Archives of Nethys

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Deities | Systems & Settlements


Source Starfinder #4: The Ruined Clouds pg. 38
N ruined metropolis
System Nejeor VI
Population 8,430 (100% kish)
Government autocracy (Chieftain Hoyfeq)
Qualities insular, surrounded by the past, technologically underdeveloped
Maximum Item Level 14

Many millennia ago, Istamak was home to hundreds of thousands of kishalee and served as a primary supplier of weapon technology for their empire’s wars. The settlement was established around the same time as several other floating cities on Nejeor VI, shortly after the kishalee empire discovered the gas giant and its abundant resources. Istamak was a planned city; all its roads and most of its buildings were put in place by a small contracted construction crew and automated equipment long before its permanent kishalee citizens arrived. The city’s foundation is made of a synthetic material that magically interacts with the planet’s atmosphere to keep the city afloat. Istamak’s founders imported soil from other worlds for the city’s parks and gardens. The empire sent a steady stream of supply ships to the city, and to the planet’s other colonies, to establish diverse flora and provide commodities that couldn’t be produced locally. The majority of Istamak’s first “colonists” were employees of the Foundry, a weapons factory and research facility with strong ties to the kishalee military. The Foundry soon became the economic heart of Istamak, which in turn became much more than a company town for scientists and their families, as the usual assortment of opportunistic merchants and service providers arrived in droves, hoping to gain the business of the city’s well-compensated residents.

As Istamak produced one technological marvel after another for the kishalee empire, its status grew. Soon the once-small settlement attracted further investment, and the scope of the research and production in the city grew to include more than just the needs of the kishalee’s military. A population boom followed, and smaller buildings were demolished to make way for skyscrapers and larger housing complexes. Istamak became the most prominent of the Nejeor VI colonies for several decades, and it even began to attract a tourist trade as kishalee visitors came to see the city’s parks and museums and enjoy the sun’s light diffusing through the gas giant’s pink clouds at sunrise and sunset. As tourism became a cornerstone of the city’s economy, the city added an indoor stadium, luxury hotels, and even a zoo which showcased many of the Nejeor system’s most interesting creatures.

However, long before the kishalee empire began to decline, Istamak returned to relative obscurity. The Foundry fell out of favor with the kishalee military after the company created the Gate of the Twelve Suns leading to the demiplane where the Stellar Degenerator was kept. The empire’s war machine still needed a constant supply of fuel, but never to the same degree as during its clash with the sivv. The city government attempted several campaigns to bring other business interests to Istamak, but it quickly became clear that the city’s best days were behind it.

Perhaps Istamak would have one day received a second wind had the kishalee empire not slowly slid into decline. As the government on the kishalee home world started to crumble, Nejeor VI was one of the first of the empire’s annexed planets to lose direct support, and Istamak’s leaders struggled to salvage what was left of the city’s lavish, visitor-friendly image. Finally, when it became clear that supply ships would no longer be coming to the relatively isolated city, many of Istamak’s citizens fled for more terrestrial planets closer to the empire’s center. But thousands remained, either stubbornly refusing to leave or unable to procure transport. The city government managed to maintain order for a while, rationing the remaining supplies and maintaining public utilities.

However, as food and potable water grew scarce, many of Istamak’s citizens grew discontent and violence began to break out all across the city. A small group banded together for safety (see Hearth on page 43), while the remaining kishalee slipped into barbarism and, over the long and unforgiving centuries, eventually succumbed to extinction. The catastrophic accident that created the Broken Lands (see page 42) knocked out virtually all of the city’s power, and the creatures in Istamak’s zoo escaped to run wild.

Centuries passed, the kishalee of Hearth survived by establishing farms and learning to hunt, and Istamak became a monument to a long-lost civilization. Over the generations, the city’s residents, focused solely on survival, lost the truth of their collective past and transformed into a practically different species. These kish, as they now know themselves, have reverted to a preindustrial society, and they pass down their interpretations of the achievements of their ancestors as myths and legends.