de Kamp — The Eyeball World
There are ten colonies on de Kamp. China and Zion will be especially important for the party. Some knowledge of Barataria (the Star-Runner colony), the UN, and the Commonwealth of Liberty (which the party has visited in the past) could also prove useful. Here is background information on all ten colonies, starting with China and Zion. The rest are in alphabetical order.
About people’s names: For Chinese names, the family name comes first followed by the given name. All other names are in the customary Western order: given name followed by family name.
With 7.5 million people, the Chinese People’s Republic of de Kamp boasts the largest population on the planet (55% of the total), as well as the largest area of land. It is also the industrial powerhouse of the planet.
The current ruler (Tsou Bao-Zhi) took over as Premier of the Republic and Secretary General of the Community Party some 13 years ago, and began a policy of issuing “business licenses” to people who wanted to organize and run businesses (either manufacturing or services). A few other Party big-wigs accused him of being a capitalist. Bao-Zhi promptly charged them with treason. They agreed to plead guilty to slander against a party official—and were sentenced to 3 years of forced labor. Bao-Zhi commuted their sentences to “the stocks”—a form of public humiliation—and demoted their status within the Party.
Politics & Trade: Is opposed to UN’s monopoly on development, and opposed to any expansion of UN power. Has embassies in Barataria, Biafra, the Commonwealth of Liberty, Outer Bengal, and the Sunni Caliphate, as well as a consulate in Zion (having recalled it’s ambassador). Trades with everyone except the UN and the New Confederacy.
China has built railroads throughout its own colony and the Commonwealth of Liberty, as well as a rail line into Zion that was supposed to continue into the Commonwealth—thereby providing China with a direct line to the Commonwealth’s steel. However, Zion reneged on the deal once the rail reached its capital of New Jerusalem. In response, China recalled its ambassador and cut ore imports from Zion by 30%.
Languages & Religion: Predominantly Mandarin Chinese; some also speak Cantonese. Hindi, English and other languages are spoken in the “province” of Naiasa (which was originally a separate colony called The Family). Officially, the People’s Republic discourages religious activities. Under the current leadership, however, no one is prosecuted for religious observances—as had been the case in the past. Naiasa is the only city that actually offers a license to run a “religious organization,” i.e., temples, churches, mosques, synagogues and the like. Religious “buildings” and practices in the rest of China are hidden behind storefronts and social clubs.
Laws & Punishments: Laws and punishments are relatively harsh. Minor infractions lead to “the stocks”—being put on display for public humiliation. Most property offenses result in fines ranging from a few weeks’ worth of earnings to as much as 3 years’ worth. Violence usually lands the convict in a gulag-style labor camp. Murder and treason result in death. While the courts are reasonable, with rules of evidence, defense attorneys and juries, all judges are Party members and have complete discretion in handing out sentences. Appeals are limited, and again, heard by Party member judges.
Weapons: Six-inch blades are legal; anything longer requires a license with a “good reason”. Handguns require a license to carry. To get one, you must be protecting a person, a residence, a place of business or objects of value. License applications must be signed by both your employer and a member of the Party who vouches for the truth of the application. To get a license to own one or more single-shot rifles, you must be a licensed hunter. Assault rifles, SMGs, and all other weapons are forbidden to citizens and available only to the police and military.
The Fellowship of Zion
The Zion colony also arrived on the sleeper ship, but has not prospered. With a population of 40,000, it is now the smallest of the colonies, having been surpassed by the Commonwealth of Liberty over the past decade. Zion’s founder, charismatic evangelical preacher Lewellyn (Lew) Jones, encouraged any and all evangelicals to emigrate here. Religious cults and fervor dominate the culture.
Zion gained a second vote on the planetary High Council when Lew married the sole heir to The Family’s ruling clan in 2079. (This was Lew’s third wife.) The High Council distributed the former colony’s land among Zion, China, the UN and the Commonwealth of Liberty. The Family’s capital city, Naiasa, now spanned the river boundary between Zion and China.
