Agents Of Empire/Houses
The Houses are the major political/economic entities in the empire. The following Houses are known to exist (or might, since we're still in the brainstorming phase):
House Advantage: An ultra-new house, created when a loose association of bright young things in the Imperial administration pulled off a brilliant political manoeuvre that gained them some substantial and lucrative Imperial possessions (and, in the process, seriously irritated several of the larger Houses). The problem was that their plan didn't extend much further than that; they have no standing military, a skeleton administrative service and a rather unclear idea of who's in charge and what the next objective is. The most probable outcome is that Advantage will collapse through infighting, organisational chaos and the depredations of Gwyne and Reeft; but a good many smaller Houses would like to see them survive at least for a while.
- Members: maga, katre
- Good Research, Good Exploration; Bad Military
House Aramin: A small, young house which just broke off of House Sulei less than a century ago. Despite -- or perhaps because of -- their small size, they've shown remarkable rate of technological development in that short time, and thus proved to be a very important player in the alliance against House Gwyne.
- Members: vimes, Jota, Lucian
- Good Industry, Good Research; Bad Diplomacy
House Intrepid: An oddity; the Intrepid was a cryogenic ark ship sent out prior to the discovery of wormhole travel. They were discovered and thawed out about a century ago; since then, the crew has attempted to carve out its own place in this strange new future. Tend to have quaint notions about democracy and personal freedoms. Generally hard-working, stubborn, and independent.
- Members: Roger, Iain
- Good Military, Good Exploration; Bad Trade
House Prime: One of the oldest -- and once one of the most powerful -- member Houses of the Empire, House Prime has long since fallen to ruins. Its several star systems are now mostly populated with abandoned colonies and derelict technology, fallen long ago into disrepair. Its capital planet, Earth, has been devastated multiple times by global wars, environmental catastrophes and natural disasters. Now, it is home to only a few million survivors trying to eke out an existence.
- Members: Ghogg, Matthew
- Good Diplomacy, Good Research; Bad Industry
House Raix: Ancient, proud and formal; clings to (their view of) the Empire's traditions and formalities and ritual. A shell of a House, with no (or no known) economic or military might to bring to bear and no holdings or posts worthy of note; nonetheless, commands an unusually high degree of respect among other houses.
- Members: baf, Fang, Duchess
- Good Diplomacy, Good Trade; Bad Military
House Gwyne: Large and corrupt and powerful, recently forced to back off a bit but don't expect they'll take it lying down.
House Reeft: Feudal enemy of House Gwyne.
House Jayce: Small vassal house of Gwyne, picked wrong side of previous war, and now chafing under the leash of its master. Recently came into ownership of [something], that they think can swing the situation in its favour. Apparently weak, but developing a slightly unsavoury reputation for cunning and subtlety, vehemently denied by house representatives.
House Grazene: Named for the Grazene binary star system. After an extended period of stability, mysterious deaths in the ruling family have let the throne pass to a young, inexperienced prince. Maximillian Tn''pkgn Leopoldius IV (as he titled himself) has since made a series of foolish decisions, severely weakening the House's reputation, military power and reputation. He is desperate to claw back what he's lost, and the wormholes may be his last opportunity to do so.
House Taba: An auxiliary, subcontractor House, which gets along by providing ultra-specialist services, flag-of-convenience cover and proxy actions for other Houses. Taba's territorial possessions are small and scattered, and its military is mostly composed of small, highly specialised units, so its survival depends on being useful to lots of other Houses without becoming bound to any particular one. Taba's strength lies mostly in its manpower; aggressive recruitment is one of its major activities, and a slight majority of House members are former recruits. The House ethos is generally suspicious of large, permanent properties like planets.
The Bedpan Empire: Six hundred years ago, the Empire underwent a complicated but relatively bloodless succession struggle. Nobody cares about that now except the Bedpan Empire, so-called by everyone except Bedpanners. For the most part, the Bedpan functions very much like a minor House, albeit a weirdly conservative one; they largely retain the culture of the Empire of about a half-millennium ago, although they're flexible on the more crucial technologies. Despite not formally recognising the reigning Emperor's legitimacy, they somehow manage to function as one of its vassals -- largely due to a diplomatic service famed for its tact, its dry sense of humour and its suicide rate.
House Krazybuys: In recent decades, the Krazybuys Corporation rose from nothing to become one of the largest retail chains in the Empire, handling everything from fast food to small spacecraft, all at low, low prices. Their secrets to success: aggressive advertising and political favoritism. Following a spectacularly successful quarter, they essentially bought their way onto the Senate, where they are resented and feared by the older houses. Unabashedly venal, with no interest in the rituals of Empire, they may be the way of the future.
House Kresht: Kresht has remained a stable member of the Empire for several millennia. It follows a philosophy of "fortification, not expansion". Thus, while it has always been a small House, it has maintained itself as a formidable anchor in its region of the galaxy, and has often been courted by other Houses as a military ally. It is by luck more than anything else that it has come into control of a wormhole, and some Kreshtian leaders are wary of the potentially destabilizing influence it could have.