The Valorian Empire

The Empire is heir to the Old Galactic Federation. It overthrew the aristocracy to save the galaxy from an invading alien menace, the Anacridian Scourge, and to bring equality to all. Granted total power by his revolution, the Emperor Ren Valorian now sits on his throne, the master of the Galactic Core and the military-industrial complex that runs it.

The Empire is a Control Rating 6 society; It taxes heavily, allows its agents to ignore human rights, and employs propaganda and secret police to keep the population under control. In principle, its “citizens” have more rights than its “residents,” but these rights can and are revokes at Imperial will. The Empire also pretends to be a continuation of the old Federation, and thus still has democratic institutions, like the Senate, in place, but the Emperor has gutted them of any real power.

Organizations within the Empire include:

  • The Imperial Ministries, which run the day-to-day bureaucracies of the Empire, and answer to the Chancellor
  • The Senate, which acts as a voting body/debate club and rubber-stamps the Emperor’s edicts. The “elected” Chancellor heads the Senate.
  • Imperial Security, which answers to the Ministry of Justice and the Emperor’s Hand. It supplements local law enforcement with its own paramilitary security agents, and employs free-roaming “special agents” who investigate interstellar crimes.
  • Imperial Intelligence, which also answers directly to the Emperor’s Hand, and handles espionage and sedition coming form outside the Empire. Often employs “prisoner legions.”
  • The Imperial Navy, which answers to the Admiralty and the Grand Admiral, as well as the Ministry of Defense. They employ the mighty ships of the Empire and crush the Empire’s enemies.
  • Imperial Black Ops, a secret arm of the Imperial Navy full of commandos, experimental ships, and dangerous weapons of mass destruction, and answers directly to the Grand Admiral

Playing an Imperial Charater

Cultural Lens: Imperial

Advantages: Galactic Common (Native) [0*]; Cultural Familiarity (Galactic Federation) [0*]; May take Imperial Citizenship [1] or Looks Good in Uniform [1] from your template’s pool of optional points.

Disadvantages: You may choose the following disadvantages in addition to the options given in your template: Code of Honor (Imperial) [-15], Fanaticism (the Emperor) [-15], Greed [-15], Intolerance (Alien enemy, alien minority or rebel scum) all [-5], Overconfidence [-5}, Sense of Duty (Empire) [-10].
*Only if this is your first language or cultural familiarity, otherwise normal costs apply.

Preferred Templates

Imperial characters tend to be Commandos (Imperial Black Ops or, less common, the Imperial Navy), Diplomats (the Imperial Ministry), Fighter Aces (Imperial Navy or sometimes Imperial Black Ops), Officers (Any, but especially the Imperial Navy or Imperial Security), Security Agents (Imperial Security), and Spies (Imperial Intelligence).

Imperial characters tend to come from Humble Origins; they’re just kids who grew up on a farm or in some colony who joined up with the Empire to see the world and defeat the alien menace. Treat Senatorial characters as Aristocrats; being a senator is a Title that comes with a Status of +2. Most aliens in the Empire will be Outcasts, but sometimes they can rise above Imperial prejudice and make something of themselves within Imperial ranks. Finally, those wealthy or lucky enough to be trained at the Imperial Academy may take the background below.

Suicide Soldiers: Characters who wish to play a prison soldier or a confidential informant for the Empire may take Duty (Imperial Intelligence, Involuntary, Extremely Hazardous, 15 or less) [-25]. Such characters are generally Assassins, Bounty Hunters or Con Artists.

New Imperial Background: Academy Trained 20 points

The revolution that brought the Emperor to his throne cast aside the aristocracy in favor or meritocracy, and the Imperial Academy, on the capital world, represents the pinnacle of that ideal. There, the finest officers, administrators and senators learned their trade before taking up their posts. In practice, though, the Academy fosters a deep devotion to the Imperial ideal, and fosters connections between its elites; most high-ranking politicians appoint fellow alumni or close friends they met at the academy over more competent outsiders.

Prerequisite: Imperial Citizenship [1].

Skills: Administration (A) IQ [2].
Additional Skills: Another 18 points chosen from among Carousing (HT/E), Current Affairs (Politics) (IQ/E), History (IQ/H), Intelligence Analysis (IQ/H), Law (Any) (IQ/H), Leadership (IQ/A), Propaganda (IQ/A), Public Speaking (IQ/A), Research (IQ/A), Savoir-Faire (Military) (IQ/E), or improve any lens skill by one level for 2 points, or two levels for 6 points.

