Thalassa's solar system

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LoZompatore
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Thalassa's solar system

Post by LoZompatore » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:27 pm

Any idea about Thalassa's Solar System?

So far it was stated that Thalassa is an Earth-like planet with a large moon (Nara, slightly smaller than the Moon) and a small dust ring orbiting above the equator which is kept in place by two shepherd moonlets orbiting the inner and outer rims of the ring.

From other discussions about the Esoteric Plane of the Edge it was implied that Thalassa is orbiting its sun (Narya) at the same distance as Earth (1 AU, about 94 million miles). This also implies that Narya is quite similar to Earth's Sun, in order to provide about the same solar radiation to Thalassa. It is to be noted that this Thalassa-Narya distance can be varied (dimming or enhancing Narya's light emission accordingly), as it is not an extremely important parameter at this stage of development.

This is what we got so far, everything else is yet to be determined. If we use as a model the Earth Solar System, I would like to introduce a few more celestial bodies:

- The equivalent of Venus and Mars, but moving their orbits outward and inward respectively, in order to get their climate more favourable to life. They could represent the "warm" and "cold" versions of Thalassa, similar to how were Venus and Mars envisioned before the Space exploration era. Their size could be changed accordingly. As an alternative, Thalassa could be the "cold" planet of the trio (it is facing an ice age), and the other two bodies could account for warmer, innermost versions of this world.

- An outer Jupiter-size (or larger) body which diverts most dangerous asteroids and comets away from the inner planets.

Any other suggestions/ideas?

;)

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Re: Thalassa's solar system

Post by Chimpman » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:54 pm

I'm just throwing some random ideas out here:

It seems that the Edge World is dominated by water. What if we went with an elemental theme for the other planets having them be dominated by fire, earth, and air respectively. This could also help explain elemental magic, as such things could actually be pulled from their respective worlds rather than from other planes.

Also there is a "Bermuda Triangle" vibe going on with the Edge, so that's something I'd like to extend into space. Perhaps there are sectors of the solar system where things go in, but they don't come out.
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Re: Thalassa's solar system

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:04 pm

Hmm, I see a few variations for T-Mars/Venus...

*realistic/modern:
** T-Mercury - hot dry; effectively lifeless, and inhospitable to intelligent life as we know it
** T-Mars - cold desert; effectively lifeless, and inhospitable to intelligent life as we know it
** T-Venus - hot hellhouse; effectively lifeless, and inhospitable to intelligent life as we know it
** T-Jupiter - gas giant

The above is not much fun to play in.

* Victorian fantastical writing
** T-Mercury - tidelocked rockball; mining operations in habitable zone at "twilight" regions.
** T-Mars - cold desert; barely hospitable, with almost no free surface water; 'brainiac' martians
** T-Venus - hot jungle world; primitive lizardmen
** T-Jupiter - gas giant

Could be interesting, but rather unimaginative. let's try dialling the clock back a few million years and merging the fantastical with the historical, as we did with Thalassa itself.

** T-Mercury - tidelocked rockball; mining operations in habitable zone at "twilight" regions.
** T-Mars - cold world; polar ocean has huge ice sheet extending almost to coast; tropical lakes are still liquid; sea levels obviously receding
** T-Venus - thick atmosphere; has not yet warmed to dangerous levels; significant lizard/frog civilisation
** T-Jupiter - gas giant

One big problem is that, since "no easy air travel" is a core campaign concept, that rules out skyships, voidships, and space travel in general. This effectively makes other planets in the solar system little different from other planes in practical terms. We could still develop them of course, but it splits the focus to a crazy degree - most campaigns only develop a single continent, and we are already covering a planet!

Perhaps the planets don't need to be developed as anything more than astrological/navigational aids?
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LoZompatore
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Re: Thalassa's solar system

Post by LoZompatore » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:19 am

** T-Mercury - tidelocked rockball; mining operations in habitable zone at "twilight" regions.
** T-Mars - cold world; polar ocean has huge ice sheet extending almost to coast; tropical lakes are still liquid; sea levels obviously receding
** T-Venus - thick atmosphere; has not yet warmed to dangerous levels; significant lizard/frog civilisation
** T-Jupiter - gas giant
I like your approach to the issue, Ashtagon and I must say that the option I quoted above is by far the most interesting for ur setting. ;)
By the way, T-Jupiter could have many living habitats in the form of floating island in suitable belts of the upper atmosphere. Not counting for its moons, of course.
We could still develop them of course, but it splits the focus to a crazy degree - most campaigns only develop a single continent, and we are already covering a planet!
I agree with you about this point. So far I wouldn't like to embark on a detailed description of the other planets and their civilization(s), as it would be really distracting from the core of the setting. I think that at this stage of development just a single page or two (including a picture) with a general description of Thalassa's solar system would be enough to be included in the master document.

