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Veskarium

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The Veskarium
Veskarium
(Nation)
Region Near Space
Alignment Lawful evil
Capital Command Prime, Vesk Prime
Ruler Council of Despots
Government Military junta
Adjective Veskarian
Languages Vesk
Religions Damoritosh, vesk saints

Source: Core Rulebook, pg(s). 469

The Veskarium is a militant interplanetary empire located in the Ghavaniska system. It is the inhabited solar system nearest to the Pact Worlds, and is named after its dominant species, the vesk.[1][2]

Holdings

The Veskarium's core territory consists of the eight planets orbiting the star Ghavaniska, their moons and the space station Conqueror's Forge. Except for Vesk Prime, homeworld of the vesk and the Veskarium's seat of power, these planets officially have no names, only numbers correlating to their distance from the sun (such as Vesk-6). Outside of the Ghavaniska system, the Veskarium also controls a few colonies scattered across both Near Space and the Vast.[3]

History

A vesk.

The founder of the Veskarium was Eshovok, a powerful warlord who saw the danger of unending civil wars and set out to unite all vesk tribes under his rule. After defeating all of his rivals, Eshovok proclaimed himself emperor of the Veskarium and turned his empire to the conquest of their entire home planet under the banner of Damoritosh from the two rival intelligent species, the skerasken and caiagaras. As the Veskarium's legions began pushing the skeraskens back, their enemies tried to surrender, but the emperor refused to allow them to live and seek revenge against the vesk in the future. Within a few generations, the skeraskens were exterminated, their lands annexed by the Veskarium. The vesk then turned their attention to the caiagaras of the Eastern Wastes, who had witnessed the skerasken genocide and refused to suffer the same fate. While the caiagaras moved their cities underground with magic and sealed the entrances to the caverns, the vesk pressed on, conquering the caiagaras' surface holdings and razing their underground cities. After centuries of struggle, the caiagaras were defeated, and the Veskarium encompassed the entire planet.[4]

With Vesk fully conquered, the Veskarium turned its eyes to the stars. After developing their first starships, the vesk conquered the second planet in the system in 3226 PG, and marked their conquest by renaming their homeworld Vesk Prime and the conquered planet (originally called Iji) Vesk-2. In 161 PG, the Veskarium finished conquering the entire system.[5][6]

When the Gap hit, the Veskarium's military records provided a clear snapshot of the pre-Gap situation, allowing the Veskarium to quickly contact the existing vesk garrisons on the conquered planets and reassert its control after ten years. For some reason, in 3 AG, Triune's Signal did not reach the Veskarium, which had no access to the Drift until explorers from the Golarion system made first contact in 12 AG.[7]

The vesk initially warmly welcomed the visitors, before starting to see the Golarion system as their next potential conquest. Relations soured until the Veskarium invaded Triaxus in 36 AG, initiating the Silent War. The conflict led the various planets of the Golarion system to unite into a single government known as the Pact Worlds. The war lasted for approximately 250 years, and was mostly marked by border skirmishes, since neither side wanted to risk a full-scale invasion.[7]

In 291 AG, both the Veskarium and the Pact Worlds were invaded by an extrasolar enemy known as the Swarm. This mutual threat forced Veskarium to call a truce with the Pact Worlds, ending the Silent War, before they drove out the Swarm together. Since the threat of the Swarm endures, the armistice remains in effect.[1][8]

Government

The Veskarium is a unitary, autocratic military junta, where the military and government are one and the same. Individual planets have no devolved powers whatsoever, and are directly ruled by the military.[7] Courts are military tribunals, combat troops enforce laws, and local representatives only serve an advisory role to the military.[9]

Each planet in the Veskarium is ruled by a high despot, who resides in a building located in a key position that doubles as military base and governmental headquarters. Each high despot holds absolute authority over their planet, and delegates power to the bureaucracy as necessary. Together, the high despots form the Council of Despots, who rules the entire Veskarium from the Imperial Palace. High despots serve for life, usually until dying in battle, though this is rare in recent years due to the state of peace. Vesk colonies have a variety of governing styles, and their rulers are neither considered high despots nor members of the Council of Despots.[9]

In times of war, the Council of Despots appoints an emperor to serve as head of state and commander-in-chief of the military. The emperor, whose choice must be unanimous, serves as a figurehead for the war effort and citizens' loyalty, and has a vote on the Council of Despots. In the rare periods of peace, the emperor customarily abdicates, letting the Council of Despots to together serve as head of state. When the council is deadlocked, the high despot of Vesk Prime casts the deciding vote.[9]

Vesk see themselves as honourable, and view their subjects as inferior but strive to provide them with high standards of living.[2]

The Veskarium military is one single force without separate branches of service. Within the unified command structure, a few specialised divisions exist: Directive 9 (military intelligence), the Division of Criminal Extirpation (law enforcement and peacekeeping) and Division of Disloyal Organizations (anti-partisan operations). While any Veskarium citizen can join the army, the vast majority are vesk, whose most common job is a military career. Even though society and recruits alike view the military as a meritocracy, in truth family status and connections matter much more than prowess when it comes to promotions. Most soldiers join the army for life, hoping for a glorious death in battle. At any time, they can take the Soldier's Due, a tradition in which a warrior is honourably discharged and rewarded with their military-issue armor and weapons. Many such discharged soldiers continue to serve the Veskarium in other capacities, such as mercenaries.[9][10]

The Veskarium's currency is the imperial credit, which is equal in value to the Pact Worlds credit. The two are largely interchangeable in international trade, though the Pact Worlds credit is not always accepted in rural areas in the Veskarium.[10]

Relations

Since the war against the Swarm in 291 AR, the Veskarium has been holding a tenuous alliance with their former enemy, the Pact Worlds.[1] Although trade between the two systems flourishes, the relationship between the two governments and their citizens remains strained. Many vesk are uncomfortable with the peace, and are calling for war and conquest.[7]

Within the Ghavaniska system, the zilbrees alone have not been conquered by the vesk, due to their territory lying deep within Ghavaniska. The Veskarium is in the process of negotiating with the zilbrees to integrate them into the empire, offering them protection in exchange for technology. It is speculated that the zilbrees have nothing to gain by becoming the vesk's protectorate, and that some vesk generals are delaying the peace talks so they could develop starships to attack the zilbrees' home deep inside the sun. In the meantime, the Veskarium has been keeping information about the zilbrees secret from outsiders, even their Pact World allies.[11]

The Veskarium colony Najin-Korozayas, unknowingly built near territory controlled by the Azlanti Star Empire, lasted for a decade before being destroyed by the Azlanti, its populace enslaved and its resources plundered. Since then, the Veskarium has been keeping their distance from the territory of the Star Empire, whose navy is suspected to rival those of the Pact Worlds and Veskarium combined.[12]

Religion

Damoritosh has traditionally been the Veskarium's patron deity.[13]

References