A Single Dirty Shoe
"We sit in the mud... and reach for the stars." - Ivan Turgenev
The World of Caspian
Caspian is the fourth planet from the sun of the Gilish solar system. The planet is small and covered primarily with water. Land masses are relatively small and mostly swamp, jungle or both. The only native sentient life is a species called the lor and the kami, which are local nature fragments that dwell on the only truly solid landmass on the planet. There is one settlement large enough to warrant the title "city", called Denbrawg, and a smattering of smaller villages that dot the globe. The Ring space station orbits the planet and is the coming and going point between Caspian and the Solar Conduit Gateway, "Winds that Cradle the Dawning Mind". There is one other colonized planet in the Gilish system, the cold rocky world of Holsh which is on an orbital ring very close to that of Caspian. Once every 17 years the two worlds come so close to each other that the gravitational pull can be felt upon one another, causing gravity to be considerably weakened for about a week as well as an entire collection of natural disasters.
- Useful Tips:
- Do not, under any circumstances drink the water.
- Pay your debts in a timely manner or you will spend the remainder of your days working either the mines, brothels or both.
- The flora and fauna of Caspian will kill you at the first opportunity given. If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it twice.
The City of Denbrawg The only city on Caspian, located on the swamp dominated continent of Forok. Although calling any landmass on Caspian a continent tends to be an exaggeration of sorts as none of them are particularly very large, nor is there much in the way of solid land to be found. Denbrawg is a collection of large structures and neighborhoods that have been built atop a series of "mostly stable" stilts and scaffolding with the towering Covenant genesis ship, bearing the name given to the planet, half sunken into the swamp at its center. The city does not have a space port, requiring ships to dock at the Ring station in orbit and take shuttles to and from the surface.
The Ring The Ring is the name given to the small space station that orbits Caspian. Too small to be used as a commerce center, the station is primarily used as a fueling station and space port for ships. Shuttles to the surface are provided free of charge (though they make up for this with the price to return to the Ring).
Mr. Fideius' Nickel Mines And this is the reason Caspian was originally colonized. These mines are expansive and terribly dangerous due to how soft the earth and stone is in the region. The workforce for the mines is comprised largely of lor slaves and debtors who could not pay off their loans to the Dukes in a timely fashion.
The Lor The native race of Caspian, these primitive amphibian creatures resemble legless, serpentine newts with large bulbous pale eyes. They seem indigenous only to the swamps of Forok and were largely eradicated by early settlers when they had resisted colonization. Those that were not slain were enslaved and most of their kind were sold and shipped off world, though it is rumored that one of the Covenant Dukes that lives on Caspian has acquired a taste for their flesh and breeds them for that purpose. The lor are still a somewhat common sight within Denbrawg, generally serving as slaves for menial labor.
Sotori Forest The largest continent on Caspian is covered entirely in dense forest. Sotori is extremely dangerous and generally avoided as it home to many nature fragments called kami that possess the power to dominate the wildlife and animate the land and forest to attack invaders.
Ainu Ruins The largest Nir ruin in the solar system, with a diameter of nearly 40 miles on the surface. The distance the ruin delves into the depths of the world has yet to be determined. Ainu is renown for it's stronger than normal psionic resonance (rank 4) and as a result, it's larger population of psychic ghosts and temporal shift phenomenon. These factors hint at a particularly powerful artifact deep within the ruins and has lured artifact and treasure hunters for decades. No explorer having gone beyond the third detected level of temporal shift (which was determined to be a temporal difference of 1 to 256) has ever returned. It is rumored that they are still down there, unaware that so many years have passed them by on the surface or caught up in a psychic ghost's never ending nightmare.
Koshai Village The village of Koshai squats in the middle of a region of Caspian that can't seem to decide if its a swamp or jungle, combining all of the negative traits of the two. Koshai rose up around Duke Noshti's yacht when he claimed this region where the ruins of an old binary slingshot space port the Coalition had built before the Covenant claimed Caspian. Koshai is a strategic key point for researchers and treasure hunters seeking to explore the Ainu ruins and thus gets a decent amount of traffic to and from Denbrawg. Koshai is home to numerous shops and tradesmen, brothels, bars, taverns, casinos, artifact trade, slavers, non-certified cybertech and medical surgeons as well as Duke Noshti's yacht, which offers all of the above at a higher quality than you can find elsewhere in the village.
Cataloged Hazards of Caspian There is an assortment of dangerous creatures that make Caspian their home, including hundreds of poisonous and toxic reptiles, insects and an assortment of disease carrying critters, not to mention the temporal dangers and wraiths surrounding Nirish ruins. Following is a small sample of the planets more unique threats:
- Lor - Those of the lor species that have avoided capture and reprogramming, allowing them to function in civilization, remain a threat to those who stray too far from protected areas. They are a tribal and superstitious lot, who will not hesitate to turn other sentient races that they capture into a meal for the tribe. While a lone lor may not pose much of a threat, they generally prefer to attack in small groups, ambushing their prey.
- Kami - Powerful fragments of nature, these entities dwell primarily within the Sotori Forest, though they are occasionally reported elsewhere. The kami possess avatars that are a horrific amalgamation of plant and animal and are able to control local flora and fauna. They are extremely aggressive and territorial. Some tribes of lor worship them as gods.
- Torgurol - Massive amphibians that look like a cross between a toad and an iguana, that also happen to be the size of a Volkswagen bus. They do not differentiate little flailing humanoids from anything else their lightning quick tongs can pull into their mouths. The torgurol pose a significant threat as their hide is highly resilient against energy weapons and their are immune to a variety of psychic attacks. Their mucus membrane and saliva causes .
- Wisps - Like the classic tales of the will-o-wisps, these entities appear to be hovering balls of light. They are incorporeal psychic creatures that hypnotize their victims and feed off of their mental energies. Given their diet, it's no shock that they are particularly fond of feeding off of psionicists. The lor claim that they are the angry ghosts of their ancestors.
- Hungry Algae - Slow migrating carnivorous plant matter that is nearly invisible in the swampy waters of Caspian. Contact with patches of the algae causes paralyzation and are able to then strip the flesh and organs off of a person or animal within minutes of it coming into contact with it.
- Orumcek - The lor call them the "ghosts of the forest". They resemble fur covered wolf spiders the size of a dog. While it is a blessing that they are not toxic, this does not much make up for the fact that they are not only intelligent, but also natural wielders of psychic powers. The stealthy orumcek had been the source of mysterious acts of kindness in the early days of the Denbrawg settlement; such as lost things winding up found on doorsteps, broken things mysteriously mended overnight night, or a home remaining swept clean and kept vermin free. The orumcek were intrigued by the newcomers. They settlers were unnerved by these occurrences and once they discovered the arachnids hiding within their homes, they sought to exterminate them. The settlers tracked the orumcek to a local colony and torched the creatures and their home. The random kindnesses suddenly reversed. Unseen invaders would break things in the night, street lights never last long, food, animals and children vanish if left unattended.
Denbrawg's relationship with the near invisible orumcek was a lesson that the founders of Koshai Village took to heart and chose not to repeat. The Duke of Koshai had proclaimed that no aggressive action is permitted against the local orumcek. While often unnerved by the evidence of their presence, the people of Koshai do not hinder their arachnid cohabitants and are both apprehensive and grateful for their odd acts of kindness (and for not stealing their dogs and children).