What follows is player background information for the Death at Rosegard adventure. This is information that it is assumed the PCs would know from living in the Frontier and on the planet Pale where the adventure takes place. It covers a bit bit of history, planetary data, and socio-political information.
The adventure is written as if it takes place after the first sathar incursion into the Frontier but before the Second Sathar War begins. As such, instead of referring to the initial sathar invasion as the First Sathar War as is common in the rule books, the text refers to it as the Great Sathar War since there hasn’t been a second one yet. Expeptions occur when providing GM information designed to help modify the adventure for a different time period.
Pale is a new old planet. It was first colonized 176 years before the founding of the United Planetary Federation. It had a medium population before the Great Sathar War that led to the founding of the UPF. At that time Point True had a population of several hundred thousand inhabitants.
During the war every major population center other than Point True, as well as most minor population centers were destroyed by orbital bombardment. Even small villages and farmstead were destroyed by aerial bombing. There is basically just a big crater at the location of every city, town, village, or farm that existed before the invasion. In Point True, the old military base was nuked leaving several large craters and damage to remaining structures but the rest of the city was left relatively intact. There are still signs of the Sathar occupation that can be seen throughout the older portions of Point True.
The sathar were in the process of exporting the inhabitants off-world when the Frontier forces arrived and the sathar were defeated and driven off. Many thousands of the inhabitants of Point True were taken away in sathar ships and have never been heard from since.
After the war, the planet rebounded, partially due to the influx of people coming to help rebuild and partially due to aggressive development by Streel Corporation (known as Streele Mining Corp before the war). At the time of the adventure, about 40-50 years after the invasion, the population has grown to nearly its pre-war level. While the population is predominantly human, there is a significant representation of the other three major Frontier races. The racial breakdown is 46% human, 23% Yazirian, 18% Dralasite, and 13% Vrusk. However, since the war, the population is much more concentrated around Point True. Some portions of the planet are still completely uninhabited.
Planetary Rotation and Timekeeping
Pale orbits its primary, Truane’s Star, in the outer portions of the star’s habitable zone. This causes the average temperature on Pale to be fairly low resulting in cold and severe winters and cool summers. Pale is also a slightly smaller world with a surface gravity of only 0.9 g.
In addition to the cool weather, Pale rotates very slowly on its axis, completing one revolution every 55 standard hours. As such the local population has divided the day into four working time periods:
- Day-day: Corresponds to the 13 hours starting roughly 1 hour after sunrise on the planet’s vernal equinox at Point True. This is the typical working time when the sun is up.
- Day-night: This corresponds to the next 14 hour period and is typically a rest period although the sun is still shining. Because this rest period occurs during daylight hours, all houses on Pale have windows or curtains allowing rooms to be completely “blacked out” to simulate darkness and nighttime even though the sun is still up.
- Night-day: This is the 13 hour work period occurring during the local night. Since this is a time of major work and transportation, all the streets and buildings of Pale are well lit to provide a semblance of daylight during this work period. When seen from orbit, the cities and towns of Pale in the Night-day part of the cycle blaze with light.
- Night-night: This is the final 14 hour rest period that occurs during the local night time.
The extra hour is added in to either the Day-day or Night-day period depending on the season, the hour being added to the Day-day in the summer when the days are longer and the Night-day in the winter when the nights are longer.
Typical work periods are 10 hours long during the Day-day and Night-day periods although there are many graveyard and swing shift positions that run during other hours.
Sathar Presence on the Planet
As part of their invasion, the sathar seeded the biosphere around the planet, especially around Point True, with a number of their bio-constructs and attack monsters. Despite efforts to clean up after the war, some of these creatures are still loose on the planet. While quickdeaths and slithers are the most common, there are also a few other creatures that can be encountered when ranging away from the population centers. There are even still some cybodragons (and their descendants) running around although the cyber features are no longer functional due to lack of power. There are bounties for the elimination of these creatures paid for by the Pale government.
In addition to sathar bio-constructs, there are rumored to be some small pockets of sathar still living on the planet. These are remnants from the sathar army that was driven off and mostly destroyed when the planet was liberated. They survive by foraging and by hypnotizing and controlling members of the population to provide food and materials as needed. It is unknown how many of these sathar still survive and how active they are but the numbers range from a few dozen to several hundreds.
While rare, it is still possible to find some sathar technology from the war. It is rarely intact or functioning but any such finds are almost immediately collected by Star Law as soon as the discovery becomes known.
Politics and Corporations
Streel is by far the dominant force on the planet. After the war, Hilo Headrow took over Steele Mining and expanded its operations – first on Pale and then across the Frontier. While Streel doesn’t officially control the government, the government and its policies are fairly favorable towards the company and it is rumored that a majority of the government’s officials are “owned” by Streel in one way or another. Despite the potential negative aspects of this situation, Streel’s touch on the government is surprisingly light-handed given the tactics the company employs elsewhere around the Frontier. Much of the work of the government is environmentally sound and intelligent. Thoughtful practices are put into place that benefit all companies on the planet not just Streel. In fact, the planet is strong on fostering new ideas and companies.
While Streel is the dominant player, Pan Galactic Corporation still has a sizeable presence and even dominates in a few areas on the planet’s surface. In addition, a number of new emerging corporations have offices and operations on the planet. Names like StarPlay, WarTech, TransTravel, and Universal Households are becoming more common.
Miscellaneous GM Notes
The adventure takes place during the events of Laco’s War, the corporate war between Streel and PGC. While that conflict actually has no impact on the adventure, it should be kept in mind when PCs are interacting with outside agents. There is some tension between to two corporations.
Most of the other corporations listed in either the Knight Hawks Campaign Book or Zebulon’s Guide to the Frontier exist at this point although they are not yet considered mega-corps. Only Streel and PGC currently have that status. That said, they are growing and their presence is being felt on Pale.
By the time of the Second Sathar War, the population has rebounded to its pre-war level and is pushing into the heavy population category. If you set the adventure at another time period, adjust the size/number of towns and the population accordingly.
That’s it for the general background. I have a whole other section of background and detail information on the village of Rosegard itself but that will be another post. Feel free to share your thoughts on the planetary background in the comments below.