Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
The District of Aurore
Oldest District of Aurore
Rovers of Aurore
The original colony on Aurore is known simply as “La Colonie d’Aurre”, “Aurore Francais”, or simply “Aurore”. The total original population at its height, numbered around four million.
Planetographic Features : There are two principal features of settlement; the original landing site and colony northwest of La Mer de Sel, known as “La Cite d’Aurore”, and a second colony city south of La Mer de Sel, called “Lumiere d’Aube”.
La Mer de Sel (French – “Salt Sea” ) runs from southwest to northeast across the 30th parallel, almost 1500 kms long, larger than the Caspian Sea on Terra. It is almost certain that La Mer de Sel was formerly an arm of the ocean, closed off from La Mer Ceindant within recent geographical history by the seismic event which raised Les Montagnes Occidental. Large tidal flats exist at either end of the sea. These flats are alternately exposed and covered by the tidal surges, though they are neither as deep nor as violent as the tides experienced along the open ocean. Hovercraft and small boats routinely cross the southern end of the Salt Sea on a direct route between Aurore City and Lumiere City with no danger from tidal effects.
Aurore Mining Camps
Les Montagnes Occidental (French – “Western Mountains” ) are raw and young and many are distinctly volcanic. Mining settlements among the foothills have uncovered deposits of copper, uranium, cobalt, and iron. There are plans by the planetary government to exploit the resources at some point, when the economic and manpower situation permits.
To the south lies La Gouffre (French – “The Gulf” ), a major tidal bore channeled along a seismic fracture running west to east for over 3000 kms. The bore contains a shallow river running through a mud flat on the floor of a sheer-sided canyon at low tide. The canyon walls are over a half-kilometer high in most places, and, save for those places where fractures in the rock have created natural ramps leading to the canyon floor, the walls are polished smooth. At high tide, a wall of water over 400m deep, travelling at 180 kph, races up the canyon, filling the valley and creating a roar which is heard as a daily, drawn-out peal of thunder hundreds of kilometers away. The use of hearing protectors in the immediate vicinity of La Gouffre during flood tide is recommended. Some visitors have gone deaf from the noise.
La Gouffre is the unofficial between the lands exploited by the District of Auroreto the north, and the District of Tanstaafl to the south.
Two distinct areas have been exploited by the colonists of the Aurore District, one around the capital city, and a second “satellite colony” across the Salt Sea, based from the city of Lumiere.
La Cite d’Aurore
The colonial capital of the District of Aurore is the city of Aurore, known either as “La Cite d’Aurore” or simply “Aurore”. Outsiders seem determined to identify the name of the capital city as distinct from the name of the colony and the world, and local inhabitants seem equally determined to assert that the distinction is of no importance.
The City of Aurore is laid-out in a broad wheel shape on a high, dry plateau midway between La Mer de Sel and Les Montagnes Occidental. It was carefully chosen by the original colonists as being safe from both earthquakes and volcanoes. The city has been heavily damaged several times by severe storms and by seismic quakes over the years, but then no point on Aurore’s surface is ultimately safe from these dangers. Like other communities on Aurore, buildings tend to be low, one- or two-story structures, with domes and partially buried cylinders predominating. To the west of the city lies Port Loubet, the relatively quiet spaceport named in honor of the first survey team leader, who died during the first exploration of the planet’s surface.
The city once had a population base of over 800,000. The surrounding industrial and agricultural regions were able to support another two million. Agricultural products once included hydroponic fruits, vegetables, seaweed and fish; mutated guinea pigs; native Aurorewood; wheat, corn and rye hybrids; apples and apple wines.
Over the past centuries, the city has diminished in status and population, until it now numbers around 60,000 people, who have grouped themselves into bandit “tribes” of loosely armed thugs, each occupying a section of the city. Somehow they have managed to work-out a system of cooperation, mostly because of a steady supply of food and supplies from the outlying territories. They do, however, compete among each other for the “choice spots” for salvage and access to the Algae Paste distribution, with the best locations being closer to the center of the city. The food processing facilities in the city core remain relatively intact, and most of the community is fed on the factory’s “Soylent Algae Paste”, a bland, if nourishing, commodity that keeps the peace.
The region outside the city is largely abandoned, with much of the former farming region scavenged and traded south to Lumiere City for its raw metals or across the border south to Tanstaafl City for its own efforts. A few gangs who chose to live outside the city specialize in salvage and trade into the city for Soylent, are known as “Rovers”, and they tend to wander from farm to farm, ruin to ruin on hover bikes, salvaging what they can before returning to the city to trade.
Soylent Algae Paste provides a basic nutrient paste meal served in dried bar form, that while bland and unappetizing, has the added bonus of being easily acquired and being made from simple algae and plankton food stocks produced in a largely automated facility in the heart of the city. The hungry people of the city and the region are highly dependent on it as food, and even the rebels make no effort to halt its production.
The other two reasons for the city’s relative calm are its leadership. One is a man of considerable leadership and power, who controls an army of 10,000 armed Marshals, and controls the city’s production and management facilities, known as “El Puerco” by the city’s less desirable factions. His real name is Lord-Marshal Manuel Puerto, apparently once an important tech from House Davion. He also controls the local media, and the city’s design as a single entity allows him to feed propaganda directly into everyone’s homes and businesses. This control of information is fractured by the presence of the other leader in town.
Marshal Brandy Charlatan is an unknown entity. Rumored to be a former Militia trooper from Tanstaafl, she has made no attempts at leadership, but rather acts as “The Voice of Chaos”, holding the greatest independent following in the region. She manages to break into Puerco’s broadcasts on a regular basis, with her own broadcasts last less than an hour. Each broadcast, presented as a part of “KAUR Radio”, consists of news, music, updates on local tribal conflicts, and a great deal of informative gossip. Puerco has tried to get Comstar to help him in the hunt to find her and her crew, but other than an adviser, that organization makes no effort to assist in her capture.
Lumiere d’Aube : “Light of Dawn” is a satellite colony of Aurore City, founded on the far side of the Salt Sea as a center for the commercial exploitation of the southern inland ocean, and the nearby mining sites. Located on a high plateau rising above the Salt Sea’s southern tidal flats, it offers spectacular view of Mount Tithonus, just above the Mont Rouge. While the city is technically a part of the Aurore district, in truth, it operates fairly independently, with the local gangs reporting to Aurore City, and trading their goods in that city for export across the Gulf to Tanstaafl City. The nominal leader of the town and area around it, is Marshal Nisha Naheed, whose dedication to maintaining the peace
between locals has reached legendary proportions, and whenever her purple-painted Marauder appears, locals listen.
Mining settlements and outposts were originally established south of the city in the region of Mont Ste. Victoire, a huge, dormant shield volcano north of The Gulf. Deposits of chromium, uranium, and even diamonds have been found in the region, though full-scale commercial development of the region has never been viable given the present technological capabilities of its inhabitants, and remain mostly primitive dig sites by local warlords who sell their efforts in Lumiere for arms and food.
Lumiere d’Aube’s population once numbered about 300,000, and the surrounding communities totaled about 900,000. Population numbers still remain around a tenth that number (30,000) both in the city itself, and the farms and mines surrounding it. Farms around the town are increasingly becoming self-sufficient through government colonial development of typical planetary agricultural products, including hydroponic fruits, vegetables, and fish; various wheat and corn hybrids; apples and apple wines. Many of the farmers are retiring Marshals, who are essentially building feudal knight’s fees with off-world laborers as their farmers. The main products of the region, however, are its raw ores that are refined in the town’s ancient electrical foundries, and provide the bulk of the city’s production and economy.