Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Nausicaa
- Class: M
- Moons or Rings: 3 moons
- Gravity: 0.7 G
- Climate: Standard atmosphere, 40% hydrosphere, Cold temperature
- Demographics: Hundreds of thousands of natives
- Civilization: Anarchic Feudalism with despotic overtones
- Resources: Extensive flora and fauna, textiles, thugs
A wild, rough world of predators and harsh winters, Nausicaa is also the home of the Nausicaans. These imposing figures are seen at the fringes of civilization, threatening those they can successfully intimidate, and remembering days of glory long ended by the Federation and other powerful empires.
Nausicaa is the fifth planet of five orbiting a yellow-white star. They are near the very core of the Federation, within hours or days of Earth, Vulcan, Andoria and other central worlds. In the early days of human exploration and of the Federation, Nausicaa was ideally positioned to support raids and piracy against the slow freighters that plied the space lanes below old Warp 2. With the rise and establishment of the Federation as one of the dominant powers of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, Nausicaa’s days as a pirate’s haven ended, and now the Nausicaans mostly behave themselves.
Nausicaa is a wild, windswept world of considerable axial tilt. Storms sweep over the long plains of this planet on a regular basis. While the planet’s equatorial regions are moderately temperate, the Nausicaans are cold-weather beings, living along the northernly steppes and icy plains and tundra. They are invigorated by the regular storms on this world. Most days involve either rainstorms, ice storms, snow storms or bright, sunny windstorms.
The low gravity and windstorms of Nausicaa make movement and aim difficult. In rain or snow, apply a -2 to all ranged tests or agility tests. In an ice storm, the penalty is increased to -3. On the rare clement days, the wind and the glare of the sun on the ice and snow still have a -1 to ranged tests, unless proper eyewear is used.
Nausicaan climate is irrevocably affected by heavy industrial pollution. Because of the anarchic nature of the planet’s civilization, combined with the exploitation of resources on a massive scale during their initial infrastructure build-up in the 21st and 22nd centuries, Nausicaa bears the permanent scars of total ecological disaster. Rain is often acidic and dangerous; the atmosphere is difficult to breathe. Thousands of native life forms became extinct in the course of a century and the Nausicaans themselves mutated significantly in form over the period of two hundred years.
Though 40% of Nausicaa is water, it does not truly form oceans so much as lakes. All of Nausicaa’s major landmasses are connected, with water mostly forming barriers around them. One interesting facet of this is that ocean life varies greatly from sea to sea, with only a few rivers interconnecting some of the collections. The land area of Nausicaa is rough and rocky, with mountains bracketing long windswept plains. Given the storms, the conditions, and the wind, one would assume that little could survive on this world. One would be wrong, however. Nausicaa is fairly teeming with life – flora and fauna alike – evolved to take advantage of the wind, the rain and the storms. The creatures and plants of Nausicaa are hardy and resistant to weather, and almost all animals on Nausicaa are omnivores, able to subsist on plants where they are common, and each other where they are not. Sadly, “civilization” has reduced many of these species to shadows of their former selves. One only has to look at the Nausicaans themselves to see the result.
Civilization is probably too strong a word for Nausicaan society. The Nausicaans organize mostly into families, with the strongest Nausicaans bullying and dominating the weaker ones. While there are permanent cities and agricultural enclaves on Nausicaa now, it is the weak who do the work in them. There is no sense of injustice in this, however. Survival is the greatest virtue in Nausicaan society. The strong survive and prosper by their strength. The weak survive by doing what they’re told.
This may make the Nausicaans sound simple, but they aren’t. Though tall and strong, the Nausicaans were dwarfed by some of the massive creatures who evolved. They learned very early to take any edge they could get. This pervades their culture today. Cheating is only considered bad if someone is caught at it – and then, if the cheater is strong enough to defend his honor, the cheater is lionized.
The Nausicaans live in a kind of anarchy. After becoming old enough to survive on their own, Nausicaans work for the family. Encounters with others involve friendly greetings and one-upmanship, turning into shouted claims of mighty deeds and adventures – real or not – to highlight the honor of their own families and themselves. Fighting is common, but serious injury is not. Nausicaans know what they’re getting into when they fight.
