Aomori is a Planet in the Alvero System located in hex 0406 and the Homeworld of House Reticulum. The planet is largely water, with many jungle archipelagos and few main land masses. Most of the planets fauna and much of its flora are the results of failed terraforming experiments on the planet. These include predatory mega-fauna and strange blue plant life.
The language of Aomori is the language of House Reticulum, an artificial (pidgin) language that is a synthesis of various languages. The language uses words from various different languages. The character set is Chinese.
People of Aomori
The population of Aomori is largely concentrated in a dozen or so cities spread out across the planet, with a small portion residing in isolated settlements across the islands and jungles of the planet.
Culture of Aomori
The culture of the planet is formed around the Minor House that owns it; House Reticulum. It's related in many ways to the eastern Asian cultures of Earth, as well as, Polynesian, Indian, Arthurian Myth and Norse Myth too. Not much is known about how the culture developed in the timeline, mostly due to the Guild's interference and sparse records, but time will tell if that all remains hidden.
A Culture of Perfectionism
In the house of Reticulum, there is one goal that all members strive to achieve- perfection. Whether this is entails creating the perfect weapon or becoming the perfect warrior, crafters and wielders alike hold themselves and each other to a high standard, accepting everything less than perfect as merely adequate. To a lesser extent, this culture of perfectionism has extended to the non noble population of Aomori. Though most citizens of the planet simply try their best to survive from day to day, a few serfs and freemen attempt to emulate the perfectionist attitude of their masters. These individuals take particular pride in their craft, improving themselves or their skills whenever possible. Though they may never surpass nobles in their level of skill, the people of Aomori still champion local artisans, taking pride that they serve their lords with superior skill to other, lesser serfs.
Largely, the nobles of House Reticulum ignore the opinions of their serfs, expecting the best out of all of them. Occasionally however, a particularly masterful serf may catch the attention of a Reticulum noble. When this happens, the noble may pluck the serf from their family or village and dub them Dorodango. Reticulum nobles keep Dorodango in a manner that one may keep a pet or some interesting oddity, showing them off to family or visitors. Particular nobles may even keep a collection of Dorodango as a point of pride, surrounding themselves with skilled individuals who serve them with zeal and gusto.
An Armed Populace
On Aomori, a personal reverence for arms and weaponry pervades the culture. While the greatest weapons are reserved for the nobility, many of the serfs and freemen of the planet carry some personal weapon with them. These weapons are a point of personal pride for many citizens, in an attempt to emulate their Nobility. The visible quality of one's weapon is typically a significant factor in how Aomorians perceive each other. In addition to their cultural importance, the people of Aomori carry weapons for the purpose of self defense. Large portions of the planet are feral and untamed, and defensive weaponry is required even in areas abutting human habitation.
Much of traditional Reticulum cuisine stems from the nature of Aomori. The diet consists of lots of fish and sea vegetables with some meat and berries. Most crops are imported due to the planets unsuitability for farming.
"It’s like a bomb going off in your mouth!"- An advertisement for instant Bombfahl curry dishes.
Some examples of traditional House Reticulum cuisine are:
- Bombfahl Curry: A curry made with an indistinct amount of chili peppers, habaneros, blue tomatoes, ginger and fennel seeds.
- Kanaloa Sushi: Made from one of the planet’s largest aquatic predators, wrapped in blue seaweed with some blue wasabi.
- Yuanxiao Dumplings: Dumplings with a filling made from a docile creature from Aomori's few archipelagos, the Nāmaka.
- Mochi Ice Cream.
- Aomori Batista Bomb: Distilled by fermenting a bioluminescent fruit which can be found on the planet surface. The drink glows with a faint blue light and is deceptively smooth despite consisting almost entirely of alcohol.
- Kampa'Gni: A sparkling wine produced in vineyards across the temperate regions of Aomori, prized for the spectacle of opening it as much as its taste.
