The Starguild Imperium is a common term used to describe two seperate entities, namely the Starguild and the Imperium. The two are interwoven and a brief description of both follows here. For more details concerning each entity, please refer to the links.
The Starcaste system and the Starguild has its roots in the early days of interstellar travel. The discovery of the Heisson Jump Drive, which allowed spacecraft to move at faster-than-light speeds, opened the stars to exploration, and there followed a period of rapid expansion. The major Corporations which backed this exploration soon established colonies on suitable worlds, as profitable and necessary commodities. They were led by a breed of independent people, people who did not consider themselves part of the old world. The parent nations of Earth soon found themselves in competition with these upstarts, and the competition rapidly escalated.
The greatest conflicts centered on control and technology. Space was far too large, and the Corporations too strong, for the Nations to regulate the expansion of the new worlds. The sophisticated technology necessary to travel the stars also lay largely in the hands of the Corporations, and the independence this gave them led to a number of confrontations. These confrontations eventually grew into the First Corporate Wars, a time of chaos during which the great interstellar Corporations battled the forces of nationalism for control of the future. The Nations had a great deal of power and tradition on their side, but the Corporations controlled the economy; with a mixture of force, guile, and compromise, the Corporations triumphed.
The war taught the Corporations a vital lesson. They needed constant expansion and colonization to grow, yet could not lose control of either the people or the technology. All power would have to be centralized if the Corporations were to survive. This led to the formation of the Starguild, a federation of the major Corporations and Nations joined together for mutual protection and to guarantee their power. Only members of the Starguild were allowed access to advanced technology, and their small, elite populace was assured prosperity for generations to come.
To enforce this treaty, and insure that the mandates of the Starguild were met, they created the Imperium. This was initially a figurehead government, with the power to arbitrate Starguild matters and a limited military. Each Starguild member contributed to the Imperial military. It functioned as an interstellar regulating force, whose job was the administration of the new colonies and worlds.
The creation of the Starcaste systemEdit
To control the masses the Starcaste system was imposed, and it has endured to the present time. This caste system separates Humanity into Starcaste, Landcaste, and Bondsmen, and limits the standing of all alien races. Each of the castes is hereditary, and it is virtually impossible to advance in standing.
This system might have remained in balance if the various corporations of the Starguild had been able to cooperate with one another. But while they were able to establish policies to dominate the affairs of Landcaste and Bondsmen, they did little to prevent feuds among Guildmembers. Warfare within the Starguild was common, and with each new outbreak Imperial power increased. Through the decades, the power of the lmperium grew, until it was no longer a force composed of Guild members; it became a separate and powerful entity, one that was hungry for power and in a position to seize it. It is currently an entirely independent, self-supporting entity, and wields far more power than any single member of the Starguild. In recent years, the entire Starguild has begun to fear the Imperium.
The Spectral InvasionEdit
Before those fears could be confirmed, though, the Starguild and the Imperium alike encountered a new force, a threat that eclipsed all their previous difficulties. The assault craft of the alien Spectrals, fresh from destroying the empire of the Dragoncrests, first swarmed into Human space ten years ago. Their abilities seemed supernatural, and they were clearly intent on genocide. Against Humanity's greatest threat stood a loose federation of selfish companies and their associates, led by an Imperium which was neither trusted nor admired. One by one, the members of the Starguild abandoned a coordinated defense and fled to their strongholds. One by one, they began to fall before the Spectral onslaught.
After a decade of warfare, the Starguild is badly battered. Dozens of worlds have been invaded by the SpectraIs, and more systems are threatened. One of the few that seemed well beyond the range of the Spectral threat was the quiet, backwater world of Rhand, a world that has now joined the list of fallen systems.