RICE Logo RICE Paper #SM-0930: Flammarion/Sword Worlds

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Flammarion (Sword Worlds/Spinward Marches 0930)

  1. System Description
  2. Mainworld Facilities
  3. Mainworld Profile
  4. Unusual Mainworld Features
  5. History
  6. Designer's Notes


Loki (Primary Star)

Flammarion's primary, Loki, is type F8V, a white main sequence star 11% larger in radius than Sol, and 9% more massive. Its stellar effective temperature is 6150C, luminosity 1.67 and a bolometric stellar magnitude of 4.34. Flammarion orbits Loki once every 1.93 standard years (708 days 0 hrs 27 mins).

Ahriman (Rogue Planet)

Around half a million years ago Loki captured a rogue planet; over the next few millennia the rogue collided with planets in orbits 6, 7 and 8. Much of the debris agglomerated into a new planet (Ahriman, in a highly irregular orbit between 5.0 and 11.0 AUs). One or more planetary fragments may have struck Flammarion itself; the timing of the rogue capture roughly coincides with an impact that virtually sterilised the planet, making over 99% of all species extinct.

A geophysical research laboratory orbits Ahriman, studying first-hand the processes of planetary agglomeration. The surface of Ahriman is virtually uninhabitable, with very active volcanism across most of the planet's surface.

Dante (Moon)

Flammarion's moon, Dante, has a diameter of 8,492km and a mass 72% that of Flammarion. This makes Flammarion/Dante virtually a double planet system, with both bodies orbiting around a common centre of gravity. Dante's orbit induces enormous tidal stresses in Flammarion's atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere.

Dante is the location of the system's Naval Base, and civilian traffic is strictly controlled.

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Flammarion's starport is Class A (GURPS Class V), an excellent quality port with refined fuel available, and starship yards with full overhaul capability. The port is owned and operated by Ling Standard Products (LSP), and serves as the Megacorporation's branch office for operations in the Sword Worlds, District 268, Darrian and Five Sisters subsectors. LSP operates the starport under a lease from the Imperial Navy in a mutually profitable arrangement: with no gas giant in the system, the LSP starport has a monopoly on fuel but the Imperial Navy and Scout Service may purchase that fuel at cost. The price of both refined and unrefined fuel is 50% higher than elsewhere in the Spinward Marches; however, Imperial Navy and Scout Service pay only half that price (75% standard cost).

The major port facility, Flammarion Orbital, is a cylindrical O'Neill habitat located in geostationary orbit with a permanent population of 40,000 plus some 12,000 transients at any time. Flammarion Orbital is connected to the planetary surface by the nearby Clarke Beanstalk (25 hrs, Cr40) and hourly express shuttles (3 hrs, Cr350). LSP's administrative facilities and shipyard are located at Flammarion Orbital. Darrian, Sword Worlds, Droyne, Aslan and Zhodani corporations, embassies and trade missions contribute to a vigorous cultural mix at this busy port. With so many different nationalities present, the Orbital port serves as the stage for the full range of cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations. Flammarion Orbital is the source of some of the most high-octane rumours in the sector; on occasions, some of these rumours may even be true.

Most manufacturing occurs on the planet's surface, at Flammarion Down. Flammarion Down (population 7,000 plus 9,000 transients at any time) is an R&R stop popular with Imperial Navy, Marines and Scout personnel. The chronically understaffed Flammarion Down is considered a punishment posting by LSP employees.

This tension often erupts in brawls and occasionally even riots, triggering a brutal response from both Imperial Navy military police and Starport Security forces. When curfew is in force (each day, roll 2D for 10+) the law level is temporarily raised from 4 to 9, with sidewalk strip-searches commonplace. Tension exists even between those supposed to be keeping order: the military police consider LSP's security troopers to be overpaid, lazy and corrupt, while Starport Security believes that the military police's sole interest is in helping Imperial service personnel escape trial for their crimes. This tension sometimes flares into violence between Security personnel and military police, especially (but not always) while off duty.


An IISS Way Station is located in geostationary orbit close to Flammarion Orbital. The Way Station serves as an Xboat nexus, a training facility and also as a base for IISS Intelligence Branch operations in the Sword Worlds, Darrian and District 268 subsectors.

An Imperial Naval Base, located on Flammarion's moon Dante, supports patrol and intelligence operations in the Sword Worlds, District 268, Five Sisters and Darrian subsectors. Dante is interdicted to 10 diameters.

A rapid reaction fleet is stationed in orbit around Dante, and the entire moon is off-limits to unauthorised personnel. This fleet is often deployed in anti-piracy operations beyond Imperial borders, its commanders keeping a careful watch on nearby Asteltine/District 268 and Debarre/Darrian, class B starports long suspected of turning a blind eye to piracy.

