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Pre-Collapse moves towards Successor States

I am interseted in trying to map the devolution of the Imperium in the Pre-Collapse period.
I hear about the different Regents and Factions that were in place before the Assassination and have a vague idea of the Interneccine warfare in the old Imperium, but know little detail.
Who were the Faction leaders, what were their political goals, were any openly disloyal to the Emperor?
Is anyone interested in researching talking about the Pre-Colapse politics and events of the Imperium?
This is all covered in exhaustive detail in 2 GDW books: Rebellion Sourcebook and Survival Margin. Here's the short version, though.

The Factions:
  • Federation of Ilelish Leader: Dulinor, Archduke of Ilelish, assassin of Strephon, Emperor of the Third Imperium. Location: centered on Ilelish sector, including parts of surrounding sectors (Verge, Gushemege, Dagudashaag, Zarushagar). Philosophy: The Imperium should have more active involvement in the welfare of its subjects, encouraging trade and political reforms and technological and economic infrastructure improvements. Strephon was too caught up in the ossified system to see the changes that needed to be made, much less to make them, and therefore his elimination (by the time-honored Right of Assassination) was entirely justified.</font>
  • Third Imperium Leader: Emperor Lucan. Location: centered on Capitol/Core, theoretically including all territory not claimed by another faction, practically consisting of Core, Fornast, Ley, and parts of Dagudashaag, Zarushagar, and Massilia. Philosophy: Continuity, tradition, obedience. Lucan is Strephon's rightful heir, the only legal choice for Emperor, and anyone else is a traitor. Unfortunately, Lucan is also a homicidal maniac who, evidence strongly suggests, murdered his own twin brother in a post-assassination power grab.</font>
  • Margaret's Stronghold Leader: Margaret, Duchess of Delphi. Location: Delphi, most of Massilia, and the coreward quarter of Old Expanses. Philosophy: Trade and Commerce are of primary importance; the role of the Imperium is to create a stable business environment. Margaret is a distant relative of Strephon and is seen as a safe/compromise choice by many moderate nobles.</font>
  • League of Antares Leader: Brzk, Archduke of Antares. Location: Antares, Empty Quarter, and those portions of Lishun not occupied by vargr invaders. Philosophy: Pan-sophontic. Humaniti and vargr living together as equals. When Brzk realized that the Moot would never proclaim a non-human as Emperor, he allied himself with the vargr-dominated Julian Protectorate.</font>
  • Ziru Sirkaa, the Restored Vilani Imperium Leader: (name?), Archduke of Vland, shadow emperor of the Ziru Sirkaa. Location: Vland sector. Philosophy: Restore the traditions of the First Imperium, including the preeminence of the Bureaux, Vilani patent law, and Vilani cultural standards.</font>
  • Strephon's Imperium Leader: Strephon, Emperor of the Third Imperium Location: a handful of worlds centered around Usdiki/Gushemege. Philosophy: "I'm not really dead!" Nostalgic promise of a return to the antebellum status quo. Note: late in the timeline, "the real Strephon" was changed from being an essentially transparent fraud to actually being the real Strephon -- per Loren Wiseman "the audience liked it better that way."</font>
  • Domain of Deneb Leader: Norris, Duke of Regina, (self-appointed) Archduke of Deneb. Location: Behind the Claw (Deneb, Reft, Trojan Reach, Spinward Marches). Philosophy: Take care of our own problems and sit on the fence. Isolated from the main conflicts and beset by local catastrophes, Norris is able to claim allegiance to "the Imperium" without the need to actually specify which, if any, faction he supports.</font>
  • Federation of Daibei Leader: Craig, Duke of Daibei. Location: Daibei sector.Philosphy: "Take care of these people here." Called on by Lucan to send Daibei's fleets to crush Dulinor, leaving his people defenseless against Solomani aggression, Craig declined, declaring that the welfare of his own people was more important than the abstract notion of the Imperium.</font>
  • Brothers of Varian Leader: none. Location: none. Philosophy: "A Plague on both your houses." Condemning Dulinor as an assassin and Lucan as a murderer (Varian was his older twin brother), this underground organization plots to undermine both of those factions from within.</font>
In addition, there were also external threats from the Imperium's more aggressive neighbors. In the early stages of the war, Lucan withdrew fleets from Corridor, Lishun, and Old Expanses to attack Dulinor. The former two sectors were overrun by vargr, the latter capitulated to the Solomani (who also conquered much of the Solomani Rim sector, up to the Vegan border). Adventurous Aslan ihatei conquered a handful of worlds in Trojan Reach and the Spinward Marches, but in retrospect that's considered a transparent plot manipulation by the designers to keep Norris occupied and not taken very seriously. Very late in the timeline an apparent k'kree incursion is repelled in Ley sector, but details on that remain sketchy.
None of the factions are really allied with any of the others, but most tend to be neutral to everybody they don't share a border with. Lucan is fighting everybody. Dulinor is fighting Lucan, Margaret, and "Strephon." Margaret is fighting Lucan, Dulinor, and the Solomani. Brzk is fighting Lucan and the vargr. The Vilani are fighting Lucan, "Strephon," and the vargr. "Strephon" is fighting Lucan, Dulinor, and the Vilani. Norris is fighting the vargr and the aslan. Craig is fighting Lucan and the Solomani, and actually has a non-aggression pact with Dulinor. There were rumors of a possible alliance forming between Dulinor and Margaret, but once control of the timeline shifted from DGP back to GDW that never materialized.

