Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
System - Tashrakaar
Poor Mining Colony
Tashrakaar – Corporate Mining Colony
Tashrakaar is considered a part of the Systems Constellation – “The Outrim Void”, located trailing and rimward of the System – Pirate’s Haven Star Cluster, and deep within the sector’s core. The world is a small mining colony under Excalibur Corporation rule.
The system consists of seven major planetary bodies, including three gas giants, and the inhabited colony world of Tashrakaar. Its sun, a main sequence yellow-white star is somewhat more energetic than Sols G0V, and its atmosphere filters out most UV and other potential issues. The world’s climate is quite good, though its seasonal variations remain extreme due to a noticeable axial tilt. Time on Tashrakaar is typical, with a local year of 523.86 standard days, and a long 28.78-hour local day.
The poor colony of Tashrakaar supports a Class-E starport, essentially a marked stretch of bedrock, with no support facilities.
Political Ruler : Impersonal Bureaucracy.
Star Type : Binary – F6V (Yellow-White Main Sequence) – (177 Hours)
Position in System : 4
Time to Jump Point : 13.87 days
Number of Satellites : 2
Surface Gravity : 0.77 Gs
Atmo Pressure : Standard. (10,427 kms)
Avr Mean Temp : +87.0C (Hot), Polar temperatures average from +35.0C to +25.0C. (Temperate, Humid)
Surface Water : Liquid Water, 05%
Recharge Station : None
HPG Class Type : None
Highest Native Life : 02%, Reptile.
Socio-Industrial Level : Poor.
Population : (3025) 10,000,000 (Approximated).
Tashrakaar is a world encircled by a heat desert; only its polar regions are protected enough to develop a tropical, life-bearing environment. The equatorial regions of the planet are lifeless, barren wastelands, baked in temperatures that exceed +70C under an afternoon sun.
Only about 5% of Tashrakaar’s surface is covered by water; a small, highly saline sea is located near the north polar area. Variably called “The Polar Sea”, or “The Boreal Sea” by off-worlders, and “k’Ramaak tar-Tharish” (water-from-heavens) by the natives. A relatively narrow strip of land along the shores of the sea is fertile enough to enjoy a tropical – and surprisingly humid – climate. Tashport, and its inevitable “startown” rise from the plains outside the capital city of “Dirikyeer-u-Thar”. Beyond the jungles and savannahs of the plains, the land rises in a low series of escarpments, then falls away into a vast desert covering most of the rest of the planet. The arid and semi-arid land immediately south of the coastal escarpments is called the Desert Fringe, while extremely arid wastelands further south known as the Deep Desert. The broad, almost featureless region of flatlands extends deep into the Deep Desert, is known as “The Flats” by locals.
The coastal settlements are dominated by its cooling Polar Sea. Averaging +28C, the cool, water-laden winds move south from the Polar Sea, and are trapped by the mountainous escarpments which separate them from the desert. As a result, the skies over the coastlands are almost always nearly overcast, the air is humid, and rain is frequent. Pockets of thick tropical vegetation and jungle are located everywhere near the sea.
The Flats now offer a variety of terrain which includes sand dunes, salt flats, and broken, rocky surfaces. Coriolis Storms, called “Devilblows”, sweep periodically from southeast to northwest across The Flats, scouring the sand from some areas , covering others. In this way the desert surface is constantly changing, with new areas exposed after each storm. Devilblows are a poorly understood reversal of the usual weather patterns, and always originate from the equator and blow towards the poles. Dangerous, their 100 kph winds can pare away a man’s flesh in minutes and make the ever-present Orecrawlers important refuges in a Devilblow.
The various mining enterprises on Tashrakaar depend on these Devilblows. Mark XIV Orecrawlers are machines designed to traverse the desert in search of recently-exposed mineral beds. When a new bed is found, the crawler excavates and processes the uncovered nodules, and stores the recovered minerals to transport them back to base. Each crawler is a self-sufficient mobile industrial plant with its own mineralogy and chemistry labs, meteorology stations, and sufficient supplies to keep its crew of fifteen or more workers on station for months at a time. The minerals recovered through these vessels are Tashrakaar’s sole export and source of revenue.
There are rumored to be rare waterholes and oases in The Flats, most known only to the handful of nomads who frequent them. There are several extremely saline lakes surrounded by salt flats – the dying remnants of the planet’s ancient oceans.
