Any favourite colonies?

I will soon start work writing a collection of descriptions of colonies. My goal will be to make each one brief enough for players to read one upon being told that their characters will be going there for a one-off adventure, so I aim to make them both less detailed and more succinct than the rambles that I have posted here before. When I have done twenty or three dozen or so I shall collect the descriptions into a PDF and e-pub book and make the collection available in the usual place.

After vacillating between the plan of writing up the whole of Central Sector, the plan of writing up all of Pegasus Sector, and the plan of writing up a pyramidal slice extending from Sol through a patch of sky and including both Core and Fringe colonies, I have decided to start by writing up the colonies that I have the best ideas for and have used most, and to worry about their selection and organisation later. That way I can get started on the writing, which has some chance of being encouraging.

I don’t think that many actual Flat Black veterans are following these forums any more, but just in case: if you recall any favourite colonies that have appeared in Flat Black adventures or been referred to in Flat Black materials, that you would like to see described in the first batch of players’ briefs, remind me of them now.

For your information: I have cooled more than somewhat on the randomly-generated universe I produced with the star system and world generation sequence out of GURPS Space 4th edition, and will be replacing its details with intelligently-designed ones. For example, the particulars of Simanta will be moving back to Esbouvier, the history of Hijra/Hegira back to Zawijah.

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So, what do I have to start with? From the Players’ Introduction we have the following.

Colonies You Have Heard of


(β Comae Berenices IV). 0.88 D♁, 0.78 g♁, 3°C, 88% water, 0.26 bar. 1.27 billion pop. Economy: 8.5 (the Suite).

People on Aeneas attach themselves to styles, fandom groups associated with pastimes, sports teams, bands, aesthetic movements…. Styles determine costume, grooming, style of body alteration, social activities, and to some extent social mores, but not place of employment, nor residence…. The crowdscape on Aeneas is a gorgeous mosaic.

Each person receives a “distribution” of vocational training, land, and real or financial capital when they reach adulthood, on which they are expected to support themselves for life. Distributions are of equal value, and adapted to the talents and inclinations of the recipient, but somehow the offspring of the ruling class tend to get training &c. that will equip them for management and prestigious occupations.

Aeneas is governed on the parliamentary system, with world, regional &c. parliaments selected randomly from “qualified” citizens.


(HD 33866 V). 0.81 D♁, 0.88 g♁, 8°C, 85% water, 0.98 bar. 71.9 million pop. Economy: 5.5 (communications).

Arcolais is obsessed with visual arts. By no means everyone is an artist, but art rather than literature or STEM is the core subject at school, galleries are important social spaces, exhibitions are popular events, and the ruling class proclaim their prestige by owning important collections and commissioning major works. Art classes are a common social and spiritual observance; art teachers, gallery owners, critics, and curators form a socially influential hierarchy culminating in the president of the Academy of Art.

The government is a parliamentary republic with limited franchise, unequal representation, and dodgy elections. Office is dominated by the families and protegés of wealthy aristocrats. Politics is marked by an increasingly bitter and unscrupulous struggle to defend the traditional hierarchies against economic and political reform, civil liberties, sex, drugs, free dress, divorce, and performing arts.


(Gliese 857 V). 0.81 D♁, 0.76 g♁, -1°C, 61% water, 0.89 bar. 441 million pop. Economy: 6.5 (biofab).

Many settlers here used germ-line genemods to make themselves into elves, dwarves, dúnedain, merfolk &c. Others contented themselves with surgical modifications. The result was a multiple races not capable of interbreeding safely, and these have withdrawn into separate neighbourhoods and districts. Families arrange marriages to ensure safe breeding and to control inheritances. There is a despised class of interbred “orcs”, many with genetic disorders.

Most wealth is held by the heads of families, with informal conventions governing the support and allowances given to dependents before inheritance. Wages are low and declining, so people find it important to manage their wealth providently, keep the favour of the heads of their families, and marry prudently.

Beleriand is a federal republic with presidential executives, troubled by plutocratic trends. Many government responsibilities are borne remarkably low in the federal hierarchy, by counties and towns.


