Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Risa
- Class: M
- Moons or Rings: 3 moons
- Gravity: 1.0 G
- Climate: Standard atmosphere, 65% hydrosphere, warm temperatures
- Demographics: Hundreds of millions of Federation colonists (permanent population)
- Civilization: Open and Peaceful, commercial oligarchy
- Resources: Tourism
Risa is one of the Federation’s most popular tourist destinations, famous for its perfect year-round climate and its culture of boundless hedonism. Extreme weather and seismic activity made this Class M world barely habitable in its primeval form, but state of the art climate and geological stabilization technology (introduced at great expense by the Orion Syndicate) have made Risa a lucrative paradise.
Risa is the third planet in the Granicus binary system, which is located in Alpha Quadrant near Cardassian space. A typical runabout trip from Deep Space 9 to Risa takes at least six hours.
Thanks to its weather control, Risa’s weather, year-round and all the way from the sub-arctic to the equator, boasts warm temperatures, tropical humidity tempered by mild breezes, and modest precipitation. Tiny polar ice caps keep some of the planet’s water in reserve and retain just a hint of natural coldness.
Eons of intense tectonic activity split Risa’s landmass into 10 continents of modest and roughly equal size. Most of the landmass is located in the planet’s tropical belt.
Risa likes to think of itself as “The Federation’s Playground,” while most simply refer to it as “the pleasure planet.” Whatever one calls it, it has well earned its reputation. Over a thousand tourist resorts, ranging from small clusters of beachfront shacks to hotel megacomplexes square miles large, provide the planets’ visitors (who number in the hundreds of millions annually) with just about any diversion they can imagine. Most popular among them, however are what Risans like the call the “Four S’s:” Sun, Surf, Sand… and Sex.
Although Risa does a booming convention and meeting business, truth be told, most visitors arrive here with rampant hedonism in mind. Not only do Risans not mind this, they welcome and actively promote it. According to custom, anyone displaying a carved totem called a Horga’hn is on the lookout for what the locals call jamaharon – strictly speaking, this is an aboriginal Risan word for their mating ritual, but as contemporary slang, it covers just about any sort of sexual tryst. Similarly, the Horga’hn, which is roughly humanoid in shape, once served the aboriginal Risans as a fertility symbol.
Risa had a small indigenous population of intelligent humanoids before it became a Federation tourist mecca (see below), but over time they assimilated so thoroughly into the new dominant culture that they lost their distinct identity. Their descendants now merge seamlessly into Risa’s legions of hotel maids and cabana boys.
Technically, the Federation classifies Risa as a colony, but it maintains no governor or colonial administration. The planet has no formal political structures at all; instead, a loose coalition of Risa’s business leaders, rather like a Chamber of Commerce, administers its affairs and maintains its climate control system.
When the first Federation explorers came to Risa in 2260, the planet wasn’t the lush tropical haven that it later became. Its climate was warm, but subject to frequent and catastrophic storms. The tidal pulls generated by its three moons, as well as the gravitational strains induced as it orbited away from one and towards the other, also created severe geological instability. Those early surveys found an intelligent humanoid species inhabiting the planet, but in small, isolated groups possessing a primitive level of technology. All of them had oral histories describing how their ancestors had built large settlements only to have the gods wipe them off the face of the planet.
Risa remained a place of little interest until the turn of the next century, when Arlo Leyven saw the planet not as it was, but as it could be. Just how Leyven came to Risa in the first place (as well as his entire personal history to that point) remained something of a mystery for the rest of his life. Rumors circulated that he was deeply involved with the Orion Syndicate and that he crash-landed on Risa while fleeing from the law, and the investigation into his death later established them as fact. But while he was alive, people were just as likely to believe that Leyven was a Yridian front man, a Klingon or Romulan agent, or that he was just a businessman who kept his life very private.
In any event, Arlo Leyven envisioned Risa as the Federation’s ultimate tourist destination, a planetary pleasure dome renowned throughout Alpha and Beta Quadrants. He solicited huge loans from his associates in the Orion Syndicate and invested in state of the art climate and geological stabilization technology, using it to fix the planet’s weather systems and seismic activity within habitable norms. Within a decade, this massive effort had turned Risa into a livable – even very attractive – world. In 2313, he opened the doors to Croesus’ Palace, which remained Risa’s landmark resort property for many decades to come.
Croesus’ Palace became an instant sensation throughout the Federation. Arno Leyven made an enviable fortune from tourism and land speculation, selling bits of Risa to developers who wanted to emulate his success. However, the money did not accumulate fast enough to pay off the even more formidable debts he had accumulated in shaping the planet to fit his vision. In any event, his partners in the Orion Syndicate began to suspect him of skimming their share of the revenues for himself. In 2317, they had him assassinated in his penthouse suite.
In the decades since Arno Leyven’s death, private corporations with respectable public images have dominated Risa’s tourism trade. Few now speak of Risa as a world run by the Orions, but rumors persist that they maintain influence through secret business partnerships and control of workers’ unions.
Risa’s status as a place where you go to get away from it all has not isolated it from the eddies and tides of history. In 2366, time-traveling Vorgons suddenly emerged on Risa in search of the legendary weapon Tox Uthat, although their presence was little noted at the time. In 2368, a rogue Kitarian agent on Risa launched a plot to seize control of Starfleet. In 2373 the New Essentialist movement sabotaged the planet’s climate control system, unleashing several days of meteorological and seismic chaos.
During the Empire War Risa was occupied by the 91st Reconnaissance Corps for a short period of time. When the 91st abandoned the system (it held no tacticl advantage) Admiral Thrawn ordered the Risa to be scorched. His intention to send a message of fear throughout all of the UFP. Clone Commander Neyo refused to carry out the order and actually used the 91st as a defensive force for the planet until Thrawn’s main fleet withdrew. For this action, Neyo is considered a hero on Risa and a 30’ statue of him was built to honor his heroism.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The Croesus’ Palace Resort still stands as a monument to Arlo Leyven’s unparalleled daring. The central hotel tower rises 100 stories into the air, surrounded by all the trappings that one would expect from a top-rank establishment: elegant convention space and ballrooms, gourmet restaurants, holodeck suites, well-kept pools. It remains the epitome of luxury on a planet devoted to pleasure. A colossal statue of Arlo Leyven bestrides the main entrance (an idealized portrait that takes the edge off of the man’s ferret-like appearance), an enduring monument to the man who built Risa from the ground up.
After Croesus’ Palace, Temtibi Lagoon is probably Risa’s most famous resort site. This five-mile wide body of water offers vistas of striking beauty and several five-star hotels that help visitors take advantage of the local opportunities for sightseeing, water sports and other recreational opportunities. While vacationing here in 2373, Deep Space 9 Security Chief Lieutenant Worf became caught up in the New Essentialist plot to cripple Risa’s weather control system.