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Tempest


Ecalsneerg

Overview

A small planet located in the vicinity of the Syl'n system, Tempest's name is drawn from the constant weather conditions wracking the planet. The very atmosphere of the planet is a permanent lightning storm. Great clouds blanket the sky, making it very rare to be able to see celestial bodies, even stars, from the planet's surface. Communications technology is disrupted by the level of electromagnetic radiation in the air, and most electronic devices function only sporadically even if EMP-shielded. Cheap electronics have been known to break merely by being in planetary orbit. 
 
But most threatening of all, the surface is wracked by lightning. The very sky sears the planet's surface, leaving much of it a blasted desert. The planet's four continents have very little diversity of ecology, being a mess of canyons, crags and dryland. The only real respite is at the poles, where the storms are thinnest. Despite this, the planet has indigenous life, most of it incredibly specialised in its adaptation to the conditions. 
 
A Lor sub-race inhabit this planet, the Tempestians. These unusual people are living lightning rods, drawing in lightning strikes, and able to expel the built-up electricity at will. The inability to build up much of a technological base without dwelling underground has led to them mainly being an agrarian society, and largely peaceful due to their isolation from galactic affairs. Very few of their people go off-world, and despite being members of the Lor Republic, the Republic leaves them alone by and large. Their delegation only very rarely goes off-world to the Senate and runs a nominal planetary government while leaving regions to largely self-rule. So far, this arrangement has worked out fine, although extremists exist on both sides, those that want to leave the Republic formally, and those angered by a perceived neglect of their world and its affairs.
 

Planetary Characteristics

Tempest is a relatively small planet, about three quarters of the size of Earth. Its years are 553 Earth days long, and a day lasts for 17 hours. The atmosphere keeps the temperature in, meaning the planet averages temperatures of around 300-350K. There are four continents; two of them equatorial, one supercontinent covering the northern pole and much of the northern hemisphere, and a small continental shelf in the south supporting an island chain. 

 

Rules traits:

  • Much of Tempest is very warm, and often weather is hot enough for it to be uncomfortably warm, provoking a Constitution check every hour against environmental heat (p167 of Core Rulebook). In especially arid areas in summer, this interval can increase to every ten minutes.
  • Tempest's atmosphere and gravity are within survivable norms for a Lor or Human, although the gravity is negligibly lower than Earth's at 0.88g.
  • At the GM's discretion, storms plague the planet surface. These will have a variety of Area effects at a variety of ranks, from Nullifying Electronics, to straight-up Blasts, Dazzle effects from blinding lightning, and large scale Obscure effects from dust storms.
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Fauna & Flora

Tempestian wildlife generally falls into one of two categories: somehow able to avoid or live in symbiosis with the electrical storms, or subterranean. However, even with these species existing on the planet, there is not a lot of biodiversity, and many arid desert areas devoid of any life. The heat of the planet means that reptiles are somewhat more dominant and aggressive than on many worlds, and mammalian or sea life is much rarer.

 

Dust Diver: A curious omnivorous species, Dust Divers are opportunistic. Lacking any resistance to the storms, they get their name by their habit of rapidly burrowing underground whenever a lightning strike is imminent. Tempestian scientists still do not know how they know in advance. Dust divers look very much like flying squirrels, if a flying squirrel had three eyes and four arms. Their tails are large and flat, acting both as a steering mechanism when gliding, or as a shovel when burrowing. 

 

Gahar'kaha tree: An important part of the Tempestian ecosystem, these trees are spindly looking, with long, thin networks of branches pointing upwards, and a similar root structure. They conduct electricity through them and into the soil, and thus Tempest's nitrogen cycle is very dependent upon them. The tree also produces an orange fruit on its trunk with a bitter taste and thick, chewy texture. 

 

Slitherslide: A subterranean creature, the slitherslide resembles a blind snake with two disproportionately muscled arms, each with spade-like hands. They sense their surroundings through a combination of vibrations and sonar, and subsist off a diet of insects and tree roots. They rarely come to the surface, but are considered a Tempestian delicacy when cooked and left to cool. 

 

Wrackbeast: One of the most terrible and dangerous creatures on the surface of Tempest, a wrackbeast is a ten foot long reptile, armoured with jagged orange scales and with an unusual mouth; it possesses external jaws with curved, sword-like teeth for pinning its foes, and an internal jaw of much smaller spiked fangs for ripping and tearing. It's surprisingly fast for its size, some specimens having been clocked at 30MPH at a sprint. The creature gets its name from its defence mechanism against the storms. Wrackbeasts project an ionised radiation cloud which opposes the charge of incoming lightning bolts, deflecting them outwards in a destructive mini-storm. The highly radioactive cloud is also very toxic to those who breathe it in, causing a cancer-like illness. 

 

Zwin'kaha: The name literally translating to "milk food", the zwin'kaha is a herbivorous mammalian creature around the size of a cow. Grazing on what plant life does exist on the planet, the creatures possess a long prehensile neck allowing them to reach plant life at different heights. Their most unusual feature is they ingest their food cooked. They possess an electrically powered inner furnace which allows them to heat food in their mouth as they chew it, or in the females, to heat the milk they produce in one of their three udders.

 

Tempestian Society

Tempestians are largely a peaceful, decentralised people. Almost every town, village or the handful of larger cities has its own government, ranging from theocracies to democratic republics to councils of elders. Theoretically every Tempestian has the right to vote but most don't care. When a planet-wide government is needed, the Senate delegation acts as one, but its purview is very limited and it largely restricts itself to education and foreign affairs. 

 

The inability to develop or use mass-scale technology has led most Tempestian society to be agrarian, based around farmers, hunters and merchants. Buildings shielded enough to use more advanced technology are restricted to a handful of government or academic buildings largely concentrated on the northern continent. It is here that those few Tempestians who are scientists and engineers work, often on methods to overcome the barriers to mass technological development. 

 

Some of Tempestian society's portrayal as backwater and primitive comes from the fact they do not speak Lor or Galstandard well. Their language uses very few articles and is separated in staccato segment fragments. Additionally, many nouns and adjectives are hybrid words, the first being the 'root' word, and the second being a qualifier clarifying the context. So zwin'kaha means "milk food", whereas "gahar'kaha" means "fruit food". The act of milking a zwin'kaha is zwin'sqzzuk, roughly translating as "milk, to take milk from". Tempestians speaking Lor or Galstandard often instinctively apply this to adjectives and nouns in those languages and have problems with the sentence structure of those languages.

 

Notable Places

Diplomat's Point: Not actually on Tempest, but orbiting around the planet, Diplomat's Point is a waystation between Tempest and the Lor Republic. It's very difficult, and requires very specific weather conditions, to land on Tempest with any form of planetary craft, so travellers wait here for those few small windows of opportunity to move on and off the planet. In any case, very few do so, except Senators, specialized merchants or visiting scientists, and those few Tempestians who feel compelled to go off-world and join the Lor military. 

 

The Polar Research Tower: A noble effort to improve Tempestian society by dispersing large swathes of the electrical cloud, the Polar Research Tower was largely a research station, staffed by climatologists, chemists and engineers. Even by the Lo Republic standards, it was a place of extreme academic prestige, a rarity in Tempest's society. However, when performing a test of the cloud dispersion equipment, an accident largely destroyed the tower and killed many of its staff.

Edited by Ecalsneerg


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