Sunday, May 27, 2012
Designing a Planet Part 3 - Purpose
First of all I'm going to start with a shout out to Graven Games, it is an excellent blog that reviews all sorts of products that support every aspect of the hobby and they are an amazing source that is tremendously helpful for people of all types and experience levels. Whether its terrain, models that would make good proxies, or other services such as Battlescribe they make sure to feed every hunger we gamers could possibly have. Maybe they'll write something on optimal snack foods and drinks at some point! You can follow their link on the right hand side to check them out, which I strongly recommend.
This planet has Geography and Ecosystem, and with those two established we want to determine what makes this planet important from a sheer resource perspective. Why might the Imperium or any faction want to colonize this planet in the first place? This is part of the steps on creating the history of the planet and not just the current events. You can develop those current events oftentimes based on what has happened in the past, what have been issues that were common throughout the time before, etc. So what could have made this jungle planet so important to the Imperium? Was it its proximity to a cluster of Eldar Exodite worlds? Was this is a good position to launch off a conquering crusade and set up a space port where goods and troops can go through because of its geography on the planetary scale? Were certain materials required to produce plasma or Titan's machinery present in the soil? Any of these could serve for why the world was claimed in the first place. Lets take the proximity to the Exodites idea for our jungle planet and run with it. Because the Imperium was worried about the Eldar and wanted this to serve as a military post in case the xenos got out of hand or to keep an eye on them they would likely arrive on the planet with a large contingent of soldiers, military fortifications, and perhaps equipment for a listening post. The cities or towns that would exist on the planet likely were originally fortresses and had a lot of history and discipline, so the people that come from this world would be used to an orderly lifestyle. Luxury items and down time would not necessarily be wanted for they were raised from the very beginning to work hard because their ancestors had needed to work almost non-stop in order to clear the moving jungle and keep it out. Imperial guardsmen from this planet would be very disciplined fighters who would fight for however long it took and with all their strength until the job was done.
The architecture of the planet would have been very functional (due to it being a military post above everything else) and taken up as little space as possible to reduce costs - except where the generals and high ranking officers were concerned. Imperial Generals always deserve the best ;) - though the materials used on the buildings are probably imported because the building plans that are probably used throughout the imperium would have to be adjusted to work with the wood and local stones, something that might not be worth the effort. Culturally art would be more of a practical thing, designing pieces that took less materials, space, effort than other conventional pieces. Perhaps art would be seen as more simple things than paintings, say a walkway or a wall, something we might consider to be abstract.
The importance of the Eldar and the distance from them would mean that citizens would be constantly vigilant for the inquisition of Ordos Xenos while the military was always looking out for any potential xenos incursions or sympathizers. Psykers would be more abundant in this area because the Imperium would ship them here to counter the psychic abilities of the Eldar and they would be the extreme measures employed against them if the situation became dire enough. Because of the excess in Psykers there might be a significant presence of the Sisters of Battle or the Ordos Malleus in an effort to protect the Psykers from Chaos while also keeping an eye on them so that they don't go rogue. Because of the presence of several parts of the inquisition there would be a lot of political intrigue going on and behind closed doors diplomacy with back stabbing and the like on the imperial side.
Establishing purpose lends itself towards accomplishing multiple things: creating history, opening potential story arches through that history, further defining the surroundings and the situation, and adding goals for the factions fighting upon the planet to strive for.