The Merchant League now owns three worlds within the Phoenix Empire, having lost Rampart to House Li Halan during the Emperor Wars. Each of these worlds is ruled by a collaboration of guild interests, although roughly speaking, the Muster dominates Bannockburn business, Scravers and Charioteers control Madoc enterprises, and Reeves and Engineers are preeminent in Leagueheim dealings. In addition, the Merchant League holds interests on many worlds – indeed, no world of the Phoenix Empire is without a League presence – and they possess a co-ownership of Kordeth with House al-Malik. The guilds, both minor and major, work their patents and schemes more or less autonomously, although all are subject to the council of deans on Leagueheim, led by the Leaguemeister.
Star: Tilda (large yellow star)
System: Arran (0.2AU), Isla (0.45AU), Bannockburn (1.1AU), Canna (1.7AU, 2 moons), Uist (4.3AU, 5 moons), Rumm (7.6AU), Bute (15.43AU), Garve (23.1AU, 43 moons), Storn (47.67AU, 7 moons), Yithan’s Well (82.1AU), Jumpgate (93.44AU), Eigg (107.2AU)
Jumps: Stigmata, Gwenneth
Capital: New Glasgah
Resources: agriculture, minerals, ores
Exports: foods, minerals
Consul Tereza Solace (born 4965): Consul Solace is one of the most hated individuals in the Phoenix Empire. She controls the slave trade and is rumored to be a psychic. The Universal Church has attempted to arrest her, but Solace’s influence and connections are too powerful, and she is always well protected. Consul Solace remains sequestered in her fortress-like home on Bannockburn where she hosts meetings of the Muster Guild leadership (the High Command). When she needs to do business off world, Consul Solace sends her ‘Veiled Woman’ in her stead, an anonymous attractive female carrying Solace’s signet ring and only speaking to designated individuals.
Bannockburn is a world of craggy highlands with broad moors and dense forests. The land surface, covering some 36% of the planet, is made up of a string of three large continents running from north to south. The central continent, Caerleigh, is the most populated and also the most forested. Strange Anunnaki ruins dot the landscape, though most have been stripped of value. Bannockburn is the home world of the simian Gannok and Muster Guild headquarters and main training grounds, and lies close to the lucrative trouble spots of Stigmata and the Vuldrok border, though both have strangely quiet over the last few years.
Bannockburn was discovered in 3963 and attracted scores of adventurers and colonists in an Anunnaki relics-rush bonanza. The Second Republic central government was quick to seize control of Bannockburn and in 3974 hired M.S.T.R. (Mobile Strategic and Tactical Resources) mercenaries to protect republic interests and discourage House Hawkwood that was already investing heavily in the planet. The native Gannok were not recognized as sentient at first, but in 3983 the primates began to speak and xenologists descended upon Bannockburn to study them. When the Fall began, the central government focused its efforts on maintaining key worlds and M.S.T.R. became stewards of Bannockburn rather than its mere protectors. After the Fall, M.S.T.R. consolidated its position and restructured its organization, fast becoming a human resources guild (colloquially known as The Muster) and by 4013 had full control of Bannockburn. When the Merchant League was formed in 4352 Bannockburn was the principle military power of all the Known Worlds. Noble forces and Universal Church missions no longer threatened Bannockburn. In 4995, Symbiot agents attempted to infiltrated Bannockburn. No resources were spared when dealing with the Symbiots and the cancerous incursion was rooted out. In a much publicized incidence in 4998, a platoon of Phoenix Guard landed on Bannockburn and stormed a Scravers’ warehouse to confiscate Anunnaki relics, killing several guilders in the process. The League protested at what it regarded as the Emperor overstepping his mandate, but the Phoenix Throne insisted the operation was a pre-emptive strike against an anti-Imperial conspiracy, a claim for which no evidence was ever produced.
