Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Capital of the Districts of Aurore
Tanstaafl City : The city began as a trio of settlement domes at the eastern end of a sharp escarpment, but has grown over the years to a fair-sized community of 200,000 inhabitants. The starport, Port Blackjack, is located at the edge of a dry lake bed a few kilometers east of the city.
The city proper is a sprawling collection of modular and Aurorewood buildings of various sizes and origins. Because of the danger of seismic quakes, few local buildings are more than two stories tall and most are only a single level, though they can spread widely. Buildings tend to be built with massively thick, braced walls of native stone, and ferrocrete, or with sheet metal and other flexible materials that will ride out a major quake.
Tanstaafl Business District
Business District : Despite the impressive name, Tanstaafl’s business district has not grown to more than a motley collection of one-story and two-story office-space-for-rent buildings. The majority of Tanstaafl’s business is handled here, however, because of the location of several off-world interests. One sprawling complex is the financial heart of the Business District, the Bank of Aurore, acting as the liaison office for Aurore’s limited off-world trade. It further provides bonding services to visiting mercenary pirates in the employ of the Cluster, and other professionals in the employment of the government. Contract fees are held here until successful completion of the service, and the officers for the facility are known for their impartiality.
Oldtown Domes : The original settlement consisted of a number of large, precast survival domes erected to shelter the colonists from winds coming off the Barrier Ridge. Once housing the entire population of Tanstaafl, they now serve as the government center, despite the fact of the community’s growth having carried the businesses a kilometer or two further off to the east. While laws in Tanstaafl are few, shipping goods must be cleared from the Public Offices at Dome One, and public courts are regulated through Dome Two. Dome Three acts as the primary “palace” of the local planet’s ruler, the Warlord.
Outer Districts : The outlying districts of Tanstaafl City, apart from Oldtown and the Business District, consist of mixed residential and manufacturing areas. These are collectively known as the Outer Districts.
Starport : Port Blackjack is the colony’s starport facility several kilometers to the east of the city proper. It consists of several hundred square kilometers of dry lake bed, a paved main launch area and the Launch Complex terminal buildings, receiving and short-term warehousing facilities, and the Port Authority Complex which includes administration and security offices.
Blackjack : The town of Blackjack is clustered around the north end of the airfield and is primarily low-rent housing for starport, warehouse, and airport workers. Bars, casinos, and brothels line the main street into town, but these are generally haunts claimed by local workers who tend to discourage visitors. A separate neighborhood has been claimed by the Starlords that serve under the Warlord, and is based on the south side of the airport. Brawls between dock workers and Starlords who stray across ill-defined territorial borders are a nightly occurrence.
Blackjack Airport : Travel between widely-spaced settlements on Aurore is primarily accomplished by air transport. The Blackjack Airport is a small facility shared by civilian and military transports. Flights more-or-less regularly arrive and leave to the scattered communities across the colonial settlements stretching off to the north-east. Civilian aircraft – mostly light utility transports – are common. Virtually all travel to nearby settlements, however, is through hovercraft and wheeled vehicles.
A Tanstaafl Militia military base is located on the south side of the airfield. Hangars here house four flights of Aerospace Fighters and a small detachment of Mechs serving under the direct control of the Warlord. These units are sent on patrols of the nearby area in pairs on a regular basis, mostly as training flights. There is also a small in-processing unit for recruits serving under the Starlords. New members of the Cluster military are based here initially.
Dawntown : This collection of casinos, bars, brothels, cheap nightclubs, over-priced hotels, and decrepit residences is the inevitable sin-strip that traditionally haunts any major starport or military installation. Because of the free-wheeling nature of the local economy – there are few enough laws regulating what you can or can’t do with your free time – this one is wilder and more disreputable than most. Notable features are the Red Sky Casino and the local product known as “Blackjack”, a potent and foul-tasting 180-proof brandy made from the bitter, native apple cider.
Dawntown’s entertainments cater to Starlords and visiting space-hands and Cluster military personnel. Some bars have been “appropriated” by members of various military and Starlord units, who generally discourage outsiders from patronizing the place. Despite the local boast that nothing is illegal, crime – people trying to take money or resources from others by force – does exist, and can make Dawntown a dangerous place to visit, especially in small numbers. Most bars and entertainment facilities tend to be owned by various members of the local “Court” or government; prices are high, but not as high as the “better” places in the business district.
