I was asked recently why Ghar would invade a planet rather than just bomb it and its ‘degenerate’ human population out of existence. I’m sure we can all think of a few reasons why, but a those off the top of my head that seem most likely are listed below: more ideas are certainly welcome!
They are here as the ideas might be useful background from which scenarios can be generated.
Outside domination of the gate horizon, controlling hospitable planets is virtually the only way to control a system as stardrives are so fast. Gaining control of a system at a particular point in the Determinate means the Ghar can create a supply or forward depot to continue their expansion. Whilst we now see gravity wells as problematic, the drives of Antares are very different and a planetary base could provide an easily accessible building space with ready-made life support (atmosphere, a sun).
Oh, and possibly workers. Or raw, soylent material.
The planet may be key to relics or artefacts from an ealier age. Builder Relics (as on Xilos) should probably be used with care as such remains should be extraordinarily rare (and why haven’t they already been found, anyway?). Earlier-age relics are also a possibility, perhaps only recently being discovered on an long-orbit planetoid or asteroid.
Perhaps even more interesting is that relics could be discovered that give hints as to Ghar origins – critical to both the Ghar and non-Ghar. An interesting question is whether the Ghar would want to save such ancient, Ghar-origin relics or destroy them as giving away a weakness (or a doctrinal conflict!)?
It’s important, I think, to not underestimate the Ghar need for resources, especially food, living/construction space and rare of heavy metals. The latter are probably more likely to be found on asteroids or even (perhaps) dirty meteors rather than eb easily accessible near to a planet’s surface. However, perhaps the planet suffered a meteor bombardment in the past such that heavy metals are more prevalent on the planet surface than they should be.
One of the interesting aspects of Antares is that travel is much like the Age of Sail – long elapsed time on a two-dimensional surface with occasional annoyances due to depth. The gate to a particular systems or planet in teh Determinate could just be near a new Ghar transport route and the Ghar see it as a potential threat to their supplies. As a result, sterilising the system would be the only effective way of ensuring it’s safe from their perspective. Whilst this is most likely to be done through orbital bombardment, it could be that there are very few humansn on the planet, making it easy pickings for exploitation, or resources (see above) might be useful.
It could even be that the planet survives simply because the Ghar are distracted after taking over the system and do not get around to wiping out the last remnants of its population.
France was impoverished by the English during the 100 Years War due to recurring, rapid raids on the infrastructure of society. These almost sterilised the country surrounding key barony’s by stripping them of resources and wealth. A sensible Ghar lesser High Commander (under the far-off auspices of Karg or the Supreme Commander, of course) may just be making themselves extraordinarily annoying to impoverish and weaken a system so that it cannot act as a solid garrison, forward or resupply base for any of the other factions. However, by still being partially active, the need to resupply such a system could act as a useful logistics drain.