Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A to Z: K is for Kamperel

Kamperel is a system in My Traveller Universe, the RimWorlds Sector. Kamperel and the Kamperelian Republic are one of those little quirks that get thrown up by random system generation, and then take on a life of their own when a little thought is applied.

The Kamperelian Republic is a three-system polity near the centre of Miazan Subsector, consisting of the systems of Kamperal, Floranna and Ektra. Once member worlds of the Imperium, Kamperel and its two subject systems now refuse to recognise the authority of either the Subsector Duke of Miazan, or the Sector Duke. As the population of Kamperel numbers a large percentage of the total population of the Subsector, the House Geyukthi Subsector Dukes of Miazan have not been able to muster the resources to bring Kamperel to heel.

So, how did this situation come about?

Kamperel, Floranna and Ektra make up the Kamperel Cluster – a group of stars within one parsec of each other and separated by at least two parsecs from all neighbouring systems. This makes their location fairly strategic because all trade moving through the subsector is either obliged to move through Kamperelian space, or divert around it, adding many weeks to transit times.

Kamperel is a small, poor, dry world with a very thin atmosphere, a population in the 10s of billions, and a Tech Level of 11 – low interstellar. Ektra is a small, desert world with a very thin tainted atmosphere, a population in the low millions and a Tech Level of 8. Floranna is an average-sized water world with a standard, tainted atmosphere, a population in the millions and a Tech Level of 12. One thing all three systems share is that their populations live in sealed environments. Otherwise, there was not a lot to distinguish them from any number of other systems.

In my notes on the history of the RimWorlds, there was a mysterious entry, “1032 Cessation of the Rivokul War”. What I had originally intended by that entry, I no longer remember. During late 2007/early 2008, as I was creating my Traveller website and working up the Library Data, I decided upon this:
“House Rivokul, as retainers of the Geyukthi Dukes of Miazan Subsector, had been Siridar-Barons of Kamperel/Miazan since the middle of the 10th Century. Outrageously corrupt, they had mercilessly exploited the huge population of their small, poor world. While the 3rd Outrim War was at its height, clandestine shipments of arms from the Outrim Alliance began reaching the People’s Justice Army of Kamperel. For eighteen months in 1031 – 32 the People’s Justice Army took on House Rivokul’s brutal mercenary guardsmen, fighting for control of the factories and tower blocks of Kamperel. A young Torvor Van Zaquerl, barely nineteen years old, personally led a team that penetrated House Rivokul’s fortress-palace where the entire family, and their retainers, were summarily executed.

"By the time Sector Duke Yuri Sehlemarl had concluded the 3rd Outrim War in 1038, a republican government headed by Torvor Van Zaquerl was firmly established on Kamperel. As most of House Geyukthi, who had supported House Rivokul, or at least turned a blind eye to their misdeeds, had perished in the Outrim War, there was little political will to overturn the new administration on Kamperel, provided it remained loyal to the Imperium and its appointed representative, the Sector Duke.”

So, a throw-away line in a note book had become a fully fledged event, with personalities and links to outside events.

During the 3rd Outrim War, Outrim Alliance raiders penetrated through much of Miazan Subsector. As Alliance ground forces were faring poorly against Imperial garrisons – lacking both the numbers and the technology to take planets with any decent-sized population – Alliance Command switched to the alternate tactic of arming and encouraging local resistance and revolutionary movements in an effort to force Imperial Forces to spread out to protect their hinterland. House Rivokul, already corrupt and hated by their subjects, was a prime contender for this tactic.

The Kamperelian Republic remained quiescent after the Outrim War, while extending their economic domination over their near neighbour, Ektra. In 1051, the Ektrans turned on the Kamperelian Merchant Factors on-planet and sacked their compounds. Torvor Van Zaquerl, now “Governor” of Kamperal, dispatched six Kamperelian Cruisers and an invasion force against Ektra. After a savage bombardment, the Ektrans surrendered to Kamperel and have been garrisoned ever since.

Kamperel remained neutral during the 4th Outrim War of 1080 – 85, but one of Marc Van Zaquerl’s first acts as Governor, upon succeeded his father Torvor in 1082, was to launch a sudden attack on Floranna. Under the guise of securing the Kamperel Cluster against Outrim raiders, Van Zaquerl’s task force caught the Florannese SDB flotilla unprepared and destroyed them. The sub aquatic domed cities of Floranna held out against the Kamperelians for another twenty months, but were eventually forced to surrender.

In the aftermath of the Outrim War, Imperial authorities in Miazan Subsector were, once again, in such a weakened state that apart from lodging a protest with the Sector Ducal Court they, once more, acquiesced with the fait accompli they had been presented with.

In the subsequent 30 years, relations between the Subsector Duchy and the Kamperelians have been cool.

One interesting effect of the topography that the Kamperelian armed forces operate in is that they are one of the few militaries to have developed walker technology beyond humanoid droids. Wheeled traffic has never really developed on any of the three main worlds of the Cluster. Both the sub aquatic cities of Floranna and the warrens of Ektra are effectively closed-in tunnel environments, very similar to the megacity sprawl of Kamperel’s inhabited zone in that they are three-dimensional mazes designed for human access only. Vehicular transportation for the Kamperelian military is limited to Power Armour or Walkers as these can cope with the narrow access halls, staircases and lift shafts.