Pithos

Pithos System

Pithos.jpg

Ruler: Taipan Gan Chu
Cathedral: None
Agora: A wretched hive of scum and villainy
Garrison: 7
Capital: Neo Chiba (not a true world capitol, but it has the largest spaceport)
Jumps: 1
Tech Level: 6
Human Population: Unknown
Alien Population: Unknown
Resources: industry, ores, minerals, ancient ruins, tech caches
Exports: weapons tech, cyber tech, starships, refined ores

Solar System

Star: Drum (orange star)
Planet Name Distance from Star Notes
Torch 0.3AU
Sludge 0.6AU
Pithos 1.0AU
Mtha 4.8AU
Migon 8.0AU
Elysia 15.0AU 15 moons, 20 space stations
Jump gate 30.0AU

From space, Pithos appears deceptively serene. It is a simple yellowish world with few large bodies of water and few distinguishing features of terrain. Hidden behind this placid exterior, the planet has thousands of hidden dangers, not in the form of its indigenous flora or fauna, but from the technology covertly used by its human inhabitants. Vast plains of red soil provide abundant crops, plenty of cheap building material, and a haven for those who study forbidden tech. Poverty and progress exist side by side.

History

Since the time of the Diaspora, the planet has remained isolated from most of the Jump web, creating a backwater that harbors black-market medical clinics, fanatic computer enthusiasts and a culture that consider technology an integral part of life. Pithos was among those of the First Republic systems to risk challenging the pantheonic zaibatsu gods on First Earth. The planet’s wealth depended on high-tech work camps and sweatshops, hellholes where citizens worked long hours in exchange for a meager existence. Their products were expensive, but building material, local foodstuffs and labor were all cheaply available. Life was cheap, too – factory workers had few rights, and local laws existed mainly to protect company interests and property. When local company leaders decided their colony could be self-sufficient without paying taxes and tariffs to their financial masters, Pithos’s corporate offices underwent drastic downsizing. A revolution of impoverished jobless Pithosns raided local corporate headquarters across the globe, looting and setting them aflame. However, the elite holding all the cards on technology, resources and wealth quickly put down the revolution.

Life was hard and brutal, and a new system of management emerged to run the world, as local technocrats replaced off-world overlords. The next generation of economic elite wanted to make sure another revolution wouldn’t depose them, and a new managerial cast arose that safeguarded its tech, keeping it away from the masses. The worker castes were educated just enough to slave away for a lifetime. The Pithosan elite acquired fantastic wealth as local wares were cheaply produced but sold to a high price, and no off-world taxation to eat away profits. In addition, Pithos became a trade hub as outsider merchants flocked to the planet that was beyond the trade laws and taxes of the First Republic. Through its wealth and economic sophistication alone did Pithos manage to keep the pantheons at bay, and anything was available on Pithos – for a price.

With trade and manufacturing remaining unrestricted by legal systems and general ethics, Pithos quickly developed from a trade free-zone into a black-market world. Transhumanism thrived on Pithos, and the world became cybertech haven where wealthy First Republican citizens, and later Diasporan aristocrats, could come to be augmented in whichever way they wanted – no questions asked and no eyebrows raised. With the rise of the Second Republic, Pithos saw an increase in the pressure for returning the world to the central government, and the Pithosan elite grew steadily more xenophobic and paranoid. Pithos’s culture became increasingly violent and anarchistic, and the final act of rebellion involved sabotage of the system’s Jump gate. The last remnants of the managerial cast shut it down in a desperate attempt to evade the increasing control and influence of the Second Republic. With no need of Jump Engines the technical know how to maintain and produce these complicated pieces of machinery were quickly lost, their parts scavenged for other things, effectively stranding the Pithosns in their system.

The citizens of Pithos never heard of the Fall, nor would they have much cared. By then, Pithos had become it’s own unique kind of isolated dystopia, a high-tech hellhole where wealthy technocrats had desperately attempted to keep order within their bubble economy, but ultimately failed. The economic elite escaped off-world, although they could not travel beyond the Jump gate and instead set up distant colonies on other bodies in the Pithosan system. The masses left behind were almost starving, but still with access to left-behind technology and resources, managed to scrap by in paranoid well-armed city states and settlements.

Discovery by the Galactic Imperium
Pithos was rediscovered in 4999 when the local Jump gate had regenerated enough to function and the Jump road to Suty spontaneously opened just as Imperial agents were examining the Suty Jump gate. The first survey by Questing Knights indicated that it was a backwater planet with some surviving relic tech located in and around the remaining city-states. The discovery was kept a secret for four years, until Atzlánti spies publically announced the world in GD 5003 right under the Imperium’s nose.

