Location Profile: Zhop

In the Clouk System of planets, Zhop is the furthest inhabited one to the sun. The planet rotates west to east, with the sun setting in the west. Its radius is about 7000 km and is 72% water, with 10% frozen and the oceans so dark blue they usually look black. Flora is also generally dark, ashen colors, with little low-lying grass, though lichen is fairly common and shrubbery can often be found. The planet has three moons—Snycole, the smallest, cycles about once a month; Mentsi, the middle-sized one, cycles about once every two months; and Lurnta, the biggest, cycles about once every three months.

Zhop rotates quicker than its neighbors and has an 18-hour day, orbiting the sun in about 486 2/3 days. The planetwide calendar divides those into 18 months of 27 days each—though in years that 3 doesn’t divide into an extra day is added before the first month. These months are Quankle, Snearle, Nellukle, Lumi, Schnee, Nattikle, Kaneflukle, Neigle, Yuki, Vorle, Nixle, Salu, Berfle, Nutarkle, Muranle, Quetarle, Pirta, and Pirevagle. The calendar has a nine-day week: Rounday, Serday, Valday, Teeday, Cirday, Piday, Radday, Tropiday, and Snoday, with the last two being the weekend.

Zhop is composed of one large supercontinent, Zhoptomore, which extends from one pole to the other. Over nine billion people live here; some reports place it over ten billion, though much of the continent is so scattered it’s hard to have a proper count. Islands dot the ocean opposite Zhoptomore, and though a few native species have been found on some it’s believed no society, native or otherwise, has emerged on any island.

Zhop is ruled by a central government located near the northern pole at New Zhopolis, which features the highest concentration of people on the planet. Here the Zhopian Guard is headquartered, the military and police force of Zhop that keeps the rest in line. Though the Zhopian Guard leadership has changed over time, usually it’s the snowbles who are in charge, sometimes openly and sometimes in secret.

“Ruled” primarily means the New Zhopolis government makes the countries pay taxes and Zhopian Guard members patrol them to make sure no one is planning a revolt. Otherwise states are left to their own devices—in theory New Zhopolis would settle fights and arguments, but they’re usually left to hash their own squabbles out while New Zhopolis grows rich off them. Zhop leadership is motivated by having a strong economy, even if it doesn’t lead to a strong populace.

The tundra and forests around New Zhopolis are largely made of small towns and settlements—New Zhopolis declared a ban on large settlements too close to New Zhopolis as a “protection” feature. Past this boundary and all throughout the center and western area of Zhoptomore is a giant mass of disputed territory, entire countries no bigger than New Zhopolis and often much smaller constantly squabbling over territory, borders changing so often that they’re almost never drawn on maps—a common thought is that by the time you finish a map of Zhop it’s outdated.

The east side is far less divided and even has some countries of decent size. The far east of Zhoptomore is a swampy peninsula arkents are native to, while kudeso society started in the northwest, including one of the largest ports of the planet, Athaselm, which got its start by trading with the arkents south. To the kudesos’ west in a more desert area were the nervists, who would generally carve small areas for families and didn’t bother with one another, though fights would occasionally break out.

Lastly, the far south tip of Zhoptomore had the cappipotos evolve, and with the snowbles largely operating in the north they were touched less than most of the planet. This makes the cappipoto lands have the largest countries of Zhop by land size, though they’re often sparsely populated.  This tundra is icier than the northern tip of the continent and considered by many harsher.

Zhop has a fragmented history, with most societies not lasting more than a few hundred years. It was largely the snowbles that built societies, using other species as servants or even slaves. Rumor states that snowbles are the oldest species of the planet and are even magic—the fact they’re snow lends credence to this. Other rumors say dankoms are older, and small artifacts are found that suggest societies from before any records are kept.

Some claim aliens once lived there, a theory thought crazy by most but only lent credence when it was discovered both Zhop and Derantu have supposedly native scalago species. Nobody is sure what the true origins of life on Zhop is—scientific belief is that it was all natural processes, though the major religion of Zhop, the Archussip, says Zhop, Derantu, and Mintop were once one planet split apart by a massive flood caused by their god, Gourd.