The Epsilon system has a G8 primary, Chess, and three worlds, Steinitz, a huge gas giant orbiting at 0.9 AU, Capablanca, a medium sized gas giant at 12 AU and Alekhine, a large rocky world at 58 AU.
UPP C 644643 A
Trade: Agricultural, Garden, Poor
The major inhabited world is Epsilon Steinitz, or Epsilon for short, the fifth moon of the hot gas giant Steinitz.
It is cold, with ice caps reaching down into the tropics, and round the equator is a large ocean dotted with islands. There are two continents, mostly ice bound, with frozen tundra and bleak mountain ranges as the only non-icebound terrain. The biosphere is primitive, with very simple sponges and graptolite creatures and algae in the oceans and tough lichen-like vegetation on the tundra-like permafrost plains, which have thin waterlogged topsoil interspersed with gravel beds and bare rock left by previous even harsher glaciations. The air is thin and tainted with sulphur dioxide from frequent volcanic eruptions and has precious little oxygen from the sluggish plant-life.
Epsilon has a population of 7 000 000 and four rival colonies, Neuland, New Canaan, Adelbert PLC and the Cyber-Raj (relative sizes 8, 7, 2 and 3)
There are three major states, Neuland, New Canaan and the Cyber-Raj, plus the semi independent Adelbert Corporation.
Leftist Euro-anarchists with a participatory democracy (Govt Type 4, Law level 3, TL 10) and a bit of a fetish about computers and software (TL 12 electronics available), often called 'the Bakhuninite Extents'. One of the few places in Known Space you can get cyberware, but it is expensive. Everyone is an eternal student plugging into online university, only local currency is used (Roks), handcrafted goods sold offworld at premium prices. Main exports subversive MMORPGs, expertly pirated media and software, freelance 'creatives', punk rock bands, designer drugs and financial brigands who use corporate buyouts to break up other states economies to keep their own ramshackle system going.
Everyone has a wristputer at the very least and is a memeber of several co-operatives and communes. They vote on everything and anything, and proudly say they are the freest people in Known Space. Critics say that is because they have no government and no laws, but that is an exaggeration. Neulanders are bound by all sorts of conventions from their residence arcology, work-group and the fact that pissing someone off can sometimes get you shot dead.
The locals only deal in their own currency, Roks, and no one may own more than 100 000, and are forced to spend the excess, which the locals claim keeps the economy buoyant. Everyone gets 50 Roks per month per year of residence from the Neuland Financial Cooperative, up to a maximum of 800 Roks, and citizenship is pretty easy to get. The NFC gets it money from exchanging credits to Roks and gets a cut from all exports and offworld earnings of citizens. It also runs banking operations on a number of other worlds.
Everyone also gets free access to the University of the People, a mostly virtual university giving high quality education in every imaginable subject, though understandably more staid jurisdictions don't take their economics and politics qualifications very seriously.
Physically Neuland is a low rise sprawl of pressurised 'arcologies' like blocks of flats with covered courtyards within and between them, with extensive tunnels recycled from mining operations connecting them. Private transport isn't common, but endless grav busses, taxis, ground cars and even rickshaws ferry people about the muddy half finished streets. On the outskirts of the main settlement this turns into factory buildings and metal works, abandoned and recycled as the fortunes of various communes rise and fall, interspersed with hydroponic sheds. A few outlying towns of a couple of arcologies each exist, and a wide hinterland of ramshackle farms, workshops and marginal enterprises extends for two hundred kilometers into the lichenous tundra.
Locally Neuland is usually called the 'Bakhuninite Extents', though if Bakhunin himself were alive to see what these nutjobs have made of his philosophy he'd probably wish he'd never bothered.
Neulander characters get +1 Education, but they also add (or subtract) their Education bonus from their Social Standing, and take an extra -2 for being part of a dodgy state that looks weird and subversive to outsiders. In any case their dedicated egalitarianism means no one can be below Social Standing 3 or above 10.
All have Computer 0 as part of their basic education, must choose either Streetwise 0 or Carousing 0 as their second education skill and have Gun and Melee Combat 0 as part of their educational options.
None can join the Nobles, Navy or Marines, and their Army, such as it is, has no officers.
All Neulanders start with a state issued wristputer weighing 300g and acting as a computer 1 worth 15 Roks, a filter/oxygen mask good for four hours outdoor use on Epsilon and a set of cold weather clothing.
Dominated by fundamentalist religious nuts of US origin, and theoretically an extra planetary territory of the US. Govt Type 13, Law level 8, except for guns, TL 8, but with plenty of higher tech imports. Everyone is required to be armed and all males required to put time into the national guard. Plenty of small farming communities defecting to the Neulanders as they like the libertarianism and lack of interference. Government heavily influenced by the corporation running the only viable industry, dredging biological gunge off the sea floor and turning it into oil. Exports are petrochemicals, a little bit of farm produce and missionaries. Claims to be a representative democracy, but since only accredited pastors of the First Church of Jesus Christ, Astronaut, may stand for office and only church members may vote they are fooling no one, especially not the Federal government back on Earth who are refusing them any hint at statehood until they sort themselves out a more reasonable constitution.
The citizens are mostly upright, sober, hard working, judgemental and mind bogglingly hidebound and dull. They have a small domed town, New Canaan itself, surrounded by small domed suburbs and a large hinterland of small villages where the colonists attempt to farm. There is also a larger, more bustling town called Reagansburg, run by the Epsilon Oil Company.
