Union of Garden Worlds
Interchangeably known as the Garden Worlds Union, the UGW was formed years ago when the Kel Colonies entered into a formal treaty with the N'guli of Baram to counter the threat of the Drachon Clans. The combined efforts of both naval forces provided the Drachon clans with enough of a fight to blunt their attacks outside of Clan space and hold them back. Since then. the UGW has spread across the Garden, petitioning individual worlds to join the Union while being petitioned by others.
At this time, 19 systems within the Stellar Garden are members of the Union. 5 worlds are on the Union Council; Kel, Loros, Baram, Corbak, and Kaval. The Primarch, the title for the executive leader of the Union, is elected every 5 years from one of these worlds. The other 14 worlds (along with the 5 worlds of the council) elect three representatives to form the Union Parliament.
- They want peace and order and the means to secure both. They fall somewhere between the United Federation of Planets (Star Trek) and the Earth Alliance (Babylon 5). Predominantly, they are the good guys, but they do things that are underhanded "for the greater good" or "for national security". They want to feed and clothe their members (food, water, shelter), conduct interstellar commerce (jump-drives), and secure their borders (defense). There is probably a faction interested in exploration.
- I think The Union is not going to end up being a United Federation of Planets analogue, I think they're going to end up more like the Terran Dominion from Starcraft, and arcing somewhat closer to the Galactic Empire from Star Wars. Maybe they started like the Federation, but politics and ambition got involved. This logically means that there should be an alternative for the players to support. Alternately, there could be something the players could create to combat the Union.
- Is there a Prime Directive? If a planeteering (that's a word, now) group finds a previously undiscovered civilization, what's the protocol? Or has the (known, localized) "garden" been completely mapped?
- Most of The garden has been explored by this point, and all of the races are known to each other. There probably isn't a prime directive-type mandate for the Union, they're more likely to bootstrap up a "primitive" society to get them to join up, especially if their world has resources the Union could use. This would likely continue to happen until something goes horrifically wrong with a race they "advance".
- Education: The Union is an amalgamation of member worlds, so each world may have it's own education path for its citizens. I get the feeling that the Union as a whole has a sort of standardized testing. You have to have an education from an accredited Union Academy to conduct interstellar business, work on a planet other than your own, or hold office on anything more than a planetary level. You could get around this by joining the military; anyone who wants to join The Union military is taught facts and ideas that are to be memorized. The military does it's best to create "good little soldiers" who are loyal to the ideals of the Union and are not taught to question orders or let luxuries like "morals" get in the way of them.
- I'm not sure how feasible this is, though. With 19 worlds of resources to try and manage, could the union really afford to enforce such an education requirement? Probably not, meaning that on several worlds the manufacturing, mining, and farming operations are all going to be trade-based apprenticeships. Those trades form guilds which operate within the Union; likely by having guildmasters or trade-councils that are Union educated and can navigate the Union's red tape to get the best deals they can for their workers. Without such an education, the Union could walk all over them. Given that, it seems more likely that the Union would discourage higher education from certain worlds while requiring it in others.
- I think I'll settle for something in the middle; a Union education is going to be a proverbial golden-ticket to riches for anyone within the Union, but it's going to be difficult to obtain. Only the wealthy can afford it, or it could be obtained through scholarships to individuals who show some exceptional ability in a field the Union needs. A formal education is also a reward for anyone who joins the Union Military (like the G.I. Bill); serve a specific number of years and you will get a full scholarship to a Union Academy. How many years? Probably something high like 8 or 10 years. Maybe even longer; it is a full scholarship after all!
- The Union lives in, well…The Union; 19 planets that form the largest political body within the Garden.
- The Union is the largest political body within the Garden, but it's not too dissimilar from the planetary governments around the Garden's other (non-Drachon) worlds. Ultimately, there is an underlying corruption to the Union; politicians who seek wealth, power, or both. Few are those who seek what is best for the people without any selfish interest.
- The Union will use the legal system and politics to obtain and secure resources, and will only resort to military action if there is no other way of obtaining their objectives.
- The Union values order and bureaucracy; the great political machine working to control the worlds of The Union. Individuals within the Union value power and wealth, but some also value justice, fairness, and honor (they're simply fewer of those types than the power-hungry)
- There are so many racial groups within the Union it would take a day to itemize them all.
- For the most part, the PCs will likely be from The Union. No matter the race, they will be working (probably) for the betterment of the Union public as a whole. While the government is tainted by corruption, the vast majority of Union citizens do want a better existence for all.
- They value Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to steal a phrase.
- The trade language of the Union is "Unionesse", or simply called "Kelsh" or "human" since that's primarily the root language of the Union.
- The Union pretty much produces everything and anything, but not on every world. Some worlds are "resource worlds", where the materials of production are found. Other worlds are "maker worlds", which imports materials needed to produce items. There are "agricultural worlds", and a few, rare self-sustaining worlds that don't really import much (these are probably also "vacation worlds").
- Factions – I have to figure there are political parties, racial movements, environmentalists, interest groups, and cultural movements. Too much to think on right now, but worth noting down to flesh out later.
- The Union Credit is the currency for interstellar commerce. Worlds may have their own currency too, but the UC is the main currency of trade and economics within the Union.
- Your average settlement is going to vary widely; from mega-cities and arcologies to modern towns and suburbia to outposts resembling the Wild West but with laser pistols.