Note: Over the centuries, most of these worlds have had many names in various tongues and with various factions. The most common name is noted in brackets, but the names of the families and the orbital order is far more constant.
Varen IIa – Iresha Family (Am Mu)
The Iresha family moon is a major center of commerce and trade in Varen space. Rich in precious metals and supplied with ample energy due to it’s proximity to Varen II’s magnetic fields, the moon has become a major manufacturing center in the system. Goods manufactured here tend to have a significant price premium versus other similar goods, but are typically made with the best materials and standards of quality available. While the moon is capable of meeting all calorie needs via manufactured calories, the metal rich soil and water precludes more conventional farming. Importation of food is a significant sink of wealth on the moon and is a sign of wealth and class.
A focus on grandiose architecture gives the various cities a majestic air. Towering skyscrapers, lavish parks, sprawling estates, and highly stylized designs rule the skyline with each city having a particular flavor and style. It is commonly said one could identify the city a building is located in merely by how it looks. Use of artificial gravity in building construction has been banned though as a power failure in one district resulted in the deaths of over three thousand.
The Iresha family runs the largest bank on the moon and frequently has it’s hands on most every major enterprise in the system. While actually defaulting on a loan with the Iresha typically has dire consequences, the family bank typically will provide a number of alternatives to cash repayment for those unable to pay. Indeed, these alternative payment options are made available to all, so that even the poor are able to procure loans.
Varen IIb – Cantel Family (Inkess)
The Cantel family moon is a volcanic water world. Floating coral reefs provide dry ground for the inhabiting land dwellers to live on. The aquatic Cantel and their base species (the Lotados) typically live beneath the surface in sea floor cities. Interaction with surface dwellers occurs via specially made chambers in the islands or via communication systems. Lotadas can be found in the water areas of every moon in the Varen system, but only really participate in the political process on the Cantel Moon, where there are enough of them to be influential.
The Cantel and the associated Lotadas are largely involved in the aquatic infrastructure projects of the other Varen families. Deep sea equipment is manufactured here and then flown to the appropriate moon or planet along with a team of techs and droids to finish installation.
The Lotados (and by definition, the Cantel) are an aquatic species vaguely resembling long necked fish. They originally evolved in the ecosystems surrounding underwater volcanic vents and have developed a technological society since then. Their technology has allowed them to colonize waters far from the volcanic depths of their ancestors, and the species exists in a largely peaceful isolation on a number of worlds on the outer rim in the depths of the oceans. The Cantel have been steadily bringing the Lotados into a mutually beneficial relationship with the surface dwellers of the Varen Commonwealth since the family joined the Varen Council long ago.
Varen IIc – Rote Family (Luzel)
The Rote family moon is also known as the Moon of Lights. The use of holo projectors has become a ubiquitous art form locally and is incorporated into the architecture, lighting, and even clothing. According to the historians, this initially started back when the moon was first colonized and there was a dearth of aesthetic materials but a preponderance of electronics. Buildings and even entire cities can change their appearance with a simple press of a button. In many ways the local population has become nocturnal because of this, preferring to sleep during the day and be active at night when the cities become truly alive.
The theatrical arts have also become a major pasttime on the moon as the local culture has emphasized adaptation of form and appearance not only in their cities, but also themselves. Festivals and parties are a common occurrence on the moon as the locals are continually looking for an excuse to have another. Fashions and styles change almost as rapidly as electronic communications will allow. The local Holo and color changing technology is some of the best available. A continual emphasis on compact and realistic displays has driven the costs down on a lot of the more expensive components in order to meet the local demand.
The Rote family has been known among the Varen for being some of the best infiltration and stealth experts available. A long cultural tradition in the arts of acting and disguise has had numerous military and covert operations applications when applied correctly. The Rote family has also been a strong force in the diplomatic arm of the Varen government; their ability to put on convincing fronts while teasing out the subtle meanings in the motivations in others has served them well in making contacts and manipulating others towards mutual benefit.