Hope this helped. If you want any more detail on any of this, ask.
Originally posted by T. Foster:
Hope this helped. If you want any more detail on any of this, ask.
Wellllll, since you mentioned it ...

What was the final dispositions of the various factions pre-Virus.

I have Hard Times which outlines everything for 1128, but that is before the "Real Strephon" actually becomes real. Also, I heard that at least one faction was eradicated/absorbed by its neighbors (Antares).

Don't need the whole story, just the final pre-Virus situation.

I figured the 1125 Maps from Hard Times pretty much left what was Safe and Frontier borders for the period of 1125-1130. No other maps from GDW were forthcoming. Some shrinkage could have occurred, and Indeed Antares' fall presaged the Virus outbreak with Duke Brzk's death (Survival Margin).
IMTU, I used that map.
My .02credits worth
Ouch, you've caught me! I can't actually answer your questions. I didn't start following Challenge until the TNE period (I had The Travellers' Digest/MTJ to fill my needs, and didn't like paying for all that non-Trav content) and my copy of Survival Margin is off in storage somewhere, so I can't give any but the vaguest post-Hard Times details. In general, though, I'd assume no faction is any better off in 1129-30 than they were in 1128 (i.e. a couple subsectors of Safe, everything else Frontiers and Outlands). Dulinor's Coronation Fleet is specifically mentioned as being the first/only fleet of 'pre-war' magnitude to be seen in several years, and its creation was only possible by draining the resources of relatively-untouched Verge sector. Strephon's being retroactively declared Real only affected the fans -- "in milieu" his fortunes didn't improve a bit. I can't recall the exact circumstances of Brzk's demise, but I'm pretty sure it was by some kind of accident, not conquest, and that no other faction absorbed his territory after he was gone.

Anyone with a better grasp on the pertinent sources care to step in and clarify?
Mr Foster,
The Duke of ANtares was blown sky-high with his family and some half-a hundred retainers by an act of terrorism (See also, Lucan sponsored Human Supremacists/ Anti-Vargr hate groups. He is the first of the Faction leaders to bite the bullet prior to Virus. ]
--Survival margin, p.62, Date 271-1129.

Antares begins breaking up (same source/ page) Date: 335-1129.
Lastly, for the cartographers out there Ifn ye can find it, the Map of the Shattered Imperioum from the MT adventure "Arrival vengeance" (good for 1125-27 the voyage's length. No, you cannae have me copy! But suffice it to say, this color map pretty much reflects the 1125 Hard Times map across the Imperium (minor shrinkage).
You could technically say the final disposition of Deneb is the Blockade: following the failure of the Arrival Vengeance's mission to engage the factions in meaningful dialogue, the very last we hear is a TNS transmission indicating the borders of Deneb are sealed. I believe the blockade at Catacomb is formed around this time as well.

TNS reports toward the latter half of the 20's indicate the Vilani economy is failing. Likewise, at least two Challenge magazine adventures feature Vilani refugees fleeing Gushemege for Vilani space. Do we take this to mean there is a refugee crisis looming before the virus strikes them down?

By the time Brzk is assasinated, the League of Antares is no longer affiliated with the Julian Protectorate. As a result, when the Antarean government collapses (supposedly because an heir cannot be found) government officials and technical specialists DO NOT flee to the Proptectorate; rather, a Challenge magazine adventure notes that Trasilon agents activate Project Vesta which is intended to spirit away the League's talent to the Confederatation of Ot Zell in Lishun. A later Challenge adventure picks up this thread in the New Era by intorducing the Confederation of Antares: the fusion of the two governments, guided by the ethical principals of Brzk.

