Monday, August 19, 2013

Souris - Sphere Fenix

The Crucis Margin Guidebook from Judges Guild gives us the following information on the polity known as Sphere Fenix:

"Sphere Fenix was original settled by a very diverse group of refugees from the collapsing First Imperium. During the Long Night, these fugitives flourished into a series of mini-states. About 500 Imperial dating, a series of small but bitter wars broke out. In 724, the three surviving states declared peace on each other and met to discuss unification. Though the precise details of governmental structure took over 28 years to develop, Sphere Fenix dates its birth from that meeting. Though internal unrest has occurred since, the overall prosperity has continued to increase. A mutual defense treaty was signed with Ramayan in the 8th century Imperial. Technical assistance is received from Imperium military services and Imperial security is rumored to have great influence. In spite of having fought in no major wars in centuries, military prowess is high and it has become traditional to serve a term or two as a mercenary in one of the surrounding sectors, especially the Marlan Primate."

Given this, it would be easy to see the Sphere Fenix (SF hereafter, or just 'the Sphere') as sort of an Imperium-lite... and honestly, I'm okay with that.  For Traveller players primarily used to  interacting with the setting of the Third Imperium, SF allows a degree of familiarity to rely upon while dealing with the politics and players of a new sector outside of the Third Imperium's borders.  The trick here is to remember that SF came out of the ashes of the First Imperium; they did not have the Solomani influence that came about due to the Rule Of Man, and that continued into the forming of the Third Imperium.  In many ways, SF is more Vilani in outlook than the Third Imperium is, very status-conscious and technologically conservative.  That said, the smaller size and influence of the Sphere is less conducive to arrogance and hubris than the First Imperium was, and out of necessity SF is more flexible in dealing with the realities of interstellar politics.  

The Sphere controls 80 systems in the Crucis Margin sector, spread out over five subsectors (Ark, Negoiul, Souris, Mandin, and Olsztyn).  The highest tech level obtained in her worlds is TL 14.  It maintains excellent relations with the Third Imperium; residents of the Sphere like to think of themselves and the Third Imperium as allies, while other polities in the Gateway quadrant tend to see SF as mere puppets of the Imperium.

Kaarin II, circa 991, while on shore leave
SF is ruled by a hierarchy of nobility, in a similar manner to the Third Imperium (although the ranks of Viscount and Archduke are not used).  The current Emperor is Kaarin II, who succeeded her father Aandiruu in 997*, after the latter abdicated the throne for health reasons (Aandiruu is still alive; his primary functions these days is the spoiling of his grandchildren).  Kaarin served five terms in the SF Navy, leaving military service with the rank of Captain. Had she chosen to stay in the Navy, most feel that she would have eventually obtained the rank of Admiral. Kaarin was originally third in line for the throne, her older sister Eleni (who had been groomed for the position for decades) died in a grav-race accident in 996, and her older brother Ishugi declined taking the throne, feeling that Kaarin was a better choice. Kaarin's younger brother Eneri is next in line to take the throne; many suspect that he is covetous of his sister's position as Emperor, but for the moment seems to be content with his own role at the royal court. Kaarin has no children, and has never married, although rumors of her secret romances abound through the Sphere.  Her rule has overall been well-regarded by her subjects, and she is generally deemed to be highly intelligent and capable.

*I'm using 1105 as my starting time for the setting

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