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Month Index: October, 1994


From:     Ville Lavonius <Ville.Lavonius@??.????????.cs>
Date:     Fri, 21 Oct 1994 17:31:44 +0200 (EET)
Subject:  Re: io.txt
Io - Jupiter's fifth moon, reluctant member of Jovian League and
universe's only edible planet

Earthworld, size class
Atmosphere: Standard composition, thicker, but not uncomfortable
Gravity: EWS
Orbit: 44 Days
Period of Rotation: 21 hours
Satellites: Volare (size B waterworld)
Weather: Very dry

Danger Index: B (volcanism, rampant terrorism, unreliable animal
life)
Resources: D (apart from crust, nothing worthwhile)
Spelljamming activity: High
Bases: JL

Reputation: "Well, Io is not what you would call a rich planet,
therefore its' inclusion in Jovian League is quite mystifying".  --
Mardian Cnel, wealthy merchant from Waterdeep
"Never ate so cheap"  --  Bor'nakgh, lizardman 2nd mate on 'Render'
"Absolutely no point in exploring, this place is soft and squishy"
--  Lothric, dwarven prospector

Appearance from space: Io, seen from space, is one of the ugliest
planets.  A bumpy surfcace, garishly colored in various shades of
red, yellow and orange doesn't look inviting at all.  The colorss
combined with quite common sulphur rivers and smoking volcanic vents
make planet very unattractive to visitors.  (Think of a huge
steaming pepperoni pizza).

Geological Facts: Io's famous crust is thin and edible; these two
facts make the plant what it is.  The former means that, unusually
enough, it's impossible to starve to death on Io, the latter that
volcanic activity is very commonplace here.  Metallurgically Io is
the poorest known earthworld, metals (and cheap ones at that) exist
in minimal quantity and due to the chaotic nature of the planet,
mining is a losing proposition.
The upper crust of the planet is, indeed, edible, but hasn't got
much of taste.  The starch and fiber contents are high, so it is
possible to subsist for a long time with it.  It is easily cut, even
with a medium-sized knife, and regenerates within days usually
without overgrowing the original configuration.  Getting lost is
mostly fatal, however, as water is very rare.
Volcanoes are very common, mostly just as vents on the ground, the
crust is unable to support mountains (but they do exist).  They are
also very much temporary, vulnerable to slow streaming effects
within the internal magma layer that can blow up a new one or
totally drain a steady one within days.

Weather: There's no native groundwater on Io, so the place is
excruciatingly dry.  Therefore the weather is very mild, wind is
rare, and rains are unheard of.  Electrical storms sometimes build
up, and they are very dangerous due to their invisibility (no water
vapor to build up clouds).  The only water on the world is
transported weekly from the pastelcolored seas of Volare, and
deposited in large reservoirs around the centers of habitation.
Evaporation is high but the amount of water in air insignificant.

Flora and Fauna:  Biowise, Io is a very poor planet.  The crust is a
bad ground for plants, and their evolution has lagged badly - the
most populous ones are algaes, slime molds and mosses.  The area
covered by plants is very small, and often it is possible to walk
for hours without sighting any.  Besides, most of the flora are
either more or less poisonous and their food value is negligible.
In animal kingdom the common laws of nature do not apply.  Because
of the unusual circumstances, food chain is mostly non-existent, and
most creatures subsist by eating the planetary crust.  This also
means that the conventional restrictions on animal size do not
apply. Predation is rare, and the few predators have no interest in
humans anyway.
The commonest creature found on Io is the landwhale, which can
attain sizes in excess of ten tons.  Supporting a bulbous gray body
is four pair of stubby legs, the head has two snouts that make
feeding even more rapid.  The whales consume large amounts of the
crust daily and slowly travel across the entire sphere.  Landwhales
are not aggressive at all, but rather prone to panicing and the
herds often stampede, demolishing entire towns.
Drillers are about a foot tall, but very wide, creatures.  They also
eat nothing but the crust, but their wounds in the soil heal much
slower.  They use their tongues to carve tall funnel-like tunnels
which remain up to years.  When they relocate, they retract their
tongues, rise into air and slowly float to the next spot (a very
rare sight).  The tongues are made of some sort of organic steel,
which is very surprising as steel is so rare on the planet.  Because
of this, some dwarves are very interested in them.  So far no
scientific breakthroughs have been made.

Inhabitants and history:  The original inhabitants of the planet
(Iolates, as they call themselves) are humanoid centaurs of rather
small size (about equal to a pony).  They speak with a lilting
voice, and practiced nomadic existence all over the planet when the
first settlers came.  Ganymedians, free from the pacifying effect of
their home planet (qv), spared no trouble in 'liberating' the planet
for themselves and 'supplementing' their diet with game.  The Iolate
population is down to few percent of its' original number, and they
are still being hunted (though not for food anymore).
After Ganymedians came, the place was quickly settled all over, by
people (and other races) from all over the Known Spheres.  Disorder
reigned for several centuries until the founding of Jovian League.
Io's meager fleet was nothing in comparison to more militant
neighbors and Io was annexed to League only two years after its'
founding.  During the fighting most of the casualties were of other
races, and immigration has been rather heavily regulated ever since.
Elven base on Io was accidentally bombed, and it was made clear that
Imperial Fleet was no longer welcome on League's holdings.
Disheartened, and very short on men in nearby spheres, the elves
departed from Jupiter's moons altogether, founding their new base in
Amalthea orbiting Saturn.
Dwarves dislike Io because of the lack of mining and proper
mountains, a few do experiment in volcanous smithies, usually having
rather short careers.  Ever since the Magnamundos incident gnomes
have been actively disliked on Io, but the short humanoids are not
going to vacate a place this interesting because of some racist
(specieist) incidents. Humanoids were kept away by the elven
presence before, and they are in no position to immigrate now.
During the last century, as historians dug out more info about the
Ganymedian atrocities a local terrorist organization has sprung up.
Keep Io Whole advocates huge reservations for remaining Iolates,
abstainment from using the crust as food and a slow departure from
the planet.  KIW quickly became a major pain for the government as
it grew more and more violent.  After a few years, however, they
mellowed their tactics, and these days only target military and
foreign sites.

