Here's something that I had sitting in my head for a while, but just only really put down in text form. Use this as you see fit. (:
Tsade II is a world covered mostly by chilly ocean waters, broken by scattered island chains and significant polar ice-caps. Ruled directly by the Administratum due to the bounty of aquatic lifeforms harvested from its seas, Tsade II also holds a strong corporate presence due to the discovery of promethium-grade precursor fuels in undersea beds. Its stranglehold on Tsade II's food exports maintained, the planetary Administratum has licensed the mining rights out to the DeVayne Corporation for a significant tithe of the refined fuel and a usurious mooring fee.
The tiny coral island-chains along the planet's equatorial belt have been developed into hunting lodges and rest-resorts following the influx of corporate cash from the fuel-rigs. On these islands it is possible to buy a vacation or a sea-hunt, where grizzled whalers take rich guests on their very own trophy-hunt of the beautiful and dangerous aurora spearfish. These islands are rather beautiful but virtually useless and unfarmed, due to lack of seabed deposits and the temperature tolerances of sweetkrill and bluekelp.
The beauty of native bloodpearls and sea-diamonds have of late caught the eye of nobles in the Calixis Sector and beyond, leading to a sudden increase in price for these exotic gemstones. The high planetary duties and taxes imposed on these luxury goods by the Administratum have led to a spike in smuggling and a furtive tinge of lawlessness to the normally hardscrabble, stolid pace of life on this world.
EQUATORIAL CIRCUMFRENCE: 37,283 Miles.
YEARS AND DAYS: Tsade II completes its orbit around its star every 487 Terran days, and spins on its axis every 25.7 Terran hours.
SUBSECTOR: Josian Reach
SATELLITES: Tsade II is orbited by two "moons". Rapture, the larger, is a lush, jungle-covered satellite used as an off-planet resort by higher-ranking members of the planetary government, and by well-off DeVayne Corporation employees. Solace, the smaller, airless moon, contains the offplanet promethium refineries and an in-orbit spaceport, with docking facilities for Chartist ships which receive their cargoes via planetary shuttle.
POPULATION: 3.3 billion. The vast majority of the populace live and work on the Administratum-controlled island-based sweetkrill and bluekelp farms. A significant minority, known as the Free Folk live their entire normadic lives aboard ships, fishing the great spikefin shoals or hunting the great furwhale and the tuskfish, returning only to mobile boat-cities to process and sell their catches, and to trade. A growing number of indentured offworld workers are brought in to work the fuel rigs, signing contracts to pay off their passage and board with their hourly wage. Many of them come from hive worlds with burgeoning populations and are seeking a life better than that toiling away in the vast manufactorums. Many are disappointed, sometimes fatally. Due to their low levels of literacy and lack of political franchise, they are easily exploited by the DeVayne Corporation and are kept virtual serfs with "company store" policies and gouge-rate lodging.
MEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURE: -48Â°C to 22Â°C
TROPOSPHERIC COMPOSITION: 74% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.8% Argon, 0.4% Carbon Dioxide 4.2% Water Vapor, trace amounts of other gases.
PLANETARY GOVERNMENT: Lady Hestia Li is the appointed governor of the planet, ruling in His Imperial Majesty's most holy Name. A seasoned scribe and adept, Lady Li is a savant in the science of economics and retains a large number of elected administrators, all of whom manage the many farms scattered across the planetary surface and who answer directly to her. She is known to be an intelligent woman with a dry sense of humor and a knack for wringing out every last ounce of productivity she can from her administrators, using aggressive meritocracy and the promise of promotion as her carrot, and repeated humiliating demotions as her stick.
Officially the DeVayne corporation is subject to planetary law, owns only its equipment and and rents its right to moor on the ocean floor and mine, but Lady Li turns a blind eye to the private arbitrators and guards it hires to maintain order on its fuel rigs, as long as their numbers remain reasonably fewer than the standing Imperial garrison stationed onplanet. She similarly ignores the indentured offworld miners as long as the Corporation does not make similarly grabby hands at any of her populace. Its fuel-mining operations are managed by a rotating number of high-ranking members, dividing their shifts between planetary assignments.
RELIGION: The Imperial Cult is strong on Tsade II, with virtually all of the planet's denizens worshipping His Imperial Majesty on Terra, with a strong devotion to their one natively born saint, St. Josephine the Discalced, patroness of the planet and of fishermen. She is depicted always as a young woman barefoot, swaddled with fishing nets and weighted down with glass fishing weights (due to her martyrdom by drowning).
