Hello everyone! It's time for another SPOTLIGHT ON! This time we will be looking some of the various factions of the Dark Star setting, starting with those factions that are currently in production, most having figures and vehicles in both 6mm and 15mm scales, then moving to some new forces that we have in the works. Everybody ready? This is a long one!
The Federation- Originally composed of 6 close star systems that united to pool their resources for both trade and protection from the Khiff menace, the then-named “Self-Defense Federation” has slowly evolved to include almost two-dozen systems as full members and many others as client states. Often seen as a beneficial force for stability (especially in their own eyes), it is not unheard of for Federation armed forces to intervene in conflicts in an attempt to calm the situation and preserve life. Called “The Do Good Brigade” by Solar Hegemon politicos, Federation involvement is not always welcome. The Federation immediately borders both League of Free Systems and Khiff zones of interest, with a small overlap with Venturian and Garrhul spheres.
Venturians- the Venturians are a humanoid people that are definitely not Human. Encountered just 25 years ago, their influences and interests have spread very rapidly through human space. The Venturians have a very confusing social and governmental structure, centered almost entirely around clans that are both business interests and self-governing nations called "Ventures", which are entirely consumed with the protection of their own patents and licenses for various products and techniques. Each Venture is controlled by a collection of Citizens that are mostly original founders or are promoted due to meritorious or heroic service to the Venture. Anyone can become a Citizen, having to first complete military service in one of the Ventures before deciding on a future home. Citizens generally stay with their chosen Venture for their entire life, or may start their own Venture upon discovering or creating a new patentable technique or product, starting their own little empire and drawing workers/pleebs from all over Venturian space. The composition of the lower ranks (or pleebs/serfs) of each Venture is almost completely non-citizen Venturians, who do the majority of manufacturing, entertainment, social services, etc. In material terms, there is not much difference between Citizens and Non-Citizens. It is only in the realms of privilege, respect and leadership where there is a dividing line. It is not unusual for Ventures to clash, especially if infringement of interests is suspected, however most hostilities are low-grade and by design try to not damage property of harm innocents. Combat with non-Venturians, especially if patent or license infringement has occurred, is not quite as restrained.
The Garrhul- more than 400 years ago Terran scientists uplifted canines to full sapience. It wasn’t the first time this had been done, previous attempts being both short lived and poorly received, but it was the most successful. Originally designed to be soldiers to supplement various armed forces in the reconquest of Earths rebelling colonies, these dog soldiers became stigmatized based on false reports of their savagery and atrocities committed (often by their human cohorts), and their “removal” was eventually demanded by the general public. Certified as “people” through the efforts of many activists, the canids were exiled rather than having to face genocidal parents. More than 600,000 individuals were placed on ships and sent far out into the frontier of Human space to settle a system upon which many wished they would perish. Instead, they forged a society and national identity, created their own technology base and began their own colonization projects. Now, the Garrhul inhabit half a dozen systems of their own and at least some live on approximately 40% of all human planets, having a penchant for trading and mercenary work. Though most are “productive members of society” a large number have turned to piracy and raiding, competing with the Khiff for “public enemy #1” in the eyes of many militaries.
Khiff- The worst possible merge of predatory lizard and weasel, the aggressive and clannish Khiff are a scourge that falls upon other races in order to enslave and often eat them. Luckily the Khiff are a fractious race and rarely are able to hold large numbers together for long enough to do much more than raid easy targets, such as frontier colonies. But an exception has recently surfaced, a small Khiff nation has been formed by a trio of systems that have become weary of the carnage that comes from reprisal attacks and the spoiling expeditions launched by the Federation and other forces. A stable and effective government seems to be able to hold the member states together, and has been utilizing the Khiff’s high technology base to create a streamlined armed force from the ragtag raiding hardware commonly used by "standard" clan Khiff. This nation seems to have learned many harsh lessons and it is known that several battles have recently occurred between “Nationed” Khiff and clan Khiff, with the later coming off the worse. The worry now is: will the “Nationed” Khiff be a stabilizing influence on their brethren, or more of a threat to everyone else.