Additional Traits: You may also spend your remaining lens points, or some of your template advantage points on Ally (Commando, Security Agent, Spy, 250 points, 6 or less) [3], Contact (Military officer, Minor minister, security agent, etc, skill 15, 18 or 21, 9 or less somewhat reliable) [2, 3 or 4], Contact Group (Ministry, Skill 15, 18 or 21, 6 or less, somewhat reliable) [5, 8, 10], Favor (See Contacts or Patrons) [varies], Patron (Minister or Admiral) [10 to 20], Administrative, Military, or Security Rank [5/level], Top Brass [1], Wealth (Comfortable) [10].

Optional Disadvantages: Add the following disadvantage options to your template: Code of Honor (Imperial) [-15], Delusion (“The Empire and its forces cannot lose) [-5], Easy to Read [-10], Enemy (Minister, Security Agent or Admiral, Rival, 9 or less) [-5 to -10], Fanaticism (the Emperor) [-15], Intolerance (Alien enemy, alien minority or rebel scum) all [-5], Overconfidence [-5}, Sense of Duty (Empire) [-10].

Imperial Power-Ups

Most imperial characters take Experienced or Magnate as their power-ups. Cybernetic and Heroic are not uncommon. Imperial characters may also take the following power-ups:

Attache 6 points

The Empire brims with ambitious upstarts willing to lay down their life for the next rising star, and a player character certainly qualities! An attache represents a talented individual who has devoted his or her life to the PC and accompanies them wherever they go.

Prerequisite: Rank (Any Imperial) 3+.

Statistics: Ally (150 points, 15 or less) [6]

Basic Bodyguard 5 points

The Imperial character has managed to accrue a band of five personally loyal security agents or soldiers, who are BAD 2.

Prerequisite: Rank (Any Imperial) 3+.

Statistics: Ally Group (BAD 2, 15 or less) [5]

Elite Bodyguard 12 points

The Imperial character has managed to accrue a band of five personally loyal paramilitary agents or commandos

Prerequisite: Rank (Any Imperial) 3+.
Statistics*: Ally Group (BAD 5, 15 or less) [12]

Black Ops Commando (Commandos only) 25 points

The commando serves Black Ops directly, and enjoys superior organizational power and access to Black Ops secrets. Characters who take this power-up must take a Secret (Black Ops) [-10] as part of their disadvantage package!

Advantages: Military Rank 3 (Lieutenant) [15], Security Clearance (Black Ops) [10]. Add Gizmos (Imperial prototype technology) 1-3 [5 to 15] to Advantage options.

Imperial Special Agent (Security Agent only) 25 points

The security agent represents one of the elite of Imperial Security, and is granted near total dispensation to do as he pleases throughout the empire..

Advantages: Increase Security Rank to 4 [20]; Improve Legal Enforcement Powers (Imperial Security Agent) [10] to Legal Enforcement Powers (Imperial Special Agent) [15] for 5 points.

Imperial Secret Agent (Spy only) 35 points

The spy represents one of the elites of Imperial Security, and has total access to all Imperial secrets.

Advantages: Intelligence Rank 4 [20]; Security Clearance (Imperial) [15].

Imperial Traits

Citizenship (Imperial): The Empire represents the single most populous state within Psi-Wars, but it differentiates its inhabitants between “residents” and “citizens.” Citizens, in principle, have unique legal rights, including the right to vote and the right to generous social welfare benefits. In practice, though, the Empire can and does suspend these rights whenever it wishes. Thus, Citizenship grants a +1 reaction modifier to imperial officials when it comes to legal processes: a security agent is slightly less likely to beat you in the street if you’re a citizen, as it might cause an outcry, than he would be if you’re just a resident. 1 point.

Code of Honor (Imperial): Be polite and honest (but only to fellow Imperial Citizens!); Die willingly for the glory of the Empire; Never abandon a fellow Imperial. Never question the orders of your superiors; Take pride in your kit and always keep it well-polished; -15 points.

Legal Enforcement Powers (Imperial Bounty Hunter): The character may carry arms within the Empire, though is required to surrender them if requested by an Imperial Security agent. The character may arrest any target sanctioned by the Empire with a bounty. He has no additional powers. 5 points.

Legal Enforcement Powers (Imperial Security Agent): The character has a local (planetary) jurisdiction and perform limited searches and seizures, but the character can kill with relative impunity within their local jurisdiction. 10 points.

