Evergloom; World Specifications

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 1, 2011 - 6:22pm
Hey! :)

I'm working on a project that I plan to submit to the webzine in the future and was hoping to get some feedback from the community about the world/system (details listed below).

Any feedback would be greatly appriciated!


Thanks!

Rollo

*********************

System Brief:
System: Starfall
Habitable World: Evergloom (a moon orbiting a gas giant)
Moons: None
Star: Yellow
Total # of planets in the system: 17
Artificial Satellites: None
Gravity: .5 g
Length of Day: 33 hours
Length of Year: 404 days
Prevalent Race: None
Population: None
Trade: None

Evergloom is a very large tidally locked moon - the largest of five - that orbit’s a gas giant; the fourth planet from the system's yellow star. The core of Evergloom is heated via friction generated as a result of the massive tidal forces exerted upon the moon by the orbits of the other moons and by the gas giant itself. On the surface of the moon these forces manifest as a tidal pumping action that works much the same as ocean tides, except this affects the entire crust of the moon! Therefore, the very ground ascends and recedes continuously over the course of a full day. This natural cycle can be observed with time-lapse video and would make the planet appear to be breathing! This tidal pumping is slow and continuous (not seismically violent), raising the moon’s surface on average, about 62 meters during the day and then receding 62 meters during the night.   

Due to the high degree of volcanism on Evergloom, the atmosphere is thick, continuously cloudy and the stink of sulfur is obvious, though not overpowering. The atmosphere is breathable by human standards without any kind of oxygen supply or filtration equipment, but only just. The closer one gets to any active volcano or vent the more such artificial breathing aids will be needed.

This thick cloud layer accomplishes two things. First it acts as a buffer, trapping heat generated from the tidal forces exerted upon the moon. Second it severely mutes any light that reaches the moon from the system's star thereby leaving Evergloom in a constant state of twilight during the daytime. Night on Evergloom is a murky darkness that easily surpasses the darkest night that can be experienced here on Earth and stars are somewhat obscured by the thick clouds.

Aside from giving the moon the mechanism it needs to create warmth and thereby, sustain life, there are a couple of stunningly beautiful aspects of this thick atmosphere coupled with the volcanic activity. Evergloom’s orbit brings it close (in a relative way of course) to it’s parent gas giant. This proximity places the moon just within an intense radiation belt surrounding the much larger gas giant that bathes Evergloom with energized ions. This helps to strip away several tons per minute of volcanic ejecta spewed into the atmosphere and effectively vent the moon. A side effect of this process allows some of the more energetic sulfur and oxygen ions to tumble along the moon’s magnetic field and back into the atmosphere, resulting in very dramatic, colorful and active auroras during the day and night (though they are somewhat diminished during the day). As well, the ionically charged atmosphere acts as an electrical generator as it passes through the gas giant’s magnetic field resulting in fantastic electrical discharges that zigzag routinely through the cloud layer. These effects can be seen from space, giving the moon a shimmering, iridescent appearance.

Also due to the high degree of world-wide volcanism, common volcanic landscapes are prevalent. Such features include lava lakes and rivers near active volcanoes, hot springs (of varying degrees of heat from lukewarm to boiling), acid rain, predictable and unpredictable geysers, ash ’snow’ storms, carbon monoxide ’dead’ zones and the occasional pyroclastic flow. 

Even though Evergloom exists in a state of constant twilight and darkness it is not a cold world. The warmth generated through friction and subsequently trapped by the greenhouse effect of the thick atmosphere keeps the moon very warm. The moon has vast black sand deserts circumnavigating it at the equator.

The moon sports average temperatures of about +27C (+80F) along the equatorial zone, with average summer temperatures of +49C (+120F) and +24C (+75F) over the rest of the moon, with average summer temperatures of +35C (+95F). Winter lasts all of three months on Evergloom, with summer taking up the rest of the year - there is no spring or fall to speak of.

