Ishak IV (System Brief)

Document Type: Planetary Exploration Synopsis
UPFDN: E127­56­I4­Rev. C
Security Level: Public
Source: UPF Explorer Corps, D Company

Subject: Ishak IV
Ishak 4 (col. “I4”, “Ishak IV”, “The Dustball”) is the fourth, and only inhabitable, planet in the
Ishak system. The wormhole endpoint for the Ishak system resides in the L2 Lagrangian point of
the Ishak 6 gas giant.
Gravity: .96 Terra Gs
Day: 23.2 hours
Atmosphere: Oxygen, Nitrogen and inert gases, ­.05 from Terran density; industrial pollutants
beginning to contaminate atmosphere, but not yet to harmful levels
Climate: Arid, windy desert planet, particularly prone to dangerous haboob storms.

Latitude Avg. Day
Avg. Night Temp
0 38C 30C
45 27C 5C
90 -15C -30C

Current Population: 15 million
Racial Makeup: Mixed and transient


Mostly rocky or sandy deserts; hot deserts near equator, cold deserts as polar regions are approached. Poles dominated by frost and blowing ice, rare snowstorms. One surface sea with high salt content accounts for 10% of planet surface. Other water locked in subterranean aquifers. Upper planetary crust is rich with minerals, precious metals, and fossil fuels.

Flora and Fauna

Dominated by species which can survive long periods without sustenance through hibernation or some other means of slowed metabolism. Animal species largely reptilian or those which prey on reptiles. Most plant species have highly adapted defense mechanisms, are very slow growing and produce seeds which can lie dormant for hundreds or even thousands of years.


Several corporations have mining operations spread across the planet; most use guarded compounds for employees, often with luxurious manager residences. Several agribusiness companies also have farming and water mining operations to keep the population supplied with food. Most mining operations also have refinement facilities for processing products before shipment off­planet. Starlaw and UPF units pay a nominal fee to the planetary government in order to use the uninhabited regions of the planet for desert training exercises. The possibility of selling a mineral rich claim to a corporation has drawn many would­be prospectors to Ishak IV; the unforgiving environment has broken many of them. The presence of corporate militias and the general lack of law enforcement has combined to create a thriving illegal weapons trade.


A planetary parliament of elected members ostensibly rules, but are known to be puppets of those corporations present on Ishak IV. The only laws passed by the parliament are those not at odds with corporate interests. The planetside police force is known to be corrupt even by rimworld standards; overrun by graft, nepotism, bribery and protection schemes. As huge areas are held under mining claims, they fall under the jurisdiction of the corporate militias.


Due to the long distances involved, most transport of personnel is via low­atmospheric air transport, while heavy mineral and foodstuff shipments are made by hovertrain. A system of linkways connects most cities and outposts. These are trenches dug by specialized machines which then pack and chemically harden the soil surface into a smooth trainway useable by hover and ground craft. The linkways run in pairs, one “inbound” and one “outbound”, with
peripheral roads for smaller vehicles.

Major cities

Sulfur: pop. 3 million, the largest city on Ishak IV and home to its only major spaceport. Sulfur is a hub of transport systems, and is home to no less than 50 refinement facilities. Second tier industries include supplies sales (food, equipment, fuel, etc.), gambling, prostitution, illegal drugs and security services.

Potash: pop. 1 million, Ishak’s second largest city, a smaller version of sulfur. Chromium: pop. 700,000; A resort city on the Turquoise Sea, its high end facilities cater to corporate executives living on Ishak IV and include imported palm trees, sand beaches, and swimming areas with high tech security systems to keep out the numerous hungry and dangerous inhabitants of the sea. Its low end resorts cater to those miners who can afford to get there and stay. The balance of the population is spread throughout smaller communities and mining facilities around the planet.

Addendum 1: UPF Explorer Corps, Analytical Services Department Subjective Review and Recommendation Ishak IV is a lawless corporate puppet planet, currently suffering the worst types of exploitation. There is little or no regard for indigenous life forms, nor for the welfare of its colonials. Most of the city dwelling population live in cheaply built, substandard apartment blocks; while corporate employees dwell in pre­fab dormitories. Due to poor planetary defense systems and lax local law enforcement, pirates and smugglers frequent the uninhabited regions of the planet to evade and capture.

