Solarity of Kowloon

A client state of the Empire of Tai Pan, thrown together after the wake the last Insurrection War of Liang and the Wangdaio Blackout. It is a place for exiles, elves, and adventurers. To Tai Pan it is seen as a place to shift problematic people into. To others it is a brutal place blessed with elf magic to make fertile worlds on the edge of civilization. To those that call it home it is a fresh start, a chance to wipe away the sins of the past and start anew; and a place worth defending.

Solarity of Kowloon
Capital: Soran Nast, Piyapon
Major Species: Elves, Human
Minor Species: Yazata, Embers, Taianese
Official Languages: Standard, Elvish
Currency: Mynt
Current Year: 3021
Government Type: Two-System Government
Image of the House Arleigh
Queen: Bhelith Blackspear
Bhelith Blackspear
Premier: Violet Ran
Violet Ran
Date of Establishment: 3017
Approximate Population:

It is rare to die peacefully in Kowloon, and rarer still to die of old age. The maelstrom of the states politics, constant crisis's, and external threats keeps the population hardy, wary, and quick to violence. Where being a mercenary is not only a valid profession, but often a respected one. The nation itself is a contradictory mess of peasants and nobles, starships and farmers, conflict and peace. Life is often poor compared to other Central Sphere worlds but with remarkably lax controls, such freedom brings with it danger, but much opportunity.

The Solarity of Kowloon itself is a rowdy neighbor, with a reputation of buccaneering, wildly unpredictable reactions, and an unstable government. With plenty of folks with guns and not much to do with them, small-scale raiding across the borders and piracy are a sour note in foreign relations. While having an ostensibly feudal government, Kowloon does not have a serf system, instead raising commoners to freemen and gentry.

Sometimes known as Kowlooni, natives and expatriates to the Solarity often have a past, and if they have come from other places there's always the chance of something following them. Not many within the Solarity discuss their past, the present often provides enough distractions from such, or even enough time to look to the future.

Common Kowlooni Backgrounds:

  • Agrarian Pheasant: Born on the land, worked on the land. Perhaps you yearn to go back to the simple life, or perhaps you took up the sword to escape it. But always will you hands, and your soul, be hardened by a hard life, maybe a tragic one. You've known conflict since you were young, and sometimes hunger and poverty before that.
  • Liang Exile: Perhaps you're an overly-opinionated elf, or a kammee who's escaped or been left behind, a taianese who raised one too many questions, or a human criminal on the run from Alliance law. However you came to this land, by choice or otherwise, you're stuck here now.
  • Colonist: The fertile worlds of Kowloon, transformed by elf magic and (sometimes stolen) Alliance technology, there's plenty of opportunity for ambitious settlers to strike it big on virgin worlds.
  • Wangdaio Survivor: You left your home once, and chaos forced you to leave it a second time. Perhaps this third time you'll find happiness in these rough lands.
  • Pirate: Violence is a fact of life, but one could perhaps learn to master it for their own ends, and with Kowloons loose laws on military arms, the rewards could be generous.

Being made up of many different peoples from many places, the term melting pot applies. A Liangi elf nobility rules from minority over a eclectic mix of humans, commoner elves, gartagens, and others who've drifted in. There are even cultural divides among the ruling elf houses. Cities blend in chaotic architectural styles, mudbrick huts sit next to steel pre-fabs and neon lights, and signs are written in two or three languages.

Compared to their conservative brethren who remained on Liang and shut themselves off, the Kowlooni elves are far less mono-cultural, having been forced to adapt to their situation and make the best of it. While some cling to the old structures more than others, change comes for all, slow as it may be. With the assumption of Bhelith in power elves are often at the peak of political power without being in control of culture or society.

Other cultures find themselves having to live and adapt into a stratified society only a few steps removed from chaos at any one moment, taking up roles and niches within the markets, farms, and factories of the nation, or buying their way up to a better course of affairs.

