Rohan

Abstract of system data

HIC 104101 is a solitary F8 dwarf star, older, hotter, and much more luminous than Sol.

Spectral class F8 V
Luminosity 3.0 Lsol
Mass 1.19 Msol
Distance from Sol
from Pegasus SHQ (Metheglin)
120.5 light-years
50.9 light-years
Constellation Equuleus
Inhabited worlds 1 HIC 104101 VI,
Rohan
Total population 115 million

Planetology

Rohan is a terrestrial rocky planet, about 40% smaller and 10% less dense than Earth was. Volatiles budget is about the same, but Rohan is 16 K cooler than Earth, and much of the water is locked up in icecaps. The polar regions are uninhabitable, and settlement is largely confined to the equatorial band.

The air is thin, and oxygen supplements or very careful acclimatisation are required. Thin air makes the ozone layer thin, besides which the F8 star radiates harmful amounts of ultraviolet. Precautions against sunburn are recommended.

Orbital radius mean
perihelion
apheliion
1.9 AU
1.8 AU
2.0 AU
Year length 2.35
1538.8
standard years
local days
Day length 13 hours 23 minutes
0.56 standard days
Diameter 7 360 km
Density 5.0 g/cm2
Surface gravity 5.1
0.52
m/s2^^
gee
Escape velocity 6.1 km/s
Atmosphere pressure

composition
0.52 bar
(thin)
N2 , O2
(breathable)
Ocean coverage 60% (water)
Average surface
temperature
mean
perihelion
aphelion
-1 C
6 C
-7 C
Apparent size
of primary
0.41°
Visual illumination 0.89 × Earth's
Incident radiation harmful
Indigenous life advanced, toxic (mild, insidious)
near extinct

Society

Rohan is sparsely populated. 40% of the ice-free land is entirely desert, and much of the rest is seasonally grazed by itinerant pastoralists. Despite that, the society is predominantly urban. A large majority live in settlements of 10,000 population or more.

The most pominent social feature is that the Rohanese wear masks. These were original worn to provide supplementary oxygen and to protect against environmental irritants (chiefly the sporees of native plants, now substantially extinct). But the Rohanese long since developed and still retain, a strong taboo against the exposure of the face. A tight, clinging mask is considered risqué, and a mask presenting the appearance of human face is considered lewd.

Because they may not expose their mouths to view, the Rohanese do not make a social occasion of any meal. There are no feasts or banquets, nor even cocktail parties. They eat and drink in private. On the other hand, they have a custom of inhaling intoxicating and disinhibiting drugs in the form of smokes and vapours, sometimes wearing special masks to do so.

Rohanese do not learn to read emotion from facial expressions very well, nor to recognise people by their faces. On the other hand, they tend to be unusually good at recognising people by their proportions, stance, and gait, and there is some evidence that they are better than most at reading body language, or at least that of fellow Rohanese. Some psychologists have suggested that the Rohanese do not recognise the personhood of others as well as people who grow up reading faces do, and that many of them must be functionally psychopathic.

People on Rohan wear different masks as many societies wear different clothes. Specific masks, or styles of masks, or qualities of masks are appropriate to different jobs, social roles, social statuses, sexes, times of day, or social groups. For example, the lion mask of a law enforcement officer is like a uniform or badge: it is worn only when on duty. Similarly, there are business masks, party masks, informal masks, smoking masks, even sleeping masks and swimming masks.

The nudity taboo is otherwise slight, though there is some inhibition about exposing the genitals of either sex.

The institution of the family in Rohanese society is weak, having declined markedly in the last two centuries. It still has a significant role in the conservative societies of the itinerant graziers and broad-farm agriculturalists, and among the rich, but among the urban middle and working classes the family is feeble. Kinship is scarcely acknowledged beyond the second degree, and children begin to transfer their primary feelings of identity from home and family to various clubs, fandoms, and affinities in their early to middle teens.

Urban Rohanese tend to identify primarily as members of particular affinities, which range in nature from small groups of like-minded peers to the fandoms of sporting franchises, and aesthetic subcultures. Membership may be overlapping, and is in some cases nested. Particular designs, styles, or categories of masks are associated with different affinities, and Rohanese often wear masks that indicate a pertinent affinity membership.

Rohanese society condones the use of violence to avenge insults and terminate "intolerable provocation". It also makes light of fistfights.

Sex-role differences are slight in urban culture, but more marked in rural and nomad culture.