The following are factions that we are currently working on briging to the table, so more info on them will appear as things progess.
Solar Hegemony- Including the Sol system and an octet of immediately adjacent colonies, the Solar Hegemony is often seen by outsiders as one of the interstellar Boogeymen bent on taking over every Human settlement possible, and eradicating dissent from their rule wherever found. Those outside viewers may not be wrong. With several very high population worlds but only moderately high technological base, the Hegemony has made it their mission to expand to relieve social pressure as well as to “bring historical territory back into the fold”. Having such an ominous name to their nation as well as a large military has not allayed the fears of those beyond their borders, especially when said military has begun disgorging from assault ships on their doorsteps (Federation troops call Hegemonic invasions “lowering the bar” as both a quip towards the SH emblem as well as their habit of causing a lot of damage to infrastructure during their take-overs). Solar Hegemony territory abuts the League of Free Systems as well as the Han sphere.
The League of Free Systems- Faced with impending hostile take-over, 11 systems banded together about 15 years ago to form the League of Free Systems in order to keep the Solar Hegemony at bay. Nominally an ally of the Federation, the League rarely calls out for military help, instead taking it upon themselves to keep their citizens out of Earth’s clutches. Almost all planets of the League have suffered a Hegemony raid at one time or another, and several conflicts are always afoot in the systems between the SH and LFS. As hostilities continue the League is gradually shifting towards a wartime economy, with a tightening of freedoms that comes with it. For now the League utilizes a hodgepodge of weapons and vehicles of both Federation and Venturian make while their home-grown military industry winds up for the protracted conflict conflict with Earth.
Han- The Han Sphere is a group of systems of majority Chinese ethnicity. Targeted early on for generation-ship colonization, the capital of Loya (originally Luoyang) was settled by faster ships almost 200 years before the original colony ship arrived. Much had changed in society by that time and the “old ways” were not all that welcome, nor was the slow acting viral plague the late-coming generational colonists brought with them that could cause sterility in both sexes, a relic of biological conflicts that raged on Earth in the far past. It took Han scientist the better part of three decades to find a cure and stop the slide of population decline. The result is a racial hatred of all things Earth, with a corresponding hostility towards the expansionist Solar Hegemony. The Han are possibly the second most technologically advanced Human polity, and the 3rd largest population wise (behind the SH and Federation). Besides Earth, the Han seem to only have conflict with Khiff and Garrhul pirates and the occasional tiff with Venturians.
Docent- No longer considered to be Human, the Docent are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Very little truth is known about them, only inferences, but it is thought that the Docent began as colonists in cold sleep aboard one of the many generation ships that were sent into the void, never to be heard from again. Something their ship encountered changed or assimilated the humans on board, and now they are part of what is assumed to be an alien intelligence. But that is all just guess work. What is known is that the Docent have very high technology, including nanites and limited bioware, are very haughty, and have a some overarching mission which leads them to generally disregard everyone and everything else. They claim to exist to help foster and mentor all other races and nations toward some greater good, but more often than not they just appear some place doing something unfathomable and then just vanish. Sometimes a small Docent force arrives on a battlefield and engages one side or another, or maybe just passes through the crossfire without even hesitating or taking part. Sometimes a lone individual appears on a planet out of thin air and says a few words to an unlikely individual and then vanishes. On at least one occasion a massive force arrived in orbit of a sparsely settled planet, bombarded a small location way out in the wilds for a few hours, then departed without a word or other action. They have even not fought back when attacked, just going about their mysterious business, while other times slaughtering any witness to their activity. They declare themselves to be emissaries and shapers, but all they truly seem to be are unfathomable and dangerous.
...and there you have it! Factions galore! Stay tuned for more SPOTLIGHT ON articles, as well as updates, sneak peeks, and other Darkest Star Games news!
Darkest Star Games
Established in September of 2012, Darkest Star Games strives to bring you the best in 6mm and 15mm miniatures!