Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Purpose: Entertainment
- Temperature: 22 degrees Celsius
- Gravity: 1.02 standard
The Wheel gains its name from the unusually thick ring orbiting the planet, thought to have been created by the destruction of a moon or other satellite several million cycles ago. The mineral content of the rings is negligible but a few small mining operations exist. From the surface of the Wheel the rings look like giant bands of color in the sky, which glow brilliantly at night. From orbit, The Wheel looks like a completely aquatic world, but in truth only forty percent of its surface is covered by oceans. A short blue-green grass, called chuuba root, creates the mirage of water coverage. The grass quickly overpowers any ecosystem into which it is introduced, spreading like a weed across nearby flora. Unfortunately, the chuuba root has almost no useful properties. Plains dominate the Wheel, and no part of the world is more than fifty meters above sea level. This means much of the world floods on a seasonal basis; the highest ground being fit for any kind of permanent settlement.
The Wheel was once an thriving agricultural planet before the introduction of the chuuba root from off world eighty cycles ago. It originally served as a decorative plant but within fifty cycles it had decimated all other plant life on the planet, making the Wheel completely useless for agriculture. Most of the inhabitants left after the chuuba root destroyed their livelihood; those who stayed were eventually bought out by a group of renegade Nebari who settled on the planet began trying to turn it into a commerce world.
Unfortunately they had little to attract customers. The world had almost no natural resources, and importing supplies took funds which they simply didn’t have. The Nebari struggled to eke out an existence for several cycles before a group of smugglers approached them with an offer. They wanted to use the planet as a shipping hub for illegal goods, which the Nebari readily agreed to. They used the presence of the smuggling hub, and the traffic it created, to turn The Wheel into a center of all kinds of less than reputable trade. It went from a ruined agricultural world to a thriving commerce planet in less than thirty cycles.
As time passed the smuggling operations slid further and further into the background. Since the planet attracts a variety of clientele, several forms of entertainment have sprung up, from gambling houses to theaters to arcades. The Wheel is slowly changing from a haven for pirates and thugs to a more legitimate entertainment world where anyone is welcome. The smugglers couldn’t be happier about this turn of events; the honest visitors distract attention from their operation. They hide their offices behind countless facades, always changing location so that no one knows their true headquarters.
Most of the Wheel’s population lives in the few highland areas that never flood. Because of the limited amount of land, these cities tower high above the landscape, expanding upward rather than outward. Some of the poorer residents have taken to living in the flood districts in houses built on stilts, but the storm season takes a heavy toll on such shanties.