What should I work on next?

13 April 2009

Other than Mars and Venus...

...what VSF planets would you conjure up?

My friend Eli and I have been discussing this topic privately by email, but its such an interesting idea that I thought it deserved a mention here.

Some of the ideas so far - note that all need a good deal of PSB* to justify:

Jupiter or Saturn

Living in floating bubbles in the atmosphere, mining the rings, processing gasses out of the atmosphere, etc. Floating cities, flying vehicles. Make the Great Red Spot a creature rather than a storm... scary stuff if it notices Jupiter's newest inhabitants.


Ganymede, for instance. Heat from the gas giant makes the planet terrestrial.


Inhabitable, but only barely, possibly along the twilight line. A place of extreme vulcanism, its mineral wealth is undeniable. Perhaps used as a prison planet? Think Mustafar from Star Wars Episode III or that prison planet on Chronicles of Riddick - can't recall the planetary name. Inferno, perhaps?

Stargate-style travel to extra-solar planets. One way stargates even more fun, as the pioneers would be forced to first build a return gate before they could come home. Good roleplay potential there, at any rate...

Hollow Earth, either Pellucidar style (dig your own tunnel through Earth's crust to get there) or via tunnel at the North Pole to Skartaris (courtesy of DC's The Warlord comic book, which is supposed to be back in publication!).

Lots of possibilities out there... share some of your ideas!

*PSB: Pseudo-scientific bulls**t.


Eli Arndt said...

Thanks for posting this J. I'll post a link from my blog so that we can track the discussion and replies here .


Anonymous said...

I am leaning towards Pellucidar myself, as my son and I have just finished the audio book.


You get to have characters named "Gak, the hairy one."

Eli Arndt said...

Well to throw my own two cents in here, I have been considering such places as Laputa or a colonial expedition into the Hollow Earth itself.


J Womack, Esq. said...

You also get to have Dian the Beautiful...

But having to dig a new tunnel each time will seriously affect the colonization efforts. I personally lean towards the permanent tunnel theory, a la Skartaris.

Both ways, you get dinosaurs.

Eli Arndt said...

If you haven't check out Exile Game Studios' "Hollow Earth Expedition" RPG. Their interpretation of the Hollow Earth is really cool and allows you to get there multiple ways.

The Bermuda Triangle can put you into Hollow Earth. A permanent entrance exists in Antarctica. There are cave entrances all over the world, etc, etc.


larskyler said...

Saw this link at Eli's blog, so in the spirit of idea gathering I'll have a go.

I have always thought that the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter could make for some good cowboys on the frontier gaming. Basically the driving factor for going there would be mining. You could have mining towns spring up on some of the larger rocks and these would serve as a starting point for adventure.


Eli Arndt said...


Do you envision these as enclosed settlements or do you picture them being open on the surface in a much more loose scientific reality?


larskyler said...


I see them as enclosed. If you are going VSF my vision is of iron quonset hut type structures with round porthole windows. For a settlement you would have a network of linked huts with pressure hatches between them.

If you are into the 50's style sci-fi then the classic bubble domes come to mind.

In either case mining could be done with space suits or be located under one of these pressurized buildings.

For gaming possibility think of any cowboy show and the problems of life on the frontier and greed for gold. In addition there could be other things such as space debris hitting you, fires in the station, losing oxygen, etc.


J Womack, Esq. said...

I like the quonset hut idea. Relatively easy to model, too.

Are you going to require actual space suits? My version of the aether is that you can't breathe it, so you need an air/oxygen supply, and it gets cold, so you need warm clothing, but its not actually a vacuum.

Yeah, its weird. Think of the aether as this sort of... thin, variably viscous jelly, maybe. Certainly unbreathable, but more like being in a pure nitrogen atmosphere than in a vacuum.

larskyler said...

I guess I have always envisioned breathing devices and goggles, it just says VSF to me. As to the temperature, I look at it as the farther you get from the sun the colder it gets. So out in the belt you would definitely want cold weather clothing, but not arctic cold weather clothing.


Eli Arndt said...

I think that all comes down to your individual universe. I might actually go crazy enough to have the larger asteroids work as planetoids and have some sort of breathable micro-atmosphere.

Might be an interesting way to run Americans in a VSF setting. Sort of an extension of the American frontier mining stuff that was ending toward the end of the 19th century.

"YYyyeehaaaw! I'm gonna git me some of that thar space gold!"


J Womack, Esq. said...


Sounds reasonable to me. Gotta have goggles to protect the ol' Mk. 1 eyeball.

Breathing mask? Check!
Goggles? Check!
Heavy coat and gloves? Check!
Let's get mining!