Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

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Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:25 pm

I just had a really meta idea after having a conversation about maps on Faceborg. Why not turn the real world map of Gibraltar into an asteroid for the Spelljammer universe! :mrgreen:

Here is a map of Gibraltar page with some cool maps on it.
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I figure that some of the features of Gibraltar, like the airport or the Cruise Terminal, might be a little bit too modern. So maybe I should go look for some more historical maps. And the join with Spain might need a bit of a tidy up to make that side of Gibraltar look more like an asteroid.

But considering that Gibraltar was the inspiration for The Rock of Bral, I thought it might be fun to steal the real Gibraltar and Spelljammerise it. :twisted:

What do you think?
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:27 pm

Very cool. The airport could be a dry dock for spelljammer ships...perhaps with a cave system for deep docking.

Proctiv's Move Mountain could be used as the basis for developing an Epic spell that does more that just shearing a mountain...perhaps it could be modified to tear a chunk of designated earth from a planet[oid] and catapulting it into space...

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:00 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:Very cool. The airport could be a dry dock for spelljammer ships...perhaps with a cave system for deep docking.
It could be. But I'm wondering if the airport is appropriate. Here is a painting of Gibraltar from the Spanish side, back in 1782:
Image

That paiting is shown on the History of Gibraltar article on Wikipedia. That article also shows an old map of what Gibraltar's western coastline looked like in 1799 (before the cruise-liner port and airport were added onto it):
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The 1799 map, like the previous maps, are actually flipped sideways (the left side of the map is the north and the right side of the map is the south). And the northern area is actually what used to be "Neutral Ground" between Spain and Gibraltar.

Here are three maps, from a page called Gibraltar 1704-1994 : Colony of Gibraltar - Imperial powers where you can see both Gibraltar and Spain gradually eating into the "Neutral Ground" and creating a new border:
Image
Angel Tarragon wrote:Proctiv's Move Mountain could be used as the basis for developing an Epic spell that does more that just shearing a mountain...perhaps it could be modified to tear a chunk of designated earth from a planet[oid] and catapulting it into space...
That's actually the exact thing I've been thinking of doing with all the flat topped mountains in "Equatorial Reorx". The northern and southern areas of Reorx have normal mountains, so someone must have done something with those mountains. But I wasn't thinking of doing that in this case. I am thinking of raiding this real-world place (which is on world) but I'm kind of thinking of "erasing the land to the north" (the left side of the map) and treating the sea level as the gravity plane of an asteroid, rather than coming up with a backstory that has it fly up into the sky. This gives us a spacefarer history on an asteroid that has "always been there", rather than a groundling history, that switches to a spacefarer history later. I think it's going to be easier to invent the history of this thing, if it doesn't bring any groundling baggage with it. I've still not decided what crystal sphere to put it into, at this stage. I mostly want to get the map figured out, at this stage.

(I'll have to ping you when I start working on my Equatorial Reorx concept, if you like that sort of stuff. :) In fact, now I've said it, I should probably just get on with it and start a topic for it later.)

Getting back to the 1782 painting and the 1799 map, I think we see a western coastline that looks a lot less like a modern cruise-liner port and a lot more like something you can believe to be a spacefaring asteroid port. So, I'm thinking that the modern maps in the top post need to have that cruise-liner port chopped off.

Then we get to the northern area (to the left of all the maps). The painting shows that is very low land close to sea level. That would translate as land very very close to the gravity plane. And to be honest, it kind of looks like someone took a big triangular set square and stabbed it into the side of an asteroid. It doesn't look right. I think that the 1799 map shows that you can follow the contour lines around the northern end of the Rock of Gibraltar and you get a shape that looks a lot more like an asteroid. And the 1704-1853 map in the trilogy makes it even clearer, by making the territory green.

Gibraltar looks a lot "sexier" without that other modern stuff stuck on it. :cool:
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:27 pm

Building "Old School Gibraltar"

What we get with "Old School Gibraltar" is quite interesting, as it is a contrast to The Rock of Bral. When Jeff Grubb built The Rock of Bral, he mostly stuck it up in the air (way above the gravity plane) with the docks down at th gravity plane at one end and a private dock at the other end and everyone else living on a high peninsula surrounded by cliffs. "Old School Gibraltar" is radically different to that. We have a big "wedge" of a mountain sloping up, with the port and the facilities around the port stuck on (what in the real world is) the western coast. People are actually living close to the gravity plane. That's going to change some things. Things that work on The Rock of Bral won't necessarily work the same way on "Old School Gibraltar".