(HD 83517 V). 0.92 D♁, 1.04 g♁, 8°C, 72% water, 1.44 bar. 2.22 billion pop. Economy: 7 (MEMS).

Most flourishing of the first tranche of new worlds, opened for settlement in 557 ATD, Goldendawn is coming up for independence next year. Its constitutional convention is unexpectedly contentious. The decisions made here and the choice of Goldendawn’s senator will set interstellar precedents. Shadowy forces from off-world are suspected of interference.

For now Goldendawn is a federal isocratic republic with a diverse society. Immigrants adhere to the their native cultures, their children intermarry and are creating an eclectic fusion. Political parties contend over multiculturalism, cultural eclecticism, and the possibility of engineering a new society.


(Gliese 827.1 II). 1.28 D♁, 1.17 g♁, 7°C, 47% water, 2.20 bar. 895 million pop. Economy: 1.5 (iron age).

Haudensaunee is tide-locked, but cool enough that the sunlit face is temperate. Its people descended from terraformers whose following settlers never arrived. They live mostly on plants and animals that were engineered to proliferate, not to be crops.

In the arable coastlands, peasants engage in manorial agriculture to support monasteries of druggie ascetics. Abbots rule on the claim that they are the directors of the terraformation program. Workers are lodged in dormitories and fed in refectories. Sexual relations are informal. Children are raised in créches.

Nomad “companies” of the arid hinterland are lead by “captains” with “mates” as their deputies and nominated successors. Followers abandon captains to who lead them into misfortune, and join the bands of leaders of repute or found their own. Rich nomads practice polygyny.

Both peoples practise “Action Meditation”, an observance that involves psychedelic drugs, ecstatic dancing and drumming, and dancing on a diagram of moral and spiritual symbols.

Women are repressed in both societies.


(58 Eridani IV). 0.77 D♁, 0.69 g♁, 11°C, 87% water, 0.78 bar. 1.44 billion pop. Economy: 4 (Industrial rev.).

The law on Khemet requires everyone to follow the occupation of their parents; custom enjoins them to marry within their family’s occupational group. The resulting castes have withdrawn into separate neighbourhoods and developed distinctive cuisine, costume, jargon etc. Some control valuable economic rights or manage critical inheritances, others are very poor. The administrative and military castes dominate a nominal democratic republic.

People on Khemet set great store in having a lasting memorial to survive their deaths. The very rich spend fortunes on grand mausoleums. Families perform frequent memorial rituals as displays of wealth and piety, and to draw attention to their forebears’ glorious tombs.

A secretive religious faction on Khemet believes that the dead in the afterlife are obliged to be the servants of their killers. Fanatical believers murder prolific murders and other desirable servants to become feudal overlords in the afterlife.


(Gliese 728 II). 0.89 D♁, 0.87 g♁, 24°C, 22% water, 0.85 bar. 1.92 billion people. Economy: 8 (Old Earth).

Ladon is tide-locked, warm, and dry. Crops require an exotic biochemistry to flourish on the sunlit face. The people live in the twilight zone or in air-conditioned homesteads and “’plexes”.

The land and robot factories on Ladon belong to a state collective, which provides a comfortable income to all members. Only a minority of people choose to work, though the wages are fairly high. Society is separating into two mutually contemptuous classes: “bludgers” and “drudgers”. Drudgers control the powerful civil service.

Most bludgers on Ladon occupy their time with dilettantism, scholarship, and sports, and participate in creative collaborations. A large minority are given to obsessive fandom and grotesque fads. A significant number indulge in reckless thrill-seeking, vandalism, assault, and even rape, out of sheer anomie.

Drudgers are developing an exclusive society with behavioural shibboleths, and withdrawing to working-class neighbourhoods that are inaccessible by public transport. They invest their savings off-planet.


(HD 1893 III). 0.99 D♁, 0.97 g♁, 21°C, 55% water, 0.64 bar. 9.9 million pop. Economy: 2.5 (mediæval).

Following the collapse of its republic and half a generation of coups and civil war. Lowrie is ruled by a dictator, Melanie Komao. Slavery has been abolished, landed estates confiscated and distributed among the former slaves and serfs who worked them. Quite a lot of wealth has stuck to the fingers of Komao’s key supporters, who are just emerging as a new ruling class.

