Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gazetteer of the Ptolemy Sector

The Ptolemy Sector

Alliance of Independent Systems - Green
Aquila Union - Blue
Skorpios Empire - Red
When I created the Ptolemy Sector from the world building rules in Stars Without Numbers a while ago, all I really did was jot down the required fields onto a piece of paper.  The specifics of the Ptolemy Sector that jumped out at me as I was creating it just stayed in my head, gestating and growing like a virus inside my brain.  Since I've been writing bits about the sector's history and major players, I figured it was time to write down at least some brief notes about each system.  So here they are - the 22 systems of the Ptolemy Sector:

Almagest - 0609
Apotelesmatika - 0509
Aquila - 0501
Arachne - 0300
Argo - 0605
Atlas - 0303
Belinski - 0606
Cicada - 0201
Corvus - 0604
Dubyago - 0506
Geographia - 0109
Harmonics - 0508
Locust - 0101
Novikov - 0105
Optics - 0608
Patton - 0602
Pershing - 0500
Ridgway - 0502
Schwarzkopf - 0601
Skorpios - 0607
Smirnova - 0307
Talus - 0003

Almagest (0609) - Located in the Skorpios Cluster, Almagest is a dusty, dry planet - the result of a terraforming project interrupted by the Scream.  Over a third of a billion humans live in high tech cities around the polar seas, chaffing under the oppressive might of the Skorpios Empire.  The populace is forced to produce weapons and spacecraft for the imperial war machine, though a violent rebellion has been active for a generation.  The system itself is full of debris, making meteor and comet strikes common, especially along the uninhabited equatorial wastes.

Apotelesmatika (0509) - Apotelesmatika is a small, hot planet with a thin atmosphere in the Skorpios Cluster.  Its rocky surface is coated with a dark blue lichen, native but genetically modified to break up the rocks into soil and add nitrogen to the atmosphere as the beginnings of a terraforming project that was never completed.  Two hundred thousand humans live in underground cities, maintaining the machines that keep them alive and shunning outsiders.  It is a client state of the Skorpios Empire, but Apotelesmatika keeps from having a large Skorpios presence by voluntarily manufacturing high tech extrauterine fetal incubation systems.

Aquila (0501) - Located at the heart of the Aquila Cluster, Aquila is a rich, vibrant garden world colonized by Neo-Gaels soon after it's discovery.  Due to the independent spirit of the  Neo-Gaels, Aquila suffered very little during the Scream and Silence, laying down solid industrial and banking infrastructure that allowed it to grow into a planet of billions and emerge into the Ptolemy sector as a major economic and military power.  An an independent world, it has a larger gross domestic product than any other system in the sector, though recently, its allies are few and far between.

Arachne (0300) - Homeworld of the Klakker species in Melampus Cluster.  The planet is filled with the ruins of giant mound shapes cities crafted before the Klakker war with the Terran Mandate.  Now the Klakkers live in pre-industrial hives scattered across the world, worshipping their ancestors as gods.  A world government exists, on paper, and it swears its allegiance to the Aquila Union, as a proxy for the Terran Mandate.  Unscrupulous industrialists from Aquila operate factories on Arachne, acquiring workers from hives in exchange for pheromones that please the regional queens, though the Aquilan government tries to prevent the more egregious sapient rights violations.

Argo (0605) - Argo is a bright green ringed gas giant in the Skorpios Cluster.  The area's one hundred thousand inhabitants live on various moons and asteroids in orbit around the gas giant.  Due to the abundance of easily-had resources, the Terran Mandate built the Argo Yards quickly after the planet's discovery.  After the Scream, the population became insular as they fought of various scavenger fleet that tried to strip the Yards bare.  When the Ptolemy Sector began to recover from the Silence, Argo supplied the ships for the recovery, but it became the first battleground between Aquila and Skorpios when hostilities broke out.

Atlas (0303) - The Atlas system is in the Ptolemy Wilds.  The planet is hot and humid, and plagued by hurricanes that peel off from the equator and move towards the poles. The equatorial areas are void of multicellular life, but swamp biomes begin around the 45th parallel.  Atlas is, however, rich in various petrochemicals.  Five major colonization attempts before the Scream failed, and the few lingering colonists died out during the Silence.  Currently, the planet is inhabited by a misogynist religious group called The Truth Of Man, who have been mining there for three clone generations, and the group joined the Alliance of Independent States ten years ago.