A name for "Old School Gibraltar"

I need a name for this thing. I might be ripping off the map of Gibraltar, but I don't want it to have the real-world history. I could give it some sort of sneaky name (like an acronym of Jeff Grubb), but I actually see a pretty cool name in the second paragraph of the Wikipedia article:
History of Gibraltar at Wikipedia wrote:Gibraltar was first inhabited over 50,000 years ago by Neanderthals and may have been one of their last places of habitation before they died out around 24,000 years ago. Gibraltar's recorded history began around 950 BC with the Phoenicians, who lived nearby. The Carthaginians and Romans later worshipped Hercules in shrines said to have been built on the Rock of Gibraltar, which they called Mons Calpe, the "Hollow Mountain", and which they regarded as one of the twin Pillars of Hercules.
"The Hollow Mountain" is a really cool name. And in a D&D context, it implies that there is something going on inside that mountain.

I even think that the basic history (with a long extinct race living on "The Hollow Mountain") is something that could be kept.
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by GMWestermeyer » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:53 am

Excellent research and good start. :)

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:40 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:Excellent research and good start. :)
Thanks Paul. Coming from an expert in research, like yourself, I take that as a great compliment. :)
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:31 pm

Working title is The Hollow Mountain

I think I'm going to go for "The Hollow Mountain" (at least as a working title) from now on. Having a big alternative to The Rock of Bral, that is actually well known for being hollow could make for a good alternative to The Rock of Bral. There could actually be an enclosed port, similar to Skullport below Waterdeep inside the rock itself.

I doubt that a more "sexy" name than that will come up, but I'm not unwilling to consider a better alternative. However, moving on

Size of The Hollow Mountain

According to the Geography section of the Gibraltar article on Wikipedia the shoreline of Gibraltar is seven and a half miles in length. Even if I chop off the "triangle set-square" part that used to be the neutral zone, that still makes this a much larger asteroid that The Rock of Bral (which is about a mile long).

However, it is still less than 10 miles long, so still counts as a Size A celestial body. So in takeoff and landing terms, it is identical to Bral.

I've not got looked up an accurate measurement of the width of Gibraltar, especially since I'm favouring "Old School Gibraltar" over the modern area with land extended into the sea, but I'm thinking that an approximate distance for length and width will do for Spelljammer GMs.

Districts of The Hollow Mountain

Real-world Gibraltar has no administrative districts, but is divided into seven "Major Residential Areas":
|[b]Residential area[/b]|[b]Population[/b]|[b]% of total[/b] 1.|East Side|429|1.56% 2.|North District|4,116|14.97% 3.|Reclamation Areas|9,599|34.91% 4.|Sandpits Area|2,207|8.03% 5.|South District|4,257|15.48% 6.|Town Area|3,588|13.05% 7.|Upper Town|2,805|10.20% |[i]Remainder[/i]|494|1.79% |[b]Gibraltar[/b]|27,495|100%

These are figures from the 2001 census, so the population is probably "too high for a Spelljammerised version" of The Hollow Mountain. Also some of these modern day areas might have territory on land reclaimed from the sea ("Reclamation Areas" I'm looking at you :lol: ).

But I figure that it might be possible to "delete" any area that didn't exist in "Old School Bral" and then pro-rata down the percentages to fit in with the sort of population that might be expected under Medieval Demographics to give a GM a Spelljammer census that shows how many NPCs of each type exist in each area. :?

There is a Area Guide to Gibraltar on richardsonsproperties.com (an Estates Agents! :P ) that shows districts, but they use slightly different names to the official ones: North District, Ocean Village Marina, East, Town Centre, South District, Queen's Way and West Side. :?

Let's take another look at that Geography section:
Gibraltar article on Wikipedia wrote:Gibraltar's territory covers 6.8 square kilometres (2.6 sq mi) and shares a 1.2-kilometre (0.75 mi) land border with Spain. The town of La Línea de la Concepción, a municipality of the province of Cádiz, lies on the Spanish side of the border. The Spanish hinterland forms the comarca of Campo de Gibraltar (literally "Countryside of Gibraltar"). The shoreline measures 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) in length. There are two coasts ("Sides") of Gibraltar: the East Side, which contains the settlements of Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay; and the Westside, where the vast majority of the population lives. Gibraltar has no administrative divisions but is divided into seven Major Residential Areas.

Having negligible natural resources and few natural freshwater resources, limited to natural wells in the north, until recently Gibraltar used large concrete and/or natural rock water catchments to collect rainwater. Fresh water from the boreholes is supplemented by two desalination plants: a reverse osmosis plant, constructed in a tunnel within the rock, and a multi-stage flash distillation plant at North Mole.