Perhaps the planets don't need to be developed as anything more than astrological/navigational aids?
Something like that. The short description of planets with about the same leve of detail you listed above would be good as well. ;)
What if we went with an elemental theme for the other planets having them be dominated by fire, earth, and air respectively. This could also help explain elemental magic, as such things could actually be pulled from their respective worlds rather than from other planes.
Why not? It seems to me a good explaination for the source of elemental magic! ;)
Fire magic can be drawn from the sun, Air magic from the gas giants, water magic from Thalassa and other watery/iced bodies, and earth magic from almost any solid planet. Maybe such magic could be of a lesser power with respect to "true" elemental magic, as it is drawn from a not pure form of the desired element.
Also there is a "Bermuda Triangle" vibe going on with the Edge, so that's something I'd like to extend into space. Perhaps there are sectors of the solar system where things go in, but they don't come out.
Another good point there. They would be the true "Bermuda Triangles" of the Mundane Plane: natural, one-way, everchanging planar exits to any other place of the Multiverse.
This concept gives me an idea, see if you like it: we could locate a whole "one-way-out sphere" around Thalassa's solar system (maybe as far 1 light year or so): any spaceship who crosses it instantly finds itself outside the Edge's border, moved to another random Plane of Existence and effectively lost to its sender. From the interior of the Mundane Plane such a border is not detectable, as space appears as an average starry field which acts as a "background" of the whole plane. Such stars cannot be reached in any way, as the "one-way-out sphere" is placed between them and Thalassa's solar system. It is likely that such starry field is an illusion built by the over-god just to give a common nocturnal sky to the inhabitants of the Mundane Plane.

(From a gaming point of view, I would like to have a starry nocturnal sky for Thalassa as it could allow for the introduction of constellations, zodiacal sings, polar stars, milky way-like features, and the like. ;) )

Other one-way-out spots could exist scattered in whole Mundane Plane (even on Thalassa), they could be the place of very strange phenomenon and cultures (what about a culture living around a one-way-out spot who adopted a very radical method to "exile" disgraced people or that developed a whole religion about "going outside"? :P)

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Re: Thalassa's solar system

Post by LoZompatore » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:06 am

Here is an attempt to briefly sketch Thalassa’s solar system. Such a description can be used to flesh out other civilizations and cultures living in nearby celestial bodies or to give some astrological basis and references to Thalassa’s cultures.

The mundane plane is basically made of Thalassa's solar system (from Naryan, the central sun, to a cloud of comets extending up to a light year from it) and a surrounding background of stars, nebulae and galaxies. It is unclear whether such a background is real or it is just an illusion taken from some other place of the multiverse and projected on the the mundane plane boundaries to give just the impression of space.

Thalassa's Solar System:

It is made of a central sun (Naryan) mostly analogous to real-Earth sun, and 13 main planetary bodies orbiting around it. More than 200 moons and other satellites, four asteroids' belts, comets and other wandering rocks complete the system. Thalassa is the fourth planet from the sun, orbiting at about the same distance as the real Earth orbits from the Sun.
The tenth planet from the Naryan is actually a failed star (a brown dwarf), a huge gas giant about 11 times more massive than Jupiter whit a large court of satellites. Such a planet generates enough internal heat that a couple of its satellites are suitable for life.
Four planets (including Thalassa) and four satellites (including the two cited above) are suitable for life as we know it. Other very odd and alien forms of life inhabit more extreme habitats (extremely hot or cold or gaseous environments, etc.) scattered here and there in the solar system.