First contact did not go as expected as the local populace initially cowered in fear of the new arrivals when the contact team landed near an outlying settlement. However, the peasants did not hide from the visitors, but from the cyber-aristocracy which the arrivals were sure to draw out. The first cyber gang to reach the settlement where the knights had landed massacred the Falcon Imperium envoys where they stood and took their gear as loot. The possession of a starship, even though one no-one knew how to fly it, sparked a series of nomad wars in the Pithosan wastes as cyber gangs battled for cannibalization rights. The ship was quickly stripped of almost everything of any value, but more importantly the Pithosan city-states now knew that visitors had arrived and would likely return with thoughts of plunder and conquest.

Over a period of five years several more ships were captured, sometimes with the crew taken alive and interrogated. The vessels were subjected to Pithosan scrutiny as they were meticulously disassembled and reverse engineered, finally giving the Pithosan people access to the greater reaches of space. The acquisition of space technology began an era of intense conflict as each city-state tried to steal what knowledge it could form its neighbors. A civil war was about to ignite on Pithos when an unidentified hacker freed the most of the information hoarded by the competing states. This averted full-scale world war but gave anyone with the base technology and sufficient resources the ability to build their own starships.

Reaching out from their world Pithosan pirates took their conflict into orbit and then in to the void beyond. It was only a matter of time before they reached the decaying Elysian orbitals, once the strongholds of the wealthiest tech-aristocrat families who fled Pithos in the early New Dark Ages. In a matter of a few short years the Pithosan system was swarming with pirate ships, but their inability to replicate the Jump drive kept them bottled up in their own system, for the Pithosan city-states jealously guarded their scavenged Galactic Imperium Jump drives and Ingress keys.

The Imperial Navy has established a partial blockade in Pithosan space to control access to the system although starships from both sides manage to slip through from time to time. Unauthorized travel to Pithos is forbidden under Imperial law, and both Sectus and Guilds have declared the world off-limits for its subjects. The technological resources on Pithos are considerable, but everyone fears the consequences for the Star Empire if Pithosan wares and ethics were to spread into civilized space. Still, it is widely believed that every faction is sneaking agents to Pithos to reap its harvests before others gain access to it.

Now Pithosan pirate fleets scour the Pithos system, attacking anyone too weak to resist them and even the Imperial Navy has suffered losses. Within the last few years Pithosan pirates have begun to make raids in to the neighboring Suty system and placing additional pressures on the Atzlánti military. Some Pithosans have even served as mercenaries, their reputation for ruthlessness tempered only by their loyalty to none but themselves.

Over 99% of the world’s population now consists of peasants living at a sustenance level. Less than one in 10,000 Pithosans actually belong to the planet’s tech-aristocracy. Because they prefer to keep their wealth hidden, their fields of sustenance farms and vast dilapidated villages hide some of the most advanced technology in Posthuman Space. Hidden in the midst of over a billion peasants, small cabals of technophiles continue to develop their crafts. Cybertech is much rarer now than it was a thousand years ago, but nearly anyone on the streets of Pithosan cities may peddle scraps of it… or themselves use it. In the safest sanctums of their homes, the wealthiest families keep their heirlooms hidden from greedy neighbors. Beyond the city walls cyber enhanced nomad gang’s control large regions of the planet through fear and intimidation, preying on the defenseless to provide foodstuffs, and take whatever they needed from whoever they can.

Pithos still has unusually advanced medical technology, for the culture has maintained a sizable cast of healers and surgeons. The local standards of medicine are slightly ahead of what the Ingenium Guild possess. Advanced medicine, complicated with the easy availability of food and housing, has made overpopulation an ever-present problem; thus, human life is far from sacred. Health care exists for profit, and Pithosan doctors are a mercenary lot – many a patient visiting a Pithosan clinic has woken up in a back ally with organs and cybernetics harvested by the surgeons, while the less fortunate find themselves harvested on the streets even before reaching the hospital.

Pithos is overpopulated, and although grains and soya is cultivated in abundance, water is scarcer. Because food and housing are plentiful, and the locals are not troubled by predators, the Pithosan ecosystem has found another way to keep the human population down: outbreaks of violence. Pithosans do not flinch at the thought of killing to survive, and their culture is a mix of technological supremacy and social barbarism. Those who have tech will kill to keep it; those who do not will kill to take it. Cheap blades are as plentiful on Pithos as soya, and children learn to throw them and brawl with them as part of growing up. Adults are worse, usually preferring cheap slug guns. An armed planet is a polite planet, and few worlds are as “polite” as Pithos.

Neo Chiba
Neo Chiba is the largest city on Pithos and host the largest spaceport – a huge maxicrete clearing with refueling stations, mechanics, merchants, and cantinas nearby. It’s a crumbling place with a large open medical “black” market.

Odyssia
Odyssia is a remote village with a high golem population.

Fervor
Fervor is a heavily armed city with a munitions industry based economy, and “synthlife”, an artificial component that perfectly mimics human flesh, is also produced here.

Pithos

Silver Age Beyond brightwyrm