Author Topic: Planets  (Read 10260 times)

Offline Elva

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Re: Planets
« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2010, 02:10:37 AM »
One sci-fi RPG that did a good job of justifying itself was Blue Planet. It takes place on an ocean world that is further from its sun than earth, yet has a tropical climate. This was because it was actively volcanic, leading to the growth of many small islands, which heated the planet and contributed to a "greenhouse effect" that kept it warm. One thing I learned from that series(apart from what my gaming life was missing with out it ;D) was that you can take almost any fantastical idea in your head, and with a little thought and effort, maybe even some research, you can justify it scientifically.
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Offline GAZKUL

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Re: Planets
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2010, 04:51:56 PM »
seas of raw alcohol
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Offline Koval

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Re: Planets
« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2010, 08:04:34 AM »
seas of raw alcohol
Don't be silly, there'd be so many fumes in the air that the planet would Exterminatus itself when the first volcano ever erupts.

Offline phil-o-mat

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Re: Planets
« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2010, 08:09:45 AM »
the impact of the first meteor would do that too...

Offline Shannow

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Re: Planets
« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2010, 08:59:28 AM »
To be fair both meteor strikes and volcanoes igniting seas of alcohol presupposes that they have active thermal cores and an atmosphere that will combust a meteor as it approaches orbit. I think the possibility is there it is just one that ha to be very well thought out before presentation, rather than just 'seas of raw alcohol'
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Offline DapperAnarchist

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Re: Planets
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2010, 09:55:14 AM »
The Engines of God features a planet with seas of raw alcohol and extensive electrical storms at one point - there's no free oxygen in the atmosphere, so no fire, but if a single leak were to be created in the main characters' "flying box", it could cause and explosion... Though that turns out to be nowhere near the most dangerous thing they encounter there.
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Offline Alta

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Re: Planets
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2010, 01:51:46 PM »
Seas of Alcohol could work in a planet with no atmosphere or is volcanically inactive...
Or maybe it could be a huge ork experiment to convert all water on a planet into alcohol...

I don't think it was serious though. This comment is coming from a guy who, when GMing a fantasy game, made boomerang cannonballs and made all crossbows fire marmalade...
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Planets
« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2010, 02:33:07 PM »
Seas of Alcohol could work in a planet with no atmosphere or is volcanically inactive...
A planet with no atmosphere wouldn't have seas of alcohol - the nonexistent atmosphere means that the ambient pressure is extremely low, which means that the alcohol vaporises at an extremely low temperature... so the seas would simply evaporate, even if it could form in the first place.

Alcohol vaporises more readily than water, so on a world with ethanol seas, the atmosphere would contain a noticable amount of ethanol vapour, much as our atmosphere contains water vapour, and it'd ideally have a heavier atmosphere or be generally colder in order to keep as much of it liquid as possible.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Planets
« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2010, 02:43:49 PM »
This comment is coming from a guy who, when GMing a fantasy game, made boomerang cannonballs and made all crossbows fire marmalade...
Actually, the cannonball thing is possible.

I wrote a ballistics program a while back, which allows me to simulate pretty much any trajectory I like. Here's what happens if you increase the backspin on a spherical projectile (actually a golfball, but the same holds true for other spherical projectiles) - One, Two and Three.
The initial angle for all of those "tests" was 0 degrees - parallel to the ground. The lift comes only from the backspin involved.

If you keep increasing the spin rate, it would be possible to get the projectile to land on the head of the person who fired it. Voilą - boomerang cannonballs.
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Offline GAZKUL

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Re: Planets
« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2010, 05:12:01 PM »
surely in a game like inquisitor you can create anything you want and who sais it has to be serious.