Their practice of the religion tends to be a very practical matter, however, riddled with superstition. For example, many of the rough-hewn fisherfolk consider harming one of the many broad-winged hook-gulls bad luck of the worst degree due to the bird's sparse resemblance to the Holy Aquila, despite its niche in the ecosystem being that of a scavenger rather than that of a hunter. Any seaman foolish enough to slay one is marooned in a coracle with the bird's rotting carcass held about his neck with chains, and no passing ship will aid him as long as any trace of the dead bird remains about him.
CLIMATE: The planet is cool and humid most of the year, with long, bitter winters lasting six Terran months in some years, and brief monthlong summers.
CLIMATIC REGIONS: The equatorial seas and island-chains are pleasantly temperate, with a longer summer season than most of the rest of the planet, and a shorter, milder winter. The polar ice-caps are permanently frozen and barely habitable. The infamous Needle Storms of Tsade are a common polar weather phenomenon, as frozen needles of ice are whipped about in the air with enough strength to cause lacerations on exposed skin, and in severe years, strip an unprotected human to the bone.
TERRA-FORMING: Limited terraforming has occurred, mostly in reclaiming arable islands from the sea through a process of massive soil-dumping. Many of those islands are constantly eroded by the waves and have to be shored up with more imported rock and soil yearly. A more sustainable approach has been refined in recent years by the Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis, involving the force-growth of genetically altered coral as a framework of seacrete and hydroponic gardens.
NATIVE FLORA AND FAUNA: Most of the native flora and fauna is aquatic, with a limited number of amphibious creatures.
Most of the flora of Tsade II are species of algae, plankton and seaweeds, but there are exceptions such as the saltplum, a tiny, hardy bush growing in the coral sands of the island chains. Its leaves are used in a local tea and its fruit are pickled as a relish. The sea-cradle is a tall, narrow-leaved tree that grows in the shallow tide-pools of island shores. To purge excess salt from itself, the tree sheds its thick waxy bark on a regular basis. The stiff, waterproof bark can only be worked after it is steamed. When still hot it is shaped into the curving spars and planks needed for shipmaking, reinforced with carved furwhale bone, and then filled with sand and left to cool to fix its shape. When assembled, the ship is further caulked and waterproofed with a resinous wax boiled down from furwhale blubber and pitch harvested from various seaweeds.
Many of the thousands of aquatic species on Tsade II are edible, among them the polar grayfin, a cold-water reptilian-eelfish with oily, strongly-flavored flesh; the aurora spikefin, a magnificent predator-fish with red meat as juicy and succulent as the finest Terran beef, widely hunted for sport; the furwhale, a large benthic beast with a thick layer of blubber and oily blue-gray fur, it furnishes oil used as lamp fuel, bones used in shipmaking, a somewhat tough, oily meat very suitable for jerking and preservation, and fur that is warm and fine once its layer of oily guard hairs have been stripped away.
Bloodpearls are rare finds in beds of heart-urchins, a spiny tunicate creature harvested both for its roe, an expensive delicacy, and its skeleton, which is used in dyemaking. Very rarely will the red minerals that form its red skeleton calcify in the creature's soft innards, forming a deep red gem of exceptional clarity and iridescence - a bloodpearl. Formerly used as barter money in lieu of Imperial-minted gelt, the bloodpearl has caught the notice of offworld nobles and is now in demand as an exotic gemstone.
ALIEN FLORA AND FAUNA: The Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis have introduced to the planet various high-volume species of fodder plants and animals, such as bluekelp, which grows readily in the effluent of human settlements, and sweetkrill, an minute ten-legged crustacean adapted from Terran stock. The introduced species do not seem to have an overly adverse effect on the ecosystem as yet due to efficient harvesting and processing, and narrow tolerance areas. Bluekelp will prosper only if grown in beds of processed sewage and only in cool waters, and sweetkrill will only breed in vitro, and thus have to be constantly introduced into the farming beds.
ECONOMY: Most of the economy runs on Throne Gelt, but due to a lack of metal onplanet the local currency is backed by precious steel rather than gold. A lively barter trade occurs in the nomadic ports of the Free Folk, where Throne Gelt is rated and exchanged with tuskfish teeth, carved furwhale ivory coins, bloodpearls, and the rare sea-diamonds.
The DeVayne Corporation issues its workers wages in company scrip credited to their workpass accounts. They buy everything through corporate stores and have the values of meals, baths and berths deducted automatically from their accounts with the swipe of their passcard. It is possible to exchange corporate scrip for Throne Gelt, but the unfriendly exchange rate drives most of the workers to buy from their employers' inflated corporate stores instead.
SOCIETY: The Administratum rules the planet fairly, but strictly. Life is hard but the abundance of the sea ensures that even the poorest kelp-farmer will eat, even if his meal is fish-bone broth and hard algae bread. Children are all schooled by order of the Administratum, with difficult exams at age ten, twelve and sixteen dividing them up into streams, classes, and eventually funneling the best off to serve the Administratum. The not-so-bright majority go straight into vocational training to suit their lot in life.