The citizens of the town of New Canaan are the dullest nosebleeds possible, weighed down with innumerable rules and ordinances inspired by their fundamentalist pastors. They are regularly rocked by scandal when it is revealed that a leading citizen ignores the rules in private and they loudly proclaim themselves 'individualists'. Reagansburg is a bit more liberal. New Canaanites are theoretically banned from visiting Neuland, the kind of freethinking, free loving, druggy, commie paradise their pastors regard as a fair simulation of Hell, but Reagansburgers, including the small detachment of US Colonial Marines based there, frequently take a little trip down the coast to let loose after months afloat digging gunge off the sea floor.
The farmers are a stroppy lot, frequently at odds with the townies over taxes and the like, and are often attracted to joining the Neulanders, admiring their libertarianism, if not their liberalism. New Canaanite officials have been shot at, and settlements have switched allegiance frequently.
The outlands are also dotted with Neulander squats, in fact as far as New Canaan is concerned most of Neuland is one big squat. They claimed the whole unfrozen territory on the northern continent not actually built on by the Neulanders when they arrived, an ordinance they had no way of enforcing and which the Neulanders regarded as so much bullshit anyway. A whole bunch set up a fort-cum-mining camp a hundred kilometers from New Canaan's dome just to prove the point, though the ore veins were poor and they moved out again a few years later. The site is now the grandly named Fort Genesis, the base of the New Canaan National Guard and bible school, and the Neulanders have, for a laugh, tried to use US law to have the lot evicted as squatters themselves.
The New Canaanites have also tried to impose a protestant whites only immigration law, also with no great success. Shiploads of American Poles and Hispanics keep turning up anyway, discover they aren't welcome, declare themselves Neuland citizens and set up settlements illegally. Gangs of radical New Canaanites regularly try and evict them, resulting in some nasty firefights. The Espilonian Situationist and Solidarity Association, a gang of hackers from Neuland, regularly run the militia ragged by hacking into their geosat system and feeding false data and fake communications, kidnap them and leave them roaming the wastes out of their minds on synthetic peyote wearing pope outfits.
New Canaan's basic TL is 8, though weaponry is often of a TL 10 standard, ironically often bought from suppliers in Neuland. They stay clear of the computer enhanced stuff, Neuland hackers build backdoors into the software and the bloody things go off randomly or just plain pack up whenever they are facing Neuland bandits or their friends in a firefight. Law level is 7, 9 within New Canaan itself, though the only restrictions on personal firearms is that you MUST have one and alcohol, tea, coffee and anything else that might lighten the Bible-black mood are banned.
New Canaan citizens have -1 Education and +1 Endurance, and all get Gun Combat 0 as part of their basic education. Their second skill is Survival 0 or Trade (Farmer) 0, and Social Science (Theology) 0 is a further option. New Canaanites get +1 Social Standing per level of Theology known, though this is really only applicable on their own territory. They cannot join the Navy and the only kind of Scholar they have is Physician.
They start with a light autopistol or shotgun, a copy of the Bible and a filter/oxygen mask good for four hours outdoor use on Epsilon.
A corporate state within Neuland, or the largest and best organised commune depending on your point of view. Citizen/employees have traded in a lot of democracy for stability and protection. Govt Type 3, Law Level 5 (within their own installations and when protecting their own people), TL 10. Often called 'the Napoleonic Tendency' by Neulanders, and has a constantly rotating citizenship as people fall out with the petty bureaucracy and snotty Francophone bosses and leave, or get equally pissed off by the uncertainty of self-employment, temporary workers coops and outright violence of some bits of Neuland. With tensions rising with the New Canaanites many feel being part of something with a proper army would be a good idea, not trusting the bolshie survivalist eco-terrorists who 'defend' Neuland by picking fights with the Christian Militia and blowing up oil installations. Adelbert's execs are trying to get recognition as an EU member state.
Effective law level for the Napoleonic Tendency is 5, though this only really counts inside their installations and if you commit a crime against one of their people and have their security branch on your case.
Adelbertians have the same skills and stats as ordinary Neulanders.
Oldest colony occupying an equatorial island where the eccentric CEO of an Indian cybernetics firm has created a Hindu Bollywood version of North Korea with robot peasants and computerised Brahmins. Govt Type 10, Law Level 11, TL who knows? Have extensively mucked about with the environment, and have a forest they claim is stiff with cloned Bengal tigers who will eat intruders. Export only foodstuffs, including tea and spices, their robot technology while obviously advanced is a secret. Very few people go in or out, and the Maharajah has made it clear that vessels approaching his airspace will be shot down out of hand, and downs spy satellites with guided missiles. What are they building in there? It is a Charismatic Dictatorship, and the Maharajah, Kalayavan, is supposedly the same one as founded the colony 150 years ago. Outsiders seriously doubt this.
The most well known Cyber-Raj citizen is their ambassador to Neuland, the gloriously eccentric Rajah 'Dave' Davidaram Bhose-Wainwright, who rides around on an electric elephant guarded by large gents dressed in tiger heads he calls 'Rakshasas' and accompanied in his bulletproof howdah by several improbably proportioned dancing girls. He has a highly secure palace near the starport where he hosts lavish drunken 'nautches' and is patron of the local Noisecore rock festival.
No PC can come from the Cyber-Raj, finding out what really goes on there may happen during play.
Other inhabited worlds
Steinitz has reasonably sized clusters of Torjan asteroids, the preceding cluster being claimed by New Canaan and the trailing cluster by Adlebert PLC. Neither has any actual presence there beyond an automated beacon proclaiming ownership. There are small deposits of nickel and iron, but nothing worth mining.
Delta (X 510 100 2) is the next moon in towards Steinitz from Epsilon and is a ball of ice and rock with a enough wisps of an atmosphere to whip up a permanent blizzard over most of the surface. There are 11 people here, nine in a scientific team from the Epsilon People's University trying to drill through the ice to see what lies in the great trapped ocean beneath the ice cap and two colonial marines trying to tell them to bugger off as it is allegedly US territory and owned by the Epsilon Oil Company.