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Evansion and Korranion

This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2008, and reprinted in the September 2015 issue.

Author’s Note: This system originated in the 30-year-old “Glavion Cluster” campaign notes of Steve Marsh. This is a generic version for insertion into any Traveller campaign.

Overview

Evansion D555211-7
Korranion B76A565-9
System Eaglestone Trade Class 2, Ri/NI

Evansion and Korranion are the two largest moons of a ringed gas giant in the habitable zone of an orange dwarf (K4V) sun; a small Navy Base (justifying the Class B port) is located on another, airless moon, and Belters work the outer system. Total population is just under a million.

The system consists of the sun and two planets:

Salamanda (X100000-0, Orbit 0) is a small, well-cratered rockball in a close orbit (.2AU) and tidal lock, lost in the sun’s glare.

Gauth (LGG, 150 T-mass, Orbit 1) is a “Half-Jupiter” gas giant in the liquid-water habitable zone (.4AU for a K4V sun) with a ring, three regular moons, and dozens of irregular captured-asteroid moons. A deep atmo-blue with white cloud bands and polar cloud-caps, Gauth’s normally-rapid rotation has been slowed by suntide to 18 hours, affecting its appearance. Unlike typical gas giants, Gauth’s cloud bands are very ragged and irregular, with a large blue clear “eye spot” on the equator directly beneath the sun where it becomes too hot for water clouds to form. Gauth has a narrow close-in ring, dim and bronze-colored; the closeness of the ring complicates fuel-skimming runs.

Without any gravity well outside of Gauth to jump-start the accretion process, the remainder of the system is an “asteroid disk” of variable density, sprinkled with dwarf planets and merging imperceptibly into the system’s Kuyper Belt.

The Moons of Gauth: Korranion, Evansion, and Dralion.

Gauth’s three moons include the two main worlds of the system.

Korranion: Inner Moon and System Mainworld

The innermost moon is Korranion (B76A565-9), a fish-farming waterworld of volcanic islands and atolls, a world-wide South Seas paradise with a 44-hour tidal-lock day and a population approaching a million. Run as an offworld colony by one of the cluster’s dominant systems (the high-tech industrial system of Arnex), the Law Level allows ownership of various weapons but not their public display (to quench fears at home about military designs). This implies some tension between the colony and its motherworld.

Korranion’s main industry is aquaculture, breeding fish in captive atolls using solar-powered electrical grids to heat up the deeper waters and bring up nutrients. Said fish have been genetically-engineered to digest the native plankton and seaweed without ill effect or retained toxicity. The fish market and fish byproducts export market is just getting established (Eaglestone Trade Index of 2, Rich/NonIndustrial); depending on its location re it's mother system, Korranion ships around 200 passengers and 2000 dtons a week. This traffic is expected to increase as the aquaculture takes off and the population rises; Korranion will probably receive an Ag trade classification within another generation.

A secondary industry is immigration in general, as despite its seismic/storm/tsunami hazards this Rich waterworld is a pleasant place to live; nobles and corporate types from the motherworld have claimed entire islands as personal estates.

Planetary Geography: Korranion

Korranion is a waterworld, with only small islands breaking the surface of its world ocean. These islands are volcanic, with the largest being only the size of Honshu or New Zealand or New Guinea, clustered in two tidal-heated hot spots directly under Gauth and at the antipodes. Due to its close orbit and tidal stresses, Korranion is very seismically and volcanically active; there are always volcanoes erupting somewhere on-world. Additionally, with no land to interrupt them, storms have infinite “fetch” to grow. Accordingly, superstorms and tsunamis are the main natural hazards, and settlements are placed well above sea level on the larger/higher islands wherever possible.

Surface conditions/Sky picture: Korranion

Surface gravity is around 80% of a standard gee, and the atmosphere is breathable with near-normal density and pressure. The day is 44 hours long from tidal-lock, with a year of 65 local days. Even with the heatsink effect of the oceans, the long day/night cycle causes major temperature variations, with cold nights/mornings and hot afternoons/evenings.

Though the sun appears half-again “normal” size with a distinct orange tint, the sky is dominated by Gauth, a ringed behemoth over twenty times the apparent diameter of the sun (which it eclipses every day for three hours, a red ring flanked by its own rings, capped by aurorae, and sprinkled with mega-bolt lightning storms). At night on Gauthside, a full Gauth shines bright enough to make the whole concept of “night” a joke, eliminating any need for outdoor lighting, Evansion and Dralion weaving past in their orbits and Korranion’s shadow sweeping across the ragged cloud bands every night.

On Farside, the nights are dark, broken only by auroral displays from dueling magnetospheres of moon and primary, the other two moons growing and shrinking as they spin past in their orbits.