- Black Spiced Whalecrab Soup: A heavily spiced soup made with whalecrab meat and a plethora of diced vegetables. Simple and easy to prepare, it is a staple among the people of Aomori. While it is quite popular with serfs, certain high end restaurants have also begun serving it- offering unique spins on a traditional meal.
- Fruits: There are many well known fruits from Earth that grow well on Aomori. Fruits such as Papyas, Bananas, Pinapples, are such examples. Though, there are quite a few lesser known fruits as well, such as dragonfruit, rambutan, jackfruit, surinam cherries, mangosteen fruit, rollinia fruit, star fruit, and lilikoi. Over their centuries of cultivation and genetic manipulation on Aomori, many of these fruits have begun to form strains colored with kyanophyll, resulting in strains of blue fruit. The most abundant fruit, the Star Pomegranate, is a blue bioluminescent fruit that is used predominantly in Aomori's signature drink, the Batista Bomb.
While the people aren't known for their hosting of parties, they certainly know how to throw one. There are a couple main celebrations to note.
Celebration of The First Mahati Astra
The first Mahati Astra was a sign of great things for the Noble House. The legend goes that Regret was the weapon that was used to eliminate the Alien general that slew Daikannushi Akani's husband. The celebration is one that celebrates the fallen of Reticulum as well as the great works of the past year. Children run around with toy weaponry and the adults are known to have great competitions of skill.
Running of the Paca
This is a festival known for the fun of releasing thousands of small Paca into the streets of Xinjing, the people begin running through the streets from the Paca. While dangerous, it is rather fun and easy going event, as the Paca aren't very aggressive animals.
Baffin Trial Festival
For some families within House Reticulum children are subject to the Baffin Trials. This is a coming of age ritual in which embodies three stages: Seperation, Transition, Incorporation. Once the child completes the trial they are now an adult and their path within House Reticulum, as either a wielder or crafter, is made known.
The Grand Tournament
One of the most popular pastime on Aomori is to watch bouts for entertainment. This level of fanaticism for the show of skill is at it's peak during the Grand Tournament which takes place every four years in the Budokan of Xinjing. This tournament covers all fighting forms and lasts the whole month. This event sees nobles from across the sector travelling to Aomori for a full month of entertainment. Winners of this tournament are set for life, honoured wherever they go on Aomori and are often the number one choice when it comes to being selected to serve in a legal duel.
The locals favor some form of stylized combat to resolve disputes, provide entertainment, or settle religious differences. This combat is probably not normally lethal unless it's reserved for a specific disposable class of slaves or professionals. Some combat may involve mastery of esoteric weapons and complex arenas, while other forms might require nothing more than a declaration in the street and a drawn gun.
- Bloodthirsty local champion
- Ambitious gladiator stable owner
- Xenophobic master fighter
- Peace-minded foreign missionary
- Temperate defender of the weak
- Local eager to learn of off-world fighting styles
- The required weapons are strange pretech artifacts
- Certain classes are forbidden from fighting and require champions
- A loss doesn't mean death but it does mean ritual scarring or property loss
- Magnificent weapon
- Token signifying immunity to ritual combat challenges
- Prize won in bloody battle
- Area full of cheering spectators
- A dusty street outside a saloon
- Memorial for fallen warriors
This world was marginal for human habitation when it was discovered, but the Mandate or the early government put in pretech terraforming engines to correct its more extreme qualities. The terraforming did not entirely work, either failing of its own or suffering the destruction of the engines during the Silence. The natives are only partly adapted to the world's current state and struggle with the environment.
The various ongoing effects attributed to the terraforming engines occur during unpredictable, seemingly random cycles. When these cycles enter an active phase, fauna in a radius around the engines begin to act with extreme aggression, aerial creatures crash into the sides of the engine, and aquatic creatures begin to strand themselves in massive quantities along beaches and shorelines surrounding the engines. These active cycles can last for varying amounts of time, with the shortest active cycle taking two hours and the longest cycle taking eleven months. During inactive cycles, these effects fade and fauna returns to its normal state.