There are several laboratories in the Flammarion system: a solar research laboratory on Lucifer (orbit 0); an IISS isolation lab on Wagner (second moon of Mephisto, orbit 2); an IISS gravitics lab in Tartarus Belt (orbit 3); an Imperial Geological research station orbiting Ahriman (captured planet, orbit 5.9-7.1); and a Rhylanor University cryo-research lab on Persephone (moon of Hades, orbit 11.8). The planets and moons of the system host various military bases and facilities. A major Imperial Marines base is co-located with the Naval Base on Dante. The Imperial Army maintains a garrison on Mephisto (orbit 3) and a ProFors training base on Abaddon (orbit 9). The IISS Security Branch has an unusually large training facility on Al-Uzza, the outer moon of Shaitan (orbit 5), and a small observation post on Hades (orbit 11.8). Visitors are generally unwelcome.

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Flammarion has a diameter of 9,457 km and a surface gravity of 0.81 standard Gs. The planet's mass is 42% of standard and its escape velocity is 8.5 km/s. It has an axial tilt of 12% and its orbit exhibits negligible eccentricity.

Flammarion is very active tectonically; Dante's powerful tides induce complex and variable magnetic fields in the planet's core. Because of this, solar and cosmic radiation at the planet's surface can vary wildly.


Flammarion's atmosphere is unbreatheable, being very thin and almost entirely composed of nitrogen. A combination mask/compressor and a supply of oxygen is required, but no other protection is necessary. Flammarion's average surface temperature is 279K (6C), making Flammarion 9C lower than standard. The planet has an albedo of 17%, largely attributable to Flammarion's substantial polar icecaps, and a negligible temperature elevation due to Greenhouse Effect.

Savage storms lash the surface of Flammarion at irregular intervals, and the weather can change with little warning.


29% of Flammarion's surface is covered by water, contributing to 10% cloudiness. Flammarion's sea trenches are very deep, where geological subduction zones drop almost 30km beneath the surface. Dante's orbit sometimes causes very large tides in Flammarion's seas.


Government on Flammarion is divided two ways: an LSP Board of Directors (Elite Council) exercises legislative and executive authority. Laws and regulations vary on a territorial basis between Orbital port, Downport, planetary surface, LSP installations and military bases.

Judicial authority is vested in ad-hoc councils formed for each particular offence and dissolved immediately afterwards. For example, a brawl between Army and Scout personnel in an LSP-owned bar might be tried before a council of officers selected from each of the Army, Scout Service and LSP's Starport Entertainment division, with the power to impose fines or custodial sentences.

Individuals chosen for a judicial council must serve unless they can demonstrate an incapacity; LSP pays each judicial councillor a daily stipend of Cr250. Disputes involving complex matters requiring specialist knowledge -- for example fraud -- may take months or even years to resolve.

Law Levels

6 -- law levels are high only in specific areas, leaving other activities relatively free from regulation.
9 -- severe penalties apply to any weapons possession outside of military installations to all except for law enforcement officers such as military police or LSP Security.
10 -- LSP has a monopoly over commerce on Flammarion and imposes draconian penalties on unauthorised trade activities. Much of LSP Security's work involves cracking down on the system's extensive black market.
7 -- Crimes against the person, and especially against property, are subject to heavy sanctions.
7 -- There are well-established procedures to allow individuals to seek restitution if wronged.
Personal Freedom
3 -- Individuals' personal affairs are relatively free from official interference.

Extended Social Profile

Progressiveness Attitude
Conservative. The population tends to be afraid of change. Extensive effort may be needed to convince them a change is needed.
Progressiveness Action
Indifferent. The population lacks a drive to progress. Some progress exists, but its movement borders on immeasurable.
Aggressiveness Attitude
Passive. The population prefers inaction to the use of force.
Aggressiveness Action
Neutral. The population seldom flaunts their military might. They readily express their willingness to fight in self-defence if needed.
Global Extensiveness
Discordant. The world's population strongly disagrees on major issues. Dissention definitely exists.
Interstellar Extensiveness
Aloof. The populace reacts coolly to any offworlders. The local population may sometimes even be downright unfriendly.

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Flammarion's simple biosphere is based on anaerobic lifeforms, with all species being the survivors of an asteroid impact around half a million years ago that led to a mass extinction event. Some researchers have noted the beginnings of differentiation into evolutionary niches, but most lifeforms on Flammarion belong to only three species: String, Snips and Veets.

