The Planet


Durien is an old human colony world, 14.819 parsecs from Earth. It is a small rocky world like Mars, with a low gravity and thin atmosphere, but with just enough oxygen to support humans. Durien's sun is the K9 V star Tiera.

Durien is a temperate desert world, with no liquid surface water and thin polar icecaps. There are some reserves of water underground, but despite intensive drilling there is never quite enough for the ever-growing population.


Durien was a dead world when discovered, although the atmospheric oxygen was evidence for extensive life in the past. Micro-fossils reveal that a native fauna of anaerobic microbes produced all the oxygen until the atmospheric concentration became too high and killed them all, about 30-40 million years ago. Surface oxidation removed some of the gas, leaving a rusted red planet, but still with plenty of oxygen in the atmosphere.

Humans have imported many desert plant species and appropriately adapted animals in an effort to establish a stable ecosystem and atmospheric oxygen cycle, but to this day the oxygen levels are dropping slowly.


Durien's population is 1.2 billion humans and 120,000 aliens. The harsh conditions have slowed but not prevented the inevitable population growth. Most people live in sprawling cities near the more easily extracted water supplies, including some in the polar regions living off meltwater.


Internally, Durien's economy is driven by the quest for water. Factories produce high quality drilling and water extraction and purification machinery, some of which is exported. The drive to find a stable oxygen recirculation ecosystem has resulted in many biochemical and genetic labs, which produce bioengineered materials and lifeforms used on many other worlds.

Durien's major import is, unsurprisingly, water. Since it is free on most other worlds, and Durien is willing to buy it, large tankers can turn a reasonable profit hauling water to slake Durien's thirst. The eventual goal is to have enough water imported to produce some small seas and set up a natural water cycle, though this will take thousands of years at current import rates.


Durien is governed by a combination of elected officials and the Durien Water Company. The DWC monopoly allowed them to rule as a corporate state for many years, until citizen dissatisfaction resulted in an uprising and the establishment of the current system. DWC competes with more normal political parties for seats in the lower house of government, and normally wins about a third of them. In the senate however, DWC appoints fully half the senators, with the other half elected from non-DWC candidates. This ensures that a DWC initiative can be voted down in the senate by the agreement of all the non-DWC senators, while also giving DWC an effective veto on any legislation it does not like.

This set up was instituted only 30 years ago and is now seen as cumbersome by most people, but nobody can think of a satisfactory replacement. A result is that day-to-day law enforcement is lax and many things, such as carrying concealed weaponry, though technically illegal, are regarded with a blind eye. Social stability is tentative at best, and bloody revolution coud break out at any point, even though DWC holds all the aces with its water monopoly.

GURPS is Copyright © by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

Last Updated: