Durgan is another of the planets that I worked on for a UK LARP system based in Kent. When I was commissioned to write the planets this particular planet stuck out in the way that the commissioner saw this planet as his baby, just as I saw Ardheim as mine; for this reason he wanted to work incredibly closely with me in order to make his vision as close as possible.
We wrote this more or less together, although for the most part what you see here is a result of his telling me what he wanted and myself writing up, editing, writing up and editing what he wanted and liked and what he didn’t want and didn’t like.
What’s present here is what is what I came to write. There is more on this planet out there somewhere, but this is my blog so what you’ll see here is what I had my hands on.
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Population: 4.5 million
Orbital Period: 368 Terran Days
Day Length: 28 Terran Hours
Atmospheric Pressure: 1.0 Terran Atmospheres
Surface Gravity: 1G
Natural Satellites: One
Spaceports: Tresidder’s Point; and The Fields of Eldamar
Languages: Terran Standard
In the lands that came to be known as the Minn Fields, the first landings of humanity made the imprints of their feet in the mud and grass. These landings were simply made, since most sensors read the planet of Durgan as one of the most similar to Terra in all of the records of human exploration.
With no recorded problems, colonisation and settlement of Durgan began in earnest fairly quickly, since it was made clear early on that Durgan was a fertile land. The Minn Fields were named, and came to separate the two ports of Harpthorne and Swanpool, founded respectively. Of these two, it was Harpthorne that would later become one of the major cities of the planet.
The continent where the colonists first landed containing landmarks such as The Minn Fields and Harpthorne in the North and in the South Tresidder’s Point.
Tresidder’s Point is one of the main spaceports on Durgan. Its runway and launch pads are built upon a cliff line, with the actual runway taking its course up toward the cliff edge and off of a steep, narrow pillar of land. The launching and landing processes is complex and very risky for pilots who are neither skilled nor familiar with the area. The pilot, when landing, must decide if he can fly over the pillaring, almost stalagmitic spike of earth and land on the runway that, purely because of the spike and the problems that it has caused,, has been extended several times. The pilots of Durgan make light of the spike by jesting that “off worlders overshoot while Durgantian’s take the plunge.” The “plunge” refers to the sudden drop in altitude to which the pilot must adopt in order to land on the spike. It also takes a lot of skill to keep level in coming toward the spike. Too low and the pilot could hit the cliff. Too high and it can be missed altogether. The Durgantian pilots, amongst themselves and unbeknownst to those outside their clique, rarely make jokes about missing the cliff completely owing to having lost numbers to approaches that were far too low in the past.
The Spike’s original purpose was as a catapult mechanism to launch experimental glider craft from. This is no longer the case save for the commemorative festival day near Midsummer, from which glider enthusiasts launch themselves from.
Durgan is made up of many, many islands. There are a number of landmasses recorded thousands of miles across, sporting hills, mountains, forest ranges and huge stretches of fields and meadows. Of the islands, they can be as small as jutting rocks from the seas to the larger landmasses mentioned, but many islands are large enough to have towns of several thousand built upon them and still have some room for a healthy agricultural unit without having to outsource to other islands.
As the colonists spread further inland on the larger islands, farms were established and the land explored. Land exploration teams charted their maps with the fingers of fine cartographers. One of them, Maud Thomas, whom had mapped a number of islands north of Swanpool, also mapped sections of the coasts of a number of areas in the neighbouring sector. She was brought into employment on Durgan because of her specialisation and experience.
Along with her husband, William J. Thomas, who owned a seagoing vessel that he had made from an old design that he had called The Victor. As they collated the date for cartography from the sea they would find suitable areas to moor or drop anchor where small towns could be established and they soon fell in love with the planet. In fact it was here where they would remain until their dying days. Mr. Thomas later started building more boats of varied designs and went on to form a sector renowned shipwrighting company. While Mrs. Thomas would continue with her cartography and formed it into a business that would produce both planetary and galactic charts of varying forms.
The Night Meadow
As well as the profound amount of islands on the planet’s surface, it was seen that Durgan was abundant in rolling hills and meadows. However, a phenomenon occurs on Durgan that to this day is struggled to be explained away. This is the infamous Night Meadow, where flowers, which are similar to the ones known as bluebells, loosestrife, tulips and foxgloves bloom in the night. The so-called “luna machir” is a vexing and beautiful sight to many who view it, for all the flowers which bloom here do so with a vibrant and almost luminescent blue colour.
