Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
System - Promise
Hidden Technologists World
Promise – Capital of The Unity of Promise
Promise is the capital of System-State – “The Unity of Promise”, located trailing and spinward of the System – Pirate’s Haven Star Cluster, on the leading edge of Systems Constellation – “The Orion Rift”, and bordering Systems Constellation – “The Outrim Void”. The planet, an independent colony world for centuries, has founded a system-state among the nearby Periphery worlds.
Promise System Flag
The system consists of eight major planetary bodies, including a pair of asteroid belts, the terrestrial world of Promise itself, and a dwarf terrestrial Torch (in the inner system), as well as an asteroid belt, several ice and gas giants in the outer system. Its sun, a dull red main sequence star, has a local year of 1.93 standard years, and a fairly standard 25.25 hour local day.
The world’s tainted atmosphere is a result of intense volcanic activity, whose cones throw ash and toxic gases with each explosion. Furthermore, radioactive “hot-spots” can be found throughout the poles, as well as the Radioactive Plains and The Toxic Sea in the eastern hemisphere, away from most settlements.
The world maintains a B-Class starport, capable of providing refined fuels and having sufficient techs to conduct routine maintenance of most starships. Indeed, repairs of DropShips and JumpShips is a key industry for the system, and has granted it the ability to maintain a large and diverse AeroSpace force. It certainly has the best starport to be found anywhere in the constellation.
Political Ruler : Civil Service Bureacracy.
Star Type : Binary – M5V (Red Main Sequence) – (206 Hours)
Position in System : 3
Time to Jump Point : 2.45 days
Number of Satellites : 1
Surface Gravity : 1.0 Gs
Atmo Pressure : Thin, Tainted. (5775 kms)
Avr Mean Temp : +22.3C (Cool-Temperate)
Surface Water : Liquid water, 16%
Recharge Station : None
HPG Class Type : None
Highest Native Life : 60%, Reptiles.
Socio-Industrial Level : Poor.
Population : (3025) 800,000,000.
From orbit, Promise is almost deceptively serene, a simple yellowish world with a few large bodies of water and few other distinguishing features of terrain. Hidden behind this placid existence, the planet has thousands of hidden dangers, not from its native flora and fauna, but from its human inhabitants. Vast plains of red soil provide abundant crops, plenty of cheap material for housing, and a haven for those studying forgotten technology. Poverty and progress exist side-by-side. The world is much like its inhabitants; don’t misjudge one by appearances.
Hidden from dust storms, the people of Promise carefully guard their caches of technology. Since the time of the fall of the Star League, Promise has remained isolated from most of the surrounding systems, creating a backwater world for black markets selling LosTech, computers and medical equipment, and a population that views technology as an integral part of life. Few travellers visit this impoverished world; and those who do tend to keep their market sources to themselves. In recent years, it has become a focus of a trade route stretching from the Federated Suns space across the Hyades Rim and to the world of Promise, which has made the world central to its loose confederation as both a market world, and a place for traders to acquire cheap maintenance and repairs.
Among the world’s important technologies, advanced medical knowledge rates high, as the world has retained a large number of healers and surgeons. Local standards of health care are far above what one might consider for a Periphery world, brought about by advanced medicine. Cheap food and housing, however, have caused rampant population growth, thus making human life far from sacred. Health care makes doctors a mercenary lot, exporting their products and technology for a steep price. Ready access to medical care, has also led to the popular development of “blood-sports”, namely brawling and knife-fighting in the city of Fervor.
The wealthiest doctors on Promise hide illicit cybernetic clinics behind the facade of common healers. These black-market clinics are capable of dealing with relic cyberware under their control, though it is always extremely expensive. It is, however, a growing trend among “tourists” to the world.
“Think machine” communes are another aspect of Promise technological culture; gatherings of citizens who excel at trading and writing computer code. Communications between communes are limited to data couriers, freelancers who are paid to carry data from settlement to settlement. Local planetary data languages are not compatible with off-world computers, because of the locally developed “languages” and operating systems. The most common code is Panilex, a constantly mutating code that is spread via shareware from machine to machine. Developing Panilex is considered an art form.
Both for the sake of survival and the need to preserve their culture, most of the population of Promise still distrusts off-worlders. The few who are ready to do business, however, have truly remarkable goods for sale.
Most populated areas are built of clay bricks similar to adobe. Farmers and harvesters make a living gathering cheap grains, wheat and a substance called “Soyu”, that keep the population above starvation levels. Coupled with the astounding swathes of steppelands on the planet, housing shortages and famine are a rare thing. VIllages are united only by a need to remain together for mutual survival. Living is cheap, but then again, where overpopulation is easy, life becomes cheap, too.
With food and housing easy to acquire, predators are not troubling, though this ease of life has also led to another means of keeping the population in check; outbreaks of violence. Promise citizens do not flinch at the thought of killing to survive. Their culture is a mix of technological supremacy and social barbarism. Those who have tech will kill to keep it; those who do not have the tech, will kill to get it. This has also resulted in a shocking resistance to threats of violence against citizens. Cheap knives are as plentiful and common as Soyu, and children learn to use them at an early age. Adults are worse, employing cheap slug-throwers acquired through Fervor. An armed planet is a polite planet, and few worlds are as “polite” as Promise.