The year of Lowrie is 0.586 Earth years, but a community can only hold the grand midsummer rite of “prom” when a youth of each sex has turned thirty since the last prom. A set of people who came of age at the same prom is called a “form”. Forms are a traditional unit of mutual assistance joint responsibility on Lowrie.

Lowrieans practice nudism except where practicality requires clothes, value physical beauty, and wear tattoos to commemorate important experiences. Since the revolution all adults have worn dirks—going armed was formerly a privilege of the nobility. Lowrieans greatly admire the ability to endure pain; there are contests….

The assistance services of the Empire’s Colonial Office have large projects on Lowrie, extending the arable land, and establishing a teaching hospital and agricultural, engineering, and teachers’ colleges.


(HD 83983 IIb). 0.56 D♁, 0.49 g♁, 4°C, 85% water, 0.51 bar. 35.4 million pop. Economy: 5 (electronics).

The only inhabited moon in the human sphere, Maldives is one of the first tranche of colonies settled after the Compromise of ’84, Maldives is being set up to give future support to the Colonies’ Rights faction in the Senate. Ostensibly inspired by Plato’s Republic, it is being set up to become a rigidly stratified plutocratic oligarchy reinforced with psychoengineering in class-segregated schools.

For now, Maldives is a technocratic command economy ruled by the Maldives Terraformation Co., and functioning as a place of exile for several repressive colonies. Over half the immigrants are convicts (including dissidents) being “rehabilitated” as indentured workers. The managers are intent on establishing wide estates and rich industrial fiefs. Their high-handed behaviour annoys free settlers and the native-born, who grow resentful.


(HD 361 IV). 1.15 D♁, 0.93 g♁, 20°C, 55% water, 0.64 bar. 21.5 billion pop. Economy: 7 (MEMS).

Margulis is thickly set with “arcologies”, each devoted to a communal factory or farm, and occupied by a “sorority” of related women with their husbands and children. Common sororities are run by senior women with their husbands as executive officers. Each parsonage, deanery, diocese, province, primacy, realm, and the globe itself is ruled by the husbands of its ruling sorority. The parson, dean, bishop, archbishop, primate, patriarch, or pontiff of a ruling family appoints one of his sons-in-law (&c.) “camerlengo” to be his deputy and designated successor.

Sororities are exogamous. Young men either make unambitious local marriages or spend some years acquiring the skills and fame that will make them eligible husbands for the rich and powerful. Men are driven to be flamboyant, competitive, and masterly; women, to be elegant, prudent, and sagacious.


(Gliese 867.1A IV). 0.87 D♁, 0.85 g♁, 30°C, 90% water, 1.02 bar. 344 million pop. Economy: 4 (Industrial Rev.)

Nahal is a lawless anarchy: even killing is permitted if it is done openly. Peace and liberty are maintained by the custom of shooting frauds, thieves, tyrants, and anyone who resorts to force without just cause. About 15% of deaths result from homicide.

Owing to genetic engineering by the first settlers about 80% of boys born on Nahal are hard to distinguish from girls until puberty. Nahalese put little stock in male or female sex. Instead their two gender roles are (1) the tattooed, armed, and outgoing “reb” who stakes his life on his good name, and risks being shot for respect, and (2) the meek and non-combatant “strey”, lacking tattoos and sidearm, whose life is not at stake and whose place is in the home. Both roles are open to any sex. Nahalese profess not care about the sex of romantic partners, but consider sexual conduct between two rebs perverted.

Shipping and pelagic fishing are prestigious sources of wealth on Nahal, the daring sailor and dashing sea-captain being admired.


(β Hydri VI, Central Sector). 1.06 D♁, 0.96 g♁, 27°C, 80% water, 1.53 bar. 1.37 billion pop. Economy: 3.5 (Enlightenment).

Young adults of the ruling class on Navabharata travel to more advanced worlds for professional training and to get themselves modified into striking forms. Returning home, they rule as gods and perform routine miracles with high-tech skills and imported equipment, each divine dynasty running a tiny country with a manorial economy.

