Hey all! Steve here, and as promised, I wanted to give you a little look into a few of the Great Houses, since they are going to be major factors in how your ruling House fares – and of course, youself! The first Great House is your own! You will get to name this House whatever you want, along with assigning its primary and secondary colors (these will be by default the Empire’s colors as well) and its crest (also the Empire’s crest). Your House has been gutted by the history of Imperia, and you are the last heir (one reason that humanity’s position is so precarious). As a result, there are very few characters that are actively part of your House. It will be imperative to build a power structure where you have at least one or two Houses on your side – it might be expensive, but even the combined resources of the Empire cannot stop a civil war from bringing down your House. House Hawken (est. 2940) ‘The period of peace and stability the province had experienced under House Calabar was, however, to end abruptly in treachery and chaos. Magnus, having run up enormous debts to the Calabars in fighting off the De Jonquils, needed rid of them. His chosen puppet was Octavia Hawken, a charismatic but malleable technical officer in the shipyards of Illitch. Taking advantage of resentments built up over the course of the war, Octavia found it easy to rally the people to her cause. The coup of 2912 was almost bloodless; the aftermath, considerably less so.’ – Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 2977 ‘The period of stagnation the province had experienced under House Calabar would, however, soon come to an end. Octavia Hawken – a brilliant young officer in the technical corps of the Illitch shipyards – had long nursed a secret fury at the injustices suffered by the workers under their reign, and as the year 2912 dawned, her plans for liberation neared fruition. Magnus, his coffers bled almost dry by the Calabars’ stranglehold on military production, saw his opportunity. In the sixth month of that year, Octavia struck, and with Imperial backing was quickly able to take Otto’s throne.’ – Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 3048 ‘Francia, Grand Duchess of the Hawkens 2998-present day Born: 12/9/2951 Throneworld: Illitch, home of the famed Illitch shipyards. Parents: Grand Duke Altus Hawken, Duchess Consort Lydia Hawken Ancestry: Great-niece of Grand Duchess (formerly Junior Technical Officer) Octavia Hawken, who claimed her throne from Gaius III Calabar in 2912 with the assistance of the Emperor Magnus VI Skye, who (unrelatedly) owed the Calabars a lot of money. Noteworthy Achievements: Francia’s impeccably even-handed approach to the sale of her shipyards’ products have induced several quite-profitable planetary conflicts to develop into extremely-profitable interstellar wars, thereby vastly improving her House’s capacity to produce yet more lucrative, definitely-legal military innovations. Alongside this philanthropic work, she has also made sure to do due honor to her superiors, in particular the Marshal Prime – the dignity of whose office would be sorely wounded were it not for Francia’s selfless and unfailingly generous aid. Biography: Francia was born at the Hawken palace outside Lorem City, Illitch, whilst her young parents were in stellar orbit, inspecting progress on their latest cruiser. This rather set the tone for her childhood as a whole…’ – The Complete Imperial Who’s Whom, entry on Grand Duchess Francia Hawken, 30.2.3014 House Waldegrave (est. 2744) ‘One of the numerous Houses tracing their station to their role in Pierce’s Revolution, the Waldegrave clan’s carefully-maintained martial traditions evoke ancient Earth’s Spartans as much as any modern dynasty’s drill program. Nurtured in the harsh worlds of the Outer Rim, their austerely vigorous way of life was always ill-suited to governance, and as a result – to their great shame – Maarten Waldegrave lost the family’s throne world to a popular revolt in what they refer to as the Catastrophe of 2744. Since that day, the family have repeatedly sought Imperial permission to retake the world, without success – and no child of theirs has been named Maarten.’ – RevenantWiki, entry on House Waldegrave, retrieved 4/4/3049 House Horlock (est. 2415) This House was originally formed as a reaction to keep power from the Emperor’s hands. The first Grand Captain, Howard Horlock, was violently opposed to allowing so much power in the hands of an Emperor who did not represent the many. He was killed attempting to assassinate the first Sun Emperor, Magnus I, but he left with his son Zed a history and the knowledge to continue the crusade. While House Horlock has never been aggressively expansionist, what they do hold they manage well; their scions and staff are considered experts in wringing every last bit of efficiency from a planet or system. Though they publicly deny it in categorical terms, many Horlocks still yearn for the day they will rise up again against the Emperor, and take the Empire for their own, to protect it in the manner they deem best – with uncompromising force. From various texts: ‘At 22:16, 15/8/2499, an attempt was made on the life of His Grace by Grand Captain Howard Horlock, head of the informal Court faction of the same name, using a handheld pistol-type weapon. Due to the prompt and fearless response of Security Officer Pablo Yamaguchi, the assassin was inhibited with lethal force before he could complete his mission. We believe Horlock to have acted alone, due to his making the attempt personally on his own behalf, and the weapon’s being originated from his family armory and bearing his symbology. Our inquiries into his associates in aforesaid Horlock Court faction proceed apace and we will endeavor to provide His Grace with further information as soon as it becomes available to the Security Corps. Inquiries are also being made urgently into how Horlock was able to bring aforesaid pistol-type weapon into the presence of His Grace undetected.’ – Imperial Security Corps post-incident report concerning failed assassination attempt on the Emperor Magnus I Pierce, 16/8/2499, Red Archives ‘The Horlocks of the present day, however, have risen far from their ignominious origins. Loyal allies of the Emperor, they have a centuries-long record of ruling their domains with authority and unquestionable justice. The competence and stability of their administration make them vital players in Imperial politics, almost always for the common good.’ – Continuing History, edition of 3024 “Sorry Oss, bad news – we have to cancel all our plans. The guest of honor has a friend on our side somewhere. Looks like we won’t be able to hold that party after all. But I suppose that’s our family motto by now – ‘We’ll do what’s right – later'” – Intercepted letter from Priebus Horlock to Austina Horlock, 31/4/3024, Red Archives. ‘The guest of honor’ almost certainly refers to the Emperor Ensino.