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Prodigal Empires: Archane III ‘The Lost World’

Commonly described as a ‘jungle world’ Archane III has been settled by a number of generation ship colonies. Archane is a planet with only around 20%  free standing water due to the local ground conditions but has a rich stream of underground rivers, lakes and seas. The native plant life has evolved to grow big and tap into the this water table and is highly developed to cope with the saline water. The planet is also generally HOT – less from the proximity to the sun but due to a close cloud cover that tends to let the suns heat in and trap it as well as exothermic reactions from the planet life processing the mineral rich water table of the planet.

The end result is 70% of the’ jungle’ planet is rainforest  as there are tundra temperate regions at the poles and thinning of the  forest in the various low lying mountain ranges on the planet – many of which are the rim of craters from when the planet was an airless rock.

Great waves of huge migratory herbivores are followed by various and frequently massive predators. Called Dinos these are actually more like mammals – their skins, meat and various other products are highly sought and as well as the colonies there are  independent dino hunting parties (commonly called ‘cowboys’ or ‘challengers’) on the planet.  There is also big game tourisim.

Humanity came to Archane III in three waves.

The original generation ships which established the colonies of Shermer, Nu Hanse and Ho Chi Minh City.

Shermer was established by white & African American conservatives from the old USA in reaction is the ‘hispanication’ of the USA (which resulted in the forming of the United Americas.) Best described as Norman Rockwell meets Happy Days it’s a democratic territory but a strong Christian culture. It is actually 5 colonies Shermer City, Shelbyville, Arthur Conan Doyle, New Terra and Springfield. Each colony is self-governing with it’s own town council, local education board and sheriff’s department etc; There is no formal military but the right to bear arms is more of a duty and the population are form a free militia if there is an attack.  There is direct elected a President and a part-time congress. The colony is easy going and has the second best space port on the planet. The United Americas are interested in bringing Shermer into the Union and there is a going faction in the colony worried by the Niptish interest in the planet thinking of such a union. The colony has some criminal elements some of which have retired to banditry on the fringes of the colony and are known as ‘Bluegums’ after the addictive berries they chew.

Nu Hanse is a Germanic established colony. It consists of 3 colonies – Lubeck, Gdansk and Kolberg. It’s led by a Chancellor, which has become a herediary position though the towns have mayors chosen by an oligarchy. It has a small Gendarmarie which is both army and police and dominated by the oligarchy. It’s liberal but a poor colony having settled in an area with volcanic activity, particularly dangerous predators and been unlucky with disease early in it’s history. The volcanic instability means it uses the Shermer spaceport at Shermer City. After the port takes its cut the colony makes very little on its exports. Recently the colony has tried to hunt aquatic dinos in the nearby sea/lake of ‘Nu Baltic’ but is struggling with the reasources.

Ho Chi Minh City was established by Vietnamese communist-nationalists shortly after the Maphilindo Conquest. While the language of the Communist Party is still used the Party members have reduced and become a hereditary ruling class. Based on a crater rim it consists of one large town (for better control.) It has the best developed agriculture on the planet producing a surplus (the other colonies rely on trade for food supplies and had a touch and go situation prior to re-contact.) Re-contact with broader humanity has meant a fall from grace for Ho Chi Minh City as it’s lost market for it’s food surplus and it’s weaker supplies of dino meat means it doesn’t prosper much from trade as the other colonies. The City has a small space port but some high handed dealings with ships crews (including death sentences for brawling) mean sit gets little trade. The General Secretary, First Secretary, President and Prime Minister Le Chinin the IX  has resolved to use his food surpluses to gown the population. The Peasants are being conscripted and drilled, weapons bought on credit and mercenaries hired for training. Quietly and deliberately the colony is preparing for war. War for reasources – the question is with who – Tianxia is unpopular  and the hope of a slave uprising to support the attack and that it could be painted as a humanitarian intervention means it’s the most likely target.

The  colony of the Archane II human state of Tianxia around 50 years old –Song is a strip mining and hunting colony established by the Han-Chinese dominated state on Klarksash (Arachne II) The mines use Klarkash-Ton slaves under a human overseer class.  It is in close proximity to Obertsmit  and the two states frequently skirmish. Like the Tianxia home colony the population is an armed human over-class and Klarksash slaves/helots, it also has the aggressive Han nationalism of its parent colony and historic grievances against the origins of all the other colonies. It’s spaceport only trades with the mother colony on Klarkash.

A colony belonging to the Niptish Zaibatsu Obaryu-Smith Plc about 20 years old has been established. Imaginatively called Obaryu-Smith IV  this is more of a trading station, it has the most developed space port on the planet but only trades with Niptish shipping lines (in accordance with the Niptish Navigation Acts.) The station trades with all the other colonies on the planet as well as independent dino-hunters for skins and meat. There is no official Niptish government present on the colony and it is protected by Zaibatsu’s Ashigaru  (security forces.) The Colony is run by a Zaibatsu employee who act as General Manager for 2 year tours.

Prior to humans the Klarkash-ton of Archane II settled Archane III but most of their colonies died out there is one survivor – Obertsmit which was reduced to low level technology but due to the wisdom of the King who managed first contact played human colonies off against each other managed to survive into the current day with human-level technologu. It is subject to both Klarkash-ton and human historians , archaeologists and anthropologists studies. The current Queen Ovema, uses this interest to engender support for continued Obertsmith independence from liberal human governments and pressure groups. As part of this plan a consultative democratically elected council has been formed called a Tera, (after an ancient Klarkash-ton consultative assembly.) This has produced greater interest in reform amongst her people and she is having to manage expectations while keeping a grip on power. The reason she is so desperate to do so is due to three competing pressure groups – the Yur (Unitarians) who wish for Obertsmith to politically join a  Klarkash-ton federation, the Ert (‘hawks’) who wish to throw humans off the planet and revert to the old ways and the Ios (‘Human-lovers’) who wish to form closer alliances with a human power, popular amongst human popular culture obsessed youth.  As these groups are mutually antagonistic the Queen has to date managed to play them against each other as she tries to maintain Obersmit independence.

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