The climate on Evergloom is nearly the same on a global scale; arid, warm and desert-like. The climatic extremes that will be encountered will primarily be experienced along the equator which is comprised of vast unforgiving harsh deserts (similar in harshness to the Sahara without all the sunshine). The vast majority of the moon’s surface is comprised of arid scrub-land similar in nature to parts of South Africa, stretching away from the equator and extending all the way to the poles. 

Evergloom has no oceans, only land-locked seas were the water table rises to the surface. There are small (no more than 5m in width and about 2m in depth) rivers that have formed due to ground water bubbling to the surface and creating a world-wide series of ‘sinks’ and ‘rises’ where rivers suddenly bubble out of the ground, flow for a few kilometers and then disappear back underground, only to repeat the process several kilometers later. These rivers tend to follow old lava tubes and are occasionally broken by large inland seas or lakes.

In areas where these rivers have dried up or have changed course, smooth lava tube caverns can be found that sometimes stretch for kilometers - but always tend to stay close to the surface. These caverns can be extremely dangerous places as many of the planet’s more dangerous fauna tend to inhabit such caves. Aside from the dangers presented by the local animals, cave-ins would also present a serious danger. In areas where old, dry river beds exist it is also common to find sinkholes that descend down to the riverbeds below. These make excellent access and egress points for native fauna (especially the nightwings, discussed in more detail below). 

Because much of the moisture on the planet is locked up in underground reservoirs, Evergloom is a very dry planet. It doesn’t rain much (the average annual rainfall measures about 12.7cm (5in) in the equatorial zone and about 129cm (20in) over the rest of the planet). Rainfall along the equator is a very rare event, happening on average but once a year. The rest of the world enjoys much more rainfall, but when compared to a single rain event per year, that is not saying much.

Evergloom is 27% water, all of which has an acidic pH value to at least some degree. Some pools of water that can be found on Evergloom are acidic enough to actually be dangerous to interact with and can cause acid burns (perhaps 10% of the available water on the moon will be acidic enough to be dangerous). These water sources are usually standing water sources that are located very near volcanic action or might actually be inside of dormant volcanic craters (crater lakes). The pH of such volcanic crater lakes can reach a value of 0.1. For comparison, battery acid has a pH of 1.0 and common manufactured drinks have pH values as low as 2.5. The acid in question when dealing with volcanism is sulfuric acid. 

The GM should assume that damage should not be applied from such acidic water sources unless the pH value (determined by the GM) is 1.0 or less. If the GM decides that a specific water source is to be acidic in nature (assume at this point that that means pH of 1.0 or less) then the GM should assign an acidic severity to the water source; mild, strong or severe.

Mild Exposure: Apply 1 point of damage per turn of exposure followed by 1d10 turns of additional damage (at 1 point/turn) after exposure (assuming the clothing of the PC that was exposed is not designed for volcanic protection - this will simulate acid-saturated cloth clinging to the body and continuing to burn).

Strong Exposure: Apply 2 points of damage per turn of exposure followed by 1d10 turns of additional damage (at 2 points/turn) after exposure.

Severe Exposure: Apply 3 point of damage per turn of exposure followed by 1d10 turns of additional damage (at 3 points/turn) after exposure 

Simply rinsing the exposed area(s) with copious amounts of water can cease any further damage. A minimum of 2 liters of water must be used per exposure to a body part/single area to stop any further damage. A minimum of 4 liters of water must be used to rise a whole body. Similarly a dose of Salgel can be used to halt acid damage.

In general, water found farther away from volcanic action will not be as acidic and will likely be potable.

Most bodies of water on the moon are crystal clear in nature with no discernable turbidity (unless polluted by ash fallout from a nearby volcano). The clean, sandy nature of the soil is largely responsible for this.  