Bannockburn is run directly by the Muster’ Guild High Command and few worlds are as well-defended. Bannockburn constantly sees the coming and going of combat troops, to and from Stigmata or off to patrol the Vuldrok border. The Muster’ Guild Vercingetorix Military Academy in New Glasgah is the lifeblood of the guild, schooling guild recruits and noble scions in the art of war, through the practical and intellectual war games. There are few noble fiefs on the world, although some “factory fiefs” and serf labor operations exist, particularly belonging to House al-Malik and various minor houses. Although House Hawkwood does not hold fiefs on Bannockburn, there is much trade between the two. A strict and efficient Hawkwood customs office inspects all wares and products entering Hawkwood space from Bannockburn, Stigmata, and other suspect worlds (who’s ships are routed through here).
Bannockburn is home to over 460 million humans, living primarily in urban zones or corporate farms, and a Gannok population of almost 900 million, 2/3 of which live in human urban centers or Gannok settlements built to emulate human towns. Commoners live in relative poverty, although food is plentiful enough that few starve – “The Bannockburn serf is poor, well-fed, and happy” is a common saying. Basic education is guaranteed everyone who enrolls in the Bannockburn Planetary Defense Reserves and citizens enjoy a freedom of movement. Slavery is practiced openly here, although slaves are rarely mistreated and often enjoy much the same liberties as citizens. “Good slaves retire in comfort on Bannockburn while mischievous ones disappear among the stars” is another common saying.
Star: Kasdat (red / orange dwarf star)
System: Vodor (0.74AU; Kastra), Kordeth (1.4AU; Dyand), Sortollo (3.1AU), Topan (12.4AU; Bix, Dlimto), Rwilane (31.6AU, 32 moons), Nagera (76.2AU, 11 moons), Jumpgate (104.7AU)
Jumps: Criticorum, Aylon, Shaprut
Resources: ores, minerals, precious metals, gem stones, fossil fuels,
Exports: refined ores, minerals, precious metals, gem stones, Ukar cultural objects
Nadakira Surtam oj Malak Sojo (born 4948): Sutam oj Malak Sojo is head of the First Clan, Defender of the Ukari, Son of the Moon, Giver of Darkness, and the Nadakira (spiritual and political leader of all Ukari – largely symbolic). Beloved by his people, his popularity has steadily increased in recent years as Surtam successfully opposed the Merchant League in defending sites sacred to the Ukari peoples. Surtam is rumored to possess Anunnaki technology that controls the Ukari Urge and is well informed about the activities of both the Allied Clans and the Deep Clans.
Sakrap oj Javordin (born 4961): The Grand Chieftain of the Allied Clans, Sakrap treads a fine line between the opposing interests of the Allied Clans and the Merchant League. The tightrope balance of placating the chieftains of rivaling clans and interests of the League has fueled his Urge. He fears that rivals seek to replace him, and like his own promotion to Grand Chieftain the traditional method of ascension is through assassination.
Aside from the polar regions, Kordeth is largely rocky and lifeless, lacking arable soil, with active volcanoes and mountain ranges dividing the surface, together with some small seas (11% of the surface). Poisonous and acidic clouds cover most of the exterior, except in the extreme north and south where the clouds are blocked by large mountain ranges.
