The New Republic is one of those names that gets you two lies for the price of one - it isn't new and its not a republic.
Founded by a mixed bag of East-European technorejectionists and royalists hankering for the comforts of an earlier century. In the market-oriented democracies of pre-Diaspora Earth, they'd been cast by their millions on the scrap heap of history. Given a new world to tame, and the tools to do it with, they established a conservative social order. A generation later, a vicious civil war broke out between those that wanted to keep using the cornucopia machines (replicators and self-replicating nano assembler factories able to manufacture any physical goods) and those who wanted to switch to a simpler way of life where everyone knew their place and there was a place for everyone. The progressives lost: so the New Republic remained for a century, growing into its natural shape - Europe as it might have been during the twentieth century, had physics and chemistry been finalized in 1890. Thereafter they controlled the working classes by restricting access to education and tools and putting tight bottlenecks on information technology.
While the New Republic is a bastion of royalist and technological rejection, they are pragmatic rejectionists, especially when it comes to state security and military. The Curator's Office (the local secret police and memetic defense agency (visitors from other civilizations joke that it has the name because the New Republic is a museum)), has access to neural meshes, advanced surveillance nano and drones as well as slow guns (a gun that marks the target and then fires self guiding wasps with neurotoxins at the target - its supposed to point out the horrors of unrestricted technology). What infosphere there is firmly under the control of the Office of the Curator, and attempts to bypass that control warrant visits from the Procurators (officers of the local secret police). Rumors persist in the use of neural meshes to correct the attitudes of dissidents persist despite vigorous denials by the Curator's Office. Otherwise, these technologies are banned to the general citizen of the Republic.
The military is the other area with an exception, especially the Navy. Naval spacecraft have artificial gravity that does not come from spin or thrust, they especially have acceleration compensators. They also have several beanstalks, one of which is dedicated to the Navy (Klamovka beanstalk), built before the destruction of the replicators. Add in their own wormhole generators and weapons purchased from and maintained by civilizations with greater competency in them.
The New Republican Navy certainly looks impressive with its dreadnaughts, cruisers and destroyers - the very model of a modern space navy. However, they do have certain blind spots that may prove an issue if they force a confrontation with the Spacers, Stardwellers or other space faring civilization.
Outside the state security and military apparatus, the New Republic is odd.
The government and businesses are very big on centralization. Thus, there is no e-mail, but there are a few public or government phones that route through a central operations center. Private phones are very rare and require ruinous taxes for the owner. Telegrams are more common though - and easily tie into the centralization of the civilization. The fact it is easier for the Curator's Office to eavesdrop is purely coincidental. Offworld text communications are available to the public, but it costs one Republican Marka per word. Private ownership of radios and radio broadcasting is highly discouraged by local laws and the Curator's Office.
Rail travel is commonly used. The trains run on time, and use atomic powered locomotives due to the abundance of uranium that can sustain criticality without enrichment. In the cities, light rail and trolleys are common, as are steam and flywheel powered cabs and small buses (coaches in the local argot). Horses and carriages are usually found in smaller towns and for parades. The bicycle is ubiquitous throughout the New Republic and used for a wide variety of things besides transport.
Government subsidized zeppelin services provide air transport (outside of Navy craft and shuttles) within the New Republic. This is only possible by the government weather satellites and observations from the beanstalks.
Because of the technorejectionist origins of the New Republic, politics bans smart matter, replicators, volitional and volatile nano, computer networking, artificial gravity, implanting neural meshes and a host of other things that make modern life (outside the New Republic at least) possible and pleasant. This means that the industrial base is limited by statute as well as ability.
Despite its name, the New Republic is not a republic. It is an imperial monarchy, with Ivan Hasek III the Emperor. Only the nobility have representation. and despite the titles they are all equal in the eyes of the government and its apparatus. Their legislative body (Sjem) has no real power in the face of the strong emperor and state. It cannot raise taxes, declare war or any of the traditional powers of a legislature. It only exists as a sop to the nobles and acts as a talking shop and to air their grievances.
Below the nobility, with its wealth, titles and holdings, life is tougher. Information and education is restricted by the government to the nobles, merchants and artisans. What information they do have access is to, is heavily biased by the government (towards its stability). Life is difficult for them, especially compared to a member of another human civilization. But compared to the peasants and laborers, it is heaven. The peasants are literally bound to the soil by law and cannot leave it, with all that it entails.
Gender difference is another thing that the founders of the New Republic brought back. Women are definitely second class citizens, without even the limited rights of the men. Clothing emphasizes the differences between men and women - from head coverings (lower classes) to skirts (all) to corsets with low necklines (upper classes and social climbers). This is one of those things that infuriates female visitors from other civilizations. Fortunately, lenses are available to help with this.
Unless one is carefully schooled in the rules (and laws) of the New Republic class and gender system, it can be frustrating, if not dangerous, to do this. Offworld clothing styles ought to be avoided though as they visibly mark one as alien.
Even with the handicaps that they have, they’re an expanding militaristic power. Granted, they’ve expanded to worlds that harbor either Cargo Cults or Old World civilizations (Lamprey), or are vacant (Rochard’s World).
Most civilizations do not care for the New Republic at all. In many ways it is the personification of everything bad for the past and the present – discrimination, censorship, secret police and wasted human potential. Despite this, they still interact with them.
The Tao, Old Worlders, Stardwellers, Mechanicans and Independents interact with them the most. The Tao, as always, are interested in purchasing rights to create a milieu based on them and entertainments based on their history. The Independents, Stardwellers and Mechanicans sell things to them – mainly space craft, weapons and surveillance technologies. The Old Worlders visit to learn and determine what to avoid. The Independents are cautiously courting the New Republic, but are beginning to consider abandoning it in the face of the authoritarian government, brutality and repression.
The capital and jewel of the New Republic, it is a famous tourist attraction for both citizens of the Republic and beyond. It is a beautiful city, rich with parks, beautiful architecture and winding streets. The air is clear since the New Prague light rail and trolley services use electrical power drawn from the atomic power stations. It is cool compared to many other places, but the Winterfair is worth visiting with the sports, ice sculptures and snow castles.
The sites to see in New Prague include the Square of Five Corners with the Duchess's Simulacrum, the clocks of St. Michel, the Great Museum and the Old Palace. Visible from all points of the city is the Basilisk, the headquarters for the Curator’s Office.
Common Name: Neeps
Benefit: Extra core value and can use practical pieces of technology without training, as if they had a skill at level 6. They have no Reserve when using this effective skill.
Inspector Status: Advisor only
Core Values: Tradition, Order and player’s choice. Usually this will be something that reinforces the civilization – Loyalty, Royalist, Pragmatic, Honest, etc.
Its primary purpose is to hold the New Republic together, giving citizens bonuses to actions that keep the civilization intact (such as fighting off civ-wide metatech assaults, convincing other citizens to keep to their traditions, and the like). The Tradition CV doesn’t say that any specific tradition is important; rather, it is important to have traditions and to hold to them. It says that all traditions have worth and value, that they are what bring people together.
The Order CV is used to resist attempts to provoke riots, obey disagreeable laws and their enforcers. And also being lawful and orderly while visiting another civilization (it’s rare, but it does happen).
The New Republic: Metagame notes
For those of you that need a comic opera set of bad guys for your campaign. Of course, they can be a lot more serious too. To do that, make sure there are a lot of them and arm them with the latest and greatest from the League of Independent Worlds or the Mechanican Union. In terms of PC's, the New Republic is a great place to be from.