Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Rigel II, or Mokalar
- Class: L
- Moons or Rings: Two small moons, Dahoj and Vialma
- Gravity: 0.8 G
- Climate: Thick argon-oxygen atmosphere, 60% hydrosphere, hot temperature
- Demographics: 500 million Orions, 250 million Kaylars, 200 million Rigelians, 40 million Humans, 10 million Chelarians, 10 million assorted others
- Civilization: Hedonistic and lazy, anarchy with strong oligopoly in the casino settlements; the nomadic Kaylar tribes are at TL 1-2
- Resources: Tourism, gray markets, and gambling; spices, drugs, and perfumes
CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHY
Rigel II has almost no axial tilt, and little orbital eccentricity. Its climate is almost uniformly hot to warm, supplying plenty of energy for the lush jungles and the brightly-colored – even phosphorescent – native life. This life teems in the shallow, tropical oceans that girdle the world’s equatorial belt. On either side of these oceans, continents cap the more temperate poles, with archipelagoes of large islands stretching into the sea to break up otherwise overwhelming currents of wind and water. A fairly high plateau centers Zalok, the south polar continent, with steep mountain crevasses going almost down to the shoreline in many places. The northern continent, Sandak, has a pair of low, latitudinal mountain ranges similar to Earth’s Appalachians. They channel plentiful rain into rich river valleys winding through the thick teal-leaved jungles. These jungles produce a dizzying array of valuable and unique plant species and organic chemicals, which get shipped off-world as even more valuable medicines, poisons, intoxicants, spices, and perfumes. Between the incessant jungle growth and heavy rainfall, developing the interior would be more expensive and inconvenient than anything in it is worth.
Most of the native Kaylars form long, nomadic trade networks with each other and with the Orion settlements on Rigel II, trading fish (seeded here millennia ago – Rigel II has no native animal life) and plant products for weapons and luxuries. Other than this, the Kaylar seem content to sail around their world in catamaran craft, or wander the jungles worshipping the enigmatic ruins of fallen Orion civilizations left untouched for millennia. Their Orion and Rigelian neighbors seem similarly content to rusticate on coastal plantations, process the occasional load of spices, and minister to the steady and lucrative tourist trade. The Chelarians serve as middlemen between the two, and grow trickier and more subtle crops in their steadings in the Tondotu Sea swamps.
Rigel II’s coastal cities make superb resorts; they combine picturesque markets and little regulation with stunning natural vistas and plentiful, delicious food prepared by a sybaritic culture. Solitary types can even rent entire tropical islands, with guaranteed perfect weather and no predators. For those wishing somewhat more excitement, Rigel II has a network of casinos and cabarets that cater to any and every taste – especially for humanoids who have been serving long, lonely tours in space. After about 2290, Human entrepreneurs on Rigel II leverage the world’s neutral status and resort facilities, making it a common host world for diplomatic summit meetings (and for spies, arms merchants, and other profiteers from intergalactic turmoil).
The most famous, and most interesting, of those casinos are built in ancient First Orion Empire palace complexes, built 40,000 years ago when the Orions settled the planet. The main “palace-casinos” (which are still the center of most economic and political activity on the planet) draw essentially free power from Rigel A using a kind of subspace energy tap beyond even Federation technology. Whether the First Empire used Rigel II as an agricultural colony, a government retreat, a park, or something else remains unknown; the wild Kaylar tribes in the interior harass archaeological expeditions with strangler vines, shrapnel-trees, and other cunning ploys. The Kaylar worship the ruins, an attitude the Orions encourage to prevent nosy outsiders uncovering the secrets of ancient Orion technology.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The most interesting place an outsider can easily get to on Rigel II, then, is the palace-casino complex in Sandapam, the largest city on the planet with around 2 million inhabitants (and about that many tourists, transients, and so forth). Here, anything that does not cause unwilling physical harm to another person is legal, and anything else can be simulated to an amazing degree in holographic suites. Sandapam is also the center for off-world transshipments of Rigel II’s plant exports, and has the most advanced spaceport and transporter facilities on the world. Rigel II’s small planetary defense fleet (mostly Orion privateers) is headquartered here, too, although the number of heavy warships orbiting the world for R&R also discourages would-be attackers.