Belinski (0606) - Belinski, in the Skorpios Sector, is a glacial planet, with melting near the equator, revealing rich forests and farmland tended by pre-industrial human societies.  The planet's populous sank into barbarity after the Scream, dismantling or destroying almost all high tech except the sky-cities.  Ten gigantic gravatic sky-liners, holding 10,000 inhabitants apiece, sail the glacial valleys, occasionally fighting with one another, but more often raiding the 130 million primitive ground dwellers for food and supplies.  The Skorpios Empire claims control over Belinski, demanding raw materials from the sky cities on pain of death.

Cicada (0201) - Cicada, in the Melampus Cluster, was the Klakker's first interstellar colony.  While a garden world, there is no plant life below 1000 meters of elevation due to nanitic defoliants deposited by the human military 'enthusiasts' during the Human-Klakker War.  Most continents are covered in various slimes, oozes, and animals that are not targeted by the uncontrollable nanites.  Thirteen thousand humans live on plateaus in the northern hemisphere, administrating Klakker 'reservations.'  The southern hemisphere is wracked with earthquakes and volcanoes caused by cracked continental plates due heavy wartime bombardment.

Corvus (0604) - Located on the edge of the Skorpios Cluster, Corvus is a garden world that was once the capital of the Ptolemy Sector.  Most of the infrastructure was destroyed in civil war after the Scream, and only a stone age population was left by the end of the Silence.  As the population began to recover, Skorpios and Aquila forces began to war over the planet, bombarding every potential military site, which included most of the planet.  Currently, the population is made up or 30 million humans, most of whom avoid any technology, instead putting all of their trust into the near-feral psychics known as the Witches of Corvus.

Dubyago (0506) - Nestled in the Skorpios Cluster, Dubyago is large terrestrial planet with a sulfuric acid atmosphere.  A psionics research facility was founded there early in the Empire's expansion, with the hopes of discovering why the Skorpios did not develop psychic abilities.  A handful of psychics were eventually bred, and the facility  became the headquarters for the Committee for State Security.  While a popular subject of rumors, little is known about Dubyago, except that the head of the CSS is referred to as the Eye of Providence, and that the Eye and the Scientist-Emperor of Skorpios have political differences from time to time.

Geographia (0109) - Once a beautiful garden World, Geographica suffered a nuclear civil war shortly after the Scream, turning the planet into a hot desert wasteland with a thick, soupy atmosphere.  A quarter of a billion people live scattered under the surface, understanding little of the automated technology that produces clean air, food, and water to keep them alive.  Geographica was the last world re-discovered, mainly as it was so far from any other in the Ptolemy Wilds.  Skorpios claimed the system originally, but could not protected it from Alliance warlords who wished to scavenge the place for weaponry and wealth.

Harmonics (0508) - A planet populated by Cambrian style microorganisms, Harmonics was chosen as the site of the Library of Ptolemy, a Preceptor Archive designed to house the totality of human knowledge to prevent its loss should society in the Void collapse and be cut off from the rest of the galaxy.  When the Scream happened, the Preceptors waited hundreds of years for the day that the Silence would break.  That day came when the Skorpios Empire arrived, learned what they could from the Library, decided the knowledge contained therin was offense to the Scientist-Emperor, bombarded the site from orbit, then turned the area into a giant strip mine to extract what resources they could from the planet's crust.

Locust (0101) - This planet has a elliptical four year orbit around primary star, sending it into winter for a three quarters of its cycle.  Glaciers scrape the non-equatorial regions to a rich pulp.  Locust was the second colony settled by the Klakkers, and saw only light combat during the war with the Terran Mandate.  A human colony took hold afterwards, which now counts it's inhabitants at half a billion.  Klakkers remain isolated in primitive ghettos, but they are allowed to work in that various heavy industries around the planet.  Locust is a member of the Aquila Union, and several military bases are maintained in orbit and on the surface.

Novikov (0105) - Novikov is a small, dry world with a breathable atmosphere and rich mineral deposits.  Native microorganisms proved very hazardous to several waves of early colonists, destroying their reproductive systems and leaving the planet uninhabited during the Silence.  Unaffiliated miners and traders came to the planet later and developed treatments against the bacteria.  Novokov served as a bustling free trade world until it was fought over by the Skorpois Empire and Aquila, when most of the population was driven away.  Now the system is held by warlords who mine the place with roughly thirty thousand slaves.

