Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Central Tharn Authority
Dominant Nation-State of Gollere
The central and controlling nation-state of System – Gollere, the Central Tharn Authority is the primary industrial and governing center of the planet. It boasts the bulk of the planet’s industries, most of its population, and is the site of the planetary starport.
Population : 17,500,000
Governor : The Mangai
Economy : Agricultural.
Tharn’s Old Capital Building
The government of Tharn is vested in The Mangai, the united council of planetary manufacturing and trade corporations, each of which holds a monopoly over some aspect of the economy. Although regular trade exists with the world, there is little traffic due primarily to the low technology of its industries, and rigid controls over off-world travel.
The nation sits just south of the equator, on the east coast of the Middle Sea, a salt-water body that dominates the central portions of the world. The northern band of the Thornwoods are dense and constantly filled with rainstorms and rugged, stringy growths of thornwood that have stalled exploitation of the region.
The coastal regions south of the Middle Sea are not well-suited to settlement, being swampy and a series of mud flats. The regions south-east of the coast, however, are known as the Middle Plateau, a well-watered, rich grassland that has taken well to agriculture, and hosts the bulk of the nation’s population, nearly 12,000,000 citizens. The Fountain Mountains rise east of this region, and host the headwaters of the Saltdragon River, the largest water-source that stretches through the plains to drain into the Middle Sea near the capital of Tharn.
Tharn Middle Plateau
Tharn is the trade hub of the planet; all the resource colonies of the planet ship their goods and resources (with a few exceptions) to Tharn, where it is either processed and returned, or shipped off-world under the direction of the Mangai.
Nationally, the Saltdragon River, the Middle Sea, and a well-developed series of roads provide a capable infrastructure in support of the nation’s economy and fuel its industrial might. Muddywater, the western-most town of significance, is considered the terminus of this road network, and the vital rail yards of this town are the beginning of the southern rail routes to the baronies of Kosk, Rivero and Crescent. The north-bound section of this railroad is still being constructed, but has reached the Barony of Slavia, though it consistently has difficulty in completing the other branches to Horn and Auverne. The short route to the Barony of Midshield is ancient and dates to the planet’s early efforts under the Star League.
To finance this extensive road and rail network, tolls can prove to be expensive, though registered corporate vehicles under the Mangai are exempt. Private vehicles in the nation are rare, however, so this makes a Mangai license extremely valuable, and is generally handed-down along family lines.
The nation has more going for it than simply being the nexus of international trade, however. Its mines in the eastern mountains produce much of the iron ore used in the planet’s industries, and its agricultural efforts allow it to export much of its grain harvest, and exotic Jugfruits to the colonies. Seafood is another important resource, and dominates off-world trade.
The capital is awash in foreign imports and exotic goods; cheap commodities like iron and grain pour into its markets from the resource colonies, and allow the nation to produce everything from textiles, consumer electronics (radios, calculators and primitive computers), munitions (assault rifles and light machine guns), industrial tools, engines and automobiles. Although some merchants from the Inner Sphere scoff at the tech level of these goods, such as the steam-autos, that dominate the local economy, more primitive worlds in the Periphery nearby respect the cheap costs of these goods, and they still find a market.
Tharn Market District
The people of Tharn speak a mix of Spanish, English, French and Esparanto, which have combined to give the planet a dialect that is somewhat confusing, but most English-speakers can muddle through local conversations. The region of Tharn has the second-highest literacy rate on the planet, behind the dominant education-oriented culture of The Duchy of Horn, and is important due to the needs of its increasingly industrial middle class.
The folk of Tharn are mostly simple farmers and fishermen. Many have worked the traditional farms of their family for many generations, though those found in the northern sections tend to be newer settlers; farmers in the south-eastern plains raise grain and cattle, while those of the north raise rice and Silt Beans from fire-cleared farms in the thornwoods. The rice fields around Muddywater and its extensive Jugfruit orchards are world-renowned for the size of their production. While those of the coastal portions are mostly fishermen, the rugged Fountain Mountains host mines and craftsfolk.
Typical Lady of Tharn
Typical of the world, women are often well-educated as mathematicians, scientists and accountants, while men are involved in the labour markets as common labourers, farmers and miners. A fair number of people, however, are employed to support the influx of resources from the resource colonies, making their living in trade, commerce and logistics. The capital of Tharn, is a bustling, glamorous city filled with intrigue and scheming merchants. Banking and insurance-underwriting businesses are the emerging economy of the nation, and bills or drafts from the central banks of the city are as good as gold anywhere on the planet.