The working class worship their rulers with elaborate and gorgeous ritual. But in times of misfortune, or when their lords grow feeble, they think it proper to kill and eat their failing gods. Some realms have a ritual proof of fitness or some form of “flight of the king”. Some realms allow a substitutory sacrifice, or the gods perform one deceitfully. Sometimes rebels actually eat the rich.

New Fujian

(HD 215812 IV). 0.64 D♁, 0.61 g♁, 29°C, 80% water, 0.98 bar. 1.05 billion pop. Economy: 6.5 (biofab)

People on New Fujian use special treatments and body modification to put themselves through “metamorphoses” defining six life stages with corresponding social roles: háizi, instar, imago, junior, senior, héshang. A family consists of a senior married to a junior, their háizi children, and an imago of the same sex as the senior serving as apprentice spouse. Instars live in boarding schools, héshang are monks.

All the land and most of the capital belong to monasteries. The monasteries run local governments, supplying education and training, medical services, courts, roads &c. free of charge, while the monks work as teachers, judges, and government officials. Wealthy, prestigious monasteries accept applicants who have fulfilled their earlier roles with merit.

New Fujianese have enough medical tech to favour some very violent sports, such as live-blade knife fighting. Bouts are sometimes eroticised.

Paradise V

(HD 214385 IV). 0.86 D♁, 0.82 g♁, 17°C, 97% water, 0.69 bar. 972 million pop. Economy: 6 (photonics).

The people of Paradise V are nuts for a healthy lifestyle, physical training, and sports. They adore a toned athletic physique, but scorn any “cheating” means of achieving one. Everyone is expected to be always in strenuous training, except when injured.

Intense romantic friendships with “mates” of the same sex are expected. Marriage, is a pragmatic family affair, strictly heterosexual, in which tender but not passionate love is expected to develop.

This is a world of densely-settled islands (and much maritime activity). Each island or group has an elected chieftain as its ceremonial monarch. The Paramount Chief, appoints a chieftain of opposite sex and a different home island to be his or her successor. The governments are parliamentary.


(ν-2 Lupi IV). 0.54 D♁, 0.49 g♁, 7°C, 80% water, 0.65 bar. 1.88 billion pop. Economy: 8.5 (the Suite)

Society on Seeonee is made up of a multitude of formal cliques, to which an applicant must be elected by the members. New cliques may be formed freely, but most important property belongs to old ones. Youth cliques are locally based and supervised by adults. Adults’ cliques amount to student bodies, faculties, the work-forces of particular enterprises or departments, ship’s crews, repertory companies, or even paramilitary units. But they are not just occupational: cliques conduct social events and regular congregational activities.

Most cliques have formal and traditional qualifications for membership. The career of an ambitious person consists of acquiring and demonstrating the abilities, accomplishments, and character traits required by a succession of increasingly wealthy and powerful cliques. Cliques in government amount to a self-perpetuating meritocratic technocracy.

The people of Seeonee set great store by physical beauty. They favour sports and games that involve pitting oneself or a group against a challenge; competitive sports are less prominent than in other societies.


(HD 217343 IV). 0.93 D♁, 0.98 g♁, 23°C, 70% water, 0.93 bar. 749 million pop. Economy: 2.5 (Mediaeval).

On Sehausie women and their dependent children live in matrilineal clans that occupy and govern territory. Boys are assigned at puberty to occupational lodges, some itinerant, some occupying “temporary” structures in interstitial locations. Cohabitation and long-term relationships are forbidden. Men dress gorgeously, and display their charms and prowess (and gifts they might give) like lekking grouse. Women may accept such offers as they choose, ostensibly only for one-night stands. Persistent relationships are a taboo.

Land belongs to women’s clans; poor clans are forced into tacit prostitution. Fishing, commerce, and skilled trades belong to men’s lodges; poor lodges supply labour for farming.

Global “government” is discharged by certain privileged lodges, officially mendicant.

The Imperial Sector HQ for Pisces Austrinus Sector orbits Sehausie. The Empire leases a remote area for use as an Imperial Marines base.