Most of the planetary citizens may vote for their area administrator in planetary elections, and are in fact issued a single certificate of franchise and ownership in the planet when they are born, also known as a Vote. A person may cast a single vote in an election for each Vote he owns.
One of the more unusual things about the Votes is that each certificate is in fact proof of franchise, and none of them is keyed to any specific owner. It is permissible to sell one, and voting rights are fully transferable to a new owner. Votes can be willed to a descendant in the case of a death, and are often treated like heirlooms in the ships and boats of the Free Folk.
A Vote is also a representation of a citizen's ownership of their planet and business, and therefore dividends in excess of the planetary tithe are distributed to all Vote-holders. The sums are often very small in as of themselves, but as seeing that many of the higher-ranking or richer families can own thousands of Votes, the numbers do add up in the bank accounts. A worker may only be promoted if he or she owns a prerequisite number of Votes as well as demonstrating the capability for their new position, and a person may have their Votes stripped from them for cases of severe debt or as a punishment for social crimes.
Lady Li approves of the trade in Votes, seeing it as a form of meritocracy that ensures only the most efficient and hardworking subjects may rise in status. Being an appointed governor, she is immune to the trials of election, but she escapes most dissent and discontent by simply hiding behind the faces of the administrators the population has elected. By allowing her underlings to set their own agendas as long as quotas and tithes are met, she remains distant and mostly unknown to her people - just the way she likes it, as it means they yell demands at someone else.
The DeVayne Corporation's indentured miners are kept segregated from the rest of the planetary populace so as not to seed unrest - a condition Lady Li imposed on the corporation before allowing the import of foreign workers. A few escapees have joined the more lawless Free Folk, but most of the escapees die, either at the hands of the corporate arbiters, or to the merciless Sea.
WATER SUPPLY: The seas of Tsade II are saline, but more brackish than salty, and the planet gets its water supply through reverse-osmosis desalination engines maintained by a hereditary order of mechanics and Tech-priests. The minerals removed when the water is made potable is turned into seacrete, a strong, durable building material.
PRINCIPLE EXPORTS: Foodstuffs, promethium.
PRINCIPLE IMPORTS: Industrial tools, machinery, metals and raw materials.
COUNTRIES AND CONTINENTS: There are no continents on Tsade II, only island chains. The decentralized policies Lady Li observes has led to most Administratum holdings considering themselves city-states of their own, ruled by their elected administrator.
The Free Folk of the sea are nomadic tribal nations, led by a council of Captains. When they cooperate during shoaling seasons and furwhale hunts, complex histories of intermarriage, and blood debt determines a tribe-nation's seniority.
The floating boat-ports in the ocean tend to be more lawless and ruled by the strongest arm or the biggest coffer. All of them heel to the Administratum, however, as they are fully aware that their biggest trading partner holds the lasguns, and therefore, the most power.
The DeVayne Corporation is a nation unto its own, but due to its sequestration the locals tend to look suspiciously on corporate representatives who have reason to mingle with the planetary natives.
CONFLICTS: There have been incidences of dissent under previous governors, and all of the attempts have been brutally crushed and sanitized from planetary history by the Administratum, sometimes with the help of the Imperial Guard. Nowadays Lady Li prefers a more indirect way of oppressing her workers - by giving them a hope of advancement, they keep themselves too busy for sedition and ensure maximum output.
The planet has generally been at peace the past few centuries, with miner uprisings in the fuel rigs and ritualized Free Folk warfare being the only real bloodshed.
DEFENCES: The planet has a small Imperial Guard garrison made up mostly of veterans too wounded to fight elsewhere. Most consider Tsade II a boring but safe posting, complaining mostly of the cold weather making old war wounds hurt. The Guard garrison is mostly a show of strength, and unknown to Lady Li, the DeVayne Corporation's private arbiters could probably mop the floor with her personal guard of soldiers. Not that the Corporation would think of doing so presently, as cooperation is still far more profitable than overthrow.
IMPERIAL GUARD RECRUITMENT: The Administratum on Terra does not demand a tithe of troops from Tsade II, as it provides an immense tithe of foodstuffs to the sector already.
CONTACT WITH OTHER WORLDS: Tsade II's closest neighbor is the cold, dead mining world of Tsade on the outer reaches of its solar system. It exports fuel and foodstuffs to the mining stations there in exchange for refined ores. There are stable warp-paths to several of the planets in the Josian Reach, among them Fenksworld, Zillman's Domain and Reshia. A Chartist ship plies the Tsade II - Fenksworld - Acreage - Canopus route.