The largest villages and cities in Promise are mazes, and finding technological caches on the panet are impossible. Finding previous visitors to the planet are even harder to find… The easiest way to find relic LosTech, is to killoffworlders who bring it with them. Promise citizens mistrust people they don’t know more than the shiftless, greedy and desperate neighbors they do know.
Neo Chiba : The largest city on Promise, it is also the home to the largest starport. The Chiban Starport is actually little more than a huge conglomeration of launch pits set with refueling stations, mechanics, merchants and cantinas. Massive crumbling adobe walls keep out the dust and winds. Visitors who proclaim they’re looking for something illeagal, and there are droves of guides willing to show them, readily fleece and misdirect the unwary. The typical Neo Chiban is not a cybernetic killing machine, with contacts in the medical guilds and the programming communes. He is, however, quite proficient with the blades he carries, and quite willing to rod the barbarian that just wandered into town with more wealth than brains. Buyer beware.
Most citizens of Neo Chiba are peasants, at best, enduring a borderline existence sleeping in a rounded mud hut and eating boiled Soyu. If there is one thing that unites them, it’s that the last thing they need is a noble house to tax them, command them, rule them, and rob them. Instead, gangs roam the streets of the worst neighborhoods, looking for off-worlders to exploit, and fellow citizens to exploit.
Panilex Communes : There are distant communes where cults of “Think Machine” coders have banded together. Some trade their wares in the city agoras, offering bizarre programs and computer codes to off-worlders. The remainder exist solely for the joy of creating Paniflex for the sheer enjoyment of it. These communes are as far from the remainder of Promise culture as they are from off-worlders, madly pursuing a dream wiht no end ever in sight.
Odyssia : A rumored commune to be found in a distant unknown corner of the world, that espouses access to true AIs. Probably more rumor than fact, it persists to this day, nonetheless.
Fervor : Although small, this maze-like city is heavily armed, primarily as the home of the largest weapons manufacturing firm o the planet, Consolidated Arms. The most popular product made in this city, is “Synthlife”, a drug that aids in healing combat injury, and its use among knife-fighters (everyone) and corporate executives (who see it as a potential anagathic), is extremely widespread.
In fact, Fervor is also the site of a thriving “Sport’s Scene”, where locals bet heavily on brawls, knife-fights and other melee contests.Those who are successful are able to rack together a little “Edge”, giving them a surplus of “points” that allow them better weapons, personal armor and other benefits over new fighters. It is relatively common to find a thief or robber gutted and operated upon, since his most valuable wealth is likely the cybernetics he had buried under his skin. Children’s games include things such as knives, zip guns and other items of lethal advantage, often trained to their use by older gladiators seeking some means of survival against the day he became not alive. It is said that those slain in the arenas, are quick to become a new source of local protein…
Elysia : Founded centuries ago when the Star League and planetary corporations were at their height of power, this community is a former haven for the economic elite. IN orbit of the gas giant Elysia, the community is a collection of twenty (20) small habitats nestled among the moons of this large world. Since the tech that supported their founding has long since steadily deteriorated, they have long since become floating tombs for the hundreds of thousands that once called them home. Today, a handful of savage scavenger families still claim them for their own, and they prove delightfully capable of defending their claims.
Flora and Fauna
The local plains are abundant with “Soyu”, a cheap, genetically engineered protein that was introduced early in the planet’s colonial efforts. Simple to grow and harvest, it has the flavour of beans, but the consistency of tofu. You won’t starve on it, but you won’t enjoy it, either. The bland and uninteresting diet of most citizens of Promise, contributes to their bitter attitude. Meat is, by far, the most valuable commodity – if someone uncovers an unstripper corpse, they suddenly have a valuable trade good…
A few merchants have tried to introduce pets and livestock to the world, but each effort has been met with disaster. Neo Chiba is plagued by roaming packs of feral dogs, herd animals were quickly butchered and eaten, not out of hunger, but out of protection of their existing crops. A recent attempt to introduce rabbits to the world resulted in a famine as their numbers spiraled out of control, until a bounty was set on their hides. Within a season, child hunters had wiped the creatures from the world.
Promise’s culture is based closely upon the greed and corruption of its Star League past, than in some religious development. Sheltered from the chaos of the Inner Sphere, most citizens still equate the advance of technology with progress.They are surprisingly open and accepting of new technologies, and willingly trade for it, if the price is right. They are, however, extremely mistrustful, almost to a fault. The people of Promise are as isolationist and libertarian as their ancestors were hundreds of years ago; only exceptional individuals seek their fortunes off-world.