With the exception of scholarly studies of Ukari myth for clues about the Anunnaki, humans have never much cared for the history of the Ukari people prior to the Human-Ukar War (2855-2892). However, Kordeth colonized the moon Dyand in 2258 and achieved Jump technology in the 2350s, becoming the heart of an Ukari interstellar Empire that included Aylon (colonized in 2360), Istakhr (colonized in 2405), and Ustar (colonized in 2376, but became a Lost World in 4081). Criticorum would have been the fifth world of the Ukari Empire, but Patriarch Palamedes inspired a human crusade against the Ukari and soon besieging Kordeth itself. After two years of orbital bombardment and blockade, Kordeth surrendered, leaving the other Ukar worlds to fend for themselves. Kordeth became a puppet state governed by the Allied Clans (human collaboration clans) with extensive relocation of groups and individuals to control the hostile populace. When the Second Republic dawned, human governors and corporations ruled the Ukari worlds. A violent revolt came in 3550 when corporate interests “leased” the holy Mount Tenikiklun for mineral rights, leading to the Republic creating the Ukar Department. In 3601, the Ukar Department, launched a program of benefits and economic aid to clans willing to submit to human-style integration. In 3698, Kordeth was allowed to elect one of their own as governor, and the world underwent a cultural renaissance. In the last centuries before the Fall, Republic tourism to Kordeth bloomed as the exotic Ukari culture became in vogue. In 3910, the Ukari people finally got a representative in the senate, solidifying Ukari loyalty to the Second Republic. When the Ten attacked Byzantium Secundus, Ukari soldiers and resistance fighters fought bitterly for the Second Republic, and for years afterwards republican sympathizers and Ukari carried on the tradition of the Second Republic on Kordeth, Aylon, and Criticorum (the later declared the new capitol world). Kordeth was under al-Malik protection, but the Merchant League slowly took control, and in 4414 House al-Malik sold much of Kordeth interests to the Merchant League to pay their debts. Since then, Kordeth has often tried to throw off the League shackles, but has been unsuccessful so far.
Now owned jointly by the al-Malik and Merchant League, the Ukari homeworld was once a proud if fractious world. Kordeth is still a semi-autonomous, although closely monitored by the Universal Church. The Merchant League is the true ruler of Kordeth, and can make and break whole clans, but at the same time they keep the Universal Church at bay. House al-Malik exercise considerable influence on the Allied Clans, the democratic Ukari ruling council of Kordeth.
An estimated 88 million Ukari live on Kordeth and the human population counts less than 400,000. Although outlawed, the dominating religion is Banjak, the traditional Ukar faith venerating a pantheon of dark gods. The Prophet Zebulon is recognized as a great human and the race-spirit of humanity, but his Church is regarded as evil, corrupted by Obun influence. The hospitable polar regions hold the only remaining open-air cities; the capitol Vis is in the south, and the cultural and religious center of Darurgin in the north. Domed League and/or Allied Clans environmental cities dot the world, although the majority of the Ukar population lives in subterranean cave-complex cities. Where they cultivate thousands of mosses and fungi, including galisp from which the Ukar shape their homes.
Star: Beacon (large orange star)
System: Midget (0.55AU), Leagueheim (1.7AU; Racer), Darkside (2.3AU), Gasbag (15.4AU; The Nuggets), Maxwell’s Belt (17.2-34.1AU), Ghost (47.1AU, 16 moons), Niven (52.3AU), Jumpgate (71.6AU)
Jumps: Aragon, Madoc, Midian, Grave (warning: Barbarian World)
Resources: minerals, fossil fuels
Exports: financial services, vehicles, starships, weapons tech, consumer tech, industrial tech, think machine tech, entertainments, politics, fashion
Leaguemeister Tyrus Spear (born 4926): Leaguemeister Spear is rarely seen although his power is felt throughout the Phoenix Empire. He is renowned as a jurist and advocate, and many fear the powerful intellect and shrewd ambition of the man. His election to Leaguemeister in 4979 went unnoticed by most, as it coinciding with the Hazat’s sacking of Byzantium Secundus. His politics during the Emperor Wars, although never opposed in public, caused discord within the Merchant League, especially when he capitulated Rampart to House Li Halan (New Years Eve of 4991/92), or when he was quick to throw the League’s support for Alexius’ bid for the Phoenix Throne (4993).
Janizary (Dean) Kryanida Halostro Sekimen (born 4960): Dean Sekimen is the Janizary (head) of the Musters’ Guild and a master military strategist. His incredible energy and enthusiasm is infectious, and despite his intimidating presence, Dean Sekimen is capable of making anyone at ease in a matter of moments. Indeed, many rumor that he is in line to become the next Leaguemeister.
