Rough Guide: Rexxla

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Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Jake » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:17 am

Tales of the Raging Murderstorm is still very much a work in progress, but in the meantime, here's a little piece of world-building about a planet that will play a large part in its plot:

The Rough Guide to the Universe has this to say about the planet of Rexxla:

Rexxla's one of those interesting worlds that completely defy GalCop's neat little classification system. Officially they're Communist -though they won't thank you for pointing that out these days!- but depending how you look at it they could just as easily fit under Democracy, Confederation and even Anarchy.
Relatively speaking, Rexxla's a young world, only colonised eighty-some years ago after being picked as the test site for some experimental terraforming techniques the USSW is characteristically reluctant to talk about in any detail. They must've worked though, because every left-wing organisation in the Eight Galaxies was petitioning for homesteading rights there, from anarcho-syndicatists to Neo-Fabians. "The Grand Socialist Experiment", they called it in public. Cynics called it "the grand opportunity to get all those Trotskyites, bleeding hearts and weirdy-beardies out of our hair for good".

Well, it didn't quite work out that way in the end. Someone in the first wave of settlers had enough smarts to set up a central government that established some simple ground rules that most everyone could live with, levied just enough taxes to raise a basic anti-piracy force and run stuff like the railroads and the hospitals, and left everything else to the individual communities to handle as they saw fit. The ones who made their ideas work prospered, and the ones that didn't split up and moved in with some other group who'd hit the right combination of theory, execution and sheer dumb luck.
Somehow, it all seemed to work. Their economy didn't exactly sparkle, but nobody went hungry and the lights stayed on. They drifted away from the bottom-up decentralised model of Communism some over the years, imposing planet-wide standards on stuff like legal drinking age and founding some state schools, but overall Rexxla remained a freewheeling haven for the eccentric and the politically unconventional. It can be a rough neighbourhood at times, especially for a rookie trader: Official policy is you've only got a criminal record in Rexxla if you broke a Rexxlan law, and they don't have a whole lot of those. Narcotics and most firearms are fully legal, though you don't sell the former to minors if you know what's good for you, and they'll even look the other way a little for the rare kind of pirate with enough of a conscience to let you go if you dump your cargo. Trafficking slaves or murdering some trader for his load, on the other hand, make Rexxla a very unsafe place to be; every trader who participates in the hunt gets unlimited free drinks for a whole day at any bar in the system.

As you might imagine, all these liberal tendencies made relations with the Communin rather uncomfortable. The Politburo thought the Rexxlans were a bunch of wishy-washy pansies with their free press and their due process of law and all the other reactionary nonsense that has no place in proper Communism, while the Rexxlans think your average Communist regime is run by a bunch of crypto-Stalinist whackjobs who wouldn't know real Communism if sneaked up behind them and rang their welkin with a copy of Animal Farm wrapped round a very large brick.

Five years ago, it all came to a head. An outside broadcast team from the Rexxlan Planetary Broadcasting Cooperative made an official visit to Rilace for the bicentenary of the death of their Party's first General Secretary, and their star current affairs commentator swung himself an interview with the Deputy Vice-Chairman of the People's Police or some such. Now, this Humphrey Splot guy (only on Rexxla could you make it big in talk radio with a name like that) isn't very well known outside his home system, but Rexxlans know him as the guy who makes people write letters to the PBC complaining he's too hard on the hapless politician he's interrogating on this morning's show.
Nobody knows exactly what went down during that interview -the PBC never got the recording back and neither participant really wants to talk about it- but it undoubtedly was an experience that Deputy Vice-Chairman will not soon forget. Thirty minutes in he called security and had the entire PBC crew arrested for sedition. By the time anyone at the Rexxlan Consulate got to hear about it, they'd been tried, convicted and sentenced to seven years of Reeducation Through Labour.

The Rexxlan Central Committee were extremely vocal in their displeasure about this. (Which, given that they'd all probably been subjected to the infamous Mr Splot at some point, says quite a lot in praise of the Rexxlan character. But I digress.) GalCop refused to get involved, considering the incident to be "a matter of internal security", so after an emergency meeting of the Rexxlan People's Congress that set several records for the fastest motion to pass with the fewest votes against, a squadron of Cobra Clipper patrol craft and a hastily charted armed merchantman loaded with Civil Guard hostage-rescue operatives went out to retrieve the detainees by force.