Varen IId – Vascud Family (Natsen)
The Vascud family moon is a typical habitable world that wouldn’t look out of place in most Republic systems. Diverse ecosystems, mild climate, and relatively common resources have given the Vascud a relatively secure position compared to the other families. This has been interpreted several times as complacency by others who find themselves woefully mistaken. The people of the Vascud moon are a resilient people and not one to let others achieve even a minor victory without dire cost.
The moon holds the distinction for having the most recognizable features. At first it was natural parts of the landscape like Alyssian Abyssal Whirlpool, or the Cantenabra Mountain springs, but then began to include artificial features as well. Festivals, landmarks, cultural rituals, historic battlefields, and even government institutions are known far and wide. These symbols of the people and their culture are robust and have withstood many attempts to destroy them and what they stand for. After all, these symbols have been far more enduring than the legacies of any one Varen no matter how powerful he or she was at the time.
The Vascud family specializes in Symbols. Symbols have power far beyond the meaning of whatever the symbol is made up of. A symbolic victory can be more advantageous than any strategic victory given the effects on morale and sense of accomplishment. This applies to more than just war though, symbols of power, wealth, achievement, and generosity can have great power too. All it takes is giving the masses an appropriate symbol, and their faith in it will do the rest.
Varen IIe – Morrowain Family (Trosnar)
The Morrowain family moon is a cold forested world. It’s heavy cloud cover keeps temperatures low and ensures a steady supply of rain across the moon. Much of the forest floor is a murky swamp proving difficult to navigate and live in. Most of the population lives in houses built into and around the overly large trees that make up the forest. The locals take great care to disguise the use of galactic technology within carefully sculpted wood furnishings. Carefully sculpting the growth of the trees and plants that grow on the trees has become a major portion of the local economy.
The locals themselves have developed a white skin bordering on marble, black eyes, and black lips. The only other variation from the human standard is the typical Morrowain is much broader and more stoutly built than normal. Indeed, the typical Morrowain female is usually more than a match physically for typical human males. Morrowain males are even more so.
Part of the culture is the art of ritual war paint and the participation in major games and feats of strength. Even the Morrowain Varen will participate, in their own league of course. One of the more common games is finding and riding one of the Thessals that roam the forest. Thessals are indigenous herbivore creatures resembling whales that internally generate hydrogen gas which is then stored in air sacs to keep the creature buoyant in air. The Thessal songs will reverberate throughout the forest for tens of miles.
Varen IIf – Soung Family (Zaine)
The Soung family moon is a wild and untamed wilderness for the most part. Boasting the most diverse ecosystem in the Varen system, it is a favored hunting ground for safari. Much of the land has been divided up into various large estates with villas that are practically cities in their own right.
The Soung moon is also the only Varen moon to host any sizable natural satellites of it’s own. In fact it is these three satellites that house the vast majority of the population and industry. While each satellite lacks sufficient gravity to hold an atmosphere, the slowly expanding glass ceilings are slowly turning the dead satellites into greenhouses and living space. Structural glass has become a common building material on the three satellites, which has led to the satellites having a stained glass appearance from orbit. This in turn generates a number of colorful light effects on the moon itself as the satellites traverse the sky.
The culture is one of politics and social events. The Soung family frequently hosts festivals and parties with the general populace and more exclusive occasions with more distinguished guests. Safaris hosted by the Soungs are an exclusive and highly sought after invitation. With a strong family talent for precognition, the Soungs have been able to procure resources, talent, favors, and knowledge from seemingly nowhere at times. Receiving a favorable fortune or prophecy from a Soung has become local blessing highly sought after by the people.
