Tyrants and those who support them have a long history of both mistrusting and using artists. Go all the way back to Plato’s The Republic for recommendations about censoring religious myths, poetry, song, et cetera. (Aside: I am thoroughly convinced most to all of The Republic is correctly understood as an extended exercise in philosophical irony.) In more recent times, oppressive regimes have murdered poets (Federico Garcia Lorca, for example) and persecuted musicians (Johnny Clegg, for example). Tyranny’s sympathizers also have used art to waged campaigns of slander against those who oppose tyranny (for example, Rolf Hochhuth’s The Deputy, discussed here and here)
On the macro scale in Tiamat’s Throne, the campaign’s space sector groans under the claw of Tiamat and her dragon dukes. Since the sector is a big place, and even a starship-sized dragon has limited reach, the amount of tyranny varies from place to place, but every world suffers to some degree. On Adhara, the planet’s vibrant arts community has attracted special attention.
From my rough-draft document:
“The vibrant arts communities have proven problematic in the past. Artistic expressions of contempt directed against Apophis and Tiamat resulted in violent reprisals. Since those dark days, Adharan republics have instituted severe restrictions on freedom of expression. Political speech and art is heavily regulated, and the penalties for underground art are particularly harsh. This conflict between a famous cosmopolitan arts culture and repressive controls on artistic expression is a sore spot with many Adharans.
“The ‘art police’ lack the personnel and expertise to adequately enforce speech laws in a few economically depressed wards. Radical underground artists run illegal presses and traveling galleries among the underclasses of these areas. Missionary priests associated with the Domini Canes also aid and abet these criminal artists.”
In these two paragraphs, I have the hints of three different Stars Without Number factions: a renegade artistic assocation, the “art police”, and the Domini Canes. Let’s stat up the second of these.
Ministry of Arts
Attributes: Force 5, Cunning 6, Wealth 3
Hit Points: 29
Assets: Force/Elite Skirmishers 2, Cunning/Cyberninjas 3, Cunning/Informers 1,
Tag Effect: All assets purchased by this faction automatically begin Stealthed.
Goal: Blood the Enemy: Inflict 14 hit points of damage on an enemy faction.
The Ministry of Arts has two faces: one public, the other covert. Everyone knows about the covert face, but only the brave or foolish talk about it too much. The public face of the MoA operates art museums and holovid stations, sponsors sanctioned artists and art shows, and otherwise presents Empire-friendly artistic activities. The MoA’s covert face operates in secret, monitoring Adhara’s underground arts and entertainment. Artists who are judged too subversive are targeted for corrective action.
P.S. For an example of Adhara’s native fauna, check out the ghost moth.