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Author Topic: The lost world of Kievanur and the founding of the Duchy of Orloff  (Read 694 times)

Drewbs

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[Warning: long] According to several different source books, the Duchy (Earldom) of Orloff is founded in 2691 based on the Camlan legal precedent whereby worlds capable of autonomy can break away from the larger states within the FWL. The planets Kievanur and Semenyih are the only two worlds of this early Duchy of Orloff. Just two.

YET, the start of the 1st succession war (2786) this micro-Duchy had raised EIGHT regiments (and it raised three more during the 1st succession war). For comparison, provincial forces for the three larger founding states of the FWL are only marginally larger: the Marik Commonwealth (51 Worlds) had 14 regiments (Atrean Dragoons), the Principality of Regulus (40 Worlds) had 11 (Regulan Hussars), the the Duchy of Oriente (31 Worlds) had 16 Regiments (5 Fusiliers and 11 Hussars). Similarly, the Duchy of Andurien has 6 regiments for its 13 Worlds. So, 8 Regiments for just two worlds is an absurd concentration of military build up for such a small region.

But, that is not the best part! Orloff troops are both more experienced and better equipped than just about any other force in the FWLM. The Orloff Grenadiers are the only provincial force to have two Assault weight regiments (for comparison only 2 of the 40 Marik Militias were Assault weight in 2786 and there are only 9 regiments of that weight class in the entire FWLM). Also, Oriente and Orloff forces are given larger bonuses for RAT than the FW Guards, (the premier federal troops). The short form is that the Orloff Grenadiers used the best, most-expensive mechs available and, on average, were among the best trained pilots in the FWL. Again, this all comes from those two worlds: Kievanur and Semenyih. These worlds had to be massively populous and fantastically wealthy to afford this level of military expenditure. Right?!?

This is where the ridiculous story of the early days of the Duchy of Orloff really comes apart. Neither planet is ever given much detail. Semenyih stays around on the map and is never really used as a place of importance in the universe. Moreover, by the end of the 3rd Succession war, Semenyih has left Duchy of Orloff. It would be incredibly odd if Semenyih was properly the home world of the Orloff family and the place from where most of their political and financial power derived. So obviously Kievanur must have been the super wealthy home of the Orloff family. Maybe it was, but it is hard to know as the planet disappeared from the maps during the 2nd succession war with no explanation. So, after raising huge numbers for recruiting and having the capital to form EIGHT top-of-the-line regiments the home worlds of the Duchy of Orloff either die off or turn their back on the state they made?!?!?!? Huh?!?!

This seems like a backstory that desperately needs a good retcon. It can be as simple as having a planet killer meteor take out Kievanur, but some kind of backstory needs to be told here. Are there any chances one of the writers will sort this?

Chinless

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While I can't speak for what may or may not be written about the Duchy of Orloff, I can perhaps answer a few of your questions.

[Warning: long] According to several different source books, the Duchy (Earldom) of Orloff is founded in 2691 based on the Camlan legal precedent whereby worlds capable of autonomy can break away from the larger states within the FWL. The planets Kievanur and Semenyih are the only two worlds of this early Duchy of Orloff. Just two.

Yup, although by the end of the 1st Succession War they had captured another 4 worlds.

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YET, the start of the 1st succession war (2786) this micro-Duchy had raised EIGHT regiments (and it raised three more during the 1st succession war).

As per Field Report 2765 FWLM p19, the Duchy had 5 regiments already in 2765, meaning they would have been raised in the prior 74 years since the Duchy's founding. Historical 1st Succession War p138 states the 6th, 7th and 8th Grenadiers were founded prior to the outbreak of the 1st Succession War, with the 6th and 8th being comprised of former SLDF troops that joined the League. The 9th, 10th and 11th Grenadiers were founded during the 1st Succession War, with the 9th being destroyed in 2788 and the 11th in 2814.   

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The short form is that the Orloff Grenadiers used the best, most-expensive mechs available and, on average, were among the best trained pilots in the FWL. Again, this all comes from those two worlds: Kievanur and Semenyih.

That's what Field Report 2765 FLWM p19 says on the matter too.

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These worlds had to be massively populous and fantastically wealthy to afford this level of military expenditure. Right?!?

Not necessarily, no. FR 2765 says the Grenadiers were funded by the Duke of Orloff himself, who refused federal funding. Perhaps he simply preferred to spend his money on his forces instead of palaces and partying?