Legal Enforcement Powers (Imperial Special Agent): The character has jurisdiction throughout the Empire and may kill, investigate or search or seize any material he deems fit within his investigations. He’ll only find himself in trouble if he goes after a target with extensive political protection. 15 points.

License (Imperial Carry Permit): You are permitted to carry one specific weapon within the Empire, though you are required to surrender it to an Imperial Security Agent if asked. Imperial Citizenship is generally a prerequisite for this trait, but exceptions have been made in the past! 1 point.

The Empire: Overview

The Old Federation never fell, thanks to the heroism of Ren Valorian. Just as the Galactic Federation sat poised to collapse into anarchy and war, the Emperor consolidated power behind him and used it to restore the Federation to its glory. Now he sits atop the most powerful state in the Galaxy, tasked with benevolently protecting its institutions of democracy and equality from the dangers of a rapacious Galaxy.

Nobody calls it the Galactic Federation anymore, though; Ren Valorian rules openly as Emperor, so the denizens of the Galaxy call it the Empire. For the citizens of the Empire, swaddled in the protection of the militaristic state, life isn’t too bad if one doesn’t run afoul of Imperial Security. But for those who live within the dominion of the Empire and lack “true citizenship,” or for those on the recently conquered edges of the Empire, they experience a daily totalitarian nightmare, replete with random searches, mass arrests, crushing taxation and imperial disdain.

The Empire stands for the ideals of equality, security and greatness, but in practice, the sweeping powers granted to its official only fuel ambition. Its ministers pass laws to line their pockets; its police arrest to advance the agenda of their masters; its armies march for the glory of their officers. Slowly, the thin mask wears of virtue away to reveal the true face of hypocrisy and corruption lurking at the heart of the Empire.

The Galaxy’s only remaining hope for a restoration of the old order are the last remnants of those dissidents, an alliance of rebels who have consolidated power on the edges of the Galaxy and seek to reclaim what was theirs.

History

Contrary to the story the Alliance tells (one it must, to establish its legitimacy), the Galactic Federation never died. It could have, though, without the actions of the hero of the Scourge, Leto Daijin.

The Anacridian Scourge, an extra-galactic invasion, threatened the very heart of the Galaxy. The great houses of the Federation, too interested in their personal squabbling, ignored it until Daijin approached the senate with a strategy and proposed military reforms that would allow a centralized military under the authority of the Senate (and his command). They allowed this, and he fought the Scourge and won.

For his efforts, the people lauded him as hero and liberator, but the Senate saw his growing glory and grew at turns jealous and concerned. When the regions afflicted by the Scourge arose with a robotic revolt that turned into the Cybernetic Union,, the Senate refused to allow him to act again to save them, fearing his rising power. He ran for election, won, and overrode their authority as the Chancellor and went to war. For his efforts, and out of fear that he set himself up to be an Emperor, the Senate had him arrested and executed.

Chaos resulted. His soldiers turned on their previous masters and public opinion turned against the Senate. Ren Valorian, then a psychic and close friend to Grand Admiral Daijin, proclaimed his opposition to the injustices committed against Leto Daijin and the lax response to the genocide committed by the Cybernetic Union. He forged an alliance with factions within the Senate and the military that supported his master, and then moved against the Senate itself. He invaded and conquered his own capital, and those who had orchestrated the execution fled into the Glorian Rim, where they reformed their own rump of the Galactic Federation, the Galactic Alliance and continue to resist his rule to this day.

Now the master of the Galactic Federation, he forced the Senate to pass laws legitimizing his actions, put what conspirators he could find on trial and had them executed, and then enacted numerous reforms regarding citizenship within the Federation and its benefits, and instituting himself as a new Emperor, meant to guide the Federation, temporarily of course, during these perilous times

He carried the legacy of Leto Daijin. He moved against the enemies of the Galactic Federation. He enacted justice. He fixed the problems the common man faced and lifted them up while toppling a wicked aristocracy. The people hailed him as a hero.

Then the tyranny began.

Life in the Empire

Imperial Infrastructure

The Empire does not rely on commercial enterprise to build its skyline or its infrastructure. Instead, the state directs all construction so as to carefully controls its urban landscape. This results in a very unified look to the Empire, at least in its heart. On the outskirts of the Empire, beyond the care and attention of the Imperial elite, facilities slowly decay and architectural clutter mars the skyline.

