Friday, October 17, 2014

Solar System Gazetteer

Here's a sample write-up for a typical (and familiar) solar system.


Gazetteer of the Solar System
Presented below are stats for the planets of a typical solar system.

Diameter: 3,031 miles
Gravity: 0.38 standard
Period of Rotation: 59 days
Period of Revolution: 88 days
Distance from Sun: 36 million miles
Temperature Range: -297° to 800°
Number of Moons: 0
Ring System?: No
Other Notable Features: The proximity of Mercury to the sun means that its sunward surface is extremely hot, while the night side is very cold. This means that it is possible to do some mining work in the edge between the two, but one must be highly mobile in doing so.
Diameter: 7,521 miles
Gravity: 0.9 standard
Period of Rotation: 243 days
Period of Revolution: 224 days
Distance from Sun: 67 million miles
Temperature Range: 896°
Number of Moons: 0
Ring System?: No
Other Notable Features: This planet has an acidic, hothouse atmosphere, making it even hotter than Mercury and on all sides of the world. Some alchemists believe it might be possible to harvest chemicals from the upper atmosphere, but haven't perfected a method yet.
Diameter: 7,926 miles
Gravity: 1.0 standard
Period of Rotation: 24 hours
Period of Revolution: 365 days
Distance from Sun: 93 million miles
Temperature Range: -60° to 120°
Number of Moons: 1
Ring System?: No
Other Notable Features: This planet is, of course, the gold standard when it comes to habitability. It has numerous highly-developed societies, and ones that now compete to exploit the resources of the many bodies to be found throughout the aether.
Earth's Moon
Diameter: 2,171 miles
Gravity: 0.17 standard
Period of Rotation: 29 days
Period of Revolution: 29 days
Distance from Sun: 93 million miles
Temperature Range: -29°
Number of Moons: 0
Ring System?: No
Other Notable Features: While it lacks much of an atmosphere, it is relatively warm by aetherial standards. As such, it is a favored location for experimentation with agricultural processes. There are rumors, though, of undead haunting some of the moon's dark corners.
Diameter: 4,222 miles
Gravity: 0.38 standard
Period of Rotation: 24 hours, 37 minutes
Period of Revolution: 687 days
Distance from Sun: 141,700,000 miles
Temperature Range: -81°
Number of Moons: 2
Ring System?: No
Other Notable Features: The surface of this world is covered by red-tinted desert, which lends Mars its distinctive appearance and thus its name. Long ago, astronomers on Earth saw what looked like canals on its surface, and the first aethernauts who arrived found that there was indeed the remains of a long-ruined civilization. What is more, tunnels lead beneath the world's surface into a veritable underdark. That underground world remains relatively unexplored, however.
Diameter: 88,846 miles
Gravity: 2.64 standard
Period of Rotation: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Period of Revolution: 11.86 years
Distance from Sun: 483,500,000 miles
Temperature Range: -202°
Number of Moons: 66
Ring System?: Yes
Other Notable Features: The most striking feature of this world is the giant red spot, a planet-sized storm that has been active for years and circles the world. Legends tell that this storm is inhabited by a powerful, angry spirit. Jupiter also boasts a narrow band of planetary rings, along with dozen of moons, with their own distinctive qualities, and ripe for exploration and development in their own right.
Diameter: 74,900 miles
Gravity: 1.16 standard
Period of Rotation: 10 hours, 39 minutes
Period of Revolution: 29 years
Distance from Sun: 888,750,000 miles
Temperature Range: -202°
Number of Moons: 62
Ring System?: Yes
Other Notable Features: The broad system of rings is this planet's most notable feature, made of water ice and dust or rock. As such, it is a favorite place for harvesting ice for use on other worlds, not to mention a preferred destination for the up-and-coming tourist trade. It has nearly as many moons as Jupiter, too, promising plenty of opportunities in the future.
Diameter: 31,763 miles
Gravity: 1.11 standard
Period of Rotation: 17 hours, 14 minutes
Period of Revolution: 84 years
Distance from Sun: 1,783,744,300 miles
Temperature Range: -238°
Number of Moons: 27
Ring System?: Yes
Other Notable Features: This is another gas giant (jovian planet), like Jupiter and Saturn. Its axis of rotation lies parallel to its planet of revolution, meaning that the planet rolls through the aether like a giant wheel. It is a cold world, but speculators believe that its ice may contain valuable alchemical compounds.
Diameter: 30,779 miles
Gravity: 1.21 standard
Period of Rotation: 16 hours, 7 minutes
Period of Revolution: 164.8 years
Distance from Sun: 2,797,770,000 miles
Temperature Range: -328°
Number of Moons: 13
Ring System?: Yes
Other Notable Features: This planet is best known for is distinctive blue coloration. Its atmosphere is driven by powerful winds, and is very cold. In fact, it boasts a great dark spot, a massive and powerful storm similar to that found on Jupiter.
Diameter: 1,430 miles
Gravity: 0.07 standard
Period of Rotation: 6 days, 9 hours
Period of Revolution: 248 years
Distance from Sun: 3,670,000,000 miles
Temperature Range: -378°
Number of Moons: 5
Ring System?: No
Other Notable Features: Some astronomers argue that this is actually a dwarf planet, similar to larger bodies in the asteroid belt and even some of the other planets' moons. It is little more than a cold rock drifting through the aether, but does boast a cache of supplies in case of interplanetary emergencies.

The Asteroid Belt
Given that hundreds of thousands of individual bodies make up this belt, it can't be detailed in the same way as the planets. The belt lies in a broad orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Each of these drifting space rocks can vary in size from ones that are similar to earth-bound boulders to those that are larger than the planet Pluto. Many of these are rich in minerals, making them a favorite target of space miners. Of course, ones that have been dug full of tunnels can also then become lairs for those creatures that live in the aether. In a similar manner, the asteroids' relatively small size also makes them the first candidates for terraforming, resulting in the first permanent outposts built by aetherial travelers.

Travel Times, Distance and Speed
Compared to planetside journeys, the distances covered when traveling between bodies in a solar system are incredibly long. After all, a voyage from the sun to the earth covers 93 million miles. To handle this, a space fantasy campaign divides movement into two different types.
Tactical speed is handled as per the rules presented in Ultimate Combat. Ships move and maneuver at their speeds in feet per round, while characters aboard them operate in the same manner.
Cruising speed, on the other hand, is much faster. In fact, cruising speed for ships uses the same number, but it is applied in thousands of miles per hour. Aetherships can only reach cruising speed when they are beyond the gravity influence of heavenly bodies—that is, outside of a planet's atmosphere, or at a similar distance from bodies such as asteroids or comets.

Using Earth as a Campaign Setting
GM's interested in using Earth and its solar system as the setting for a space fantasy campaign might want to check out the Kingdoms of Legend: World Guide from Interaction Point Games to find suggestions for that planet's cultures.

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