Escaloda is a warm wet world orbiting the K type star Gliese 105 A, near the centre of its habitable zone, with a mass just a fraction less than that of Earth. The length of the day is a little more than twenty five hours and there are one hundred and ten of them in the local year.
The planet has an ocean which occupies about eighty percent of the surface and six significant landmasses. The largest of these is called Esca Prime and straddles the equator. The river Ess, rises in the Ess mountains in the east of Esca Prime and flows due west more or less on the line of the equator for over six hundred kilometers before it reaches the Ess Estuary (informally called the Big Triple S), a wide delta land of lakes, shallow mud and tidal pools. The human city of Nanton can be found on the coast of Esca Prime, south of the Ess Estuary where a range of low hills rise from the plain.
Fauna & Flora
Most of the land in all six continents is covered by a rich variety of lush native jungle vegetation. Oddly, perhaps, there is little in the way of animal life and what there is, is mostly small and arborial, such as the skitter lox and the panlim. The largest known species of native animal was once the gumjum, also known colloquially as the slurpers, a semi aquatic native of the mud plains looking like a giant mud skipper and able to burrow into the soft delta lands of the Big Triple S. Although they had no tool making capabilities and showed no evidence of civilization they possessed a level of intelligence perhaps similar to Earthly dolphins. The gumjum are now exinct. The image comes from the early days of colonial activity and shows sunset over the Big Triple S where a gumjum is emerging to feed on a mud slope sown with young rice plants.
Escaloda was colonised in 2342 at the end of the Golden Age Of Adventure in a land grab by an agricultural consortium, Transmarine Harvest, with plans to grow rice on a large scale. When these plans hit major problems due to competition with a native species called the gumjum, a notorious and ultimately successful plan was implemented in 2345 to wipe them out with bioengineered weapons. At the same time, vast swaiths of native estuary plants were removed from the Ess Delta so that rice planations could be installed in their place. This event was known as the Escaloda Extinctions. Three years later the Limitation brought an end to the Golden Age of Adventure. Although it was never explictly stated, it was widely believed that the Escaloda Extinctions were the cause of the Limitation. They apparently alarmed the Society Of Contemporary Races to such an extent that consideration of human membership was deferred indefinitely and human activity was restricted to the Bubble for the next thousand years. Central backing for the agricultural project was withdrawn in 2362, due partly to a failure to achieve the yield from the plantations which was required to make their operation economic and partly to the ongoing political fall out from the Extinctions and the Limitation. Smaller scale farm units mopped up what remained of the trade which continued to be an important export for the planet but the riches the early investors in Transmarine Harvest had dreamed of, would never materialise. In the late 25th and early 26th century, the self described "free peoples of Escaloda" came to dominate local politics. They mark their forehead with a bar code tattoo, which was originally an ironic expression of rebellion against the established bureaucracy, but later came to signify the new establishment class.