This woman died eight years later, apparently of natural causes. She had no children. Five months later, Lew got married again to his fourth and current wife, Amy Waterford, who was only 36 at the time (and is now 43). Her parents had emigrated to de Kamp to join a cult when she was a teenager.
On radio and TV broadcasts, Lew often rants against “those heathens” in the Muslim colonies and “those sinners” in the Commonwealth of Liberty. Down similar lines, a “bread and circuses” policy features twice-yearly public performances in each city where prisoners fight to the death, armed only with small knives and their bare hands. These prisoners are characterized as “sinners” who deserve their fate. Winners simply gain the right to fight again the next time around. Held in a rotation schedule among the six largest cities, it’s possible to travel and attend one every month.
President and Preacher Lew Jones is now at least 105 years old and rarely seen in public. Rumors abound that the real power is exercised by his fourth wife, Amy Waterford Jones, the First Lady of the Fellowship of Zion. Amy appears at many gala functions, displaying jewels and lavish dresses. Lew does sometimes accompany her, surrounded by bodyguards. Some whisper that it’s really a double: some person or borg that looks like him, especially since this person looks a few decades younger than 105.
Other rumors state that the real power rests with Perry Stanton, who arrived here with Lew and has always been Lew’s trusted right hand. Corruption at the top characterized this government from the start. Staying in power required increasingly harsh tactics. During the colony’s tenth year, Perry was appointed head of the Secret Police. Most citizens know someone who has “disappeared” and is never seen again—and people are encouraged to inform on their neighbors. Rumors of torture are, of course, denied, but most citizens believe it.
A third person, General Irwin Prescott, High Commander of the Military, also ensures that this government stays in power. Zion encourages its young people to join the armed forces, and has the highest per-capita number of military personnel on this world. Many families have a son or nephew (or daughter or niece) in the military, which earns them “perks”—better food, housing, and schools for their kids.
Politics & Trade: Zion always supports UN policies and votes with the UN at the Planetary High Council. Zion has embassies in the New Confederacy, the UN, and Barataria—everyone talks with the planet’s shippers! Zion does have metallic ores in its mountains. This is the source of the wealth that the rulers have siphoned into their own pockets, but after Zion reneged on the railroad deal, China cut purchases by 30%. The UN does purchase Zion’s ore, but not in comparable quantities. As a result, many mines have closed, and ore languishes in warehouses.
Languages & Religion: English predominates—but Zion has evangelicals from pretty much everywhere. And as mentioned earlier, a cult atmosphere has flourished here.
Laws & Punishments: There are two flavors of laws: the “civil” variety and the “political” variety. Crimes like theft and assault are punished by jail time. While the jails are primitive and unpleasant, you do get out sooner or later. Political crimes generally send offenders either to a work camp where they starve to death or to the “bread and circus” arenas for a usually quicker death.
Visitors also need to watch which cuss words they use. “Cussing against God” is severely frowned on, and may get the offender put on a watch list of possible subversives.
Weapons: Knives are allowed, but everything else is illegal for civilians. Only police and military may have handguns, rifles, SMGs or other weapons. Ownership of a gun carries a death penalty.
Barataria (Star Runners / Sea Nomads)
These colonists arrived both by Sleeper ship and through the Gate. As a result, they also have 2 votes on the Planetary High Council. While Charlie is the official ruler, he is usually somewhere else in his far-flung enterprises and nomadic conglomerate of clans. When he’s away, Jack Stefanich (a clan leader and one of the two High Council representatives) is recognized as “the man in charge”.
With 600,000 citizens, Barataria is the 4th most populous colony on de Kamp. Everyone knows how to sail. Barataria’s shipping industry employs many of its citizens across 44,000 km of ocean (the circumference of de Kamp), much of which is 2200 km wide.