Where the Empire wishes to emphasize its power and pride, it decorates itself with monumental architecture. Great, glass and metal skyscrapers rise to the sky and shimmer in the light of day. Broad, straight avenues guide a well-dressed populace through the streets, and magnificent statues stand in city squares, honoring the heroes of the Empire. Those heroes, of course, are the every day people of the Empire: soldiers, the great officers who serve faithfully; the martyrs of the revolution and Leto Daijin himself, who died to save the Federation. Recently, the Emperor has acquiesced to public demand for statues of himself and the Imperial family.

The Empire keeps its urban landscape pristine and well-monitored. Garbage never blows along those wide boulevards, and those glassy, shiny skyscrapers never look smudged. Curiously, no beggars line those streets or accost citizens on their way to work. In fact, all of the visible citizens seem well-dressed, well-fed and healthy. Public transit always runs precisely on time, and factories always produce their exact quota. The Empire exudes an image of technological excellence and clean perfection.

Outside of the heart of the Empire, the alien worlds occupied by the empire bear the price of this perfection. Prisoner-slaves work themselves to death in pit-mines. The houses of the poor and disenfranchised fall into disrepair. Crime and homelessness runs rampant. If a world attracts enough Imperial attention, the Imperials will gentrify it, burning down rotten, old tenements and finding excuses to expel or arrest the diseased and the ugly citizenry. The Empire is only beautiful where it cares to be. Everywhere else pays the price for that beauty, and suffers from neglect and oppression.

In worlds the Empire has only recently occupied, the military machine of the Empire loom over the relics of the now dominated culture. Its vast ships hover close enough to cast a shadow across the grand structures of the aliens, to remind them of who truly rules. Quick-fab fortifications spring up, both in places of continued resistance and around the new “Imperial Embassy” from which the Imperial Viceroy rules the world through the puppet of an installed government. Imperial soldiers regularly patrol the city, making a grand display of their mighty vehicles and their diligent soldiers.

Imperial Law

The Empire is Control Rating 6. This represents three degrees of repressiveness. First, while the Empire actually has entirely reasonable levels of law (it appears Control Rating 4, if you listen to its propaganda), in practice, the Empire grants its ministers and security agents “extraordinary powers” to deal with “emergencies,” and what is legal or illegal can change very quickly, depending on the mood of the individual representing the government here and now. Second, the Empire exacts high taxations and tightly controls ownership; the Empire grants some exemptions to “Imperial Citizens,” but those who fall outside that ephemeral and coveted title suffer for the full brunt of Imperial demands. Finally, while the Empire honors the idea of human rights for its citizens, it uses emergencies as an excuse to quash human rights. If you’re rioting or accused of a crime, you are no longer a “true citizen,” but an enemy of the state and therefore have no rights. In practice, this means one only has rights when the Empire allows it.

While the Empire’s laws often depend on who is enforcing them, the Empire does pursue specific and reliable laws. Among others, these include tight gun control, a law against “sedition” and extremely high taxes. For weaponry the Empire follows standard CR 6 weaponry rules, though characters with an appropriate Imperial Rank are permitted their standard weaponry during their duty hours, and the Empire grants weapon permits to its bounty hunters and some of its citizens. Speaking out against the empire is sedition and is also illegal. The Empire doesn’t generally pursue private grumbling (though it is perfectly legal for it to do so!) but definitely goes after high-profile cases. Finally, the Empire levies extremely high taxes and import duties, especially on non-citizens, which has given rise to smuggling on the borders of the Empire.

The Empire promotes the value of equality, but it’s a very singular, rare sort of equality. It denounces the class-system of the Old Federation, which held the aristocratic bloodlines of Maradon above all others, and instead treats all "citizens" as equal. Those who are citizens can expect to pay a fair amount of taxes, to receive benefits like state-sponsored health care and generous unemployment benefits, the right to vote on their Senator and on referendums, and can expect equal treatment in legal matters. While the Empire can and does suspend these rights, and many of them are largely cosmetic, the Empire still needs to appear to protect its citizens, and so citizens do have some limited, “soft” influence on the government.

To compensate for this, the Empire has a constant and enormous class of second-class citizens officially termed “residents.” These represent outsiders or non-registered “illegals” who have no legal place in the Empire. When the Empire needs a scapegoat to blame or some additional source of revenue, or someone to exclude from a benefits program, they almost always choose Imperial Residents. Citizens even favor this sort of treatment, as it emphasizes their importance over these second-class citizens as “true” members of the Empire.

