Saturday, 23 October 2010

Accidents in Astrogation – Lymethius Subsector #2

Konzevr Zdiea Edlchtel of Appaer, President of the Geithurian RepublicThe Fourth Outrim War (1080 – 85) was the last major conflict along the Spinward Frontier of Gamelea Subsector prior to the Kalar-Wi War of 1103 – 1105. Once again, Outrim Alliance fleets penetrated Imperial Space, wrecking havoc in the Jump Zones of lightly held Imperial worlds and, once again, Imperial and Subsector Task Forces stopped Alliance Fleets cold in the approaches to High Population worlds. Once again, Alliance Ground Forces were landed on individual Imperial worlds and, once again, they took Low Population worlds and were defeated on High Population worlds.

Konzevr Zdiea Edlchtel of Appaer/Lymethius, acting in his capacity as President of the Geithurian Republic, forced the war vote through the Republican Council in early 1080. In the months leading up to the war vote, Edlchtel and his advisors had become increasingly alarmed at reports from Republican Intelligence - Iqro' Zhdable. Iqro' Zhdable Section 4 (IZd 4) - Counter Intelligence - had noted the trending upwards of separatist actions and activities on various member worlds of the Republic. Investigations indicated possible Imperial Intelligence involvement as agents provocateurs or in providing material assistance and training. As the separatist movements gathered strength and sought to paralyse the Republic’s military forces, President Edlchtel felt driven to strike back against them and against their Imperial masters.

Assured of the support of the Esoyatreko Tlehiui V of Yuwe/Lymethius and of the Huiha Esoyatre, President Zdiea Edlchtel moved quickly to bring other member states of the Outrim Alliance into the impending war. While Huiha Khysokhou remained neutral in the ensuing conflict, the other members of the Alliance began to mobilise.

The deaths in quick succession of Imperial Sector Duke Kanus II and Duke Pahran of Gamelea in 1080 should have paralysed the Imperial defence as Alliance Fleets crossed the border but, in both cases, Imperial forces were much better prepared than had been predicted. This state of readiness was no accident. Sector Duke Kanus II and his Head of Imperial Intelligence, Siridar-Lord Elmar Hendrian of Pashur/Gazolan, had been actively working to neutralise the Geithurian Republic by encouraging the centrifugal political forces suppressed by President Zdiea Edlchtel to tear the Republic apart. Part of their planning factored in Edlchtel’s possible need for an external war to retain power, and to this end the bulk of the RimWorlds Imperial Naval units were already on-station in the Gamelea Subsector when war was declared.

Kanus’ death in 1080 on the eve of the war threw the Subsector Fleets into turmoil as various political factions began jockeying for influence with his uncle and successor, Edenar of Nolgor. Lord Elmar managed to keep Kanus’ plan on track by pulling squadrons into Gamelea Subsector from Gazul, Gazolan and Thurgandarn Subsectors but Duke Pahran’s death was a complication unplanned for. Fortunately, Lord Elmar’s brother, Duke Akansair of Thiroor/Gazolan, persuaded Duke Pahran’s son, Adryos Urzov, to move faster than required by protocol. Ordering the Gamelea Subsector Navy under his brother, Admiral Lord Talarman Juharl-Zarquestuir, into action, Adryos Urzov went personally to meet Duke Edenar’s Nolgor Subsector Fleet at Canblyne to urge them on towards the crucial first battlegrounds at Julnar.

Sector Duke Edenar was far more cautious and far less imaginative than his nephew, Kanus II, and so the war ground on with Imperial Forces grimly attempting to hold the border while Alliance raiders attempted to cut their supply lines. During this time, Lord Elmar continued his secret war in the Geithurian Republic, while trying to provide the intelligence that Sector Duke Edenar demanded, yet never paid any attention to. Elmar’s greatest coup of the war was the reactivation of the alliance with the Kalar-Wi which had fallen away after the Klorin Asteroid War of 1022.

In 1085, Kalar-Wi Grand Admiral Odg’tal Alveuk lead the Kalar-Wi Planetary Navy to a crushing victory over a predominantly Geithurian Republican fleet at Anthorann/Gamelea. The member governments of the Republic, sick of the war, promptly recalled President Zdiea Edlchtel’s Council and the Republic was effectively out of the war. Sector Duke Edenar’s Fleet Admiral Colleen von Aachol-Kalan-Salvan defeated an Outrim Alliance fleet at Gaidon/Cabria a month later and Admiral Chi’leur Baron Culvenia led the mopping up operation that chased the last of the raiders out of the Border Worlds by 1086.