While the Solarity has no official state religion, the Church of the First maintains a preeminent position in the Queens court. The Church enjoys several privileges, such as the ability to raise arms and maintain land. Many prominent members of the Queens counsel are also high-ranking Church members. It may also openly proselytize to the public.

Other faiths linger quietly among the commoners and in the corners of the Solarity favored by one house or none, they are generally undisturbed.

There are two lawful systems of power within Kowloon, the Noble hierarchy, and the power of the Chancellery. However, other major pillars of power exist within the young country and vie for a full share of control, along with the ever propagating and chaotic Free Companies. Above them all rests the Queen uneasily on her throne trying to keep a country that shouldn't exist together. Despite her power, the dukes of the Solarity exercise a large degree of autonomy, while the Chancellery coordinates shared regulation and enforcement of common laws and standards.

The diadem is the crown of Solarity, worn by the head of state and sovereign. It is a symbol of power and authority, and is invoked in name when the Queen issues directives or initiatives. By dejure, the Diadem has absolute rule over the rest of the Solarity, however defacto her authority is shaky anywhere outside of her demesne. Despite its symbolic importance there is no one physical crown, although house Arleigh does retain a small collection of suitable tiaras for state functions.

The Diadem is the head of both the Nobility and the Chancellery, balancing the two dual governments.

Being based upon ancient Liang society but finding itself no longer ruling elvish kingdoms has changed kowlooni nobility many ways. Humans and other races thoroughly populate the noble ranks, and many are seasoned combat veterans. Kowlooni nobility is the martial prowess of the nation, with it's ability to rally and lead the many Free Companies across the duchies.

The head of the Noble system is the Queen, established by Bhelith, who promptly took up the position herself. The Queen is a fearsome character and warmaster of the Solarity, her rule is absolute, and her choices shape the nation around her.

Below her are the Duchies, of which Bhelith occupies one as her demesne.

Each Duchy represents a major star system within the Solarity, and a political and cultural bloc within the national politique. While ostensibly being under the domain of a queen, the various dukedoms exercise their own autonomy frequently. This system of government makes any lasting deals with the Solarity difficult to uphold as a treaty one duke or duchess has signed may mean almost nothing to another.

Each Duchy is expected to maintain its own pool of governors (often counts and barons) for its territory, and knights for wartime needs. Prospective knights are chosen by a duke or duchess, but can be recommended by a count, the potential Knight may also require the blessing of an established order of knights. While nobility might be purchased, Knighthood must be earned, and a Knights deeds, skill, and character are weighed by the Duchy and the knight orders. Even a knight of the Free Companies is expected to abide by oaths and allegiances.

The Gentry are the lowest order of nobles, requiring either service to the Solarity, the duchy's favor, or even just significant assets to the Solarity. Gentry may enjoy the law of nobility, nobility does not bestow any land or titles, and has traditionally required vows and oaths. Gentry may marry commoners however their children may not automatically become Gentry also.

Set up in the early days of the Solarity, the Chancellery was given responsibility to represent the commoners of the Solarity to the Queen, a measure many nobles consider to be one of appeasement. The Chauncer's write the laws of land and trade, regulation and enforcement of affairs the nobles have little interest in, and the fines and punishments for commoners who might break them. While having little power over the nobles, the Chancellery is a respected and admired institution among the commoners, and it would be foolish to outright dismiss them.

The Chauncers are lead by a Premier, who represents the assembly to the Queen herself. The Chauncers have a cabinet of secretaries for the Premier, and a speaker of the assembly who calls on chauncers to speak in committee.

While not officially the state-church, it is known the First are well represented at the highest levels of power within Kowloon politics, the Protector of the First being a prominent member of the Queens counsel. The church is eager to expand its power and freely evangelizes to the population. The Church of the First's beliefs takes strong cues from the old Liang pantheon with influences from the Church of Jord, worshipping the elven gods and above them the First Children.

It also maintains its own men-at-arms and a knightly order.

