|Thorwald/Arcturus (Solomani Rim 3026)|
|Classic Era (1115)|
- It is a member of the Third Imperium in the Arcturus Subsector of Solomani Rim Sector in the Domain of Sol.
- This world toils under the control of a military government with conditions reflecting that situation including curtailed civil rights and limited freedoms.
Thorwald is the home of one of the most unusual plant forms known: the leyden tree. The tree secretes an internal metal lightning rod, and when lightning strikes, the charge is deflected through a net of filaments into cellular capacitors, where it is used to convert organic molecules from low to high energy forms, supplementing photosynthesis as an energy source. An electrical storm over a leyden forest is a spectacular sight, best viewed from a safe distance.
3026 Thorwald (Imperial) - Amber Zone
Starport: Class V.
Diameter: 5,200 miles (8,300 km). Gravity: 0.58g.
Atmosphere: Thin oxygen-nitrogen.
Population: 720 million.
Government: Military Rule.
Control Level: 6.
Tech Level: 11.
World Trade Number: 5.
Population: 70 Million (permanent) 300 million (+ tourists)
Capital: Swift Angel
Major ethnic groups: German, Scandinavian, Solomani (u), Swiss
Major religions: Norse Pantheon
Major languages: German (official), Anglic (official for tourist trade)
Major industries: Tourism, timber, banking, higher education, virtual environments
The legendary world of massive trees - some containing entire towns. The University of Thorwald is the leading school of environmental design and ecology in the Terran Union. Being so close to Sol and other high-pop systems, Thorwald's biggest industry is tourism. For those that cannot afford a visit, the Thorwald Tourist Council (TTC) produces lavish virtual worlds that are almost as good as the real thing.
Those wishing to move permanently to Thorwald had better find a different place. As an autonomous world, Thorwald III sets its own immigration policy apart from the rest of the Terran Union, and the fees are extreme. For those that do live on Thorwald, strict birth control is in place to limit the human population. Those that wish to have more than two children must send the "excess" offworld.
A large, reptilian armored hunter native to this world. It is capable of living in the upper branches of the world-trees and withstanding multiple lightning strikes - hence its scientific name: Draconia Electris. Left undisturbed, the Dragon can live up to 180 years.
Because hunting this beast is one of the ultimate (and often deadly) thrills for native and tourist alike, strict regulations are in place. Hunting the Dragon without a license carries stiff penalties and jail time.
The Thorwald Dragon has been stocked on numerous worlds as far away as the Spinward Marches to provide a hunting "experience," but there is no experience like stalking the beast in its native territory, a kilometer high in the tangled, eerie branches of the world-trees.
A famous, and famously expensive, drink fermented from berries that grow only on the vines inhabiting the very tops of the world-trees. They are often harvested by balloon - from this comes the famous balloon logo on the top-quality bottles of the wine.
A special variety of the world-tree is the Leyden Tree species. This type, astoundingly, has a metal core which attracts and absorbs lightning strikes from the planet's frequent huge storms. The electricity is distributed by a web of metal-infused root clusters at the base of the tree, which power the metabolism of glowing plant-like organisms that in turn fix nitrogen for the tree. One of the biological wonders of the Galaxy, some wonder if the Leyden Trees are really biological at all - or if they were designed by the Ancients.
History & Background (Dossier)
Non-canon: There was an Ancient presence in the Thorwald system, although puzzlingly none (at least so far discovered) on Thorwald III. Rather, they inhabited an outer-system planet (since destroyed, probably in the Final War). Perhaps they, as the Vilani after them, had set aside the world as a nature preserve.
The Solomani were not so delicate in their treatment of Thorwald - at least at first. It was settled by a large contingent from the colony ship Caravan X in the years following the Interstellar Wars. An initial wave of exploitation gradually gave way to awe as the wonders of the world were discovered. The initial settlers formed a technically illegal "defense pact" and, sometimes with force, scared off later waves of colony ships. Eventually the special status of Thorwald was recognized by the Second Imperium, in return for extra taxes on the tourist trade. Independent and self-sufficient during the Long Night, Thorwald joined the Terran Union on the condition that its old Imperial rights be restored and respected, and that no military forces be stationed in-system. This agreement remains in place.