Trials in the Empire are Trials by Judge (B508) with presumption of guilt. That is, a security agent wouldn’t haul you before a minister of justice if he wasn’t sure you hadn’t done something. Therefore, most trials simply rubber-stamp the security agent’s desired outcome. To be found innocent requires proof you are innocent, and doing so will embarrass the security agent and thus the Empire. In most cases, the best the wrongly-accused can hope for is to prove that he’s only guilty of a lesser crime. The Empire sentences its convicts either to a fine, for lesser crimes, or a lengthy prison sentence on a forced labor colony, where you will work for the Empire until you die, or until the Empire finds a reason to exonerate you and restore you to your former place of prestige.

Corruption runs rife through the empire, and it tends to run uphill. Because officials can hide behind the curtain of “national security” and their emergency powers, those in high positions have free reign to do as they wish, and arresting a high level official, or someone with a high-level official as an ally becomes an exercise in politics, rather than law.

Imperial Culture

The culture of the Empire fosters pride and patriotism. Those who serve the Empire see themselves serving not only something greater than themselves, but the greatest power in the Galaxy. This is true of everyone from the most idealistic soldier to the most jaded minister; everyone in the ranks of the Empire believes the Empire is great. The Empire dominates all, and that which resists the Empire (or worse, defeats it!) affronts all those who believe in its greatness. In the mind of the Imperial citizenry, the Emperor and the Empire are extensions of one another; if one believes in the greatness and worthiness of the Empire, then one must also believe in the greatness and worthiness of the Emperor; at the same time, to revile the Emperor is to revile the Empire. Increasingly, only the older generations remember a time without either, and the young grow complacent, having known only Imperial rule.

The dark side of this belief in the inherent supremacy of the Empire is the need to believe that others are inferior. For the Imperial citizen, if the Empire is great, then logic demands that all other powers and cultures must pale in comparison. This sentiment fosters a lack of curiosity in other cultures at best, and active hostility towards other cultures at worst.

The Empire has, at its core, a meritocracy absolutely corrupted by absolute power. When this meritocracy works, it promotes the skilled and ambitious over the untalented and lazy and rips asunder nepotistic ties. Once someone has risen to high rank and been granted absolute power over his dominion, once he has the ability to do whatever he wishes, then corruption begins to undermine even the best of men, and the lure of that absolute power drives the worst of men to do whatever they can to gain Imperial favor. This results in a thousand tyrants all across the Empire, from petty ministers to power-hungry admirals, kept in check only by the greater power of those above them.

This greed and corruption seeps out from the institutions that rule them and creates an apathetic cynicism among the populace, who begin to see that their institutions do not hold to the ideals promoted by the Empire, who begin to wonder why they should make sacrifices for an Empire who will not make sacrifices for them. The answer is, of course, because the Empire will crush you if you don’t. This truth creates a toxic mixture of genuine patriotism, from naive die-hards, and growing lip-service to and a mounting sense of fear of the growing power of the totalitarian government that increasingly controls every aspect of a citizen’s life. The downtrodden citizen must content himself with free health care, generous unemployment benefits, readily available entertainment, imperial pageantry, and a deep-seated awareness that if you speak up too loudly, the secret police will come for you and your family.

Philosophically, the Empire has abandoned the old ways of the Akashic Mysteries and does not tolerate alien faiths like True Communion. Instead, it officially endorses Neo-Rationalism, and its scientists and scholars enjoy a monopoly on the Empire's institutions, and the Empire actively encourages them to persecute ("enlighten") those who do not follow the philosophy. The Empire unofficially shows a great deal of leniency towards certain aspects of Ranathim philosophies like the Divine Masks; rumor has it that the Emperor himself, Ren Valorian, is secretly a member of the Cult of the Mystical Tyrant.

The Empire as an Organization

The Empire, like most governments, consists of multiple organizations all under the umbrella of Empire. To conduct its business, the Empire needs a security apparatus (to keep the people safe and to enforce the will of the Emperor), a strong military (to keep the Empire safe, and to exert the will of the Emperor on foreign powers), a bureaucracy (to collect taxes, to execute laws, and to manage the day to day running of the Empire).

Standing atop the Empire’s organizational hierarchy is the Emperor himself. He answers to no on, and has Rank 10 in all forms of organization associated with the Empire.

