War in Hapes
For all that the Hapes Consortium is reigned over by a monarch, beneath the Queen Mother there are more than sixty noble Houses and a multitude of accompanying factions who operate within the Hapes Cluster. Some are social, some cultural, some geographical, some militant, and others are a collection of individuals united to a cause.
The sheer number of what could be potentially considered a “faction” is borderline countless. Those listed are the most prominent and noteworthy from the perspective of “War in Hapes”. Names marked by an asterisk are playable.
The House which can more or less be considered the “protagonist House” of War in Hapes. It is a Great House ruling over the northern sector called the Gateworlds. A close ally to the Queen Mother and Royal Family, it is nonetheless a very progressive and contemporary House that boasts a strong private military.
House Isha is the Great House that rules over the western sector called Lorelli Reach. It possesses a very strong military tradition and is a very close ally to House T’lani. However, as a House, the Isha gain relatively little respect from the larger noble population of Hapes and are culturally slightly divergent from the rest of the cluster.
Foremost at the Isha culture is the duty to protect Hapes. Their military guards the western hyperspace route out of the Hapes Cluster, and also spends a great deal of time fighting pirates. House Isha is closely linked with the Isha Military’s elite soldiers, the Order of the Dragoons.
Characters playing Nobles may substitute the Linguist feat for Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency, since most Nobles undertake Dragoon training and are more likely to be military officers. Female Isha characters also have access to the unique Prestige Class “Dragoon” should they meet its requirements.
House Vhara is the foremost Banner House to House Isha. While not as large as Isha itself nor as economically powerful, it is nonetheless quite influential and slightly more involved and mindful of Hapan politics and intrigue. House Vhara reigns over the planet Sennex, which possesses the second largest population in Lorelli Reach. Its Ducha, Kiel Vhara, possesses a great deal of influence with the other Lorelli Reach Houses and is a close friend to Ducha Isha.
Like the Isha, the Vhara are very much concerned at this juncture about protecting Hapes from the conflicts to come. Where the Isha are gathering their military might and tightening their defenses, though, the Vhara have a few small quiet “research projects” in the works to develop any advantages that they can muster. This is not common knowledge, however.
House Valterra is the foremost Banner House to House T’lani, and is largely considered their right hand within the Gateworlds. Ruling over Febrini, the largest planet of the sector, they possess a great deal of presence amongst the T’lani Military and within the alliance of Houses beneath House T’lani.
The Valterra invest a great deal in T’lani Military, which has only increased in magnitude with news of not one but potentially two wars looming on the horizon. Febrini is home to a vast network of shipyards currently being utilized by House T’lani, and also happens to be close to the contemporary mindset that the T’lani operate under.
DUSK is an acronym that stands for Defense, Unity, Secrecy and Knowledge. Originally a part of the Black Sun, the organization splintered from it in order to pursue its own agenda. DUSK formed on the surface of Andalia, where thousands of aliens who had been smuggled into Hapes were living in secret among the disused slums.
Above all else, DUSK is dedicated to the protection of aliens, both human and non-human, who currently live within Hapes. On Andalia they worked towards and accomplished a means to prevent the xenophobic Hapans from continuing to exterminate them, and now that the vast majority of them live on Telkur Station they work closely in tandem with House T’lani to govern the alien population.
As its name might suggest, DUSK has a strong background in espionage and subterfuge, and possesses an extensive intelligence network within Telkur. Its core operatives are comprised of former Black Sun spies and assassins. This background stands to this day, and DUSK is lead by Nialle Talarn.
DUSK shelters not only aliens, but also Force Adepts who seek sanctuary from persecution. Characters who originate from outside Hapes or who are Force-users are most likely working for this faction.
The Black Sun is a vast criminal syndicate that spans the galaxy, dealing in piracy, smuggling, slavery, drug-trafficking, and possesses a presence among the criminal underworld in almost every system. Above all, though, its greatest strength is its extensive intelligence network that nearly rivals even that of Imperial Intelligence. The organization is incredibly secretive, and known of only to those at the furthest parts of the fringes of society.
As far as Hapes is concerned, the Black Sun is an enemy of Hapes. A year ago, a fleet under the command of Vigo Kiet Talarn found a secret way into Hapes, smuggled in thousands of aliens, and began plying their trade as pirates across the cluster. Eventually they came into conflict with House T’lani who were tasked with destroying them, which eventually culminated in the Battle of Zadaria, in which Vigo Talarn’s forces threatened to attack the planet itself and may well have succeeded in levelling its capital city.