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This is where the ridiculous story of the early days of the Duchy of Orloff really comes apart. Neither planet is ever given much detail. Semenyih stays around on the map and is never really used as a place of importance in the universe. Moreover, by the end of the 3rd Succession war, Semenyih has left Duchy of Orloff. It would be incredibly odd if Semenyih was properly the home world of the Orloff family and the place from where most of their political and financial power derived. So obviously Kievanur must have been the super wealthy home of the Orloff family. Maybe it was, but it is hard to know as the planet disappeared from the maps during the 2nd succession war with no explanation. So, after raising huge numbers for recruiting and having the capital to form EIGHT top-of-the-line regiments the home worlds of the Duchy of Orloff either die off or turn their back on the state they made?!?!?!? Huh?!?!

As you mention, there is little data on either world. Its entirely possible both systems contained multiple habitable worlds, however FR2765 does suggest the two worlds 'are of little significance to would be raiders'. Perhaps the Duke amassed his fortune elsewhere?

Kievanur itself dies at some point after 2830, and between 2837-2842 looking at Historical 2nd Succession War p48. It's likely it was a victim of the ComStar War, although nothing is said directly. It would indeed appear this could have been their homeworld, although Vanra takes on this mantle at some being and is listed as their 'planetary landhold' in Handbook House Marik p76. However, the map on p16 shows Vanra as being a FWL planet in 2271, but was lost to the Capellans at some point prior to 2571. The Liao Handbook p17 shows Vanra as a Capellan possession in 2366, but given its a border world it could have changed hands many times of the years. Perhaps Kievanur became the Orloff's homeworld in absentia much like Kanata and Andurien?     

Chris

Drewbs

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Not necessarily, no. FR 2765 says the Grenadiers were funded by the Duke of Orloff himself, who refused federal funding. Perhaps he simply preferred to spend his money on his forces instead of palaces and partying?
I mean, that is a lot of partying. 8) Even if we set aside that the 6-8 regiments were formed shortly before the start of the 1st SW, that is still 5 regiments of top tier equipment still with two of those being Assault weight that was paid for and maintained for almost a century. Its more than half of what the Regulans mustered, and they are normally depicted as an economic powerhouse holding 40 worlds. Are the Orloffs roughly half (or even a quarter) as wealthy as the entire Principality of Regulus?  So, if the military is entirely bankrolled by the Orloff's where did they get that money?!? (Maybe the "Orloff Mafia" jokes are not just about their connections to power but where their money came from.)
I always took comments about the Earls spending family money on the Grenadiers to mean that they spent their own money to insure the the units always got the best equipment (effectively taking on some portion of the annual military budget, but not the whole thing). Footing the whole bill for even a smaller military for more than 50 years would cripple an individual's wealth. Not even Jeff Bezos could do it.

Kievanur itself dies at some point after 2830, and between 2837-2842 looking at Historical 2nd Succession War p48. It's likely it was a victim of the ComStar War, although nothing is said directly. It would indeed appear this could have been their homeworld, although Vanra takes on this mantle at some being and is listed as their 'planetary landhold' in Handbook House Marik p76. However, the map on p16 shows Vanra as being a FWL planet in 2271, but was lost to the Capellans at some point prior to 2571. The Liao Handbook p17 shows Vanra as a Capellan possession in 2366, but given its a border world it could have changed hands many times of the years. Perhaps Kievanur became the Orloff's homeworld in absentia much like Kanata and Andurien?     
I really like the Kanata-esqe theory, but I have had two things holding me back from accepting it. First, Camlan. The legal precedent was to allow worlds to break away from sub-states for their own autonomy. Breaking away from the Oriente to recapture another ex-Oriente world seems like it would not hold up in court. The desire to retake Vanra would have squarely fell into League/Oriente politics, not a legal case for the autonomy of of a world.

Second, the shift from the capital of Vanra being Utrecht to Orloff City seems to reflect a replacing of the old with a stamp of the Earl's power. This need to create a new capital branded with the house name seems to reflect that this is not a retaking, but something more like a normal conquest. Liberators would have focused on rebuilding Utrecht and the old Oriente legacy, or so I think.

Kit deSummersville

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The Golden Age of the Star League was unlike the times of the 4th Succession War. Outfitting a few regiments had less to do with the size of the economy and more with the political desire and power. The Lyran world of Odessa, not known for anything other than a large lizard, outfitted two regiments just so the nobility didn't have to serve in the regular military and deal with things like doing actual work, following orders or sleeping less than 10 hours a day.
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Paul

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  Footing the whole bill for even a smaller military for more than 50 years would cripple an individual's wealth. Not even Jeff Bezos could do it.