Because they treat other races the same way they treat each other, Nausicaans are usually employed as brute force labor. They can’t be trusted to supervise themselves with much else – not because they’re thieves (though many are) but because they will naturally inflate their own efforts when reporting. They have risen to about Federation Standard technology, save weapons and high warp technology for their ships. No galactic power has yet seen profit in providing such dangerous technology to a race so given to violence and lying. Even the Ferengi have chosen not to arm the Nausicaans to that degree. There is more profit in employing them as labor.
Given their history and pride in high piracy, many Nausicaans who leave Nausicaa join the Orion Syndicate or other unsavory organizations or ships. Most pirates or privateers who can employ Nausicaan enforcers. Because of their natural competitive drive, Nausicaans employ artificial gravity in training facilities all over their planet. Nausicaan ships typically operate under 1.1 G, to help give them an edge when on other worlds or ships. They were strong even in their planet’s naturally light gravity. With this training, they are fearsome indeed. In part, this compensates for a sense of inferiority the Nausicaans have developed over their minor status in the galaxy. Rather than acknowledge the power of Starfleet, it is easier to train until they are stronger than Humans.
The Nausicaans gained warp technology when their world was raided by Andorians, who themselves were using the very earliest warp technology. The Andorians learned that the planetary raids were a bad idea, as they were beaten back by the savage and clever – and numerous – Nausicaans. As they left, they also left some of their ships behind, and the Nausicaans devoted tremendous efforts to learning how to replicate the Andorian technology.
While the Nausicaans were never a threat to the warlike Andorians, they did see the potential in these new ships. The age of high piracy began as the Nausicaans spread into the universe… and discovered plenty of rich targets hauling freight, technology, and resources the Nausicaans could use. These pirates were accorded great honor among the families of Nausicaa, and Nausicaan pirates spread throughout the sector, preying on the slow, the weak, or the unorganized.
These times began to change as more and more races developed more powerful technology than the unscientific Nausicaans. Still, for each planet whose freighters became too well protected, another less powerful planet began to ply the space lanes. In 2151, at the height of the Nausicaan Era of High Piracy, a Nausicaan pirate ship attacked the Terran Freighter Horizon. Horizon’s distress call was received and answered by NX-01 Enterprise, the first warp 5 capable starship in Starfleet. After fighting off the Nausicaans, Captain Archer warned the pirates that a lot more of their starships would be joining Enterprise soon enough. The Nausicaans had heard this before, and figured that as the Humans became too powerful, the pirates would instead focus on weaker people.
In this, they were wrong. With the foundation of the Federation in 2161, starships began protecting the spacelanes. Weaker freighters suddenly had assistance even if their worlds had no warships of their own. The Nausicaans adapted their methods, turning their pursuits to hit and run raids. Through much of the 22nd and 23rd century they had success in this, but by the end of the 23rd century Starfleet had had enough. Nausicaa was presented with an ultimatum. Either rein in its pirates, or be considered directly responsible and pay the price. The Nausicaans, knowing too well when they were dominating and when they were being dominated, accepted the terms.
In the years since then, Nausicaan traders have taken up the very same roles as the prey they followed for so long. Those Nausicaans who could not stand a peaceful life hire themselves out as muscle, doing what they do best across the galaxy. Today, any less reputable port likely has some Nausicaans aboard, and they remain dangerous if not handled correctly. It was a Nausicaan who stabbed Ensign Jean-Luc Picard through the heart, after a disagreement over damjaat. Even as far away as Federation starbase Deep Space 9, Nausicaans can be found terrorizing bartenders and tailors when they can get away with it.
PLACES OF INTEREST
There is one place on Nausicaa where violence and competition is not the norm. The Great Silver Plain, over Nausicaa’s north pole, is a glacier of smooth ice and clear skies, with little food. The ice is very thick, and almost polished by the constant winds. Even snow does not tend to accumulate on the Great Silver Plain. Nausicaans who seek enlightement take a pilgrimage across the Great Silver Plain – a journey of 300 miles – without ranged weapons of any kind. No Nausicaan may attack or fight another on the Great Silver Plain, but neither can they help each other. Survival is said to bring understanding… or madness.