It’s a world strangled by foul fumes, with an ozone layer too weak to prevent being torched by Eunelas’ aggressive radiation. Hong Lu never was what most nobles would consider a preferable vacation spot. If that wasn’t enough to dissuade the adventurous types, the chain gangs and cutthroats that populate the alleyways and factories and will be sure to provide ample welcome. Starting with the Hong Lu Revolt in 3180, life on the planet has been in spades. Since Hong Lu declared its own independency in 3198, criminals and vagabonds of Acheron Rho can stand in broad daylight, the Houses never the wiser.
One might, in their travels, witness the dagger-like skyscrapers of Downtown, piercing the smog layer like sharpened blades. It is advised travellers avoid the New Huang He River, seeing as how the chemical weapons deployed along its banks in the Revolt still linger like a hidden death.
Settlement of Hong Lu
Settlers first arrived on Hong Lu in the years that followed the First Contact in 2205. During the The War for Human Prosperity, the early outpost on Hong Lu was a staging ground for military operations in the Northeast of Acheron Rho, particularly for the 4th Asian Branch of the United Constellation Fleet who also gave the planet its name. With the Founding of the Empire in 2215, Hong Lu was subjected to Imperial rule along every other planet seized by Humanity, however leadership on the planet remained volatile and the ruling House changed regularly. Due to the harsh living conditions, in its entire history Hong Lu has never been regarded as particularly desirable to rule over. For many rulers, Hong Lu proved to be more burden than prize.
Nevertheless, Hong Lu remained a pivotal hub for trade and traffic in that region of the sector, especially in the Dark Ages that followed The Scream event. Over the centuries and against all odds, Hong Lu’s population grew into the billions, making it one of only a dozen or so planets with a population of that size. Hong Lu City’s population density is among the highest in the entire sector, although an exact census is impossible to achieve.
Before the The War against the Artificials and the events that transpired during the Hong Lu Revolt, the planet was under rule of then-Imperial House Cygnus and played a key role in the fabrication of synthetics. In the subterranean caverns of Hong Lu’s porous crust (see Geography), Cygnus, in conjunction with A.C.R.E., maintained large-scale facilities for the production of synthetics and biomass cultivation, utilising the extreme energy output of Hong Lu’s sun, Eunelas. What hasn’t been scrapped of the fallow remnants of photovoltaic mega-structures still spans large parts of the planet’s surface today. Albeit the societal divide was significant even during this time, Hong Lu was relatively prosperous when compared to the unrest that followed this period.
As has been the case through the entirety of its history however, Hong Lu was troubled by a powerful and ruthless criminal underworld even before the civil war that was the Hong Lu Revolt. High influx of off-worlders, unmonitored population growth and formation of giant slums, and a Cygnus government that for the most part practiced a hands-off approach yet was brutal in its methods in the few instances it exercised its power led to a vibrant, lawless parallel society and ultimately made Hong Lu into a powder keg.
The Hong Lu Revolt
For main article, see Hong Lu Revolt
Due to Hong Lu's close orbit around its star Eunelas on the inner border of the system's habitable zone and the resulting high average temperature, the planet has no icecaps at its poles. All of Hong Lu's surface is arid and larger bodies of water are rare. Outside of Hong Lu City, most of the planet's surface is either rocky or covered in desert. The planet has no native biosphere to speak of.
With just 4,880 km (3,032 mi) in diameter, Hong Lu is a relatively small planet.
The Hong Lu City has subjected Hong Lu's surface to an unprecedented amount of anti-gravity technology. Because of the porous nature of the planet's crust, the many algae filled caverns underneath the city, and the presence of long-term A.C.R.E. facilities, some environmental scientists predict the planet's crust may reach critical instability in the years to come—especially since the Fall of House Cygnus no noble House is in charge of maintaining the city's infrastructure.
Anti-grav technology interactions have caused one of the cities major waterways, the New Huang He River, to seasonally levitate and flow into the sky over a temporary bubble of reversed gravity.
