Knorbes Background Information

Name: Knorbes
Affiliation: Third Imperium ( Im )
UPP: E888787-2
Planetary details: Starport class E, Frontier installation. Essentially a marked spot of bedrock with no fuel, facilities, or bases present.
Medium sized world. Surface gravity 1 G.
World diameter is 8000 miles (12800 km).
Dense atmosphere.
81 percent water. Cloud cover is 60 percent.
79 million inhabitants
Civil Service Bureaucracy. Government by agencies employing individuals selected for their expertise.
Law Level 7: Shotguns are prohibited.
Tech Level 2: circa 1400 to 1700.
Trade Classifications: Agricultural. Rich.

(each square = 1600 × 1600km)


A rich agricultural Imperial world located in the Regina Subsector of the Spinward Marches. Knorbes’ lesser continent contains an Imperial game preserve under the supervision of the Imperial Mininstry of Conservation. Entry is strictly controlled and allowed only in the company of IMC’s licensed guides.

The world is famous for its Tree Krakens, the main animal hunted for sport on the world (and whose liver can be used in the manufacture of Anagathics). The port sees considerable through-traffic along the Spinward Main, but vessels are encouraged to be on their way as quickly as possible by the high berthing fees – Cr250 for one day, Cr1,000 every day thereafter.

Despite the low quality port, the reservation is well protected by IMC forces and several small armed craft, as well as a company-sized Imperial Marine task force. In addition to Knorbes Startown, other major settlements on Knorbes include Dirka, Sanura, Cronin, and Vangogh.

Knorbes used to be a thriving, high-tech, balkanized world with considerable interstellar trade and some space-based industries and outposts, but in the course of a system-wide civil war a little over two centuries ago, the space colonies were destroyed, and eventually biological agents were employed by both sides. In consequence, the Imperium interdicted Knorbes in 910. Millions died and society collapsed. When the interdict was lifted in 1000, religious fervor led the population to ban all technology that relied on any power source other than “work (i.e. muscle power), wind, and water”. Outside the starport electric devices (and even steam engines) are anathema.

Physical Details

Knorbes is a large world with a dense atmosphere orbiting the G3 V star Steven at a distance of 1.04 AU, outside the solar jump limit of 0.99 AU and in the life zone. It has a diameter of 12,800 kilometres (7,955 miles) and a circumference of 40,250 kilometres (25,000 miles), an atmosphere with a standard oxygen-nitrogen mix and no noxious elements, and seas covering 81% of its surface.

Knorbes has a density of 5.79 and a mass of 1.06, making for a gravity of 1.05. Its orbital period is 9278.90 standard hours, equal to 386.62 standard days or 529.433 local days of 17 hours, 31 minutes, and 34 seconds each. The axial tilt is 37 degrees, making for extreme weather patterns. Base temperature is 33°C, giving a summer high of 64°C at the equator and a winter low of -57°C at the poles.

Knorbes’ land mass is divided into a large and a small continent named respectively Main and Lesser. There are no permanent icecaps at the poles, only winter ice.

Flora and Fauna

Knorbes’ native animal and plant life is unremarkable, but that of Lesser is augmented by imports from worlds up to ten parsecs away. It is believed that these were transplanted by the Ancients 300,000 years ago. Over the years the interaction between representatives of at least 20 biospheres has produced a unique and fascinating ecosystem. Before the war, the entire continent was a nature preserve.

Historical Details

Knorbes was settled in 94 by a group of utopian settlers from Sunz. The etymology of the name Knorbes is uncertain, possibly a transcription error for N’Orbes, in turn a contraction of New Orbes. After a rocky start, the population stabilized and from 200 onward thrived and expanded out across the larger of the two continents, unimaginatively named Main. Surveys of the smaller continent Lesser revealed a fascinating mélange of flora and fauna from dozens of nearby worlds, obviously transplanted there by the Ancients 300,000 years ago. The government declared the whole continent a national park.

By 800 the population had reached 85 million and regional differences led to the balkanization of the world.

World War
Towards the end of the 9th Century, the population had reached 380 million and several nations began encroaching on the virgin lands in Lesser. The disputes over how to carve up this continent led to a world-wide war that began in 898. The early stages of the war saw the space-based colonies and industries wrecked and abandoned. Both sides (United Provinces of Knorbes and the Alliance of Free Provinces) employed orbital mines in great numbers and neither side managed to gain control of space. In 904, both sides turned to the use of biological weapons. Millions died and Imperial forces moved quickly to impose a strict quarantine. In 910 Empress Margaret II followed up by enacting a full interdict which was, to some extent, punitive in nature; it is Imperial policy to discourage member worlds from letting things get that much out of hand.