The notable exception to these cycles is the defunct Terrata Prime engine, which has been almost entirely stripped of parts and disassembled. Though effects on terrestrial and aerial fauna have ceased with the engines disassembly, aquatic life continues to constantly strand itself on the nearby shoreline.
- The brutal ruler who cares only about their people
- Offworlder trying to loot the damaged engines
- Warlord trying to seize limited habitable land
- Local trying to fix the engines
- Offworlder student of the engines
- World-wise native survivor
- The engines produced too much of something instead of too little
- The engines were hijacked by aliens with different preferences
- It was discovered that an earth-like environment would eventually cause a catastrophic disaster
- Parts to repair or restore the engines
- Lootable pretech fragments
- Valuable local tech devised to cope with the world
- Zone of tolerable gravity or temperature
- The native settlement built to cope with the environment
- Massive ruined terraforming engine
Occupation: Religious missionaries to travelers
Situation: Has corrupt customs agents
Gas Giant Mine
Occupation: Strange robots and their overseers.
Situation: They need vital supplies
Occupation: Strange robots and their overseers.
Situation: Alien remnants were found.
A city built on a semi-circular volcanic archipelago, the city of Kahaka is the industrial center of Aomori.
- Population: 10.3 Million
A city on built in and around the shell of a massive terraforming engine of the same name.
- Population: 7.9 Million
Aomori's capitol city, a sprawling ocean-side city, yet clean and well off.
- Population: 15.2 Million
A city located near a semi-active terraforming engine. Renown for extreme weather caused by the engine
Plant life on Aomori contains a pigment known as kyanophyll rather than chlorophyll as plants contain on Earth. This difference results in almost all plants taking a remarkable blue color, creating the blue forests from which Aomori's name is derived.
Shinkanten is a red algae-like plant that produces a gelatinous substance commonly used in puddings and desserts. It grows in large amounts on the shores of Aomori's islands. It's red color sticks out among Aomori's almost entirely blue surface. Without gps, the easiest way to identify Aomori's small blue land masses in the midst of its giant blue oceans is the red outline that the shinkanten creates around the islands.
Yoroki are mid-sized trees that typically grow between 20 to 30 ft. They are best known for secreting a sticky substance known as yoroki sap that coats the tree and makes it resistant to acid and fire. Reticulum armor is typically coated with yoroki sap to improve its effectiveness.
The Dokokoniko is a deadly puffball mushroom. Once the mushroom is mature its spores begin to accumulate within their gasterothecium until it becomes so large it explodes, releasing a plague of poisonous spores in the area around it. Inhabitants of Aomori spend a lot of time and effort containing the Dokukinoko to unpopulated areas of the planet. However, there have been disastrous cases of Dokukinoko spreading the rural villages and killing the whole population.
Characteristics: Kahney are small, amphibious frog-like creature that comes in many different varieties of colors, from vibrant to plain. They are common pets due to their docile nature for the most part, though, some species of the amphibians are known to be quite poisonous. While the poison isn't quite suited for family life, it is rather good for application to weapons or directly poisoning someone.
Characteristics: The Paca is a lizard-like animal that is known for its docile nature and ability to be used as a mount. Paca can weigh up to 1700lbs and be as tall as 10 feet, as well as 20 feet long, from the tip of tail to head. Their green scales are known as valuable items and are seen often at marketplaces around Aomori.
Characteristics: Bomuari are a flying insect-like creature that creates nests inside of Yoroki. Similarly to many Earth insects such as ants and bees, Bomuari are a hive mind and live to protect and nourish their fertile queen. The Bomuari biologically tasked with defending the nest are capable of self-combusting, creating a fireball approximately 2 inches in diameter.
Characteristics: Coracle eels, named for their habit of preying upon small personal craft or swimmers, are a species of predatory eel native to the oceans of Aomori. Adult specimens are typically 26 to 32 meters in length, and can weigh up to 200 tons. Male coracle eels have dark green heads which gives way to a dark grey, almost black coloration. Female eels have slightly brighter heads.
