The Planet


Rosethorn is only 32.51 parsecs from Earth, but was passed over in the first wave of human interstellar colonisation in favour of obviously richer worlds. It is a small rocky world with a marginally breathable atmosphere, in a 2/3 resonant tide-locked orbit about the tiny M3 V star 92 Scorpius.

The days on Rosethorn are unpleasantly long and hot, lasting 38 standard days. The nights are equally unpleasantly long and cold. The 18% water coverage exists in one great sea, which partially mitigates the climatic extremes in areas near it.

Although bearing a passing resemblance to Mars in many places, with old red iron oxide rocks, Rosethorn is tectonically active and suffers volcanic eruptions every few years. In the past these have produced vast areas of sharp, cracked red obsidian over the landscape, from which the planet received its name.


The native flora and fauna of Rosethorn are all unicellular and limited to the waters of the sea, which is noticeably thick and "soupy" with life.

Imported life consists mainly of hardy desert vegetation which is still adapting to the conditions, and domesticated crops and livestock which are mostly kept protected from the elements.


Around 45 million humans call Rosethorn home. The inhabitants mostly populate medium to large cities which sprawl around the edges of the sea. Most of the rest of the surface is simply too inhospitable, although several thousand Chatka roam the wilderness as nomads.


Rosethorn has few natural resources beyond a niche export market for its unusual red obsidian, which is prized as a semi-precious mineral and used for jewellery and artworks. Mostly the planet's economy is sustained by transitory trade, since it is one of the few convenient waypoints between Earth and the region towards Goggic and Gallot. The only other real choice is the even less hospitable Tintanon.

Rosethorn imports pretty much everything, as it skims off what it needs from the cargoes which pass through its ports. Food and other organics form the major components, but high-tech computing equipment and machinery also have a strong local demand. Traders could find a buyer here for almost anything though.


Rosethorn is an almost anarchic representative democracy. In truth, the government has little to do except enforce what few laws exist. Revenue is raised by trade tariffs, so there is no taxation of citizens who do not operate trading companies. Social security and weapons controls are virtually nonexistant. This means there are a few violent confrontations when trade disagreements get out of hand, but the small local police force is surprisingly well-equipped and competent to handle such events. Punishments are light, but reputation means everything to a trader, so few really push the bounds of criminal behaviour.

On an interstellar level, Rosethorn maintains an aging navy to defend itself, but has no aspirations to expand its territory. Some nearby worlds have considered the riches of owning such a valuable trading post, but know that others value its independence too much to allow Rosethorn to be conquered without allying with it, so the status quo remains.

GURPS is Copyright © by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

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