PART I: A gift from RAM V
Okay, as promised, this is RAM’s document on how Economic Systems work in the universe of Three Worlds Three Moons.
There will be a two-parter adapting this for our use that follows and then some cooler stuff, including, of course, a comic.
INDUSTRY AND ECONOMIC FORCES
For the purposes of this story, we’ll frame industry and the economics of trade, service and manufacturing as evolved into free-market syndicates. While each of the planets potentially have some measure of centralization, the interplanetary trade and industry is largely self-regulatory and long-standing forms of syndicalist ideologies have led to like-minded entities within similar business spheres coming together to present their interests on the bigger platform.
Of course, these syndicates are not perfect. Internally, competition is a driver for dissent and vested interests coming into play but largely these are handled within the syndicates that have all eventually arrived at some form of equilibrium. There are bigger and smaller players within the syndicates, with all of them mostly knowing what place they occupy and the power that comes with it all.
But as the worlds come to a point of cyclical change, the point of inflection, as always present an opportunity to upset the status quo. The smart, forward thinking “upstarts” and the wary, watchful established powerhouses will both be acutely aware of this.
PLANET ONE: AKVA
On a planet of dominant theocracies, industry has found it very difficult to establish itself. Largely because the driving forces of economic progress— ambition, profit, wealth generation, material quality of life have for the most part been trumped by religious doctrine. As a result, there are no major industrial players on AKVA - by design. There are smaller service providers, construction, transport, food, water - but they all largely operate under the auspices of their theocratic governments.
While the larger syndicates do have some presence on AKVA - they have been kept at arm’s length by the governing nations who treat them with a measure of healthy suspicion. But ambition and the desire for a quality of life are powerful motivators— especially where you’re mining the most valuable substance in the planets. There is always a desire from the captains of industry to be free of their religious overlords and adopt the agnosticism of profit instead. As a result, the Syndicates are always able to instigate opposition and dissent within the existing industrial sectors on the planet. However, this has largely been unsuccessful with both nations on the planet engaging in “union busting” practices - changing leadership at whim, changing policies at whims, arresting dissenters under religious law etc.
With the cycles coming to a change, we might potentially see this balance of power shifting. While the mining of KHOR is largely seen as an act of religious belief. The theocracies themselves operate only within systems of belief. Faith— not magic. As a result, with the advent of true magic potentially threatening to fly in the face of established religion, there exists a potential to exploit the weakening of religion’s grip on the land— and more importantly on KHOR.
This would mean that just as there are bravos and mercenaries operating outside of the bounds of the two nations but acting for them. Equally there will be mercenaries and bravos motivated by the syndicates in more clandestine ways.
PLANET TWO: FAYRII
Mirroring the feudal nature of the Monarchy on FAYRII - industry largely consists of consolidated giant corporations operating in various sectors on the planet. Some of the most powerful players in the syndicate come from FAYRII. Mirroring the monarchy and the greater narrative of duality - the corporations on the planet are largely preoccupied with weathering and exploiting this cyclical stance.
Effectively gambling through every monarchic cycle - the corporations on FAYRII bet on who the incoming heir will be. Backing their attempts at fratricide and Patricide. Whoever bets on the winning horse - tends to go through a waxing cycle- with massive expansion, takeovers and consolidation until the heirs come of age and the gamble begins all over again.
There might be winners and losers - but the monarchs all realize they NEED the corporations to survive. They need the money backing them. They need captains of industry swaying the public and putting their resources behind them. So, the complete failure of companies is rare. And thus, sitting on top of the cyclical duality of the monarchy and the corporation on FAYRII is the uneasy balance between monarchy and industry itself. They are all of them, Kingmakers.
It would not be wrong to think of the Industrialists on FAYRII as Feudal lords - checking and swinging the balance of power by deciding who they will ally their banner to.
And it is that balance which is now being threatened with the coming change. The re-emergence of a magic cycle will throw a variable into this delicate equation because magic can overturn the old lines of dominance. The unfavored heir can be king, the upstart corporation can rise to dominance by bringing magic to their unlikely chosen horse.
MOON ONE: HEIR
THE BANK is on the moon “HEIR”. Operating independently of other syndicates THE BANK is not an industrial organization. It makes nothing, it sells nothing. It peddles influence, lends money, and collects loans. Its purpose is to perpetuate its own value. It cares not for the duality of things. It cares not for cycles. THE BANK simply wants to be on the ascendency regardless of which way the cycle swings.
THE BANK has seen cycles come and go. THE BANK has backed kings and toppled them. THE BANK has funded wars. THE BANK has a direct line to the men of god, on AKVA.
THE BANK knows that on the far reaches of some distant moon, magic is making a return. And THE BANK wants to seriously consider this investment opportunity.
THE BANK does not come under the purview of any of the established nations or governments. It has more money than any one organization and so wields that power over the leaders of whole planets. But THE BANK is aware that its operation is contingent upon its discretion. Although it is more powerful than most other entities it must never be seen as being so. Although it is bigger than other entities it must never be seen as being so. Its power is in its ubiquitous nature, in its ambient influence. Its ultimate aim is to grow and perpetuate endlessly.
There are organizations capable of standing up to THE BANK. Within the purview of this document, those are the syndicates. The largest syndicates together can potentially measure up to THE BANK’s power. So far, despite some friction the stance has been— why stand opposed when you can stand with.
But the advent of magic once again is a game-changer. Although THE BANK has been around forever, if the Syndicates were to play their cards right at the moment of inflection in a cycle, you could (however unlikely it may be) potentially take THE BANK.
PLANET THREE: THERRA
The comfortable middle. The syndicates see THERRA as the comfortable middle. The medium of their operation, their farm, the substrate within which their profits may grow. But due to the presence of potentially democratic forces and numerous interests and the politics that entails, the Syndicates, while exerting their influence have largely viewed THERRA as consecrated ground. That is to say they largely like to keep THERRA happy without ever truly allowing the exertions of their power to affect anything significantly.
Vast majority of the Syndicate organizations come from THERRA – but the truly powerful players elsewhere tend to keep to the shadows here. Unrest on THERRA, in general is bad for business. But, since THERRA is a relatively quiet staging ground the vast majority of intra and inter Syndicate back-stabbing, espionage, sabotage happens at this level.
This is the place where the upstart corporation might make their first moves if their ambition was to become something more.
MOON TWO: ORDO
THE LAB is on ORDO. A research hub set up as an independent body that services industry but is largely staffed by academics, engineers, researchers provided with endless reserves of money simply to advance science.
THE LAB does not concern itself with the politics and power games of the corporations or the syndicates. Their purpose is purely intellectual. Their end-goal is inquiry in itself without concern for profit or for ramifications. While THE LAB has generally been viewed as a positive force within modern society there are of course dangerous edges to research being performed without oversight.
And THE LAB also becomes a prime target for the Syndicate’s games being played in clandestine corners – sabotaging and stealing and burying research from competitors. Largely, things have been balanced at THE LAB – the syndicates and corporations keeping each other in check.
But with the advent of magic, if THE LAB’s true purpose is inquiry itself, the ramifications of early research into exploiting magic for industry could have significant consequences.
MOON THREE: KAOSO
There is no industry on KAOSO. But there are dreamers, wanderers, and mercurial frontiersmen chasing gold (‘magic’) in the hills. Most of them are fools. Some of them are not.
Thank you kindly, Ram. Let’s see where we can take this from here...