Armed Forces of the Space Empire

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There comes a time in the affairs of a man - and, for that matter, a lady - when, no matter how spiffing and decent one is, it must be accepted that there are some decidedly rum coves about the Universe. Sometimes there is simply no choice but to give these sorts a stern talking to. That is where the Armed Forces of the British Space Empire step in. As ever, our sister publication Smithleaks[1] investigates.

The Army

The standing army of the Space Empire is fairly small. Most of the time, the Pax Interstella is enforced from orbit by the many battleships of the Navy, and so large-scale ground forces are not really necessary. Most worlds are either stable enough to require no military presence, not populated by sentient life, or full of M’Lak, who are best left to their own (large, bladed) devices.

Alien Regiments

Some alien worlds have a tradition of service to the crown, whether to repay a debt, win honour in battle or just because it sounded like it might be fun. Notable regiments include the Kaldathrian Irregulars, Sey Huntsmen, Ravnavari Lancers and the M’Lak Rifles. It is common for such regiments to carry traditional weapons or even ride dangerous alien beasts: this fosters communal spirit and, besides, nobody is going to try to take them away. The arm that steals from such regiments tends to get cut or bitten off.


In times of true need, the military is enlarged via conscription and recruitment campaigns. It is a mark of the quality of the Space Empire’s training that a civilian who six months ago was filling out forms on New Stockport can be dropped into the festering jungles of Hellespont Prime and expected to do something other than disintegrate. Indeed, superior training and bottomless moral fibre make the Imperial soldier stand out from the gabbling hordes of – well, anywhere else. The gabbling hordes would probably say that the Imperial soldier is distinguished by either arrogance, vulgarity, straight-up madness or some delightful melange of all three, but then, they would.

In fact, almost all of the Empire’s troops are somewhat elite. Determined and well-equipped, the Imperial recruit is a tough customer. The Empire encourages resourcefulness and innovation, and new ideas are always being put forward to keep the enemy on the run. Some even work. At its more extreme ends, the military blurs into the secret services, which take care of the Empire's more surreptitious activity.

The Home Front

Even those citizens too elderly or infirm to take to the front lines do sterling work protecting the Home Front, whether by manning the reserves or contributing to the Space Empire's many auxiliary services. Devotion and sacrifice is expected of all, regardless of rank. A wobbly old codger becomes a rather more fearsome prospect when he is equipped with a vintage ravnaphant gun and four kilos of hi-ex wired directly to his heartbeat.


  1. With grateful thanks to the Embassy of New Ecuador