The Setting

Dark Age Planet Concept copy

The History of Samaria

On the edge of the galactic frontier is a world ridden with radiation, unstable land masses, and surface-scouring weather that combines to form one of the worst places in the galaxy. Designated A23-Q4B by the scout probes of the spreading United Worlds collective, this fearsome rock was immediately classified as a D3 planet- meaning it was not intended to support extended human colonization.

Based on reports from the discovering probe’s parent vessel, the UWS Magellan, A23-Q4B was a horrid place that could not truly be inhabited without major support from distant supply routes. Despite the planet’s saturated mineral and resource deposits throughout, it would be very costly to the United Worlds government and ultimately determined to be too much so for colonization. This enormous planet of industrial opportunities was instead bordered off and listed as unwanted territory. Unbeknownst to the filing clerks and charting officers of the United Worlds, this ma-

de A23-Q4B the perfect place for a specific type of entrepreneur…

A planet thankfully away from patrolled routes, outside of the United Worlds’ legal jurisdiction and territory, A23-Q4B may have been erased from official mapping suites – if not for the intervention of the megacorporations. Without tariffs, conduct codes and laws over scientific research, companies with a shadowy plan immediately set out to take advantage. Smugglers were hired, ships were launched,  and  soon the primary continent of this hellish place was seeded with corporate compounds and worker colonies, ready to be fertilized with greed. Without the restrictions of the UW pressing them into or away from certain projects, A23-Q4B became the central hub for unsavory business and unregulated industry.

Eugenics, cloning, advanced intelligence robotics, and biological or even chemical warfare became the source of great profits for many companies. Weapons advances, str-

ip mining, unsafe conditions and immoral leadership made for a difficult life, but the corporations were excelling in a number of different arenas in ways that anormal UW territory would never allow. Although it was costly in terms of supplies and manpower casualties to maintain, the profit margin and unrestricted growth made it a worthwhile endeavor. After a mere decade, city-like compounds all across the main continent of A23-Q4B contained a corporate controlled population that was larger than some Terran nations.

At the center of all the coming and goings of supply vessels, smugglers and test flights was the bustling metropolis of Port City. It forced a mixing of corporate workforces, but also created a lot of tension and espionage between competitors- sometimes even breaking out in violent actions. The locals came up with a combined name for the planet based on ancient words for a hellish afterlife… “Attr.”

Even though the megacorporations themselves moved farther away from the growing borders of Port City to perform their private schemes and business plans, the hub of transit remained an important center of travel, communication and intercompany commerce. The more draconian of corporations would call down United Worlds’ penal ships and buy thousands of slaves from dishonest warden-captains, or employ pirates and smugglers to help bolster supply caches. For years the controlling companies of Attr thrived, but it was greatly due to resources they were acquiring from off-world through the ever expanding Port City.

Then the bonds within the United Worlds collapsed and everything began to fall apart throughout the galaxy. Sectors of space exploded into open war. Planets seceded from local governing bodies to fall under the sway of the growing power umbrellas of the corporations, and the galactic financial market collapsed into individual controlling economies. It was this interstellar reliance on the largest and most powerful corporations that made sure they had contingencies in place for just this sort of thing happening. Contingencies that meant, when the United Worlds fell into chaos, the corporations would have to pull their valuable resources and critical personnel off of Attr to be taken to safer planets.

In the months that followed, the corporate executives and other important personnel quickly began to put these plans into action. Important or expensive equipment was shipped away, excuses being made to the workforce about needed servicing or repairs. Key researchers and irreplaceable technicians were reassigned on “short tours” away from Attr with no intention of ever being brought back. If it could help the growth of a powerbase elsewhere, these corporations took it off-world and gave false reasons to the labor force as to why.

Even with the lies from upper management and every effort being made to keep it from the masses, word got out and soon the evacuation was no longer able to be in the “planning” stage – it needed to happen immediately. Enormous riotous crowds crossed miles of deadly terrain to press against the walls of Port City, and it was not long before corporate security forces had to bear arms against them. Laborers and their families died while one-way shuttles blasted off filled with their employers and former co-workers. Port City was torn apart by ransacking, looting and the onset of mob mentality in the wake of the evacuation. Thousands died in the first few days in the violence and the fallout of destruction, but over the following years many more perished from starvation, predation and exposure to the planet.

Without supply ships from the defunct United Worlds, the people of Attr soon began to fall upon each other for the smallest of things. Food, water and medical supplies were soon worth more than gold. Without the scientists and skilled technicians, machinery began to break down – sometimes catastrophically – and entropy took over on Attr. Disease and famine ravaged the population’s physical bodies, while depression and sorrow crushed the hopes of an entire people.

With no hope for the future, the survivors of Attr fell into chaos- the population turned in upon itself within the first generation. Barbaric tribalism pitted the strong against the weak and the labor-hardened slaves took out years of oppression and bad working conditions upon the executives and officers that were left behind. Humanity sank to its basest levels and suffered immeasurably, nearly to the point of utter anarchy.

Over time a brutal new order evolved from the chaos: gang leaders rose to power alongside the leaders of leftover corporate security forces, and anyone with the strength to take territory and the ability to hold it did so. It was rife with conflict, immoral transactions, and a further devolution of humanity’s former self. With so much focus upon destruction and acquisition, creation and maintenance was soon forgotten. This meant that while martial skills, weapon design and triage grew in popularity, it was important facets of civilization like agriculture, engineering and true medicine faded away to shadows of their former selves. Farming gave way to scavenging, and it became common practice to take from one’s neighbors instead of joining forces with them. Eventually the people of Attr came to call themselves by a new name, one more befitting the sad fate they had been left to- the Forsaken; a sick jape about how the executives left them behind to suffer like this.

In the generations that followed, human civilization faded further from its former glories. Any technology that survived or was salvaged was soon revered; the knowledge of how it functions or its upkeep transforming into a familial tradition, passing down like folklore from parent to offspring. It truly was survival of the fittest, and strength of arms became the currency of the time. Stories about the time when people came from the stars were told around village fires, and the youth began to look up into the violet skies and wondered what was out there once more.

People began to try to make a better life for themselves, and started to look toward returning to the olden ways. The ruins of Port City became a gathering place of those who wanted a better life, leaving the savage tribes out in the wastes to their own devices. What remained of human knowledge and culture sought protection and leadership within the crumbling walls of the ancient city. Outside this new gathering place humanity continued its dark path, but here… the Forsaken were forging a new beginning.

Thus Port City was rebuilt upon its own ashes, and soon the population was growing within its walls once more. The leaders of the new city called themselves the Prevailers in celebration of their victory over the chaos of Attr, and they took control
of the Forsaken in the same fashion that many Terran cultures did before them – by introducing them to a fearsome and unforgiving religion.

In the name of their new god given to them by the Prevailers, the city saw new growth and quickly became a pillar of ingenuity and the pride of the Forsaken. Not all humans subscribed to the Prevailers’ codes and tenets, however, instead choosing to become outcasts in the wastes, deciding to fight their own battles and discover their own futures: Attr was a big planet, and although there was no room for non-believers in Port City, the rest of the planet could still be conquered.

Humanity on Attr would survive. Whether it was in the form of zealous believers in a fearsome god crusading for a better life, scavenging survivalists creating settlements in the untamed wilderness, or dark savages turning to horrific predatory ways – the human race would endure.

It would have to, for tribal alien warriors, ancient horrors from below, bio-weapons gone wrong, robots bent on worldwide assimilation- so much was still hidden in the shadows of Attr, so many threats just as desperate for survival as they were.

This world’s trials of humanity were clearly unfinished…