Much of the military apparatus of the Solarity is tied to its noble system, with orders of knights being centers for elite troops and leadership, while individual knights each leading their own Free Company answer the call with massed numbers. The fleet of Kowloon contains the core of dedicated Shield warships with the Asteria as the flagship, her eldest saplings growing into her escorts and cruisers as they mature. The majority of the fleet is made up of a hodge-podge of purchased warships, modified trade ships, and other improvised examples of warships called up for emergencies. Much of this fleet acts independently when not on a war footing, sometimes trading, sometimes not so as their captains decide.

The Shield of Kowloon

The Shield of Kowloon is the Solarity's most conventional military force, being made of full-time professional soldiers and officers under the direct control the head of state. In total personnel the Shield makes up a fraction of the combined armed forces, but it contains much of the military leadership and logistical efforts of the military apparatus. Members of the Shield are often drafted from the most experienced Free Companies or House armies, attracted by the secure pay, relatively easy lifestyle in peacetime, and best weapons the Solarity has to hand.

The Shield maintains the Solarity's power armor infantry and armored vehicle corps, and possession of the most powerful fleet assets. While small, the Shield is both quick to respond in the diadems name, and the nucleus of a much larger war machine that can be drawn together with enough time. It's also far cheaper than trying to maintain a large security force.

Knightly Orders

The Knightly Orders are groups of elite warriors given charter by the Solarity at large, and the Queen in particular, for a variety of purposes. Some are purely warrior orders, bound to honor and glory. Others are sanctioned by noble houses as their own strength of arms. Others might perform state functions, execute state directives, or simply to exercise some control on individuals too powerful or unpredictable to control through other reasonable means.

The writ of Charter is executed directly by the Queen herself, who can issue or withdraw the orders at any time. Regardless of how an Order was formed, or its mission, they are often sponsored by Houses if not the Diadem, and possess formidable private armaments. Armaments that the Charter demands be available to the Solarity when needed.

The Free Companies

The Free Companies of Kowloon. Mercenary soldiers, officially independent of the Solarity, but many of them are sponsored by the Solarity's noble houses as a military option and security. Free Companies make up the primary ground forces of the Solarity, being chartered by the Solarity in times of crisis.

Notable Free Companies

The Privateer Fleet

Starships are expensive, and keeping starships is not much cheaper. The Privateer Fleet provides the Solarity a powerful fleet asset without maintaining large numbers of idle ships, leased on charter, these ships are often used as transports, contracted for patrols, or otherwise used by their captains across the sector. Captains are compelled by contract to answer the summons of the Shield of Kowloon whenever war calls.

It is made up mostly of smaller, faster patrol ships, capable of deterring (or acting as) pirates. Acting as warships for hire, light transports, or whatever other work might cross their path. Larger ships are often converted for cargo or mining uses, while not specialized for such work, the hire of a large spaceframe with large internal volume is a cheap start into space industry for many budding entrepreneurs.

The most powerful warships are only granted to distinguished, trustworthy individuals, otherwise mostly being held as a Fleet-In-Being by the Shield of Kowloon.

Notable Privateer Groups:

  • Wings of Heled - While an official order, the Wings still use privateer ships in their civilian operations.
Territories of Kowloon
Artist: Unknown

The Solarity consists of a small cluster of star systems to the galactic south of Tai Pan, on the eastern border of the Alliance, strategically placing close to the two allies. This short leash has, however, become a boon to the small nation, whose exotic agricultural exports are hungrily purchased by both to feed their own populations. Where trade flourishes, so to might piracy, and trade ships are regularly harassed in Kowloon space without sufficient escorts, which some Free Companies may provide for a fee.

Star Systems:

Places of interest:

Kowloon is an agricultural marvel of interstellar commerce, able to produce staggering amounts and varieties of foods with both traditional farming methods and ingenious alternate solutions on less habitable worlds. The food surplus provides great low value trade to its two nearest neighbors, its other exports include raw materials, actual meat and alcohol, and occasionally other goods that may have fallen off the back of starship.