Present across Aomori, coracle eels have been hunted for sport, food, and population control since the planet was settled by House Reticulum. Despite constant hunting however, coracle eel populations have been constant throughout the recorded history of the planet, and show no visible decline. While they typically stay away from shallower waters, coracle eels have been known to cause massive damage when under the effects of an active terraforming engine. While under the effects of an engine these creatures may make their way almost 2 kilometers inland before going catatonic.
Characteristics: Shizakura are amorphous creature that appear to be a pink moss from distant observation. They generally form somewhat circular patches that can be up to 15 ft. in diameter for fully grown individuals. Those who are unfortunate to observe it more closely without proper preparation will quickly learn that it is much more dangerous. When an animal steps onto the shizakura, it slowly climbs the animal with the rest of its body while secreting an enzyme that sticks to and immobilizes the animal. After the animal is fully engulfed, the shizakura lays flat again, hiding the animal beneath it while the enzymes finish digesting the animal. Oftentimes the outlines of an undigested animal are visible in the shizakura. Shizakura reproduce asexually and if a small section is cut out, it will live on its own. The main methods of killing shizakura are flames of complete pulverization.
Culinary use: The shizakura is edible if a small section is harvested and removed of its venom before being pulverized. The venom cannot be removed after pulverization. The shizakura is considered a delicacy and many chefs have mastered the technique of preparing it but very few are trusted to perform it as the tiniest error could have deadly results.
Characteristics: The Nightmarcher is a compact and well-muscled animal, is the deadliest land animal on Aomori. Its size and weight vary but can get up to ~600lbs. It's a nocturnal animal, coming out in the night, and runs as fast as a cheetah. Traditionally, the animal is secluded and keeps to itself, however, it isn't unheard of to see the creature with it's mate, forming an especially deadly duo.
Females of the species have frills around their necks, folded towards their back. When they are spotted by their prey, the frills pull up and reflect a stark and blinding light in the eyes of their quarry. If that wasn't enough, the males (denoted by frills that hang around their head like a hood) will spit a viscous and vile liquid onto their prey, distracting and hampering their ability to defend themselves.
It's often suggested by locals "Do not visit the jungles past the evening, the Night marches to war then."
Characteristics: The Kuula are a unique and also terrifying land predator. They are large, roughly 12 feet in length, and can get up to ~1000lbs, and they have wings designed for gliding down from the treetops. However, they are hotly debated on weather they are inherently psychic, as it is known that the creature hunts prey, by 'smelling' it's fear. They have a horrifying screech and can induce an electric shock like an eel when it clamps it's teeth down on someone. Unless you have no fear, it's always recommended that you head into the jungle with a guide.
Characteristics: Puca are small symbiotic ferret like rodents which live on Aomori. They are best known for their ability to manipulate the emotional states of creatures and humans around them. This manipulation usual serves simply to correct imbalances in the target's psyche but can in times of extreme stress it can suppress ones urge to commit acts of violence, but only before said acts are undertaken. These abilities have resulted in them becoming a very desirable companion for both native animals and people alike. As such, Puca are seldom found alone and are often guarded by larger more threatening fauna. This in combination with their extremely low population makes them an exceedingly rare find. Other notable abilities include the ability to float for short amounts of time as well as lacking the need to respire. Scientist are still unsure as to why they breath when they do not need to in order to survive.
Puca's base fur color is always white or black.
Bonding: A puca has accents and markings which change color depending on it's mood until it has bonded with a human. Once it has bonded with a human, it's markings shift to the color most desired by the bound human. During times of emotional stress, the markings on the puca will change in color to reflect the mental state of their master.
Biology: Absolutely no one knows much more about puca biology aside from the fact that their existence is strange and they shouldn’t exist based on our current understanding of reality. It is unknown how they reproduce and attempts to glean information about their physiology via dissection and vivisection have resulted in them fading out of existence before any information can be gleaned only to reappear somewhere later.