The ecosystem is failing under pollution and overuse; and at the current rate of growth, we estimate the planet could be rendered uninhabitable in under 2 centuries. We recommend immediate annexation by UPF forces, with implementation of Federation laws. We estimate that an augmented regiment sized force could secure the major cities and transport sites and begin law enforcement details until a Starlaw outpost could be established. Addendum 2: United Planetary Federation Charter on Sentient Rights, Office of the Commissioner, Current Review and RecommendationA downturn in mining has led to mass unemployment. In less than twenty years the mostly automated mining operations have stripped out 94% of easily accessible minerals. Exploitation of un­ and under­employed masses is the worst of any UPF planet. Ishak IV has become a virtual ‘failed state world’, making it a haven for crime, terrorism, fugitives, etc. The planet has become a haven for smugglers (weapons, controlled substances, technology, information, sentient trafficking). Wealthy criminals occupy lavish compounds; the poor relegated to shanties, substandard housing blocks, squatting in abandoned corporate dormitories, and the like.

Freelance prospecting for small mineral deposits is still thriving, but plagued by parasitic gangs. The government did finally stop corporations from simply staking claims over entire planet; detailed resource mapping to stake a claim about a decade ago, but the damage was mostly done. After rumors of archeological sites started circulating there is now an emergent ‘treasure hunting’ industry. There’s been little substantiated success, but rumors fuel rushes to new sites, with accompanying violence. E.g., a cave is discovered, the first arriving explorer tries to claim or explore it, others arrive, violence ensues. Given the high rates of violence, crime, exploitation, etc. the UPF has decided to take a more active role in the future of Ishak IV. The commissioner’s office recommends sending an advance investigative team to Ishak 4 with the mandate to “Document the scope of: sentient exploitation, smuggling, corruption, and various criminal enterprises. Identify the 5 largest offenders in each category: Corporate, government, and private. Identify most immediate needs of the populace.” Due to the current security situation planetside, any necessary defense measures for the team are authorized.

Hovertrain details

The hovertrains run in a sort of sunken roadway called a “linkway”. These have vertical sides and a flat bottom, and are 10 meters wide to accommodate the largest trains. There is a ladder sunk into the side walls of the trench every half kilometer for entrance/egress. This system can only be effective in locales with very little rainfall, as drainage of the trenches is a problem (although the hovertrains will displace a moderate amount of water as they pass). Terminals have side­tracks where the trains pull off of the main line to stop, with large mobile curbs to help direct the trains. The trains themselves are up to 150 meters long and 10 meters wide. There is a “tractor” vehicle at each end with a micro­fusion plant which supplies power to the hover fans in all cars. Between the tractors are connected a collection of various types of cargo cars, with an articulating joint between each. There are box cars, hopper cars (common for mining operations), special purpose cars and even passenger cars. Many of the cargo cars have a built­in crane to facilitate loading and unloading. The plenum chamber is surrounded by a soft skirt, surmounted by a hard­shell skirt beneath the cars and tractors. When the chamber is not pressurized, the train sits on the hard skirt, at which point access hatches allow personnel into the chamber for servicing. There is a small, wheeled “creeper” cart (1.5 by 2.5 meters) in eachtractor car which allows service personnel to move around easily beneath the train. Every car and tractor also has horizontally mounted wheels on the sides so that they can rub the sides of the trenches without damage, as the built in guidance systems are quite limited at high speeds. Smaller hover vehicles mount these wheels on booms to reach the sides of the trenches. The trains reach speeds of up to 300 km/h, depending on load, grade, weather conditions, etc. They have a long acceleration/deceleration phase into and out of terminals. They normally carry a rew of two for cargo transport, one in each tractor. The linkways themselves have a service road on each side and one between the trenches; it is a simple, unsealed dirt road.

Planetside Security Notes

Due to frequent seismic and volcanic activity, motion/vibration sensing equipment is of little use on Ishak IV. The barren, uniform terrain makes infrared and short range radar systems ideal here, although occasional broken terrain and canyons, etc. inhibit their use. As the native life forms on Ishak IV have highly developed pheromonal systems, almost every defense system employs “sniffer” devices which can identify most threats by their olfactory components.


GM Notes/References

Views of Ishak 4 that, in a more organized world, we could have projected for a backdrop:
Rocky plains around Sulfur:
Sulfur industrial area by night:
Flying in to the medical clinic in Sulfur:
The turquoise sea:
Chromium is pretty much just like:
Typical sandy desert:
Highland/mountainous regions:
Approach to the crater and bomb factory:

GM Notes 7/2017

It would be fun to keep playing some SF, I think. Using the Ishak 4 as an ‘open source’ setting and having people riff off it would be cool too if any of you want to. I GM’ed the last couple things and would love to get some time across the table, behind a Rafflur M-8. Possible storylines include: Working with the ‘good people’ that are trying to fight the corruption, gangs, poverty, etc. on the planet; or I suppose working with the bad guys if you wanted to go that route; get involved with the Blood of God research group (‘Outpost 11’) that saved you guys and are researching the alien sentience; the possible upcoming war as the UPF tries to annex and pacify Ishak 4.