Gibraltar's terrain consists of the 426-metre-high (1,398 ft) Rock of Gibraltar made of Jurassic limestone, and the narrow coastal lowland surrounding it. It contains many tunnelled roads, most of which are still operated by the military and closed to the general public.
The first paragraph here, doesn't quite match up with the seven areas, but I'm guessing that Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay count as East Side and everything else is in West Side. I think this makes for a good contrast with The Rock of Bral, as we can have a large steep slope on one side of The Hollow Mountain, with very little area for people to live on and a couple of small villiages.

And the picture on the East Side section on the Richardsons page seems to show a tiny stretch of coastland trapped between a cliff and the sea.

"East Side" (working title)

I think it might even be fun to use two bays that are totally cut-off from the rest of the land, so that people who live on the "East Side" have to sail around the coast of The Hollow Mountain to get to the "West Side". This could hold back the region somewhat and make the two bays into isolated fishing villages. (Maybe there could even be a bit of smuggling going on, from time to time...or a history of smuggling.)

The Cove

Catalan Bay is actually called "La Caleta" in Catalan and that means "small bay" or "cove". I think that The Cove makes for a better name for The Hollow Mountain, as it doesn't bring along the real-world baggage of Catalan servicemen settling there. Having said that, it could be fun to have a fishing village that was settled by a small group of privateers who helped a larger force fight a battle over occupation of The Hollow Mountain, at some point in the past.

Both Worlds/Sandy Bay

There is an interesting section on the Sandy Bay, Gibraltar article about "Reclamation":
Sandy Bay article on Wikipedia wrote:On 25 June 2014 officials of Gibraltar, inaugurated the new Sandy Bay after a considerable public investment to recover the almost non-existent beach. The works have enlarged the beach with approximately 50,000 tons of sand imported from Layounne in the Western Sahara. Two curved groynes and a frontal breakwater have also been constructed to protect the beach from the full erosional impact of wave action and trap shifting sand, including a submerged breakwater connecting the ends of both groynes.
If an Old School Gibraltar didn't have those works, it could have a very tiny coastline. I think it could be fun to have a long, but narrow spacefarer community with a single street and buildings on both sides or one side only.

The Sandy Bay article also says the local community is called Both Worlds. I think this could be an excellent opportunity to have a tiny community where races like half-elves and/or half-orcs have lived for so long that there are half-elves who have half-elf parents and half-orcs that have half-orc parents.

There used to be large water catchments on the slopes above Sandy Bay and the people of Both Worlds could capture barrels of rain water that runs down their side of The Hollow Mountain, and then row boats containing multiple barrels of fresh water down to The Cove or around the other side of The Hollow Mountain to the "West Side".

There could also be distilleries in The Cove that use water from Both Worlds and grain imported from the West Side to brew various beers and spirits.

I don't think anyone has created the Spelljammer analogue of sea-weed yet, but if we had some sort of gravity-plane weed, clinging to the cliffs of the East Side and living off of the nutrients and water that wash down the cliffs, some of the people living in The Cove and/or Both Worlds could row out in boats and chop off some of this "float weed" for use in things like Float Weed Soup or Float Weed Wine or whatever.

I think that is probably enough ecology for the "East Side" if it is supposed to be the side that is mostly uninhabited.

I'll have a think about the more populated areas later.
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Lord Torath » Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:49 pm

I've learned a lot more about Gibraltar than I ever expected. Always a good thing.

The catchments that collect rainwater at Gibraltar are great for an island on a planet with a large atmosphere and weather (including precipitation). Is Hollow Mountain going to have weather? Or will it just have "springs" produce the water? Any water that reaches the gravity plane will float off into space, so the inhabitants will want to keep it contained.

Presumably Bral was a water table, and people use wells to reach it. The same could work on Hollow Mountain, with a few open pools created by natural springs (or hidden Decanters of Endless Water)

(How about "Clint's Mountain," in honor of Clint Rapsallion, the human shipbuilder who first recognized the potential of the asteroid, and convinced his partners and their families to move their operations 150 years ago (or however old you want to make the settlement)? One of the natural plants that grows here is exceptionally conductive to spinning its fibers into Splendid Sails - SR 3 instead of SR 2 - but the small quantity means these sails are very rare and very expensive. Maybe 1 in 100 of the splendid sails in this sphere are of this type, and they are jealously protected by their owners. One in 10,000 in other spheres. Only one or two sails can be made per year, due to the small harvest. Naturally, Clint and his descendants keep the true source of the increased effectiveness secret, instead claiming proprietary enchantments).