Baratarians come from many different countries and worlds. This and the UN are the most culturally diverse colonies on the planet. However, the two have markedly different outlooks and philosophies. Baratarians are independent minded folks, whereas the UN has a paternalistic, “we know best” attitude towards both its members and the colonies under its “protection”.
Politics & Trade: Barataria usually votes on the Council to limit UN power. The Star Runner Dominion is “an occasionally troublesome” member of the UN. Barataria has embassies in Biafra, China, the Commonwealth of Liberty, Ichkeria, New Confederacy, Outer Bengal, Sunni Caliphate, and Zion. Barataria trades with everyone except the UN.
Languages & Religion: As diverse as it gets. Most citizens speak two or three languages, and many speak English.
Laws & Punishments: Typical laws and court system that one finds in a democracy, mixed with nomadic clan customs.
Weapons: A wide variety of weapons is allowed—if you have a license. Citizens get priority, but visitors can get permits to carry both handguns and a variety of rifles. One can apply for such permits either through a Baratarian embassy or through any city hall clerk’s office. One does need a reason to carry, but the requirements are not hard to meet.
Biafra (Royal Republic of)
This African colony is comprised of the Igbo people of Nigeria, and is the 3rd most populous colony with 1,200,000 citizens. Biafra also came through the gate with the UN and acknowledges their sponsorship.
While the colony does have a Royal Family, it is ruled by a Prime Minister, Kamani Chakarabasi, who is responsible to the Lower House which is popularly elected. The Parliament’s Upper House is made up of traditional chiefs, and cannot rule on legislation of a financial or tax nature except as it pertains to social justice.
Kamani has been prime minister for 18 years. He is admired as a wise and just leader. His speeches often focus on the spiritual needs of people and on the ecological needs of the planet, which he sees as two sides of the same coin.
The Igbo royal family is the social glue that holds the country together with their adherence to old African virtues of tribe, family and communal harmony. The Igbo King’s only legal power is to appoint the Supreme Court; appointees are confirmed by both houses of parliament. These judges serve for life and can only be removed by a majority vote of the Upper House.
Biafrans are working hard to stabilize into a balanced farming and fishing economy with mid-1990’s tech. So far they have created a viable colony that is taking root. They accuse the New Confederacy of sheltering raiders.
A recent raid was especially bloody. Biafra and the Emirate of Outer Bengal (who also complains of these raids) proposed to the High Council that the UN patrol the areas between the colonies to rid the planet of this scourge. The Council voted yes.
Politics & Trade: For the most part, Biafra stays out of planetary politics. When pressed, they generally support the UN. Biafra has brisk trade with Barataria, and has embassies in Barataria, Outer Bengal, and the UN.
Languages & Religion: The Biafrans speak Igbo; some also speak English. They practice Odinani, the traditional Igbo religion, and are tolerant of visitors’ religious beliefs. Visitors are rare, but there are communities of technical experts here on special development projects. Odinani believes in a single, good and merciful god who brings rain and children.
Laws & Punishments: Igbo traditional values and laws apply. Igbo culture is fundamentally communal, democratic, and religious in nature. (GM Note: If it becomes relevant to the adventure, I will expand on this.)
Weapons: The Igbo people revere life. They do not carry weapons other than necessary tools of their trade. They are also rather pacifist in outlook, and frown on others carrying weapons.
Commonwealth of Liberty
Despite having only 65,000 colonists, the Commonwealth is the most successful of the independent colonies since the Hardy family discovered the most valuable platinum mine in known space. The matriarch, Margarita Hardy, used her fortune to establish a hereditary Director-Generalship that oversees the largest local corporations and provides a safe haven for hard working people and families.
Her grand-son, Raymond (Ray-Ray) Hardy, now rules. He is a wild-man in his personal life, but a good and just ruler. He makes sure his people have what they need to prosper. He also knows that the platinum mine, despite its abundance, will not last forever. His long-term plan for ensuring the Commonwealth’s future is to transform the colony into a technological powerhouse.
