The Fourteen WorldsIn the setting of the Childe Cycle, humanity has colonized new worlds. Most of these extrasolar colonies have concentrated on a singular cultural characteristic, and has become a basis of their society. These became known as the "Splinter Cultures".
In Necromancer, the roots of the Splinter Cultures could already be seen in individuals who embody one of the major core ideologies: Courage, Faith, Philosophy, or the Hard Sciences. Following the events of that novel, humanity takes to the stars, with people traveling to colonies that shared their outlook. By the time of Dorsai, the splintering is completed, and reinforced by economic necessity - Planets had to specialize or they could not survive economically. Each Culture had developed to emphasize their key aspect.
Note: While there are sixteen inhabited planets (including Earth), characters often refer to all of them as "the Fourteen Worlds". The Exotics (who control Mara and Kultis) and the Friendlies (who control Harmony and Association) tend to be counted as a single "world" each.
Orbiting Fomalhaut, their oceanic homeworld (also called The Dorsai) has many rocky islands with little farmland. Fishermen harvest the seas to provide food. With little natural resources, the people can only maintain their independence by working as mercenaries.
The descendants of unemployed mercenaries and others seeking freedom, they developed into a culture of fierce individualists. While technically ruled by a loose confederation, the central and local governments have no real power. The people allow no one to interfere with their freedoms. At the same time, they are traditional folk, and have a sense of responsibility towards others. It is this accountability is what drives the Dorsai.
- Awesome by Analysis
- Badass Army: Not only their major export, it's also their Hat.
- The Determinator: The Dorsai will never give up a fight, even when all else is lost. It is better to die than to be defeated.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Most of the Cycle focuses on the Dorsai, and in-universe the Dorsai are well renown for the elite capabilities.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Roughly based on Swiss mercenaries, and the Dorsai's districts are even called Cantons. The working title for "Dorsai!" (The Swissman) would have lampshaded this.
- Libertarians IN SPACE!
- Military Academy: The Academy, were Dorsai are trained to be soldiers since their youth.
- Planetary Nation: The Dorsai are more culturally united than politically.
- Proud Warrior Race
- Private Military Contractors
- Unstoppable Rage: The Dorsai are noted for these - you do not want an angry Dorsai after you.
- Wall of Weapons: Though true for many Dorsai, it is subverted in the Lost Dorsai: the titular hero has wall of musical instruments displayed as if they were weapons which convinces the narrator that he truly has become a pacifist.
Dominating the Procyon system, the Exotics is a rather unique culture. To outsiders, they seem to be peaceful if very odd mystics. In reality, they're relentless in their ideology of non-interference. Specialists in medicine, psychology, genetic engineering, social sciences, but above all their culture represents Philosophy.
Co-operative and mystical, some speculate the exotics may not be even human. In order to maintain their objectivity, the Exotics have developed their skills to stay rich, and thus maintain their independence. As such it is one of the major powers. Overtly agnostics, the Exotics are disliked by the Friendlies.
The warm worlds of Mara and Kultis are not ruled in a conventional manner. The closest leader of the Exotics is "The Bond" - a position that represents the relationship between the two planets.
- Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: The Bond has whole Dorsai companies as escorts. Ian doesn't think too highly of these "show guards".
- Hegemonic Empire: One of the major powers among the Younger Worlds, having domination over their star system. However, they mostly leave their wards alone. Power means the Extoics can remain objective.
- The Medic: One of their major exports.
- One World Order: Well, as much as "Order" can be had with them.
- Planetary Nation: More like inter-planetary nation. The Exotics have two worlds, but like the Dorsai have little government. However, the Exotics have a stronger "government" than the Dorsai.
- The Philosopher
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Just the robes, but more than once do people describe an Exotic as "wizards".
- Technical Pacifist: While they refuse to use violence themselves, it's not because of a moral code. Fighting would endanger their objectivity, and they have no qualms about using unscrupulous means to accomplish a goal.
- Skeleton Government: The Exotics have no traditional government, but have social institutions that roughly correspond to the function.
- Veganopia: Tend to be vegetarians as part of their philosophy.
Their homeworlds of Harmony and Association are resource poor - no metals and poor farming conditions. It was an ideal place for the first settlers wishing to live an ascetic, agrarian lifestyle. Alas, to survive as a culture they needed something to trade. Lacking products and having little practical skills, they've became mercenaries - conscripted cannon fodder to fight in others wars.