One of the main distinctive features of Thalassa's solar system is that the 13 planets all orbit on the same plane and their orbital periods are multiple. They align themselves along the same row once every 3600 years. Such an alignment start a burst of extraplanar interaction between the Edge pocket Plane and whatever Plane of existence is closest to it. For a few hours, until the planetary alignment is over, the number and the size of the extraplanar gates throughout the mundane plane (and maybe involving also the esoteric plane) is increased a hundredfold and whole towns or populations can be transferred through a single gate. The planetary alignment is the main way to gather large number of homogeneous people to Thalassa: such groups formed the nucleus of many past and current races, populations and countries established across Thalassa and other worlds.
Sages and scientists still debate if such a regular disposition of planets is a natural feature of Thalassa's solar system or if some ancient, powerful and long forgotten race arranged the planets' orbits in order to obtain the planetary alignment phenomena.

A sketch of the solar system of Thalassa is shown below, with a table summarizing the most interesting features of the various planets.

Image
A full resolution image can be downloaded here


Planets and other major features of Thalassa's solar system (listed from increasing distance from the sun) are briefly described below. Names for most planets are not given (suggestions are welcome!)

0) Naryan: the central sun, similar in radius (700000km) and temperature (5800K) to real Earth's sun. It emits magical particles which are captured by planets possessing a strong magnetic field (Thalassa is among them).

1) T-vulcano: a demi-molten small planet of lava with a surface temperature of 750°C (1400°F) on the day side (the planet is tidally locked: it shows always the same face to the sun). It has a poor atmosphere of mostly rock and metal vapors, but its powerful (but unpredictable) magnetic field and its proximity to the sun enable it to be showered by a powerful flux of magic particles.

2) T-greenhouse: a small tidally locked planet of rock, mud and shallow seas, with a thick, steamy atmosphere and an average temperature of 57°C (135°F) which is almost constant day and night, at all latitudes. A jungle of giant fungi, lichens, molds and other alien plants covers most of the lands, and a fauna of slimes, worms and invertebrate creatures populates the jungles. The impressing towering trees thrive on this planet, reaching heights up to 80-100km. This is the only place in Thalassa's solar system where such trees are able to spread their seeds to the outer space. Some of them seldom manage to reach a suitable land on other worlds and to root there. T-greenhouse has no magnetic field and it capture a very small stream of magic particles.

3) T-venus: a tidally locked world similar in size to the real planet Venus, but farther to the sun and with a far milder tropical climate (20.5°C or 68.9°F on average). It is a mostly jungle world, inhabited by many civilized races. Its environment is very similar to early science-fiction pulp novels about Venus. At least a dozen of towering trees with a maximum height around 50km are scattered on T-venus almost anytime. Its magnetic field, though weaker than Thalassa's one, enables it to capture a small amount of magic particles from the sun.

4) Thalassa: an Earth-like world, slightly larger and more massive than ours but with the same gravity and climate, home to many life forms and intelligent races. It has a large moon, slightly smaller than ours but barely habitable due to a terraforming effort performed by some unknown race a few million years ago (the moon will lose all its water and atmosphere in a few million years). Thalassa has a more or less permanent ring stabilized by two moonlets orbiting above the equator, and the planet's magnetic field is able to entrap magical particles from the sun which are then showered to the poles, where high magic civilizations thrive. A couple of asteroids float on geostationary orbits above the equator: one of them is just above the middle of a large feature in the ocean called "the edge". The edge is some kind of unknown force field which keeps most water away from a circular region of some thousand km in radius: the border is a vertical step of water going down to the ocean floor. Once every 60000 years on average a towering tree seed manages to root on Thalassa: they reach 20-30km in height and usually live far shorter than their brothers in the inner planes (their average lifespan on Thalassa is some 30000 years nevertheless).

5) T-mars: a world similar in size and features to the real planet Mars, but closer to the sun and more habitable (with an average temperature
of 1.5°C or 34.7°F and a far thicker, breathable atmosphere), but without a significant magnetic field. It is a cold, mostly deserted world inhabited by hardened life forms and intelligent species. It is very similar to the pulp description of the real Mars in early science-fiction novels. T-mars has a single moon, about half the size of Thalassa's moon, which was terraformed by some unknown race in the past (maybe the same creatures who altered Thalassa's moon environment) and it is still barely habitable (lichens and other die-hard plants make for most of the vegetation).