Varen IIg – Gruber Family (Cafed)
The Gruber family moon is a world that doesn’t have a lot of things going for it. The ecosystem is not particularly lush or fertile, the ground is rather mineral poor, and the neighbors haven’t always been friendly. Lacking resources, the people of the moon have turned to making up for quality of resources with quality of people. An hard emphasis on training and experience coupled with ensuring those few chosen for a profession have the best equipment available has ensured that the typical person from the Gruber family moon is better able to compete with their counterparts elsewhere despite the handicaps presented by their more limited resources.
Historically, the Gruber weren’t able to field the largest fleet, or train the largest army, but their troops and ships were some of the best in the system. The best engineers and technicians available designed and built the equipment used. The best soldiers were rigorously trained. And the best pilots were given the best fighters that could be made. A force led by the Gruber could be counted on to be far more effective than the numbers would lead one to believe.
This culture did have downsides though. The elimination of the experts in a given field would seriously cripple the efforts to rebuild. This was most evident when others managed to destroy Gruber forces on the field of battle (typically at great cost though) as it would take many years for the Gruber to recover, whereas the other families could recover from a similar defeat in a matter of months.
The culture also made the effects of personality clashes much more devastating to the rest of society as a whole. A good team of talent that worked well together could accomplish great things, but a team with fundamentally incompatible personalities would quickly fall apart. Sometimes it pays to have a large supply of more-or-less average replacements available to fill in positions emptied by those who are more talented, but less cooperative.
The Gruber family itself has been the caretaker of the system. A combination of precognition, telepathy, and management skills have enabled the Gruber to recognize talent and put it to the best use possible given the situation. Those that abused the system, or got too complacent with their duties would be quickly dealt with. This has included the Gruber, albeit on rare occasions, as well.
Varen IIh – Logosa Family (Muscron)
The Logosa family moon is a world of chaotic and violent weather. Due to various quirks of geography, the moon is prone to powerful hurricanes and tornadoes wrecking havoc across the surface. Much of the local flora and fauna has adapted to the circumstances, but the human inhabitants have struggled. Hollowed out mountains, cliffs, and even entire underground cities have been built to hide from the chaotic whims of the weather.
Attempts at controlling the weather with technology ran into issues with having to re-engineer the entire surface of the moon. Eventually though, the local industrial base developed enough to build large scale shield generators and high strength building materials capable of withstanding the random but constant onslaught of the elements. The arcologies have been reaching ever skyward after poking through the tops of the hollowed out mountains. The multigenerational nature of the projects has led to the people of the Logosa family moon taking a long view of things and what it means to accomplish something.
It was the Logosa that were central to this effort of keeping the populace focused on the long term goal of building the industry and infrastructure needed to move above ground and towards the sky. The Logosa are major planners and have a superb ability to organize people towards a goal or project. It is said that the family keeps a master record of plans, contingencies, instructions, and stockpiles of potentially useful equipment and supplies hidden deep within the family vaults in case of emergency.
Varen IIi – Maha Vailo Family (Ongis)
With a continent at each pole, and an ocean straddling the equator, the Maha Vailo family moon has been a place of opposites. The Maha family of Sith quickly established control of the Northern continent, but ran into increasingly fierce resistance in attempting to consolidate control of the Southern continent. Attempts to stamp out the resistance and gain full control of the moon ran into continual issues with the hit and run tactics used by the resistance.
The resistance became really organized when Vailo family joined the fight. A higher than normal propensity for Force Immune among the Vailo ensured the Maha had a difficult time tracking down members using Force powers. Eventually the Vailo developed fighting styles and techniques specifically for combating Sith.
The Maha war against the Vailo was an open secret for centuries among the Varen. The other factions turned a blind eye to the fighting so long as the Maha kept the Vailo contained on the moon. Eventually things settled into an equilibrium with the Maha in control of the Northern continent and the orbital defenses, while the Vailo controlled the Southern continent and most of the ocean.
