This is a Klingon House I created back in the day of Running a Star Trek RPG by Decipher games that was a nod to the ruthless Soviet Union Style Empire from The Original Series instead of the 'Space Viking' Empire that the Klingons have been shoe-horned into. I may be designing some Foundry Adventures with the H'JoQ in mind when it goes live. This is meant to be a font of ideas for players and Devs who want to give the Empire a bit more meat to grind on.
HOUSE OF OBSIDIAN: House H’JoQ
Few houses in the Empire inspire a combination of loathing, grudging respect, and some time fear as well as House H’JoQ. Formed some centuries ago, they have been a remarkably quiet and unassuming house, noted only for their excellent craftsmanship of ships and weapons through the centuries and their singular lack of interest in personal glory. Until relatively recently, this remained true.
Then came the first war with the Federation. Like many Houses, they couldn’t stomach the concept of losing to what was perceived to be a weaker opponent. Unlike other houses, they had the engineer’s predisposition of asking why they had lost and the capacity to swallow their pride when reality stared them in the face.
The Federation, while pacifistic (relatively speaking), was composed of several species that had rejected violence not because they were weak, but because they had nearly wiped themselves out in previous spasms and conflicts on their homeworlds, and regarded themselves as too destructive to allow things to go that far again. A distinction lost upon most Klingons, but a very important one from the H’joQ point of view. Races with such mindsets, once awakened properly, would make formidable opponents if pushed hard enough. Adding into the mix the warrior races of the Federation such as the Andorians and the Skorr and the Empire had a difficult task ahead of it.
Bearing this in mind and wanting success in the next war, The head of House H’joQ, Qu’az The Executioner (so named for his meticulous planning in battle and flawless execution of said battle plans) went to the High Council and petitioned to speak to the Chancellor. Exactly what was said between Qu’az and the Chancellor remains the subject of debate amongst Klingon scholars, but it was tasked by the Chancellor that House H’joQ would “produce the strength of arms of the Empire and find the enemies weaknesses.”
H’joQ, now with financial backing of the Empire, set to expanding their arms and ship design facilities. To their credit, they were responsible for designing the infamous Kolodhe (D-7), K’tinga (D-7m), and B’rel (D-12) class warships, all which proved immensely popular and sources of fear and consternation to all of the Empire’s enemies. With the acceptance of the designs came wealth and power that allowed them to research large and more powerful weapons and ships, as well as influence Klingon military and political thought. Which, of course, made many other Houses jealous.
Noting the other House’s ire, House H’joQ, ice-hearted killers by the Empire’s standards, had been quietly gathering information for it’s own political and military survival through a system of silent bribes, murder, intimidation, and outright manufacture to make sure that if it went down, the Empire would go with it. After releasing a few particularly ugly pieces of information to the Chancellor through several proxies (who had no idea who they were working for), showing that Houses Daa’Moq, Duras, and Mergh were involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the council (while not completely true, the evidence was twisted in such a fashion that it could have been taken as such).
The Chancellor ordered a surprise attack upon the three Great Houses shipyard’s as chastisement and the heads of the three great houses brought before him for execution. While the deception was crude by most standards, it fooled the Chancellor and the other members long enough for the damage to be done to the Klingon war machine and allowed H‘joQ to expand it’s territory at the expense of the Daa’Moq and Mergh. When the deception was uncovered, the H’joQ had reinforced it’s borders and dug in for a protected seige. The Daa’Moq and Duras howled for vengeance and launched a combined fleet against the H’joQ, while the Mergh remained busy assessing the damage.
Information from the warzone received at the High Council was sketchy at best, with indications of some form of trap. Long range sensors indicated a massive battle. Several days after the battle, the H’joQ flagship dreadnought, the Glorious Fist of Vengeance (C-9E), along with a wing of newer D-7C class heavy cruisers appeared over Quo’nos from seemingly nowhere, weapons targeted on enemy house ships from the most vulnerable positions.
After disposing of several House flagships and making their point, the Chancellor requested to speak with the head of the H’joQ, Qu’az’s son, K’rath. Once again, what came between the Chancellor is subject of debate, but the Chancellor declared the H’joQ under his office’s personal protection and to make war on them was to make war on him.
