The Twelve Colonies of Kobol are twelve distinct worlds located in Star System Cyrannus.
About 2,000 years prior to the Cylon Holocaust, the Twelve Tribes of Kobol left their home planet after conflicts with their gods led to some sort of calamity only hinted at in religious texts. Having settled in Cyrannus, the early Colonies lived (and fought) more or less as sovereign states. Some (like Caprica and Virgon) prospered; others (like Sagittaron and Aerilon) did not. Two millennia of inter-Colonial tensions and warfare finally came to an end forty years ago: after joining together to resist the Cylon rebellion, the various independent governments agreed to unify as a federal republic, formalizing the so-called Articles of Colonization signed during the middle of the war.
The vast majority of the Colonies' fifty billion inhabitants were killed by the Cylons on Warday. A detailed breakdown of the Colonies' post-Warday status can be found here.
On this page can be found a basic description of each world and a broad sketch of the peoples who call them home. Please note that these overview are meant not to restrict PC character concepts but to inspire them. For example, there is absolutely no reason why somebody from Aerilon cannot be sophisticated — just consider how well Gaius Baltar pulled it off!
This page also links out to more detailed pages describing the various peoples and cultures from which those PCs came. Though we do draw upon the shows for inspiration, bear in mind that this and associated pages stem from the interlocking backgrounds and histories of our PCs themselves.
|Important Notice about Canon Material|
|Material from the television program Caprica is NOT automatically considered canon, although players may adopt individual bits and pieces from what's depicted on Caprica into the regional cultural background of their character(s). When in doubt, please ask.
To avoid contradictions in established RP, a policy of "localization" has been adopted. Apart from the Staff-written Overview and items firmly established in the main BSG series, there should be no all-encompassing tidbits for any of the Twelve Colonies. Players are wholeheartedly encouraged to create regional write-ups. Those seeking to deviate from the general "flavor" of the Overview should first consult with Staff.
A Note from RDM
"I think that some of the Colonies have developed very different cultures and attitudes from one another and that it's rich ground for us. We alluded to some differences here and there, but mostly we talked about the 'Federal' (for lack of a better word) governmental structures. We do know that there was a sizable opposition to the Colonial government. Leoben claimed to be an arms dealer supplying freedom fighters or terrorists, depending on your point of view, and Tom Zarek was the jailed leader of a sometimes violent opposition, so it stands to reason that there are a wide variety of views, some of which come into violent conflict with one another. It's also worth bearing in mind that one of the uses for which the Cylons were originally used by the Colonies was as soldiers in their wars against one another."
Languages in the Twelve Colonies
The dominant language in the Twelve Colonies is called Colonial Standard, and with strikingly few exceptions, everybody living in the Cyrannus System knows how to speak it fluently. However, humans have by no means forgotten their languages of origin: on Virgon, for instance, those who grow up learning Standard might have picked up a few words of the local dialect here and there, while on Sagittaron one might well pass through several small villages without hearing a word of Standard. For more, please consult the main page.