(Gliese 853A IV). 0.90 D♁, 0.77 g♁, 24°C, 54% water, 0.36 bar. 13.7 billion pop. Economy: 8.5 (the Suite)

The people of Simanta are parahumans of a range of types specialised by occupation and climate. They are bred in exowombs and raised in “development centres”, all engineered to flourish and be happy in the roles they were made to occupy.

There are no families nor marriage on Simanta. Accommodations are sybaritic, but all individual, as though everyone lived alone in a luxury hotel room. Conditioning and convention are designed to suppress the formation of couples and to promote participation in group activities and in audiences and congregations. Participative team sports, orchestras, and congregation singing are important on Simanta.

Simantans favour designer companion animals and living toys.

Tau Ceti

(τ Ceti III). 0.87 D♁, 0.79 g♁, 11°C, 84% water, 0.64 bar. 5.9 billion pop. Economy: 8.5 (the Suite).

First colony established, Tau Ceti is noted for high culture, stylish dress, and gourmet cuisine. Every neighbourhood has a cultural institution, such as a theatre or museum, with a venerable tradition. The University of Eridu on Tau Ceti is the oldest in the universe, most famous among Tau Ceti’s universities of interstellar fame.

Tau Cetians are under social pressure to take part in local cultural activities and to do everything (including strive and achieve) a “just right” amount: neither more nor less than their neighbours. Tau Ceti taxes the income of land and capital and pays a large wage supplement to workers under 80, beside providing lavish public services. Saving for retirement is compulsory. Life on Tau Ceti is safe and comfortable, but constrained and unexciting.

By a legal fiction there are eight independent colonies on Tau Ceti with different forms of government. In fact the world is governed by a confederation of technocratic bureaucracies.

Todos Santos

(ψ-5 Aurigae V). 0.73 D♁, 0.75 g♁, 13°C, 76% water, 0.74 bar. 2.87 billion pop. Economy: 8.5 (the Suite).

On Todos Santos people use neurotechnics freely to make themselves honest, diligent, resilient, ethical etc. It is normal to display certified personality profiles to prospective lovers, employers, and voters. The strict ethics of Todos Santos doctors, lawyers, counsellors, psychotechs, psychoengineers, social engineers &c. are famous, and make them highly employable.

Todos Santos is a unitary representative republic with a highly taxed market economy and a universal basic income. People work hard without high wages because they are just that diligent. Todos Santos politicians are honest and public-spirited: candidates publish certificates.


(HD 210144 IV). 0.56 D♁, 0.50 g♁, 13°C, 90% water, 0.34 bar. 206 million pop. Economy: 4 (Industrial rev.).

A spin:orbit resonance gives Toutatis an apparent day of 8,159 hours. The polar regions’ steady twilight favour permanent settlement and industry. Elsewhere day and night are as long as seasons, hot and cold, favouring migratory plantation agriculture.

Patriarchal extended families occupy large climate-proof homesteads, or more often ships in which the family migrates from harvest to harvest. The patriarchs have despotic powers, arranging marriages and even ordering the exposure of infants. Poor and weak families owe tribute and loyalty to more powerful ones in a feudal hierarchy, supporting each other in frequent disputes and brawls over land and harvest, fish-traps, insults, and acts of piracy.

Toutatis is in the throes of drastic change. Over fifty years King Sejunna II “the Rescuer” has “re”-imposed a bureaucratic monarchy on the former agrarian feudalism, “recovering” and “restoring” royal revenues and courts. Slavery has been abolished, an urban working class is developing, merchants and industrialists are growing rich. The feudal magnates are agitated, and threaten resistance to the king and his professional navy and army.

Then, the generator output for Central Sector supplies the following.

Aeneas (43 Beta Comae Berenices IV, Central Sector). 0.88 D♁, 0.78 g♁, 7°C, 88% water, 0.26 bar. 1.27 billion people. Dev: 8.5 (the Suite).

Alhurr (15 Lambda Aurigae IV, Central Sector). 0.71 D♁, 0.66 g♁, 28°C, 64% water, 0.66 bar. 2.67 billion people. Dev: 6.5 (biofab).

Ashok (Gliese 25 V, Central Sector). 0.92 D♁, 0.80 g♁, 0°C, 55% water, 1.23 bar. 496 million people. Dev: 4.5 (industrial age).

