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Author Topic: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?  (Read 1081 times)

Middcore

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Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« on: 19 January 2022, 16:44:38 »
So the House Arano sourcebook essentially puts a bunch of worlds in the "southern" Periphery that "disappeared from the map" during the Succession Wars back on the map as of ~3025, some of them as part of the Aurigan Coalition but a bunch more in between the Coalition and the Magistracy of Canopus as independents.

What I would like to get opinions on is this: Would any of these systems still have HPG's?

I have always operated on the assumption that if a system had population significant enough to be on the maps, it has an HPG, except maybe if it's part of a pirate kingdom or some other special case otherwise noted. Most of the worlds in question start the Succession Wars under Liao, Marik, or Taurian control and I would expect them to have HPG's at that point.

When we could assume the reason they disappeared from maps is that there was no significant population left there, it's easy to imagine ComStar closing up shop. However, the Arano SB indicating that they aren't totally abandoned makes things more problematic for me.

I don't think we can just say it's a matter of the HPG's all being destroyed, because the Successor States wouldn't want to incur ComStar's wrath (looking at you, Charles Marik).

So at what point does ComStar make the decision a world is no longer significant enough to have an HPG and pack up? Or do they stick around until the bitter end just to maintain their benevolent image?

The closest analogue to this situation I could think of with a planet depicted in detail in canon fiction was Trellwan in Decision At Thunder Rift. Now, it seems like there's been a semi-retcon since the novel was written to say that Trellwan was officially under uninterrupted Lyran control from colonization right up until the Clans arrive. However, in DATR itself, it's a bit more ambiguous: there are references to the Lyran government using Carlyle's Commandos to "garrison" Trellwan, which makes it sound like it's under Lyran rule, but also references to Trellwan merely being an "ally" of the Commonwealth which makes it sound like an independent. In any case, DATR really sheds no light because there is no mention of an HPG or even any mention of ComStar anywhere in its pages! I'm not sure ComStar and what they do was even in whatever sparse universe Bible Bill Keith was given.

Mendrugo

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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #1 on: 19 January 2022, 20:48:53 »
Bill Keith would have been working, at best, off the universe guide published in StarDate magazine.  That version lacked ComStar and said even the Star League’s interstellar communications took months to reach from Terra to the Periphery.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Frabby

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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #2 on: 20 January 2022, 02:56:41 »
What I would like to get opinions on is this: Would any of these systems still have HPG's?
My take on it is the reverse, that most of these worlds would (should) never have had a HPG on them to begin with.
I'll try to explain:

I have always operated on the assumption that if a system had population significant enough to be on the maps, it has an HPG, except maybe if it's part of a pirate kingdom or some other special case otherwise noted. Most of the worlds in question start the Succession Wars under Liao, Marik, or Taurian control and I would expect them to have HPG's at that point.
The Arano sourcebook makes a commendable attempt to reconcile the HBS game's depictions with mainline BT canon, but for the game to work the tech level out there in the boondocks had to be orders of magnitude beyond what it had any right to be by established BT canon for the periphery.

The existence of HPGs out there is one such thing: They simply shouldn't be there for all we know.
Up until the Arano book, the periphery border was pretty much defined by the HPG grid. Worlds with a HPG on them were typically considered Inner Sphere worlds; worlds without their own HPG but within receiving distance of a HPG were considered near periphery; and anything beyond the reach of HPGs was deep periphery.
But then the HBS game and then the sourcebook basically established that the HPG grid extended into the Aurigan Reach region.
(Yes there always were exceptions. Some Inner Sphere worlds don't have HPGs - never had them in the first place, others had theirs destroyed. And a couple of notable periphery worlds, namely Oberon VI, actually feature a functional HPG station. But nothing even near to the level we see in the Reach.)

I had some very minor input during factchecking, including some tidbits to the overall depiction that might point towards a possible explanation: ComStar maintains the Rimward sector HQ of their Explorer Corps at Hellespont, and it would make sense if they had a HPG link to that HQ. So maybe there's a tendril of HPG links extending from the Inner Sphere through the Aurigan Reach all the was to Hellespont. The Aea writeup specifically mentions that the world is probably only inhabited at all because it has a HPG that is still staffed.
And remember how HPGs work: They "jump" radio waves. You can send messages to anyone in a 30ly radius (50ly for Class A stations), you don't technically need a HPG to receive a transmission. So that tendril of HPG links is at least 60ly wide.