Native Life: Korranion

Korranion has a Life Index of 4; decent sea life, but only simple land vegetation making the transition. Large tendril-kelp beds form floating islands, constantly torn apart by storms and regrowing back; similar anchor-kelp beds help damp storm waves in the shallows around the islands and atolls.

Since most settlements are on high ground due to superstorm and tsunami hazards, the lowlands are given over to the blue-grey native plants, simple tangles of organic tubes with fractally-branching stem-leaves; most highland vegetation is imported.

Port details: Korranion

Korranion Port is located on a plateau on the world’s largest island, high enough to clear even the largest mega-tsunamis yet close enough to the coast for easy shipping, in the center of a dead caldera like Haleakala with Gauth’s ringed sphere almost directly overhead. Though Class B, the port is relatively small, with no highport and a capacity of only a few thousand dtons at a time; with a current size limit of 2-3000 dton ships.

Normal traffic is a corporate Type TI Frontier Merchant every 2-3 local days shipping out frozen fish and byproducts, with small liners every few days. These main-route corpos only connect with the mother system; other trade is through free-traders or smaller subsidized merchants.

Surrounding the port proper is Port Korranion, the capital and largest “city” with a population of 150,000 including Colonial administration, corporate offices, large aquaculture/warehouse district, and Startown. Much of the warehouse and commercial districts are vacant lots for future expansion; Korranion is still a young and growing colony.

Evansion: Middle Moon and Corporate Jungle

The next moon out is Evansion (D555211-7), a small world with a 94-hour tidal-lock day, thin atmosphere, and abundant native life in shallow seas, swamps, and jungles, adapted to the extremely long day/night cycle and resulting temperature extremes. Kept as a Corporate wilderness/retreat/estate/hunting preserve by one of the cluster’s megacorps, with a permanent population of under 1000.

Planetary Geography: Evansion

Half of Evansion is covered with shallow oceans; most of the land area is low-lying swamps and jungles, adapted to the long day/night cycle.

Surface Conditions/Sky Picture: Evansion

Surface gravity is just over half a gee, barely enough to hold its atmosphere, which is thin, but with a high oxygen content from the thick Carboniferous vegetation. Altitude sickness is not a risk for most visitors, but the thin atmosphere does elevate the sunburn hazard. The day is 94 hours long, with extreme temperature variations despite the open water; the year is 30 local days.

Besides biological hazards (poisonous vegetation and dangerous wildlife), the main natural hazard on land is runaway wildfires. Everything burns faster and hotter in Evansion’s atmosphere; what would be a smoldering ember in a standard atmosphere becomes a runaway blaze in Evansion’s. All settlements have cleared firebreaks around them hundreds of meters across; the fire danger is probably why Evansion has not been extensively settled—not enough exploitable resources for the risk.

Evansion’s sky is similar to Korannion’s, but less extreme; though still dominating the sky, Gauth is less than half the apparent size it is from the inner moon. The sky is darker to the point of navy blue at the zenith, and Korannion itself appears as a large blue marble, a miniature ringless child of Gauth regularly transiting its parent.

Native life

Evansion has a Life Index of 8; extensive land and sea life, like Earth during its Carboniferous era. Vast swamps and jungles grow into multi-canopied rain forests in the low gravity, with enough medium-to-large land animals to justify a hunting preserve. Amphibious and land life groups into two main phyla: para-arthropods (including two-meter para-millipedes, half-meter pseudo-insects, and throw-pillow-sized para-spiders) and mollusks (land octopi/nautiloids, tree-squids, and giant land-squids). Amphibious swamp forms include two-meter sea scorpions and five-meter eel-like slugs; krakens, crustaceans, and para-ammonites populate the open ocean. All land life goes dormant during the night; amphibians seek refuge in water; sea life goes deep.

Port details: Evansion

The only port on Evansion is a small D-level corporate downport beside a lake, with a permanent population of less than 500. Unlike Korannion, Gauth is not directly overhead, but low in the eastern sky. Access to Evansion is restricted to corporate traffic, contractors, special invitations, or emergencies; the port can only take ships of up to 600 dtons.

This port serves several lodges/retreats scattered over hundreds of kilometers, each with its own permanent staff. Cleared firebreaks and perimeter fences surround the port and lodges/retreats, creating a buffer zone between the offworld compounds and alien wilderness. Each lodge/retreat is self-sufficient with its own power plant and agricultural support fields, and keeps in contact with the port by radio/video, air-rafts, and G-carriers.

Dralion: Outer Moon and Navy Base

The Navy base is on Dralion (B4003M8-9), the Mars-sized third moon, airless and nondescript, well outside the orbits of both Evansion and Korranion in a leisurely 613-hour orbit/day. With 2000 on-base personnel, Dralion Base serves as a repair facility, supply dump, and patrol base for naval operations in the area. Though rated a B port, traffic is restricted to military and military contractors.