5b) Asteroid belt #1: a relatively narrow asteroid belt between the orbits of T-mars and T-ceres. On the inner side there are mostly rocky bodies, while on the outer side there is a mix of rocky/icy bodies. The largest asteroid is about 200km in size. Solar radiation on the inner side is strong enough that a pressurized habitat would have a temperature around -40°C (-40°F) so it would be possible to build a comfortable environment there by using some natural or magical heating source.

6) T-ceres: a large asteroid similar in size to the real dwarf planet Ceres, with an average temperature of -104°C (-155°F); about half of this celestial body is made of ice. It has no magnetic field.

7) T-neptune: a gas giant analogous to Neptune. Its average temperature is -102°C (-151°F). It has 18 moons of various size but no rings. The planet's powerful but displaced magnetic field traps more magic particles above the southern pole, and less in the northern one.

8) T-saturn: a large gas giant analogous to Saturn. Its average temperature is -162°C (-260°F). It has 47 moons of various size (a likely T-Titan or T-enceladus might be inhabited by some alien form of life) and it shows an impressive set of rings. The planet's powerful magnetic field traps many magic particles above its poles. T-saturn system is interesting also because it hosts two other small icy planets moving along the same orbit of T-saturn, 60° ahead and 60° behind the largest planet (the so-called Trojan orbits: to help identify the two planets we could provisionally call them T-athens and T-troy). Both icy planets, while small, are quite reflective and visible in Thalassa's night sky: the triad of T-saturn, T-athens and T-troy are believed in many Thalassan cultures to represent the triad of Intuition, Meditation and Knowledge (which also have a similarity in Sorcerer, Cleric and Wizard spellcasting methods).

8b) Asteroid belt #2: a large asteroid belt between the orbits of T-saturn and T-uranus. It is mostly made of icy bodies with a maximum size of about 100km. A few, displaced mixed rock/ice small asteroids can be found here as well.

9) T-uranus: a gas giant analogous to Uranus. Its average temperature is -190°C (-310°F). It has 9 moons of various size and a set of rings. this planet and its moon system are tilted on its side. The planet has a strong but displaced magnetic field which traps most magic particles above the south pole. One of its moons, T-Titania, has a thicker nitrogen atmosphere and its temperature range is so that it possess large seas of liquid nitrogen on the night side. such seas evaporate every 20 years, when they are lit by Naryan's light, to condensate again in the other emisphere, now in the dark. The coldest region of T-Titania seldom experience solid nitrogen formation as well. This moon might be home of a whole alien ecology where nitrogen has the same place as water on warmer planets.

9b) Kuiper belt #1: A very narrow asteroid belt between the orbits of T-uranus and T-jupiter, made of icy bodies not larger than 100km. It is believed that at least a few of the shortest-period Grand Comets come from this belt.

10) T-jupiter, or the brown dwarf: This is the failed star described above. It appears as a huge and hot gas giant, with a radius almost triple than the real planet Jupiter and an external temperature of 830°C (1526°F). When high in Thalassa's sky this planet appears about 3 times larger than real world Venus, with a luminosity about 1/4 of that of real world full moon and it is visible even on many daily hours far from midday. T-jupiter is even brighter than this on infrared, making it a celestial body of particular significance for those races who possess infravision. This planet produces a very powerful magnetic field which traps a huge amount of magic particles (it is believed that T-jupiter also generates a relatively small amount magical particles on its own). Moreover, due to interaction with its inner large moon T-io (see below) such magic particles are scattered throughout the inner moon system, enhancing magical powers on all recipients living there. T-jupiter owns 140 moons of various composition and size (some of them as large as small planets): among them T-europa and T-antarctica are able to host life, while T-io is important as it diffuse magical particles all around. All these three satellites are tidally locked to T-jupiter.
T-europa is a large moon covered with a thick atmosphere, a permanent cloud coverage and a powerful magnetic field which shield the satellite of most harmful radiation produced by T-jupiter. The average temperature of T-europa is 15°C (60°F) allowing a 40% water coverage and temperate habitats. It is home of many life forms and civilized races: towering trees seldom manage to root on the surface (with about the same chances they have on Thalassa). The only towering tree standing nowadays on T-europa (on the lit side) has an height of 25km; it bypasses most of the cloud coverage and lets T-europa creatures living on it to receive an increased amount of magic particle and to see the impressive view of T-jupiter dominating the sky.
T-antarctica is a smaller and farther moon than T-europa, with a similar cloudy atmosphere and a strong magnetic field. Its average temperature is -6°C (21°F); 30% of surface is covered by saltwater seas where algae and other organisms produce breathable air, while most lands are made of uninterrupted snow fields dotted by rocky formations covered in ice and lichens. While T-antarctica shows an harsher environment than T-europa, it is nevertheless home to many cold-accustomed creatures and civilizations.
T-io is a warmer version of the real Jovian moon Io (the average temperature on T-io is 66°C or 151°F) with a stronger volcanic activity and a permanent magnetic field of its own. Volcanoes eject gases and vapours in the outer space, which are then irradiated by T-jupiter magical particles and then scattered throughout the internal moon system. T-io's atmosphere is not breathable, there is almost no liquid water and the surface is so heavily irradiated that it would kill an unshielded life form within a few hours.