The stalemate was finally broken when a rogue Holosith pushed into the system and landed on the moon looking to establish a new base of operations. Practical expedience took precedence against the foreign invader as the Maha and Vailo fought on the ground together while the other Varen families attempted to defeat the fleet in orbit. After the battle and death of the Holosith, a marriage alliance was established between the heads of the Maha and Vailo families finally uniting the moon under a single faction.
Since then, the Maha Vailo family has been merging the traditions and organizations together into a single coherent core known as the Grenkay Corps. The effectiveness of the Grenkay at dealing with renegade Sith has become well known, and the order has slowly been taking over the duties of policing the Varen. The appointment of the Grenkay to oversee the security of the Varen Council has been one of the biggest political victories the Corps has made recently.
Varen IIj – Gasden Family (Rurno)
The Gasden family moon is the most cosmopolitan moon of the system. This is largely due to the fact that the Gasden family has been the one adopting the vast majority of non-human Varen. Most of the cities are segregated into various enclaves of the most common races and subraces. The commons areas in the middle of the cities is where the vast majority of the inter-enclave trade and services are carried out.
The Gasden family itself would have collapsed some time ago due to a shortage of Force sensitives in the family if it weren’t the reliance on adopted family members to shore up numbers. This policy has in turn made the Gasden family the largest family in the Varen system, but has also led to a loosening of the family ties that have bound it together. Indeed, it isn’t uncommon these days for the adopted Gasden to only refer to themselves as Varen.
The typical Gasden Varen is typically a rather neutral presence in most events. They typically will work in the various governance and infrastructure roles and are counted on for their impartiality to family politics. Their personal projects tend to consume a large amount of their time and resources, but this is also tempered with the realization that there are only so many resources to go around. Cooperating and sharing may not lead to results faster, but it does lead to results more consistently over the long term.
Varen IIk – Shana Family (Savcor)
The Shana family moon has frequently been in conflict with the Brooke family moon. The Shana had been investing resources into expanding their presence in the outer ring system of Varen II through colonization and micro-terraforming. This brought them into conflict with the Brooke family that were also trying to expand into the ring system for their own purposes. This has given the Shana a distinct population advantage over the other Varen.
The people of the Shana moon are master terroformers and biologists. Initially this skill was needed in the repair of the ecosystem of their own moon from some prior catastrophe, but has since expanded into terraforming a wide variety of worlds into forms more suitable for oxygen breathing life forms. These techniques have turned their moon into a gaian paradise. Varen vacations to the Shana family moon have become quite common recently.
Currently the Shana family has been extending this expertise to the Varen and any territorial acquisitions that have been made. An attempt at forming a marriage union with the Brooke family ended disastrously do to issues of infidelity. This has resulted in a renewal of heated antagonism between the two families, but both have otherwise kept the peace of the Varen.
Varen IIl – Brooke Family (Pin-Mernu)
The Brooke family moon has historically pushed to better exploit the resources of the Varen II ring system. This had frequently brought them into conflict with the Shana family looking to expand it’s colonization efforts into the same territory. Minor skirmishes were frequent and full out wars between the two moons happened occasionally. These battles would become particularly pitched as the two moons approached each other in their orbits and their orbital defenses would begin shooting at each other.
The Brooke resource and manufacturing base has been the largest in the Varen system. While not up to the standards of quality of the Iresha, the Brooke can much more readily manufacture in bulk. This has led to the Brooke heading up the current efforts to map and patrol the borders of Varen space. Brooke repair and refueling stations are a common occurrance in the local stellar cluster as the exploration sphere expands outwards.
The Brooke family has a long history of exploration and prospecting. The Brooke have a strong family talent for navigation that has served them well in venturing into the unknown fringes of the Outer Rim. Attempts to foster a marriage union with the Shana family failed miserably when the head of the Brooke family took to illicit laisons with his personal pilot. Since the breakup of the marriage, the antagonism between the two families have reignited, although both have kept the peace of the Varen Council.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 52 from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 49a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Valerie Soung – Retributions from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Valerie Soung – Repressions from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 50b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)