Date of settlement 31 PDT
Character of foundation Commercial development
(open intake)
Foundation number 438th
Population 115 million
Population density 1.7 persons/km²
Settlement
structure
Itinerant pastoralism, spread farming, and concentrated industry
Family structure
formation
registration
dissolution
Casual
Mutual agreement
No formal registration
Unilateral departure
Social ideals * Solidarity with affine associates (especially in urban society).
* Material prosperity (especially in conservative rural society).
* Firmness of will or purpose.
Social peculiarities * Intense facial exposure taboo; mild gential exposure taboo.
* No eating or drinking together.
* Primary social identification is with voluntary groups: "affinities".
* Masks mark class/occupation, affinity membership, availability, current social mode, etc.
* Violence is condoned in the face of provocation.
* Slight sex-role divergence.
Language Slightly divergent from Tau Cetian Standard
* Several regional accents exist.

Government and law

Rohan is a coalition of nominally isocratic republics, but in practice the republics are oligarchic.

Governments on Rohan feature a "ladder of honours" system, in which previous service in junior public offices is required for eligibility to more senior offices.

Anti-incumbency rules in all States prevent any person in elected office from standing for re-election to his own post or any other. In some states a person must alternate between public service and work in the private sector. In others it is permissible to alternate between elected and appointed public offices. Military service may be a special case.

The result is that political offices are occupied only for short terms, and almost always by people who have strong ownership interests or careers in management and the professions (to support them and augment their reputations between incumbencies). No candidate can make it through junior offices on a promise of reforms to be effected later in senior office, and the few reformers who do achieve high office generally find their terms to short to force through any effective scheme of reform. The only steadfastness that government on Rohan shows is steadfast attachment to the interests of the oligarchical class from which the public officials are draw. States on Rohan adopt reforms only in emergencies.

Formal name of state League of Rohan
Form of government coalition
Head of state
title President of Rohan
succession rotation
eligibility state governors
tenure 1 local year
note: This post is ceremonial. Powers usual to a head-of-state are reserved to the Council of Governors.
Chief executive
title Secretary-general of the League of Rohan
succession appointment (by President with consent of the Council of Governors)
eligibility open
tenure at the pleasure of the Council of Governors
Supreme legislature
title Legislative Council (81 members)
succession from each state, one member of the Legislative Council is appointed by the Governor, one elected by the legislature, and one elected by the People
eligibility former state legislators not in public office
term one local year, non-reelectable
notes 1. enactments are subject to ratification by the Council of Governors.
2. the ambit of League law is constrained by the Constitution.
Judiciary
supreme court Paramount Court of Rohan (9 members)
succession co-optation
eligibility chief justices of State supreme courts, excluding those of States with justices on the existing bench
tenure until age 50 local years
Criminal justice
procedure adversarial
decisions randomly-selected juries, advised by judges
rights of accused 5/10
enforcement resources 5/10
peculiar laws * Indecent exposure of the face is a serious misdemeanour in most jurisdictions
* Disseminating images of human faces is variously criminalised according to jurisdiction
* Most jurisdictions recognise "intolerable provocation" as justification for the use of force
* Weapon carry permits are required, availability according to jurisdiction
* Various laws forbid labour unions or restrict their actions, varying from State to State
* "Assembly for an unlawful purpose" is an offence in most States
* Felony murder rule.
punishments Vary according to jurisdiction.
Judges have wide latitude in most cases.
* Fines
* Imprisonment
* Death sentences apply for murder, rape, insurrection, terrorism, sabotage of State defence facilities, treason, arson of an inhabited building, and in some States burglary of an inhabited building while carrying an unlicensed weapon.

Constituent states

State Capital Population
Assuraia Tashkent 12 100 000
Astanten Astantenburr 1 400 000
Brouchon Nijhouti 121 000
Cixi Blackwater 1 400 000
Eden Nuruu Kyzylstum 3 900 000
Gamaw Georgetown 2 000 000
Gotsche Gianneport 12 400 000
Graustark Yetive 1 500 000
Guofan Guofan City 5 000 000
Hassengau Hassenstadt 2 700 000
Jafarianesse Augustinopolis 12 600 000
Jügenberg Öberjuch 746 000
Kunming Beiying 1 300 000
Layagau Ghasa 127 000
Messengau Messenburg 29 500
Napo Papallacta 1 200 000
Odessa Freetown 708 700
Penthenberrow Changsha 121 600
Quarelli Masonboro 12 700 000
Rolland's Plains Cabramurra-sur-Mer 3 500 000
Samarina Haut-Savoie 4 600 000
Siesem Edoras 10 300 000
Thorment Skou 10 500 000
Turgistan Turgay 1 200 000
Ustyurt Karakorum 7 800 000
Yizhu New Guangdong 273 000
Zubieta Castillo 4 700 000

Economy

The economy of Rohan is based on itinerant pastoralism, mechanised farming, and centralised manufacturing.