Libertarians, as they like to call themselves, are highly independent and individualistic in outlook. Many carry both a knife and a handgun.
The capital city of Mountain Springs (pop. 25,000) has a streetcar system and rail service to all the outlying towns and the colony’s small shipping port. The mining town of Lodestone has 8,000 people. Hardyport, at the end of the rail line where the docks are, has a population of 12,000. The rail towns of have populations of Midland (4,000) and Nowhere (3,000). Hardyport, Midland and Nowhere have their own sheriffs. Mountain Springs has a police department. Lodestone and the rest of the country have the Rangers, a para-military national police force. There is a National Guard of six mechs, twelve tanks and four companies of Infantry plus support troops. There are two volunteer militia regiments (Mountain Springs and Hardyport Rail towns) also. The capital has orbital defense batteries.
Politics & Trade: The Commonwealth is a small thorn in the side of the UN. Libertarians view the UN as overstepping its authority on de Kamp. Primary trading partners are Barataria and China, which helped construct the railroads in the Commonwealth. Recently, Ray-Ray signed a deal with Biafra trading food for steel and technology. The Commonwealth maintains embassies in Barataria, Biafra, China, Outer Bengal and the Sunni Caliphate. They have approached Ichkeria about establishing diplomatic relations, but to date have been turned away.
Languages & Religion: English predominates, along with a smattering of Spanish. Libertarians have complete freedom of religion. A variety of churches are scattered among the towns, and roughly half the population believes in “something”.
Laws & Punishments: Laws here focus on assault and theft. Misdemeanors don’t exist. In this “Wild West” atmosphere, punishments are swift and “fitted to” the crime. Stealing results in a fine consisting of the value stolen, or for the destitute, a “community service sentence” of working one year for the victim. For assaults, an equivalent amount of physical damage is inflicted on the convict. There are judges, juries, and lawyers for both defense and prosecution. There is one Supreme Court for appeals, appointed by the Director-General.
Weapons: No licenses are required to own or carry any handgun or rifle. SMGs are frowned upon, and few weapons stores offer them. While knife fights are commonplace, gun fights are less so. And, if you kill someone with any kind of weapon, it had better be either an accident or in defense of self or others.
This Chechen “Land of Minerals” was founded by a sleeper ship and has prospered. One of the last acts of the former Chechnya government granted this colony its full independence. A steady stream of immigrants has helped raise its population to 260,000. This secular democracy boasts three political parties: Socialist, Nationalist, and Islamic (which seeks to establish an Islamic state following Shafi principles).
Ichkeria’s constitution was recently amended so that President Halim bin Shakur Yamadayev, a Nationalist, could run for a third, 6-year term in office. The upcoming election will be held this coming November 26th (the anniversary of the 1990 declaration of Chechen independence from the Soviet empire). Halim’s grandfather was a veteran of the Chechen Wars of Independence in the early 20th century. Halim often praises military strength as the foundation of independence.
Politics & Trade: Ichkeria has refused any UN status, and has not yet seated a representative on the Planetary High Council. They have diplomatic relations with Outer Bengal and the Sunni Caliphate, and allow a Barataria Consulate in their capital of New Grozny. Their mountains contain mineral wealth, which they are using in slow increments to expand industrial capacity and modernize the nation.
Languages & Religion: Citizens speak Chechen. Some of the older ones also speak Russian. Ichkeria is Sunni Muslim, of the Shafi School in particular. Shafis seek to act in accordance with Mohammed’s teachings. When a situation is not covered explicitly, they ask, “How would Mohammed have done this?”
Laws & Punishments: While Ichkeria has a secular system of justice, its laws are aligned with Islamic principles of right and wrong, including the concept of “crimes against God”. Thus, blasphemy is a crime equally heinous as treason, though punished with a year’s solitary confinement instead of death. Adultery is also seen as a “crime against God” since marriage is sacred. Punishments in general fall into three categories: stiff fines, ordinary jail time, and hard labor camps (typically in the mines).
