Zdalzi (0237) is the homeworld of an alien minor race of the same
name (in the Zhodani tongue). The Zdalzi are short, fat humanoids with
long arms and faces, descended from omnivore stock. They have no hair
on their bodies or the tops of their heads, but have strands of hair
under the chin and from the lower half of the back of the skull. There
are 54 governments; the most significant four having 20%, 15%, 10% and
10% of the total population.
The largest of these, which boasts the main starport, has taken over a
number of small nations through military conquest. Most of the
population is in poverty, living a primitive agrarian lifestyle of
back-breaking toil. The military is therefore a popular choice of
career because it allows the fastest, though most dangerous, road to
the top of the power tree. The government has an extreme "survival of
the fittest" philosophy; the rulers believe that they have power by
being superior and can therefore do whatever they like to their
inferiors. Some other governments on the world follow the same
philosophy. The economy is tightly controlled and efficient, making it
the best country to trade with on purely economic terms. They are
attempting to secure all offworld trade for themselves by penalising
merchants who have previously traded with other nations.
The Zdalzi tend to fight their own battles and so there is no alliance
of countries against the largest nation. This trait also leads to many
cases of parts of nations seceding (usually involving civil wars) and
in rebellious actions intended to change government policies.
The major four nations have purchased space- and star-ships, for
military and economic purposes. They send some of their people
offworld for training and some of these later serve aboard merchant
ships for extra experience (often for little or no pay, in return for
extra training). A few Zdalzi are sufficiently rich to have purchased
their own free traders, which they use to boost their own riches and
to gain access to political assistance, equipment and knowledge that
would otherwise be unavailable.
Zdalzi and their ships will sometimes clash when they meet offworld,
reflecting the political situation back home.
The system consists of a K6 V primary with two companions, the second
of which (DM) is in a far orbit. This star itself has a companion,
making four for the system. The fourth star orbits at a angle relative
to the ecliptic of the K6 V, so there is no danger of impact with the
other stars. Zdalzi itself has a 40 hour rotational period, which is
disconcerting to some visitors.
(1) The main starport is run as a joint venture between the owning
country and a Sitiefladr company called Viamfri Zdalzi (since the
locals do not have the technological capability).
Viamfri Zdalzi uses the opportunity to make whatever money it can,
using any means available. For instance, the local brokers are in
their pay and take a small percentage off the top of good sale prices
(and lesser sale prices, if they think they can get away with it). If
checked, they will claim that these are due to the "unusually high
currency exchange / government charges found here". Reflect this by
reducing the final sale value dice roll by 1.
The starport staff (both human and Zdalzi) will try to filch goods
being loaded aboard and other scams. Merchants will also encounter "It
is a public holiday/weekend/religious festival here in 4 days time, so
you'll either have to get you cargo early, paying the extra, or stay
an extra day" "Would you like your cargo deliveries to be insured
against theft?" "Would like your fragile cargo to be insured against
breakage?" "Would you like a translator to accompany you in case the
locals misunderstand your orders?" "I'm sorry, your cargo is en route
but the transport workers have gone on strike and it is stranded"
"Would you like some bodyguards to protect you against muggings?" "I'm
sorry, but many starport facilities are imported and so costs here are
a little higher than usual" and so on, some genuine and some not.
Admin/Legal skill will help avoid some of these imposts.
Remember that the criminals are in this for the long term gain, so
they will not rip merchants off so much that they will not return.
They will vary their scams and will occasionally reduce or drop them
(2) Merchants who sell weapons are considered to be allies of the
buying country and therefore enemies of the rest. This is little
known, for those who do it tend to be circumspect and little revenge
is needed. Player characters may not find out about this until too
late. Give the party a Formidable Admin/Legal roll per visit (against
the highest such asset in the party) to discover the convention.
The starports are full of spies (some working for more than one
country!) to observe imports by their rivals. They are interested in
all significant imports, not just weapons. It is not uncommon for
spies to be found dead on the starport streets in the morning. If the
party does import weapons, make a suitable task roll to see if a spy
(or spies!) discover them. If they are just selling a few assorted
surplus personal weapons, then it is unlikely that anyone will care.
Beyond that though, the party may well find that enemy spies take
action against them. This could range from minor damage of their cargo
or freight, scaring off of their passengers, through to a kidnap
attempt against one of the party or even a murder attempt.