The record low and high temperatures of Hong Lu are 8°C (48°F) and 62°C (143°F) respectively. Mean temperature on Hong Lu is 39°C (102°F). Inhabitants dress for a variety of atypical weather phenomena such as incredibly strong winds from abnormal directions, acid rain, sudden lightning storms, algae blooms, smog fronts, and localized losses of gravity due to equipment malfunction. One section of the northern city has a cloud of continually combusting gasses that have been likened to the mythical Aurora Borealis of Lost Earth.
The violent radiation of Eunelas is another environmental hazard for everything located on or above Hong Lu's surface. Spending prolonged periods of time in the open can lead to severe cases of acute radiation syndrome in humans. Technical equipment intended for permanent outdoor use needs special shielding. Only Eunelas' extreme energy output allows to power Hong Lu City—energy is collected by photovoltaic mega arrays that are scattered across Hong Lu's surface in locations suited for that purpose.
See Landscape for the impacts of Hong Lu's climate on its landscape.
Universally poor. Respirators are required to avoid developing chronic lung issues. The main health issue caused by Hong Lu's polluted air is pertussis, colloquially referred to as 'Hong Lung'. Open air spaces can be cleared of air pollution with great effort and special equipment. Technology like that is mostly used in some of the wealthier upper layers of Hong Lu City and causes the polluted air to be pushed downwards into the layers below, making the air even more toxic there.
Cheap Life (Drastic Overpopulation)
Human life is near-worthless on this world. Ubiquitous cloning, local conditions that ensure early death, a culture that reveres murder, or a social structure that utterly discounts the value of most human lives ensures that death is the likely outcome for any action that irritates someone consequential.
- Master assassin
- Bloody-handed judge
- Overseer of disposable clones
- Endearing local whose life the PCs accidentally bought
- Escapee from death seeking outside help
- Reformer trying to change local mores
- Radiation or local diseases ensure all locals die before twenty-five years of age
- Tech ensures that death is just an annoyance
- Locals are totally convinced of a blissful afterlife
- Device that revives or re-embodies the dead
- Maltech engine fueled by human life
- Priceless treasure held by a now dead owner
- Thronging execution ground
- Extremely cursory cemetery
- Factory full of lethal dangers that could be corrected easily
Secret Masters (14 Red Dogs Society)
The world is actually run by a hidden cabal, acting through their catspaws in the visible government. For one reason or another, this group finds it imperative that they not be identified by outsiders, and in some cases even the planet's own government may not realize that they're actually being manipulated by hidden masters.
- An agent of the cabal
- Government official who wants no questions asked
- Willfully blinded local
- Paranoid conspiracy theorist
- Machiavellian gamesman within the cabal
- Interstellar investigator
- The secret masters have a benign reason for wanting secrecy
- The cabal fights openly amongst itself
- The cabal is recruiting new members
- A dossier of secrets on a government official
- A briefcase of unmarked credit notes
- The identity of a cabal member
- Smoke-filled room
- Shadowy alleyway
- Secret underground bunker
Trade Hub (Sectors Black Market Capital)
This world is a major crossroads for local interstellar trade. It is well-positioned at the nexus of several short-drill trade routes, and has facilities for easy transfer of valuable cargoes and the fueling and repairing of starships. The natives are accustomed to outsiders, and a polyglot mass of people from every nearby world can be found trading here.
- Cheating merchant
- Thieving dockworker
- Commercial spy
- Corrupt customs official
- Rich tourist
- Hardscrabble free trader
- Merchant prince in need of catspaws
- Friendly spaceport urchin
- An outworlder faction schemes to seize the trade hub
- Saboteurs seek to blow up a rival's warehouses
- Enemies are blockading the trade routes
- Pirates lace the hub with spies
- Voucher for a warehouse's contents
- Insider trading information
- Case of precious offworld pharmaceuticals
- Box of legitimate tax stamps indicating customs dues have been paid
- Raucous bazaar
- Elegant restaurant
- Spaceport teeming with activity
- Foggy street lined with warehous
Gas Giant Mine
Masursky Mine Project
Occupation: Scientists studying the alien life
Situation: They need vital supplies
This celestial body serves as a huge automated production facility for all things dairy. The facility has currently only 252 active workers with 150 inhabitants being the immediate family of said workers. The automation was built with limited synth requirements and can operate with limited worker interaction. In recent years, just a money laundering scheme for the 14 Red Dogs Triad.