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Offline DapperAnarchist

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Re: Planets
« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2010, 05:22:48 PM »
We tend towards a "fictional plausability" idea - not that it has to match to physics/chemistry/biology, but that it has to match to how we feel physics/chemistry/biology works. Everyone knows that Alcohol burns, so that doesn't work. However, an ocean of, say, some corrosive acid makes just as little sense, as it would presumably turn to salts. But that fits a feel, at least for me - blame Alien and their Molecular Acid. If you want to have something that makes no sense whatsoever - A W(arp)izard Did It. But that shouldn't be overused or it becomes boring.
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Offline GAZKUL

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Re: Planets
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2010, 05:44:57 PM »
But that shouldn't be overused or it becomes boring.

what and having only realistic planets dousn't?
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Planets
« Reply #42 on: September 09, 2010, 06:12:43 PM »
But that shouldn't be overused or it becomes boring.

what and having only realistic planets dousn't?
Everything in moderation.

Beyond that... if you're going to do wierd and impossible, then why limit yourself to minor incongruities? Wierdness and impossibility should serve a purpose beyond being permissive of laziness or gimmickry - a world with seas of booze is vaguely plausible given the right conditions, and to ignore those conditions seems lazy, IMO... a world haunted by the ghosts of a dead civilisation, orbiting a foul and tainted star contains the seeds of a story...
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Offline DapperAnarchist

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Re: Planets
« Reply #43 on: September 09, 2010, 11:01:24 PM »
There are examples beyond counting that being entirely 'realistic' is not boring - every thriller and many war or spy stories are realistic. And I totally agree with N01H3r3 - a setting should be subject to the same sort of creative rules as a character. A character that sudden goes from being an Imperial Confessor to a Genestealer Cultist would be bad - unless there is an explanation. The setting should have explanations as well.

Note that my description of what makes a good setting doesn't mean realistic, though. Floating Islands supported by naturally occurring magnetic fields are not realistic, but we feel like they could happen, because, in highly artificial circumstances, magnets do make things float. So its ok.
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Offline Ynek

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Re: Planets
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2010, 02:53:19 AM »
When it comes to planets, I've got a template quite similar to the 'twenty questions' that I've seen floating around on here.

I can't remember where I've buried it, but I'll have a loot round my hard-drive and see what I can grab. (In other words, trawling through almost 2TB of my nonsensical ramblings of ideas for short stories, random notes, most of which are just called 'new document 1" etc.)

The questions were things like:
How many suns does the planet have?
(More than half of the suns in the real universe exist as binary stars, and many exist as tertiary or even quarternary stars. Our closest neighbouring stars are tertiary stars - Alpha Centauri Alpha, Beta and Proxima.... For instance.)

What type of star does the planet orbit?
Boring old middle aged 'yellow, earthlike sun?' Or something more outlandish, such as a brown dwarf (a small orb of hydrogen which lacked the gravity and impetus to ignite to become a sun. In essence, just a drifting ball of unignited star-fuel.) Or even a violently young star, which produces a lot of dangerous radiation.

How does the star affect the planet?
The aforementioned young star would create very little along the lines of metal atoms. For some reason, young stars create metal-deficient planet systems, assuming that the star is old enough to produce planets. In most cases, the star is born, then the planets form from the leftover crap that's floating around. But I digress. An older star would probably create planets which are richer in heavy elements, such as Uranium. A planet which is very close to it's sun would be extremely hot, and would have things like water as an atmospheric gas rather than as oceans.

How large is the planet?
As a rule of thumb, the bigger and denser the planet is, the stronger the gravity will be. Additionally, a planet of Earth-like size or larger is likely to be geothermically active. Planets of mars-like size are likely to burn themselves out very quickly, as they don't have sufficient mass to hold in the geothermal heat. They also lack the mass to hold on to an atmosphere, so most often, small, rocky worlds tend to become cold, barren deserts.

Does the planet have any moons?
Most moons that we have thus far discovered are the remains of planetary debris clouds which have mish-mashed together around the planet. Bearing that in mind, the planet's moons are quite likely to be composed of similar matter to the planet itself. However, this is more of a guideline than a rule. Jupiter's moons, for instance, are generally quite rocky, whilst Jupiter itself is mostly made of gas.