Bakunin (4 Tau Bootis IV, Central Sector). 0.93 D♁, 0.97 g♁, -6°C, 71% water, 0.98 bar. 647 million people. Dev: 2.5 (mediæval).

Barutanah (40 Xi Ophiuchi V, Central Sector). 0.91 D♁, 0.99 g♁, 45°C, 80% water, 1.32 bar. 6.44 billion people. Dev: 8 (Old Earth).

Bhima (1 Chi Herculis V, Central Sector). 0.72 D♁, 0.57 g♁, 20°C, 53% water, 0.36 bar. 1.36 billion people. Dev: 4.5 (industrial age).

Borlung (39 Serpentis V, Central Sector). 1.08 D♁, 0.83 g♁, -10°C, 95% water, 0.80 bar. 105 million people. Dev: 4 (Industrial rev.).

Broadmeadow (Capella VIII, Central Sector). 0.63 D♁, 0.61 g♁, 29°C, 68% water, 0.57 bar. 1.71 billion people. Dev: 4.5 (industrial age).

Cockaigne (Alderamin VI, Central Sector). 0.85 D♁, 0.86 g♁, 19°C, 69% water, 1.48 bar. 1.34 billion people. Dev: 7 (MEMS).

Covenant (8 Delta Trianguli III, Central Sector). 0.98 D♁, 0.84 g♁, 17°C, 58% water, 0.35 bar. 4.33 billion people. Dev: 5 (electronics).

Egalité (16 Psi Capricorni V, Central Sector). 1.04 D♁, 0.90 g♁, -1°C, 59% water, 0.57 bar. 5.85 billion people. Dev: 8 (Old Earth).

Emmaus (Iota Persei V, Central Sector). 0.80 D♁, 0.92 g♁, 24°C, 95% water, 1.43 bar. 478 million people. Dev: 2 (classical).

Fureidis (Alpha Mensae V, Central Sector). 0.85 D♁, 0.73 g♁, 10°C, 97% water, 1.16 bar. 528 million people. Dev: 6.5 (biofab).

Hijra (p Eridani III, Central Sector). 0.85 D♁, 1.05 g♁, 17°C, 19% water, 1.36 bar. 648 million people. Dev: 3.5 (Enlightenment).

Iter (Zeta-2 Reticuli IV, Central Sector). 0.70 D♁, 0.66 g♁, 25°C, 82% water, 0.70 bar. 5.95 billion people. Dev: 8.5 (the Suite).

Khemet (58 Eridani IV, Central Sector). 0.77 D♁, 0.69 g♁, 10°C, 87% water, 0.78 bar. 1.44 billion people. Dev: 4 (Industrial rev.).

Lahar (111 Tauri IV, Central Sector). 0.65 D♁, 0.63 g♁, 17°C, 99% water, 1.02 bar. 74.4 million people. Dev: 3 (Renaissance).

Liberty (Gliese 758 IV, Central Sector). 0.93 D♁, 0.81 g♁, -8°C, 79% water, 1.21 bar. 724 million people. Dev: 3 (Renaissance).

Navabharata (Beta Hydri VI, Central Sector). 1.06 D♁, 0.96 g♁, 38°C, 80% water, 1.53 bar. 1.37 billion people. Dev: 3.5 (Enlightenment).

Neuheim (Gliese 95 IV, Central Sector). 0.71 D♁, 0.68 g♁, -4°C, 67% water, 0.84 bar. 215 million people. Dev: 3 (Renaissance).

New Earth (2 Eta Coronae Borealis VI, Central Sector). 0.81 D♁, 0.77 g♁, 11°C, 93% water, 1.18 bar. 1.76 billion people. Dev: 8 (Old Earth).

New Lombok (Gliese 838 IV, Central Sector). 0.87 D♁, 0.76 g♁, 47°C, 97% water, 1.21 bar. 90 million people. Dev: 2.5 (mediæval).

New Rome (g Lupi V, Central Sector). 1.02 D♁, 0.93 g♁, -9°C, 60% water, 0.98 bar. 1.33 billion people. Dev: 8 (Old Earth).

