Status of Vaygr Clans
Posted on 08-03-2015 03:10
Joined: October 21 2005
Now, similar to my discussion of the Hiigarans, the Vaygr need some re-codification for PDS going forward. Most of what TelQuessir wrote about them is valid, but to sum it up in brief it is as follows.
The Vaygr are, in aesthetic and modus operandi, similar to the eastern cultures of Earth. Alot of the naming of their ships and equipment has a heavy middle-eastern parlance, but in practice they also have a lot in common with Vikings and the Mongol Hordes. They are a nomadic, space-faring people; their ancestral homeworlds have largely been abandoned and they mainly live on large cityships, asteroid colonies, or orbital habitats. The few planets in the eastern fringe still suitable for habitation are mainly used for food or recreation, and in times past were hotly contested.
The Vaygr lack what can be considered a true centralized government: They are a network of noble-houses, tribes, and clans, with varying claims to political legitimacy, and with a complicated web of political alliances and pacts. Within individual clans, styles of governance and quality of life can vary wildly. Some smaller clans are considered vassals to larger ones, and smaller entities are generally more specialized. Internecine wars within the Vaygr reaches were (and still are) common.
That being said, the Vaygr are by no means backward primitives. While lacking the political connections, industrial base, and technological prowess of the Hiigarans, they have more than sufficient resources and skill to survive and thrive in deep space. The one thing that keeps them from evolving to an "Unbound" race, as the Bentusi would consider it, is their fractious nature, lack of any sort of unity of purpose, and relative isolationism and survivalism in the time prior to Makaan. This has also largely stifled the Vaygr diplomatically, leaving them largely an isolated backwater until the rise of Makaan, with the only real interaction with the galaxy at large being raids by Piratical clans, or occasional use of Vaygr Troops as auxiliaries by the Taiidan Empire or Frrern Aggrigate.
The Vaygr were far more peaceful in ancient times, having enough of a civilization to achieve interstellar space travel and trade. What exactly this looked like is unknown (few historical records from this early era survive). However, the galactic far east which encompasses the Vaygr Reaches is a harsh environment; more ancient races largely mined out most easily accessible resource deposits millions of years ago, and there are few habitable worlds in the region. This largely forced the Vaygr to adapt to a nomadic lifestyle, reserving the few nice, habitable planets for agricultural production and recreation.
In the Homeworld 1 era and events preceding it, the Vaygr were kept in check by the Taiidan Empire. Most of the strongest clans remained vassals (or more accurately, puppets) of the Empire, and enforced the latter's will across the reaches. At this point, the Vaygr were militarily no match for the Imperial Navy, nor were there any effective resistance movements against Imperialist oppression. This only began to change once the policies of the Empire began to become increasingly erratic and overtly harmful, and Taiidani colonial troops were moved to the galactic west, in anticipation of wars to come.
The Frrern Aggregate began agitating the anti-Imperialist clans of Vaygr, attempting to unify them and supply them with weaponry in order to create a distraction in the Galactic Far East, as well as instill a friendly Vaygr leader who would help keep the eastern frontiers of the Aggregate secure. It is believed they engineered the rise of the great warlord Tural, leader of clan Se'keram, by providing him with intelligence and weaponry with which to fight the Taiidani-backed clans. Vaygr Laser and Plasma Lance weaponry appear to have similarities with Frrern Weapons technology first implemented in a large scale during the contemporary period.
During the war, Tural commissioned construction of a massive flagship, commonly referred to as the "Agamemnon" (aka Big Red), which was more a tool of prestige to impress the other clans then a practical warship. However, it still ultimately made it's impression. Clan Se'keram quickly gained the upper hand in the wars against the Pro-Imperialist Vaygr, but the intervention of Taiidani Colonial forces (which were vastly more professional, better equipped, and better trained) turned the tide. Had the Taiidani Rebellion and Homeworld war not broken out when they did, it is likely Tural's rebellion would have been crushed.
Ultimately, the sudden fracturing of the Empire and withdraw of most of the Eastern Colonial Fleets lead to an abrupt end of the conflict: The Republic had neither the desire nor ability to prosecute any sort of conflict with the Vaygr, and quickly signed an armistice. The Imperialist factions as well, were forced to concentrate their resources elsewhere, and largely abandoned the loyal Vaygr Clans. A few of these Imperial loyalists continued to stubbornly resist, but most signed independent pacts with Tural, accepting vassalage in return for survival.