Sakliavr Edlchtel became Konzevr of Appaer/Lymethius in late 1085 and President of the Geithurian Republic two years later, but his tenure as President was marred by a political malaise that threatened the collapse of the Republic.

Lord Elmar’s secessionists had struck deep roots amongst some of the populations of the Republic, roots that IZd 4 could not pull out. Such were the divisions in the Republican Council that when the Kalar-Wi War broke out in 1103, nearly twenty years later, the Republic took four months to issue a political position on the war, and then couched in such terms as to be mostly irrelevant. With the Geithurian Republic’s attention focussed inward, Huiha Esoyatre has assumed defacto leadership of the Outrim Alliance. Esoyatreko Tlehiui V of Yuwe/Lymethius, 79 in 1109, remains firmly in control of the Huiha but has shown little interest in managing the complex relationships within the larger Alliance.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Website Update #9

Kurgan Infantry from Rebel Minis painted up as KiangFinally updated my modelling log on my website. With that done, I can get back to the article I'm writing on the Lymethius Subsector for this blog.

At present, I'm trying to match figures to the various alien races I have in my Traveller campaign. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to use GZG Alien Mercenaries SG15-X05 and X08 as Kalar-Wi. And now that I have painted up some Kurgan from Rebel Minis, I have a match for the Kiang, a Minor Race that the Kalar-Wi use as cheap ground troops.

More to come.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Visualising Characters

Ahkalhyo Ftaohkoi, a native of the Isalaiat Dominate of Reaver's Deep Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to play in several PBeM Traveller games and at one stage I was playing in three games at the same time. PBeM games are very heavily dependant upon the enthusiasm and commitment of the Referee and two of the games I was playing in foundered when the Referee become distracted by Real World issues.

The most successful game, and the one that is still going, is the Classic Traveller campaign set in the Reavers’ Deep and is run by a friend of mine, Brett, who is based in Queensland, Australia. With players in New Zealand, the United States, and Europe, we have times when there is a lot of activity, and times when Real Life slows us down. Brett’s enthusiasm for the game keeps things moving and is such that he is even producing a Traveller Fanzine, Into the Deep.

PBeM games are, in reality, exercises in group creative writing. To help me settle into the character I have created, I enjoy creating a picture of that character. As I am not a very proficient artist, I have discovered the fun of compositing a character portrait from various Internet elements in MS Paint and tweaking the picture through PhotoStudio 2000.

The picture at the top of this article is of my character in the Reavers' Deep game, the Aslan pilot Ahkalhyo Ftaohkoi. The picture is constructed from a publicity still of Aslan from the film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (and my little pun), and the space suit from a Science Fiction film with the female occupant’s face removed – I can’t recall the film that the space suit came from but, again, I found a publicity still online.

Akaiin Esaarti, Agent/Rogue of Lunion in the Spinward MarchesAkaiin Esaarti was an Intelligence Agent/Rogue Mongoose Traveller character I generated for a game set in the Spinward Marches. We managed to get a little adventuring done before the Referee disappeared. He did attempt to restart the game some months later but by that time I had other commitments and couldn’t continue. Akaiin’s portrait is built up around a still of Al Pacino from the movie Scarface. The planet in the background is a piece of random Science Fiction art I found on the Internet while the monitor bank is actually from a still of a television control room – the monitor bank is copied and reversed for a longer run, with the join hidden behind the character. The gantries to the left and right are cut from some technical picture and fitted together.

Balziac GervaisorBalziac Gervaisor was a Classic Traveller Book 7 Merchant Engineer created for another PBeM set in the Spinward Marches. We had a lot of fun getting the party aboard a liner and then battling hijackers during Jump, and then the Referee just sorta got bored with the game and dropped out. One of the players sort of took over the game but the reboot didn’t work and that game fizzled out, too. Balziac’s portrait on the Engineering deck is built up around a still of the actor John Goodman. The background is built up from various stills of a ship’s engine room and various other industrial pictures. The text is actually a Vilani font I found on the Internet.

Balziac clears CustomsI had so much fun with Balziac that I created another picture of him from a still from the film The Big Lebowski with a background of a starport that I found on the Internet.

Like Scrapbooking and Sampling, compositing character pictures takes existing elements and presents them in a new light. It's lots of fun and adds another layer of enjoyment to a Traveller game.