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August 20, 2009, 1:48 am

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"Zutul? You mean someone took time to give it a name?"

Maj. Rielle Law

'Its a joke that someone named this planet. It doesn't deserve more than a footnote in a astometrics log and a handful of meaningless letters and numbers to its credit. Zutul? Who named it? Probably some probe hound trying to impress someone back in a dome or a hab.'

Maj. Rielle Law

A World Meager and Inhospitable

Zutul is classified as a marginally habitable desert planet. Temperatures are moderate, being habitable in most of the non-polar regions. There is no surface water to speak of, and what little water there is remains locked either in polar permafrost aquefers or in hypersaline ponds meters below the surface. The atmosphere is thin and dessicatingly dry, the primary components being carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The equatorial region has a degree of oxgenation from failed terraforming attempts, and can sustain unassisted breathing for no more than 10 to 15 minutes.

'If it wasn't for tunneling geo-spectrographic probes, this planet would have never seen the aft side of a ship. Core samples found impressive lodes of iron, nickle, uranium, copper and a dozen other valuable metals. The Terraformers came, roughnecks and pioneers. They failed, the planet just seems to hate life. The dust storms come, driving grit and dust on the wind and follow with lightning displays. Hard on plants, hard on machinery, hard on people. Eventually they gave up trying to make the place green. Not enough water to get the process started and not enough comet mass to drop onto the planet. Not that that technique has gone well the few times they tried it. Always reaching for the stars, those idiots.'

Maj. Rielle Law

The Mining Corporations

Despite lacking the creature comforts of the typical inhabited world, Zutul had two things going for it in the eyes of the hardrock mining consortiums. The planet was rich in metallics and heavy metals, and it had no ecosystem to speak of. Without regulations, reclamation and other expensive considerations demanded on better worlds, profit was much easier to assure. The Planet was divided into 24 geo-regions and parceled off to various mining groups. The planetside operations built small domed habitats on the surface and warren like mineshafts and open pits in the face of the planet.

Musare City is the largest colony on Zutul, and houses approximately 5,500 people. Musare also is the central spaceport, and the site of the first planetary ore smelter, the HQ of the Zutul Garrison, and the main depot for the maintenance of most of the planet's heavy machinery. There are another 200,000 people spread out across the face of the planet at mining stations, fuel and repair depots, and random settlements. In comparison, the population of the Asoen III Penal colony on Asoenpol is 788,000 inmates and 120,000 support personel.

'Pick axes? In this day and age? How primitive.'

Maj. Rielle Law

Hard Labor, Heavy Labor

Hardrock mining is an unforgiving industry. Tons of raw material are removed, producing a few hundred pounds of ore, which in trun produce an even smaller fraction of refined metals. The smaller colonies and outposts on Zutul range down to literal mom and pop operations running a small crusher and portable forge fed by picks and hammers and wheel barrows. These are the poorest of the poor on the planet, left to fend for themselves rather than participate in corporate operations. The Corp. Mines use heavy machinery almost exclusively. The most common machines have changed little other than exchange combustion engines for syntho-electric battery packs. Crawlers and bucket loaders, diggers and borers extract raw material and feed it via conveyors or transport trucks to the smelting yards. This accounts for about half of Zutul's exported goods.

The underground is home to the most advanced creations on Zutul, even more sophisticated than the starships that on rare occasion vist the planet. The crust is slowly being eaten out by termite like crawling refineries. These machines have a crew of 24 or more, and are 50 to 120 feet long. Each moves slowly through the crust, the front end pulverizing the bedrock and crushing it down. The normally ejected material is crushed, heated, treated with electricity, and what isn't metal is expelled out the rear end. The remaining metal is extruded as a series of cables. Each metal is drawn out as a 99% pure cable, separated by their specific gravities. As the drum feeders are filled on the crawler, the drums are dropped into a smaller crawler that follows the larger. These shuttle the multi-ton spools of iron, nickle, copper, aluminum and other metals back to the starport for launch into orbit via mass driver.


Rules to Survive

1. Mind your O2 Supply. without this, you have 3 minutes of life.

2. Mind your H2O Supply. Without this, you have 3 days of life.

3. Mind your Battery. Without this, you have no radio, you have no heater, you have no light, you have no ability to communicate. Without this, you have an estimated 12 days of life.

4. Mind your fellow worker.


'They sure love their rules, don't they. Must be nice, hell and discipline."

Maj. Rielle Law




Plot Hooks

  • Zutul has become the target of increasing bandit and raider activity. While the monetary value of the metal being stolen is really not that much, the damage to facilities and loss of personel are a problem. There is also concern as to why raiders would be going after low value high bulk raw materials. PCs are hired to investigate and defend an installation from raider attack.
  • With multiple mining operations on the planet, it is invariable that there is conflict between two factions. As shouting turns to sabotage and vandalism, the PCs are sent in to either mediate the dispute, end it by any means, or to pick a side and help them through. This can range from a dispute between a common ground, miners versus mine bosses, and on and on.
  • Alien ruins are discovered, mayhem ensues.

'Survey complete, this place was a complete waste of time. There is hardly anything here now, and that is an improvement over what was here before. In 24 hours, I will be back about the Boomerang Rabbit, and heading for the next set of coordinates.'

Maj. Rielle Law, Personal Log


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Comments ( 5 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted valadaar
August 20, 2009, 21:35
A nicely detailed 'incidental' planet. I approve!
Voted manfred
August 21, 2009, 5:12
I certainly agree, this dirty little planet has character! Linked to W&P.
Voted Cheka Man
August 24, 2009, 16:20
Not a nice planet to be on.
Voted Old Dreamer
March 19, 2011, 18:10

Well developed. An economy, lots of interesting places. Just the right amount of detail. I think this could be cut and pasted into virtually any sci-fi campaign. Thanks.

Voted MysticMoon
April 3, 2011, 1:17

Well written and useful.

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Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Raptyr

Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.

Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.

Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.

The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.

Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.

In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.

Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.

Ideas  ( Lifeforms ) | October 12, 2011 | View | UpVote 3xp

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