Credit: http://studenttimes....g?itok=58j_LVLjStudent Times.org
Region: Outer Rim
System: Spola System
Suns: 1 x Medium White
Orbital Position: 3rd planet.
Moons: 1 x moon named Borsk. This satellite is relatively small, only 850km across, but is relatively close to the planet. It is suspected that eventually (within several million years) the orbit might degrade to the point that planet and mood collide.
System Features: The system features six planets, but only the third planet is inhabitable. The others are either airless rocks or gas giants. The outlying planet, Spola VI, once had an Imperial droid operated monitoring station on it, but it’s long since been abandoned.
Coordinates: See map:
Rotational Period: 39 standard hours.
Orbital Period: 318 standard days.
Atmosphere: Type I
Gravity: 0.9 standard
Primary Terrain: Oceans, islands, scattered landmasses.
Native Species: Plants and animals, none sentient. Incredible variety of native sea-life. The jungles and swamps harbour several dangerous and aggressive native animals.
One item of particular note is a narcotic native grass named Najim, or more colloquially ‘Twinkle’. When mulched up and dried, the resulting product can be smoked to create euphoric and importantly addictive effect. Control of the relatively small areas where this can be grown is the biggest cause of fighting on the planet. (Species submission when planet approved)
Immigrated Species: Humans, Twi’leks etc.
Primary Languages: Basic, with local dialect versions.
Government: Anarchic Despotism. The planet’s populations are divided between rival groups and gangs. It’s a dangerous and unpredictable place with no overall authority. Those settlers who fight them are grouped in loose federations of villages.
Population: ~20 million. 90% human, 10% miscellaneous.
Major Imports: People, weapons, technology.
Major Exports: Slaves, silver, exotic local foods, narcotics.
Affiliation: Though close to the Sanctum, it is not part of it, and indeed would likely be damaged by this. In alignment and methods, it is likely closest to Black Sun.
- Tripoli Base: HQ of the largest faction on the planet, the Corsairs, this is a heavily defended atoll surrounded by reefs, supplemented with mines. The base contains a large silver mine and a Najim field.
- Amari Base: HQ of the second largest group on the planet; the Outcasts. This base is located in an area of dense marshes and mangroves. It controls the largest slaving operation on the planet, and of course, a Najim field.
- Woshan Base: This is the HQ of the third largest group on the planet; the entirely non-human Ironsides. These mainly Trandoshan slavers have Najim largely as a secondary export after their primary activity. This base is located on a very perilous volcanic island were prisoners are kept in cages which can be dropped into the caldera of an active volcano to liquidise the merchandise.
- Liberty Grove: The main area of resistance from the original settlers of the planet. This collection of settlements is placed on one of the larger islands amidst deep jungle. There they try to defend themselves from the encroaching slavers.
Culture: Arkas has an oddly split personality, where the older settler groups compete with the interloper criminal groups.
The settlers of the planet, divorced from normal galactic practice for centuries have developed their own culture, and even unique dialect of basic. They are composed of several groups, with humans being a majority, but by no means the only species. The settlers form little communes, separate from each other and from the galaxy at large.
In general though the settlers base their culture around the twin realities of the jungle and the sea. As it is hot the year around, the seasons are mainly measured by the monsoons and storms and the dry season. During the wet season the settlers mainly live in the jungles, growing and cultivating plants and animals as the seas are too stormy to navigate. During the dry season though most of their food comes from fish, kelp and seaweed which is cultivated in tidal pools.
One other curious area of settler culture is their veneration of technology. Over time they have lost the ability to create the high technology they brought to the planet, but have managed to create quite sophisticated mashups and copies of the function. The problem they mainly face is a lack of organisation and access to resources which makes repair or creation of new technology possible. Thus, as the number of working tech decreased it came to be revered as the gifts of their god-like ancestors. After nearly 400 years there are only a handful of working artefacts still working, many of them mundane to outsiders, but having great cultural significance to the settlers. Anyone possessing one of these items earns great prestige. Of course with the arrival of the outsiders modern technology flooded settler society, but oddly they seem to differentiate between the two. New tech is used, whilst the old relics are still somewhat revered.
Artistically, the settlers are not bereft. Over time their knowledge of writing has decayed, with fewer and fewer being taught the limited materials available. Instead though they have developed their own notation system for counting and have a strong tradition of oral poetry and memorisation. They are also extremely skilled in the area of woodworking and skilled in metal working. They have also utilised the planet’s abundant silver resources to create intricate decorations.