Warehouse District : Located off the road running north from Dawntown, the Warehouse District is a small industrial park and site of row upon row of warehouses for storing goods awaiting shipment off-world. Warehouse space is reserved for government matters, but some can be rented to private shippers, merchants, and merc or Starlord bands. The district tends to be deserted except for loading crews and full-time security contingents from the local Starlord bands.
A number of broker agencies can be found along the main road, who hire themselves to ship or haul goods, as well as provide loaders for cargo vessels.
Agrinar “T-120” Tractor
Agrinar : Established in 3028, and beginning production in early-3030, Agrinar utilizes a number of cloned Federated Suns designs to produce both a tractor and a combine harvester for local agricultural efforts. As a state-owned production company it builds its equipment exclusively for local farming efforts and does not export them. The company also produces some engine and suspension parts that assist in Starhammer Forge production efforts.
Alkaram Textiles : Alkram Textiles produces a variety of synthetic fabrics made using a salvaged line of industrial cloth fabricators, established in 2997. Fairly large, it provides the uniforms and clothing to both the military and the civilian workers of Haven, and is considered one of the Cluster’s essential industrial manufacturers. It manages to export a large part of its raw production outside the Cluster, and can account for roughly 15% of Haven’s colonial exports.
Arctic : Artcic was formed in 3010, and produces a line of refrigerators and freezers for the domestic consumer market. It also provides cooling equipment to the local heavy industry, including a standard “Arctic” brand of cooling systems, used in many of the colonial vehicles.
Aurore Food & Drink (AF&D) : The largest Cluster food processing company located in Tanstaafl City, the holding is a conglomerate formed by several companies including Aurore Drinks, Aurore Foods, and Ursus Breweries, and is specialized in producing food and drink products. The company also possesses substantial assets in System – Octavia, which is where the bulk of its food production efforts are concentrated. AF&D production facilities underwent an expansion from 3028-9, using “salvaged” equipment, improving production levels.
Under it’s Aurore Drinks division, two of the company’s soft drinks “Adria” and “Frutti Fresh” are the main public consumption beverages in the Cluster. The local Frutti Fresh production is a sparkling apple wine, made from the locally farmed apples. Its generic brand of natural “Star Mineral Water”, is commonly found in ration packs in the Cluster, and often sees export outside the Cluster itself.
Aurore Foods in Tanstaafl owns an agribusiness division, Stargrain, which controls a large series of expensive grain fields maintained by several Agricultural Robot (Small)s, which are used entirely for domestic consumption. The bulk of its efforts are in traditional hydroponics fruit and vegetable production, including a number of large facilities in and around the capital. Its entire production is also slated for internal corporate consumption.
Ursus Breweries produces a variety of beers for domestic consumption, including its namesake “Ursus Beer”, a dark lager, “Timoshenko”, a pale lager, and the popular “Burger Beer”, which has a large following among the Cluster’s Support & Elsie castes.
Jenoptik : A photonics development company, Jenoptik produces semi-conductor equipment, medical technology and lasers used in both local civilian and military industries. In particular, it builds various civilian lasers for Tehoton, and has a variety of military-grade lasers, primarily the “Odin Heavy Laser” used by the PRV-4 Privateer. All of its limited production is consumed by local industry.
Starhammer Forge “VMk3 Valence” Industrial Exoskeleton
KUKA Robotics Corporation : A relatively new effort in the industrialization of the Colonies, KUKA Robotics Corporation is a manufacturing company that specializes in the manufacture of industrial robots and solutions for factory automation. Formed in 3003, the engineers of the organization were tasked with finding solutions to assembling the various industrial efforts of the colonies. The company has since been engaged in maintaining and dealing with the special needs of the colonies, namely automating its various lines and trying to hold them together. It is considered the premier scientific engineering company in the Colonies.
In 3015 the company developed the first prototype VMk3 Valence Exoskeleton, and in 3018 produced the “Quantec”, an automated robotic arm designed to be implemented in modern manufacturing lines. In 3022, the company designed the smaller “Agilus” automated robotic arm for finer manufacturing efforts. In 3024, they developed their advanced version of the Valence for space-borne, micro-gravity operations.
