Aquila 121 D5407455 Desert, Low Technology, Poor
Torch is a desolate dustball of a world, with a thin tainted atmosphere and a population that just tops 10 million. The only reason anyone comes here is to work the mines, in one of the three (possibly four) equally dismal colonies.
Perestroika is a free trade zone, a large tract of desert theoretically full of silver and gold veins which the Russian government allows anybody with the will and the way to buy plots of and come and mine. Not that many find much, and the plots that do yield something are often taken over by one of the many gangs of Mafiosi that throng here. Many miners turn up under-equipped and underfunded and go broke. The dusty border towns are full of destitute wrecks with many varieties of lung disease living hand to mouth existences as casual labourers for the large mines. (10)
Galahad Mining operates a closed corporate state, importing people under contract with the promise of secure work and good wages. This is mostly bullshit, the work is hard and done with the cheapest, lamest equipment going and the cost of living is ridiculously high, since the company has prevented anyone from outside the colony trading any goods to their workers. Inquiries have been held back on Australia, the theoretical home of Galahad, but the company has just claimed independence, with a puppet elected government. The only well paid job here is as a security guard. (8)
Baragharan, a one time Chinese mining colony that had a revolution amongst its mainly Mongolian and Uighur workforce. The one city makes Ulan Bator look like Las Vegas and most people's only ambition is to leave. (3)
The last 'colony' is called 'Torch', and is rather mysterious. It is allegedly a secret arcology hidden in a cave someplace, where people are free, water is plentiful and the conditions of near slavery that many of the local population live under are rightly regarded as criminal. This wonderful place was allegedly founded by a refugee from one of the other colonies, though no one is quite sure who. The Perestroika colonists say it was Oleg Kordevsky, an academician who disappeared while studying the geology of the planet, the Galahad Mining co say it is the secret retreat of the Galahad bosses, the people of Baragharan say it was discovered by Enebish Borjigin, a refugee from the colony who tried to escape Chinese oppression and cross hundreds of miles of desert on a horse. Many other theories abound - it's an alien artefact, its a colony of Atlanteans, it's the last remnant of the once thriving native life of the world (geology shows that the ecosystem fizzled out for millions of years, though in fact it never amounted to much more than algae and worms according to the fossils). Despite the lack of evidence many people believe in it, and a religion is growing up around it, an alleged prophecy that one day everyone will live in a high tech paradise like Torch, if they are virtuous. Different sects of believers have different interpretations, but bit by bit a unique theology is growing up.
Inhabitants are almost universally poor and uneducated (-2 EDU and 1d6+1 SS) but tough (+2 END) and since there is no actual life on the world the education skill Animals is replaced by Trade (Mining). Anyone who gets 7 SS can re roll SS on 2d6. If they get 10+ they are from the more privileged classes and have only -1 EDU and +1 END.