Doge (Dean) Zale Gailbreath (born 4944): Once head of the Gailbreath merchant family, Zale relinquished that position in favor for a younger brother, Dustin Gailbreath, when he became Dean of the Charioteers’ Guild in 4990. Now Zale focused his efforts on eliminating the graft in the guild, and bringing the hongs (merchant families – guilds within the guild) to heel. Dean Zale has many enemies within his guild, but enjoys the support of the Leaguemeister and nurtures close ties to the Phoenix Emperor. He is also rumored to be an advocate of Republican ideals.
Didact (Dean) Malifice Hereditus (born 4874): Hereditus used to be a mercenary on Absolution, but lost his legs to Symbiot flesh-eating worms in one of the first confrontations of the Symbiot Wars. The Engineers’ Guild restored him with cybernetics for which Hereditus could not pay, so he became an apprentice with the guild (4900). The strategic sense and goal-oriented warrior mentality enabled him to rise through the ranks, becoming a Master early in the Emperor Wars, and became Didact of the Supreme Order in 4994. Now he is never seen in public, preferring to operate through intermediaries and communication devices, possibly to conceal his excessive cybernetic augmentations.
Mater (Dean) Benita “The Fox” Ivankov (born 4936): “Grandmother Benita” became Dean of the Scravers’ Guild with the help of her pirate family’s considerable wealth (4979). She used to be ship’s gunner and legal counsel on the feared Potemkin’s Vengeance, sometimes protecting her family with the ship’s guns, at other times wearing holes in prosecutors’ logic before legal courts and deep-space tribunals. To this day she resides aboard the Potemkin’s Vengeance orbiting Leagueheim, and she is the only Major Guild leader not to live on that planet.
Dean Melissa Winters (born 4952): Vice-Dean of the Reeves’ Guild (holding the position for Leaguemeister Spear), Melissa is a leading banker and one of the richest people in the Phoenix Empire. She became Senior Dean of the Reeves’ Guild only when her predecessor, Tyrus Spear, became Leaguemeister, but Melissa has expressed interest in stepping down from her position to devote more time to running the League Bank instead.
Dean Gus McLean (born 4973): Few knew of Gus McLean before 5008, the year the Town Criers broke away from the Reeves Guild and was awarded an interstellar patent, the first guild to be sanctioned under Emperor Alexius I. McLean was declared the new guild’s first Dean, and has worked to forge alliances with Charioteer pilots and Muster specialists, and securing Reeve finances for expanding telegraphic and radio networks on several worlds. Dean McLean used to be a media reporter on Tethys, Byzantium Secundus, and Delphi, and it is rumored he has connections to the Imperial Eye.
Secretary General Lydia Clayton (born 4975): As head of the Commission Guild, it is Miss Clayton’s job to administrate the Leagueheim bureaucracy that runs the planet’s day-to-day functions. She has no authority over the other guilds, but makes sure they all work and conduct business within the parameters of Leagueheim law and norms. She is unashamedly a Third Republican, but so far she has refrained from turning her philosophies into politics for she knows the League would object if she rallied support for a Third Republic.
Much of the surface is covered by a megalopolis of towering spies and sweeping arcologies, collectively known as Kesparate (composed of numerous ‘cities’ and interconnected metropolitan areas). The day is 22 hours long, and a minor axial tilt provides mild seasonal effects. Gravity is less than Urth standard (0.86 G) and the polluted atmosphere has caused global warming, making the climate decidedly tropical. Some areas exhausted by industrial activity now lay as abandoned wasteland, yet some nature survives as parks and preserves for the wealthy.