Since life is a struggle, and kinship is all, sport usually takes the form of clan and village competitions in athletic events such as running, rowing and climbing. Often these also help fulfil initiation rites for teenagers becoming adults, that both boys and girls have to show their toughness before they are considered adults.
On the other side of the divide there are the outsiders, the pirates, slavers and criminal cartels. For the most part their culture is akin to their own native galactic origins. There are some noted exceptions though. Despite coming from the galaxy outside, the pirate bases maintains the feel of a frontier world. With no clear authority, a wide variety of different pastimes have taken off. One involves the consumption of a lot of Najim and then trying to perform athletic activities. The result is a guaranteed laugh-fest.
There is also a less funny side to these activities. Impromptu gladiator pits have been created where slaves and volunteers fight each other and wild animals before the pirate mobs for entertainment. The results are bloody, and underhanded cheating is the norm.
Technology: Galactic Standard amongst the outsiders, formerly Galactic Standard amongst the settlers.
Were it not for two accidents, Arkas likely would have been entirely ignored by the galaxy. It sits on the very edge of the galaxy, in areas rarely explored in previous eras. This alone ensured that it was ignored for most of galactic history.
However, in the early days of the Gulag plague, a vast fear gripped much of the galaxy. Combined with war and turmoil, many looked for ways to escape the chaos. Some planets cut themselves off, others tried unsuccessfully to help.
A collection of people on one of the core worlds decided to escape the plague by journeying through space, finding an uncharted world and settling it. It was not easy, but they managed it, and just weeks before the plague reached their home they set off in a large colony ship bound for the stars.
However, so quick had been the construction and preparations that much of the equipment was suspect. Thus the hyperdrive malfunctioned, eventually throwing them marooned on the distant edge of the galaxy. Fortunately for the erstwhile adventurers their backup unit provided enough power to scan several worlds before they came upon the world soon to be known as Arkas.
This accidental landing worked out well at first, as the settlers started to set up their own frontier society. They had escaped the plague, but they were now trapped on the outer edge of the galaxy with no way to leave or communicate out. At first they formed governments they knew, a Republic-like democracy, but over time fights broke out over technology, and people resented the interference of the colony ship’s officers who had seized power. Thus the settlers scattered to the many islands of the planet. As time and generations passed the galaxy became a distant memory, technology became rarer and basic skills faded from use. Everything became consumed with hunting and farming and surviving the frequent storms and dangerous predators.
For nearly 400 years this pattern continued. The settlers spread out until soon each species had formed their own communes, island hopping to find new places to live. The population expanded over time despite the sometimes harsh conditions, so that the half a million or so original settlers grew exponentially over time. With an entire planet to settle there was always room to move, and so by the time of their rediscovery the population had risen to around 20 million.
Outside Arkas, the dark age had ended. In another unfortunate chance, a trading ship, off course after a battle with pirates, came across the world. Landing for supplies it encountered the settlers who were afraid and shocked by the ship landing in their midst. The traders traded the settlers technology for silver.
Unfortunately they were also given some of the planet’s most infamous plant, a purple coloured grass called Najim. The settlers had found that when ground up and dried it worked well for rituals and as pain relief for those with various conditions.
The traders departed, but unfortunately the Najim gained the attention of the pirate group the Corsairs, and after ‘questioning’ the traders they discovered the source. Seeing a new and profitable drug the Corsairs landed and started harvesting the Najim. In doing so they came to encounter the settlers, and brutally began to exploit them.
Worse was to come as rival groups and slavers discovered Arkas and came to claim their own piece of the pie. What resulted was the major culture shock and considerable hardship for the settlers. The settlers retreated into the jungles and more remote islands whilst the pirates and slavers fought over the spoils. Najim, silver, slaves, that became the true exports of the planet, and more and more pirates and adventurers flocked to Arkas to get in on the action.
The pirates, divided into three main and many smaller groups, are vastly outnumbered by the settlers, perhaps no more than 10,000 in total. However, all of them are fighters, and they have a vast technological and morale edge over their opposition.
And so the settlers fight desperately, against the odds, to retain their home, but every year their situation gets more and more perilous as they are forced from more and more of the good land, and many are enslaved or killed.
What the Settlers of Arkas need most of all, is something to even the odds….
Notable PCs: None at present.
Intent: To create a world for the Levantines to expand their dominions and assist the downtrodden. Also to serve as the source for a new form of drug, and to serve as an interesting historical-cultural creation like this writer enjoys doing.