Weapons: Only the police and military are allowed to have firearms. Citizens may possess knives of any length and “edging” (e.g., monoblades).
This group of bible thumping crackers first settled as part of the sleeper fleet. The Confederacy’s racist outlook and fertile farmlands continue to attract more of their own kind from the Dying Earth. Immigration and a constant baby boom have brought the population to 350,000 souls and is the fifth largest colony on de Kamp.
Organized into a dozen loosely coordinated districts with strong “states’ rights”, each district also elects representatives to the Confederated Conclave of States. These Representatives elect a President from among their number every four years.
The current President is Preacher Karl Abbott, whose speeches are diatribes against the ungodly. His message: “We can become prosperous if we follow God’s Commandments. God rewards the righteous, and punishes the wicked.”
Politics & Trade: As an agrarian shithole with racist politics, the Confederacy is ignored by most of the other colonies on de Kamp, many of whom suspect that banditry and piracy are now unofficially sanctioned by the government. Barataria only sends a couple of convoys here when the SRS John Wilson flies low orbital cover. As for diplomacy, the UN keeps an embassy in the capital of Leeville. A neighboring embassy of the Fellowship of Zion is no longer occupied. The Confederacy maintains an embassy in the UN’s New Geneva.
Languages & Religion: Everyone speaks English. Only a few speak a second language—and fewer still will do so in public. Religions include all varieties of Protestant Christianity with a strong focus on hellfire and brimstone “bible belt” denominations.
Laws & Punishments: Think “small Southern town”. While the laws are reasonably fair and one has defense attorneys and juries, you still don’t want to run afoul of the local sheriff. Punishment consists either of jail time or a bullet to the brain, depending on a variety of factors.
Weapons: There are no weapons licensing laws or regulations. Most citizens are armed with handguns, and own rifles which they usually keep at home. The military consists of a variety of district and town militias, independent of each other and badly coordinated.
Outer Bengal, Emirate of
Outer Bengal is an overwhelmingly Shia colony and an associate member of the Commonwealth of Nations. This colony arrived through the gate from Bangladesh, and now comprises 2,600,000 people, making them the second largest colony on de Kamp.
After some early failures with crops and governments, the religious parties took control under the charismatic leadership of Ali Nasiri Khan, a scion of the old Nasiri family (the first Islamic Nawabs of Bengal).
At first, Sheik Ali Khan ruled as a religious guardian over the state, which is a mix of family and clan councils and a window dressing parliament. Recently, he has taken on the quasi-religious title of Emir to popular acclaim. His avowed goal is to lead his people into a New Golden Age of Islam.
Under his administration, religious minorities are protected in their person, and forbidden from few occupations. They do pay an additional tax. This is primarily an agrarian society with a small industrial sector that manufactures ground vehicles (dune buggies and motorcycles). Outer Bengal has a small semblance of seasons.
Politics & Trade: Politically, Outer Bengal is part of the Islamist isolationist bloc (along with the Sunni Caliphate and Ichkeria). The Commonwealth of Liberty, China and Barataria have embassies here as well. Outer Bengal also has diplomatic relations with Biafra, due to their common complaint of the New Confederacy sheltering raiders who occasionally strike their outlying districts. Outer Bengal trades with Barataria, the Chinese Colony and the UN.
Languages & Religion: Everyone speaks Bengali, and 80% also speak English. The population is overwhelmingly Shia.
Laws & Punishments: Sharia law covers everyone—though visitors who commit crimes are more likely to be expelled than stoned to death or suffer loss of hands or eyes.
Weapons: Weapons are frowned upon, unless needed for one’s profession.
The wealthy Saudi Arabian al-Rasheed family, who are closely related to the Saud Royal Family, funded this diaspora from the mid-east just after the gate opened. Caliph Khalil Abdul Jamir bin Sabur al-Rasheed encourages trade as the basis of prosperity.
