“I believe in something greater than myself – a better world, a world without sin. I am not going to live in that world: there’s no place for me there. I’m a monster. What I do is evil, I have no illusions about it but it must be done…
The best must die so the rest can live.”
The Legion, on the face of it, seems a really run-of-the-mill stereotypical bunch of bad guys. They are, in fact, a Firstcome faction, but are such a young faction and are so closely allied with the Consortium that to all intents and purposes they are considered to be Zenithian. Many say that the two factions should just merge, but the Legion would then have to relinquish their priceless seat on the Coriolis Council. But behind the veil of simplicity the faction might be hiding layers of nuance that could energise an exciting Coriolis campaign.
The Legion is seen as the military arm of the Consortium, as such it is. But it’s much more than that as well. They are a faction in their own right that simply allies itself with the Consortium as they are natural bed-fellows: obvious brothers and sisters in arms; with much the same outlook on life in the Third Horizon (a Zenithian one); with many of the same enemies (the Order of the Pariah and Nomad Federation to count just two); with the same interests at heart and both benefitting from their joint ventures.
But perhaps this simplistic stereotype masks a more complicated relationship, one that is fractured and weak and balanced on the edge of a knife? And maybe this balance is threatened by the inequalities in the relationship between these two factions? The Legion has the military capability, the cutting edge, the deus ex machina: the Consortium has the trade, the money, the economic weight.
This raises a lot of questions:
- Does the Consortium even have any military strength it would call its own?
- Do they have any power, any force of arms, without the Legion by their side?
- Does the Legion have any economy of its own?
- How does it pay its way if not for the retainers given it by the Consortium?
- Does this make the Legion, in effect, an indentured servant (aka slave) of their Consortium masters?
- Or are they two factions forever entwined in a symbiotic dance that neither can survive without?
- Are they, in fact and to all intents and purposes, one faction?
Legion troopers in the deserts of Lubau
It is for you to answer those questions. But what this shows is that perhaps the Legion isn’t quite such a straight-forward and run-of-the-mill faction as it may seem at first glance. Perhaps this Legion – Consortium relationship is much more complicated than it seems.
a. First, you could imagine that the Consortium is a restraining influence on the war-mongering tendencies of the Legion whom, without this calming touch, would be more willing to flex their muscles and bully their way around the Horizon? “Might is right”, as the saying has it. But might doesn’t always lead to favourable trade conditions and preferential commercial relationships.
b. Or does the Consortium feel uncomfortable by this alliance of convenience, and feel it’s better to keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Have they over-reached themselves and now find they are holding the Legion tiger by the tail, just waiting for it to turn and bite back?
c. How does the Legion feel about this? Yes, it may be a symbiotic relationship, but the faction that holds the purse strings holds the real power, doesn’t it? Perhaps the Legion’s leadership is growing tired of the Consortium telling it what to do, where to go, who to fight, how to die. Chafing under the yoke of these arrogant bureaucrats, the Consortium men and women feel safe in the knowledge that, while they make the deals and earn the rich rewards, their strong-arm lackeys are quietly waiting to be told what to do, tugging their forelocks in respect and deferring to their betters.
d. And lets not forget that the Legion is actually a Firstcome faction that’s turned its back on their Firstcome ideals. Perhaps they are considered a pariah faction by all other Firstcome in the Third Horizon for betraying their ideology and turning their heretical backs on the Icons. Surely there must be factions within the Legion itself that, the relationship with the Consortium aside, feel drawn to the Iconic ideals of their Firstcome ancestors and regret – or even hate – the direction the Legion has taken? Maybe there are powers within the Legion looking to correct the historic mistakes that have tied them so closely to the Zenithian heresy, and dream of the day when the Legion throws off these un-believers and embraces the Icons once again.
So perhaps it is time for the worm to turn: maybe it’s time for the real strength of the Legion to step forward and take control; maybe it’s time for the pampered and soft-skinned merchants who think themselves so powerful, so patrician, so inviolable, to be taught a lesson in humility – at the end of a Legion barrel.
And who knows if the trader-barons of the Consortium are blind to this burning ember of resentment, or if they have sensed the change in the wind and are readying themselves for it…
Great article. Was already a fan of the podcast, but having these topics written down is extremely useful to come back to reference. Looking forward to more!