Lucan's Imperium seems to be maintaining a fleet presence in the Vegan Autonomous District (presumably under the auspices of Archduke Adair) and has at least given the K'kree a run for their money to trailing. Arrival Vengeance seems to suggest Lucan's navy is experiencing poor morale due to lack of pay and supplies. At least part of this problem seems to stem from the increasingly vicious actions of the Brothers of Varian: an organization originally "honour-bound" to avenge the murder of Varian, the rightful heir to the Iridium throne after Iolanthe and Iphegenia. One might assume, then, Lucan is plagued with terrorism and sabotage, likely resulting in harsh police measures, in turn leading to social unrest.

Margaret's Domain seems healthy enough: GDW pretty much had to reinvent her as a sociopathically uncaring ruler (she condones one of her nobles pursuing a genocidal campaign because said nobel supplies a lot of ships) toward the end of the 20's as an excuse to make her faction a failure as well. However, last we hear, the trains are running on time, Lucan and the Solomani are making no headway due to exhaustion, and the worst problem seems to be Margaret's creepy artificial insemination using Strephon's sperm. How tabloid.

The Federation of Daibei seemed to be doing okay: they were reaching out diplomatic tendrils to the Solomani and had always been more or less in touch with the Imperials at Vega. Did anyone notice the picture of Horvath in Arrival Vengeance looks like a younger George Dubya Bush? Hmmm.

Dulinor indicates in his journal entries (Survival Margin) that he literally cannot go back to Ilellish a failure AGAIN once he's launched the final assault on Lucan in 1129-30. This underscores the civil unrest noted in the TNS transmissions: these are largely due to Dulinor's scrimping and saving for a new fleet at the people's expense. Dulinor's problem is that he rules a people with a long history of rebellion against authority: the original Ilellish homeworld had to be scorched to end the Pacification Wars. Some of the TNS transmissions note workers yelling "Dulinor has brought back the Long Night". Hardly a vote of confidence.

Strephon felt it was necessary to convince IRIS agents he was a robot. Ostensibly, this was his attempt to "drop out" of the war in order to save the lives of those fighting under his banner. To me it smacks of moral cowardice. By the time the virus hits Strephon's faction is as small and irrelevant as it can get. The last mention I encountered were aforementioned references to refugees leaving Gushemge and the final TNS transmission which indicates Stephon KNOWS its the virus, tries to get people to turn off thier computers, but is at last, spectacularly, ignored.
I believe that the Vilani were trying to expand into the vargr extents - well at less commercially, but the typical efficient but ruthless vilani business practices were effective and annoyed the Julian's. The flaming eye adventure mentions that the Julian Protectorate is starting trade war against the vilani, with both sides using coursairs as spoilers. Which is just what happened at the end of the 1st Imperium, when the provincial governors used vargrs as auxiliaries. And the vargr kept the guns and picked over the exhuasted remains.

But the vilani were repeating all their mistakes from the first Imperium (but its traditional).

Lucan was also picking on them - both militarily and covertly.

The vilani fleeing from Gushmege to the RVS was part of the mega-corporation reshuffle in about 1124.


Hi Liam

Diabei, had good relations with some of the more economically minded aslan clans (not the ones causing troubles for the Domain of Deneb).

Anyone care to stick up for their favourite faction? This can often get people's blood up; for example, Kafka47 had some really interesting things to say (in another TNE post response) in defence of Lucan and actually had the guts to attack Norris for moral cowardice. Any takers? What's your most or least favourite pre-Collapse faction? Why?
While Norris' inaction may indeed be a form of moral cowardice, the fact remains, the Regency (and to a certain extent, the ideals of the 3rd Imperium) survives. And it will be the Regency working with the all of the other surviving pocket empires that will recover the stars from the virus abomination.

Is it really moral cowardice not to sacrifice a billion more people into the final war meat grinder?


Six Actual, Out.
...though some might say the Regency c. 1202 has more in common with Dulinor's vision of a reformed Imperium than the actual Imperium itself (nice little bit of irony, that). And, honestly, let's not delude ourselves into believing that the Regency's surviving the Collapse intact is due to anything more or less than authorial Fiat. We accept it 'cause we like the result, but (like the spread of Virus itself) the plausability of the Regency's survival is helped tremendously by not looking all that closely at it.
Did anyone notice the picture of Horvath in Arrival Vengeance looks like a younger George Dubya Bush? Hmmm.
If that's Dubya, then who is the Engineering guy on 'Enterprise'?...

