A firefly world
Note: After doing enough work on a Firefly campaign, you start thinking in the patois they speak. Thus this sub is in the western/Firefly style.
Mandan has a lot of history. It is a world colder than most. Its a bit more barren than your average outer world. The landscape is rocky and rugged, yet beautiful. The sky is beautiful, blue as a soul. At sunset and sunrise, it is painted with a beautiful palate of colors that you will never forget.
Buffalo roam here. Some run free, but most are herded by owners. There are some wild dogs, cats, and chickens here, as well as the rodents (who have evolved to fit a number of niches on the planet). There are even bugs here. Mostly around the lakes, but you can hear them over the plains at night. It is a world that is much more alive than most rim world
Mandan’s people have yet to fare as well as its wildlife. Used to be a lot of them. Some even famous, like the Poet/ Author Kiersgard. They still teach his stuff in universities around the Alliance. The planet produced a number of Great Thinkers, poets, philosopher, economists, and so on. But now, there is only a handful of people left.
See, the planet isn’t too far from The Deep Black. That means Reaver raids. Every now and again, they seem to come. They make the reddish soil run dark with blood. Lucky for most, the planet is riddled with cave systems. The Reavers get bored and go home before they find most people.
Even without the Reavers, the Alliance made it "a special place". You see, Mandan was where The Rebellion got started. It started as some fancy words and high ideals. That was the tinder for it all. A few years later, there were some people who got together to draft some Articles of Confederacy. Now that didn’t get as far as some people think it did, but it went far enough. It was the spark that lit it all off. The Alliance could not sit still for anything organized, so they began to move in. The Confederation Meeting and the Alliance response galvanized the Browncoats into action. It was war at that point.
For such an out of the way place, Mandan saw a lot of action. Nothing planet busting, but invasion, counter invasion, re-conquest, occupation, and counter strikes. The Cities used to be pretty "core like", with outlands that looked pretty much like any other place in the Outer Planets.
The remains of those cities are there. They are melted due to plasma shots and resulting fires. Slagged out in spots, shattered in others, they are quiet as the dead they cover. Some of them are still usable, but people tend to avoid the city centers. On the outskirts are pretty standard Outer Planet towns, all wood and low tech. They use the bones of the old buildings when they can, but they look pretty shabby. It seemed The Outlands has moved into the Cities.
Nobody talks about rebellion anymore. Now, it is about survival again. Building things up is the goal, be it buildings or farms. There is technically martial law, but the last Alliance unit here were all "used up" by the last Reaver Raid. Folks were really broken up about that. But the survivors, and there usually are, waited for the smoke to clear and got on with their lives.
There are always people who want to make there way here for one reason or another. Some academic that wants to see the home that inspired Kiersgard. Military History buffs on vacation want to see what is left and want to be traipsed all over the planet. Some are visiting family or the graves of said family. It is an odd lot. And of course, your ship is bringing them.
Then, while your characters are doing business here.
: It is quite an out of the way place. Good for doing business away from Alliance eyes. It also means there is nobody here to hear your call for help.
Alliance comes back
: And in comes a ship of shiny new troopers and their gungho officer. That will complicate things.
: The Reavers show up every 15-20 years. Of course, while you are here, they have come back early. It is time to run and hide.