10b) Kuiper belt #2: A vast and sparse asteroid belt between the orbits of T-jupiter and T-eris, encompassing the whole orbit of T-pluto. It is almost entirely made of icy bodies and it is believed that most of the Grand Comets originated in this area.

11) T-pluto: a small world similar in size and composition to the real dwarf planet Pluto. The average temperature is -228°C (-378°F). It has two small icy satellites and no magnetic field.

12) T-eris: a small world similar in size and composition to the real dwarf planet Eris. the average temperature is -240°C (-400°F) It has a small icy satellite and no magnetic field.

13) T-second earth: a large world, the farthest from the central sun Naryan, a rocky planet about as large as real Earth. It has three small moons and a magnetic field slightly weaker than Thalassa's one. T-second earth average temperature is a chilling -248°C (-414°F), low enough for liquid hydrogen to exist on the planet’s surface, but it is also possible that some natural or magical heating process allows hidden patches of life or even colonies of intelligent beings.

13b) Cometary nebula: a huge and very diffuse nebula of comets extending from outside T-second earth orbit until half a light year away from Narya. it is believed that the longest period Grand Comets originated here.

13c) The Slow Void: over the course of millennia the most advanced spacefaring civilizations of the mundane plane have always attempted to venture outside Thalassa's solar system and explore nearby stars. Shortly after the external boundaries of the cometary nebula (more than half-light year away from the central sun, a challenging distance for most advanced civilizations at their full potential) space properties begin to change, slowing any kind of magical or natural propulsion (including teleportation and the like) moving outward from the sun. An effective comparison is as if an invisible rubber wall is opposing with stronger and stronger force to any object trying to bypass it, until the object outward velocity stops. Turning back in the opposite direction is far easier and the object does not suffer any resistance. The fastest the spaceship/object the greatest the distance traveled before stopping. The farthest distances from the central sun (about 1 light-year from Narya, in the middle of the interstellar void) are reached when moving at the speed of light (or faster) or via magical teleportation. Nobody has managed to go farther, so far.

:)

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Re: Thalassa's solar system

Post by Sock Puppet » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:22 am

Naming planets for the earliest civilisation to discover them...

T-Mercury - Nabu (from Babylonian)
T-Greenhouse and T-Venus - Toumou and Waiti (from ancient Egyptian Tioumoutiri and Ouaiti)
T-Earth - Thalassa
T-Mars - Arius (from ancient Greek)
T-Jupiter - Zeno (adjectival form of Zeus)
T-Saturn - Shani (from Hindi)
T-Uranus - Tauri (originally labelled 34 Tauri in 1694)
T-Neptune - Lever (Le Verrier's planet, 1846)
T-Pluto - Plax ("Planet X")
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Re: Thalassa's solar system

Post by Sock Puppet » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:16 pm

The various asteroid / kuiper belts, ceres, neptune, saturn, uranus, pluto, and trans-plutonic objects simply don't need to exist. Without space travel, they aren't destinations by tech means. Adding them as magical destinations would require an explanation for them having an atmosphere. And without meaningfully advanced telescopes, they aren't navigational aids. I think it's better to have a simpler system overall.

To whit:

T-Mercury
The two T-Venuses
Thalassa
T-Mars
T-Jupiter (no need for development beyond "big slightly glowy thing in night sky"; alternate: develpp it as a solar sytem with skyships galore, which rely on a unique property of the brown dwarf in order to function)
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