Tural himself was wise and charismatic enough to avoid unnecessary conflict, and had developed aspirations of unifying the Vaygr into a proper Empire rather than a backwater (conveniently enough, with himself and his clan at it's head). The Frrern Aggrigate, however, had other ideas; they wished to steer the Vaygr's development to their own political ends (namely, establishing a captive market for Frrern Goods and using the Vaygr as a bulwark against the Taiidan Republic, to allow it's own expansion into the fertile worlds of the former southern Imperial Duchies).
The Vaygr political climate in the immediate postwar era was, on the surface, more peaceful and unified than it had ever been, but beyond this thin veneer, there were a great many conflicting loyalties and opinions. Pro-Taiidani, Pro-Frrern, Staunch Traditionalist, Expansionist, and Isolationist sentiments were all upheld by one clan or another. The prevailing voices of dissent against Tural's rule was that he was getting too close to the Frrern, who were (rightly) perceived as simply wanting to replace Taiidani Imperialism with their own. While Tural managed to keep one step ahead of his political opponents abroad, it was family matters which would prove his undoing.
Makaan was Tural's eldest son, and a well respected and powerful figure in his own right. Under his father's tutelage, Makaan commanded roughly a third of the clan Se'keram fleet (mainly made up of mercenary forces from other clans). Makaan had long-standing ambitions of power, as did his father. Makaan was headstrong, and often quarreled with his brothers and father over political manners, namely his traditionalism and desire for Vaygr Independence versus what was perceived as his Father's closeness to the Frrern Aggregate. This discord did not go unnoticed by other clans, and even elements within clan Se'keram. Dispite these disagreements, Makaan remained staunchly loyal to his father (if for no other reason than Tural's popularity was immense, and any aggressive moves on Makaan's behalf would have lead to his swift execution).
The Beast War largely passed the Vaygr by, happening in far-off regions to other races. However, it did have a huge consequence: Withdraw of Frrern Support. The Aggregate was forced to adopt a total-war mentality, and that meant shunting any and all supplies to the Beast front. In the chaos that followed, the Imperialist Taiidan underwent a major reorganization into what would become the Second Empire. This was to have profound effects, as the newly minted Imperial Intelligence Service was keenly interested in manipulating events in the Vaygr Reaches to their own ends.
Tural had taken the opportunity to ameliorate many of his opponents' concerns, and had a substantial upswing in popularity with the collapse of overt Frrern Support; he had remained resolute and took actions to prove he was far removed from the Aggregate's machinations. The Vaygr turned their attention primarily to civil engineering: building new cityships and trade routes, and attempting to normalize relations with other races. Ultimately though, while these policies substantially improved Tural's standing with the impoverished or mercantile clans, they often alienated the more traditionalist elements, including those of clan Se'keram, which began to forge a major divide in the Vaygr People. Within the clan, many began to turn to Makaan, who appealed heavily to the traditionalist power base.
Imperial Intelligence took note of these developments, and in the latter part of the century began to approach traditionalist leaders within the Vaygr, attempting to engineer some sort of coup against Tural's leadership, with the end goal of establishing a relatively friendly base of power, which could then be used against the Taiidan Republic. These efforts were met with mixed success; the Vaygr were obviously wary of the Imperialists attempting to reimpose their rule, but these subtle machinations did reach the ear of Makaan, who saw an opportunity to fortify his power base against Tural's loyalists.
Ultimately, the figure who had the most impact on the course the Vaygr would take toward the Invasion Era was neither Taiidan nor Frrern, but a cryptic figure under the alias "Sel'eaam". This individual was Makaan's scribe and one of his personal advisers. It is unknown exactly who this man is, where he came from, or how he came to be in Makaan's retinue. Most clan elders state that Sel'eaam was always there, a man who was omnipresent yet subdued, and never appeared to age. The most plausible theories are that Sel'eaam was either an Imperialist Taiidan agent, or a rogue Frrern "Troubleshooter", but the prevailing belief among the Vaygr Mystics is that Sel'eaam was nothing less than the Avatar of Jakuul himself.
What is known for certain is that Sel'eaam is the individual who lead Makaan to the Ice Fields of Hethlehim, and delivered to him the Third Hyperspace Core. The Core was protected by a Progenitor Keeper, commanding numerous automated defenses. Circumventing his father's authority, Makaan mobilized a combined fleet of several major clans and launched an invasion to recover the core. The result was a bloodbath, with most of Makaan's allies having their fleets completely depleted before they managed to disable the Keeper's support infrastructure, and eventually disable it with massed conventional weapons fire. However, Makaan had secured his prize.