Tashrakaar’s equatorial regions are a heat desert; the planet’s small axial tilt and nearness to its sun have produced a broad, nearly lifeless belt about the planet where temperatures average +90C. Surveys of Deep Desert have been made in the past, but it has been determined mining the region would not be profitable, due primarily to its remoteness and access to the polar colonies.
Locals are known as “Tashies”, or “Tashrakaarans”, and make up about five million who reside in the tropical regions of the Polar Seas’ coastlands. These people are descendents of the original colonists, dating to around 2729, during the height of the Taurian COncordat’s colonization effrots in the region. Possessing an early stage of industrial development, the “Long Night” led to a general decline in culture and technology, which, in turn, led to more and more locals leaving their traditional farms and moving to the off-world settlements to work in their factories and port facilities. This decline of local culture is viewed with disdain by the village elders, but there is little they can do.
Most locals are friendly, polite and peaceful; their government is a relatively inoffensive bureaucracy wrapped around the congress of village elders and has the chief function of taxing the and regulating the increasingly important off-world corporations. Local smaller interests have begun to complain about the increasing influence of mega-corporate interests, such as Excalibur Corp, though outwardly, at least, it remains independent of any exterior influence.
Off-worlders represent about 500,000 of the world’s population, and are concentrated around Tashport and important technical positions in the water-recycling and hydrogen fuel production facilities along the coast. The rest are employed by the various mining interests as technicians, administrators and soldiers. In many respects, they represent the technology and money interests of the planet, essential to its economy and technology.
The Duneraiders are the most popular of dozens of names for the planet’s native population, that inhabit the wastes beyond the tropical fringes of the Polar Sea. No accurate census is available, but their numbers are estimated at around three to four million. There is an enormous diversity in the customs, backgrounds, and cultures of the Tashrakaaran nomad tribes. Most began as outcasts from the coastal villages; local tribal law has held the expulsion into the deserts to be the greatest punishment available to their civilization. Some groups deliberately migrated into the deserts seeking escape from persecution, injustice, and stagnation of their culture, and some simply sought a new utopia free from the decadent trappings of modern civilization.
The Duneraiders are, however, feared with great reason. Many are bandits who prey on outlying settlements and the caravans that connect the coastal settlements. Others are fiercely religious fanatics who view the coastal citizens as evil, soft, water-fat heretics. A handful are relatively peaceful, but all will fight ot preserve the vast and ever-shifting tracts of land they claim water-right on. The tribes tend to shift with the land, and perceive the land as a spiritual part of the tribe itself, and thus protect it from trespassers and defilers. Since this land tends to be vast hectares of blasted, utterly barren wasteland, it is not surprising that feuds and misunderstandings continually rise between the off-world corporate interests and the Duneraiders.
Its primary economic base is the collection of manganese, cobalt, and other mineral elements of high purity which are uncovered on the desert surface after a “Devilblow” – a hurricane-force storm which drives sand rather than rain. These minerals were laid down eons ago, when the central desert floor of the planet was a planet-wide ocean. Now they attract the interest of various mineral exploitation firms which collect ore in great tracked rock extractors known as the Mark XIV Orecrawler. Valuable minerals are extracted from the surface of the desert as the crawlers creep along slowly, and the worthless residue, called “Screep”, is dumped astern.
The planetary government grants licenses for crawler operations to companies interested in the mining business. A lease of 2.5 Million C-Bills is generally paid to work specific tracts of land for ore, providing the primary government revenues for the planet and its polar settlements.
Some difficulties face the colony. One of the greatest dangers, is the degenerate humans who live in the Deep Desert, known as the “Duneraiders”. Outcasts from the colony, the Duneraiders live a marginal, nomadic existence at the edges of the Great Desert. Duneraiders and colonists are dangerous foes, and colonists captured by the nomads are routinely offered up to the deseret gods in hope of bringing water. A few Duneraider tribes have proven amenable to peaceful dealings, but most are implacably hostile.
Several major corporations work the deserts of Tashrakaar, including Sternmetal Horizons, Delgado Trading, and the ever-present Excalibur Minerals of Excalibur Corporation. Numerous smaller corporations exist, usually operating two or three crawlers, chief among them being Fulton Metals, Diversico of Tharill, and OreCon.