What is the planet's climate like?
Does the planet have seasons? Is the weather ever-changing, like it is on earth? Or is it perpetually icy? Is there a toxic substance such as Benzene oceans on the planet's surface which evaporates in the summer, making it dangerous to breathe outside, but condenses again in the winter, making it safe to take off the gas-mask? (Just to give an example of something seasonal which isn't just hot versus cold. It could also be life versus death.)

Does the planet have an atmosphere?
Planets atmospheres are very significant. Look at the difference between Earth and Venus. Earth's atmosphere is relatively quite thin, but Venus's atmosphere is so dense that meteors landing on the surface of Venus don't even leave craters. By the time the meteor reaches the surface, it just places itself down gently. It takes several hours for something to fall through the thick, soupy atmosphere of Venus, which is also so thick that it would be impossible to be able to walk on the surface of the planet. (Your legs don't have the strength to move the atmosphere out of the way.) Additionally, is the atmosphere breatheable. When we look at Venus again, we can see that the atmosphere is certainly nowhere near breatheable. One breath of Venus's atmosphere would kill a human outright by melting the alveoli in the lungs.

Does the planet have any native lifeforms?
Consider the planet's atmosphere, composition etc. when considering this. On one of my planets, which was a metal-deficient planet orbiting a violent young star, I created a lifeform called an 'acidworm,' which was a largely vegetative lifeform which, since there is so little metal on the planet, is capable of using any metal it finds as a blood ligand. For instance, humans use iron in our blood as the ligand for haemoglobin. Ancient creatures, such as some arthropods and horseshoe crabs, use copper. Acidworms just use whatever they can find. Acidworms are also so-named because they can secrete a powerful sulphuric acid which dissolves metallic materials, and through substitution reactions, frees metal ions from metal-containing ionic compounds. These metals are then taken in by the acidworm. Acidworms also have a leaf-like hind-end. When they discover a metal source, they stand on their faces and project their leaf-end into the air, which allows them to photosynthesise using the powerful rays of their violent young star. Additionally, acidworm's colours tend to change with whatever metallic ligand they are using. Metals such as iron and lithium turn them a shade of dirty crimson, whilst metals like copper turn them blue. Their tail-leaves, however, are always pitch-black, to allow them to absorb every last scrap of light that hits them. Acidworms are something of a common pest in the Levitus subsector, where they attach themselves to metallic structures like barnacles, slowly eating through the metal. However, in other areas of the Imperium, they are actively sought after as exotic pets, since Imperial dignitaries like to be able to show off a tank full of brightly-coloured alien worms, in much the same way that someone might show off a tank of brightly coloured exotic fish..... But enough about my alien worms...

What are the planet's primary exports/industry?
Assuming that humans have landed on the planet, it's got to have something worth exporting. If the planet orbits an old star, it's likely that the heavy metallic elements in the planet's composition are likely to be of value. If the planet has hydrocarbon oceans, or hydrocarbon ice, this is likely to be very valuable to the Imperium. However, bear in mind that hydrocarbons tend to be produced as a by-product of life, so are unlikely to be found on a planet which has never harboured life.

What are the planet's people like?
Consider the gravity (tall and thin versus short and squat), the atmosphere (constantly coughing / uncomfortable in a thinner atmosphere such as that on Starships?), the industry (manual labourers? miners?) or lack of (lazy bums?). How much control does the law have?

What is the planet's political situation and history?
How much does the history affect the planet's current existence? Are there proud nations of former-slaves surrounding a single, resentful nation of former slave-owners? Does the planet have a king who is descended from a long line of tyrannical monarchs? Is the planet communistic, democratic, or is it ruled by another authority such as the Ecclesiarchy or Mechanicus?

That's all I can remember at the moment... I'll come back and say more if my memory improves.... Or if I find that file.
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