In addition to being a dry, shrubby moon (on a world-wide scale vegetation is mostly comprised of shrubs - no large arboreal forests), Evergloom has many active volcanoes. Though much of the topography is flat, it is often broken by large mountain ranges, huge dunes and solidified lava outcroppings. The soil of Evergloom is exclusively comprised of jet-black, volcanic sand which adds to the gloomy nature of the moon.

Because of this extremely harsh climate, life on Evergloom has adapted into very deadly forms. Predators are extremely powerful so that they can bring down their prey with minimal effort, thereby expending minimal resources. Or they hunt in groups to make up for their lack of power. Similarly, many creatures have developed exceptionally deadly poisons for the same reason; to bring prey down quickly with a minimum of effort. Curiously creatures on Evergloom are generally small to mid-sized; with the largest specimens being less than 200kg and with the vast majority of fauna being less than 100kg in size.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 1, 2011 - 6:52pm
curious? what is the year for a moon? the year for its planet?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 1, 2011 - 7:01pm
That's what I was thinking Jedion, yeah. The moon orbits the planet and follows it around the sun. So a year would be the same for the moon and the planet that it is associated with.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 1, 2011 - 9:04pm
Did a little research on Jupiter's moon Io. it's a little larger than Earth's Moon and orbits Jupiter at 42 hours 30 minutes. Jupiter's gravity creates two tidal bulges that flex the moon surface 100m as it orbits the gas giant in a slightly eliptical orbit. Its the flexing of Io's globe that heats the sub surface material (through friction).

Incidently, Io is the most volcanically active place in the solar system. that suggest a mechanism for water to bubble up on the surface of Evergloom- much like gysers in yellow stone are linked to volcanism. I dont think I've ever encountered a gyser in an rpg context so if you dont use this I will steal it for myself.

Io may not be a perfect match for your moon but its the mechanisms that heat it that suggest themselves for your moon. There are of course different levels of warming as Enceladis is warmed by friction caused by Saturn's gravity and it errupts with cryo or ice volcanos which is significant in that there is liquid water that far out in the solar system but obviously the moon is not all that warm. So unless I'm wrong I think that the world you're working on is very plausible or if it isn't its perhaps close enough and sounds interesting as a back drop for an adventure.

Edit: ooops the volcanism suggestion does not match the no mountains description, have to think on that.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 1, 2011 - 9:43pm
Thank you for helpping out with this research Jedion! :) I'm sure you have better things to do, but this helps me a lot since I don't have much for a scientific background (astronomically speaking anyway). I'll do a web search on Io and see if I can cobble anything interesting together to get this world description nailed down. It helps a lot having a direction to work toward instead of just flailing about in the dark.

As far as the mountains go, I could adjust that. I had pictured a world that was basically a huge desert...but realisim is far more important so if there have to be mountains so that volcanism can play a part, then I can most certainly go with that. I'll sleep on it and see if I can come up with anything decent to post tomorrow.


Thanks again!

Rollo
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
December 2, 2011 - 9:21am
FYI, There was an article in the webzine called Evergleen Detainment Center

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
December 2, 2011 - 9:43am
The parent planet's solar-year counts for reference, though technically a moon does not likely fall to the same position relative to the planet or sun at that time... technically a moon has it's own  completion of a solar-year cycle... the difference is not likely to be great, and no more than +/- half it's orbital period of the parent planet.

The big disturbance here is that there is enough difference from a moons perspective to change a progression of seasons (tilt to the sun) on the moon in a noticeable way when compared to relations in the rest of the night-sky tapestry, there will be less observable "simple patterns" to suggest a heliocentric model, and more "complex patterns" to suggest a distribution of "randomly wandering" phenomenon. However this really only matters if there is native civilization to care about watching such celestial phenomenon... don't see that being an issue here, but I'll mention it.

Olympus Mons is one large desert mountain/?dead? volcano... and is one of the hopeful locations for trapped non-polar sub-martian reservoirs... volcanic fissures and fissure vents can release lava without requiring mountains... Deserts, Mountains, and Volcanism are not all that exclusionary...