Characteristics: The whale crab is a species of large crustacean native to the oceans of Aomori. The carapace of the whale crab may reach a length of 5.2 metres (17 ft). It has a mottled blueish green carapace, with deeper green claws. The claws of these creatures are not typical of any other form of crustacean, owing to the Whale Crab's engineered nature. In actuality these claws are a pair of extra mouths, shaped to resemble the head of the sperm whale, an apex predator of the oceans of Earth.
Despite their intimidating presence, whale crabs are scavengers which feed on aquatic flora and the detritus of other aquatic megafauna. Though they do not prey on humans, whale crabs have been known to be highly territorial during their mating seasons, and are just as aggressive as other fauna while in the radius of an active terraforming engine.
Uses: Whale crab meat is a common staple of many Aormorian dishes. Though domestication is difficult, House Reticulum keeps a number of reservations where the crabs are bred and kept. Additionally, a select few nobles keep whale crabs for use as mounts. Through use of implanted cybernetics and intense training, a howdah may be safely attached to the back of the crab.
Characteristics: The Tatalo is one of the largest species of fauna on Aomori. Like most fauna on Aomori, the Tatalo is largely peaceful and can even be ridden by humans if the human so desires. However, if threatened, it is merciless in it’s approach to defending itself from the perceived threat. On average the Tatalo’s body is 70 feet with tentacles at the end of its body that can grow to as much as 30 feet long with some individuals growing to as large as 85 feet in length with 35 foot long tentacles. They have large bioluminescent glands on their stomach to attract mates and lure prey, an important adaptation for living deep near the ocean floor. Although omnivorous the Tatalo’s diet consists largely of meat due to what is available in their preferred environment.
Tatalo are viewed as the gentle giants of Aomori as they tend to keep to themselves and are rarely intrusive. However, at times when a new facility or station in the ocean is being built a Tatalo may see the construction as a threat. During such events, a wielder may bid for the opportunity to face such a creature in combat, a great honour to any hunter.
Of interest to scholars is the drastic affect psionics and pretech have on the Tatalo in particular. The radiant energy given off by the terraforming engines around Aomori makes most creatures violent, but Tatalo are rendered completely docile and they enter an almost vegetative state nearest to the engine and undergo a mutation.
Characteristics: When a Tatalo hibernates because of the effects of the terraforming engines, it's body chemistry changes rapidly in an almost cancerous way. These Tatalo are normally euthanized as soon as possible, as when they awake their entire nature changes. The Tatalo’s snout rescinds and the bioluminescent glands close, their skin develops red stripes and two cancerous secondary heads form around the neck of the Tatalo. Those few who avoid extermination are extremely violent, tending to hunt seemingly for pleasure instead of nourishment. For a short while this can be beneficial to Aomori’s ecosystem, as it eliminates nearby fauna also tainted by the engines, however they soon move out and kill anything they find. As terrible as these creatures are, Wielders express an odd glee at the prospect of killing the most dangerous creature on Aomori. Numerous wielders have died in vain attempts at killing them, and most recorded kills are due to orbital bombardment rather than individual skill. Those few who have been slain in what is passed off as fair combat are questioned by most and explained away as odd chance or biological decay from the cancerous growths.
Characteristics: Originally bred on Earth, though lost to history, the Kumokitsune is a small creature comparable with Terran foxes with a familiar canine nature which possesses some features akin to spiders. Growing to an average of a foot in length, they were genetically engineered to be hunters of rodents and other pests, with near limitless flexibility and terrain traversing ability. Able to climb walls and enter enclosed spaces with their collapsible skeletons, they can also be used as domestic and well-trained pets. The spine like appendages on the Kumokitsune’s back act as vibration sensors as well as a defense mechanism, they can extend these appendages up in the air to seem larger. The Kumokitsune tend to eat insects and small rodents and have an iridescent black coat with yellow stripes.