Under Interdict
Events took a depressingly familiar course. People fled the cities, farm land was ravaged by bands of hungry brigands, the infrastructure collapsed, and society fragmented. Over 30 million died in the so-called Rain of Death but almost ten times as many died in the aftermath. The population fell to an estimated 63 million in 910.

Over the next two generations, people slowly put their lives together again, at least up to a point. As society slowly began to recover from the devastation of the Rain of Death and its aftereffects, the notion that the disaster had been some sort of divine punishment arose independently in many places across the continent. These ideas evolved into a number of different beliefs with the same basic core. In 949, a group of religious leaders met in the town of Eriuu and hammered out a coherent set of beliefs for what was to become known as the Church of Wisdom.

By 1000, society was torn between advocates of limited technological advancement into the use of steam and electricity and believers in the Church tenets limiting power sources to “Work, Wind, and Water”. It was at this point that Duke Nobert of Regina persuaded Emperor Gavin to lift the interdict and sent in the Scouts to reestablish contact.

In 1000, Main was balkanized with an estimated population of 71 million. The largest nation was the Empire of Karsten which was bent on reuniting the whole world –– under itself, of course. The small nation of Cinnavane, chosen for first contact because of its progressive attitudes and lack of xenophobia, saw the coming of the Scouts as a golden opportunity to become strong enough to resist Karstenian aggression by importing advanced equipment, especially weapons.

Cinnavane began importing, though the equipment was neither as plentiful nor as advanced as it might have been, due to IISS import restrictions and lack of funds. Other small nations were planning to do likewise. Karsten responded by mobilizing the religious fervor of the technophobes and overwhelming the techno-friendly nations with sheer numbers. Since the Church of Wisdom accepted gunpowder, Karsten did have perfectly adequate guns.

Imperial Membership
Though the empire won over Cinnavane and its allies, it could not hope to win against the Imperium’s battlesuited forces. Historians agree that the emperor of Karsten didn’t want to anyway; his anti-technological stance was always more pragmatic than religious. Instead he joined the Imperium and got Duke Nobert to endorse Knorbes’ anti-technology laws. The Scouts’ impromptu starport near Cinnavane became the new Imperial starport.

In 1053, Ministry of Conservation turned the continent of Lesser into a nature preserve. The natives already living on Lesser were restricted to north of the equator and all further immigration was banned. Lesser is considered to be Imperial territory and so restrictions on technology do not apply here. The Imperial Ministry of Conservation pays substantial fees to the government of Knorbes each year to lease the continent from them, which is one of the reasons why Knorbes is classified as a rich world.

Today, the population has risen to 79 million and, on the Major continent, the technology is still restricted by law to the three accepted power sources, work, wind, and water.


Before the Collapse, Knorbes was at a solid TL 11. The survivors had to start over almost from scratch, although they did have the advantage of knowing what they had once had. Much theoretical knowledge remained, but the exigencies of subsistence living left little room for the conservation of any knowledge that was not immediately useful, and unfortunately Knorbes had been one of those high-tech societies where hardcopy books had gone out of use. By the time conditions stabilized and people could begin thinking about more than mere survival, there was little left to build on.

In the years up to 1000, the general technological level had risen to something akin to Europe during the Renaissance. However, there were many differences. Theoretical knowledge was more advanced in many categories. You don’t necessarily lose the germ theory of disease or the heliocentric world view just because you can no longer make microscopes and telescopes. The issue was further complicated by the widespread technophobia. Knorbians knew, at least in theory, how to make quite a few things that the Church banned, and some people secretly defied that ban.

After Reunification, the Church ruthlessly suppressed banned technology, and development turned to improving devices that did not fall under the ban. Today, the basic technology available runs to hard steels, black-powder weapons, small cannons, printing press, advanced masonry, cities, canals, bridges, roads, understanding of internal anatomy, amputations and crude prosthetics, advanced wheels and movable axles, multimast sailing ships, crude navigation, windmills, mechanical energy storage (clockwork), movable-type printing making for cheap printed material, semaphore network, coaches, and hot-air balloons. However, as long as no forbidden power sources are involved in the creation or operation of an item, quite sophisticated devices can be found. Examples include chronometers and guns, both of which can be found to TL 3 and even TL 4 standards. The main limitation is that such items are rare and expensive. TL 2 implements cost normally. TL 3 implements costs 5 times their base price, TL 4 implements costs 15 times their base price, and TL 5 implements costs 25 times their base price. Items above TL 5 are almost impossible to find for sale. When they are to be found, prices range from 75 to 100 times their base price.

These restrictions do not apply to the Lesser continent due to the fact that it is Imperial property rather than belonging to the government of Knorbes. However, as entry to the continent is so severely restricted prices for all goods that cannot be manufactured locally or imported from Major, prices for all high-tech goods are incredibly high.

Knorbes Background Information

Mustered Out on Regina NickPendrell