Upon his return, Tural was furious. His son's military adventures were both disastrous to the strength of Clan Se'keram's fleet, as well as breaking an ancient taboo about leaving Progenitor Artifacts alone. With the hyperspace core in his possession, however, Makaan's power was absolute. Almost as quickly as news spread, Vaygr clans pledged alligence to Makaan, who's acquisition of the core was seen as fufilling an ancient prophecy about the Sajuuk Khar; the Chosen One; who would lead their people to galactic conquest as sole heirs to the ancient Progenitor Empire.
Exactly what happened aboard the Agamemnon is unclear, but it resulted with Tural dead, Makaan confined to an LCL immersion tank, and Sel'eaam's presence not having been verified since. Makaan's fanatical guardsmen quickly covered up Tural's death, insisting he was assassinated by Hiigaran agents; a casus belli he would use again and again. Under any other circumstances, Tural's death would have lead almost immediately to a civil war, but virtually the entire Vaygr Race was wrapped up in a frenzy of Politico-Religious fervor. Makaan masterfully crafted a cult of personality, using the old prophecies and his possession of the hyperspace core as his justification, and almost immediately made plans for war.
Under the guise of the Sajuuk-Khar, Makaan made his intentions clear to the Vaygr People: Using their combined might, he would war against the Hiigarans and the Bentusi, and all who stood with them, with the intent to recover the remaining two cores. The Vaygr war plan was to launch a surprise blitzkrieg offensive using the power of the Far Jumper to deploy overwhelming numbers of Vaygr cityships and fleet units at critical locations within the Taiidan Republic, isolating and destroying the Republican Guard Fleets and forcing planets to capitulate (or simply bombing them into oblivion, whichever was more expedient). This would hopefully draw the Hiigaran Navy into the fight, and reveal the location of the Hiigaran Hyperspace core. The Vaygr would then capture the core and that of the Bentusi, and their dominance would be complete.
It is unclear exactly to the degree this course of action was dictated by the Imperialist Taiidan, or simple necessity; While it is true Makaan could have theoretically jumped his entire armada to Hiigaran Orbit outright, such an action would be suicidal. Even if they destroyed Hiigara outright, the HGN would surely retaliate with overwhelming force and the offensive would be for naught. To say nothing of the fact that the Hiigaran far jump core had been removed from the original mothership and was being kept in a location unknown to the Vaygr. As well, the Republican Taiidan, even without the far jumper, could easily strike deep into the Vaygr Reaches. Securing the Republican front would also provide the Vaygr access to superior technology, wealth, manpower (in the form of slaves), and infrastructure with which to further bolster their forces against the Hiigaran Navy and Bentusi. The Imperialists would benefit from this greatly: with the Republican Navy distracted, and the Vaygr having little interest in large-scale planetary land invasions, the Imperials could easily sieze control of their true objectives, the former Republican worlds, via sympathizers and fifth-column tactics.
The war began in the year 9614 GSY (114 AHL), with the Vaygr achieving almost complete strategic surprise. A successful false-intelligence campaign waged by the Imperial Intelligence Service had largely blinded the Republic to the threat of the Vaygr, allowing the Armada de Makaan to, using the Third Core, bypass the Republic's frontier outposts. The first indication that there was an invasion going on was when Vaygr Shipyards and Cruisers began exiting hyperspace in orbit of Republican Naval Bases. The Imperialist Taiidan launched their own invasion, essentially a massive feint attack to make the Republic believe that the chaos in the central worlds was merely a distraction. The Republican Guard was almost immediately overwhelmed, and communication broke down quickly, and the first days of the war saw massive Vaygr Forces nearly eradicating the bulk of the Republican Navy's carriers and heavy inventory in a series of surprise attacks.
The Vaygr conducted the war with unimaginable speed and brutality; entire worlds were "sterilized" from orbit with nuclear weapons, and the forbidden atmosphere deprivation device. Civilian trade lanes and infrastructure were deliberately targeted to sew terror and confusion. Successful boarding of Republican space colonies and cities resulted in an orgy of rape, murder, and torture, if not outright annihilation of their populations. Local Republic Navy garrisons and police forces were powerless to stop the savagery. A general call to arms was sounded on the fifth day of the invasion, although by this point it was already too late, many Republican fleets never received the distress signal.