Graziers and farmers produce food, fuel, fibre, and feedstocks for industry, using mostly livestock and crops that were engineered on Earth and modified in the first century of settlement. Uptake of stock improvements since reintegration has been patchy, but the adoption of farm machinery has been rapid. The grazing and farming industries have prospered by shed labour, leading to a decline of population in farming areas, the consolidation of farms, and the decline of country towns. Population has moves to manufacturing centres, with accelerating growth of cities over the last 200 years.

Manufacturing uses industrial techniques equivalent to Earth in the middle of the 20th Century, though engineered crops and livestock provide superior organic materials and pharmaceuticals. Most industries are dominated by monopolies and cartels within each state, protected from upstart and interstate competition by tariffs, quotas, price and wage controls, arbitary standards, obstructive regulations, and official harassment. Monopoly and oligopoly raise prices and lower output and wages, tariffs and quotas prevent the economic integration of the planet, this and the lack of competition inhibit technical change. Economic development on Rohan, the dominating fact of life for two centuries, has reached the limits allowed by current institutions and resources. Productivity growth has been slowing for 25 standard years, and is essentially at a standstill.

Oligopsony power in the labour market, with the flood of cheap labour from the farmlands, has kept wages low. State governments, well-integrated with the ownership and management of industry, have legislated to suppress labour unions. There have been riots associated with the suppression of illegal pickets, with strike-breaking, and with lock-outs. Union organisers have been gaoled. Radical socialist feeling is rising. There have been isolated acts of terrorism against strikebreakers, industrialist oligarchs, and secret police facilities.

Public infrastructure is deficient, particularly in the matter of education.

Rohan's engagement with interstellar trade is only slight. High-tech components are imported for inclusion with moulded and machined components in locally-assembled products, most of which are re-exported. Rohan also exports agricultural products such as aramid fibre and chemical feedstocks, and small quantities of natural lapis lazuli, opal, and turquoise.

Rohan's common currency is supplied by the custom of keeping accounts in dekagrams of silver. Each State mints coins in .900 fine silver, the usual denominations being 2g, 5g, and 10g, with 1g and 20g coins minted by some States. The bulk of the currency in circulation consists of redeemable silver certificates, and there are bronze tokens with face values of 0.1g, 0.5g, and 1g, but these are accepted only reluctantly outside the issuing States. Purchasing power is approximately 1 deka = 0.45 SVU, and the exchange rate is 6.285 dekas = 1 Imperial crown.

Industrial organisation Industrial oligarchy
with locally oligopolised markets
Development GURPS TL 7
Currency unit
purchasing power
exchange value
dekagram of silver
1 deka = 0.45 SVU
1 deka = 0.1591 crowns
Economic volume 1.16 trillion
520 billion
dekas/annum
SVU per annum
Income per caput 4,500 SVU per annum
Index of equality 0.41
Spaceport size:
type:
class 1
ground facility

History

Discovery

SHEP probe #1575 scouted Hip 104101 in AD 2191, and discovered a single habitable planet in a system with no gas giant. The report reached Earth in AD 2311, and the colonisation rights were bought at auction by a for-profit company, Far Horizons PLC.

Migrants from Earth

Far Horizons named the habitable plant "Rohan", hoping to suggest an idyllic pastoral life on the wide plains of Hip 104101 VI. The company sent the first shipload of subsidised pioneers to build basic facilities in AD 2314, and followed them up with additional terraformation workers in AD 2316, 2318, and 2320. The first paying migrants joined the 2318 ship, and from 2322 Far Horizons was able to send only paying migrants to Rohan.

Migrants to Rohan were generally well-funded and equipped, and the ratings agencies made encouraging projections of the colony's development. These attracted numerous migrants, and led them to transport their wealth in the form of high-tech components that could be incorporated into products by an advanced and rapidly-developing local economy. By AD 2395 Rohan was attracting a number of hopeful migrants whose wealth consisted largely of expertise in recondite professions: accountants, tertiary educators, photonics engineers, and the like.

A total of approximately 28,600 people migrated from Earth to Hip 104101 over 88 years. They were drawn from all parts of the world equally.

Pioneers and settlers

One thousand pioneers arrived at Hip 104101 VI on 17 March 31 PDT, and chose the youngest of their number, Dr. Alfonza Ipimi, to be the first person to set foot on the planet. The colony was formally named 'Rohan' (a name that had been chosen in advance) and the first settlement 'Edoras'.

