Monday, 23 September 2013

Fun with Family Trees #2

Previously, I looked at the political subdivisions of Miazan Subsector. Most of these, including the County of Bromus, came into being during the Trumer Restoration of the RimWorlds Sector in the early 10th Century. In my last post, I described how I was able to begin to establish the lineage for House Mahuran, the incumbent House Major of the County of Bromus, from extant design clues. With the basics in place, I now needed to expand my family tree for House Mahuran - both backwards in time to discover the establishment of the County, and forward to learn about the heirs of the current Count, Sakkan III.

As the Family Tree began to spread out, I saw some interesting story ideas and questions developing, especially when I began weaving elements of the already existing history of the RimWorlds around the developing family line.

Amongst the questions that occurred to me was to wonder why, even though House Mahuran had successfully pursued off-world alliances with other Houses Major, and had obviously aligned themselves with at least two Bromosian Houses Minor, there were few alliances with the other Houses of the County. Of the three subordinate Houses Major, House Mahuran has an alliance with House Asheranon of Exxilon. Neither of the Lords of Lo-Taisang or Omega Vasalai IX are included within the famiglia of House Mahuran.

Omega Vasalai IX is an airless rock, settled by a religious sect known as the Pilgrims. Purchasing the settlement rights in 851, the Pilgrims effectively moved beyond the Imperial Frontier to occupy their new home as the Miazan Subsector Military District only encompassed Tonivar, Celephais, Byer's Planet and Naltor at that time. Given the nature and practise of their beliefs, it is unlikely that the Pilgrims would concern themselves with political marriage alliances, though the Derbus (Shepherds) have subsequently found the title "Siridar-Lord" useful when dealing with officials at the County and Subsector level.

Lo-Taisang was colonised by a migratory Vargr Clan in 1002, granted settlement rights in return for defending part of the frontier. To the Vargr of Lo-Taisang, being considered trusted guardians and protectors of their overlords is worth more Charisma than any pseudo interspecies union. Each company of the TL9 Infantry Battalion that Lo-Taisang has raised serves in turn as part of the Count of Bromus' personal guard. The Charisma each company gains for such loyal service keeps the competing septs loyal to the County. And given the general distrust the average Bromosian feels towards offworlders, and alien offworlders in particular, the sight of a company of Vargr in County Blues both thrills and appalls the populace.

Exxilon is a large, high gravity world, colonised in 969, just after the 2nd Outrim War. It was used as a dumping ground for populations displaced during the late war and House Asheranon, installed as Siridar-Barons of Exxilon by Duke Mah'radys I of Miazan, soon gained a reputation for their hard, yet indifferent rule, insulating themselves from their subjects behind an oppressive Law Level and and Impersonal Bureaucracy. While the bulk of the population of half a billion live in a string of cities, high up in the mountains of the small continent of Parishnaman, House Asheranon and its retainers are based on a large, geostationary satellite. It is rare for a member of the Household to "go down the well".

Relationships between House Asheranon and their feudal overlords, House Mahuran, are cordial yet cool. The installation of House Asheranon by House Geyukthi within House Mahuran's County was both a calculated insult and an assertion of authority by Mah'radys I, the 2nd Duke of Miazan. Count Sakkan I of Bromus may have won that argument, in the end, as he outlived both Mah'radys I and Chi'leur II, his son.

I find that as I look at the lifespans of various characters, and how they intersect with each other and the history of the time, that new details of the story emerge along with aspects of the character of key individuals. These are all elements of the metagame, the background against which the players will adventure and, to me, part of the fun is exploring and developing this aspect of the game.