Good call though, had me digging out my copy of AV:TFO to check :)

So who's my favourite faction & why? Strephon actually. Why? Because the way I read it, the guy just is not up to the job, which makes him the most fascinating character. To me, all the other faction leaders were two-dimensional. Strephon is the only one who appears real (seriously no pun intended... lol...).

The roleplaying opportunities for followers of Strephon who are caught up with the only leader who does not want to fight, are fantastic. It's straight out of Plutarch, and it's got the uncomfortableness of 'I, Claudius' too. Imagine the stuff going on behind the scenes amongst the top military & political advisers... what potential.

He's a brilliantly hapless figure. Either he got killed in the assassination, (which is bad enough), and one of his clones/robots decides to impersonate him, (in which case we have to ask ourselves what the difference is, as when Norris' true daughter/clone in AV:TFO 'knows his mind') which leads me to argue that Strephon, daddy or clone, should get back on the throne. (But if its a robot it can get lost.)

Or, if Strephon is not killed in the assassination, then he's hapless for being caught with his pants down off looking at Longbow/shagging his mistress or whatever, and taking far too long to emerge as being still alive.

Then, we have all the heart-rending crap about him empathising with the plight of his people, which would be fine and noble except it overwhelms him into inactivity and drugged despair.

Finally, he decides to (apparently) lie and claim to be a robot and try to creep unnoticed out of the arena. This is the best bit of all, where Strephon aquires his full stature as the idiot/savant figure in the Rebellion.

Strephon is the most fantastic tragic character, the one guy who in the end does not want the power enough to sacrifice countless lives. So naturally our hearts are telling us that we should give it to this guy as he doesn't want it at such a huge cost, whereas our heads are telling us he shouldn't have it because he's not willing to pay the price.
I always liked Daibei and Duke Craig (I always had him being played by Sir Derek Jacobi (of I Claudius fame) in my $5 billion, 60-hour, impossible to film Rebellion Epic), as he simply refused a (likely) lawful order which would have cast (particularly) his non-human subjects into bondage under the Solomani.
MT convienently tied Norris' hands with the A-Z problems (Aslan-Vargr-Zhodani), so "moral cowardice" smacks me a wee thin when the script writer has tied your hands (Sorry Kafka47, jus my humble opinion).

As for Favorite faction...I second the motion of Duke Craig. Here'a Sector Duke, former Admiral (but of Logistics, not combat command) who makes the right call when given what he deems is an "unlawful" order. "Surrender your fleets at once, the Solomani will keep, Killing Dulinor off is all that matters" juxtaposed a Human supremacist Power bent on reducing the Imperium, subjuagting its non human species to second class or lower "citizens" (Specism, IIRC), and Ihatei & Raiders out of the PE Patchquilt Reavers Deep border sector.
I saw (and still see) Craig as a Hadrian of his times, holding back the barbarians, building alliances (his 1123 nonaggression pact with Dulinor/ his 1124 trade agreement with Margaret's faction/ and his savvy use of connections with the Yerlwaioah(Sp?) clan to hold down the Ihatei menace. Craig saw the right of his rule as his protection of the people of his sector. When the Emperor Lucan demanded his fleets, he stalled. And later, denied Dulinor & Lucan the fleets to defend THE PEOPLE!
"This is the Imperium that I spent my life serving, this Imperium which is the highest achievement of human history, is nothing if it is not these people.What constitutes the separate value of this empire above the lives of its citizens, that can justify their abandonment in its name? NOTHING that I can see. The Imperium be damned-take care of these people."
---Duke Craig Anton Horvath of Daibei
ordering rejection of Lucan's mobilization of the Daibei Fleets. (Survival Margin, page4)

Craig was also the first Faction leader to utilize the lifting of the ban on psionics, realizing "every tool for our future survival must be utilized".

As for Dubya look-alike contest, the engineer on Enterprise is a dead ringer for a younger slimmer Prez. Must concur. As for the AV: TFO pix of Craig, hmmmm. Kinda close to call (I'm biased in both ways on this matter. Could be prescience?)
Oh, And ya'll say hiya to RichardP in the UK. One of my best collaborators in TNE stuff on the tne-silenttower list (BARD site at www.downport.com, and friend. Richard, welcome aboard!

Check out his stuff in the MARI section, he's a damn good yarn spinner for advventurers, IM not so HO. (Okay plug time over, I'll go back to paean hood for a while. ;)
I was always a bit of a Brzk groupie. He never had any serious chance of taking the throne, because he was a nonhuman, but his position seemed to be scrupulously pansophontist. In a universe of Solomani supremacists and other yahoos, this is a Good Thing.

Alan Bradley