The Republican fleets that did began to organize for a counterattack, and the Hiigaran Kiiths began mobilizing their own fleets in support of their ally. The Galactic Council unilaterally declared war on Makaan shortly thereafter, although on their behalf this was little more than a token gesture, as none of the Council Races had the sufficient level of military readiness or force deployability. Some resistance was made in the second and third weeks of the war, but the fairly static Republican Guard fleets were quickly outmaneuvered by the far-jumper equipped Vaygr and taken apart in a series of last stands. The Vaygr's trademark became deep envelopment tactics using short ranged hyperspace gates and fast raider groups to surround the enemy and overwhelm them with superior numbers or attack them from behind. The final battle in the Campaign came in orbit of the capital of Triistara, in which the remaining Republican Guard Fleet, as well as a combined force of several Hiigaran Kiithid and Galactic Council peacekeeping forces were soundly defeated by Makaan's elite guard. Following this, the surviving forces made a frantic retreat for the Hiigaran Border.
The HGN began to rapidly mobilize, uniting it's Kiith Fleets and fortifying it's borders. Using a wide number of Imperial-era Hyperspace Inhibitors (ironically of the same design used by Riesstiu's fleets to attempt to intercept the mothership a century earlier). At the same time, deep in the ruins of Tanis, the Navy began constructing a new Mothership, to be used as a military command vessel to counter the mobility of the Vaygr with their own far jumper. The Vaygr did not immediately press on to Hiigara, as they required time to consolidate their forces and secure territories within the Republic for their own use. During this lull in the fighting, some of the Vaygr units in the southern area of control, of their own initiative, launched an offensive into the Nalthoran Enclaves in the Bastonagrad region, quickly routing the depleted colonial defense forces.
The next phase of the war (events taking place during the HW2 campaign) began with a major offensive against the Hiigaran Border Outposts, with intent to fool the HGN into believing that the Vaygr intended to breach the network of Hyperspace Inhibitors surrounding the HCZ. Infact, this was merely a feint attack designed to draw Hiigaran Forces away from the central worlds while Makaan's fleet made a series of long-range jumps, high off the Galactic Ecliptic, before diving back down from above (the Hiigaran Inhibitors were spread over a relatively two-dimensional ring, such a maneuver was not anticipated, nor did the Hiigarans have sufficient hyperspace inhibitors to cover a full sphere). This brilliant maneuver was only practical with the massive power of a Far Jump core, and allowed the Vaygr to launch simultaneous assaults on Tanis, as well as Hiigara itself. While the HGN had substantial forces in reserve, it woefully underestimated the amount of forces Makaan would be able to deep strike on his own.
With the Hiigaran Navy sufficiently overwhelmed, Makaan proceeded into the Karos Graveyard with his most fanatical loyalists. It was his intention to recover Progenitor Artifacts, which would be needed for his penultimate objective: unlocking the gate of Balcora and acquiring Sajuuk's throne itself. His first stepping stone to this end would be the acquisition of a Progenitor Dreadnaught. This was accomplished quickly, although it remains unknown how exactly Makaan's forces avoided a confrontation with the Progenitor Keeper guarding the dreadnaught, nor why he did not acquire or sabotage the second dreadnaught. It is rumored Sel'eaam had some part in this. The Pride of Hiigara and it's attendant taskforce were in hot pursuit, but were successfully stalled by Progenitor Automated Defenses, and the Acolytes of Navaskiya during the battle that would come to be known as the "Veil of Fire".
While the Mothership was chasing around Makaan to Thaddis Sabbah, the Vaygr conventional forces gradually became bogged down by dogged resistance from the Hiigaran Fleets. Without Makaan constantly far-jumping in reinforcement, the Armada's advantages in numbers and strategic mobility were quickly being eroded. Offensive Counter attacks in Low Hiigaran Orbit by the HGN severely broke up the Vaygr's siege strategy, while the actions of Kiith Somtaaw and Soban, attacking key Vaygr resource and supply operations, further shifted the balance of power in the defender's favor. However, the situation of the Hiigarans was still tenuous until the Vaygr's final assault on Hiigara itself.
Under Makaan's (posthumous) instructions, the remaining forces of the Armada gathered and launched one final, all-out attack on Hiigara, intending to burn the world to the ground. The sudden arrival of the Hiigaran Expeditionary Fleet, and Sajuuk, abruptly turned the tide. In response, the Armada deployed their weapon of last resort; Three T-MAT warships of unknown design, modified into Missile Carriers, were deployed in Low Hiigaran Orbit. How Makaan acquired these vessels may never be known: even the Vaygr Commanders in the field were unaware of their existence. Ultimately however, it was too little, to late. Despite the attempts to burn Hiigara outright, the Expeditionary Fleet, with it's newfound power Sajuuk, destroyed the Planet Killers and forced the remaining Vaygr Forces to withdraw.
