C Is for Castor

In the early 27th century, the Homeland Fellowship, a monarchical colonial effort, settled on Castor, establishing a liaison outpost as a first step toward opening diplomatic relations with other worlds in the sector. For a time, the Homeland Fellowship court on Castor was a thing of wonder: heraldric flags, orders of knights, aristocratic ambassadors, and the architectural wonders, with pillared foundations, scroll buttresses, numerous mosaics, squared support piers, and flat-topped towers.

Then came the irruption of magic and the rage of the dragons. Castor suffered worse than most other worlds, for the dead refused to stay in their graves. The monarchy collapsed, and the knightly orders stepped into the breach. Centuries of internecine warfare followed. Even today, in the Age of the Phoenix, Castor remains a world wracked by conflict and terror.

Castor’s population lives precariously behind the walls of a half dozen fortified cities that rely on technology generally equivalent to 19th-century Earth. Castoran society is controlled by quasi-religious military orders under the supreme command of a council of generals. Almost all commerce and wealth on Castor is controlled by members of the military. The martial quartermaster class has taken on most of the roles performed by the businesses class on other worlds. Unskilled labor is performed by Castorans unfit for military service.

This large civilian class is widely discriminated against, being forbidden to run businesses, possess significant wealth, or own land. The Castoran civilian class’s reputation for sloth and vice is not unmerited. Among them, cultural patterns inimical to success within the competitive military orders have become deeply ingrained. Nevertheless, exceptional civilians can be rewarded with contractor status, which comes with entrepreneurial and property privileges.

Social norms reward ambitiousness, especially within the military by demonstrated courage in defense of the cities. The military and contractor elite also evince cosmopolitan pretensions. Martial ceremonies, balls, and faux ambassadorial functions are common. It is no secret that Castor’s ruling generals would welcome renewed contact with other worlds, but this goal remains elusive. The military lacks the technology to make contact on its own, and Castor languishes under a planetary quarantine due to its undead plague.

While most worlds have intermittent problems with the undead, Castor is overrun with them. Her cities exist in a state of constant siege. The most prominent undead menace are the hordes of zombies. Tens of thousands of zombies surround the cities, and more wander the wilderness between Castor’s urban centers. Other undead monsters are less common, but more dangerous, especially those that can fly such as ghosts and spectres. These types of monsters can not only bypass city walls, but they can also threaten the dirigibles that link the cities via the airways.

Despite the planetary quarantine, groups of adventurers sometimes travel to Castor. Caches of pretech can be found in ancient ruins by those willing and able to brave Castor’s undead terrors.

Castor at a Glance
Population: 755,000
Atmosphere: Breathable but dense. Use those pressure masks!
Climate: Tropical
Government: Military Dictatorship
Tech Level: 2

Castoran Characters: Any character can be from Castor, but growing up on such a backward world has consequences. At 1st level, no native Castoran character can have more than rank 0 in many skills due to Castor’s limited tech level. Skills such as Combat (Energy Weapons, Psitech), Computer, Culture (Alien, Spacer, Traveller, World other than Castor), Exosuit, Tech (Any), or Vehicle (Grav, Space) are restricted. Native Castorans do not need pressure masks to breathe heavy atmospheres that are otherwise capable of supporting human life.

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