Dralion Base also provides in-system patrol and system defense for the two mainworld moons—one SDB/patrol squadron and two fighter squadrons totaling around 2000 dtons, plus a company of Marines with in-system spacelift capability. Korranion also provides additional ground forces for home defense: two battalions of TL9 Colonial Militia.

Gauth has some two dozen additional irregular moons, all captured asteroids in every orbit imaginable, supporting a small population of belters—corporate, freelance, or any mixture of the two. System defenses (remote missile launch sites) may also be sprinkled among the irregular moons.

Outer System

Outside of Gauth is a “disk” of asteroids with no distinct belts, sprinkled with dwarf planets.

The largest of these dwarf planets, Duergon (D110226-9), is an airless cratered rock-and-iceball with three small asteroid moons that provides a base for some 500 additional Belters prospecting the disk. The belter base is the only permanent settlement in the outer system, a cluster of domes and dug-ins amid the cold and vacuum. The Belters of Duergon have formed a “Brotherhood” that runs the dwarf iceball as a “corporate democracy” commonwealth and claims the outer system asteroid disk—a “Forty-Niner” boomtown in space. Many Duergonese belters have taken to wearing huge beards and flamboyant dress when visiting Korranion, cultivating a Romantic image of “wild men” or pirates of legend as opposed to mud-dwellers.

As is typical for orange/red dwarf systems, the hundred-diameter safe Jump limit is determined by the sun, corresponding to Orbit 2; Gauth and its moons are in Orbit 1, the liquid-water habitable zone. Safe Jump distance is thus .3 AU (45,000,000km) out-system, corresponding to “close neighbor world” distance. This helps system defenses, as any attacker Jumping in must boost for 18 to 36 hours to reach the populated area; even a “Dump-and-Jump” with 6-G missiles would give some 15 hours early warning. This does not apply to the outer system (including Duergon); the asteroid disk is well outside this Jump limit.

Adventure Nuggets:

The other Port Korranion. Not the downport on its high caldera-plateau, but the other end of its rail link: the fishing port huddled behind its tsunami walls, Cannery Rows and company housing tracts, all stinking of fish. Imagine getting “beached” here and having to work in Cannery Row or on one of the aquaculture fleets, from John Steinbeck to Deadliest Catch.

Natural hazards on Korranion—volcano, tsunami, mega-storm? Being a near-waterworld, Korranion hurricanes would have near-unlimited “fetch” to grow past Category 5, and the aquaculture atolls don’t have any high ground. Ships in port could be drafted for emergency evacuations, whether from a Krakatoa or a Katrina.

Possible conflict between Korranion and its motherworld? The Law Level 8 quirk of the otherwise Law Level 5 colony (allows ownership of weapons but not public display) is “to quench fears at home about military designs”; this implies some tension between the colony and its motherworld. And Evansion is there as a bolt-hole for the corporate aristos in case of uprising. So far, just grumbling about the corpos and aristos getting all the money while Korannion’s watermen do all the grunt work, but if any mercs show up on a security ticket (PCs or NPCs), better have a bailout plan handy.

One of the corporate compounds on Evansion goes inexplicably silent; the player-characters are corporate staffers, tasked to investigate. Or the PCs are responsible, either way.

Belter action among Gauth’s irregular moons or amid Duergon and the outer-system asteroid disk. The Belters of Duergon claim the outer system from their icy boomtown, and cultivate a piratical image. Belters-vs-Corpos is an obvious point of conflict, but what about the Belter Commonwealth itself? Could we have a Deadwood, a new boomtown sorting itself out of initial chaos? Or a pre-Piratical Caribbean, before the Spanish crackdown on the original “Buccaneers” turned what were originally beach gypsies into actual pirates?

What if some of the belters turn small-time pirate, preying on other belters? Either under their own letters of marque or some other corp covertly moving into the system? Belters could just start disappearing, or going silent; again, the PCs could be on either side of this—pirates, mercs, or vigilante investigators.

And given how independent and eccentric Duergon’s belters can be, what if a corp starts its own operations in the outer system? Deadwood meets Outland?

Design Notes:

The original notes for the system only included the present Evansion, under the dual name "Evansion Korranion", a satellite world of a gas giant. This corporate hunting-lodge world wasn't enough to justify settling a system, so another satellite was added (using a nameless world writeup from another fragment) and the original name split between the two. A reference in the notes to a Navy installation was placed on a third moon, and a belter-base added to the outer system for an additional point of interest. The remainder of the system grew around them, based on a combination of Scouts rolls and known extrasolar systems and simulations.

Since Evansion was mentioned as having hunting preserves, it had to have abundant land life. Evansonian life was cobbled together from several sources, primarily the BBC's Walking with Monsters, Part 2 (Carboniferous/Silurian) and Animal Planet's The Future is Wild (Far Neozoic), limited to only those forms descended from arthropods (crustaceans, insects, arachnids) and mollusk/cephalopods.