In the weeks that followed, the Hiigarans began doggedly pursuing the Armada forces. Operation Sledgehammer was the cumulative destruction of the surviving Armada vessels inside the Hiigaran Control Zone. The Vaygr made a desperate attempt to escape toward the occupied Taiidani Republic, but there was little hope; the entire invasion force was destroyed or surrendered in a matter of weeks. This was quickly followed up by a combined counter-offensive against the Vaygr Forces on the border, sending them reeling.
The tentative unity that Makaan had held over the Vaygr people had evaporated almost overnight. In short order, several Vaygr Clans, the majority being the old guard supporters of Tural, made a declaration denouncing Makaan, an act that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks before, and declaring their refusal to support the war effort further. Hardcore Makaani loyalists moved to attack them, declaring them to be apostate "Jin Vaygr" and intending to utterly eradicate them. However, even the Vaygr Loyalists were heavily fractured under pressure both from within and without, and with no sign of a clear leader to rally around. A few "successors" of dubious authority attempted to rally the troops, but these were generally discredited in short order.
The Imperialist Taiidan, seeing what was happening, quickly enacted a contingency plan. They hastily moved to occupy any former Republican Territories they could. This raised some ire amongst the Vaygr as a breach of alliance, but a scant few openly resisted; the Vaygr Rearguard was simply stretched too thin and too dis-unified to openly challenge the Taiidan Second Empire. Across the rest of Republican Taiidani Space, Makaan Loyalist and Jin-Vaygr alike began to dig in. Alliances were broken and made overnight, and the formerly nomadic Vaygr fleets were essentially forced into a the unfamiliar position of having to defend and settle new worlds.
Some Vaygr clans retained delusions of grandeur. A relatively strong force of hard-line Makaani loyalists, rallied under the banner of Clan Tal'Nahal, launched a punitive invasion of the Frrern Aggregate's far eastern prefectures, with intent to conquer and establish themselves a powerful empire in the south. The invasion proceeded slowly, as the Aggregate Navy put up dogged resistance, but the Vaygr found unlikely allies in the form of a number of Colonial Rights and Secessionist groups, long suppressed by the Aggregate Unionists and their paramilitaries. This has resulted in, among other things, a Military Crackdown by the Frrern and a significant series of brushfire wars in the Aggregate's eastern territories. While it is not expected that the Vaygr pose an existential threat to the Frrern, low and moderate intensity conflict is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This suits the Frrern Ultranationalists just fine, giving them a long-term but easily manageable threat to use as a scapegoat for it's own political crises, and giving them carte-blanche to significantly increase the Aggregate's defense budget.
The postwar situation is still fluid, even as late as 15 years following Makaan's Death. The Vaygr have fragmented into several elements; the Independent Vaygr Federations of House Mar'yan, the Ravinder Democratic Republic, as well as several isolated, ad-hoc alliances of Vaygr Fleets and former Republican Taiidan planetary governors. These entities are generally more interested in settling down and establishing and defending their territories, if not simple survival. They are considered apostates and heretics by the Makaan Loyalists, and are subject to wholesale slaughter, rape, and mutilation wherever they are encountered thereby. This has forced a high level of militarization among the IVF. Currently Hiigaran Intelligence is attempting to contact the IVF and establish some level of alliance to counter the still-formidible Armada Remnants.
The main contingent of Makaan Loyalists and remnants of the Armada de Makaan are, for the most part, composed of remnants of Clan Se'keram and it's vassal hosts, which were stationed in the worlds of the former Taiidani Republic (either on occupation duty or in preparation for deployment to the front). Despite the eroding of their numerical advantage, the AdM forces represent the largest, strongest, and most organized combatant force among the Vaygr Clans. Their main goal is to continue their war against Hiigara, and to acquire Sajuuk and avenge Makaan's death. The likelihood of their succeeding is close to nil, however. Without their far jumper, massive numerical superiority, or political unity, the AdM remnant is no longer an existential threat to the Hiigaran Republic, but is still a dangerous fighting force on the defensive. Nearly all Hiigaran-Vaygr combat is fought against these forces.
A third group are those clans who have pledged allegiance to the Taiidan Empire. While there is some overlap with the AdM remnants, for the most part the Taiidani have abandoned supporting the Makaan loyalists. Instead they have bid their time, watched, and waited. Most of the clans under Taiidani sway are controlled outright by the Imperial Intelligence Service, and work in close callusion with the Imperial Navy. The status of these relationships range from employment as mercenaries to outright duress. The Taiidani use these troops as auxiliaries in a similar manner to their use of Turanic Raider forces a century earlier. Their primary goal is to seize and secure as much former Republican Territory as possible, as well as to collect any Progenitor Technology that can be found in order to achieve some level of parity with the Hiigarans.