The pioneers found that Rohan fell short of their expectations in two respects. First, most of the soils were deficient in nutrients, particularly phosphate. Secondly, the native vegetation released masses of very fine spores, which provoked allergies that were sometimes catastrophic and caused diseases when they germinated in the lungs and the mucosa of the airways and eyes. People wore protective masks (which at first also carried oxygen supplements, needed in the thin air). But it was not practical to establish land vertebrates in the ecology with the means at hand, at least until the sporiferous native vegetation was substantially eradicated. Lack of vertebrates to spread seeds and so forth slowed the proliferation of the Terran biomes, which delayed the eradication of indigenous life. Nor could vertebrate livestock be introduced until the allergens and weird diseases were eliminated, which meant that the development of the colony fell behind schedule.

From about 80 PDT and increasingly thereafter, immigrants arriving at Rohan found that local manufacturing was insufficiently advanced to be able to use their most sophisticated trade goods, that the economy was insufficiently developed to employ the professional skills of the most highly trained of them, and that the pastoral lifestyle that Far Horizons had sold them was not to be had. Many were inclined to hold the local authorities on Rohan responsible for the promises made by rating agencies and Far Horizons PLC on Earth 120 years before. A sense of ill-usage exacerbated their economic disappointment.

Lacking the middle-tech assemblies that were required for its continued development, local manufacturing faltered and declined. Jimethon Assad, who arrived in 117 PDT, recorded an impression of a post-apocalyptic society in which a few fully-assembled-on-Earth high technology items were embedded in a matrix of mediaeval technology or worse.

The last ship-full of migrants arrived in 120 PDT, to a cold welcome. The news that Earth had been destroyed came a few months later. It produced little sense of catastrophe: the people of Rohan had ceased to expect relief from Earth. The population was approximately 100,600.

Development in isolation

Biological terraformation proceeded of its own accord. As it became possible for herds to flourish in the grasslands, and possible to farm in provinces far from Edoras, people set out to do so. They were drawn by opportunity, but also they were driven to escape the poverty and strife of the base colony. The society of Rohan evaporated into nomadism, leaving only a small urban residue. Technology collapsed to a level equivalent to Ancient Rome or the contemporary steppe nomads.

For over two centuries humans and their herds proliferated and spread around the planet, and sedentary farming and manufacturing societies emerged where conditions favoured agriculture and commerce. Tribal monarchies developed among the itinerant pastoralists, while the settled peoples established small-scale republics. Technology recovered somewhat. But population pressure was not great enough to force, nor communications technology good enough to allow, the production of any world history.

Experience of piracy and the Formation Wars

In 336 PDT Captain Chan Zhenwang (an explorer from Xin Tian Di) scouted Hip 104101 in a pirate FTL vessel. He made three landings near the largest cities on the planet (neglecting the nomads), and discovered a society with experimental guns but no powder mills, and a technological level otherwise comparable to Earth in the Renaissance. Rohan was too far from Xin Tian Di to attract either migrants or commerce, and Chen's backers did not exploit his discovery. Nevertheless, and account of Rohan was published, and knowledge of its state began to disseminate among the starfaring worlds.

Starting about 345 PDT a succession of small-scale enterprises, mostly from Xin Tian Di, set out for Rohan. The promoters presented themselves as bringing practical help to the backward people of Rohan, in the way of education, medical help, technology, or industry. None of these pirate educators or industrialists was, however, averse to achieving far greater status, wealth, and influence than his modest talents would have afforded in a more competitive environment. Most could not flourish even on Rohan: the 30% who could established dynasties of industrial and educational influence and came to be termed "progress lords".

In 354 PDT Rohan suffered its one major encounter with out-and-out piracy. General Hou Wu Lung was exiled from Xin Tian Di after a failed coup attempt, with 1,800 armed supporters. First failing to sieze power on Garuda (Omicron Aquilae A) he landed at Edoras and attempted a conquest of Rohan. Hou made only desultory efforts to secure local allies, and within a thousand hours of landing he was dead, assassinated by a captive servant. His force split up, the fragments were harried using guerilla tactics, and the last survivors were reduced to banditry within 100 standard days. 35,000 Rohanese were killed directly by Hou's invasion: others died through indirect causes.

The defeat of General Hou by the "barbarians" of Rohan was famous and well-approved on Xin Tian Di. It encouraged more second-rate philanthropists to come to Rohan and do well by doing good.