Beneath him are his three most important advisers: the Imperial Chancellor, the Grand Admiral, and the Emperor’s Hand. The Chancellor handles the day-to-day matters of the empire and runs the bureaucracy, in which he holds Administrative Rank 9. He is, ostensibly, the head of the Imperial Senate. The Grand Admiral commands the combined military might of the empire at the Emperor’s behest and has Military Rank 9. Finally, the Emperor’s Hand works directly with the Emperor to enforce his will on the Empire, to root out sedition or treachery, and to keep the rest of his organization in line. She runs the security apparatus and has Security Rank 9.

The subordinate organizations of the Empire break down into four larger groups.

  • The Imperial Ministry: In fact, a collection of bureaucracies, this represents the total sum of the Imperial bureaucracy that answers to the Chancellor. They have Administrative rank, and take up the tasks of handling taxes and governing commerce (Finance), handling propaganda efforts and catering to the Emperor’s obsession in archeology (Heritage), managing Imperial universities and expanding Imperial science (Science), and managing diplomacy and day-to-day affairs of the state, like deciding who has full citizenship (Affairs).
  • Imperial Security: Technically a branch of the Ministry of Justice, this Ministry has sufficient power to act as its own arm of the government. Security handles the safety of Imperial VIPs (including the Emperor himself, though he tends to split those duties with the Imperial Navy), investigates corruption and criminal activity, and deploys Special Agents who act as the Empire’s judge, jury and executioners.
  • The Imperial Navy: The huge military might of the Empire concentrates entirely here, in the Imperial Navy. This represents the sum of (hero’s) achievements in the military reforms of the Old Federation. They represent the face of the Empire to most of the galaxy, with their looming dreadnoughts and they’re well-armored soldiers. While this is technically governed by the Ministry of Defense, in practice, it is ruled by the Admiralty, a collection of all the Admirals of the Empire.
  • The Senate: Not truly an organization but an important institution within the empire for lending legitimacy to the Emperor. They have no real power, but may technically act as overseers of the ministries, elect a Chancellor, introduce new legislation and vote for or against any law. All of their decisions may be overridden by the Emperor, but in practice to do so constantly would undermine the purpose of the Senate, which is to lend legitimacy to the rule of the Emperor and to give citizens the illusion that their voice is heard. Thus, the Senate has real, if very soft, power.

The Empire itself is sufficiently large that each of its subordinate organizations each count as 30 point patrons, granting them a total of 10 levels of Rank.

Coordinating across the Bureaucracy

In principle, all agents of the Empire serve the whole Empire. In practice, each imperial agent serves their specific subsidiary organization, and can request assistance from other organizations under the broad umbrella of the Empire.

Characters who wish to gain assistance from an Imperial organization other than their own may make an Administration roll (with a penalty equal to the current adventure’s BAD) with Politics as a complementary roll, representing the ability to pressure other organizations into assistance. Success allows one to Pull Rank for a single purpose from that associated organization as though it was your own.

Imperial Agendas

The Empire stands on three pillars of virtue: security, equality and pride. The people of the Empire wish to be safe, they wish for a society where none have superior wealth or preferential legal treatment when compared to his neighbors, and they wish to feel a sense of pride in their great and grand state once more.

The Empire was born out of a time of chaos and fear, and so it promises its people security. Its huge armies march against the enemies of the Empire, those that threaten to rip open the delicate underbelly of the Old Federation. Meanwhile, its empowered police forces arrest those who would threaten to undermine that security from within. However, to maintain the constant sense of fear and paranoia necessary to justify their actions, the Empire must constantly have enemies. It needs reasons to invade foreign powers, or to have foreign powers attempt to invade them. It needs conspiracies and rebellions and criminal organizations to move against.

The Empire overthrew an aristocratic regime who benefited from preferential treatment, and it instead provides a system of equality. All are treated fairly under the rule of the Emperor. This agenda largely finished with the expulsion of the aristocracy, but Empire regularly undertakes actions to make it seem magnanimous, such as offering free medical care or generous unemployment benefits. Someone needs to pay for these, of course, the Empire created a new form of “equality,” where only some gain the true benefits of citizenship. And, naturally, to enact all of these reforms, the Empire needs to empower a few special individuals with more power than the rest…

Finally, the Empire seeks to restore the fallen Federation’s sense of pride. It supports enormous rebuilding projects and works hard to create beautiful and clean urban spaces, or to surround its citizens with the imagery of power. The empire brims with monuments to its values and its people, and its soldiers march the streets in polished uniforms.