Liberty, as the planet was then called, was discovered and colonized in the late 26th century by corporate middlemen fleeing the crumbling First Republic, and who sought to create a free market capitalism utopia. They established a democratic capitalist government, which in time grew into a mighty mercantile empire – the Liberty Confluence – that dominated the economy of several neighboring worlds. In 3500, the Liberty Confluence, working to remodel the Known Worlds in their image, became a founding member of the Second Republic. In time the Second Republic grew corrupt, impotent, and paranoid, and when it collapsed in 4000, Liberty fell with it. Once the hub of free trade, Liberty gave birth to the monopolistic guild structure. In the first decades of the New Dark Ages, Liberty was a haven for fleeing Second Republic officials and corporate leaders who brought along their wealth, technology, and know-how. Liberty was now renamed Leagueheim, and in 4352 the Merchant League was formed. The Royal Houses and Universal Church sought to humble the upstart Merchant League, and several attempts were made to force, trick, and bribe Leagueheim into submission. House al-Malik was successful, acquiring the Sahab city in return for pledging to support the league and their Leagueheim militarily. The Merchant League felt confident, and in 4353 launched attacks on several Hazat worlds in a show of strength. The Vera Cruz Merchant War (4353-4357) might have cost the Hazat a world had not Patriarch Jacob I intervened with Doctrine of the Privilege of Martyrs decree (4357), granting the League some concessions without military conquest. But the Hazat, needing the League’s resources to consolidate and expand, amassed their armada and struck at Leagueheim in 4410. Other noble houses, notably Decados and Hawkwood, also sought the planet’s riches and came to Leagueheim’s defense; in return, they were awarded special contracts and granted small fiefs. The Hazat entertained ideas of a second invasion of Leagueheim, but the dream died in 4506 when the Kurga Caliphate launched the First Jihad upon Vera Cruz. In 4560, the Universal Church granted the Merchant League the state of “extreme penance”, thereby recognizing their usage of technology. Throughout the Emperor Wars, Leagueheim remained neutral ground where all factions came to deal and resupply, but when the Leagueheister threw his support for Alexius in 4993, the Eduardo branch of House Hazat invaded. Leagueheim’s Second Republic planetary defenses proved a formidable obstacle for the Hazat, and when the Leaguemeister offered to trade valuable land for peace, Hazat pride yielded to reason.
No planet in the Empire can claim to have as many technological wonders as Leagueheim. No other planet has as vicious politics either. Here, anything that can turn a firebird is legal and already practiced, although discretion is the key. The Merchant League rules supremely on Leagueheim, although noble houses and the Universal Church have their influences as well. The planet has a merchant aristocracy called the Brahmins, local descendants of the original settlers of Liberty (the Claytons being the most powerful family).
Leagueheimers tend to be independent and strong-willed, and though most are poor they enjoy more personal rights than any other commoners in the Phoenix Empire – they also lack the protection and support of patrons. Optimists call Leagueheimers the freest of all peoples, holding no obligation to liege or lord, while others see them as little more than wage-slaves scrambling to survive in a race of rats. 4 billion humans live on Leagueheim, sharing the planet with 4 million aliens, largely Gannok, Obun and Ukari populations. In addition to the population on Leagueheim, its moon Racer his host to a Xanthippe Moonhaven that is engaged in medical research and a large number of small moonhavens are scattered throughout the solar system.
Star: Quil (while / blue star)
System: Nagat’s Point (0.45AU), Septume (0.75AU), Madoc (1.1AU; Shon, Syl), Tokam (2.88AU, 7 moons), Rosarum Belt (3.7-7.95AU), Sarvastko (10.4AU, 15 moons), Kakan Belt (15.1-34.77AU), Jumpgate (21.0AU)
Jumps: Leagueheim, Byzantium Secundus
Resources: aquaculture, ancient ruins, Ur artifacts, culinary tourism
Exports: Oro’ym culture objects, foods
Capital: Isul City
Madoc is a water world with less than 4% landmass, most of which are small island atolls and archipelagos. Scientists believes the planet must once have had more surface land as it is unlikely that the rich variety of landed life forms (including insects, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and even mammal analogies) have evolved on scattered islands alone. Madoc is also the homeworld of the Oro’ym, has temperatures lower than Urth, and has an above average gravity (1.21 G).
