Thursday, May 25, 2017


System: Khirunizan
Hex Location: 2332
Star Type: Single L1
Number of Worlds: 12
Gas Giants: 1
Planetoid Belt: Cometary and asteroid belt

Starport Type: C
World Size: Earth-sized
Atmosphere Type: Earth-like
Surface Water: 30%
Population: Medium sized (c. 890 million)
Political Affiliation: Vorgan Than Viceroyalty (Seraean Empire)
Tags: Primitive aliens, Thaumatophilia, Cold war
Notes: Khirunizan is a world around an extraordinarily dim brown dwarf star.  Although the Vorgan Than has settled the world, there were already natives living here; humanoid, but with longer, narrower heads and large black eyes, called the Khirlings.  The Khirlings had complex and sophisticated nations of their own, but their technology was still several centuries away from uncovering any of the secrets of space-flight (more or less equivalent to early 19th century Europe).  When the Seraeans came with their orbital bombardments, sophisticated drop ships, radium weapons, and various thaumaturges: warlocks and Shadow Knights, they conquered the planet in fairly short order.

Khirling temple
The Khirlings are just now getting to the point where they understand the difference between the technology and the thaumaturgy, however.  For many years, they lived in terror of magic, and the Seraeans represented magic.  They gave whatever tribute, whatever service, whatever obeisances were necessary—because if they didn't, they'd be killed.  This is only just now starting to wear off.  Resistance groups to Seraean occupation are starting to pop up, usually deep in the interior, far from the Seraean settlements, but they know that this distance is no salvation; the Seraeans can easily travel to any place on the surface that they wish.  The only question is; do they want to bother or not?

The Seraeans largely ignore the Khirlings, except as a cheap and expendable source of manual labor.  They maintain their own "plantation culture" in their own settlements, and largely concern themselves only with each other, the elites of the rest of the Vorgan Than systems, and any passing interesting folks from the Empire on their way to Outremer or vice versa.

That said, the Seraeans belong to two factions (mostly) that hate each other with a passion.  The first are the Imperials, who preach close association with the Empire and the Emperor.  Their enemies see them as both suck-ups, and a threat to their freedom.  The Free Heathens, they call themselves, chafe under the rigid culture of the Empire; that's one of the main reasons that they moved further to the galactic west in the first place, colonizing new worlds where they could be the masters.  Three generations ago, this came to a head, and Kar Tanus I formed the First Umbral Crusade and went conquering with his own personal troops, vast legions of slaves, and a few tough mercenaries (mostly Cilindareans.)  The result was the founding of the Outremer region.  Those who remained in the Vorgan Than seethed with envy; many others organized their own crusades and expanded Outremer.  But few forgot that Khirunizan was where Kar Tanus started.  The tension between these two factions has grown tremendously in the last thirty years, and they now have self-sorted into differing settlements on the surface of the planet.  Although the conflict is mostly at a dull roar; duels, raids, political maneuvering, espionage, etc., one never knows.  The Seraeans are in general a brutal, pitiless, and impulsive people.  The rest of the Vorgan Than wonders if Khirunizan will break out in open warfare between the various city-states on the surface.  Rather than being concerned by this, the Vorgan Than's elites are eager to see what happens.  Many are in fact placing extremely high bets on when violence will erupt, the scope of the violence, and the results.

The weak brown dwarf sun of Khirunizan rises over sandstone cliffs.
Unlike Sorthor, the Heathens of Khirunizan welcome all kinds of visitors as a kind of exotic entertainment, even people from what would be considered their natural enemies.  Bernese, Cilindarean, Jannisary, Psarian, Altairan, Reaver, and Jaffans, not to mention plenty of types of aliens all live here in small numbers, in relative peace.  The Heathens tolerate them as long as there are few enough of them that they cannot possibly compete with them for cultural primacy in their own cities, and enjoy the spice of exotica that they bring.  Some even become celebrated (if faddish) causes célèbres and are feted at all the right parties.  Often, and others might see this is ironic, the most popular are those who fought the most successfully against other heathens in Outremer.  Twin brothers, Kovor and Entek Dania, Altairan knights who successfully fought off Heathen occupation of Traaknizar and Kattura (0336 and 0537) and killed hundreds of Seraeans each in personal combat, were celebrated for an entire year and became the envy of the Seraean men, the recipients of extremely rich tribute, and the objects of lust and devotion to hordes of Seraean women while visiting.  At the end of their visit, they were so impressed with the culture of Khirunizan, that they found their attitudes towards their Outremer foes considerably softened, and broke with the weak rulers of the Altairan Ascendency (South), coming to view them with little more than contempt, and openly allied themselves with their would-be conquerors—albeit as equals, not as subjects.

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