Deep in the Vaygr Reaches, a few scattered clans still survive. The majority of them are mercantile or civilian in nature, and are relatively isolated by distance from affairs further west. For the most part, these clans live as they have for centuries, contributing little directly to the war effort, and are the closest things to civilians that the Vaygr people have at this point. Notably among them, is a movement known as the "Cult of the White Mantle". A guerrilla force dedicated to the protector god, Koshiir-Ra. A group of Vaygr Mystics who are symptomatic of the wide belief that the Progenitor God Jakuul is alive, malevolent, and actively involved in the affairs of the day. While ostensibly they seek to resist Jakuul, and spread the word of his masquerade, in practice they are generally considered little more than pirates or violent militiamen, often harassing or attacking former loyalists. Beyond this, they pose no military threat to any other star nation.
There are unsubstantiated (and currently unverifiable) reports of a far more dangerous cult dedicated to Jakuul himself. Rumors persist of madmen conducting arcane rituals, and hidden bases in the darkest depths of the Vaygr Reaches. Weather this is a legitimate threat, or merely propaganda of the Cult of the White Mantle cannot be proved or disproved at this time.
Beyond this, many Vaygr have turned to petty piracy, holding no permanent allegiances and answering to no one. They typically exist in areas where the AdM and IVF's authority is negligible, such as the southwestern fringe worlds of the Taiidani Republic, the Central-eastern periphery between Republican and old Vaygr space, and the Karos Graveyard. The latter are believed to be survivors from Clan Navaskiya, and are rumored to be in co-operation with a resident band of Turanic Raiders. Rumors of another, possibly more substantial Vaygr Force are emerging from the western area of the Levii Conglomerate, assailing the Mid-rim trade routes between Yomi and Nalthoran Space, and the Hiigaran Control Zone. Weather this is the same organization or some other is unknown, with the prevailing theory that this force is made up of special forces fleets sent to hunt down the Bentusi Hyperspace core. If so, it represents the furthest Westward advance of any known Vaygr Forces. Sporadic conflicts have been reported between these piratical Vaygr, and commerce protection forces of the Yomi Defense Force, Nalthoran Royal Navy, and Kiith Somtaaw. The reported size of these forces hints at atleast one shipyard-class vessel and attendant strike force. It's exact location and disposition remain unknown.
Because of their fragmented nature, the Vaygr currently have no single leader. They are an assembly of warlords with varying alligences, and each Vaygr force has it's own style of government, currency, diplomacy, objectives and modus operandi. In general: the Armada de Makaan are closer to a professional regular force than anything else. The clans of the IVF range from traditionalist tribal elements to quasi-democratic nation states. Each clan or faction issues it's own currency, establishes and enforces it's own laws, and maintains it's own standing army, according to it's power and capability to do so. For inter-clan or inter-species trade, most is done in bartering or hard goods (mineral resources, ship parts, food, medicine, and so on). Gold is commonly used as a neutral medium of currency in most cases (the Vaygr have substantial reserves after raiding the Taiidan Republic's National Reserve banks during the invasion).
Traditionally, the Vaygr were a highly patriarchal society, with the male clan chieftains passing leadership down to their firstborn sons. Women would typically lead the clan only under highly irregular circumstances. Gender equality varied between clans, but was for the most part relatively rigid: Men did the Fighting, Women did the production, maintenance, and housekeeping. This paradigm has, however, reversed in a dramatic manner with the defeat of the Armada. So many of the (male) clan leaders, who lead from the front, were killed in action, while leaving their wives in command of the households far from the front lines. This has lead to a situation where the leadership of many Vaygr Clans is overwhelmingly female, especially within the IVF. This, combined with the major societal transformation brought on by the Invasion era may very well lead to the Vaygr becoming an entirely matriarchal culture in the near future.
Arbitration of legal matters was generally handled by judiciary troops (essentially a military police force) at the behest of the Clan Leaders. The system was considered relatively primitive and often inhumane by the standards of other races. Small scale crimes were generally punished by public floggings, beatings, and in extreme cases, summary execution. Again however, legal code and what constitutes crime varies widely between individual clans. Overall, the close knit confines, overwhelming surveillance, lack of privacy, and the fact that nearly everyone is armed keep most petty crime in check. Within the Vaygr Reaches, Piracy, Inter-clan conflict, or sabotage was the most common threat.