Recent development rumors place the company continuing its robotics work, and delving into the possible manufacture of a Agricultural Robot (Small) design, though work has been slow and is likely to be set aside for some other research possibilities.
Recaro : Recaro is the local company that has been tasked with the development of the colony’s vehicle “cockpits”, including both seating and interface systems. It also produces acceleration couches for shuttle craft and DropShips on consignment.
Roerstal : Roerstal is the only ceramics distributor in the Cluster and one of the largest in the Periphery, with exports that reach outside the Cluster itself. The company also produces electrical and insulation materials, and has developed the heated enamel coating needed in producing modern Heat Sinks and heat shielding for fusion engines, something considered essential in maintaining the Cluster Militia and its AeroForce fleets.
Starhammer Forge “Amalek” Wheeled APC
Starhammer Forge : Starhammer Forge is a vehicle and supporting industry production company operating from two separate factory complexes in the rural areas outside the city. In addition to their vehicles and exoskeleton production, they also manufacture military-grade armor and are known to be expanding their production into other, unknown supporting assets. Its offices are located in the Business District of the city, and offer all its vehicle assets for general sale to interested parties, though its exoskeletons are considered a “restricted” technology for the use of the Haven Militia and supporting industries alone.
Tehnoton : A Cluster company founded in 2980, Tehnoton mainly manufactures consumer electronics and industrial machinery. By 2997 it became the colonial manufacturer of holo-tuners and music players (under the “Cosmos” brand), which actually sees some export out of the Cluster, due primarily to its cheap manufacturing costs. Tehnoton also produces electronics systems for The Warlord’s heavy industrial efforts, including licensed production of the Comstar Rover and Comstar Test-2 systems for Vengeance Incorporated and Starhammer Forge.
In addition, the company processes metal alloys and plastic injection molding for its own and other industries in the Cluster. In 3008, the company was nationalized and funnels its profits directly into the Tanstaafl government. Tehnoton was instrumental in developing all the other industries in the colony, and is considered an essential industry.
Total Oil : Total Oil was established in 2982 as the principle distributor of oil products in the colonies of the Cluster, and maintains numerous fuel distribution locations across the colonies. While it does not refine its fuel, it takes contraband fuel brought by its suppliers, and sells it under the Total brand.
Vengeance Incorporated “PRV-4 Privateer” BattleMech
Vengeance Incorporated (VI) : While VI operates in the rural portion of the nearby districts, Vengeance Incorporated maintains a sales office in the city, offering repair services to visiting pirate mercenaries, as well as offering its signature product, the PRV-4 Privateer for sale to interested parties, though most of its production is aimed at the government’s own Militia.
Zentiva : A Cluster-wide pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing generic pharmaceutical products, such as antibiotics, beta-blockers, pain-relief medicine and generic battlefield dressings used in first aid kits supplied to its military and paramedics.
Orange Industries : The sole colonial producer of electrical and water services in the Tanstaafl districts, it is owned by the government and carefully rations its limited resources. Electrical energy has always been problematic to develop in the colonies, and depends heavily upon the efforts of the government to provide for the planning of future industrial efforts. Water services are easier to acquire, especially since very little is required to purify local sources. It maintains numerous water distribution stations around the colony, and draws from large freshwater reserves, but is still carefully rationed to account for industrial and agricultural requirements.
Telecommunications are fairly high-speed in the local network around Tanstaafl City, while it is very low-speed microwave communications with the rest of the local region’s districts.
The starport houses its fleets of the Haven Militia assets, and has a few orbital shuttle interface craft, all under the aegis of the military’s Haven AeroForce. The attached airport provides spaceplane services for civilian traffic connecting the entire colony world, as well the nearby districts with passenger and light cargo transport. Chartered service is also available on a case-by-case basis.
The colony road network is fairly average, with only about a third of the colony considered to have well-paved roads. The remainder is simple dirt packed by constant use. Dry Lake Flats Road is a prime example, an unpaved road heading north-east away from Port Blackjackacross Dry Lake Flats. The small community of Worththetrip lies 300 kms across the Flats, and generally isn’t. Worth the trip, that is.