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by Pete Grey

Novoterre is a pleasant, Earthlike world located about three parsecs from the Imperial/Regency border along the Urnian Main. Possessing almost no axial tilt, and a long growing year thanks to its long orbit around its F5V primary, the world should be one of the gems of Foreven, a major trade and agricultural center. And it would be, if human greed and folly didn't stalk its progress.

The worlds first human settlers were Solomani of mixed French and Italian descent who settled the world around -290. Further waves of settlement continued for another 100 years, in many cases subsequent surges of more technologically advanced marauders attempting to carve out petty empires. By the time the Third Imperium had been founded, the world had broken down into anarchy, its potential spilled across the ground. Its inhabitants regressed into Iron Age barbarism, and all knowledge of its technological past forgotten. IISS contact teams reached the world in 331, and the world was interdicted to protect it from further piracy. In retrospect, the Imperium's patronage was not motivated by humanitarian concerns so much as economic and political ones. Surveys had indicated the world's potential wealth, but its close proximity to Zhodani controlled space ruled out major development. In the aftermath of its period of wars, the world was divided between several large empires that uneasily coexisted with each other. Many of these nations still had a memory of their technological past, and seemed amenable to outside contact.

Under the cover of its interdiction, the Imperium posted "bootstrap" teams to these nations. These teams advised the local potentates and assisted their technological recovery, in exchange for exclusive Imperial access to their mineral and agricultural resources. Leaders that did not cooperate with, or actively opposed these advisors were assassinated, overthrown, exiled or faced invasions by their neighbors. Naturally the Zhodani and their Avalar allies were incensed at this meddling for political and humanitarian reasons, and infiltrated their own agents and material to anti-Imperial nations. This manipulation led to the elevation of militant factions, creating a severely regressive group of nations intent upon conquest and domination.

Eventually the enmities that were cultivated by these outside sources took on a life of their own. Two major power blocs emerged, the pro-Imperial Maelstrom League and the independence minded Iridian Feoderate, who waged globe spanning wars on their own initiative, oftentimes to the detriment of their patrons' own plans. A local renaissance in basic sciences and technological development led, accompanied and were abetted by these conflicts. Even though Imperial-Zhodani hostility died down in the period following the outbreak of the Imperial Civil War, it had no measurable impact upon local dynasts and their military brinkmanship.

As hostilities escalated, and several nations acquired nuclear technology, the Regency lifted the interdiction and imposed its will upon the warring nations. A large Regency naval base was constructed in orbit to serve notice to the warring nations where the ultimate arbitrage existed. Tensions have simmered down considerably since then, but the underlying causes still remain, and petty espionage and small brushfire wars continue to rage.

The most significant nations of Novoterre are:

United Kingdom of Ferrond (Pop: 1,180,000,000): Largest and most powerful of Novoterre's nations. Leader of the Iridian Feoderate in pre-Collapse period, but now a good friend of the Regency. Ferrond is ruled by a hereditary monarchy, the current dynasty being over 700 years old. Ferrond dominates an entire continent by itself, centered within the worlds equatorial belt. The country is heavily industrialised, and is currently advancing to TL 9 at a very fast pace. Politically the state is regressive, even anachronistic, and is increasingly outpaced by the Kingdoms' rapid urbanisation and development.

Magnus Imperium (Pop: 970,000,000): Ferrond's chief rival and leader of the Maelstrom League. Magnus is located at the edge of Noveterres southern temperate latitudes, and is primarily dry savannah and cool steepe. Magnus was heavily victimised in the past by offworld marauders, making it a swaggering expansionistic state with a history of military aggression and intervention against its neighbors. While the state is heavily industrialised, the ownership structure is lopsided towards the monarchy and its supporting nobility, creating widespread poverty. This deprivation not only keeps the Imperium's diverse population under control, it also creates hard feelings among the common people that are rechanneled into martial pursuits.

New Ferrond Coalition (Pop: 500,000,000): Former overseas colony of the UKF, and now a premier power in its own right. While ostensibly a unified monarchy along the lines of its parent, poor internal communications placed most actual power within the nobility. This has led to long periods of civil war between factions, and has undermined its economic development and political integration.

Lateran Council (Pop: 420,000,000): Religious state bordering upon Magnus. The Council is ruled by a parallel structure of both secular and religious authorities. It has a long history of domination by Magnus, and has fought numerous wars of independence against their neighbors. Currently a reluctant member of the Maelstrom League. It was the LC that sparked the renaissance in Novoterre's sciences and learning, and is the most democratic and progressive of its nations. It obedience to the League is insured by the heavy presence of Magnusian troops within its border provinces.

Forenza Republic (Pop: 400,000,000): Extreme southern state within Novoterres frigid taiga zone. Forenza was settled by, and is currently populated by the descendants, of encroaching marauders. Forenza and Magnus therefore have a long history of bitter enmity. However, that enmity has diminished in favor of shared self-interest, and the Republic is a strong supporter of the Maelstrom League. Forenzan troops are infamous for their toughness and fanaticism in battle, and are often used as shock and security troops in Maelstrom occupied lands.

Paladinate (Pop: 330,000,000): Oppressive military dictatorship located near Magnus-Lateran. Founded out of the conquest of states previously ravaged by Magnusian and Forenzan aggression. Many of these states joined willingly after centuries of military ravaging. Pro-Iridian.

Bergandine (Pop: 275,000,000): Renegade section of UKF that seceeded in 945. The Alliance is a coalition of powerful nobility and warlords opposed to offworld contact, mostly because they harbor vague dreams of interstellar conquest at the expense of the existing stellar communities. While isolationist, the local lords often hire large contigents of offworld mercs to train their forces in "superior" space tactics.

Welles-Corundum (Pop: 210,000,000): Large coalition of independent city-states inconveniently located between Magnus-Lateran and the NFC. Consequently it has been invaded and occupied on numerous occasions. Currently it is under Maelstrom control. Hyphenated name is the artifact of its previous existence as two seperate countries, before amalgamating together in 1081. Despite constant attacks, locals have become inured to occupation, and show considerable skill in rebuilding. Novoterre's largest downport is located near the capitol city of Sapphire.

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