Vaygr Culture is one of rigid conformity and close social bonding. From an early age, most Vaygr children are organized into education creches, generally administered by the elders, or semi-professional caretakers, as opposed to the formalized educational systems used by more sedentary races. The harsh necessities of space travel dictate that every child must perform some kind of useful task as soon as they are able to do so. The potential for serious injury or harm in a cramped spaceship is also a concern, so most children are closely monitored by either their older siblings, parents, or some other adult figure from an early age. These bonds often become a sort of symbolic mentor/disciple bond which is characteristic of Vaygr Culture, even when the two are not bound by blood. When a child comes of age, they typically choose (or are assigned) an occupation or specialization based on their capacity. Generally such occupations are not hereditary; the overall needs of the clan or individual city-ship's crew come first.
Material comfort is generally tertiary to contemporary Vaygr life (although again, this varies between clans), and what there is is heavily dependent on social status. Aboard the confines of a cityship, an individual can be expected to have his or her own small room, containing a bed, holo-screen, and personal effects. There is little room for extravagance aboard a spacefaring vessel. This encourages a non-materialistic culture based on personal or family bonds, and a general distrust of outsiders. Conspicuous consumption is impossible for anyone except the clan leadership.
Within Vaygr society, Slavery is seen as a way of life. Most slaves being prisoners of war, criminals, or foreigners impressed into service. Depending on the trustworthiness of the individual in question, slaves may be used for everything from housekeeping to combat troops. The methods of keeping them in check, and their treatment, again, varies significantly. Generally, those assigned dangerous tasks like combat do so because they are promised freedom should they survive. Weather they achieve such is ultimately dependent on the personality of those in charge. Even with the advent of modern robotics technology, slavery as a restitution is unlikely to disappear in Vaygr culture any time soon.
As a Nomadic People, the Vaygr are on the move most of the time. This means that in their military campaigns, they tend to avoid costly planetary operations and occupations. This is significant as it shapes their interaction with the former worlds of the Taiidan Republic. During the invasion, planetary sterilization with orbital bombardment was common on the frontier worlds: it is suspected that no less than a dozen planets were put to the torch. Generally, the Vaygr would offer a planetary leader two options: Surrender his world and Supply any goods or weapons the Vaygr demanded, or face annihilation from orbital bombardment. Beyond that, the Vaygr generally allowed a given Planetary government to continue business as usual, as long as it surrendered any spacecraft or weapons capable of reaching orbit to the Vaygr's control, and continued to pay a tithe. Any act of insurrection would result in a swift and brutal response.
Towards the later stages of the war, this would change. The Vaygr began large-scale planetary assault operations to secure what was deemed "strategically vital supplies." Often, owing to the Vaygr's relative inexperience in planetary warfare, this lead to drawn out planetary sieges and ground assaults. Generally, if a planet capitulated, and there was something important on the surface they wanted, the Vaygr would land troops and maintain a sufficient garrison to ensure the local government maintained compliance. In the current time period, with the Vaygr having expended most of their Atmosphere Deprivation Weapons, high-intensity planetary assaults and land warfare are becoming more common. This is especially true of the more sedentary IVF, who are hardening their controlled worlds for just such an eventuality.
In terms of Space Warfare doctrine, the Vaygr can be broken up into two or three broad eras.
Originally, "First Era" was Pre invasion, and "Second Era" was post invasion. For our purposes, "First Era" is defined as Homeworld-War (or around that time period), during Tural's resistiance to the Imperial Taiidan. "Second Era" is the invasion era. And the nascent "Third Era" represents a shift in doctrine away from casualty-intensitve, large scale wars of attrition to more capable (and somewhat more survivable) ships and equipment.
Ships of the first era evolved mainly out of the civilian ships required for the Vaygr's nomadic existence. Frigates evolved from fast transport ships. Carriers and Battlewagons evolving from large bulk freighters or liners. Overall, prior to the wide scale adoption of technology introduced by the Frrern Aggrigate (or stolen from the Imperialist Taiidan), individual Vaygr ships were far inferior to those of the Imperialist Taiidan. The Vaygr of this era were not particularly known for innovation due to limited resources, but were resourceful with what they had. For instance, prior to the development of plasma bombs and plasma lances, the Vaygr made due with either highly manuverable gunfighters for dog-fighting, or lightweight "Sniper" fighters (little more than a bigass ballistic cannon with a cockpit and engine aboard. The Vaygr scout could be retconned into this) deigned to attack enemy frigates or capital ships from range, and ideally from the cover of an asteroid field.
