The rise of House Intrepid
The Intrepid was a cryogenic ark ship sent out from Earth prior to the discovery of wormhole travel. It contained 5000 brave souls: a culturally and ethnically diverse mix of men and women, united only in their high IQs, breeding potential, perfect teeth and excellent hair. The ship never reached its destination—a planet long since settled by House Reeft. They were discovered deep in interstellar space, thawed out and pressed into service as Reeft vassals. Reeft rapidly decided that the Intrepids were more trouble than they were worth, and cunningly traded them with Gwyne in exchange for a stake in Sraa'na (the so-called "planet of hats").
House Gwyne, in turn, quickly tired of the Intrepids, and eventually settled them all on Arroyo, a land of windswept tundra and flash floods, where they joined the native Avestruz (sentient reptilian ostriches) in the hyperidot mines. Opportunities were few: the lifelong service of hard-working and loyal Intrepids might be rewarded by seeing their children trained as Gwyne manservants or Astro-Polo players. An underground resistance movement started, with humans and ostriches as equal partners, but the cause seemed hopeless. One by one the original Intrepids died off (lacking the longevity genes now common to the rest of the human race) and their stories of Old Earth were elevated to the status of legend.
Then, just six months ago, everything changed. The empire was rocked by political upheaval; Gwyne consolidated their forces on their home worlds, cutting back their garrison on Arroyo and promoting some Intrepids to take up the slack. The Intrepids and their Avestruz allies immediately grabbed their chance: the cruel Gwyne oppressors were overthrown in an astonishingly successful and relatively bloodless revolution. It's not clear whether this has quite registered yet on House Gwyne, but it can't be long before somebody notices that the hyperidot shipments have stopped...
Intrepid's newly-formed government uses an archaic system known as "representative democracy". There's a complex division of responsibilities between the Chamber of Cantons (578 members: 1-7 per settlement, weighted by population) and the Chamber of Coequals (121 members, elected via a complex party list system with proportional top-up). The Prime Minister is chosen from among the Coequals by a rota system, and serves for two months; the President is selected randomly from the population, and serves for a year. (As this system—based closely on records of the Old Earth government—has only been in place for six months, most agree that some fine-tuning may be needed. It has been pointed out that Old Earth had a population in excess of 20 billion, whereas Arroyo's population is only around 5 million.)
One of the new government's main priorities is modernizing and automating the hyperidot mines, so that ape and ostrich alike can live free from the blight of cave-ins, Crystal Lung, Miner's Beak and other such horrors. Intrepid is still behind the curve when it comes to technology; in an attempt to remedy this, the government has quietly formed the Dreamcatchers, who are tasked with obtaining technological and scientific advances by any means. (The Dreamcatchers are named after a famous Astro-Polo team; it's rumoured that some of the top Astro-Polo players were spying on other Houses even before the revolution.)
- Diplomacy: Average
- Exploration: Good
- Industry: Average
- Military: Good
- Research: Average
- Trade: Bad
- Fiercely-Independent: The Intrepid set out to be self-sufficient, and they have not forgotten their roots. They are generally capable of taking care of themselves, although it can make it difficult for them to accept the help of others.
- Remembrances of Better Days: The House tends to remember life before The Empire quite fondly; this has led them to unusual decisions about politics, native rights, fashion, etc.
People of interest
Humans tend to have heroic names from Earth's long history. Avestruz traditionally don't have personal names, instead using a complex system of multi-layered pronouns; however, many of them have adopted exciting names based on Old Earth's legendary dinosaurs.
Purple Barney (avestruz): the chief military leader of the revolution. Peerless in guerilla tactics and battlefield improvisation.
Seve Ballesteros (human, Iain 's PC) and Ultrasaurus Rexx (avestruz): top goal-scoring duo in the Arabian Knights, one of the leading Astro-Polo teams. In the off season, the Knights tour nearby planets and play exhibition matches. Rexx and Seve are rumoured to be Dreamcatchers.
Joan Rivers, also known as Joan of Ark (human): oldest living Intrepid, and one of the few remaining crew of the original ship, where she was Chief Saxophonist. Has a seat in the Chamber of Coequals. She was originally voted in as the first Prime Minister, but declined, saying that a younger and more dynamic person was needed; nevertheless, she's said to be a major force in the inner councils of the revolutionary government.
Tony Gojira (avestruz): the current Prime Minister. A sharp, upwardly-mobile avestruz, and one of the original ringleaders of the revolution. He spent several years as the personal mount of the Gwyne governor. Some complain that he's spent too long in human surroundings and has forgotten his roots, but most agree that he's one of the key links holding the humans and avestruz together.