Slightly smaller than the bible-thumping New Confederacy, the Caliphate is sixth in size with 320,000 citizens. The culture adheres to strict Sharia law and is strongly patriarchal. They are moving towards equality for women, but slowly.
All women wear a hajib headscarf covering their hair. Unmarried women often wear brighter scarves with elaborate designs, while married women favor singly-colored drab scarves. None wear makeup and clothing is modest, covering most of the skin.
Politics & Trade: The Sunnis are happy to trade with anyone except the New Confederacy and the Fellowship of Zion. They have plenty of fertile farmland, and a range of mountains. They have good relations with Barataria, as well as embassies in Outer Bengal and Ichkeria, plus China, the Commonwealth of Liberty and the UN. They generally support isolationist policies, but sometimes vote with the UN.
Languages & Religion: The Sunnis speak Arabic. Some also speak English. A few speak a variety of other languages as well.
Laws & Punishments: Laws and culture adhere to strict Sharia law, including “anti-usury” banking laws and views on adultery and blasphemy as “sins against God”. Punishments are handed down by judges following the Hanbali School of jurisprudence, where each case is decided on its own merits in accordance with the Quran and teachings of Mohammed, rather than adhering to precedents.
Weapons: Only Muslim men are allowed to own weapons of any kind. Those who wish to possess a firearm must get permission from their “elders” in the complex, familial and tribal political structure.
This colony consists primarily of UN military personnel and their families (250,000 people).
This colony is headed by Jahi Nejem, Deputy Secretary for de Kamp. Born to Egyptian parents and raised in London, Jahi states that his mission is “to ensure peace on de Kamp.” He favors trade among the colonies, and actively promotes trade agreements through diplomatic missions, without much success.
Overall, the UN sees itself as the “protector” of the planet—and different personnel tend to view and implement this mission in different ways. First, the UN is responsible for overseeing the Gate. Second, it is responsible for protecting the planet’s fragile ecosystem and thus tends to restrict many kinds of development, especially industrial. This paternalistic attitude is resented by some colonies, while others see it as a necessary evil for ensuring the planet’s future as a viable home for humanity.
The UN’s military commander is Admiral Kenrick Davies. It was his son who crashed while chasing Natty as she entered the de Kamp atmosphere by skimming the perpetual hurricane as its winds died down to change direction.
Another 30,000 people also live in the UN colony. Half were members of the Sons of Wotan who stayed when the UN took over this pagan biker colony 22 years ago. These people consisted mostly of women and children whose men were either away or killed.
The UN took over these settlements and encouraged their soldiers to marry the survivors. Now, assimilation of the next generation into UN culture is reasonably complete, although the “first gen” people still remember their roots. The other half are former inhabitants of The Family who chose to leave Zion when Lew married the Family’s heir.
Politics & Trade: The UN maintains diplomatic relations and embassies with everyone except Ichkeria, which has refused to let the UN open an embassy there. They are also happy to trade with anyone, but not everyone reciprocates.
Languages & Religion: Primarily English, but many people are bilingual in a range of languages. Religions and ethnicities are from all corners of the human-inhabited worlds.
Laws & Punishments: Typical European style system of laws and punishments.
Weapons: Must have a permit to carry any firearm. Requirements are relatively strict. 3-inch blades are not a problem. Anything larger or mono-edged could result either in a warning, a stiff fine, or (depending on circumstances of how it was used) jail time.
Wotan, Sons of
Much of the land currently occupied by the UN Colony was originally owned by The Sons of Wotan, a Nordic pagan biker group. In 1972, this colony “went rogue” and massacred a few dozen customers at a soda-and-ice-cream-coffee-shop place in a community in Biafra. The Planetary High Council authorized the UN both to eliminate the Sons and to take over their land and their vote.
Their original Bossman was Inger Rolfsen. He was murdered about 1 month after the massacre. No one has claimed responsibility for his death or been identified as a suspect or charged in a court of law.
Little more is known about them.