The Formation Wars did not reach Rohan, but they did cut it off from interstellar contact. Technological recovery continued apace, and population density in agricultural areas rose. Improved transport and communications allowed ambitious progress lords (and defensive alliances against progress-lord expansion) to consolidate vastly larger states than had been possible before. Warfare was rife, but not particularly savage, largely because the population was still small compared with the carrying capacity of the planet. Population growth, economic recovery, and political consolidation continued.

No more interstellar vessels visited Rohan until 503 PDT. Rohan was not represented at teh Lunar Peace Conference in 460 PDT.

Reintegration

The Imperial Survey frigate INS Argo visited Rohan in 503 PDT, and found a planet with early-Victorian industrial development, Balkanised into 27 significant coalitions and powers. The ambassador declined to recognise any of them as a sovereign colony at that stage.

The Imperial Senate appointed a custodial governor for Rohan in 505 PDT: Jason Chen, a billionaire speculator from Xin Tian Di. Chen made it the cornerstone of his governorship to negotiate the formation of the League of Rohan. The constitution of the League was signed under Chen's auspices on the 29th of November 509 PDT. Chen was recalled by the Imperial Senate, but resigned rather than travel to the Capital. The Senate censured Chen. The Imperial Council made him a Knight Commander of the Order of the Blue Flag. His successor intrigued to prevent the constitution from being ratified, but the necessary 21st state to ratify did so on the 13th of July 512, and the Empire recognised the League of Rohan as sovereign with effect from the 1st of January 513. The first Imperial Resident on Rohan (Yoshitsune Orloff) replaced the custodial governor that day.

Recent history

Relations among the States of the League have been marked by occasional border incidents and military confrontations, spying scandals, and trade wars, but the frequency of these tantrums has diminished steadily. The last exchange of fire between states was on the 2nd of April 566 PDT, when border patrols of Pethenberrow and Astanten exchanged shots over an error in the surveying of a railway alignment. Seven soldiers were killed.

The decline of violence among States has been offset by a rise in violence within States. This is associated with the growth of revolutionary or reformist feeling among the urban working classes of all States, forceful action by the authorities in support of the status quo, and radicals occasionally resorting to murderous attacks on strikebreakers, politicians, industrialists, and the police. The most notable terrorist incident to date was a bomb attack against the Vehmen Building in Tashkent (headquarters of the secret police of Assuraian secret police) on the 29th of February 569 PDT. Twelve people were killed.

Current situation

Rohan's present situation is satisfactory. The food supply is sufficient and secure. Doctors and drugs are in adequate supply. Military tension between the States is slight and diminishing, and no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction are evident. There is no immediate threat of starvation, epidemic, or war. Governments are authoritarian and suppress dissent with force, but none is murderously repressive.

Prospects for the future are not so good. Population is rising at a rate that will put pressure on the carrying capacity of the planet within a generation. Overpopulation would compromise food-supply adequacy and security, and promote the development of more profound conflict than Rohan has yet seen. Shortage of vital resources such as water and phosphate might yet lead to warfare much more desperate and destructive than Rohan has yet experienced.

The prospect of overpopulation could be diminished by further technological recovery, but recovery is inhibited a lack of economic integration between the States, and by anti-competitive policies within them. There has been inadequate investment in long-distance transport infrastructure.

The League of Rohan is too feeble to force economic integration on the states, and Rohanese political institutions and traditions make managed reform difficult within them. Those institutions and traditions also make government unusually partial in the interests of the rich, despite isocratic forms. Legislation and use of police to support employers and suppress labour unions have exacerbated class conflict and radicalised reformers. Violent class conflict is recent and only just significant, but conditions promote its increase.

Imperial assessment

Situation Safe for the present, but heedless of impending danger.
Problems * Impending overpopulation
* Protectionism and monopoly
* Stagnant economies
* Economic inequality and growing class conflict
* Aridity and infertile soils
* Deficient public infrastructure
* Deficient education systems
Assets * Adequate technology
* Numerous willing workers with some skills
* Universal literacy; widespread numeracy.
Attitude Abstracted
Imperial presence * Class 1 ground spaceport
* Class 2 residence with a platoon of marines guards
* 1 orbital monitor
* 3 orbital gunboats
* 278 Colonial Office personnel
Cautions * Wear a mask. Showing your face can give grave offence.
* Take care of your oxygen supplement. The air is thin enough to present a danger of acute mountain sickness.
* Speak mildly. "Intolerable provocation" is a licence for violence in Rohanese law and culture.
* Take precautions against sunburn whenever you are outdoors.

Copyright © 2008, by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.