Cities:  None of Io's cities has achieved any sort of fame nor
notoriety.  Mostly they are just communities founded on convenient
sites (flat land, no nearby volcanic activity and a natural
depression for a reservoir).  The biggest city is Io Prima, the
ancient site of Iolate religion on the equator, its' inhabitants
number 60'000.  Other big cities are Sirac, Chiap and Anadat.

Other notable sites:  Greed Rift, the place where elves (who, of all
the species in the galaxy are regarded as graceful eaters) ate down
to the mineral layer in the planet, and the huge gash has never
healed over.  The elven fleet, cut off from supply lines by
surprisingly hefty goblinoid presence in the sphere was in desperate
need of provisions when they landed on Io.  What followed was the
conversion of two Monarch-class ships into flying larders and the
troops spent the lull time on the ground slicing the crust.  They
dug down into the thin rocky layer between magma and crust and the
area (greatest diameter half a mile) has never regenerated as the
others.  KIW regards this as the worst ever ecological offense
against the planet, and regularly attacks elven targets (Jovians,
themselves, often turn a blind eye to these activities).  Despite
KIW's repeated prophecies, the afflicted area is not spreading, and
the edges of the crust are seemingly gradually metamorphosing to
stone.
Magnamundos, the first manmade (or, more accurately, gnome-made)
mountain in the universe.  The largest volcano on Io is, indeed,
artificial.  Emabtron, a gnomish magnetologist from Callisto was
experimenting with magnetic fields near equator when it occurred to
him that Io would have a ferrous core.  Without further thinking he
switched on his newest and largest invention, a magnet with over ten
thousand miles of coil.  And the planet did indeed react, as
apparently a fragment of the core separated and was attracted toward
the crust.  The effects were not immediate, and everybody in the
general area had ample time to evacuate their homes, as during the
next two weeks the mountain bulged up at a rate of 300 meters a day.
The rise has slowed down a lot ever since, but the mountain is still
growing.  Much more worrisome is the exactness with which it erupts
every year on the same day with larger and larger effects.
Mirandola Ranch is the biggest message board in the Known Spheres.
Joacq Mirandola is a wealthy Ganymedian landowner who was "abducted"
ten years ago by forces unknown (all accounts point toward
Oortlings).  He was missing for six days, and has not divulged any
details of his absence/capture.  However, after the incident he
liquidated his sizeble assets on Ganymede and spent half of his
fortune in Jovian Bureau of Land-Management, gaining possession of
more than six million acres of land on Io.  Most of the remaining
cash was spent in building the infra-structure of a farm.  However,
on this farm there's no conventional serfs and no crops are grown.
Instead, most of the population is slaves (and other people who have
been afflicted by abductions) and the only product of the farm are
the mile-long letters carved on the crust (and re-carved all the
time) only visible from space. The message is unintelligible (the
alphabet is very unorthodox), and even with the aid of magic, thus
far not deciphered.  As Mirandola still has about a quarter of his
money left (plus the backing of several Jovian senators), the
authorities see no reason to obstruct his eccentricity.  The
security around the compound is tight, and mostly designed to keep
people in rather than out.  Some escapees have told wild stories
about Mirandolas derangement and about week-long drug-induced (some
of the local algae are heavily hallucinogenic) "communions".  And as
tales from the place spread (and he has very glib-tongued
"preachers" working for him across the Spheres), more and more non-
slaves are flocking to the place.  And giving Mirandola their
lifelong savings.
Ziggurat Park is a location on the northern plateau of the planet,
where six mostly broken stone ziggurats (a lot larger than the
Flying Pyramids) apparently have fallen to the ground. They are in
very bad shape, and no worthwhile discoveries have been made inside
or nearby in ages.  The flyers' skeletons are still around and in
the pyramids: hundreds and hundreds of Tasloi, with a smattering of
other species (thought to be slaves).
Volare, the moon of a moon is a small waterworld without native life
larger than a minnow. Its' waters are not transparent, but colored
in fuzzy pastel colors.  Some Ioans consider drinking only 'normal'
water (either de-colored with magic, or imported elsewhere at higher
cost) a great treat.

Adventure seeds:
-*- De-programming a Mirandolate (in Tim Powers' Dinner at Deviant's
Palace form ).
-*- Just infiltrating the ranch and witnessing what happens at a
'gathering'.
-*- Ever-popular 'protect VIPs from KIW'.

Sources:  no real idea-stealing this time around.  Driller is very
remotely based on Kithrupian creature from David Brin's 'Startide
Rising'.  More info on Tasloi as space-farers in Rhyme and Temporum
(no stats for ships, however).  Io being a pizza is NOT my idea
(sheesh), but I've no idea of the actual source.

--
Ville.Lavonius@????????.fi             into    the           flood    again
http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/~lavonius/   same  old   trip  it was back   then



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