Paraíso (Zeta Tucanae IV, Central Sector). 0.94 D♁, 0.72 g♁, 16°C, 84% water, 0.49 bar. 4.06 billion people. Dev: 3 (Renaissance).

Pentecost (Chara V, Central Sector). 0.76 D♁, 0.76 g♁, 15°C, 74% water, 0.68 bar. 1.11 billion people. Dev: 3.5 (Enlightenment).

Persatuan (Gliese 370 II, Central Sector). 0.99 D♁, 0.85 g♁, 27°C, 21% water, 0.89 bar. 1.06 billion people. Dev: 5 (electronics).

Seeonee (Nu-2 Lupi IV, Central Sector). 0.54 D♁, 0.49 g♁, 4°C, 80% water, 0.65 bar. 1.88 billion people. Dev: 8.5 (the Suite).

Simanta (Gliese 853 A IV, Central Sector). 0.90 D♁, 0.77 g♁, 28°C, 54% water, 0.36 bar. 13.7 billion people. Dev: 8.5 (the Suite).

Tau Ceti {Avalon; New Sunrise, San Pietro, Ys; Gogmagog, Hell, Zinfandel; Alcuin} (Tau Ceti III, Central Sector). 0.87 D♁, 0.79 g♁, 9°C, 84% water, 0.64 bar. 5.91 billion people. Dev: 8.5 (the Suite).

Terranova (27 Lambda Serpentis V, Central Sector). 0.62 D♁, 0.54 g♁, -10°C, 57% water, 0.66 bar. 381 million people. Dev: 6 (photonics).

Tian Longshan (26 Draconis IV, Central Sector). 1.28 D♁, 1.16 g♁, 17°C, 85% water, 5.11 bar. 10.8 billion people. Dev: 7 (MEMS).

Todos Santos (56 Psi-5 Aurigae V, Central Sector). 0.73 D♁, 0.75 g♁, 13°C, 76% water, 0.74 bar. 2.87 billion people. Dev: 8.5 (the Suite).

Vasileo & Orinoco (54 Piscium IV, Central Sector). 0.80 D♁, 0.81 g♁, -3°C, 55% water, 1.27 bar. 1.55 billion people. Dev: 6.5 (biofab).

Xindalu (Gliese 706 III, Central Sector). 0.68 D♁, 0.78 g♁, 24°C, 21% water, 0.97 bar. 340 million people. Dev: 2.5 (mediæval).

Xin Tian Di (61 Virginis IV, Central Sector). 1.01 D♁, 1.06 g♁, 26°C, 53% water, 1.14 bar. 3.11 billion people. Dev: 2.5 (mediæval).

And besides those I have records or recollections of adventures set on

New Tobolsk



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That level of detail is about the top end of what I’d give as an in-session briefing. Roughly how long are the descriptions of the selected ones intended to be?

I’ll see how things go when I start drafting. I’d like to have each colony on a two-page spread, which means about 1,350 words maximum, or maybe a thousand words of running text and a column of data in a standard format.

I think that my adventures are rather more focussed on social peculiarities than most, and my players more avid for social description than usual. I’ll try to produce descriptions with an introductory paragraph that will do for an abstract.

Todos Santos for curiosity, Navabharata and Aeneas for comedy adventures, Lowrie for nude swashbuckling, Siamanta just because it’s cool.

The name Hijra is problematic. Rather than change it to Hegira I’m going to override the procedural astrography, move the Sunni religious separatist colony back to Beta Virginis, and call it “Zawijah”.

I don’t like Simanta as it is. I’m going to override the procedural astrography, restore Esbouvier in orbit around Sigma Boötis, and return the Huxleyan word there. Then I’ll override the procedural generator of populations and economies and put something vast and heartbreaking at Simanta.

I’m a bit inclined to leave Iter undescribed, so that a player or even somebody else GMing Flat Black could if they wanted to make up a custom world of the Suite. Does that seem advisable? Or are the worlds of the Suite so few and so important that they cannot be left blank?

I like that idea. I might even extend it - something like “(list of stars) might plausibly have habitable worlds, but I will never describe them”.

