Heicoron Iv

Ocean planet with floating arcologies and underwater cities
Diameter: ×2; Mass: ×1/2
Gravity: ×1/2
Atmosphere: Normal
Day: 7 days; Year: 7-1/2 years
Heicoron IV is a sapphire jewel in an otherwise barren and
lifeless Near Space system. A planet whose surface is 98% water,
Heicoron is home to a humanoid species called woiokos. Over
billions of years in the untold past, these individuals evolved
from an aquatic race into amphibious land-dwellers—pre-Gap
records show vast archipelagos and a civilization approaching
global unity. Sometime during the Gap, however, Heicoron’s sun
expanded, warming the planet considerably. Ice caps melted,
sea levels rose, and most of Heicoron’s islands were drowned
in the deluge. With their great population centers in ruins and
the fabric of their society ripped to shreds, the woiokos began
to engage in genetic tinkering. The race subsequently split into
two subspecies: the Deepborn, who returned to their ancestral
home beneath the ocean, and the Floatborn, who rode the
waves in crude, sprawling raft-cities.
Both groups of woiokos have smooth, eel-like skin usually
patterned in two or more contrasting hues, but the similarities
largely end there. Floatborn are more comfortable living above
the water than beneath it. They have a deep love for the ocean
and remain strong swimmers, but they have lost their ability
to breathe underwater and require breathing apparatuses
for extended trips beneath the surface. The Deepborn, in
contrast, have regained many of their progenitors’ aquatic
traits, including gills. They retain lungs for breathing air but
have an ingrained aversion to the surface and those who
dwell there, so visits “airside” are rare.
The Floatborn have abandoned their makeshift
raft-cities for vast floating arcologies that
drift with the currents; each one
houses thousands of woiokos,
who draw their sustenance
from Heicoron’s boundless blue
ocean. These great wandering
ship-cities make up dozens of
autonomous nations, including
various independent singlearcology
freeholds, such as
that of Clan Ibissa, as well as
mighty multiarcology alliances
and confederations, such as the
mercantile Xeshaltic League. Other
notable Floatborn nations include the repressive federated citystates
of the Dabanji Union and the corporate state of Mantara
Industries, which controls Heicoron’s first and only spaceport,
Welcoming Sky. All Floatborn believe that Heicoron’s few
remaining islands are sacred parks that should be free for
residents to enjoy and study, and these scattered atolls often
serve as neutral meeting grounds between warring Floatborn
nations or factions.
Beneath the surface, Deepborn society thrives in the
flooded ruins of the woiokos’ pre-Gap civilization, remade into
sprawling, coral-festooned metropolises. This architectural
splendor stands in contrast to the otherwise belligerent and
militant nature of the Deepborn, who endlessly battle each
other. These wars are often symbolic in nature, with shows of
force but little loss of life, and fast-growing coral ensures that
the scars of war never remain for long.
The Deepborn call their short-lived nations “domains,” and
these include Kalarasta, a mistrustful domain that has retained
control of a strategic undersea volcano for five generations;
the Grand Collective of Pojat, a new domain founded after a
workers’ revolt; and the Asawayo Paramountcy, an expansionist
suzerainty currently sweeping up many of its neighbors.
Pact Worlds survey vessels discovered Heicoron only
recently and have made contact just with the Floatborn.
Bretheda has already volunteered to send a joint barathu-kalo
diplomatic mission to Heicoron on behalf of the Pact Council to
open peaceful relations with the Deepborn. However, whispers
in the Plenara suggest that the weapons-trafficking drow
houses of Apostae, with the rumored backing of the Aspis
Consortium, may have already begun selling the Deepborn
arms. If true, the influx of new and more powerful weapons
could upset the planet’s delicate status quo.

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