The Rilace Incident, or the Asteroid Gulag War as some would have it, didn't leave any of the participants looking especially good. Conditions aboard the asteroid penal colony were appalling even by Communist standards, and the CG immediately organised the evacuation of all the prisoners whilst documenting every sapient rights abuse perpetuated by the Rilaci prison guards in meticulous detail. The Rilaci government was summoned before the GalCop Council to defend itself against a motion of censure, several neighbouring governments suspended their extradition treaties and even the Communin itself was forced to voice public disapproval.
GalCop also came in for scathing criticism when it emerged that a Galactic Navy frigate had refused to respond to a request for urgent medical assistance from the horrified Rexxlans, citing their obligation to maintain political impartiality, and the Navy was forced to issue standing orders clarifying that their policy of strict neutrality did not supercede their obligations under interstellar law to respond in timely fashion and provide all possible assistance upon receiving a distress call.
The Rexxlans didn't get off scot-free either, having violated the sovereign territory of a neighbour and shot number of its law-enforcement officers -some of them in circumstances that implied summary justice being meted out- as well as thoroughly trashing the prison in the course of forcing entry and commandeering a passing Moray Medical Boat at gunpoint. They got kicked out of the Communin and GalCop refused to intervene when the Rilaci sent a reprisal strike that ended with Rexxla's capital getting pasted with a bunch of railgun slugs. After that, they withdrew from GalCop completely and started raising a real army, which got them placed under embargo.

Some say you can still get there, if you know the right people. Bertilak La Verde and his Green Geckos are rumoured to have an outpost there, and so do the Dark Wheel, though unkind folk might suggest they're only there 'cause they got the place mixed up with Raxxla. (Protip: Don't joke about this to a Rexxlan, they've heard 'em all a million times.) A lot of Communist or Corporate systems have had their political dissidents mysteriously vanish before they can be arrested, but they never seem to turn up anyplace else. Hundreds of spacers have seen ships in the old Rexxlan Civil Guard colours, or just sporting their upraised fist-and-rose emblem; not just some clapped-out old wreck flown by a pretentious kid who thinks a few cans of spraypaint makes them an intellectual and a revolutionary, but real traders and fighters picking up Randomus Factoria knows what from Free Trade Zones and Anarchies.
Nobody really knows what any of this means for the future, but one thing's for sure: We haven't heard the last of Rexxla.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Commander McLane » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:47 am

Is the spelling similarity to Raxxla a coincidence or a plot point, or did you actually mean [wiki]Raxxla[/wiki]?

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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Jake » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:21 am

Commander McLane wrote:Is the spelling similarity to Raxxla a coincidence or a plot point, or did you actually mean [wiki]Raxxla[/wiki]?
I actually went back and forth on that; at first it was going to be the actual Raxxla. I changed my mind on that as I fleshed out the story (and got around to actually reading The Dark Wheel), but decided to leave the name somewhat similar because it seemed to mesh well with the kind of society I'm going for on the surface; where your average Anarchy is "Somalia on a planetary scale", as someone on the TV Tropes page put it, Rexxla is a sort of planetary-scaled Occupy camp.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Specialist290 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:35 am

Nice job. I approve :mrgreen:

That reminds me: I haven't written anything for the Guide in a while myself...

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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Rese249er » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:36 am

Where in the Eight is Rexxla?
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Jake » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:35 am

Rese249er wrote:Where in the Eight is Rexxla?
About halfway between Rilace and Atrabiin, also reachable -barely- from Ontimaxe. I've marked its approximate location with a grey dot (which was supposed to be red; don't know what's up with that) on the GalSector 1 map here.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Rese249er » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:48 pm

Have to check that out when I hit G1 again.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Jake » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:20 am

The Rexxlan Civil Guard:

One of the conditions of GalCop membership is to have no standing army, but there's no regulations on how large your police force can be, or how militarised. Most planets are content to leave the hard work of anti-piracy patrols to the Galactic Navy, but a somewhat chilly relationship with GalCop is one of the few things Rexxla has in common with their erstwhile patrons the Communin, and soon after arriving they started organising a volunteer force for patrolling the system.
Their budget was tight, and the assortment of donated equipment and training materials from more established Communist systems ranged from the mediocre to the totally useless, but they had one invaluable asset: an Elite combateer named Bernardette Grayes, whose fifteen-year service in the Galactic Navy mixed an exemplary combat record with a frustrating (to GalCop) willingness to bend the letter of regulations in the name of staying true to the spirit of her oath of service. Taking early retirement instead of a desk job after getting down-checked from active duty, she settled on Rexxla and found herself elected -somewhat against her will- to the post of Chairperson of the Committee for Public Safety. Her first move (after setting up a sub-committee to pick a name that sounded less Orwellian) was to found a unified planet-wide paramilitary force with a broad mandate; general law enforcement in any settlement that couldn't or chose not to raise their own municipal force, customs and border control, anti-piracy patrols and even search and rescue. The dire shortage of funds was solved by permitting the Civil Guard to press impounded pirate vessels into service, and by deputising volunteers as Auxilliary Spacelane Patrol Officers, using their own privately-owned ships fitted with detachable strobe-lights and a secondary IFF beacon. This had the useful side effect of making it very hard for would-be pirates to spot an ASPO's ship until it lit off its beacons and began an intercept, and when Rexxla's changing economic fortunes permitted more paid full-time pilots they made a point of purchasing a small fleet of unmarked vessels. However, the majority of Civil Guard ships are marked in the force's distinctive "jam sandwich" livery, white body with an electro-luminescent orange stripe along the centreline.*

Notable Rexxlan Ships:

Cobra Clipper CG:
Purchased on the cheap from Obnoxicorp to replace the hodge-podge of secondhand Rays and impressed ex-pirate ships and refitted with a Military Laser, a Cargo Bay Expansion and a variety of other law enforcement-focused improvements, this unique vessel has proven rather successful in Rexxlan service. Murgh Shipyards integrated their modifications into a new version of the original Cobra Clipper and were in the process of setting up a production line in Rexxla when the embargo was enacted. Its status is currently unclear.

Rexxlan Commuter/Hauler:
Say what you like about the Communin Bureau of Ship Design, their vesselss are pretty good at what they're supposed to do. The Workers Commuter is a classic example; ugly as sin and spartan in equipment fit, but cheap and simple to construct and maintain and blessed with a surprisingly good thrust-to-mass ratio. The Rexxlans have kept the basic design in service even after parting ways with the Communin, developing dedicated passenger and freight variants but leaving the hull mostly unchanged. The Hauler version has had its interior cargo space expanded to 500 TCs, whilst the Commuter carries up to three hundred passengers in rather more comfortable conditions than the original, and can be distinguished by twin rows of windows along its sides. They remain unarmed as standard, but there are persistent rumours that a variant fitted with four Twin Plasma Cannon turrets was under consideration as a Fleet tanker and/or logistics ship.

Mining Ray:
Taking a cue from other Communist systems, the Rexxlans repurposed their life-expired Ray Mk 1s for asteroid mining, and eventually started employing purpose-built ones. Unlike most Communist systems, however, they're piloted by paid employees rather than convicts. The Mining Ray can operate independently, but is normally accompanied by two to four Adders or (rarely) Worm shuttles fitted with Mining Lasers, sometimes with an Anaconda or similar bulk hauler in attendance as a base-ship if their prospecting takes them far from the orbital station. They normally carry only a forward Mining Laser of their own, but it's not unheard of for more cautions operators to switch it out for something more lethal, and they also retain their missile armament.
The Department of Spacelane Maintenance operate a basically similar vessel for dealing with drifting wreckage or cargo pods that present a navigation hazard, which can sometimes be seen operating under police escort.

* Note to readers outside the UK: Inspired by 1980s British police liveries as seen here.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Rese249er » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:27 am

Would love to see this in-game! Gonna make an OXP outta this?
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Jake » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:37 am

I'm not averse to the idea, but a full-featured one would entail rather a lot of complicated workarounds and general hackery if not actually going in and mucking about with the source code. I also know very little about 3D modelling and can't draw.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:01 pm

Making an OXP out of an Oofic can be done (with some limitations/adjustments), but it can be a very time-consuming task - that much I know!
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Rese249er » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:36 pm

A lot of the basic work has already been done; Commies OXP should make for some good reference work!
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Jake » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:55 pm

The Commies OXP was actually a major if indirect source of inspiration; this was going to be a "Communist systems that aren't horribly dysfunctional and repressive" OXP before it developed a plot.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Rese249er » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:01 pm

With 2048 different systems in the Eight, it was bound to happen SOMEwhere.
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Re: Rough Guide: Rexxla

Post by Zireael » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:18 pm

I loved this bit and I'd so love an OXP based on the story...

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