He easily could. The netherlands army (small but with modern tech) costs about 10 billion a year. Including land, sea and air assets and procurement.
Amazon makes about 230 billion a year.


Chinless

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I mean, that is a lot of partying. 8) Even if we set aside that the 6-8 regiments were formed shortly before the start of the 1st SW, that is still 5 regiments of top tier equipment still with two of those being Assault weight that was paid for and maintained for almost a century.

To be fair, some of those regiments could have been originally raised - and paid for - by Oriente and Orloff perhaps just inherited them when they separated in 2691. FR 2765 p19 suggests the Grenadiers were raised after the split however.   

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So, if the military is entirely bankrolled by the Orloff's where did they get that money?!? (Maybe the "Orloff Mafia" jokes are not just about their connections to power but where their money came from.)

It's possible there is a criminal aspect, though I think it unlikely personally. It would be difficult to keep something of that scale a secret. That said, criminal connections could explain away the assault 'Mechs. It's perhaps more likely that the Orloff's 'protection racket' was them hiring out the Grenadiers to defend whichever League world paid for them. That would defray their upkeep and more.

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I always took comments about the Earls spending family money on the Grenadiers to mean that they spent their own money to insure the the units always got the best equipment (effectively taking on some portion of the annual military budget, but not the whole thing).

FR 2765 p19 states "Because the Duchy of Orloff refuses any federal monies to fund the Grenadiers, Duke Orloff has the sole discretion on how the brigade’s funds are spent. Since the Duchy’s founding, the bulk of the Grenadier's funding has gone towards procuring top-of-the-line equipment and maintaining strict training regimens."

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Second, the shift from the capital of Vanra being Utrecht to Orloff City seems to reflect a replacing of the old with a stamp of the Earl's power. This need to create a new capital branded with the house name seems to reflect that this is not a retaking, but something more like a normal conquest. Liberators would have focused on rebuilding Utrecht and the old Oriente legacy, or so I think.

Historical 1st Succession War p54 states Utrecht was destroyed during the world's capture. Perhaps the Orloff's either rebuilt and renamed the city, or just started afresh?

Chris

Drewbs

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He easily could. The netherlands army (small but with modern tech) costs about 10 billion a year. Including land, sea and air assets and procurement.
Amazon makes about 230 billion a year.
Equating Bezos to Amazon is equivalent to saying the Earl's money is the same as the Duchies' money, which is what I was trying to contrast. If it was only funded by him, that is a massive burden, but if he just supplemented the Duchy budget it makes more sense. Also, Amazon has $230B in revenues, which is not the same as profit (of which they made ~$10B last year), while the billions that Bezos "makes" is mostly increased valuation on his stock portfolio. If he liquidated to enough to pay for even only the Dutch Military, he would rapidly lose control of Amazon and run out of money. But most importantly, Orloff is not like the Netherlands, it is more like Italy. By the end of the 1st SW, this micro state had gone up to 11 regiments (two of which were destroyed in the war), at peak capacity they were the 3rd or 4th largest military power in the FWL.

Drewbs

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The Golden Age of the Star League was unlike the times of the 4th Succession War. Outfitting a few regiments had less to do with the size of the economy and more with the political desire and power. The Lyran world of Odessa, not known for anything other than a large lizard, outfitted two regiments just so the nobility didn't have to serve in the regular military and deal with things like doing actual work, following orders or sleeping less than 10 hours a day.

This got me to read a tad about Odessa. It sounds like they made 2 joke regiments that no effort went into and which had to be fully retrained to even meet basic Lyran standards. That is kinda the opposite of what Orloff did where they made some of the best regiments in the entire FWL. Also, the entire planet of Odessa did this to slack off from serving in any real military units, which spreads the cost around to all the nobles on the planet.

But also, Odessa did have important things. It apparently is a very fertile world such that it was able to bounce back from near collapse (something that few worlds did after the 1 SW, people normally left.) But as important, the system housed a SLDF naval base. So unlike Kievanur or Semenyih, we have some reason to think that was in fact an agriculturally thriving and otherwise somewhat important system.
« Last Edit: 06 April 2019, 06:14:41 by Drewbs »

Paul

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Well, you seem to know better, so I'm not sure why you're asking us.

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Closing up shop here. This is ask the writers, not ask-the-writers-but-then-debate-like-it's-general-discussion. That part goes to general discussion.
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