Optics (0608) - A flat, wet planet covered mainly by swamps and rain forests, Optics was once a resort planet that failed to maintain much civilization, or population, during the Scream.  The Skorpios Empire once used it as a gulag for political prisoners and research subjects from it's client states, but within the last few decades began to sterilize the population to prevent sexual reproduction.  Instead, huge areas of land are now being terra-sculpted to create alternative 'summer' housing for the political elite of Skorpios, to be tended to by a hundred thousand mind-controlled humans specially bred for loyalty and obedience.

Patton (0602) - Patton is a planet with a thick, foggy atmosphere, wracked with frequent EMP bursts from its core.  When Aquilan scouts re-discovered the planet, they found huge deposits of rare elements useful in high tech manufacturing.  Colonists arrived in droves, and today the planet has over a quarter of a billion settlers.  The biggest problem is that the frequent EMP bursts fry high tech devices, forcing the settlers to rely on primitive, but stable, technologies for survival.  Patton has changed hands several times during the wars between Aquila and Skorpios, leaving parts of the planet scarred with craters.

Pershing (0500) - Before the Scream, a cult of xenophobic technophiles colonized the mineral-rich, but toxic planet of Pershing, altering their DNA to survive and isolate themselves from the rest of humanity.  During the Silence, the Pershingite culture changed and grew, instead romanticizing their lost neighbors.  When Aquilan scouts arrived at Pershing, the natives eagerly peace treaties, trade deals, and other pacts - eventually joining the Union.  The sight of the alien looking Pershingites does have a tendency to freak out standard Aquilan humans, but the loyalties of the Pershingites have never been in question.

Ridgway (0502) - Ridgway is a patchwork quilt of highly radioactive deserts and primitive sustenance farms that barely get by due to the invasive, inedible native flora.  Sword wielding psychic warlords have been in control since the nuclear wars hundreds of years ago brought the planet back to the iron age.  The half a million inhabitants of Ridgway live under a a Aquilan governor, whose main job is to keep the planet's military bases secure and to provide aid and technology for the inhabitants, but few of the psychic warlords are really interested in doing anything constructive.

Schwarzkopf (0601) - Schwarzkopf is dominated by a hot Jupiter surrounded by multiple asteroid belts.  The original colonists were miners who were forced to stay after the scream and build elaborate habitats from hollowed out asteroids.  Now, the half a million inhabitants of the system mine the gas giant for it's rare and heavy gases, descending into the thick, stormy soup in shielded collection/refinery ships to earn their fortunes.  Their ship building techniques are superb.  Schwarzkopf is part of the Aquila Union, and provide the navy with some of the best pilots in the sector.

Skorpios (0607) - Skorpios is a swampy, mucky place, overwhelmed by hazardous fungi.  During the Silence, the inhabitants merged their DNA with the native fungus in an effort to survive, and found that the transformation made them stronger, if a bit insane.  Now standard reproduction is impossible, and the government maintains high tech extrauterine fetal incubation systems to grow the populace.  With nearly two billion inhabitants, there are several castes, each genetically modified to provide different services to the Empire.  They worship science, or rather, a twisted philosophy of technological might making right, which has led them to be the most powerful system in the Prolemy Sector.

Smirnova (0307) - Once a beautiful garden planet, Smirnova came through the Silence relatively unscathed, supporting a billion people when the Skorpios scouts arrived.  Rather than wage a conventional war, Skorpios decided to spray an augmented fungal agent into the upper atmosphere, killing almost the populations and laying waste to the biosphere.  Then the planet was stripped of it technology and wealth, everything being brought back to Skorpios that could.  The survivors were rounded up and forced to work in slave labor camps.  Over the survivors have died off in droves, leaving only ten thousand left when Skorpios abandoned the place.

Talus (0003) - Only a small population lived on this garden world when the Scream hit.  When scouts investigated the system hundreds of years later, they found no one left.  People form all over the sector came to settle Talus, which promised a chance for all citizens to start over in a truly democratic and peaceful environment.  It was all that, but Talus also became a haven for pirates, crooks, and other interstellar criminals.  Eventually, the government became so saturated with corruption that the old regime was overthrown and a new political movement, the Alliance of Independent Systems, took control and separated from the Aquila Union.


Okay, I'm glad I dumped that all onto paper.  It was taking up so much space I couldn't remember how to make coffee.  :)  Enjoy.

- Ark

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