Of course, this is not an event that goes without scrupulous attempts to theorise it, and some of the most prominent theories would have us believe that this event is linked to the Omega Plane. These claims have been laid largely rejected for the lack of proof, both in that no link could be established and that there is no evidence to this plane’s existence in the first place. This said, these theorists have correlated their less-than-fruitful attempts of explanation with the increasing number of Adepts that come from this part of the sector. Some researchers interested in the Night Meadow whom have noted this smaller “phenomenon” (if anyone can truly call it that) have put it down to exposure to the blooming plants.
Due largely to the huge amount of islands on the planet’s surface, Durgan has found itself the subject of thousands of fishing towns and ports. The seas, as such, have become an integral part of the culture of Durgan. This has led to even leisure becoming majorly influenced by these oceans.
The many seas of Durgan, too many to name here but each named in turn, would be rarely seen without a boat of some kind on its surface. In fishing terms, the planet is a haven of a bountiful supply of all manner of fish. Fish marketeers often rub shoulders with the merchants who sell the grain from farms.
It is not only the merchants and fishermen who spend so much time on the oceans. Traditional sailing and rowing boats that come from the abbeys exercise their rights on the waves in practice for future events. These sports that train the body and endorse teamwork and unity are perceived as important factors by the planetary populace. As a result, boat racing on the coasts and in the seas are celebrated events that have become frequent since the days of settlement.
Of Religion, and the Temple of the Sword
The cruciform that is so prominent in Durgan culture is reflective of the sword. It’s symbology here reflects on the eight virtues that would dictate the behaviour of the followers. Whereas it is believed that these are inherent, they have been taught from ancestor to descendant over generations, and are now perceived to be natural by Durganites. This is not to say that they are not natural, but rather that they are advanced virtues given nobility and import. Sir John Loxley Ivanhoe was taught these virtues by his sires and when he discovered Durgan felt it right and proper that those who would live should have some following in these virtues.
The man named Ivanhoe was one of practical study and was well read. Of the martial arts of the Terran’s ancient ways, he uncovered and stowed away the books, manuals and plates of Talhoffer and Liechtenauer. Ivanhoe made the education of these arts readily available as standard education all across Durgan’s surface and shared what knowledge he deemed safe to the students whom would come from across the lands and seas but it would be rare that they would come for the martial arts.
It is more common that even off-worlders to study the other available courses and generally ignore the martial arts, however. There are a large number of them who would be believed to hear that it was ceremony and show and little else. However, to those of Durgan birth it is of great importance, and whom training with fervor and dedication to impress their masters in order to advance to the greater tier of training is a most valuable and prized campaign to be victorious in.
These virtues are also represented by anthropomorphic personifications, which allow the followers to perceive them as more human, and so they become relatively symbolic and take on an almost saint-like behaviour although they were never human to begin with. However, you may see statues in Durgan abbeys depicted valour, for example, the statue is a representation of the trait and how it may be defined in humanity rather than of someone who had once lived. They are still looked upon with reverence, however, and are a mainstay of prayers and studies, which are often appropriated to them.
The temple of the sword has all manner of abbeys scattered across Durgan. Within them are self-sustaining complexes which can supply and be notably hospitable to newcomers and themselves, although trade with nearby towns is practiced. These complexes often stand sentinel – almost as fortresses but closer to cathedrals – near the seas and coastlines. Here they live a life of almost secluded worth, leaving themselves and students to practice and study to their heart’s content in peace.
Returning to the idea of students who come from all corners of Durgan and the surrounding systems, there are those who are known as The Pilgrims of the Sword. These are the students of the abbeys; there are those Pilgrims who pick and situate themselves in one abbey for their studies and there are other students who make a point of travelling to each abbey that will take them, spending periods of time within each place of learning and attending their lessons.
It is not unknown for students who remain at one abbey even after they have “graduated”. There are also Pilgrims who take their path a lot more seriously and study at each of the abbeys in earnest, completing all that they can and learning as much as they can from each, but these are rare breeds. Although there are Pilgrims of the Sword who do this anyway, these mentioned here are those who are more likely to take tenure, since they are taking the time to learn all that they can from every source rather than just a degree of it before moving onward.