Battletech Strata

The concept for Strata predates the Hellstroms Hellions game but I adapted it for that game. This resulted in what I will refer to as Battletech Strata for now.

The Battletech setting sees technological wonders side by side with a infighting human civilization falling slowly from the glories of a prior golden age. In the orthodox setting, one major drive to keep advanced technology (like fusion power and battlemechs and energy weapons) is the constant warfare.

In the case of Strata however, the option to regress back to older technologies (such as internal combustion engines) is absent due to the planet’s lack of fossil fuels (due to the planet’s vastly smaller pre-colonisation biosphere).

One (stupid) aspect of the Battletech setting is that for no apparent reason it’s hard for planets to maintain their technological level without support from the home-world of the different stellar empires and nations. Why should a planet with a population to Earth’s in the 19th or 20th century but not wracked by global conflict (like Earth) have a harder not easier time maintaining advanced civilization? A border world that’s often fought over, sure, but why should relatively peaceful core worlds fall to subsistence agriculture at the drop of a helmet? So I elected to largely ignore this idea, and have Strata be a bastion of advanced technology rivaling that of the homeworld of their nation (which was the Federated Suns ).

I placed the world somewhat out of the way, to explain why it was only occasionally touched by the ongoing Succession Wars.

I also plugged the hereditary rulers of the planet into the nobility (not royalty) of the http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Federated_Suns

I added some academic rivalry and animosity between Strata and the distant homeworld, with the people of Strata attempting to prove their capability and the homeworld dismissing them as just an uppity province. This was also an attempt to explain the orthodox / cannon version where outlying worlds aren’t regarded as technological capable…what if it’s just core-world snobbery and elitism?

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Technology:

Fusion power is common in the Battletech setting, and so the colonists efforts to overcome the difficulties of the planet were rarely limited by power generation. The difficulty of navigating or communicating in The Fog was a more pressing challenge and resulted in a number of solutions such as chains of repeater-beacons for large fusion powered vehicles, allowing transport between settlements and communications to be relayed where conventional signals would not reach that far through the fog.

A tendency to environmentally seal structures and vehicles was present, along with a number of psychological problems with prolonged occupation of the Lowlands.

The construction of a monorail link (and a proper road) as well as power conduits and water pipeline linking The Mining Settlement (in this case named Argyre ) and the nearest Midlands city was an added pressure increasing the instability of the resource boom due to The Mining Settlement in the Lowlands. This was set to greatly speed up the Lowlands expansion and the mining (and water) boom since all the Landtrains and other vehicles needed to transport two and from Argyre would be freed up for post-Argyre work.

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Politics:

The following text is the political overview for Strata in the Hellstrom’s Hellions / Operation Raven game.

Political Overview:

Strata is a constitutional monarchy ruled by a duke or duchess with counts or countesses ruling most of the individual continents. These form the ‘inner court’ of the duke or duchess.

The people are represented by a senate which composed of democratically elected representatives. In practice and by tradition, barons or baronesses feature prominently among the senators. The balance between senate and duchy vary depending upon the ruler and the chancellor of the day and the power-sharing balance they determine. A weak royal ruler will result in more powers for the senate in practice, and be required only to give final approval to the senate’s decisions, while a strong royal ruler can bend the senate to a virtual administration branch enacting royal edicts. The limited number of baronies on Strata is the only limiting factor for nobility elected to the senate, except that the constitution forbids the chancellor from holding a noble title.

Whether or not a baron or baroness holds a seat in the senate, they form the ‘outer court’ advising the duke or duchess, and the smaller ‘provincial courts’ advising the count or countess ruling their continent.

Lower levels of politics are dedicated to administration of local affairs not continental or planetary issues. Some regions and settlements will have a democratically elected leader, others a hereditary ruler with the rank of baron or baroness.

The general theory is that hereditary rulers provide continuity, stability, and long term planning while democratically elected rulers provide representation for the people, bring new ideas and energy, and a sense of urgency to addressing short term problems.

Although not part of the government, the corporations of Strata are powerful and organized. A shortcoming of democracy is that the rich and powerful become the only candidates capable of competing effectively in elections, and become over-represented in government. Corporate interests and influence in the political structure of Strata is therefore significant.

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Naming Convention:

I shamelessly lifted names from Greek and Roman mythology for the naming of continents and cities on Battletech Strata as this was fast and a way to convey subtle (and not so subtle) hints about why the colonists of the planet chose those names. This was presented (in game) as a tradition that took hold historically and was continued over successive generations.

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