Sunday, October 25, 2015

Character's Introduction to Adventure 7 (Nov 2015) "Mudville Outer Orbit"

Months ago, you found the following message waiting for you at a spaceport you were passing through:

If you still have a ship, and are in the Mudville region, please drop by! Big scientific discovery awaits, and lucrative cargo, and maybe ongoing business. Come by anytime. Best.
– Prof. "RR" Rutt, Moovenvid Agricultural and Technical College

RR is an old friend of CheapLisa (one or two of the rest of you may know him also, if you want). None of you have seen him in decades, but now you realize that Mudville system (real name: Moovenvid) is just two Jump-2s from a place you were planning to visit anyway, so it seems like a good time to visit an old friend.

As you research the system (some details are below) you realize that RR might have fallen on hard times.  You don't quite understand what he would be doing in such an out of the way place.

There is not much on Mudville in the "Adventurer's Guide To The Galaxy":

Officially known as Moovenvid, but commonly called “Mudville”, this system is lower tech than it's neighbors, harder to get to, lower population, and generally more backward. 
  • 5 million population (including about 500,000 Chirpers).
  • About 70% swamp, with frozen wetland and permafrost near the poles.
  • Part time republic. (Light gun regulations, but social control on carrying weapons.)
  • Light on laws in general.
The inner Mudville system consists of 2 gas giants, 2 earth like planets, and a ring. The outer most earth like planet is squarely in the habitable zone, and is the only permanently inhabited planet in the system. This is Mudville Prime and is described last.

M-1 is a large "super Jupiter", who's atmosphere is heated by the sun
The material boiling off of M-1 forms a ring (actually more of a spiral) around the sun. The sun consumes this ring so it is not growing.
M-2 is a Neptune like small gas giant.
M-3 is a rock with a light, highly acidic atmosphere, and no life.
M-4 is Mudville Prime.
M-5 is an asteroid belt, with a small number of relatively large asteroids.

Finally, at the outer edge of the Mudville system is a large belt of stony and icy chunks: asteroids and small planet like bodies. The larger bodies tend to fall into three groups:

Mudville Outer Type 1: Rocky.
Mudville Outer Type 2: Rocky with Nitrogen based volatiles.
Mudville Outer Type 3: Rocky and icy.

There may be other types as well, but they are much more rare and have not been studied.

Mudville Prime

The most unusual feature about Mudville is that it's maximum hydrostatic variance is +/- 50 meters (meaning the max elevation above water level is 50 meters and the deepest water is 50 meters deep, as measured from a neutral tide).

A year is 58 weeks long, and a day is 25.25 hours long.

Mudville is all swamp, except near the poles, where there is permafrost. There is a slight solar tide, which makes the water level rise and fall in daily and yearly cycles. Higher elevations are drier, and used for building sites and agricultural fields. There is very little seasonal weather variation, but the seasons do have a large impact on the water table. High/low seasons alternate with stable seasons.

Mudville government is a representative democracy similar to the American colonial period. Politicians work part time, generally for two or three months per year. There are no serious political conflicts. Elected officials represent their districts, as opposed to representing a political party (there are no political parties). Chirpers are officially full citizens, but live segregated, marginalized lives.

Law levels are relatively low, but social controls are relatively high. For example, gun ownership is lightly regulated and guns can be carried anywhere, but the social stigma of walking around armed is such that no one does (and the adventurers will standout and be treated badly if they do). Driving and drinking ages are much lower than other planets, but barkeeps will cut off people of any age who are drinking too much, and teenagers rarely drive on public roads.

There are no large cities, and only two medium small cities (about 300,000 each). One is the capital (where the spaceport is), and the other is on a deepwater channel in the middle of a large, relatively elevated area, where crops are grown. Other towns are small trading centers of between 10,000 and 50,000. Total urban population is a million. Chirpers are almost all rural, although there is one chirper "city" of about 20,000.

Mudville is almost self sufficient (at it's lower tech level). The vast majority of the equipment used on the planet can be repaired locally. Much of it is manufactured on planet. Even those few technical items that must be imported, can be fully repaired and refurbished, locally. Transportation of heavy cargo and bulk foodstuffs is done on a small network of "deep water" rivers and a few canals or dredged channels. Most other transport is done via air raft or air boat. The economy is largely agricultural, together with the industry required to support farming and processing of food.

Mudville had no higher forms of life, but an abundance of plants that grow semi emerged and amphibious animals. Additionally, many swamp crops and edible amphibians have been imported for agricultural purposes. Plants and animals from three dozen different home worlds are raised here. The only common earth lifeforms farmed here are rice, tilapia, and crawfish.

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