Today continues the review of the Aethera Campaign Setting with a dip into Complex Four, the detailed city that goes with the Amrita Asteroid Belt segment of the book.
Essentially, if you want to run a city campaign in the Amrita region without it being a Wild West kind of vibe, Complex Four is what you want. Originally founded by a mining concern which went bankrupt when the aetherite proved to be a lie, it saw later life when it proved host to creepy radioactive goop produced by giant amoebic lifeforms living in cysts in the asteroid.
Then Rushel Undertaker happened, organizing the survivors of an accident involving the undead, harpooning the aetherships that came to try to take the complex back from him and his fellow survivors, and generally organizing Mos Eisley in space. Then a bunch of rival gangsters tried to oust him and got shot; then another pack tried to oust him and he created the identity of Crimson Fortune, going vigilante in his own settlement.
Today, the relative wealth of the complex thanks to the valuable materials that are in the area, the vigilante adventures of Crimson Fortune, and the hard rule of a self-important man with a fair bit of cunning and a lot of daring has created a spacefaring city largely independent from the Hierarchy, a Mos Eisley gone theoretically straight. It’s still a nightmare for the righteous and noble, as it’s ruled in the loosest sense by a branching cartel of pirates, criminals, and thugs ultimately under the command of Rushel, kept in line by the threat of vigilante activity.
Factions in the asteroid city consist of the Blue Star Consortium, which is the umbrella that technically rules the place; the Champions of Amrita, who are the vigilantes who are only associated in the vaguest of fashions with one another and are generally seen as a mix of nuisance and necessity, the four crime syndicates – Cleaver Seven, Phantasm, the Hierophants, and the Dead Collective – serve simultaneously as peripherals to the BSC and as personal private kingdoms for their controllers, the Harper Foundation, which studies the radioactive goop and continues the Paragon Project quietly, and the major governments are all pretty much locked out. The Paragon Ascendancy is the only government with any significant influence, and even there it mainly boils down to supporting the Harper Foundation in hopes of learning how to increase the lifespan available to the infused.
The asteroid city is broken up into half a dozen districts, largely contained inside the asteroid itself, dug out of the cold rock. The Commerce district is the teeming heart of a busy inner city mixed with the rowdy life of a red light district and dock, a great place for all kinds of player shenanigans like chasing people through crowds and clandestine meetings in nightclubs with the music so loud you have to scream at the person next to you.
The docks themselves consist of three main sections – upper, middle and lower dock – and each tier down extends farther into space than the last. Each one is a miniature urban city in its own right, with dining places, shops, hotels, and even permanent residences; people only looking to dock, do business, and get out need never see any more of Complex Four than this. Aetherite, notably, is confined to the end of the lower dock, to keep stray explosions from damaging the other two docks.
The Industrial District is home to all of the asteroid’s manufacturing, which includes all the arms and ammunition used inside the station; one notable company is the Bullet Emporium, exclusively staffed by phalanx. The Residential District is technically one area, but it functionally breaks down into the Upper and Middle Wards, with the Middle Wards being overcrowded masses of sapient life, while the Upper Wards are largely home to the rich and the crime lords – often the same thing here.
Lastly is the Deep Sector, which on any habitat with regulation would require permission from half a dozen administrators to access. Down here are miles of winding tunnels, cysts full of radioactive protoplasm produced by gargantuan amoebas, and strange undead petrified into the rock, waiting to be accidentally chipped free. Being Complex Four, there’s nothing more than stories of the horrors below to keep people out. Adventurers are almost certain to need to go down here sooner or later, for some reason. They might even be lucky enough to survive to get back out.
And that’s Complex Four; a fantastic place to bring your PCs if they want to visit Mos Eisley in space!