In legacy text that will never see the light of upload I have mentioned a number of worlds as marking the extremes of habitation in the several dimensions of habitability. Do you think that any of the following are worth adding to my book of example worlds?

  • The heaviest gravity of any colony is 1.58 g♁ on Huangdi, a planet 1.49 times the diameter of Earth.

  • Golconda is larger (1.67 times as wide as Earth) but less dense, so it has has only 1.43 g♁.

  • The smallest inhabited world is Surikate (0.50 D♁)

  • the lightest gravity is on Hylas (0.45 g♁).

  • The colonies with the reddest sunlight are Hennah and Kaiyen, which orbit M0V “red” dwarf stars. Their light is actually not as red as the light of a “warm white” fluoro, but, consisting mostly of invisible IR, such sunlight is also dim.

  • The dimmest sunlight is on the colony Aurochs, which orbits a slightly warmer K9V. Visible illumination on Aurochs is 24% as bright as Sunlight on Earth: twice as bright as the lighting in a TV studio.

  • The brightest daylight is on New Macedon, 85% brighter than on Earth.

  • The bluest sunlight is on Ardor, which orbits a B9V star. This light is only slightly bluer than a “daylight white” fluoro.

  • The coldest colony is Coldharbor. At a global average of -12°C it is 27K cooler than Earth, and only its equatorial belt is unfrozen.

  • The warmest is Boleslav, at a global average temperature of 60°C. Settlement on Boleslav is confined to the polar zones, where the average temperature is in the high twenties.

  • The colony with the thinnest air is Gough Island, with 0.24 bar of 40% oxygen. Any less oxygen would make for hypoxia; any less nitrogen and things would burn too easily.

  • The thickest O₂-N₂ atmosphere is 5.68 bar of 10% oxygen on New Cincinnati, where a person who ventures down to sea level flirts with both oxygen toxicity and nitrogen narcosis.

  • The thickest air of all is 11.5 bar of 85% helium on Salalah.

  • The driest inhabited planet is Aurelius, which is tide-locked to its star. Its dark side is covered with ice kilometres thick; 8% of its sunlit side is ocean and most of the rest desert.

  • The colonies Bohemia, New Polynesia, Nuada, and Wakashu are confined to islands covering less than 0.1% of their surfaces; Bohemia also has inhabited sea ice at its poles.

  • The most densely-settled is Iter, which has 132 people/km² of land. That’s more that 2.5 times Earth in the early 21st century, but less than one eighth of solid suburban sprawl. Iter has in fact vast high-rise conurbations, which stretch as far as the eye can see even from the top of a thousand-metre skyscraper, but between them it has great expanses of high-biotech farms, and between those tracts of desert, mountains, and ocean

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My feeling as a brutally pragmatic GM is that I want to know why they’re interesting places for my PCs to go. What happens on Salalah, or Coldharbor, or Surikata, that wouldn’t happen anywhere else?

Those are sort of mildly interesting, and I could see including them as a text box/sidebar, space permitting. But physical peculiarities as such aren’t going to contribute to the type of campaign you seem to favor. If a world doesn’t have interesting social arrangements in response to one of these peculiarities it’s no more than a curiosity.

A different but related question, for me, is what is the median value, or the modal value, on each of the implied dimensions; and following on from that, are there any world that have the modal values on all of the dimensions, and are those worlds generally similarly physically to Earth That Was, or if Earth still existed, would it be an atypical world? (I suppose that Earth might have been one of the more densely populated at the time of its destruction, but aside from that?)

Iter, and perhaps one of the ocean worlds with no more than tiny islands, might have interesting social traits in reaction to their sparse land area.

The posit of Flat Black is that all the worlds have interesting social arrangements, so naturally I would have to supply social, cultural, and political material for each of them if I included it. I will take it as your recommendation that I not trouble to do so for any of these extreme worlds unless the social peculiarities are at least partly driven by the geophysical extreme.

Perhaps Gough Island and New Cincinnati might amuse us with two very different adaptations to the widespread use of breathing masks and supplementation of the breathing mixture, two different responses to the temptation of significant resources in areas where you can’t breathe unassisted. Bohemia might give us something with cities built on floating ice.

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