Developments were largely incremental and isolated, little more than mating reproduced Frrern weaponry and power systems onto existing chassis. It was only with the military build-up under Tural (and later, Makaan) that this began to change. Vaygr forces of the second era were vastly more capable than those of the first, but were still largely bound by the traditions of the quasi-ritualistic tribal warfare of old: Vaygr ships, in comparison to those of the Hiigarans, Taiidan, and others, were decidedly single-purpose, often lacking secondary weapons (or if they did exist, generally supplemented the purpose of the primary ones). This, combined with traditional Vaygr overengieering (itself a habit of their nomadic nature) lead to ships which were situationally good in their defined roles, and formed part of a combined arms operation, but lacked much in the way of flexibility.
As the war went on, this rapidly changed. The Vaygr began with simply adding more missiles and hull defensive guns, before diversifying their existing hulls into entirely new, more multi-purpose roles. This was more easily done on their larger ships, which by-and-large were built with such future-proofing in mind, with the main limiting factor being the doctrines of the day (based on those of the Taiidan Empire). The situation was different with small craft, as the rapidly evolving threat of close in weapon systems, fighter missiles, and integrated defensive systems, quickly made most 2E strike craft obsolete almost as soon as the war began. 2.5E designs and attempts at modernization were semi-effective stopgaps, but it wasn't until the introduction of the I-2/HAC chassis' and the Shamshir class Corvette that the Vaygr were able to entertain some parity with 5G Hiigaran Strike Craft.
3E designs are considered postwar models, designed as part of the shifting needs of the day to do "more with less". This paradighm was set mainly by the IVF, who are in a situation where they can ill afford huge manpower losses against the numerically superior AdM. The Armada itself is making preparations as well, anticipating that the Hiigaran Navy will begin large-scale implementation of Neo-Progenitor materials and energy systems, and have begun major research (including joint ventures with the Imperialist Taiidan) to improve their conventional forces, again, to prevent unnecessary manpower losses. Generally, the AdM are more tolerant of a war of attrition than the IVF (and in some ways, the HGN), which has been the main thing preventing a rapid Hiigaran counteroffensive into the former Republican Territories.
During the invasion era, the Vaygr's strategy was to utilize the Third Core aboard Makaan's Flagship to jump multiple Shipyards and their escort behind enemy lines, before the individual fleets would disperse and attack their assigned objectives. What often happened was a sort of "Hammer and Anvil" maneuver, in which the speedier elements of the Vaygr forces would cut off the escape route of an enemy force (liberal use of hyperspace inhibitors and gravity wells were key here), before the fleet's Battleships would approach and crush them. This strategy was used to great effect against the Republican Taiidan in the early part of the war, who were hampered by poor communication and lack of mobilization.
In more localized engagements, the simple tactic of hyperjumping overwhelming numbers of ships directly ontop of a target and blowing it away were practice. This was especially useful against lone, fast, powerful ships like Bentusi Trade vessels or P3 Megaships. Losses would typically be disproportionate, but were generally accepted. The goal of the operation was, again, to distract the Bentusi vessel's weapons and escorts, allowing the Battleships to arrive en-masse and attack the vessel's flanks. Against a large target with poor missile defense, this tactic proved devastating.
Ultimately, as the war progressed, and the Vaygr ended up fighting against either well prepared entrenched targets, or enemies which otherwise had larger force multipliers and were distributed over wider battlefields. As combat became ever more decentralized, the Vaygr switched to much more tactically mobile, "armored cavalry" style operations, again levying their superior numbers against an opponent, and reserving their battleships for sieges or destruction of enemy warships of analogous size and armament.
After the Hiigaran counteroffensive and the fragmentation of the Armada, strategies and tactics changed again. While rapid advances and armored cavalry strikes are still situationally useful, more often than not, it is the Vaygr forces which are on the defensive. With their fleets generally built for frontal assault rather than defense or all-aspect maneuver warfare, they have had to get creative. The fragmented nature of the Vaygr military fleet means that there is little coherance to most of their postwar strategies and tactics, and these are largely dependent on the technological capabilities and military mindset of whatever clan or faction happens to be employing them.
Posted on 07-09-2015 20:28
Joined: September 02 2005
Metric tons of good writing! I never really liked the HW2 Vaygr style and considered them very blank comparing to HW1 Taiidans.
This writing really made me think better about their culture (but still Taiidan FTW!)
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