Thursday, September 7, 2023

Highlun: A Psi-wars Planet

Highlun is a worked planet for Psi-Wars, a minor fief of a minor Maradonian House, to see just how far a small and measly planet will take you, economically and militarily. The project also might involve space-scotsmen herding space-alpacas. 

If you don't know what psi-wars is, the best place to start is probably The Psi Wars Primer. The project is great, and if you haven't read enough of it to get its basics, you should, because its really cool!


Highlun is a minor world that suffers from a thick atmosphere. Its people live mostly on the tops of its mighty mountain ranges, a few high plateaus, and in intensely landscaped pockets of settlement in the foggy lowlands. Its people engage in a robust economy featuring farming, mining, and industry, but are especially known for the wool they produce. They produce both enormous quantities of wool exported all over the Glorian rim, and exceptionally rare and luxurious fabrics coveted by the Maradonian elite.

Highlun has 35 million herders, 25 million in the mining communities, 200 million fogglanders, and a small number of people living deep in its interior. Its net "Income per Month" is $3.5 Trillion. With a wartime "Military Burden" of 5%, it can spend $175 Billion a month, but the more standard peacetime Military Burden is likely to be 2.5%, and a mere $87 Billion.

While this vast amount of money seems enough to buy an Arcana-Class Carrier every month, in practice it needs to be spread out among a bunch of different sources, including ground forces, support craft, and local fortifications, besides capital ships. It only fields 25 carriers, 12 battleships, and 250 cruisers.

Highlun supports the minor noble house of Alacapa. House Alacapa has about 100 members who are considered "Active", operating as knights, courtiers, emissaries, and their family members. Excluding children, the very elderly, and effective reductions from married couples who effectively fill a single post, there are more like 40 available family representatives. 


The most famous inhabitants of Highlun are its iconic herding clans. Each area of Highlun has its own clan, with its own particular breeds of livestock, clan patterns and weaves, and overblown boasts. They are loyal to their clans, their land, and their lord, and are fiercely proud and independent. Taxes are paid in raw wool, once a year, at enormous clan festivals.

The mist-bound lower elevations are occupied by "Fogglanders". While the clans pride themselves on independence and a certain nomadic ruggedness, Fogglanders extol the virtues of industry, shrewdness, and perseverance in a heavy atmosphere that damages the lungs of anyone not wearing a respirator. Foglanders wear their respirators almost everywhere. Fogglanders dominate Highlun's cities and farms. They're cities are distinguished by an abundance of large civic improvements: dammed rivers, terraced mountainsides, massive irrigation systems, and public transportation. The House discovered and harnessed this enthusiasm early on, and the fogglands are built on robust foundation of public works.

The High-Altitude equivalent of the fogglanders are the miners. Some continue to wear their respirators, but others see this as impractical vanity. In its place, a fashion of wearing protective headgear everywhere has risen up. Highlun Mining towns tend to be less communal than fogglander cities or the herding clans, but they are no less ambitious in their bravado or the scope of their public works. The mining towns move slowly over the planet, from one mine to another, and in some ways, their ambition and bravado are cover for their transient nature and shallow history.

Outside of the fogglands, wanderers make their way in the vast expanse of a largely uninhabited planet. The most populous of these are fisherman seeking their catch and sailors moving goods between ports. Much less populous are those who choose to live in the vegetated interiors of the planet, seeking solitude, space, and true independence. They must return to outposts periodically to repair their respirators in exchange for whatever they can scrape together and wild stories about the untamed jungles of Highlun.


Highlun is famed for it's wool-bearing livestock:

  • Criggles are short, round quadrapeds with comical amounts of wool, small curly horns, and expressive voices they seem to use constantly
  • Apalaks are long-necked sure-footed lanky quadrapeds with long silky hair, with a bit of an attitude and a tendency to express themselves with body language and spittle rather than their voices
  • Vitkins are small, flighty quadrupeds with long slender necks, long precious fur, and a wild streak. They cannot be raised in captivity, but are rounded up to be sheared once every five years.
  • Riddersteeds are much like large versions of the long-haired spitting Apalaks, but with somewhat shorter hairs, longer tempers and a willingness to carry riders. 

These animals are largely cared for by the herding clans on the mountains and plateaus.


Highlun's civilization is concentrated along three continents: Temperate North, the Arctic South, and the Tropical West. 

The Tropical West is on the planet's equator, and is noted for the torrential amounts of rain it gets and its black volcanic rock. Its home to the Wemon (The Wet Range), and Darlun (The Black Plateau), as well as a large fishing industry in The Havens where the mountains meet the ocean. 

The Artic South is not truly an arctic area, at least in its northern and lower regions, but it does have impressive winters, and the Highmon (High Range) and Witlun (White Plateau) have famously short summers. Going north, the Litmon (Little Range) and Brenlun (Brown Plateau) are more mild, the the large foggland valley's they surround, The Caldron and the Winding, are downright temperate.

The Temperate North contains by far the longest range, the Main range. It is usually broken up into sections, going from west to east: Wesmon (The Western Range) , Lowmon (The Low Range), Midmon (The Middle Range), and Essmon (The Eastern Range). At the ends of the range are the Grinlun (Green Plateau) and Redlun (Red Plateau). The largest foggland settlement, The Banks is nestled along the Lowmon. The Temperate north is also noted for containing thick jungles containing carnivorous plants, broad savannas, and dusty deserts. 

Details on locations can be found here: 

Visiting Highlun

And that's the basics of the planet. It was harder to build than I anticipated, but I like its flavor, and I think it turned out right. I still need to detail some of the locations and share some of the detail I've already generated, so we'll probably see that as a post. I also promised to put Imperial saboteurs and space-measles on it at some point, so an adventure outline is in order.

I hope you can see the Scottish inspiration for Highlun. It might be more apparent once I write more about the individual regions, and hopefully they're not too close. Getting the distancing mechanisms for Psi-wars Mardonians is tricky, especially when it comes to livestock and linguistics.

Let me know how I did building the planet of Highlun!

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