Before I can really dig into the rest of the project, I think it might be best to talk about some of the background details and explain a little about some of the choices made when I first started speccing out the idea for this setting. So what's better than a pile of whys?
There are plenty of real world scenarios, with more being created everyday. So why create my own? It's pretty simple - I like telling stories. Creating an imagi-nation lets you control all aspects of a narrative rather than having to make it fit current reality. In addition, creating a fictional country allows me to take the games we play there and tie them into an ongoing story, filling in more details as we play on.
Finally, it's fun! Getting a chance to assemble all of the scraps of information, assembling a history of this place by looking at history and playing with it - it's enjoyable.
Why... The Location
Let's take a look at the Area of Operation for this setting - the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
There are several things that drew me to this region. The first is just the sheer variety of environments together, from the desert up in along the border with Saudi Arabia through dusty mountains and green valleys of the central region before reaching down to the coastal plain. Everything from tiny villages in the middle of nowhere through medium sized towns up to the major cities. For someone looking to build up an environment, this is a dream.
The next is how connected this region is with the rest of the world - sitting on the straits leading to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, a major shipping lane. There is only a strip of water between it and Africa, leading movement between the two continents. To the north is a massive regional power, obviously interested in what's going on to the south of it. It's steeped in history, from ancient times onwards. It also is home to plenty of natural resources, perfect for setting up the region around or being the source of conflict.
Now there is an elephant in the room - this part of the world is currently involved in an ongoing and incredibly ugly civil war featuring many of the surrounding nations. I don't have any intention of copying across any of the aspects of this conflict - Bazistan and Aden may occupy the same area as Yemen but it is a very different situation.
Bazistan, as written, is following the pattern for several other countries in the Middle East. It's a monarchy, formed in the early 20th Century and acting as a thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia from it's creation. In the Cold War it bounced from support from the West to the East before settling on non-aligned as the 1990s started, leading to an usual military composition in terms of equipment.
But modern Bazistan is suffering from mismanagement, the rise of criminal elements and subversive intervention from foreign influences, both governmental and corporate. All of this will set up the basic cauldron from which we can setup the conflict.
When I first started reading up on cold war conflicts, one image in particular got lodged in my brain (i've included it above). Along with a word...
So when I started looking at this project, I just had to find a way to include the city as a major location. And with that, a key phrase appeared - "The Hong Kong of the Middle East". A British trading port, with strong links back to the UK, deciding to set itself up as "the last stop before Suez". Thanks to its location, links with the British Government and oil reserves (as well as relatively free wheeling tax laws), Aden soon became a jewel. Of course, this does also set up a conflict point with its neighbour to the north, looking on with envious eyes.
There are other elements I'm going to talk about (I haven't event covered the Disputed Border Zone and the groups inside it) but I hope this is a good primer. So when I start talking about the Aden Defence Force, you know a little bit more about where I am coming from.