Gileden C-483103-7 (Gas giants, no belts)
Gileden is a quiet, backwater world, consisting of a small village
around the starport, and a scattering of migratory prospectors.
The world orbits a gas giant, which in turn occupies the innermost
orbit of a small red star. (Please insert exact astronmical details to
Gileden is a very cold world. It rarely gets above freezing during the
day, and the depth of night often result in "air freezes", when the
carbon dioxide precipitates out of the atmosphere.
Gileden was uninhabited until just before the Third Frontier War. A
group of settlers from Deneb sector started a colony even as Zhodani
fleets were crossing the frontier.
The settlers received little attention until the Navy decided to
establish a small resupply base in the system. Naval vessels found the
colonists and their ship gone, and their base camp deserted. A brief
inquiry ended in a "probable enemy action" verdict, but this was later
disproved by Zhodani records.
The base was closed soon after the war, but was quickly occupied by
settlers. The current inhabitants eke a small living from the traffic
along the Spinward Main, and some small scale mining.
The starport and "capital" occupy the deserted naval facilities. These
are prefab domes and modules connected together. Snow and ice are
piled around and over them as insulation. There are also exterior
parking and storgae areas surrounded by ice walls.
The starport is well-equipped, with a shuttle and some techs, but has
very small capacity (100 tons). Parts can be backordered for months.
The Imperium maintains a small office run by whichever Starport
Authority official got the short straw that year - Gileden is a prime
punishment post in the SPA. The overall feel is probably close to a
small airfield deep in the Yukon.
The town is obviously quite small. (According to the extended UPP,
there are fewer than 20 people on-planet - I chose to interpret this
as applying to the capital only) There is a bar & grill. (Called the
Gileden's Island, to the disgust of my players. ;) ) There is one
combined general store/assay office/broker/etc, plus a fusion heating
plant & facilities, and some residences.
What little industry there is on Gileden consists of independent
prospectors. They roam the glaciers and hills in tracked ATV's. Their
equipment is usually decrepit, and they are often deeply in debt to
the General Store.
West of the starport is an enormous canyon known as the rift. It is
very deep (2-5km), with sheer walls and treacherous edges. It runs due
Southwest in a more-or-less straight line for some 500km.
The bottom is choked with snow, ice, and fallen rock. The walls are
notable for the extensive deposits of a brittle, glassy mineral. To
date, the "rift quartz" has found no useful application.
The remains of the first colony are some distance to the west of the
starport, north of the rift. They sit at the opening of a canyon
leading deeper into the mountains. They consist of some weathered
prefab huts on crumbling concrete foundations. A vehicle park, landing
pad, and the stub of a comm/sensor tower are also visible. All are
drifted with snow and debris.
SPOILER WARNING: Referee Information
Although the world is very dense for its size, it still has an
anomalously dense atmosphere. This is beacuse it was the sight of a
minor base of the Ancients, who did some terraforming. The air is
slowly leaking away, but will not be an issue in game terms. The base
was destroyed by an orbital beam weapon, which incidentally created
The demise of the First Colony is left to the referee. I decided that
they had been engaged in a clandestine terraforming project, using
illegal nukes to raise the CO2 level and boost greenhouse effects.
Terrorists found out, swiped the nukes, and disposed of the colonists.
Solving the mystery of the disappearence made a tidy little adventure
Anecdotes from my Campaign
My players arrived at the starport pumped full of legends about the
Lost Colony of Gileden, the Abyss Rift articles (from Challenge)
retrieved from Library Data, and too many episodes of the _X-Files_.
They arrived late in the evening local time, so of course all the port
facilities were locked, and the residents were in the bar drinking.
The bar is in a separate dome from the port itself.
The party immediately assumed that these colonists had been taken by
whoever got the Lost Colony. They were preparing to break down the
door to the SPA offices when I dropped some hints about the next dome. :)
They wound up riding with some hired prospectors out to the ruins of
the first colony. It was a spooky ride, thanks to the 100 hour nights
on tide-locked Gileden and the usual rumors (in this case true) about
the ruins being haunted.
I managed to scare their pants off (one player reported nightmares the
next day), and they managed to solve the mystery of the ruins.
Andy St. John (StJohnA@dcpcepn.nci.nih.gov)