May I suggest a small adjustment to the last line in paragraph 2?

On a world-wide scale vegetation is mostly comprised of shrubs -
no large arboreal forests.

Has the same aesthetic and more accurately reemphasises the sparse-shrub dominance, sounds more technically accurate in general fitting for a planetology report - motif, and dosn't make quite so restrictive a call in flora types and biomes (many "shrubs" are "trees" - which causes some cross context confusion in the text).
[meanders away nit-piking]

Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 2, 2011 - 10:35am
TSC: May I suggest a small adjustment to the last line in paragraph 2?

Not a problem, fixed! :)

Am making some decent progress btw and will be updating the moon's description shortly. Have gotten a lot of really good ideas from y'all and hopefully, the re-write is going to be much more realistic.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 2, 2011 - 10:55am
Jedion: I dont think I've ever encountered a gyser in an rpg context so if you dont use this I will steal it for myself.

I'm re-writting the description to reflect active and wide-spread volcanism in order to make the moon more realistic. I've mentioned geysers (out of necessity because they go hand-in hand with volcanism), but I've done so in passing so that you can elaborate on the idea for your future project.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 2, 2011 - 12:25pm
Evergreen is different. Cheers plus pools of sulfuric acid add up to some hostile environmental factors, throw in lack of drinkable water and this planet is going to be uncomfortable for peeps spending any amount of time here.

OMG I hate auto correct

Thats EverGleem and I dont know what cheers was
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 2, 2011 - 11:48am
The way I have things written so far is that there is drinkable water on the moon, it's just not terribly common. So all the water on the moon is acidic to at least some degree. Only 27% of the moon is water and I'd say something like 10% of that would be too acidic to drink. Lemon juice clocks in at a pH value of 2...Coke is 2.5. So I'd say anything around 2.5 or higher is going to be drinkable at least.

After I can figure out some damage for naturally occuring acid I think I'll have the planet re-write sufficiently completed to warrent an update on this thread so that we can pick it apart and refine it further. :)

Still, you're correct this is going to be a pretty hostile place to hang out and people likely would not want to do so for any length of time. But if you had to, you could survive here. It'd just be tough.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 2, 2011 - 2:31pm
Alright, I've updated the origional post to reflect the changes that have been suggested to this point. Please pick it apart and see if there are any other improvements, clarifications or inaccuracies that need to be considered? :)

Thanks!
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
December 3, 2011 - 2:52pm
[wanders around, nit-picking and muttering like an absent-minded professor.]
-
para. 10
"In areas where these rivers have dried up or have changed course, * smooth lava tube caverns * can be found that sometimes stretch for kilometers - but always tend to stay close to the surface."
* replaces with any-or-all of these terms:
   smooth [+] Glacial, Littoral, and Hydrodynamic Corosional [+] Capillary Tubes [or] Caverns [or] Runnels 
   I think "...smooth hydrodynamic corosional capillary tubes and cavernous runnels..." could do the trick... mostly due to the lava tubes being implied and specified in several locations elsewhere, and these terms being more related to water-formed cave systems. This formation would be an expectable[sic] result of a "drying world" that once had a larger hydrosphere.
-
para. 5
"Such features include[;] lava lakes and rivers * near active volcanoes *, hot springs (of varying degrees of heat [-] from lukewarm to boiling), acid rain, predictable and unpredictable geysers, ash ’snow’ storms, carbon monoxide ’dead’ zones and the occasional * pyroclastic flow *."
* A pyroclastic flow [or] pyroclastic density currents - are a common result of explosive volcanic eruptions. not likely to find these hanging around and developing like storms - however, repeating development of cooler and less volatile clouds with less solid-to-gas ratios might be possible in; an especially active region-spaning fissure-vent rift-zone, polygenetic volcanic fields, or even in unusually active lava lakes, fields, and flows... these seem to be closer to the desired "dominant desert-like features" aesthetics, and keeps in-line with the "few major mountain-ranges" motif... so:
* pyroclastic flow -> change to -> pyroclastic surges [or] fully dilute pyroclastic density currents the later is the more scientifically precise name, but the smaller change will suffice for brevity here... I think I would consider "...pyroclastic surges and toxic duststorms." an adequate description, to bring the visual home to the reader.
* The list of terrain features should be denoted as forth coming with the use of a [;] simi-colon, (The parenthetical side note, should also be given a hyphen - to separate the range aspect from the aspected content.)
* | "...near active volcanoes..." | I would consider either hyphenating between parts of this list item, or omitting the technically unnecessary redundant mention of - volcanic activity near other volcanic activity.
-
ahh yes, that old college nursery rhyme...
"See poor Johnny lying dead upon the floor,
 for what he thought was H2O, was H2So4."
A lovely planet, with breathtakingly gorgeous vistas, and spectacularly amazing colors, this is a nice mission... hardly seems fair to take the danger-pay from our employers on this one.
 Whats that?
 Ready to go down planet-side?
 Oh, I think I will stick to remote probes on this survey job Johnny, but you go on ahead and send up some post-cards.
[wanders away, searching for the bifocals on his head.]
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 3, 2011 - 11:04am
Thanks for the corrections TSC! I'll add them in. :)