The Twelve Colonies
|Aerilon||Often called the breadbasket of the Twelve Colonies, Aerilon is an agricultural world with little in the way of heavy industry or large cities. It's also one of the poorest worlds in the Colonies, and as a result its people are stereotyped — often unfairly — as low-class uneducated bumpkins. Unsurprisingly, Aerilonians tend to describe themselves in slightly different terms: in their minds, they are a honest and hard-working people with simple needs and frugal character, unafraid to get their hands dirty in cities or fields. They are highly represented in the Colonial Fleet, particularly among the CMC's enlisted personnel, in large part because the military offers enterprising young Aerilonians an easy way to get off the farmstead and see new things. OOC Note: For the sake of consistency, "Aerilon" has been adopted as the official spelling of this Colony's name (per Battlestar Wiki).|
|Aquaria||One of three planets sharing a single orbit (the others being Caprica and Virgon), the world of Aquaria is aptly named: eighty-seven percent of the planet's surface is covered by oceans, making it a popular destination for tourists from Colonies with less-than-pleasant climates. Unsurprisingly, its two most abundant resources are fish and algae, which sustained its population until advanced hydroponic farming techniques were pioneered by scientists tired of eating sardines-and-seaweed six out of seven days of the week. Although its population is relatively small, its proximity to Caprica and Virgon has allowed it to prosper, and these days it is considered a center of culture, innovation, and trade. The colony is known for producing uncommonly gifted thinkers, and the "Moody Aquarian" archetype has become a staple of modern films and literature despite repeated attempts by Aquarian actors and authors to reclaim their national image.|
|Canceron||The closest planet to the system's central star, much of Canceron is inhospitably warm — even unlivable. For this reason, its major cities are either coastal or polar. The former are famous for their blazing summers, sunny beaches, and yacht-owning Capricans with popped collars and spray-on tans; the latter, for housing sprawling complexes of underground tylium mines staffed by convicted felons until the human rights lobby forced the Quorum of 12 to intervene some twenty-four years ago. Their proximity to Cyrannus gives Cancerans a somewhat darker complexion than their Colonial compatriots. They have no particular affinity or aversion to military service, and are represented to the extent their population supports.|
|Caprica||This temperate, blue-green gem of a world is commonly depicted as the middle planet of the Trojan orbit, for indeed, Caprica truly is the center of the Colonies: the focal point of commerce, politics, law, culture, and faith. Its capital, Caprica City, houses the three branches of the Colonial government in addition to a veritable horde of corporate headquarters, merchant banks, and institutions of higher learning. Delphi is more religious in nature: not only is it home to painstaking recreations of Kobol's Pantheon, Forum, and Opera House, it possesses the Colonies' largest collection of artifacts from the lost homeworld. The Caprican people are a diverse lot, but on the whole they're perceived as urbane and cosmopolitan, spoiled by the privileges of luxury and wealth. They have relatively little representation in the ranks of the enlisted but are disproportionately represented in the higher ranks of the officer corps — the traditional proving ground for the sons and daughters of elite Caprican families.|
|Gemenon||Gemenon is a poor colony by choice as well as by circumstance. Blessed with very little in the way of natural resources, this mountainous world's primary export is its faith — and that it basically gives away for free. Home to a fundamentalist tradition that promotes a literal reading of the Sacred Scrolls, Gemenon has earned its reputation as the most conservative of the Colonies, but to say that all Gemenese are Scrolls-thumping fanatics is a gross exaggeration. Indeed, the Kobol Colleges are some of the Colonies' most prestigious institutions of higher learning, having expanded their original mission of providing religious education to encompass secular subjects of all kinds.|
|Leonis||A large world notable for its fertile plains and its remarkable concentrations of uranium, Leonis sought to exploit both of those natural advantages by initiating a war of conquest against its neighboring Colonies. After its defeat at the hands of the Triple Alliance (between Picon, Scorpia, and Caprica), its new government voluntarily slashed its military budget, eliminated most of its nuclear arsenal, and focused on keeping as aloof as possible from internecine Colonial disputes. Not until the First Cylon War did Leonisian forces fight on another Colony's territory, redeeming themselves spectacularly by spearheading the campaign to retake Caprica City. Since then, Leonis has tentatively expanded its role in Colonial politics, culminating in its successful bid to construct the second of the Fleet's two major shipyards. While not as large as its Scorpian counterpart, Spacedock Leonis is at the cutting edge of military technology, and Battlestar Cerberus is its pride and joy.|