When we could assume the reason they disappeared from maps is that there was no significant population left there, it's easy to imagine ComStar closing up shop. However, the Arano SB indicating that they aren't totally abandoned makes things more problematic for me. [...]
So at what point does ComStar make the decision a world is no longer significant enough to have an HPG and pack up? Or do they stick around until the bitter end just to maintain their benevolent image?
I don't think ComStar ever voluntarily shut down a HPG. They were invaluable infrastructure for colonisation efforts, even smaller Class B stations can create a HPG bubble 60ly across. That is, in my opinion, why the HPG grid and properly colonized space align so precisely. (Except, of course, in the Aurigan Reach.)

« Last Edit: 20 January 2022, 02:58:12 by Frabby »
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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #3 on: 20 January 2022, 05:55:07 »
I don't think ComStar ever voluntarily shut down a HPG. They were invaluable infrastructure for colonisation efforts, even smaller Class B stations can create a HPG bubble 60ly across. That is, in my opinion, why the HPG grid and properly colonized space align so precisely. (Except, of course, in the Aurigan Reach.)

Didn't Comstar abandon HPG's on worlds that Jerome Blake deemed as "economical unfeasable"? I am not sure what they did with the stations though I assume those where stations that got destroyed during the Periphery uprising and were not worth the investment. Noit sure if that really counts as I would think that even a wrecked station might contain stuff that would be considered too precious to left out there.

Middcore

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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #4 on: 20 January 2022, 12:44:55 »
Up until the Arano book, the periphery border was pretty much defined by the HPG grid. Worlds with a HPG on them were typically considered Inner Sphere worlds; worlds without their own HPG but within receiving distance of a HPG were considered near periphery; and anything beyond the reach of HPGs was deep periphery.

Not sure I quite agree with this. Are we saying the Taurian Concordat and Magistracy of Canopus don't have HPG's, apart from their respective capitals?

In any case, most of the worlds in question were considered part of the Inner Sphere up until sometime circa 2900, and therefore even under the above logic they would have had HPG's then. So how did they lose them? Destroyed, but as a result of collateral damage rather than being intentionally targeted so ComStar is willing to shrug it off? Or simply abandoned by ComStar when the Successor States cut them loose as too depopulated/resource-deprived to bother fighting over?

Phalanx

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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #5 on: 27 January 2022, 00:36:45 »
Not sure I quite agree with this. Are we saying the Taurian Concordat and Magistracy of Canopus don't have HPG's, apart from their respective capitals?


According to The Periphery(1st Edition):
- no world had A class service A(the anti periphery bias of Comstar combined with the excessive expense involved in upgraded a distant B station to an A)
- very small handful had B class service(an actual station).
- A few more had C and D(Comstar chartered Couriers as per Campaign Ops)
- Most had none at all
- A few smaller periphery factions have a B class station at their capital, such as Oberon IV in the Oberon Confederation)
- Of the independent worlds with B class service; Astrokaszy, Herotitus, and Novo Franklin(I would add Detroit because they have a B class facility by the 3060s but not sure how a divided comstar can afford to build brand new HPGs so far from Terra).

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Frabby

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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #6 on: 27 January 2022, 03:16:54 »
What he said. In addition,
In any case, most of the worlds in question were considered part of the Inner Sphere up until sometime circa 2900, and therefore even under the above logic they would have had HPG's then. So how did they lose them? Destroyed, but as a result of collateral damage rather than being intentionally targeted so ComStar is willing to shrug it off? Or simply abandoned by ComStar when the Successor States cut them loose as too depopulated/resource-deprived to bother fighting over?
I don’t think your premise holds true. Yes, the rimward ("southern") border of the Inner Sphere extended further into the Aurigan Reach once; but the IS powers pulled back out to consolidate their borders and I suspect the poor HPG grid out there played a role in that decision.

It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
The Magistracy, Concordat and Outworlds Alliance are ancient political entities and as such pretty much defined the edge of the Inner Sphere in the respective directions. Following the Reunification War the Star League deliberately kept them from evolving further, to keep them dependent on their Star League overlords. We know from the Danais/Trojan fluff, for example, that the Star League imposed limits on the size of ships the periphery could build. Not exactly an environment where you'd expect the HPG grid to be expanded into, beyond the bare minimum the Star League absolutely needed for their occupation forces there. Nothing was destroyed there; it was purposefully decided not to build many HPGs there in the first place.
That situation only ended when Star League died.