TSP: "A lovely planet, with breathtakingly gorgeous vistas, and spectacularly amazing colors, this is a nice mission... hardly seems fair to take the danger-pay from our employers on this one.
 Whats that?
 Ready to go down planet-side?
 Oh, I think I will stick to remote probes on this survey job Johnny, but you go on ahead and send up some post-cards."

Yeah, but it's a dry heat! Besides, what could possibly go wrong? O:)
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
December 3, 2011 - 2:57pm
Cool no problem... just a matter of how deep you want me to pick at nits Innocent
...Money mouth someone spot me a hamburger? Laughing

seriously though, keep at it, it's looking great... don't let the little detail-devils stumble the creativity, messes can be cleaned up and polished off in their own time, ya know.
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 3, 2011 - 4:20pm
TSC: don't let the little detail-devils stumble the creativity, messes can be cleaned up and polished off in their own time, ya know.

Not to worry, that's precisly why I'm posting some of this stuff...so I can covertly wrangle all of you into editing for me! O:) 

All kidding aside, every little bit helps and every bit of input from other sources will help polish up an otherwise drab product. So it seems to me that this is a perfect way to produce a game-related product that will be as good as it could be...and in the end that is what this is all about. :)

Now, with all that having been said I've a new technical question to ask. Yay! :P

This moon orbits a gas giant. Is it possible to hide a starship in orbit around the gas giant so that other starships would have to do much more than just enter the system in order to find it?

I'm thinking that radiation from the Gas Giant would seriously hamper sensing devices on starships. Of course, this would mean that the starship in hiding would be similarly hampered I would think.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
December 3, 2011 - 5:27pm

Radar/Sensor Shadow - can a planet of sufficient size and possibly thermal output, mask a ship from being picked up on a scope...
 ...at passive levels of operation in passive orbit? yes... but it orbits, and therefore is not always in the shadow.
 ...at active levels in passive orbit? yes... but not from a crew looking for a ship there.
 ...at active levels in active orbit? no... not likely if the sensor crew is well trained observers, and threats are a known possibility (ie. military vessels all the time) or the shadow is cast by anything smaller than a sun.

Ships close enough to a body with high ambient occlusive radiation would not be able to see out... but sensor crews (even untrained observers with technical expertise) would have far less trouble seeing in.