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:25 pm

Lord Torath wrote:I've learned a lot more about Gibraltar than I ever expected. Always a good thing.
Thanks. :)
Lord Torath wrote:The catchments that collect rainwater at Gibraltar are great for an island on a planet with a large atmosphere and weather (including precipitation). Is Hollow Mountain going to have weather? Or will it just have "springs" produce the water? Any water that reaches the gravity plane will float off into space, so the inhabitants will want to keep it contained.
The way I view Spelljammer is to start from the assumption that everything "works" and then look for an explanation (if one is really needed) for why it works, rather than look for reasons why it might not work.

I'm not sure that water on the gravity plane would float off into wildspace, but if it did, that would mean that there was a percentage of water floating around in wildspace. In a stable system, where water was floating around in wildspace, that water would occasionally hit the top of Bral's air envelope (or the bottom of Bral's air envelope) and fall to the surface as rain. Maybe one sphere would be especially dry...and another sphere especially wet. Or maybe individual asteroids would be able to "attract" or "repel" rain and be unusually wet or dry. But there must be some sort of cycle of life going on. I'm not sure we need to know it, but it would be there.

The other explanation is that asteroids are able to recyle a percentage of their water. Maybe it evaporates and then forms condensation. Maybe it floats around and falls as rain.

Maybe both of these effects can happen naturally...or be made to happen artificially.
Lord Torath wrote:Presumably Bral was a water table, and people use wells to reach it. The same could work on Hollow Mountain, with a few open pools created by natural springs (or hidden Decanters of Endless Water)
Lake Bral has a level. The lake is kind of part of the Underbral. I'm guessing that you could tunnel down into the lake. But there are also dry tunnels that go from the topside to the underside. So Bral must be made up of some sort of rock that blocks water.

I bet they do use some magic to create water on Bral, because of the number of people living there and the ships that want to dock and take water away.
Lord Torath wrote:(How about "Clint's Mountain," in honor of Clint Rapsallion, the human shipbuilder who first recognized the potential of the asteroid, and convinced his partners and their families to move their operations 150 years ago (or however old you want to make the settlement)? One of the natural plants that grows here is exceptionally conductive to spinning its fibers into Splendid Sails - SR 3 instead of SR 2 - but the small quantity means these sails are very rare and very expensive. Maybe 1 in 100 of the splendid sails in this sphere are of this type, and they are jealously protected by their owners. One in 10,000 in other spheres. Only one or two sails can be made per year, due to the small harvest. Naturally, Clint and his descendants keep the true source of the increased effectiveness secret, instead claiming proprietary enchantments).
Is that for Gibraltar now?

Gibraltar had Nenadthals living on it 50,000 years ago, so I'm probably going to want to make it that old.
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by GMWestermeyer » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:47 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Lake Bral has a level. The lake is kind of part of the Underbral. I'm guessing that you could tunnel down into the lake. But there are also dry tunnels that go from the topside to the underside. So Bral must be made up of some sort of rock that blocks water.

I bet they do use some magic to create water on Bral, because of the number of people living there and the ships that want to dock and take water away.

Canon in SJR5 is that the Bral Navy drags ice asteroids to Lake Bral and drops them in when the water level gets too low.

Of course, I agree re: Create Water spell usage. Lots of temples on Bral.

I also assume that there are clouds of water vapor floating through the sphere and there might occasional be rain for that reason. Probably rare though.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by AuldDragon » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:36 pm

I suspect priests and wizards will also occasionally/regularly cast various types of weather summoning/cloud spells to create rain on Bral, as both a "water the crops" and a "clean the streets" process.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Chimpman » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:21 pm

Resurrecting this thread - very cool idea. After reading through I had a couple of random thoughts.

1) Going back to the ancient history of Gibraltar and the neanderthals, could there be a D&D equivalent for previous/native inhabitants. One thought I had was that maybe the Hollow Mountain was once populated by geonids. Fleeing an ancient enemy across space (or perhaps through the planes), the geonids finally find a nice safe rock floating in space to make their home on. After millennia of living on this rock, the geonids may be responsible for the vast tunneling in the asteroid, and perhaps even for a large hollow cavern in the center of the mountain. Eventually they dwindle, and other space faring races find the asteroid. Perhaps there are tensions among the native geonids and the newcomers, but eventually the geonids disappear.