The trappings of feudalism are common; most common workers are equated to peasants, and the leaders of industry in the nation are Lords in the very real aspect of the title; their landholds are extensive and tightly bound to the industry and finance of the nation. Nonetheless, the emerging middle class, mostly wealthy bankers and merchants, are beginning to rise in power and influence, even influencing the Lords of the Mangai.
While 20% of the population live on or near the towns of the nation, the rest of the population live in agricultural farms spread across the landscape. Most people are bound tightly to their marginal lands, and occupy about half the population. Land-owning commoners are about par in number with the growing craftsmen caste of the world, both living in close proximity to the towns and cities of the realm. The merchants live in the towns, but have little power (and usually no lands) outside of the the urban communities.
At the top of the caste system are the nobility; the Knights who serve as the nation’s military leadership, the Lords who control the Mangai, the Barons who rule over the resource colonies, and the Dukes, whose growing power over industrial development, gives them control of one or more colonies themselves. Only the Lords of the Mangai often hold land and power in the towns, and landholds in the rural regions, giving them the widest positions of authority and influence.
The general population prizes honesty, hard work and pride. The towns of Tharn are clean and generally safe places; the fields are well-kept and productive. Insults usually impugn a person’s honesty, the appearance of their home, or the quality of their work. The double standard of allowing graft and treachery as long as one accomplishes it with a degree of style and with a noble end in mind, seems out of place.
Tharn’s Government Archives
The rise of the towns as centers of commerce and off-world pressures from merchants seeking cheap goods, has shaped the ruling Mangai to establish its unwritten laws and constitution. A collection of solemn agreements, generally regarding trade, finance and resources, keep the Mangai from abusing its position, but the growing bureaucracy and the frequent assemblies of the nobility, are what is forging the nation into a true independent entity. Notions of democracy, equal protection under the law and other similar concepts are far from being enshrined in stone, however.
Until recently, the Mangai met and ruled from an austere palace nestled in the center of Tharn, the capital city. Five years ago, the seat of power suddenly changed to an abandoned monastery located near Midshield, and has become known as the place where the records of the early years of the world are kept in close proximity, to allow the Mangai to better rule over an increasingly complex system of laws and traditions. Many have begun to see it as a religious center for the Mangai.
Off-worlders will find dealing with the bureaucracy and officials of the Mangai unless they have either high status or contacts high in the Mangai. Bribery of Mangai officials can prove expensive; ruinous to the common man of the realm. Officials in the towns are often much easier to deal with (and cheaper); they are often greedier and far more willing to take a chance for interesting opportunities to establish their own monopoly, and status as a Lord. Unfortunately, these officials rarely have any sort of influence beyond the walls of their own community, and at best, can provide a letter of introduction to a friend in another community.
Tharn is a civilized nation; it has skilled diplomats, many spies, and a level-headed view of the world’s political status. However, it has its own share of grudges and wars, like any other world. Ancient feuds among the ruling Lords date back to the Mine Wars, and many of the present resource colonies appeal to the Mangai for justice or to soothe a forgotten claim to a lost resource or rediscovered title to some land or even whole populations of border villages.
Tharn Republican Guard
Tharn Republican Guard : In recent years, the Mangai has begun to assemble a private army, known as the Tharn Republican Guard. Recruited primarily from the local police force of the capital city Tharn, these troops are primarily to hold the capital city and its numerous important Mangai industries, from outside interference and piracy. Presently amounting to some three battalions of light infantry, they are being equipped with local small arms, but also imported Wheeled APC – “Amalek”-Classs, and are known to deploy tanks from an unknown source. They also have a growing fleet of RL-5A Quetzal and Titan Combat Helicopter aircraft in their arsenal.
This large military force has attracted a lot of attention, but is well-funded and deploys on patrols and in garrisons near important industrial areas on the outskirts of Tharn. They also attend to the defense of the Mangai when they are in session. They are still, however, recruiting, and continue to build themselves into a strong military force. This force differs greatly from the “provincial” noble battalions, through an increasing use of automatic weapons and heavy armor, something the nobles and “rural folk” are increasingly looking down upon as the growing “townie” militarism.
In addition to these forces, are numerous town militias, often no larger than a company of light rifle infantry militia, though some of the oldest often maintain their own armored personnel carriers, and can sport extensive fortifications of their town’s center. Some even hire mercenaries from time to time, to ensure their control over a regional resource site, or potential site of recovered technology.
There is a growing faction among the Lords of the Mangai to build the Guard ever larger, and even deploy BattleMechs, a sign that many middle-class merchants hint is being used as a means to ensure their monopoly over their own resources. Most merchants, however, demand a decrease in the costs of these military taxation, and seek to put their money instead into improved infrastructure and improvement in manufacturing technologies.