It is very difficult to find good hiding places in a void of such expansive relative coldness... activity has a way of being noticed easily in a relatively empty school gym... even when the lights are all out. Anywhere a ship is expected if a ship exists it will likely be spotted. Anywhere a ship is not actively trying to hide... (and you just can't find good places to hide for long periods... period.)... it will be observed.

all observations are based on distance, and lights speed to relative observation points... ie. you may need a few moments to spot a new ship that entered a system a few AU away... but that new ship is immediately capable of seeing where your location was a few minutes ago.
-
para. 1, sen. 2:
to wordy - condenses to:
"The core of Evergloom is friction heated - with thermals generated by massive tidal forces, exerted by the orbits of the moon(s) of the gas giant; [name gas giant]."
-
Foot in mouth

Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 4, 2011 - 7:48am
Ug, managed to double post...
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 4, 2011 - 7:47am
Alright TSC, here's the general setting/problem I need to solve:

A sathar ship (I haven't decided on a size yet, but the ship in question needs to be large enough to be able to conduct covert solo operations behind enemy lines; a destroyer or light cruiser maybe) needs to stay hidden just inside of Frontier Space, in an unexplored system. I can add in natural 'terrain' features (like an asteroid field for example) in order to facilitate this if need be. The gas giant was just the first idea that jumped into my mind. UPF military likely wouldn't be coming to this system as they would have no real reason to be in an unexplored system within their own boundries. What will be here are exploration and/or scientific vessels likely manned by civillian contractors or perhaps the occasional military person, but not an actual military vessel.

So under what circumstances could this be accomplished if the gas giant isn't good enough?
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 4, 2011 - 8:17am
Just lying low and not emitting energy is a good way to hide. Energy sensor have greater reach than radar and a system is a big place. Asteroids give a good place to hide; if the ship had grapples it could grab hold of a big roid and hold onto it for camouflage. But just making like a hole in space is a time honored method of hiding in Sci-fi though but generally requires limiting radiating energy.

According to the rules that would mean sutting down engines and coasting in space.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 4, 2011 - 8:39am
Alrighty then, that is easy to write in. I'll add a small asteroid field nearby and go with this explanation. Time to start writting the body of this thing! Tongue out
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
December 4, 2011 - 11:20am

Is the Sathar cruiser already in-system?
 if so, what general time frame have they had to scout their location before another ship comes in, and are they actually hiding from a known-to-be-coming ship?

otherwise... with the other ships already present when the Sathar arrive - How well do the Sathar know the system they are entering, and do they expect ships already there?

"shutting down engines and coasting in space." is what I counted as "at passive levels of operation in passive orbit."
while this means there is a very good chance of not being spotted at large AU distances from an unobservant unsuspecting crew... it isn't really close enough to matter... and puts the ship into years -nah - decades long orbits around the system to get anywhere important... and eventually course corrections to avoid some near-miss or significant deviation from the desired-orbit will need to be made.

you are correct in your basic assumption that planets causing sensor-shadows still apply... but orbits of those planets cause that shadow to be in play for intervals near-hours or less, and irrelevant for equal time as the ship passes on the facing side of the planet...

station keeping in the far-side shadow of a planet is next best... passive-orbit probes sent around the planet can keep the hiding ship simi-updated to events outside their shadow (wider due to their proximity to the obscuring body)... but still this requires an active ship to maintain position, and could cause enough disturbance to be easily spotted in the planets corona.

small system bodies are pretty much out of the question for realistic cover... but I wouldn't completely discount the trope, since use of the trope has merit of popularity that rivals it's completely unrealistic science... however, at the very least an active ship in an "asteroid field" is definitely brighter than it's surrounding companions, and obscured only by the impossible discovery of an anomolus cluster of bodies that have not ejected each other from their local space... and that terrain feature itself would be cause to investigate the area of possibe Precursor-Stellar system-Engineering, which would in turn make even a passive ship detectable.

