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Old 09-07-2018, 08:48 AM   #21
Astromancer
 
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Default Re: Space Opera Factions

Why not have Ansible communications. You can build in interesting limits and those running the Ansibles are another faction. And as the ones controlling communications, a potentially powerful one.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:53 AM   #22
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Default Re: Space Opera Factions

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China as a model for a good Empire was the idea I was pushing. It would be unexpected and fun.
David Wingrove's Chung Kuo novels might be an interesting basis for Chinese Imperial Sci-fi.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:46 PM   #23
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Default Re: Space Opera Factions

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I'm pretty sure the Bene Gesserit was mostly an evil faction.
I was describing them as a good/lively choice, not as women of virtue and saintly lives. I see them as brutal witches disguised as nuns. Still, although I see their technophobic, anti-democracy, brutally elitist, and profoundly dishonest behavior as evil,
Technophobic the Bene Gesserit are not. In the first novel, Reverend Mother Mohiam actually comments that the bad situation the Empire finds itself in is compounded by the technophobia of the current culture. The BG use high-0speed computers in secret even during the height of the Butlerian prohibitions.

The BG are master manipulators, they'll use whatever cultural situation is in play at the time for their own ends, but they aren't themselves technophobic (they probably share some of the objections of the Butlerian Jihad to how the tech was being used, though, just as Leto II himself did).

As for empires, the same empire can be a force for good, for evil, for law and order and for oppression, all at the same time, in different places, esp. if interstellar communication and travel are slow or expensive.

A good worked example of an empire that is benevolent 'from a certain POV' would be the Empire of Man in The Mote In God's Eye and related Pournelle novels.

The EoM is dedicated, as a matter of official policy, to politically unifying the human race, by persuasion if possible, but by force where necessary. 'No' is not an acceptable long-term answer to a request to join the Empire.

The Empire is theocratic to a point (officially Christian) but allows extensive freedom of worship on the subject worlds.

They bring their conquered worlds law and order, with reasonably humane laws, and they bring advanced agriculture, medicine, and other benefits of high-technology civilization to worlds that in many cases have backslid to Stone Age levels.

OTOH, the large hereditary component in its constitution brings with it the potential for all the usual issues of hereditary authority, and the great noble families are always looking for new territories for younger offspring. The Empire will not permit secession, responding to the threat of such by force up to and including planetary sterilization.

Is the EoM good or evil? Oppressive or liberators? It depends very heavily on your point of view, as Kenobi might put it.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:57 PM   #24
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Default Re: Space Opera Factions

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
Been working on something like this for a while, as part of a primer for the space opera genre. (While the following uses GURPS terminology, they can fit any system.) I'm trying to touch upon the usual various factions encountered in space opera settings from the past 40-50 years, but I'm not sure I've got things situated or worded properly. I've also got that nagging feeling I'm forgetting someone.


Space Opera Factions


What am I missing?
The opposite of the primitives. The Advanced:

This can mean a race or group of races with access to technology substantially beyond what is available to the rest of the setting. It can also mean beings so old and advanced that they seem to have personal powers on the same order as (at least) demigods.

Usually, The Advanced are aloof (because they are so powerful that if they aren't, they dominate everything), only communicating with their lessers in special case situations. There may be competing factions of The Advanced, in which case they may not be quite so aloof because they cancel each other out, leaving room for others to play.

There can be degrees of The Advanced, of course, there might be a race that has access to technology a century ahead of the rest, faster ships and stronger defenses and more powerful weapons, richer and longer-lived, but still comprehensible, and beyond them there may be god-like beings higher above them than they are above the rest, too.

Related to but different than The Advanced, The Cosmic Beings: These aren't more advanced races, these are entities that are somehow inherently above the other races, often portrayed as a sapient natural force of some kind, bordering on being true gods.

Along with Empires and Federations, there are the Lone Worlds, or sometimes it might be a Lone System, but the point is that it's a small, independent state limited either to one world or a local star system, but not usually much bigger. Lone Worlds are usually important for story purposes either because they control access to some important resource, or are strategically located. Federation, Empire and others may try to sway them into alliance, conquer them, or undermine their governments. Their capitol cities may be crawling with agents of any or all of the above, as well. A Lone World stays independent either by playing the big boys off against each other, because of some ace in the hole they can use, or the protection of somebody bigger outside the picture.

WARNING: Lone Worlds can sometimes be The Advanced in disguise.

The Machine Race: Just what it says. A race of sapient robots, which may or may not be friendly to biologicals. It's possible for there to be multiple Machine Races.
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Old 09-08-2018, 08:44 AM   #25
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Default Re: Space Opera Factions

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
As for empires, the same empire can be a force for good, for evil, for law and order and for oppression, all at the same time, in different places, esp. if interstellar communication and travel are slow or expensive.

A good worked example of an empire that is benevolent 'from a certain POV' would be the Empire of Man in The Mote In God's Eye and related Pournelle novels.

The EoM is dedicated, as a matter of official policy, to politically unifying the human race, by persuasion if possible, but by force where necessary. 'No' is not an acceptable long-term answer to a request to join the Empire.

The Empire is theocratic to a point (officially Christian) but allows extensive freedom of worship on the subject worlds.

They bring their conquered worlds law and order, with reasonably humane laws, and they bring advanced agriculture, medicine, and other benefits of high-technology civilization to worlds that in many cases have backslid to Stone Age levels.

OTOH, the large hereditary component in its constitution brings with it the potential for all the usual issues of hereditary authority, and the great noble families are always looking for new territories for younger offspring. The Empire will not permit secession, responding to the threat of such by force up to and including planetary sterilization.

Is the EoM good or evil? Oppressive or liberators? It depends very heavily on your point of view, as Kenobi might put it.
This could set up a good fight. Picture two basically good but deeply flawed societies each spread among the distant stars; the Imperium and the Union. Basically, improved versions of the UK and the USA circa 1870. We'll have each of them be less racist and sexist. Each has values that it can't see surviving in the other. The Union sees the Imperium as corrupt and archaic. The Imperium sees the Union as corrupt and anarchic. Each sees the other as a threat that can't tolerate the continued existence of an alternate society.

Because both the UK and the USA had other threats to fear and other fish to fry, the bitterness between the two was put aside. First for cold neutrality then for guarded friendship. But in this set up there are no distractions or other considerations. Each sees itself as the only moral answer, the only valid path. The Union, being democratic, and the GOP of the 1870s was very much Lincoln's party and nobly democratic and progressive, doesn't want war. The Imperium is only as democratic as the UK of 1862. They can engage in warfare with less political cost. Otherwise neither is more agressive than the other.
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Old 09-08-2018, 06:12 PM   #26
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Default Re: Space Opera Factions

Another possible faction

The Independent

Typically a single identifiable race or group that resists central authority and is a mass of individual groups. While external pressure or other factors may unify them for short periods they always fracture back into smaller groups.

When encountered the individuals or small groups react without a centralized motive or modus operandi.

Examples, A viking longship that may trade or attack. Typically humans fill this roll in space opera.
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