|Libran||Libran is known as the Colony that wars the least. Devoid of an abundance of any one natural resource that might have attracted untoward attention before Unification, Libran was such a strategically insignificant world that its neighbors permitted it to pursue its policy of studied neutrality in peace. That neutrality also made Libran the perfect place to keep money, since its financial institutions were in no danger of being glassed whenever a war broke out. Unsurprisingly, Libran's current prosperity is founded on banks with several centuries of history — banks that defend their clients' identity with a formidable array of barristers who see themselves as heritors of an even longer tradition of jurisprudential excellence.|
|Picon||An ocean planet that shares an orbit with Scorpia and Leonis, Picon is to the Fleet what Caprica is to politics. Unlike the Aquarians, who were content to remain fishermen, Picans preferred to sell their military expertise to the highest bidder, and the professionalism of their renowned mercenary companies was only matched by their mendacity. The Colony took full advantage of its victory over Leonis some eighty-five years ago, riding a wave of rapid industrialization to become only the second world to deploy a majority Cylon force. Needless to say, that plan didn't end very well — but once the Cylons were defeated, Picon retained its role as backbone of the Colonial Fleet. Picon is home to Colonial Fleet HQ, the Colonial Fleet Academy, and a host of important military research laboratories. Its citizens boast a strong military tradition and are highly represented at every level of the Fleet.|
|Sagittaron||Having endured centuries of political and economic exploitation at the hands of its peers, Sagittaron is without a doubt the poorest of all the Twelve Colonies. Birthplace of a controversial reading of the Sacred Scrolls counseling asceticism, non-violence, and faith-based healing, Sagittaron has suffered from social turmoil long before the Articles of Colonization were signed. But it wasn't until Unification that long-simmering tensions erupted into all-out violence, as a new breed of radicals sought to win with force what their predecessors had failed to achieve. When Sagittaron's Colonial Guard proved unable to contain the insurgency sweeping across the southern continent, its planetary government summoned the Marines for aid. Boots hit ground thirteen years ago — and though much of the violence has subsided, pockets of violent resistance remain.|
|Scorpia||Scorpia is small and unbearably warm, thanks to its dense atmosphere and sprawling jungles. Those humans who live there have understandably gravitated towards massive isolated cities, though a sizeable contingent of tree-huggers have moved to the planet's less developed regions to get closer to nature. The local flora and fauna have ensured that such experiments generally do not last very long at all. Far more important than what's on Scorpia, however, is what's above it: the Scorpian Fleet Shipyards, the largest manufacturing yards in all the Twelve Colonies and the primary driver of the Scorpian economy. Scorpians themselves are reputed to be an opinionated and hot-tempered lot, and among them can be counted many of the Colonies' foremost satirists, essayists, and all-around gadflies.|
|Tauron||Before the Sagittaron Insurgency got off the ground, Tauron was famous for being the most troublesome Colony in the years after Unification. Though it was originally reliant on agriculture, the war against Leonis gave Taurian entrepreneurs the perfect excuse to capitalize upon their world's manpower advantage. The resulting industrial revolution catapulted this planet to the forefront of Colonial politics, though it came with the attendant labor unrest that the government's policy of de-unionization only exacerbated. Though the quality of Taurian goods has markedly increased, "Taurian manufacturing" is still considered something of a slur. That reputation is hardly deserved; indeed, the Colony is home to several major corporations and research labs, many of which were integral in the development of early Cylon technology. The stereotypical Taurian is poor, stubborn, backwards, and dedicated to her large extended family — but this image is more a product of crime dramas than anything else.|
|Virgon||A temperate world like its neighbors, forested Virgon emerged relatively unscathed from the First Cylon War. It's known far and wide for its "gentrified countryside" chic, and tourists flock to the planet to enjoy its fabulous slopes, tranquil meadows, and sparkling lakes — cookie-cutter perfection for the happening Colonial elite. What poverty exists on Virgon has mostly been swept under the rug, though recent journalistic exposés have started to explore the plight of the Virgan worker. Many Virgan celebrities have tried to jump on that boat with varying degrees of success, and some would argue that their boneheaded advocacy has actually reduced the legitimacy of the cause. Virgans are generally perceived as vapid and superficial, concerned more with outward appearances than with substance of any sort: an image hardly helped by the Colony's overexposed glitterati.|