To perform all of these acts requires enormous personal power. The Empire feeds into the notion that the state exists in a perpetual state of emergency, requiring extraordinary powers and extraordinary actions by a heroic elite. In fact, the rewards for service are great. When redistributing the wealth of the elite, or conquering a new world, or choosing who to arrest, high level officials have the opportunity to advance their own interests, and they do so. Slowly, those who believe in Imperial values fall in Darwinian competition to those who believe in their personal interests. The agenda of the empire becomes hijacked to become the agenda of ambitious officials; to prevent total breakdown of the system, the Empire often tries to hide this fact, but the Rebel Alliance springs on any opportunity to reveal the hypocrisy and confront the citizenry of the Empire with the truth.

Sample Agendas

  • The Empire draws up plans for a surprise invasion of an alien power. This consists of a military buildup (extra build requests, troop movements, logistical reorganization), an invasion plan, a post-invasion plan for administration (including where the spoils will go, what the legal status of the invaded people will be, etc), and plans to concoct casus belli, justifying the act of aggression as an act of defense.
  • An outspoken Senator has grown too popular with the people. He is, of course, ultimately powerless, but ignoring his rousing speeches and his senatorial bills will only draw undue attention to that fact. Killing him would make him a martyr. Instead, the Empire quietly fabricates a scandal, meant to portray the senator as a hypocritical opportunist, fomenting discontent to advance his own agenda, and it also works to fabricate evidence of conspiracy with the rebellion or some sinister criminal organization, making his arrest (and thus the undermining of his agenda) spectacular.
  • An imperial officer has been squeezing the local populace, skimming from the taxes and using his prerogative to appoint administrators to solidify his position. His unpopular policies have fueled rebellion and now a full uprising is beginning to mount. Rumors of unrest have brought the Ministry of Justice around, and their investigations could expose his corruption. Therefore, he works with his local allies and his underlings to hide evidence of his crime and to arrange for the assassination of Imperial Security agents at the hands of locals, thereafter pinning the murder on known rebel-sympathizers, and using the act as an excuse to crack down on the local populace.
  • A genuine threat to the Empire has emerged. Rebel forces have contacted a dangerous alien power, and both conspire to free a world from Imperial rule. The rebels work behind the scenes to sabotage the Empire and the aliens prepare an invasion force to “liberate” the world. The Empire must work quickly to unmask the traitors and then either navigate the politics of the Ministry of Defense to make sure a fleet arrives in time to save the world, or appeal directly to an admiral to act to defend the system.

Imperial Challenges

As an organization, the Empire is typically BAD -2 to -5. It’s disciplined enough to be at BAD -2 out even at the edges of its dominion, where its soldiers grow lazy and untrained and its security lax. Where the Empire is strongest, BAD rises to a steady -5. Around the Emperor himself, it rises to -8.

Physical Security

The Empire prefers to rely on a combination of superior industrial capacity, superior manpower, and omni-present surveillance to keep its installations secure.
First, the Empire typically constructs very large and imposing buildings around its points of defense. Even a military campaigning on a planet will typically include engineers who will build up some kind of fortification for when the military sleeps, resulting in impromptu bases an fortifications the military can retreat to if necessary. For handling materials, doors and gates tend to be Security and attached hardware tend to be Tough (see p21 of Action 2).

The Empire has more than enough soldiers and police forces to engage in patrols. These typically consist of between 4 and 10 men, who report in at regular intervals, usually once every 15 minutes or at checkpoints along their route. Killing a patrol will result in an investigation within 15 minutes.

The Empire also believes in ubiquitous surveillance. They prefer to construct their installations with long hallways allowing a single camera to watch long stretches of corridor. The Empire prefers to have every corridor monitored thus, but this might not always be practical. Naturally, humans watch these cameras, which means the destruction of a camera alerts watching guards that something has gone wrong, and that not all cameras are watched with perfect attention and, of course, that you can kill the people in a camera room to evade detection, though again, you've got at most 15 minutes until someone needs to check in again.

The Empire prefers electronic locks. It might use a number pad, but the most common lock requires a key-swipe. These keys might be issued to individuals, but they're often associated with their security chips (see below).

Information Security

The Empire typically uses huge, centralized mainframes with access terminals all throughout the installation. Local terminals have access to standard services (a map of the area) or local security concerns (the local work roster, access to local cameras or lock overrides), but no more than that. To hack a local terminal for anything more central than that (total system access, highly classified files, etc) is either impossible, or requires double BAD penalties. The central mainframe contains access to all information on all local terminals plus all vital and important information, which makes them the prime target for attack and are thus usually hidden at the heart of an installation, surrounded by thick walls and locked doors, and the Empire equips them with a self-destruct function that will ruin the computer and its data if the Empire decides they've been compromised (for example, an installation is being overrun).

