Star*Drive: Visions of the Verge
Rigunmor Star Consortium
As an enlightened society, the Star Consortium holds that life, liberty, and the pursuit of profit are inalienable rights common to all sentients. Though many nations bear such sentiments in treaty or charter, only the perspicacious Rigunmors recognize that life and liberty are just necessary conditions that allow humanity to pursue its noblest goal: the Concord dollar. Rigunmor financial zeal and success has brought numerous accusations and slanders; the peaceful Star Consortium faces frequent condemnation as a society of thieves, smugglers, and cheats. Rigunmors are a forgiving people and continue to conduct business with those who naturally envy the Star Consortium.
The Rigunmor Star Consortium is the only stellar nation with the audacity and ability to contest Thuldan and VoidCorp claims of supremacy routinely. In large part, Rigunmor power can be traced to the Consortium’s venerable age among the stellar nations. At the midpoint of the 21st century, long before the development of the stardrive or even the mass reactor, the Consortium was born among the superpowers of Old Earth.
While the superpowers presided over an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity, Old Earth knit itself into a single economy. Trade for common and cheap goods crossed the globe, and falling freight prices allowed profit-seeking entrepreneurs to leap into international trade. Independent traders flourished. Several of Earth’s great alliances eventually considered the growth of these independents as a threat. While large corporations received coveted privileges under the aegis of the superpowers, the Rigunmor found regulations and economic restrictions intruding more and more on the success of small businesses and private individuals.
The Rigunmor Consortium began as one of many trading guilds, consortiums, and organizations created by businesses to protect their interests. By banding together, smaller companies found that they could greatly increase their influence over both corporations and governments. Some of these business unions and cooperatives died when met with even tougher resistance from governments and competitive corporations. Others evolved into corporations themselves.
By the 22nd century, the Rigunmor Consortium had not only survived, but had developed into the largest economic affiliation of its type. The Consortium preserved the sovereignty of its individual members and allowed unsupervised internal competition. Unlike most of its kind, the Rigunmor Consortium did not specialize in the production of a specific product. In- stead, the Rigunmors came to be known as specialists in the art of the deal itself -traders, financiers, and sometime swindlers. Simply put, Rigunmors made their profits arranging for the transfer of product and finance from one party to another. The psychology of convincing both seller and buyer that they had made a good deal came naturally to the Rigunmors.
Humanity leapt to the stars in a chaotic, disorderly rush, but this only further catalyzed Rigunmor success. Without the Terran powers to frustrate their efforts, the Rigunmors became a popular source of trade goods among the early colonies. Rigunmor driveships traveled between colonies exchanging the necessities of life: food, clothing, technical gear, and sometimes water. Rigunmor trade proved especially vital for independent colonies such as the Hatire Community and the Nariac Domain.
In time, the Rigunmor guilders saw that their own success would be challenged in the years to corns. As the fledgling stellar nations gained power and became serf-sufficient, the need for Rigunmor trading vessels waned, though it never vanished. Moreover, as early as 2241 they saw that the stellar governments and the Terran superpowers were destined to clash. Interstellar war, as a Rigunmor noted, could be bad for business.
No longer only traders, ambitious Rigunmor vessels explored and colonized a region of space to call their own. One of the first of these systems produced the capital planet called Bazaar, a center of Rigunmor trading to this day. Later, Rigunmor scouts discovered a system in 2273 that had been fully explored by an alien species, the mechalus. Without the stardrive, the mechalus had been limited to a single star. Despite this, many mechalus technologies rivaled the best humanity had. The Rigunmor deal with the mechalus was quite simple; the mechalus system joined the Star Consortium peacefully, but individual mechalus were free to explore the galaxy with the stardrive.
The 2299 Guilder Conclave was the largest such gathering to date. The resolution of that council created the Rigunmor Star Consortium as a stellar nation, joining the Thuldan Empire and VoidCorp in leaving the Terran Empire. It was a risky decision, but the timing was too convenient to pass up. The Rigunmors were dragged into the First Galactic War.
GW1 demanded yet another division of Rigunmor labor. Joining with the Thuldans and their allies to gain independence, Rigunmors took up the mantle of warriors as well as traders and explorers. Although thousands of Rigunmors fought valiantly, the Consortium’s supply lines were even more critical to the war efforts of the young stellar nations.
The Second Galactic War
Unlike the hawks in several other stellar nations, Rigunmor profit analysts did not advocate fomenting war. Indeed, although most historians consider the Star Consortium one of the war’s few victors, the Rigunmors were among the first to join Warthen Hale’s quest for peace.
Rigunmor victories are easy to trace. For decades, the Star Consortium literally was the richest nation, and that reputation made enemies hesitate to attack early in the war. In addition, Rigunmor wealth made it easier to convince the Union of Sol, Austrin-Ontis, and StarMech to join Profit, an alliance supporting the causes of free trade. For the Rigunmors, the alliance was a triumph. Large sections of their borders were secured. Division within VoidCorp only cemented what was clear to many: If anyone could claim victory in GW2, it was the traders.