If you prefer to keep Sathar ships on a more even playing field with the Frontier technolgy my style dosn't help.
- but -
to your rescue... I generally assume in space operatic style - the Sathar are capable of hiding their position if they have been in the system for more than a few hours to a day, or on entering a system they have familiarity of within a week to a month previous... and I count the details as unfathomable. This is a Sathar fleet detachment, not rag-tag Pirates with questionably functionable equipment - after all - the Sathar are supposed to break a few Laws, it's their job - Pirates just break rules, and usually get caught for it, thats the difference.

Otherwise I would go with the Gas Giant with high interference radiation, and launch passive probes periodicly to keep tabs on other ships in the system, and take the chance that a sensor watch might get smart (or bored enough) to work out the deviations from expected coronal norms... or even be looking too closely at the prety display of data from the radiating giant (not much else to look at in space, so what else is the poor senser operator to do?) when one of the probes passes in view.

But again... I stress - realistically there is no place in space to hide, and 99% of the methods used in popular sci-fi just don't work, and the remaining 1% that might is too easily accounted for by alert crews that know better (or any spacer with sensor operation or even astrogation skill, and no specific task for maintaining ship functions - ie. most of the time). The only thing you can count on as passive defence is distance, distance can allow some obfuscation of current position and heading, especially if non-vector thrust/non-orbital movement is allowed, but even if it is all Einstein-Kepler-Newtonian... due to the light-speed delay and relative observation...
though realistic effects from this also make real-time sub-light communications problematic also, how do you tell someone to turn course from some destination they will reach in 8min when it takes 16min to know if they have complied?

Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 4, 2011 - 11:52am
@TSC:

The Sathar will have been established in this system. They have a research facility on the moon and the ship in question will be a support ship for the research facility that is designed for clandestine activities. So they have been here for a lengthy period...quite probably they had been here a long while past (establishing a jump point directly to this system) and have now set up shop there as they have found some interesting things on the moon. They know the system well.

I want to clarify a bit here as well. This Sathar force is not there to fight anybody. If a ship were to jump into the system they would remain hidden and let the ship go about its business. I am not trying to figure a way to ambush other ships as a way to gain an upper hand tactically.

I've made an assumption concerning the system that may or may not be accurate so I'll relate that now. It is an unexplored system within Frontier Space, so my assumption is that no one (from Frontier Space) really goes to that system. Furthermore, there are no known routes to this system established by anyone in the Frontier to date. The system is apparently known to exist (since it is on the map), but no one has taken the time to go and check it out. My plan with this scenario is to finally have someone send a party to that system to see what's actually there and to open a route to it, etc. 

Here's my trouble: Having the Sathar hiding out here just seems like some really juicy content that I want to exploit. I'm not a Knight Hawks buff at all...barely know anything about it...so I was wanting to base it mostly in Alpha Dawn. Plus it just seems like a sound military real-world scenario to have a small elite contingent operating behind enemy lines rather than some huge force that would necessitate an all out Knight Hawks-style battle.

So, the Sathar ship needs to be hidden. It doesn't seem like there would be a Sathar research facility in the middle of Frontier Space without some sort of a back up plan to salvage their research if something went wrong (which is going to happen with this scenario!). The backup plan is a hidden ship that can escape with the 'goods'. So there's my dilemma. I need to hide that ship...otherwise the PCs will jump into the system, see it and run away and send back the military. By then the Sathar will have pulled up stakes and fled. *POOF* end of scenario. lol
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 4, 2011 - 11:55am
Not sure I understand the difference between breaking rules and breaking laws, though I understand the difference between stupid criminals and the sathar but perhaps there is room for more effective pirates; vrusk pirates which would run their operation like a business. I would simply double check the detection ranges for standard sensors in KHs and write the adventure with those in mind, and though they may be unrealistic the rules form a common language from which we all operate.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 4, 2011 - 12:45pm
How about utilizing radar-scattering stealth technology through material and construction techniques (similar to what we can do today) for this Sathar ship that could allow it to remain hidden so long as it wasn't producing an energy signature over X amount (whatever X would be I haven't a clue). So, as long as it wasn't firing any weapons...or moving over a certain speed, that sort of thing?