There is little government on Promise, only the consolidated organization of corporations, who staunchly defend their own rights and property. Even the “National navy” is run as a large corporation, and “justice” does not really exist. Because of this lack of real authority, laws are enforced over the barrel of a gun or the tip of a blade. Children grow up with one guiding principle; Might Makes Right. No citizen of Promise would ever be caught without at least one weapon concealed on their person.
Local currencies abound in each city, and each city disavows the currency of its rivals, making exchange rates ruinous, and enforcing most people to do business at home. Merchants rely mainly on bringing rare luxury items from place to place, and tend to form cabals and associations to monopolize the trade of a given rare good or foods; these gangs tend to stick to tried-and-true trade routes and cities.
Off-worlders rely on bartering valuable goods usually unavailable on Promise – typically cheap resources and luxury foods. Copies of religious books are becoming quite popular is some areas, leading some missionaries to try their hands at conversions. It would seem that centuries of toil and blood have left many with a thirst for something more.
Military Forces :
The technology of the world’s military has indeed fallen from its Star League era status, however, its limited industries have managed to maintain the quality (cheap and abundant) of its arms. Body pistols, SMGs, and hovercraft are popular industrial developments, that support the military. Basic computers are common enough for export, though they tend to be large, very “soild state” items good for a frontier setting. Solar power is popular in isolated communes and military bases. Helicopters and VTOLs are also quite popular.
The planet, however, has no real standing army, but rather each corporation and noble keeps their own troops and logistics supply chains (often smaller companies allied to the larger one). All told, the military forces of the various corps can be assumed to total : fifty (50) wet naval ships of various sizes; a substantial air force of almost two-hundred and fifty (250) air combat vehicles, including five mixed medium AeroFighters, holds the skies inviolate to raiders. Ground forces include two battalions of rifle infantry. Ground forces also include a hearty fifteen (15) Rifle Infantry Companies, each including motorized, mechanized and standard foot components.
In the early years of the Star League, colonization required monumental expenses. Individuals might take great risks to reach for the stars, but corporations rarely did, unless there was profit in it. Some, however, would occupy entire worlds, that would breed millions of consumers for its own products. Ownership of such worlds was easy; controlling the monopoly on goods and services made enforcement of control easy.; without such supplies and technical knowledge supplied by the colonizing corp, planetary colonies could easily degrade back into the stone age.
Promise was one of the first corporate worlds in the Hyades Rim. Originally named Pandora, was established by Pandora Corporation, and its wealth depended on high-tech sweat shops, hellhole factories where citizens worked for long hours in exchange for a meager existence. While imports were expensive, building materials, local foodstuffs and labour proved cheaply available. Life was cheap too – factory workers had few options available, fewer rights and the local government created laws to protect company interests and property.
The fall of the Star League, however, changed matters. When off-world imported luxuries ceased, local labour leadership, decided that they could get along without their corporate financial masters, and the corporation underwent some serious down-sizing in a bout of strikes and riots that gutted the population and the planet’s technical knowledge both. Life became hard, but since the planet provided the basics, people got along without corporate supervision.
For nearly a hundred years, the world was wracked by revolutions, riots and general lawlessness. Throughout it all, merchants continued to visit the world, often paying well for salvage from the world’s factories, though as its technical levels fell, the citizens hoarded their technology more and more. Eventually a new managerial elite arose, which sought to safe-guard its technology from casual pilfering, and history repeated itself; worker castes arose with enough education to salve away for their lifetimes, and off-world corporate authority was replaced by local technocrats. Although the rift between technology-controlling managers and their labour caste citizens grew wider, they managed things well enough to remain in control, changing the name of their world to better reflect the future they were trying to build; Promise.
Throughout the following years, Promise citizens adapted to a smaller economy easily. The fields still produced cheap, if bland, crops, and housing was readily available to anyone who could craft adobe bricks from the planet’s abundant soils. Smuggling grew as lower caste citizens strove to get ahead, and with it fell the general law level of the planet. Life was just as cheap as the food, and visiting merchants learned that locals might deal with you, but if you displayed weakness, they were just as likely to slit your throat and steal your cargo. Off-world smugglers became important contacts, and even the locally risen corporate managers became involved in the black market trade, making their own fortunes on the backs of labourers and off-world money.
In recent years, although much of the world’s high technology has been squandered away on imported luxuries, and its corporate cities burned and looted, Promise has steadily climbed back out of the ashes of its past. First employing local systems as a means to acquire cheap resources, some corporate managers have built the remnants of their industries into a viable number of factories, while others have simply hidden their wealth away from sight.
The planet’s government is, in reality, a number of independent corporations that have bonded together in mutual survival, to provide the means of taking over the nearby systems as sources of rare minerals and agriculture, to improve their own bottom-lines. Despite an honest effort to reform the “government”, and occasional benevolence, over 99% of the population remains uneducated peasants living at the subsistence level. Less than one in 10,000 is actually what one might consider “wealthy”, and they remain such through their technological savvy. The fields of crops and vast dilapidated cities actually hide some of the most advanced technology in the Periphery. Hidden in the millions of citizens, small cabals of technologists continue to develop their crafts.