Both worlds are governed by a theocratic republic. However, sectarian violence and guerrilla warfare is common.
- 0% Approval Rating: The Friendlies are publicly disliked because of their fanaticism. To prove his objectivity, Tam Olyn writes a series of articles that paint the culture in good light. It's part of his plan of revenge.
- Ascetic Aesthetic: When Tam visits one of Harmony's small villages, he's notes how spartan the town is - buildings of concrete and plastic that would have been considered temporary structures, and people wearing black. In general, the Friendlies wear black, and leave their churches undecorated.
- Cannon Fodder: Their only major export. Ironically because they corner this market, they were the better soldiers when faced against inexperienced Cassidaian conscripts.
- Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: If a conscript lives long enough, they may become pretty decent soldiers.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Averted - The Friendlies are closer to protestant Christian trappings (Church leaders use the title "Elder", and refuse to use any artwork in their places of worship), but are a separate sect. According to The New Dorsai Companion, some Friendlies have fused Muslim, Jewish, or even Buddhist beliefs with Christian traditions.
- Civil War: The two planets are plagued by conflicts between Friendly sects. Donal begins his career as an officer for troopers working for the "First Dissident Church", who was fighting against the Orthodox forces.
- Cult Colony
- Church Militant
- Dark Is Evil / Dark Is Not Evil: All Friendlies (fanatical or faithful) always wear black.
- The Determinator: They will never give up on their Faith, no matter what. They will keep on believing, even unto death.
- Elite Army: While notable for their weak but cheap mercenaries, the Friendlies do have their own excellent and zealous regular forces.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Analogous to the Roundheads of the English Civil War.
- The Fundamentalist
- Had To Be Sharp: With few natural resources, they had to find something to sell or fail due to economic pressures. A sparse lifestyle of farming does produce strong, healthy people. And there's enough to spare to fight in wars.
- Ironic Name: The Friendlies are far from being warm and nice. Likewise, Harmony and Association are plagued by discord and schism.
- Knight Templar
- Martyrdom Culture: They may die in other folk's wars in large numbers, but they know they die for their faith.
- Planetary Nation: Like the Exotics, the Friendlies have more than one world.
- Private Military Contractors: Cornering the numerous fodder market.
- Saintly Church: Yes, despite their flaws, there are plenty of Friendlies who actually follow their faith.
- The Theocracy / The Republic: Led by the United Council of Churches, with the Eldest of Elders as their leader. Of course, being a republic, the Elders are elected.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Friendlies are noted for using "thee" and "thou" in their speech.
VenusSecond planet of the Solar System, and home to many research stations. During the events of Dorsai, it is a major power under the rule of Project Blaine (yes, his first name is Project). Presumably to be heavily terraformed, otherwise it wouldn't be settled. It leads the "Venus Group", which also includes the technically inclined worlds of Newton and Cassida.
- Absent-Minded Professor: Its culture is noted for its physicists having "their heads in the clouds".
- Planetary Nation
- The Professor
NewtonHard Science world orbiting Alpha Centauri B. The leading center of research and development of the Fourteen Worlds. Ruled by technocrats, the planet has a tightly controlled, people are seen as social resources. The Newtonians are rich and powerful thanks to its discoveries.
Covered mostly by clouds, Newton has a high albedo. Reflecting its primary star's light and having two major moons, the planet has the nickname of "The Orange and the Two Pips".
- Absent-Minded Professor: Like Venus, the people of Newton are commonly characterized by this.
- The Empire: Has some trappings of the trope. It's one of the "Tight" contract worlds - employment contracts can be sold off to another world without the individual's consent. It rules the Alpha Centauri system, is very wealthy, dominated by an elite, and has a large and powerful military. It uses it's military / scientific might and influence to attempt to get the other worlds to embrace the Tight Contract market.
- Flaunting Your Fleets: Always maintains a large fleet of ships in orbit, and one more sign of its power.
- Planetary Nation
- The Professor
- Gadgeteer Genius: Their many patents is the reason why the planet is so powerful.
CassidaPlanet of Alpha Centauri A, known for it's engineers and technicians. With Newton dominating the whole of Alpha Centauri, Cassida has been deeply influenced by it's neighbor - becoming focused on the hard sciences, and seeing people as resources. With it's natural resources, to produces the technology that Newton develops.
