Friday, May 12, 2017


System: Voormellei
Hex Location: 2130
Star Type: Double star, G7 V, G6 Ia (distant)
Number of Worlds: 10
Gas Giants: 1 (Hot Jupiter)
Planetoid Belt: Asteroid and Kuiper belt present

Starport Type: C
World Size: Mars-sized
Atmosphere Type: Dangerous; completely unbreathable and corrosive; will gradually (2d4 hours) destroy protective suits.
Surface Water: 70%.
Population: Large (5 billion)
Political Affiliation: Voormellei Federation (Allies of Carrick Grand Duchy)
Notes: The dark and disturbing worlds of the Voormellei Federation frighten the inhabitants of the Carrick Grand Duchy—and deservedly so—yet, they're happier having them in a position of relatively friendly alliance rather than at their throats.  At some point in the distant past, Voormellei was involved in a war with its neighbors, and every living thing on it was killed.  However... some of them yet lingered.  The Cyber Liches (also sometimes called Death Sages) are the remnants of the population; kept alive through their sorcery and cybernetic replacement of rotted, broken or dysfunctional organs.  The Cyber Liches have forgone anything of the humanity that they once possessed.  Although once human, they are now more alien than any actual alien species.

Their appearance varies considerably; some yet hold on to a remembrance of vanity, and try to retain some of their beauty, or a shocking and terrifying appearance, or otherwise craft an appearance that is meant to evoke a emotional response in those who see them, while others give only functional consideration to their appearance, and can look especially strange and bizarre.  The Cyber Liches are relatively rare; only a few tens of thousands on Voormellei itself, and many tend to be solitary and antisocial, either locking themselves in their domiciles for research and only emerging once every few decades (if that) or at best associating with their kind only reluctantly and infrequently to form alliances for political or academic benefit.  To the people of the Grand Duchy, their motives are strange and inscrutable and much of what they do seems terrible and callous, so many think it curious that they approached the Grand Duke collectively with an offer of friendship and alliance.  Few in the Grand Duchy trust them, and few indeed believe that the alliance will be permanent, but it's nice not to have to worry about the systems to their galactic south, at least for the time being.

Voormellei is a relatively small world, although very dense, so its gravity is not unduly light.  The sludgy waters that make up vast oceans are devoid of normal life as most Earth-like oceans would be, but necromantic oozes, fungi and strange luminescent algae float in a water solution that stinks with chemical compounds that are corrosive and dangerous to humans and their technology.  The atmosphere is completely unbreathable, and in fact even corrosive, so visitors to Voormellei can only spend a few hours outside at most, even in protective suits, before they need to go inside heavily insulated buildings to clean the corrosive chemicals off of their suits before they are clogged with pollution or even ruined altogether.  The majority of the population is either reanimated drudge undead creatures, or robots, built of heavily shielded substances mined from the asteroid belt or other uninhabited planets of the system.  Envoys from the Grand Duchy, some few pirates or researchers (especially darker, disturbing warlocks, wanting access to lore and research that is outlawed elsewhere in the civilized galaxy) and a few other strange hangers-on are the only truly living inhabitants of the planet, and many of them do not stay long.  Not all of these undead servitors are the remnants of the original natives, as many of those have broken down and worn out to the point of non-functionality.  Slaves or prisoners taken in past wars make up a great deal of them, and it does still remain a terrifying prospect of the Grand Duchy's justice system that many criminal death sentences mean being shipped to Voormellei to serve indefinitely as an animated skeleton or radioactive zombie.

The Voormellei system is also strange and hostile to most visitors.  While the main planet itself orbits a more or less Sol-like G7 yellow main sequence star, a hot Jupiter ties up its magnetic field, and periodically it snaps back and the star exhibits unstable, massive solar flares that lash the system in radiation.  The hot Jupiter itself, Voormeis Alpha, is a difficult environment from which to draw unrefined fuel (as are all hot Jupiters) because of its extreme closeness to the sun, and the "roaster planet" conditions that exist on the surface.  Even the dark side of the planet is lashed by violent hot storms and the super-heated atmosphere of the planet rushes from the day side to the night side, excited by the extreme heat from the sun.  Unrefined fuel drawn from the oceans also requires purifying before use—and yet it still remains unrefined—something that the Cyber Liches don't bother with much because for the most part they are immune to the poison and radiation of their environment, already being technically dead.

The companion star is even more hazardous, although thankfully rather far.  As one of the very rare ancient yellow hypergiants, it is extremely bright and casts a glow on the night-side of the planet much brighter than our own full moon would ever do.  It also has a massive extended atmosphere that extends from its surface to a distance as far as the orbit of the asteroid belt here at home, and pulses with instabilities, sloughing off mass periodically, so that the entire system is somewhat veiled in a glowing nebula of charged gas and dust particles.  In some areas, gravitational forces allow this to congeal thickly enough that these gas clouds can even be mined as unrefined (and dirty) fuel, and some desperate spacers who have to stop in the system try to gather this hydrogen rather than stop on Voormellei itself.  All in all, Voormellei is a foreboding and uninviting place, in spite of its alliance with the Grand Duchy.

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