Page 27 of SJR6 Greyspace says there are "countless millions of asteroids, planetoids and planetesimals, ranging in size from about 100 miles in diameter (Size B) down to the size of golfballs", but that "the vast majority of the bodies fall into the middle of this spectrum, with the average object being several tens of yards across".
I don't think I recall a "proper" definition of "asteroid", "planetoid" and "planetesimal", but I'd be tempted to go with this (unless someone has a canon source to point me at:
- Asteroid = a small irregular celestial body with a gravity plane,
- Planetoid = a small regular celestial body with single-point gravity (like a small planet) and
- Planetesimal = a celestial body that is so small that it does not qualify as either an asteroid or a planetoid.
EDIT: From the other stuff I have read, it seems that Nigel Findlay was trying to introduce a minimum size of 1 mile into the Size A category (something I don't think it originally had) and that planetesimal means any object smaller than a Size A celestial body. But that's a guess.
Then, despite being told that the "average" objects in The Grinder are "several tens of yards across" we get some numbers on the larger asteroids/planetoids that seem to be a bit on the small side:
[b]Size[/b]|[b]Number of asteroids/planetoids[/b] 10-100 miles in diameter (Size B)|not more than 200 1-10 miles in diameter (Size A)|perhaps 100,000
I'm not sure if Nigel Findley meant average or median, when he said spoke of "several tens of yards across" and we have the same "what does several mean" issue that we had with the Tears of Selûne, but I think the number of Grinder objects smaller than 1 mile comes down to this equation:
Objects less than 1 mile in diameter = "countless millions" - (100,000 + 200)
Effectively, it's going to be so little different to "countless millions" than it probably does not matter in statistical terms.
I think this leaves us with working out how many asteroids are more than "several tens of yards across" and how many are less than "several tens of yards across". And I think that comes down to this equation:
Objects larger than "several tens of yards across" = objects smaller than "several tens of yards across" = ("countless millions ÷ 2)
We are still left with a number that is so large that it effectively meaningless in game terms. (I'm sure someone, better at maths than me, could plug some numbers into the A = 4π r² formula and work out some numbers for the distribution of asteroids in a specific section of The Grinder, but I'm not quite sure where to proceed at the moment.)
I'm figuring that we are most probably going to need a random encounter table, for The Grinder that gives us "objects larger than several tens of yards across" almost half of the time (where the ship can land or avoid those objects) and "objects smaller than several tens of yards across" (which pretty much work in a similar way to missile attacks on the ship).
For the small number of times that we don't have a ship encounter an object in the "several tens of yards across" to one mile range, or a hit on the ship (or near miss) from a small object, we could probably have a sub-table that either gives us an encounter with a Size A asteroid, a ship, a wildspace critter or one of the small number of Size B asteroids.
I'm not quite sure yet, if the "less than one mile" objects should be subdivided a bit more (in a half-and-half spread) with ships being able to avoid "ramming attacks" from objects that are round about ship size, as well as having some fun descriptions of clusters or rocks tearing at sails or canonball-sized rocks bouncing off of the decking and causing NPCs to save to avoid being knocked overboard.
I am also wondering if travelling faster than SR = 1 (TR = 1) would make things more dangerous in The Grinder.
Does anyone have any thoughts here?
If I can get some options that I am happy with, I might edit this first post and add a poll. (But this is mostly for me to get feedback from you lot. I don't expect other people to play the same way as me.)
Known Asteroids in The Grinder
I'm editing my first post to add an alphabetical list of the known Tears of Selûne (as well as links to discuss individual Tears):
[b]Name[/b]|[b]Source[/b] Ceres (aka "the Pup")|[i]SJR6 Greyspace[/i] Khadazah ("Motherload")|[i]SJR6 Greyspace[/i] Lassh'tz Zst'q ("We are here")|[i]SJR6 Greyspace[/i] [url=http://www.spelljammer.org/worlds/Greys ... s.Pearball]Pearball[/url]|[i]Spelljammer: Beyond the Moons[/i] (fanon) Reaper (aka "the Graveyard" or "Charnelhouse")|[i]SJR6 Greyspace[/i] The Rock of Bral*|various Skullbringer|[i]SJR6 Greyspace[/i] unnamed former beholder colony|[i]SJR6 Greyspace[/i] second unnamed former beholder colony|[i]SJR6 Greyspace[/i]
* = The Rock of Bral was given several optional locations in the AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set, one of which is within The Grinder. Late SJ sources placed Bral in its own crystal sphere, while some FR sources placed Bral in The Tears of Selûne. YSJDMV