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More campaign history . . .
Since the Collapse, humanity has been unable to replicate the technology they once invented. The American Feudal Era developed as the remaining technology was gathered up by local warlords and used to suppress the surrounding populace, as well as to wipe out working knowledge of that very technology.
Eventually, these warlords gave rise to noble houses, which gave rise to power-hungry dynasties. The lands around the Gulf of Mexico (with their lack of major environmental barriers) unified under a single emperor long before California. It wasn’t until centuries later that the balkanized countries of the West Coast coalesced under a Great King.
The Texan Emperors, feeling safer than their neighbors, gave more freedoms to their populace. Organized education was once again reinstated and the Imperial Archaeology Network was founded to spearhead research into ancient technology and society. Unbeknownst to the Emperors, the IANs most far-reaching discoveries were based in philosophy and law as ancient paper-based libraries were unearthed.
As the lower classes became more educated, they began to demand more freedoms – and eventually a voice in government. The Emperors ignored this until civil unrest grew, attracting the Californian warlords. The United Floridian States broke off from the Empire as California attacked; beginning a war that almost toppled the reigning Texas Emperor.
The War of Floridian Succession, as it was later called, ended in stalemate versus the Californians as the renegade Floridians rejoined the empire and saved the Emperor. The price for the ruling class was high, however, as the government was transformed into a constitutional monarchy.
The new Texas Democratic Empire left executive power with the Emperor, but created a democratically elected body of legislators from the class of noblemen who could veto Imperial actions and had the authority to appoint the judiciary. In time, it became the habit to appoint only non-noble, but well educated men and women, to the judicial branch.
While not a strong form of democracy, the system did give rise to more education for the lower classes and more give them more opportunity to get out of poverty. This did not stop the Emperor’s ability to call for martial law whenever needed and send power armored knights into the street, but it did lessen the need to quell rebellion in the first place. Soon after, artificial intelligences – normally hunted and destroyed or locked up and used as slaves – began to be granted citizenship in the Empire.
Under the Texas Democratic Empire, education, knowledge, and exploration flourished and the many part of the world were explored. Regretfully, it was discovered that many parts of the world were uninhabitable, which made controlling the Americas all the more important. The warlords of California stood in the way, and the Empire began a systematic war to conquer the region.
As the war in the Rockies waged, the Californian warlords began to lose more often than not. Afraid, they began to turn on each other. A discovery in Baja changed everything. An old, yet finctional, mass driver was discovered. Originally used for orbital launches, the King of Mexicali repurposed the technology to rain hot, fiery death on – not the Texans – but the other California Kings.
The King of Mexicali forced the other kings to swear fealty to him, recognizing him as the High King of the United Kingdoms of California. Then he attacked the Texas Democratic Empire, causing mass panic and destruction.
The Empire refused to surrender. Casualties were high on both sides, especially amongst the noble houses and their powered armor suits. But soon the Texans repaired an old mass driver at Mount Cheyenne and destroyed the Mexicali Driver. Californian AIs discovered how the Mt. Cheyenne mass driver was repaired and began repairing one thought defunct. An arms race grew, but each side refused to fire, lest they alert the enemy to their weapon’s position.
The Driver War never actually ended, but a stalemate was reached. Covertly, either side began to launch satellites to spy one another, and quickly discovered the two remaining functional space elevators left on the planet. Both elevators existed near the equator in and around South America.
The Space Race was not so much a race between scientists and technologies, but rather an active ground war to control Central America and the Northern sections of South America. California reached the Galapagos Space Elevator before Texas, and held if firmly. The Texan attempts to reach the Elevator at Maracaibo were hampered by California forces, which left them a decade behind in securing and learning about the Space Elevator.
Eventually, however, both sides began to nurse the Elevator AIs back to consciousness and soon sent objects – then people – into space. Each side began to build a space navy and explore the Solar System. It was soon after that the discovery of Arcadia came to light.
Okay, currently I’m aiming the space setting idea into (simultaneously) a novel and an rpg campaign. The campaign looks more realistic, with a start date in January of next year.
Here is a blurb I’ve written on it:
Operation Arcadia: A Savage Worlds Campaign
[Kind of a strange mix of Halo, Gamma World, Paranoia, Chthullu, D&D, and King Arthur]
“Sir, we are getting readings from the L4 point. Object 11-17 is almost 500 kilometers long and has a heat signature that is way off the scale. The only explanation I can think of is that it is a massive fully functional space habitat that has been operating independent of Earth for 1000 years.”
– Lt. Miles Abbot, Phoenix Infrared Observatory –New Brazoria, Texas Democratic Empire
The year is 4000 AD. Humanity has been slowly waking up from a crippling dark age in which society fell from unknown technological and social heights into ignorance and barbarity. On the ice-bound North American continent, two superpowers have been vying for supremacy for over a century – the Texas Democratic Empire and the Unified Kingdoms of California.
Using technological leftovers, the Texans and Californians have waged bloody war for domination, extending their control into the Southern Hemisphere. Neither side has a good understanding of the technologies they use as most electronic records have been lost. Historical data for the last 1800 years is mostly non-existent. While sentient computers exist, they too were affected by the Collapse Purge, and those that survived are either amnesiatic or insane.
The two warring nations have extended their presence into space using ancient mass-drivers and still functioning space elevators. Earth’s moon and the planet Mars were terraformed long ago, but the Martians and Lunarians have little interest in Earth and have banned most contact. Planetary conquest has been investigated by the Earthlings, but no military or economic gains could be projected. Space was considered little more than a high-altitude bombardment platform until a chance revelation one year ago.
Astronomers near the end of the Dark Age discovered a shiny object near Earth orbit. The object was assumed to be an asteroid and called Arcadia by the Californians, and Object 11-17 by the Texans. The recent rediscovery of infrared astronomy brought new information. Arcadia was most likely a huge space habitat constructed over a millennium ago – and it appeared to be still functioning.
The superpowers engaged in a frenetic space race to reach Arcadia first. Space probe fly-bys verified that Object 11-17 was indeed man-made. Both sides have launched reconditioned spacecraft filled with scientists, telemetry equipment, armaments and marines. The first ships to arrive will be those few with working anti-matter drives and actual anti-matter reserves. Knowledge of the production of anti-matter was lost long ago, so the ships following behind will be using much slower fusion drives.
What will happen when the fleets of the two most powerful nations on Earth arrive at Arcadia? Will they fight over their prize, or will they cooperate in the exploration of an ancient artifact. And what of Arcadia itself? Is anyone still alive? What mysteries will be answered? What technological wonders will be discovered?
We shall see . . .