Zebulon’s Guide to the Rim

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Author's Note: The Zebulon’s Guide to the Rim Project was a collaboration of the fans at the http://starfrontiers.us site to expand and bring greater detail to the material in Zebulon’s Guide. While I have a writer’s credit for this series of articles there were innumerable people that participated in the discussions of numerous threads in the project forums. I functioned more as a facilitator of the discussion and compiler and editor of the material developed. I am very grateful to everyone that participated and made this project a success. Thank You.

This is the first of several articles on the Rim to be published in future issues of the Frontier Explorer.

Thomas Verreault

by Tom Verreault

The Rim Coalition

The Government of the Rim is officially a loose confederation of sovereign planets bound together by treaty for mutual protection against the sathar. Every planet elects representatives to the Board of the Rim Coalition (referred to as The Board) based on population density. Worlds with heavy populations elect three representatives, while worlds with moderate populations elect two and worlds with light populations elect one. All told there are now thirteen worlds electing 28 representatives.

In addition, the home world of each of the Rim’s sapient species; ifshni, humma, and osakar, appoint an Adjudicator to represent their respective species. The role of the Adjudicators, in practice, is to review and rule on matters passed by the Board that may intrude on the sovereignty of member worlds. In practice the Adjudicators are a supreme court. The appointed Adjudicators give the racial home-worlds inordinate influence in the Coalition government. They also decide which representatives sit on the military and on political committees of the Board.

The military committee of the Board of the Rim Coalition is the civilian control overseeing the Flight, the military arm of the Coalition. This committee meets much more frequently than the political committee. It has established command and control structures that provide the Flight with a unified command during time of war.

Due to clauses in the foundational treaty of the Rim Coalition (the Osaka Accords), all of the member species of the Rim have aggressively developed new real estate through exploration and terraforming. Each colonized planet that is at light population levels and above generates new seats on the Board. Currently the humma home system has eight representatives on the board and both the ifshni and osakar have six each. This grab for political influence has pushed the species of the Rim to develop new planets regardless of the cost and is the reason that the Rim contains systems with some of the densest inhabited real estate in known space.

While the de jure government of the Rim is the Board, the de facto power behind it, in many ways, is the Capellan Free Merchants (CFM). The CFM had been, without a doubt, the driving force in the Rim economically, politically, and militarily for decades before the organization of the Rim Coalition and is likely to continue to be so for a long time to come. Its most significant achievement in defense of the Rim was the standardization of parts and equipment among its member planets and their militaries.

Racial Agendas within the Rim Government

The humma desire to dominate the Rim by planet ownership and the ifshnit are seeking to dominate by business interests which lead the two races to occasionally clash. Caught between them is the osakar. However, they are politically astute enough to manipulate the other races for the greater good. The osakar have little interest in humma expansion or ifshni profits. Their goal is to keep the humma in check and the ifshnits from monopolizing. Here then are the three parties of the coalition and their motives. The ifshni are fiscal conservatives, the humma are aggressive exploiters and the osakar are the peace makers.

The osakar wanted a constitution, while the humma see other forms of government not their own as ineffective or weak and the ifshnit preferred contracts for everything.  In the end they got a representative government, settled with treaties and contracts from the humma and ifshnit. The Rim Coalition works today probably out of fear of the sathar more than for any other reason though the osakar are proving they are the most astute diplomats in known space.

The Flight

The Flight evolved out of the Capellan Free Merchants, having adopted doctrine, organization, and ship designs. The CFM continues as a separate organization focused on its own economic pursuits while the Flight has taken up the banner of first line of defense in the Rim.

The Flight's mandate is the protection of the Rim's signatory star systems but the treaties with the UPF allow for its deployment to UPF space in time of war. The Osak system, being the astrographic hub of the Rim, the capitol of coalition government, and a historic first line of attack for the sathar, made this system the logical location for the Flights headquarters. This system is the center of Flight logistics, ship building, and it is the single largest single concentration of Flight vessels.

The Kazak system is another major base for the Flight with extensive planetary and moon bases but only a small task force of ships is stationed there. Cryxia, being further out on the jump routes and younger lacks the military infrastructure of Kazak and thus has a large fleet stationed there. It's strategically located to watch over this important system and respond to sathar incursions in the outer Rim systems.

Capella and Fochrik have strong indigenous defense forces which permit the Flight to post smaller task forces there. With the large Flight presence one jump away at Osak it would seem that these systems are well enough covered against sathar attacks until the Flight can respond.

Fochrik Flight Works Springblade-class Patrol Combatant

The Flight began to chart its own course independent of the path set by the CFM soon after its organization. Recognizing that armed merchant/paramilitary designs were unsuitable for its purposes, they introduced the Springblade Class patrol combatant design. An inexpensive but capable ship design that could be built in planet based ship yards and be launched into space, it quickly became a workhorse military vessel in the Rim.

HS: 4       HP: 15  

ADF: 4    MR: 4       DCR: 60

Crew: 15

Weapons: PL(×4)*, LB TT(×1) or HARM(AR)(×5)

Defenses: RH, MS(x1)

Engines: 2 Atomic "A"

*All four PLs are forward firing and fire-linked for 2d10 damage.

The Springblade-class patrol combatant is the workhorse of the Flight and the various militias within the Rim. Though relatively fragile for its size, the vessel boasts an arsenal of weapons comparable to a Space Fleet frigate, with the same maneuverability and acceleration.

Rank Structure of the Flight

The officer ranks of the Flight reveal a clear influence from the ifshni and the CFM. With two of the worlds in the Capella system having large bodies of water, the ifshni have a strong maritime tradition which was carried on in their space services. Thus the Ifshna word for captain, shipmaster, has made its way into the vocabulary of all the Rim races.

The Flight, like the Capellan Free Merchants, favors officers from the Pilot and Astrogator career tracks for higher command. This is not to say that officers from the other career tracks cannot attain higher command, though it is less likely.

Enlisted Ranks

Spacer (3rd thru 1st rank), Sub Talon (3rd thru 1st rank), Chief Talon, Senior Talon, and Senior Talon of the Flight.

Officer Ranks

Pilot* Apprentice, Pilot*, Leading Pilot*, Pilot* Major, Shipmaster (2nd & 1st rank), Squadron Master, Group Master, Wing Master, and Flight Master.

(* substitute Astrogator, Gunner and Engineer for Pilot as per those career tracks).

A Note on HARM Technology

When the CFM first discovered the humma they encountered the “humma swarm” which was essentially a swarm of fighter craft which could easily outgun single star ships of larger hull sizes. Due to the occasional hostile negotiations between the humma and the CFM the CFM needed a counter to swarms of fighters.

What they developed was the HARM, Hyper-velocity Anti-ship Reaction drive Missile for both the assault rocket and the rocket battery weapon’s platforms. They cost a little more than the standard munitions used in assault rocket launchers and rocket batteries but have an increased Damage Table Modifier (DTM) that skews the damage toward hull hits. This almost guarantees that HARM munitions are a one shot one kill against a fighter.

If you are not using the damage table from the advanced game then all hits by HARM munitions should automatically take a fighter out of the game.