The Rigunmor Star Consortium organizes itself on a principle of fairness. In the Consortium, background, birth, and ethnic origin are unimportant, because the stellar nation measures success by a much simpler equation: ’Let he with the most rule: After all, reason the Rigunmors, only victors in the fields of finance and profiteering have the talents necessary to administer the Consortium. And only the wealthy can command respect and obedience from the Rigunmor masses.
Auditors annually assess each Rigunmor’s net worth to determine his or her position, both within the Consortium as a whole and inside the bureaucracy, if the Rigunmor takes up government service. The plutocracy is led by the Executive Guilder, the richest individual in the Consortium. Today the position is held by Atha Oneagle, a post she has held for the last seven years. Alison Breel, her predecessor, held the reins of power for 31 years, until her death. The Executive Guilder is backed by an Advisory Board, overseeing the mighty Rigunmor economy. The Board consists of the ten individuals whose wealth totals slightly less than that of the Executive Guilder.
The Rigunmor military follows a similarly unusual command structure. Military rank, like everything else, is up for sale. While the practice causes occasional discipline problems, Rigunmor avarice does seem to hold its military together. Bounties, plunder, and salvage are common practice; these customs often occupy the mind of ship crews and army brigades, who divide spoils by rank.
Mobility characterizes Rigunmor society. Just as interstellar markets can decide Rigunmor leadership, the culture as a whole welcomes an unmatched upward and downward social mobility. As long as he shows off his wealth, the Rigunmor treat a foreigner or immigrant with respect. Of course, yesterday’s golden child can quickly become today’s has-been.
Rigunmors also favor physical mobility. Traveling the stars, they look for new businesses to finance, expeditions to exploit, and any means to make a buck. Even the Executive Guilder, the Advisory Board, and the upper government refuse to stay put. The Consortium’s leaders place their administration in a fortress ship, the Oneagle. Indeed the transfer of power in the Consortium is always accompanied by the transfer of the Oneagle’s ownership to the new Executive Guilder. The largest fortress ship ever, it roams Rigunmor space issuing regulations and decrees. Reports claim that the Oneagle’s starfalls exceed 60 light-years.
The arrangement pleases the denizens of Bazaar, the Rigunmor capital. Freed from the imposition of serving as an administrative center, Bazaar can focus on the important thing: making money. Everything’s for sale in the capital, even money itself. The decentralized Rigunmor economy prevents Bazaar from assuming the role of the true heart of the Consortium.
The mechalus hold close ties to the Consortium. The mechalus homeworld falls officially under Rigunmor jurisdiction, and mechalus are as free to come and go as any other citizen of the Consortium. In truth, the mechalus have absorbed few Rigunmor traits, but the relationship between the Consortium and Aleer
the mechalus homeworld is healthy. Mechalus assistance during GW2 was a decisive factor against VoidCorp forces.
Playing A Rigunmor
Though others may mock such timeless Rigunmor aphorisms as ‘greed is best,’ the people of the Star Consortium accept a philosophy of life that few others understand. Looking over humanity’s long history, they say, what has remained constant? Goodwill, charity, and kindness have not. In times of trouble, and in times when personal desire interferes, humans have been known to toss all such ethical niceties aside. No, say the Rigunmors, one thing has remained fixed during times of war and peace: human avarice.
Rather than whine about what some might call the root of evil or at least one of humanity’s flaws, the Rigunmors base the existence of their society on it. While Rigunmors cannot rely on the benevolence or altruism of their fellow humans, they can rely on greed to dictate action. In the Star Consortium, the veil of ignorance about human nature is removed, so Rigunmors can deal with one another with simple honesty, knowing in their hearts what everyone is after.
Of course, simple honesty is not the approach that most Rigunmors choose to operate their business with. The Rigunmor way of life is subtle and manipulative; as their philosophies embrace the covetous elements in man, the law of the Rigunmors is to let the buyer beware. More than a prescription for consumer caution, the old saying illuminates Rigunmor willingness to utilize any trick, any scheme, to cut a deal. It’s common for a Rigunmor victim to walk away happy and con- tent, unaware he or she has been swindled. Thus have the Rigunmors gained their reputation of interstellar swindlers and con artists. Fortunately for the rest of the galaxy, the Rigunmors prize trading with their own kind as a real challenge.
Ambitious young traders take to the stars to make their for- tunes, wary of becoming complete paupers among their own. Hordes of such entrepreneurs, often desperate to make names for themselves, travel far from home seeking a chance for riches. Such independent expeditions end in success more often than not, and the Rigunmor explorers return home rich in both funds and experiences to claim their own space within the Consortium.
In their devotion to the almighty Concord dollar and guilder, Rigunmors have little time for organized religion. Rigunmors generally note that most faiths, if not overtly against the acquisition of worldly goods, do not encourage wealth. The Star Consortium has one of the largest populations of atheists and agnostics among the stellar nations, second only to VoidCorp and its puppet state, the Nariac Domain.