This might lead to some nice bogeyman stories about rock creatures who stalk lone travelers at night and strike out, only to disappear back into the stones around them. Perhaps these are the ghosts of geonids past, or perhaps there is still a small colony of the creatures living on Hollow Mountain, taking their revenge whenever they can.

2) I'm wondering if we could go back to some of the historical legends about Gibraltar, especially about it being one of the Pillars of Hercules. If that is the case, then perhaps there is another asteroid floating in the system that acts as the "second pillar". The Pillars of Hercules were said to be the "gateway to the beyond" by some ancient travelers. Maybe if the two asteroids come together a mystical gate forms between them leading to a brand new sphere.

Just some thoughts. Hope you can come back to this one and add more content later!
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Angel Tarragon » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:31 pm

I had a thought...what if the asteroid of 'Gibraltor' was part of a landlocked ocean, and the earth from the is craggy/mountainous, possibly with some growth of flora. This could give the concept a more viable ecosystem and a continual supply of fresh air.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:29 am

As per the other thread, how about a lake of air on the underside?

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Chimpman » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:28 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:As per the other thread, how about a lake of air on the underside?
I got the general impression that this was not intended to be a "void" world. Typically most celestial bodies (including asteroids) in the SJ universe have enough mass to maintain an atmosphere. The problem of course is that if the celestial body also has inhabitants who breath (and foul) that atmosphere, you still need some way to refresh it. Smaller asteroids may have trouble with this unless there is enough foliage (or something else) around to produce new O2.

You do raise a good point about the underside of the rock though, as there is no RW map corresponding to that which we could use. How would one develop the underside? Perhaps the rock/mountains extends in both directions (rather than simply having a flat underside).
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:28 pm

Chimpman wrote:You do raise a good point about the underside of the rock though, as there is no RW map corresponding to that which we could use. How would one develop the underside? Perhaps the rock/mountains extends in both directions (rather than simply having a flat underside).
That would be interesting and definitely provides a unique opportunity to truly make the asteroid unique.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Chimpman » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:42 pm

Building an entire city/port right on the gravity line could be a very cool thing to do. If the docks are right on the gravity plane, then you are going to have ships coming in from both directions. I can imagine looking out across the docks and seeing half he ships hanging in space upside down. There could be areas across the entire city where one might flip across to the opposite gravity plane. It might be a really cool idea for a huge inn, where the ground floor is a huge balcony that overlooks the opposite gravity plane. You could look over the railing and see a whole other level of tables and rooms extending outward in what looks like a huge mirror reflection (only it's not a mirror, it's just on the other side of the gravity plane).

Games or competitions could also be played in such an "anti-gravity" area. It might be interesting to figure out how that could work as a mini-adventure or side quest.
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:00 pm

Chimpman wrote:Games or competitions could also be played in such an "anti-gravity" area. It might be interesting to figure out how that could work as a mini-adventure or side quest.
4D chess!!! :cool:

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Man in the Funny Hat » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:20 pm

The border with Spain becomes a clean break in the rock, where millennia ago the current asteroid broke off from a larger whole. Maybe it was a smaller piece that broke off of what remains, or it could be that what remains is the smaller piece and that somewhere is an even larger chunk of asteroid that it once was part of. So, now, just about where the airport would be, is just a sheer rock face straight up/down.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Jaid » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:21 am

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:The border with Spain becomes a clean break in the rock, where millennia ago the current asteroid broke off from a larger whole. Maybe it was a smaller piece that broke off of what remains, or it could be that what remains is the smaller piece and that somewhere is an even larger chunk of asteroid that it once was part of. So, now, just about where the airport would be, is just a sheer rock face straight up/down.
that would be a mystery in itself... what could have broken it in such a perfectly straight line? :)

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:44 pm

Gibraltar had a LOT of guns and tunnels, fortifications out its ass ;)
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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:04 am

Silverblade-T-E wrote:Gibraltar had a LOT of guns and tunnels, fortifications out its ass ;)
Then it is probably going to be heavily populated with Giff.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by AuldDragon » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:45 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:Then it is probably going to be heavily populated with Giff.
Considering Giff have an element of the classic "Pre-World War I British Soldier/Great White Hunter" persona from a lot of stories (Alan Quartermain, etc.), I like that idea. I say make it an asteroid run primarily by Giff.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Lord Torath » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:23 pm

"All that's left of the Giff Homeworld" according to some legends....

Those legends are probably untrue, but YMMV.

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Re: Make Gibraltar into an asteroid!

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:39 am

hehe yeah I like that "The Rock Of Giff" :p
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