For import trades, the Solarity trades magical items, particularly heart and blood crystals for their magical and electrical energy usage, and more advanced technologies and weapons.

Internally the Kowloon economy is largely unregulated and disorganized creating a chaotic mish-mash of business cultures and styles. Small companies, guilds, corporations and even cooperative works all compete in an economy with a myriad of familiar and alien needs and customers. Resources, futures, and stocks flurry back and forth amidst the merchant class while noble coin tends to form the bulk of the nations reserve cash and state expenditure. While peasants toil the land and industry, sometimes making their fortunes from fortuitous luck, or savvy decisions.

After the Wangdaio Colonies went dark and refugees flooded out with tales of communications breakdowns, betrayal, hostile aliens, and strange phenomena there was an enormous vacuum where the nation had once stood. All that's really known is that most of the people who set out to forge the colonies died, and only titanic efforts brought the relative few who did make it back out. All of them lost their homes, many lost their families, but the Tai Pan Empire lost a place to put its failures and malcontents. With the urgent humanitarian crisis underway, and the need to set up a new safety valve for their own society, the Taianese Emperor, in what at the time must have seemed a brilliant masterstroke of strategy drew a line on the star charts and created a new country overnight.

This new country would be a client state, a place to serve the needs of Tai Pan without requiring their direct governance, the residents of it would be free to carry on as they wished, as long as they paid their dues. The Emperor was not done however, taking one of his arch enemies, the rebel leader and slated for execution, Bhelith “Blackspear” of house Arleigh and forcing her to take charge of this new country created from nothing. Some asked if it was a reward, others a punishment, what was clear was that the new country would have a shaky start and it would not be the Emperors problem if Bhelith succeeded or failed.

The elfess fell back on what she knew, instituting a Liang nobility system to tie the disparate planets together into a system of power she could manipulate, while creating the chancellery to assuage the commoners. With the nobility incentivized to participate, and the commoners able to affect their most basic laws and settle their disputes, the country would have had a rough enough time forming even without constant harassment from raiders, pirates and others. These constant, often existential battles precluded the use of a large, unwieldly, and probably dubiously loyal standing army. Instead the free companies allowed a highly cost-effective means of providing security, being entirely flexible in tactics equipment and cost, while still remaining loyal to coin. Integrating these free companies has been a constant concern of the state since its founding.

Because of the plethora of citizens and cultures, Kowloon has been able to merge the best of magics power, with the production capability of technology. Producing items with both installed, this has been a great boon to their own terraforming efforts in each of their systems, while the small minded focus on the weapons they've produced.

Kowloon native starships are based on elven technology, being based around the hulls of slow growing “tree ships” which are then coupled with modern fusion power plants and other equipment. The Asteria herself is stocked with an array of well-paid Embers to act as transfers between the ships electrical and magical systems. Although these ships do not reproduce very fast, so foreign designs are common amongst the fleet. The class of these tree ships also changes as they mature, considered combat ready at roughly corvette size, and very slowly growing to cruiser, or even battleship sized with the passage of much time.

OOC Notes

Jimmy's Notes

Yeah, a lot of work to go on this one. Some of it's presentation, others it might be total rewrite of content. I didn't expect this project to swell as big as it did so quickly until I started digging.

First, Duchies, I want to expand on them, some of them might be changed. Rangoon now has a house, that will be filled in later. I'm going to be leaving most of the stuff for Rarjuni, Heled, and Whitemeadow alone unless asked otherwise. The stuff for Kotoku might get a major make over.

Second The Government, detailing it more widely, the pillars of power and how it functions (or otherwise). Relevant to a slow transition to a more democratic state. In particular , the powers, expectations, and formation of the Chancellery.

I've done some more work on the military, including expanding the Free-Companies to their own sub-heading, added the Shield, and Privateer fleet.

  • nations/kowloon.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/09/01 05:00
  • by jimmy