While this did not sit well with the houses that had been attacked, the Chancellor mollified them with access to the new H’joQ ship and weapons designs. K’rath for his part, took his fleet back home and the H’joQ went back to what they did best, designing weapons and ships.
Or so the Empire thought. K’rath continued in the tradition of his father and those who came before him, using an almost Vulcan-like logic and saw that the Empire was vulnerable to the constant infighting plaguing the various houses and was weak compared to the Federation and the House's nominal new ally, The Romulans. K’rath was no fool, and knew a predator when he saw one, and so he suggested a cultural exchange be initiated between the two species with all the great houses allowed to become involved.
Or course, the Romulans agreed to such an exchange, hopeful that they might get access to newer and more powerful warships and technology. K’rath knew that several of the houses would attempt to undercut H’joQ’s position and allowed it to happen, quietly noting which houses were more successful at bargaining with the alien scum and which were more likely to annoy them. While many of the greater houses mocked the H’joQ to letting a gem slip through their fingers, K’rath was realistic enough to see that Romulan treachery was eventual. And he could always have his spies in the other houses gather the Romulan technology the other Houses presumed they would have exclusively.
After a time, the H’joQ became so effective at intelligence and counter-intelligence work within the Empire and dealing with the Romulans, who on more than one instance attempted to infiltrate the H’joQ (and were promptly killed), the H’joQ attempted infiltration into a small Federation outpost through the use of bio-sculpted traders using captured cargo haulers. The Federation was quite sloppy compared to the Romulans and the H’joQ began a long term project to destabilize the Federation from within as well as gather military intelligence.
The project met with varying success over time, with quite a few intelligence windfalls for the H’joQ initially, increasing their prestige and power, including information that led to the capture of several Federation ships. It also had lead the H’joQ to engage in clearly dishonorable behavior by the rest of the empire’s standards, so the Chancellor’s office was satisfied in simply receiving the information and utilizing it while pointedly ignoring whatever else the H’joQ were doing.
The H'JoQ, for their part, divested themselves of their contacts with the Romulans, allowing even enemy houses access to the potentially treacherous foe, becoming perceived as less powerful as time went on. Several Houses attempted revenge over this period but were strongly rebuffed but H'JoQ defenses and the Chancellery fleets. After several failed attempts and the destruction of one minor House, the rest of the Empire decided it was better the leave them to their own devices.
The destruction of the Praxis moon came as a moderate surprise to the H'JoQ, but not a complete surprise. They had been aware of the dangers of over-mining on the moon, but since it was not one of their holdings and controlled by a rival (House Kor), they did little else than send a report to the High Council. the detonation of the moon caused them and every other house to scramble for position within the Empire.
While other houses grabbed territory and fought with one another, The H'joQ committed a systemic campaign of assassination, black mail, and outright theft of information to allow them to cement themselves into the framework of the Empire. When the dust had settled, the H'joQ had petitioned to form the secretive and ruthless Imperial Intelligence organization.
The new Chancellor, Azetbur, was taken aback by their brazen behavior, but after having enough evidence dropped at her feet of incompetence and back stabbing amongst the Empires various Houses, she gave her acquiescence for the formation of the I.I, all completely under the table.
The H'JoQ, now with Imperial license to kill and remove potential traitors, stared with crippling the Duras and the Daa'Moq with evidence they had had built up over decades. Not enough to destroy them, but enough to severely hamper their maneuverings in the Empire while the H'joQ continued to cement themselves into the New Order.
They also monitored maneuverings across the borders with the Romulan Star Empire and the UFP. The Federation for it's part, was scrupulously following it's agreements it had with the Empire to the spirit and letter of the agreements, to which they reported as such to one degree or another depending on the mood of the High Council.
They monitored the Duras heavily for it's ties to the Romulans, occasionally providing 'assistance' to the Duras in exchange for their silence on the matter, to which the Duras could only gnash their teeth in frustration. When the inevitable betrayal by the Romulans came at Narendra and later Khitomer, the H'JoQ helped cover up the Duras's involvement for favors to be specified later.