Ice world, with average equatorial temperatures of -45 degrees celsius and a windchill factor of up to -50 degrees. It is generally unsound for non-natives of equally inhospitable iceworlds to approach the surface with anything less than full cold weather gear complete with thermal hood and mask; natives however are known to go about their business barefaced and hoodless. Any more than 2 minutes of unmasked protection may cause frostbite, impede circulation and breathing, or otherwise cause other circulatory problems associated with over-exposure.
Lawson is the seat of the XTC’s largest raw matter processing plant in the sector, where the extreme cold of the planet made it perfect for venting waste heat. Natives used to be hired to man the factories until a recent attack from unknown sources planted a localised thermal nuclear device (“TickTock 479” dirty bomb) deep within Processor #4’s underground complex, shutting it down completely. Security has since been ramped up, and only corporate shachiku are hired these days from off-world: a state of affair that the XTC is hoping to rectify due to the increased operation costs.
Lawsonian society is pseudo-medieval: a ruling All-King resides at the top (new All-King elected the Elder Council on death of the previous post holder) advised by an Elder Council of seven advisors, each specialists in the fields of Agriculture, Taxes, Trade (offworld), Military (offworld security), Noblesse (inland security and political arbitrage), Science and Culture. The Elders are themselves heads of their particular Ministries, who in turn provide Councillors to advise each ruling Duke and Earl.
Parallel to the Elders and Councillors are the Nobles. Seven Dukes rule the seven continents of the world, who in turn divide their dukedom into distinct earldoms (each about the size of a nation) managed by Earls, who in turn divide their earldoms into distinct baronies (each about the size of a large city and the surrounding land) managed by Barons. Dukes are officially answerable only to the All-King himself, as are Earls answerable only to their Duke and Barons answerable only to their Earls, but the Elders- through their Ministry Councillors- have substantial political influence in the macroscopic day to day running of the world.
Technology is highly sophisticated despite the “backward” system of governance: plasma technology is a particularly popular choice due to its versatile uses on iceworlds, and the armies of the world are often armed with plasma lances and pulse rifles. The world is at peace most of the time, but Earls are allowed to muster their own personal armies and wage private skirmishes against other Earldoms and Baronies with the Duke’s permission (which is usually granted as long as the taxes are not interrupted) and the approval of the Ministry of Noblesse. This permission can be just as quickly withdrawn by either party, making war as much a matter of politics as it is military might.
The average Lawsonian has several occupational vocations that he can enter into, though agriculturist (manning the sprawling hydroponic greenhouse complexes along the equator which makes up the world’s primary source of food), tradesman (negotiating business deals with travellers and other locals alike) and scientist is by far the most popular; though the world is not famous for the latter. The Ministry of Trade is responsible for most of the planet’s interactions with the XTC.
There are three starports on the planet, each located on a different continent. The remaining four (smaller) continents have been appealing to the All-King for permission to build a starport of their own as well, but so far permission has been denied on advice from the Trade Elder: too many starports will likely ruin the global economy.
The main language spoken on Lawson is Neo-Germanic, though many profess at least a passing familiarity with Galactic English due to frequent contact with the XTC and interstellar trade. Tradesmen are fluent with most of the galaxy’s other major languages, including Standard Mandarin and alien Trade Creole.