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Month Index: January, 1995

From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@?????.?????.com>
Date:     Mon, 30 Jan 95 15:04 PST
Subject:  Re: Empires in Spaaaace
While half-falling asleep in my history of Rome course I started thinking
about how people and civilization spread through Wildspace and the spheres.

Rome had a tradition of settling veterans in conquered land in order to
protect it from recapture.  Later, this tradition became a way for landless
soldiers to get land.  After great wars had been concluded, Rome would be
left with a huge army, which is a magnet for social turmoil.  They could either
disband the army and have a whole bunch of out of work people with no job
skills except slicing up people and robbing helpless (enemy) peasants or
they could find somebody new to go to war and plunder.

In a like manner, imagine a great war in space, where huge fleets are built,
and then the war is over.  Most of the ships can be used for trade, but
don't need anywhere near the huge crew and marines a warship needs in secure
space.  So, like Spain in 1492, having kicked out the Moors, the nation has
several thousand young men whose primary skill is the ability to ride a
spelljammer without becoming nauseous and kill people in space or on land.
So, you bundle these adventurers on a ship and send them off into
unexplored territory.  One of two good things can happen; one the adventurers
die, considering the temperments of some adventurer groups, the loss of a
spelljammer in order to permanently get rid of them is a good deal, and
two the adventurers find an interesting place to loot and send home nifty
toys to entice the next generation of hoodlums to get out of the nation's

So, the nation sends out exploration and colony ships, exporting a few
radicals who have unrealistic political ideas that threaten the stability of
the regime along the way.  Other nations are doing the same, periodicly
getting into little wars about whose colony is where, mostly fighting over
who has looting and pillaging rights where.

Eventually they meet other spacefaring nations like the elves, and while the
elves are powerful enough to sway the balance of power one way of the other,
the size of the navies these rival colonizers have to keep an eye on each
other could suddenly be turned on an outside foe, like the squabbling
European nations of the 17th century could unite versus the Turk.

What other ways do people spread through wildspace?  Religious persecution
could force a people to leave their homeland to search for a new place to
live, perhaps following a genuine divine vision of a promised land.
Perhaps the loser of a great space war, losing the ports and lands which
sustained the fleet takes the fleet on a quest for new lands, perhaps
colonizing along the way.

Thinking of the island people of the Pacific, perhaps the people has becomed
accustomed to living on small asteroids, ships with gardens, ports and the
clutter of wildspace.  Their ramshackle ships may be incapable of landing
on land or sea, but families live on them living off the life of Wildspace.
Perhaps, similar to the island people, they periodicly raid 'civilized'
areas, conducting raids for food and tools on groundling and colonies and
weakly defended ports.  Think of shiploads or convoys of Aperusa space gypsies
as pirates and wandering tribesmen of space.  To conquer them you need to
occupy every source of air they can raid from.

Every once in a while these space tribes split up, sometimes to settle
richer lands on planets, sometimes abandoning their spacer heritage,
perhaps still worshipping the gods of the open road.

A groundling campaign could take off with the befriending of a gypsy tribe,
then helping them on their quest to rejoin or recontact their brethren.

I have a silly technical question.  If a ship lands on an airless world that
doesn't have gravity, is the atmospere equalized between the world and
the ship, sucking all the air off?

Michael Sandy

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