Although Madoc had a very long and rich pre-history (i.e. pre-mankind), it has had a fairly eventless existence since the coming of Man. The Oro’ym culture peaked several millennia before Human settlers arrived in 2510, but few humans pay much attention to such things. Initial Human-Oro’ym contact proved disastrous for the natives as human-borne viruses and bacteria decimated the contacted Oro’ym populations, leading the aquatic native sentients to withdraw to the deep. After the year 3000 the Oro’ym were scarcely seen, the last sighting occurring in 3125, and the species was presumed extinct. During the Second Republic, large scale exploitation of Madoc began in earnest and Madoc became a breadbasket world. With little land available, artificial atolls, floating islands, underwater facilities, and low orbit “sky towns” were constructed to house the growing human population and industries. During the New Dark Age however, much of Madoc’s artificial habitats fell into ruin, many sinking into the deep, but due to the abundance of foodstuffs the local population fared relatively well. In 4872, a fisherman caught three Oro’ym in his net, leading to a renewed contact with the aquatic species. The Merchant League took the Oro’ym under its wing, recruiting several into its organization and establishing trade between the species. Despite the era of co-habitation, the Oro’ym guards their secrets to this day, including the location of their cities. Since a water world is hard to conquer and hold with force, Madoc has never been successfully invaded, and was left mostly alone during the Emperor Wars despite being an economic corner-stone of the Merchant League. House al-Malik experienced some domestic troubles on Madoc however, when in 4965 a slave revolt ignited on several of their Feshshem Isles, to which the house responded with panic and violence, almost tore the fief apart. Then, a minor Husk Plague raged on the Feshshem island of Mook in 4989, against which House al-Malik hired local Oro’ym to destroy the abominations.
Madoc is a Merchant League world rich in resource. It is famous for its exquisite sea-food delicacies which cannot easily be preserved (undergoing cellular decomposition even when frozen), making it an expensive luxury commodity off-world. Muster’ Guild slavery is widespread on Madoc, making aquaculture a high value / low cost industry. There is no actual League governor of Madoc as individual operations and businesses are run independently by the relevant guilds, although a council of local League representatives keeps some regulation and control. Several noble houses maintain token fiefs on Madoc, mostly as holiday resorts for its leaders. House al-Malik is the greatest non-League landowner on Madoc, its largest fief being the seven Feshshem Isles, purchased from the Scravers’ Guild in 4489, supporting sugar plantations and a trading center for Oro’ym wares. House Juandaastas acquired one of the floating islands (Tern Island), in exchange for their old skimmer factory on Criticorum and all production rights to the Juandaastas Slider. They have set up an advance medical research facility on the island, attracting Engineer and Apothecary contractors to partake in genetics and reproduction research.
Madoc has a maritime culture, with the majority of the Human population (9 million) being fishermen and ocean freighters. Serfs toil on noble fiefs or as rented labors for freemen enterprises, while nobles live on dreamy atolls, magnificent plantation islands, and onboard the few remaining sky town resorts (Second Republic hovering cities now mostly run by Reeves’ guilders). Madocians are a dreary people prefer to save up for a stormy night to wanton spending. The Universal Church has a strong local presence, but has influence on international and planetary politics and business. Heresy is a problem on Madoc, with scattered communities worshipping mythological sea creatures (and even the Oro’ym!) and Gjarti beliefs are widespread. The Oro’ym (whose numbers are estimated to range from 5 to 20 million) are divided into seven clans, most of them ruled by democratically elected leaders (dagans, one clan ruled by the dew’ym or priest-king). Those Oro’ym who enter human society usually cut the webbing between their first and second fingers to be able to operate human tools and instruments. This marks them as outsiders (anog’ym) or as warriors who serve outsiders (redem’ym), and become stigmatized against amongst their own.