Today I’m going to take a little to outline a campaign I have in mind, which will be using a heavily modded version of 5th edition D&D because I needed something relatively rules-light to work with. The source material inspiring this campaign’s design are a few relatively famous video games – a couple of the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger, and the continuity of the Legend of Zelda series. Sound interesting? Follow along while I outline what I’m up to, then.
System ID: Whisper Epsilon
Stellar Type: Singularity
Orbital Debris: 1 asteroid belt
Whisper Epsilon is a system whose star is effectively extinct; having once been massive enough to be a blue-white supergiant, it ended its life cycle in a catastrophic explosion that left behind a black hole and a few shocked planets. The nebula is gone, and in the relatively empty region of space around the system there’s little to feed into the singularity. There is, however, a form of light – when the collapse happened, it tore a rift open to the negative energy plane, and now an eerie pseudo-radiance illuminates the system as negative energy bleeds through and swirls around the event horizon before draining in.
Orbit 1: Little more than a blasted rock, this was once a gas giant with cities atop and inside vast floating rocks, the inhabitants descended from spacefarers who forgot that they were from beyond the murky vault of the skies. When the star died, it took all of them with it, and when negative energy began radiating from the black hole’s horizon their death created a planetary haunt that cloaks the rock in a ghostly gas giant shroud whenever the blakc hole flares up with energy from the rift. Brave explorers during this time could learn a lot about the inhabitants, but those present in the haunt’s region when it dissipates tend to disappear for good.
Orbit 2: One an ice giant, now little more than an icy rock with a phantom atmosphere, this planet was host to an attempt at a research colony at one time; the colonists were unaware of the negative energy rift and were unprepared when a flare happened after nearly a decade of calm. Negative energy sleeted through the colony, killing many, giving form to fears and hatreds, and then raising all the dead to unlife. Some of the colonists came back twice – once as a physical undead, and again as a restless spirit. Now populated by the restless dead, unquiet spirits, and manifest nightmares, the world would be best left alone were it not for the research material gathered while the colonists lived – and the strange information collected after they died.
Orbit 3: The remnants of a planet’s core are smeared out in an asteroid belt here, the whole thing having shattered when the pressure of the atmosphere was torn away in the star’s death. The debris field would be perfect for prospecting, were it not that the destruction of even the planet’s core has created a ghostly presence that populates the asteroid belt with phantoms of all the creatures that might have lived there, had things gone differently.
Orbit 4: Just far enough out that the star’s death left most of its atmosphere intact, a small ice giant still orbits; enough heat still trickles out of the planet’s core to keep the atmosphere in a gaseous state, and life persists. Radical speciation in the aftermath of the star’s end and the periodic influx of negative energy has created a biosphere that thrives as much on negative energy as positive, with life-cycles that teeter between living and undead in ways that defy easy understanding. Explorers who can collect samples of the alien biosphere and take them safely to the R&D of almost any corporation can likely name their price once that nature of their find is proven.
System ID: Symmetry Weave
Stellar Type: Binary M-class red dwarf stars
Orbital Debris: Oort Cloud
Today, I’ll be skimming over my Starfinder copy and giving an octopus-with-a-hanglider-eye-view of it for those interested. (I’ve had the PDF for about a week, and the hardcopy arrived today.)
System ID: Thornweave Psi
Stellar Type: Red M-class dwarf star
Orbital Debris: 1 asteroid belt, wreckage field “Battle of the Thorn”, Oort cloud
Today introduces a companion feature to the Atlas of Worlds and the Gatecrasher’s Almanac – the Celestial Codex is a feature primarily intended for Starfinder and related softer sci-fi games out there, a record of systems for intrepid crews to venture into.
System ID: ACHERON DELTA
Stellar Type: Orange K-class star
Orbital Debris: 2 asteroid belts, Kuiper zone, Oort cloud
Today, having been reading The Atrocity Archives and having my newly-acquired PDF of Starfinder sitting on my hard drive, I’m going to describe what might potentially be the most terrifying creature possible in a sci-fi setting. Credit to Charlie Stross for the basic idea.