Bob Charlemagne (human): the current President. A taciturn hyperidot miner, he wasn't all that happy to be selected at random for high office; but after a few weeks of banquets, ambassadors' receptions, concerts, state visits and gifts from nearby Houses, he decided he'd just have to make do.
Bram Lincoln Continental (human, Roger's PC): One of the key figures behind the successful revolution, Bram Lincoln Continental helped unite the human rebels under the flag of Purple Barney.
Seve Ballesteros (Iain)
Renowned Ultra-Polo star, galactic playboy and party animal. Unusually for an Intrepid, he has spent years mingling with the cream of Imperial society, so he's at home in any company; as such he's the de facto ambassador, until the revolutionary government gets around to appointing somebody who's actually qualified. His only weaknesses are gambling, loose women, recalcitrant machines and anything that involves reading a book.
- Great (+4)
- Socializing (Senate)
- Weapons (Exotic - Astro-Mallet)
- Good (+2)
- Socializing (Other)
- Weapons (Other)
- Bad (-2)
- Centre of Attention - With his confident swagger and dazzling smile, Seve makes heads turn every time he walks into a room. He's also a master of loudly dropping a hilarious faux pas just as there's a lull in the conversation, at precisely the opportune (or inopportune) moment.
- Care to make a small wager on that? - Seve is an inveterate gambler (usually successful when betting on himself in Astro-Polo, rather less consistent otherwise). He can't resist a bet—the more ridiculous the prize, the better—and is skilled at needling other people into joining in.
- Ultrasaurus Rexx - Seve's moderately loyal reptiliavian sidekick. Big and scary, good in a scrap, runs like the wind, never seen without a cigar. He's also a far better Astro-Polo player than Seve himself, but as always, the guy in the Astro-Saddle gets all the credit. Other planets being less enlightened than modern Arroyo, he tends to spend most of his time being pampered in the stables when the duo are touring.
- Could you sign this for me? - As the most charismatic and exciting player of his generation, a man who has almost single-handedly (Rexx doesn't have hands) brought the once-genteel sport of Astro-Polo back into fashion, Seve has fans in the unlikeliest places. He always treats his fans well and absolutely never turns down the opportunity to do a signing. His party trick is tattooing his signature onto young women with both hands tied behind his back.
Bram Lincoln Continental (Roger)
One of the key figures behind the successful revolution, Bram Lincoln Continental helped unite the human rebels under the flag of Purple Barney. He has spent most of his life among the avestruz tribes.
- Great (+4)
- Socializing (Avestruz)
- Good (+2)
- Socializing (Other)
- Weapons (Blasters)
- Weapons (Primitive)
- Weapons (Exotic)
- Bad (-2)
- Popemobile - custom-built mecha walker unit, previously a mine driller/loader, abandoned by House Gwyne. Has various weaponry hapzardly welded on. Cannot fly, but runs fast enough to keep up with wheeled vehicles and hovercars.
- Sock Puppet Maestro - Much of avestruz communication is non-verbal, and relies on body parts that most humans don't have. Bram invented and implemented a complex system of sock puppets, headdresses, flashing lights, and pheromone squirt bottles that allow him to speak, more or less, in native avestruzian.
- Lives on Sand and Dewdrops - His years of living as a slave miner and then an underground resistance fighter has inured Bram to hardship. He dislikes most of the trappings of comfortable (human) society.
- Eeeagh, Iron Bird - Bram doesn't know much about modern technology, and it tends to freak him out a bit.
Check out the big list of named things at the House Intrepid Nomenclature page.
The Ministry of Truth has produced several education posters.
About twelve years ago, someone discovered that the planet contains an abundance of hyperidot, one of the crystals required for tri-axis drive operation. Prospectors flocked to the region, putting pressure on the local government to maintain control. The Intrepid Rangers were formed to bring peace and order to the wild mining towns.
Technologies and equipment typical to House Intrepid: cavalry (mounted on other large indigenous bipedal quasi-birds), blasters of all sorts, obsidian vibraswords, smaller-than-usual spaceships generally in private hands, medical treatments based on cryogenic stasis, other stuff considered antiques by the Empire.
They are still behind the curve when it comes to technology; a lot of things that would be done by droids on any civilized planet are still done manually here, including the dangerous mining of hyperidot. In an attempt to remedy this, the government has quietly formed the Dreamcatchers, who are tasked with obtaining technological and scientific advances by any means.
- Meat Popsicles
- Back in MY day, we did things differently.
- Don't ask me how it works.
- When it doubt, hit it with a big rock.
- Emperor? I didn't vote for you.
- Thanks, but I'll do it myself.