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Systems of the Gateway Domain: Kishimaa (1933 Diamond-Prince/Ley)


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Edit: it turns out Kishimaa does have some description in canon after all: in the intro story to the T20 THB. So I've described a world that I thought was "untouched", when it wasn't. Oh well.

Note: Kishimaa fits nicely as the unspecified system which is used part way through the Cold Fuzion adventure in Gateway to Destiny.

Kishimaa 1933 Diamond-Prince/Ley (Imperial)
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Kishimaa – sole habitable planet in a solar system of the same name – is a torrid world, and mostly impractical for low-tech habitation. The average temperature is around 90 Celsius in the tropics, but it drops by 60 or 70 around the poles. The air is dense and humidity is high. Almost all of the population live in or near the southern Arctic Circle, whose northern counterpart is short on dry land but over-endowed with volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Terrain in the southern inhabited zone runs the gamut. There are mountains, rivers, broad valleys, jungles and desert scrub, savannah and deciduous forest, and oceans of sand as one heads for the equator.

Kishimaa is a recent entrant to the Imperium; it has been a member for less than a hundred years. Before joining, it had a repressive oligarchic government with a system of “indentured assignment” for the masses that was very, very close to chattel slavery. The world’s ruling classes kept the technology down, and they were in no rush to join the Imperium and have their compliance with Imperial High Law examined. The Imperium was in no great hurry to absorb the world either. It was of little economic interest; and despite slight strategic importance as a “choking” link between Imperial systems on the Serpent Main, it never interfered with through traffic in practice.

It was moral outrage at the “slavery within the Empire” that finally brought Kishimaa into the Imperium, thanks to a series of documentaries shot by a journalist from Ohasset (1435 Satyressia/Ley) using high-tech cameras and bugging devices. The Sector Duke was eventually convinced that “something must be done”, so the diplomatic, commercial and dirty tricks machinery swung into action. Two years of uprisings and some remarkably rapid peacekeeping deployments saw government split between a variety of successor states. They were unanimous in applying for Imperial membership.

The main industries on Kishimaa were traditionally subsistence farming, ranching, servility and working as a lackey to keep the peasants down. The last two are on the wane, but there is still a very pronounced class system. Agricultural/industrial day labourers are below tenant farmers and domestic servants, who’re below landowning farmers, who’re about level with shopkeepers but below the larger merchants and the narrow professional class, who’re nobody in social terms if they haven’t owned hundreds of square kilometres for hundreds of years. Factory owners, bankers and railroad tycoons are hard to place; they cause considerable confusion at social functions when they collide with the society’s stiff manners. Few question this – a progressive on Kishimaa is one who congratulates a sweeper-turned-shopkeeper on rising in society, not one who abhors the distinction.

Before the Imperium came, technology (outside of bodyguard units and great estates) was around level 2. It’s now tentatively an average of four, but there’s huge variation. Oxen pull most ploughs. Coal miners use picks and pit ponies to retrieve coal that was located by seismic/densiometric survey and computer analysis, before it’s fed to steam locomotives that use TL10 low-friction ceramic bearings in place of grease. Navvies laid the railroad, through mountains drilled by superdense tunnelling machines flown in on fat traders. Most post offices have a telephone plugged into the sky-net, with e-mail facilities, and from there children will usually carry messages for a small coin. Visitors will have no trouble connecting to the communications net in the south, where the staggered polar com-sat orbits overlap, but service is intermittent elsewhere on the planet.

One technology you won’t see much on Kishimaa is weapons. They were banned to the masses under the old regime, the better to keep them down. The outbreaks of armed combat around the time of Imperial admission made it entirely clear just how unpleasant they could be, so there was broad support for re-banning them afterwards. Permits tightly control lethal weapons; they are seen in the hands of wilderness rangers, police firearms officers, gamekeepers, soldiers and the like.

The years of pseudo-slavery did foster a widespread underground tradition of deadly martial arts combining unarmed forms with improvised weapons. These have fallen out of favour a little, since talking to off-planet journalists achieved more than flying kicks (against troops who were prepared to fire into crowds). But it has given rise to a wide following for sporting martial arts, both as recreation and spectacle. And there are people about who’ve mastered some of the older, less sporting repertoire. So Kishimaa is a very bad place to start a bar brawl.

Kishimaa has several nations, all of which formed democratic governments of some sort after throwing off their previous masters (or watching the Imperial Army do it for them). They speak a variety of tonal languages, which philologists reckon to be derived from a mixture of Vilani and an ancient Terran dialect. These days most businessmen (and all schoolchildren with ambitious parents) speak passable Galanglic.

The inhabited region is dominated by the tip of a large continent, which stretches down from the tropics and wraps around the pole like a big hook. Kishimaa’s largest nation, a progressive (by local standards) parliamentary democracy called Toshimatsu, fills the inhabitable part. Toshimatsu is where most of the technological development is going on, as local and off-world investors build up the infrastructure so that they can expand the ranching industry and harvest the unusual, and valuable, fine-grained timber that’s native to the planet. It’s also at the heart of Kishimaa’s fledgling fishing industry, which is using imported technology to finally make a go of fishing in the extremely strong ocean currents.

Two large island nations – Dorissu and Kung Mok – flank Toshimatsu to east and west, each separated by a thousand kilometres of water. They used to be hard to reach by sea since ships had counter the current, and the occasional airship service was the only option at some times of year. Each of the two is less developed than Toshimatsu, with less external trade and some tough people leading tough lives “up country”, especially the plantation labourers and their bosses. In most places it seems that “the government is far away”; Kung Mok, in particular, is a place where a few credits can make official problems go away and only wealthy people win elections or court cases.

There are also several coastal archipelagos and isolated islands in the southern region, each sparsely inhabited if at all. Communications to them are poor, although a few with mining potential are starting to open up.

Kishimaa’s starport is in central-western Toshimatsu, on a plateau about 20km from the capital Ado. It’s situated along the railroad leading over the central mountain chain, close to the airport that’s emerging as a domestic hub. It’s a class D facility run by the Imperial Starport Authority, with a short platoon of Marines stationed on the port and a couple of air/space rescue vessels run by the SPA. It’s also home to a wing of three Imperial Navy fighters, for commerce protection and ceremonial flypasts. The SPA maintains a 24 hour sensor/comm watch, and the navy/marines have someone on duty around the clock, but other services are ad-hoc or office hours only. Normally, only unrefined fuel is available – the SPA and the Navy refine fuel for their own vessels, but they haven’t plumbed the main landing field for LHyd just yet.

The imperial representative to Kishimaa, Lady Diana Hoon-Traes, maintains her official residence on the spaceport mostly to avoid putting it in one nation’s territory and offending the others. It’s a short ride to Ado by air/raft.
Oh bugger.

Well, so much for that.

And I did a PDF search of my entire "Traveller" directory for references...
Well, you can always make things fit with a big enough hammer. But the OTU Kishimaa has snow. It might be easier to assign that text to a different world with a compatible UWP.

IMTU, Kishimaa is as I described above, since it's been established in play (first place I put the party in jail).