Unknown to the rest of Hapes, Kiet Talarn and the forces still remaining to him are now working directly for Arica T’lani. Black Sun elements exist on Telkur Station, including Kiet himself, who possesses a great deal of loyalty now to the woman who ultimately defeated him.
Characters who originate from the Black Sun are without exception aliens, both human and non-human. Those interested in possessing a shadier and more criminal background would do well to consider this option.
While the Hapes Consortium prefers to consider it their territory, the truth of the matter is that the Corsair Outback is controlled by the Lorell. The Lorell possesses an entirely different culture of its own, in that it is the spiritual successor of the Lorell Raiders who controlled Hapes 4000 years ago.
The Lorell epitomizes personal strength and skill, and their society is fundamentally based on a system of meritocracy as opposed to the Hapan principles of social class and feminine superiority. There are none more respected and admired among the Lorell than the warrior class, however, who are without exception the Lorell Pirates who plague the rest of the cluster.
If the Lorell are known for one thing, it’s their knowledge of the secret routes throughout the Transitory Mists. While blindly exploring the endless expanse of ionized gas would be considered suicidal by most, the Lorell have somehow succeeded in learning the hidden pathways that lead between the sectors. Using them, they are able to strike seemingly out of nowhere and go where they please, and often use them to strike at the Hapans of Lorelli Reach and the Rim Worlds.
With promise of civil war and the threat of foreign invasion, it remains to be seen what action the Lorell will take in response.
While the Lorell are a neutral faction, it is possible to play them from the beginning of the campaign. Unknown to House T’lani and only suspected by DUSK, several Lorell are currently hiding out within Telkur Station. Most are there to cause trouble, but some are simply keeping their eyes open and observing events as they unfold.
House Galney is one of the Great Houses of the Hapes Consortium, based in the eastern sector called the Hapan Rim Worlds, in which it directly rules over not one but two systems.
If any House within Hapes can truly be considered completely neutral, it is the Galney. The Rim Worlds is biologically quite diverse and home to several far-flung and rarely visited systems, which has so far provided them with a great deal of profit. In an isolationist place like Hapes, which possesses only 63 worlds and is dominated by a single species, genetics and proper breeding are of vital importance. Among the upper classes, such a thing is considered imperative and worth spending a lucrative amount of credits on.
As such, House Galney possesses considerable wealth, both financially and in skilled geneticists. By selectively breeding both men and women and cultivating highly compatible partners for nobles across the cluster, House Galney frequently sells off what are colloquially referred to as “baby-makers”, and have done so at various times for almost every House within the Consortium.
The end result is that the Galney possess alliances and business agreements with almost everybody in Hapes, while at the same time have conveniently-placed agents everywhere. The end result is that the Galney Military is bolstered by assets dedicated to them by contract from other Houses, and House Galney also happens to have the most extensive intelligence network after the Queen Mother herself.
Characters from House Galney are most likely to be some form of intelligence agent. For the sake of War in Hapes, one need not necessarily be a specially-bred “babymaker”, since nobles from across the cluster have been visiting Telkur Station to learn more about its occupants. Given their inclination to stay informed, it is without a doubt that the Galney have some sort of presence on Telkur.
It should come as no surprise that being a society in which its upper hierarchy is very actively trying to assassinate its rivals, there is no shortage of independent groups who dedicate themselves to facilitating murder. Various Assassin Guilds possess their own intelligence network and maintain agents in the far reaches of the Hapes Cluster, in preparation for the time in which a member of nobility will be prepared to pay exorbitantly for their services.
Given their secretive nature, the names of these guilds and contacts within them are limited to a very select few. Among those more knowledgable of such goings-on, though, names such as the Ivory Mark and the Quisalis are known. Given their independent nature, it is not yet determined if the any of the guilds will polarise with the rest of Hapes into opposing sides of a civil war, or if they will remain neutral.
Characters who wish to play assassins with Hapan ties are most likely to be part of an assassin guild, with few exceptions. Scoundrels and Scouts who intend to become assassins may be able to substitute at least one of their starting feats for another that is more closely linked with their profession, chosen guild, and method of assassination. They also have access to the “Assassin” Prestige Class.