CetaFrontier world of Tau Ceti, known for its entrepreneurs and commercial activities. Though having a larger surface than Earth, the planet has less mass (thus less gravity). With large unexplored and undeveloped landmasses, Ceta is the newest settled world. Multiple sovereign states exist on the planet, but it has no central government.
- Intrepid Merchant: Reputed for this, thanks to Prince William.
- Merchant Planet
- Supervillain Lair: The home base of Prince William.
CobyAirless mining world within the Procyon system, noted for it's plentiful and varied metals. Its inhabitants live in a subterranean network of communities, mining below the surface. Life is harsh, the world is almost anarchic, and governed by a criminal society. In desperation, some miners sign up to become mercenaries.
- Beneath the Earth: Naturally, considering the surface conditions.
- Cool House / Elaborate Underground Base: In Dorsai!, the heroes have to sneak into a underground residential complex to capture a vital target. While deep beneath the surface, equipment around the residence creates the illusion that its outside on a planetary surface.
- The Syndicate: What governs the planet (or the closest thing to) during the events of Dorsai!.
Dunnin's WorldFrontier planet orbiting Altair, with few resources and low population. Barely terraformed and with little resources. Originally controlled by the Corbel (a "co-operative society"), and colonized to provide gambling and other entertainments on a world with no laws. However, the planet was eventually left to fend for itself.
- Planetary Nation: Despite this, Dunnin's World tends to be considered pretty backwater.
- Pleasure Planet: The New Dorsai Companionstates the planet was settled for this purpose. With it's links to the underworld and desert nature, Dunnin's sounds like a Las Vegas IN SPACE!. But eventually, it just became the backwater that the rest of the worlds treats it as.
- The Syndicate: The Corbel has links to the criminal societies of the Fourteen Worlds, as mentioned in the Companion.
EarthThe homeworld of humanity, which remains the most populated and richest of the Fourteen Worlds. "Old Earth" has no centralized government, and remains multicultural and nonspecializing.
Originally, Earth played a major role in stellar affairs, with two power blocs attempting to influence the new colonies. But after the events of The Tactics of Mistake, Earth has been relatively quiet in interstellar politics. Since then, Earth has focused on internal projects, such as "The Final Encyclopedia". Intergovernmental agencies and bodies exist, but they are unable to come to a consensus.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Earth's hat. While regular Earthmen may not be as skilled as the Splinter Cultures, they retain all their abilities. In addition, the people of Earth have a capacity that the younger worlds lack. A capacity which manifests itself in only a few people, such as Tam Olyn.
FreilandOrbiting Sirius, Freiland was settled by Northern Europeans. As a result, the planet is known for their work ethic, self-sufficiency, and most of all, their bureaucracy. With plenty of natural resources, the planet is rich and prosperous. Competitive allies with their neighbors, New Earth.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Their most common characteristic Freilanders are known for - Their laws can be rather perplexing.
- Planetary Nation
- Private Military Contractors: Under Marshall Galt, the Freiland government hires out their local forces as mercenaries. It was done as an alternative to conducting "live exercises" (conducting small skirmishes against enemies) to help keep their forces in fighting shape.
MarsFourth planet of the solar system. Partly terraformed, Mars remains a dry and cold. Governed by a republic, the planet is a quiet hinterland.
- Planetary Nation: The background information mention this.
New EarthMulticultural world, one of the two habitable worlds of the Sirius system. Much like it's namesake, the planet never specialized socially. Sadly, the number of different cultures has resulted in conflict. It does provide a market for mercenaries. Allied with Freiland, if a bit competitive.
- During the War: New Earth is noted for having a number of colonial conflicts. The Atland Civil War is featured in "Soldier, Ask Not".
- The Federation: In regards to Off-world affairs, the planet acts as one.
Ste. MarieRural and abundant planet settled by Roman Catholics, and known for their agriculturalists. Mostly quiet, it plays little role in interstellar politics. However, it shares the Procyon system with the Exotics, they're practically a ward of the culture. Governed by a democratic theocracy.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Justified that the colonists are from Western and Southern Europe.
- The Coup: One of the background events in "Soldier, Ask Not". With backing of the Friendlies, an urban-supported political party overthrows the legitimate administration.
- La Résistance: The Blue Front saw itself as fighting against a unfair representation between the cities and the countryside. Subverted in that they're generally considered a fringe political group, and later becomes increasingly violent.
- Planetary Nation
- The Theocracy: Said to be this, but the government seems to be handled by temporal leaders and have regular elections.