Data can be transmitted to interstellar locations by the Imperial Data-Net. This involves relay stations, usually small stations (often completely automated or with only a few people) in orbit around a star. The destruction of a relay station can remove a system off from the Imperial Data-Net, but they usually have a few redundant stations and the Empire keep the locations of their Data-Net satellites secret.

The Empire uses a multi-tier coding system for its transmissions (Code White, Code Red and Code Black). Officers cleared for a given code level receive the necessary codes on a security chip that they carry with them, which looks like a thick, clear plastic card with colored stripes denoting its level of clearance. This security chip can be inserted into a console to gain access to higher security levels and is often used to unlock doors. The security chip also contains the officer's data, so the Empire records which person accesses which data. These codes are updated daily: the officer inserts his card into an encoder in the morning and receives his new codes.
The Empire uses this “security chip” concept all through its domain: all citizens need to have an identity chip, a card that they must carry with them that Imperial Security can check at any time to verify that they are who they say they are, as well as any other pertinent information the empire wants to keep on them (criminal record, etc). The chip, of course, does not carry that information directly, but rather, the imperial data-net has all the necessary information in their databases and the card contains an identifying sequence that points to the right entry. That means that you need to hack into an imperial database to change your credentials. Good luck!

Sometimes, imperial officials will issue temporary identity chips that directly contain of the necessary information on them. This is usually the case with things like tourist visas or temporary permits for new Security Agents or recent recruits, or any time there needs to be a stop-gap measure between the issuance of an identity chip (or a change to an identity chip) and an update to the central Imperial data core. Typically, once the change has been made, no new card is issued: the card contains identifying information that is only accessed if it's more recent than any database information found based on the card. These cards are checked at computers at stations, or run against hand-held devices and then signaled back to headquarters. The total time to run an identity chip is a minute or two at most. These temporary chips tend to be regular targets for forgery, so smart Imperial officials double check them.

Organizational Security

The Empire relies on its Identity Chips to prove identity. If someone has a chip that verifies who he says he is, most officials will simply believe you. The Empire's greater concern is treachery and disloyalty.

Imperial Security regularly deploys security agents who will audit officials suspected of criminal or seditious activity. Primary concerns are supporting the rebellion by any means or undermining imperial rule in some way (such as taking bribes). If found guilty, the Empire makes an example of the official by publicly executing him. Imperial Security is definitely allowed to commit torture to extract a confession, and thus the very presence of Security Agents often encourages cooperation. The Empire grants leniency to those who cooperate and allows them to maintain their dignity to some degree, depending on the severity of their crime: if you turn over the bribes you accepted, the Empire will certainly forgive your momentary lapse, but if you assassinated a high-level official, your fate is almost certainly sealed. The net result is that if one wishes to turn an Imperial official, he must be offered something sufficiently compelling to overcome his fear of Imperial Security, or he must be offered something that will allow him to escape justice.

Typical punishments include public execution or service in a labor camp (the Empire doesn't condone slavery, but it will force you to work to death extracting resources for the state if you break its laws). Lesser crimes typically just result in fines or imprisonment. If the Empire cannot go directly after a specific target, they can always find some lesser-known legal infraction to pin on a family member, and thus threaten to arrest a daughter, son, wife, etc: those who betray the Empire, even if they escape, inevitably find that Imperial justice will fall upon their friends, family and allies.

Psionic Security

The Empire demands all psychics register with Imperial Security. The aristocracy of the old Galactic Federation wielded psychic powers, as did the legendary Templars, and thus psychic power must be controlled "for the sake of the Empire." Most registered psychics find themselves under constant supervision and pressure to join with Imperial Security or Intelligence, or one of the various secret projects the Emperor has organized, such as Project Foresight. The Emperor also has an elite cadre of Imperial Knights, psychic space knights that answer directly to him. These move as imperial troubleshooters and special agents, with the ability to commandere any aspect of the Imperial organization to accomplish the will of the Emperor. They most often apply their talents to dealing with psychic threats that face the Empire, such as cults of Communion, criminal psychic organizations, ancient conspiracies, and worlds haunted with malevolent psychic energy.

The Empire also employs "fringe" Neo-Rational scientists who busy themselves developing anti-pscychic technology. They have already perfected power damper collars, which assists Imperial Security when arresting unregistered psychics.

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