One of the things in the Eclipse Phase setting is the presence of wormhole gates – structures left behind by either the TITANs or something older and more frightening that connect to other gates across the galaxy. While the sourcebook on the subject has a phenomenal amount of information, you can never have enough strange exoplanets and weirder locations to draw from, and the wormhole gates aren’t entirely reliable, so I’ll be occasionally adding world to the list. Some may have adventure hooks; others may just be odd places to be visited.
So with that in mind, let’s look at the first entry in the Renegade Octopus Gatecrasher’s Almanac, shall we?
Location: Theorized to be somewhere in the Centaurus Arm, based on pulsar data
Planetary Type: Barren/Icy
Rime is an exoplanet somewhere in the Centaurus Arm of the Milky Way, a small, rocky planet with a shell of various ices on the surface and small lakes of liquid helium collected in various depressions. This unusual state comes from the fact that the exoplanet isn’t in orbit around any star, but instead cruising through the void. The planet’s only gate is set on a rocky upthrust in the middle of a large lake of liquid helium, which boils and produces a fog in the crater it occupies whenever the gate activates.
The main draw of the world is that the gate connects to Portal, the Discord Gate, and the Vulcan Gate, in addition to quite a few worlds not accessible by any other gate. The extreme cold, lack of any natural light or warmth, and lack of exciting xenobiology or xenoarchaeology targets means it tends to be overlooked by gatecrashing teams, making it an ideal target for ‘crashers looking for a low-traffic world to pass through.
Unknown at this point in time is the presence of a pair of moons, both of them showing signs of modification by intelligence in the past. The nearer, smaller one is just outside the Roche limit of the planet, the orbit sustained by infrequent (on the order of centuries) course corrections from ancient plasma jets; the burst of heat from so close to the surface can vaporize entire helium lakes and melt the more fragile ices on the surface of the world, giving a clue for anyone willing to take the time to look for it.
The inner moon is almost entirely artificial, taking the form of an asteroid that’s been hollowed out and filled with a simplistic but robust computer system, the fusion engine that powers the course corrections, and nuclear battery power reserves that allow the computer to keep ticking over across the ages. There’s no sign of who built it or why, other than the way that it’s kept gradually sculpting the frozen surface.
The outer moon is a more natural object, a good twenty miles across and heavily cratered, but amid the craters are signs of intelligence at work – the cratered and broken remains of buildings that suggest that they might have towered a mile or more above the surface, with trace evidence of the use of smart materials in their construction, long since rendered inert and useless by bombardment, interstellar radiation, and simple age. Little remains to suggest who the builders were, but they certainly weren’t even remotely contemporary with humanity.
If a gatecrashing team were to set up a base on Rime, digging through the surface won’t reveal any evidence of intelligent presence, but a layer of useful organic molecules can be found in the bottom ice layer, and mines drilled into the subsurface rock can produce most of the materials needed to build a functional base of operations, including the materials needed to fab up nuclear batteries.
Of course, once one group sets up a base on the exoplanet, it becomes more attractive to others looking to set up a home away from the Sol system – and given the gates it connects to, odds are at least some of them aren’t going to be overly friendly…