Compare to the situation in the Rim Worlds Republic: Richard's buddy Stefan got all the good stuff and most of his RWR was thus covered with HPGs. Came in handy for the coup, too, I suppose.
Which made the territory a juicy prize to be absorbed by the Lyrans the minute the RWR died - the periphery region of the Lyran Commonwealth used to be HPG-uplinked periphery and has now been considered proper Inner Sphere space for over 300 years. It's only where the HPG grid ends that the Lyran conquest and assimilation also stopped.
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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #7 on: 27 January 2022, 03:59:07 »
According to The Periphery(1st Edition):
- A few more had C and D(Comstar chartered Couriers as per Campaign Ops)

Would a Comstar C&D station effectively be a communication center on the planet, that has similar servers, radio communication, and landlines as a larger Comstar station, just smaller setups and not having an HPG?

By at least having a physical location this would provide the following benefits:
  • people can drop off and pick up messages from a neutral party (and even set up forwarding rules if they will be leaving soon)
  • guests can check the schedule for when a message should arrive either on-planet or off (select the planet, and the Comstar computer lists the expected delivery day to/from the station the character is in)
  • allow for a Comstar representative on-site in case a neutral party is needed
  • allow for easy insertion of a ROM team under cover of a shift change
  • allow for a local merc unit to see if there are any potential contracts available (or at least learning of a good place to look) instead of blasting off blindly
  • allow for local mercantile groups (legal and not) to attempt off-world trade (importing or exporting)
  • ensure that off-planet communications are provided by a relatively high-tech provider, instead of whatever the locals can scrounge up
  • allow the local Comstar representatives to help out the local citizenry in various goodwill activities, spreading better relations with the poorest
  • allow Comstar a chance to hear about any new and/or disturbing tech rumors

Middcore

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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #8 on: 27 January 2022, 10:02:12 »

The Magistracy, Concordat and Outworlds Alliance are ancient political entities and as such pretty much defined the edge of the Inner Sphere in the respective directions. Following the Reunification War the Star League deliberately kept them from evolving further, to keep them dependent on their Star League overlords. We know from the Danais/Trojan fluff, for example, that the Star League imposed limits on the size of ships the periphery could build. Not exactly an environment where you'd expect the HPG grid to be expanded into, beyond the bare minimum the Star League absolutely needed for their occupation forces there. Nothing was destroyed there; it was purposefully decided not to build many HPGs there in the first place.
That situation only ended when Star League died.

I don't think source material supports these claims.

The Reunification War was 2577-2597. Sarna says that the Star League Communication Network (SLCOMNET) linked "every single inhabited world throughout the Inner Sphere and Periphery" by the time of the Amaris Coup, almost 200 years later. I don't know what the precise source for making this blanket statement is, so it could be an exaggeration, but it doesn't support your contention that the Star League just never built up HPG infrastructure in the Periphery as a way of purposefully holding it back. You could make an argument that "linked" doesn't necessarily mean every system had an HPG but rather couriers at least got to every system semi-regularly. But your whole argument is based on an inference from the Danais/Trojan fluff, which is a whole different type of technology that has an obvious military application that HPG's don't; it's pure speculation "well maybe the Star League didn't let them have HPG's either."

Either way, the question of HPG's on Taurian/Magistracy worlds is a sideshow. The systems I asked about in the original post were Successor State controlled, and were so for centuries. It is is beyond credulity, IMO, that they did not have HPG's on them at least at some point. The issue is when, if ever, they lost them, and if they lost them, then how.

Colt Ward

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Re: Independent Rimward Periphery worlds: HPG's or no?
« Reply #9 on: 31 January 2022, 12:03:31 »
We also have a story where a accidental colony formed on a barely habitable world that was setting up a HPG to be a link in the communications web.  No population existed on that world, nor was there a plan for a colony- just a outpost to service the HPG, like a lighthouse or the old Icestation Zebra radar outpost.  One of the worlds in the Aurigan zone was described as just that, a communication/JS way point.

The Blakists came out to try to re-integrate them.  The Bears lost a Trial of Position with the old Star League Corp of Engineers based colony.

But the above was based on what the Star League was doing with communication.  Blake, and by extension his organization, had a anti-Periphery bias that was pretty blatant.  It is not hard to believe that he would pull his followers back from Periphery worlds, shutting down those HPGs . . . which IMO, would also be a factor in the Houses abandoning some of those worlds, thus chicken/egg situation.  Those abandoned Periphery HPGs would also make a good/easy source of replacement parts . . . and Blake would not leave that tech sitting there to be mined.
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