From Star Frontiers Network

Jump to: navigation, search

Top: Frontier Travel Guide main page | Up: FTG Planets main index

Colonizers: Mhemne
Population: Light, Education (this is the UPF presence)
Climate Range: Arctic; land masses and oceanic areas covered with kilometers-deep ice sheets
Average Surface Temp.: -150 C at poles to 5C at the equator
Atmopshere: 80% nitrogen, 17% oxygen, 3% trace elements
Gravity: 0.924
Diameter: 12,000 kilometers
Moons: 1
Length of Day: 32 hours
Artificial Satellites: L4 and L5 settlement stations



  1. Akhala - colonization, completes orbit every 23 days, inhabited


Snowball is one of the newst inhabited planets. It has a Human-like native race (the Mhemne) that has split into three distinct societies, one of which inhabits its moon and artifical satellites. Snoball has a lot of trouble with Sathar that are believed to be the last surviving remnants of the Sathar Third Fleet that was driven into the Vast Expanse during teh Second Sathar War. The safe star route to Liberty is unknown except to Star Lawmen.

Physical and Geographical Aspects

Snowball has always been at the cooler edge of her star's life zone; substantial sheets of ice cover its poles, and a narrow temperate zone rings the equator. Still, vegetation and life forms flourished in this thin temperate belt, culminating in an intelligent hominid that is strikingly similar to the human race-the Mhemne (MEM-nee).

About 2,000 years ago a catastrophic disturbance in Snowball's ecosphere caused a drastic, global drop in the temperature of between 1 and 3 degrees C per year. Within a century, the entire planet was gripped in a planet-wide ice age. Nearly all species of plant and animal life became extinct, although some hardy plants, simple animals, bacteria, and viruses survived in the equatorial zone.

This catastrophic disturbance was caused by the Mhemne. The combined effects of their industrialization and deforestation were finally accelerated by nuclear war and a deliberate oceanic asteroid strike. These asteroids struck during a war between settlements in the asteroid belt and the home planet.

Now only the highest mountain ranges along the equator rise above the ice sheets. The powerful tides caused by Akhala frequently induce earthquakes in unstable regions. The harsh temperatures, high winds, and long nights make this planet's climate hostile to most life forms.

Political and Cultural Aspects

By the time the temperature began to drop on Snowball, the Mhemne had become a technologically advanced race. They had built major settlements on Akhala, in large, artificial satellites (space stations L4 and L5, and in the asteroid belt. As a result, the Mhemne population was divided into three' main groups: the Ice worlders, the Confederacy, and the Belters.

The Iceworlders retained an emotional attachment to their planet. They struggled in vain to forestall the inevitable collapse of civilization and extinction of life forms on Snowball. These romantics and visionaries wanted badly to reconstruct the planet whose fate they had brought about through their shortsighted and self-destructive actions. Descendents of the Iceworlders have inhabited a few well-equipped research stations on Snowball, as well as several smaller settlements that aren't so well-established.

Iceworlder culture is characterized by a communal socialism, pacifism, and an abiding concern for the miracle of life. The typical Iceworlder is open, generous, friendly, and rugged enough to survive the harsh conditions on Snowball.

The Confederacy was a loosely organized group of independent states set up on the natural and artificial satellites of Snowball. The Confederacy quickly abandoned any hope of saving Snowball, and turned to the more immediate task of ensuring the survival of Mhemne culture in space. They have been plagued with uncontrolled population growth (a central principle of personal freedom) and a scarcity of food.

Over the past 2,000 years, there have been no major technological advances in the Confederacy. The Mhemne here work hard to conserve the technology of the past. Since the already scarce resources must be distributed equally, there is no surplus to go for research.

Confederacy culture is characterized by unchecked population growth, and the fierce protection of their freedom-loving society, even though the substance of these freedoms is being eroded by poverty and social stagnation. The typical Confederate is formal, polite, humble, and selfconscious of his status in society.

The Belters were the least affected by the "death" of Snowball. They have continued to grow technologically over the past 2,000 years, though the scarcity of resources and the difficulty of survival in the Belt have slowed the rate of development. The Belters are strongest in the biological sciences, computers, and electronics. Still, the Belters are far behind the Frontier societies in most areas of science and technology.

Since the Belters were responsible for the asteroid strike that precipitated Snowball's sudden ice age, they have borne the hatred of the rest of Mhemne society for the past 2,000 years. Though the generation of war lovers has passed, their descendents still feel a heavy burden of guilt. Belters get very uncomfortable when the subject of Snowball's climate change even comes up in conversation; they change the subject or become sullen and uncommunicative.

The Belter culture is characterized by cold, emotionless application of science and logic to all problems. They are fiercely independent. Belters believe all intelligent behavior is motivated by self-interest, and they don't trust anyone who pretends to be motivated by generosity or charity. They are extremely honest as well as proud and selfsatisfied. If it is suggested that they are in any way technologically inferior, Belters become hostile and uncooperative. They are shrewd and aggressive traders, and can cleverly manipulate circumstance to give them every advantage in a bargain.

The Sathar Invasion

Ten years ago, a powerful Sathar fleet entered the FS 30 system. The Sathar ruthlessly destroyed every settlement they could find on Snowball. They brushed aside the Confederacy's defenses and occupied Akhala and the two space stations. The Sathar left the traditional forms of government on these satellites as they were but placed Mhemne collaborators at the top of the power structure. The Sathar also destroyed the larger, more obtrusive settlements in the asteroid belt, but they never completely pacified this region.

The Sathar then established starship construction yards at the space stations. The Sathar brought in an IMPP to set up mining operations on the moon and in the asteroid belt. These operations provided materials for the starship yards, while automated processing plants on Snowball's surface provided additional mineral and organic resources not available in space. The Mhemne population in the Confederacy became the Sathar's subject race, providing them with technicians and craftsmen to man the warship construction yards.

Since the Sathar set up these yards 10 years ago, 20% of all Sathar warships operating in the Frontier Sector have been built here. With the exception of occasional raids and attempts at sabotage by the Belters, the Sathar have met no resistance.

The Sathar invasion has had relatively little effect on Belter culture, apart from the initial destruction of the larger population centers. Nevertheless, the Belters are adamantly resolved to avenge the deaths of their people, and have vowed to rid their system of all Sathar. The Belters are no fools, though; they know they won't be able to accomplish this for several years.

The Confederacy has suffered even less under Sathar control. In fact, the material quality of life has improved somewhat, since the Sathar have enforced population control and introduced improved food production methods. However, the Confederates have not abandoned their traditional values, and they would welcome the chance to overthrow the Sathars' puppet government and drive the aliens out.

The Iceworlders are most threatened by the Sathar, and are the most desperate to free themselves of the Sathar at any cost. The Sathar have been trying to eliminate all Mhemne from Snowball, and the Iceworlders have the least resources with which to resist. They have renounced their pacifist doctrine, and they are fanatic in their resolution to destroy the Sathar. The Iceworlders are willing to cooperate with anyone who can help them. (They would even be willing to forgive the Belters, if there were a chance that the two groups together could destroy the Sathar.


  • SFKH4: The War Machine
  • Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space vol 1