. (The bugs, incidentally, are inspired by Peter Watts’ novel Blindsight and a little-known short story by James Blish called This Earth of Hours.)
- The Aslan Hierate is a feudal, expansionist and militaristic state. The Solomani Confederation is in an essentially defensive stance against the Hierate, as it wishes to avoid a war on two fronts (and the bureaucracy can’t make its mind up what to do).
- There are two major trade routes, as shown in previous posts, and two minor routes.
- Aslan Hierate: Seize control of every system on the map from the spineless weaklings who currently hold them.
- Great Archive: Peaceful uplift of every inhabited system on the map, culminating in a sector full of harmony, with crystal spires and togas for all.
- Mizah Combine: Make tons of money. No, seriously, that’s all they want.
- Solomani Confederation: Re-establish the Terran Mandate, this time under Maadin’s control of course. However, they will need to stop bickering over how to do that before they start in earnest.
This map shows the situation just before the game begins. Assets are colour-coded to show ownership; red for the Aslan Hierate, blue for the Solomani Confederation, green for the Great Archive of Mizah and yellow for the Mizah Combine. Squares show who has the Planetary Government tag; Bases of Influence are triangles labelled with their current hit points; other assets are circles labelled with an abbreviation to show what they are, you should be able to work that out.
What I’ve done here is to import version 9 of the sector map into Hexographer, and then blow it up so that there are seven smaller hexes inside each of the ones on the grid. (I should see if I can resurrect the map of the Dread Sea Dominions with all the adventures marked on it using a similar technique. Maybe later.)
The Hierate has the Planetary Government tag for, and full-strength (24 hit points) Bases of Influence on, every primary and secondary system in the Aslanic Hierate. It has an income of 6 FacCreds per turn. It will begin by gaining control of Moralon.
- Kuzu: Planetary Defences, Tripwire Cells, Pretech Manufactory. These are the reason why Kuzu is a Hegemon and the units tasked with defending it.
- Panas: Space Marines, Extended Theatre, Blockade Fleet, Shipping Combine, Cyberninjas. These are at a jumping-off point for controlling the sector, except for the Shipping Combine, which ought to be as close to the centre of the U-Route as it can get and still be inside the Hierate.
The Blockade Fleet is a bit of a liability, given the lack of spike-1 routes on the map, and is likely to be sold off or refitted in short order.
The Great Archive has the Planetary Government tag for Mizah, and a full-strength Base of Influence (14 hit points, as it is a lesser faction). All its assets are on Mizah. It wants to establish Bases of Influence (subordinate, missionary Archives) on every inhabited world in the Fastnesses, and pass on all the Mandate knowledge it considers suitable; that will employ it gainfully for roughly a year. Its monthly income is 5 FacCreds.
The Combine is unique in not having a Planetary Government tag, but it does have a Base of Influence on Mizah (14 hit points). All its assets begin on Mizah, and its monthly income is 5 FacCreds. It will begin by establishing Bases of Influence on all the worlds of the Triskelion Route, that being the main trade route in the region. That’ll keep it busy for about a year and a half.
The Confederation has the Planetary Government tag for, and full-strength (24 hit points) Bases of Influence on, every primary and secondary system in the Solomani Confederation. It has an income of 6 FacCreds per turn. Confed needs to establish defensive phase lines along the invasion routes from the Hierate and the space bugs; that initially means Bases of Influence on Hasara, Tangga and Kov in the Fastnesses, and Salan, Changa and Irbev in Vecinos.
- Maadin: Planetary Defences, Tripwire Cells, Pretech Manufactory; same reasoning as the Hierate.
- Gazzain: Shipping Combine (it’s the central node of the Triskelion Route, which is the main trade route on the right side of the map); Blockade Fleet (established in series continuity).
- Icat: Cyberninjas (probably where they are made).
- Kamat: Extended Theatre, Space Marines (defending against potential bug invasion – established in series continuity).
Again, the Blockade Fleet is a bit of a white elephant unless it can move into the Fastnesses, which it can’t.
It was only when I drew this on a map that I realised how busy Mizah is, and how many Shipping Combines there are knocking around.