The base of Flammarion's food chain is an anaerobic bacteria that forms elongated colonies, or 'String,' reinforced with a silicate ceramic similar to asbestos. String ranges from microscopic size to around 2 metres long, and may in turn combine into 'mats' and 'rafts' up to 100 square metres in size. These may accumulate in bays and river bends into enormous three-dimensional ecosystems that teem with life.
The bacteria is a continual problem in Flammarion Down -- it grows almost anywhere, and since String is mildly conductive it can short-circuit sensitive electronic equipment. Every couple of years Flammarion Orbital suffers a major String infestation, and the station is quarantined for a couple of weeks until the bacteria can be exterminated.
Snips are native arthropod grazers (10 grams) which eat the bacterial String; the name comes from the sound made when a Snip bites through a String. The arthropod is an 8-legged hermaphrodite, and lives in Swarms of 2000-10000 individuals. Snips have an annoying habit of biting through exposed wires, but are otherwise not dangerous to humans.
Veets, the top predators of Flammarion, are omnivores closely related to Snips and somewhat disappointing at only 50 grams. Veets are hermaphroditic, 8-legged, and have a painful bite that leads to ulceration in humans. Some individuals may be allergic (roll 11+, but only once ever for any individual) and suffer convulsions after a bite, requiring hospitalisation for up to a week. However, there has never been a fatality due to a Veet bite.
Other Species
Deep sea trenches may hide remnants of other species that survived the extinction event, but there has never been a scientific study made because of the technical difficulty of reaching such depths. Fossil remains show that Flammarion once hosted a far more complex range of arthropods. Some of these were up to 3 metres in length, indicating that the atmosphere once had much more oxygen. The asteroids that bombarded the planet and killed off oxygen-producing life on impact were almost pure iron; geological strata show a thick layer of iron oxide formed as the asteroidal iron rusted, locking the remaining oxygen out of the atmosphere.
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Situation in 1105

Flammarion's population in 1105 is 70,000. The majority of the population lives in Flammarion Orbital (40,000) and Flammarion Down (7,000); however, there are three larger towns (Goethe, Milton and Marlowe) of around 5,000 persons, and a further 40 settlements of up to 500 scattered around the planet.

Flammarion lies at a strategic choke point between the Sword Worlds, the Five Sisters and Darrian subsectors. An Imperial Naval Base and a Scout Way Station support Imperial intelligence and patrol operations aimed at neutralising the ambitions of the Sword Worlds. The planet is also ideally situated for sharing intelligence with Imperial allies, the Darrians, being only 5 parsecs from Mire and 4 parsecs from Darrian itself.

Almost all of Flammarion's population lives on or near Flammarion Orbital and Flammarion Down, with the only other significant centres of population being the various Imperial military facilities in the system.

Situation in 1117

Flammarion's population in 1117 is 77,000. The majority of the population lives in Flammarion Orbital (45,000) and Flammarion Down (10,000); however, there are three larger towns (Goethe, Milton and Marlowe) of around 5,000 persons, and a further 40 settlements of up to 500 persons scattered around the planet.

During the Fifth Frontier War (1107-1110) Flammarion's population expanded as the Naval base and Way Station supported Imperial Fleet raids and strikes against the Sword Worlds and deep intelligence operations to coreward and trailing. At the end of the war, the Naval base on Dante retained its expanded staff as insurance against further Sword Worlds aggression.

With the Imperial annexation of the Border Worlds in 1111 and the gradual development of District 268, Flammarion ceased to be a bottleneck for traffic to the Five Sisters subsector. However, the post-war economic expansion in District 268 and Five Sisters also led to increased civilian traffic through the starport, with a resultant increase in business activity and expansion in the civilian population.

Within six parsecs of Flammarion lies every Sword World and much of Darrian territory; for the foreseeable future Flammarion will remain a hub for Imperial intelligence operations.

Situation in 1200

Flammarion's population in 1200 is 290,000. The majority of the population lives in Flammarion Orbital (30,000) and Flammarion Down (120,000); there are four secondary cities: Goethe (50,000), Milton (20,000), Marlowe (15,000) and Machiavelli (10,000); another 25 tertiary towns of 500 to 5000 persons, and a further 180 smaller settlements.

In the Rebellion following Strephon's assassination, Flammarion's luck ran dry. The exploration and trade fuelling the Spinward economic boom dried up almost immediately. As one of the military strongpoints of the Spinward Marches, Flammarion attracted refugees from neighbouring subsectors. By 1140, Flammarion's population had increased almost fourfold.

With the increased refugee population, Flammarion became a net importer of food (Non-agricultural trade classification). LSP operations ceased to be profitable, and in 1146 the corporation cut its losses and withdrew from the system. A group of former Imperial Navy officers ploughed their mustering-out benefits into purchasing the bankrupted starport. The former officers' children inherited their shares, leading to an hereditary self-perpetuating oligarchy (Gov: 3).

The change in Imperial strategic priorities -- from containing the Sword Worlds to repelling Virus -- also damaged Flammarion's prosperity. Although Imperial base facilities remained in-system, far less military traffic arrived in-system than in Flammarion's heyday.

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Every effort was made to maintain consistency between the various versions of Traveller, but GURPS Traveller: Behind the Claw was used only where necessary for additional information, for example atmosphere consistency. In the case of conflict, GDW publications (MT, CT and TNE) were considered 'canon'.

Copyright ©2001 Michael Barry.
TRAVELLER is a registered trademark of FarFuture Enterprises.
Portions of this material are Copyright ©1977-2001 Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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