Houses at War

As you might imagine interplanetary conflict operates at a different scale than conventional conflict. The logistics of transporting and supporting assets during the assault on an entire world requires a very different way of thinking than we are used to when thinking about battles which take place on Earth.

When Houses go to war there are many considerations to take into account. Aside from the political ramifications, a House is always considering its image. One of the first questions the leadership will consider is; how will the conflict impact the House’s reputation internally and externally? Every House is a galactic scale power and all of them crave prestige and recognition. Even if they act like it doesn’t matter to them, it always does. Political ramifications are always weighed by any House before the first battle plans are even drawn.

Houses typically have one of two goals. The former and much more common goal is raiding or capturing points of strategic interest. These would be places which produce materials or goods like exotic matter refineries or manufacturing centers. While they hold these assets, they can collect and ship out what they have captured. This increases their own resources while denying the same to an opposing House. These actions are relatively common and given the limited scope of the warfare, are often factored into the operational costs and risk analysis of these sites.

The second goal is much less common and much grander in scope. Sometimes only the taking of an entire Golden World will do. These operations are massive and require years of planning and preparation. The loss of a Golden World is a massive blow to any House, both in terms of reputation as well as in terms of resources. To further complicate matters, a House which concedes (willingly or not) a world sized territory will to contend with a serious secondary issue. It is common for people who do not wish to stay in the captured territory to request passage to the nearest friendly space. These refugees, often millions in number, require interplanetary transport to a new home.

The Trade Guild has the capacity to move people in these quantities but often the places they are brought to are overwhelmed by the influx of people. Because the Edicts of the Realm require basic necessities be provided, these places often have their own growth stymied and degraded for years as they divert resources to tend to the human influx. Even more economically impactful are the loss of citizens who choose to stay and become part of the House which took over. The conquering House will often have incentives to keep people in place, both to save on transport costs, as well retain talent and expertise. The ancillary issues of sabotage and latent loyalist attacks are considered worth the risk.

The Edicts of the Realm mean that all warfare is limited in the sense of not permitting damage to the permanent habitability of a world, nor the massacre or enslavement of Realm citizens. Warfare takes place mainly in non-populated or evacuated areas, and destruction tends to be focused on military assets. Neither side is generally interested in the loss of infrastructure or personnel. For the attacker it is a matter of maintaining reputation and avoiding censure by the Beggars. For the defender it is the consideration that they can often retake lost territory and assets at some later date. Given the size of a planet, it is entirely possible for sustained conflict to be going for years, while a majority of its residents continue to operate unaffected.

Non-military citizens are strictly prohibited from participating in open conflict. Every House takes this restriction quite seriously and the penalties for disobedience, while different for each House, are always severe. While asymmetric warfare has shown its power throughout all of human history, the Realm understands that once civilians are involved the protections for them would be dissolved in a practical sense. Population centers would be need to be rendered unlivable and there would need to be the mass detention or worse for all persons in a conflict zone. The citizens understand this as well and while they are always unhappy to be forced to evacuate or move, there is the understanding that the alterative would be considerably worse.

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