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
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
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
Steve Jackson Games