Is there a thread for this and if so does anyone happen to know where I can find that?

BTW - I'm not wanting to come up with a cloaking field or anything, I think that would be over the top. I'm just talking about non-energized passive techniques.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 4, 2011 - 1:33pm
Holoscreen works on car sized vehicles so why not a small landing craft? And if you needed a stealth recon ship for the story then hand wave one into existence. Its not going to be a full up warship since stealth ships usually rely on hiding, though sathar being what they are, will have some weapons and a self destruct device. Some sort of generator will be needed on board if the engines are not supplying power. Could even be an experimental prototype just for your module which allows it to be used with out officially adding it to SF cannon.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 4, 2011 - 1:51pm
Alright Jedion...I'll go with that angle and not fret over it anymore. :)  I'll see if I can recruit someone to help with the design so it will hold up to scrutiny just the same - and so that others could use it in the future if they'd like.

Back to writting...
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
December 7, 2011 - 7:36am
@jedion I was making a bit of a play on words... Universal Laws of Physics vs. the (in-game assumed) rules & customs of society (ok and maybe a few game rules that don't deal heavy handed physics anyway)...
just saying I don't have a problem with the extremely wild-card alien Sathar breaking the Laws of Physics as we know them, via unfathomable (and therefore unnecessary to explain) means as long as the trope does not become "in-your-face" kitschy cliché repetitions of abused physics...
while a Pirate scenario might allow some small game rules discrepancies to be "unfairly" decided in their favor... they are still likely to pay for the "crime" eventually to rebalance... and stave off any undo use of pirate-privilege tropiness of their deeds, in some overall "justifiable fairness" to the players and the story.

@rollo sounds to me like a doable scenario for the Sathar... for Pirates it would be a bit less believable in regard to realism, but inevitably that is a matter of genre-taste specifics in there... if you go for realism it's a hard-sell to hide from a system survey without being an ufathomable alien, and nigh-impossible for a mere social faction of comparable civilization/technological level.

Being a Sathar means never having to say your sorry... being a Pirate means never having to admit regret.
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 6, 2011 - 6:06pm
The truth is, there are lots of ways to hide given the sensor technology defined in the SF rules.  Radar has a range of 300,000 km which is one light second distance and less than the distance from the Earth to the Moon.  Energy sensors have a range of 500,000 km.  Not much better.  In truth they would have greater ranges than this but that really doesn't matter.

As jedi said, the best way to hide is just to be "quiet".  Turn off the engines, don't radiate (radio, etc) and minimize as much as you can (which won't be much) your thermal emissions.  Space is big, really big, and unless you're looking very, very carefully, you're not going to notice something that isn't drawing attention to itself.  If the ship is in close orbit around the gas giant or even it's moon, a ship just entering the system isn't going to notice it.  They'd have to get really close to the planet before the ship would stand out against the planet's emission.

And if the ship can set down on a solid body and get partially obscured by material on the surface, it will almost impossible to detect without being right on top of it.

So in your scenario, a "quiet" ship in orbit around the gas giant would probably remained unnoticed until the interloper is very close to the planet.
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thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
December 7, 2011 - 7:44am
Ahh yes, that does bring up the other item I was pondering to mention more clearly... you could avoid proximity to obviously interesting objects and phenomena... however this again sets up a problem of not having much purpose in being there at all... as anywhere you want to be, is likely to be interesting to look at, by at least some bored sensor operator with nothing else to do... and when your bored the most innocuous and mundane things can suddenly spark interest and further investigations.

Moving above or below the system's relative ecliptic plane takes you away from typical observation lines, but also takes you away from most things you want to be near.
Positioning your system orbits in areas that are beyond basic orbit-transfer routes and away from the survey of interesting system bodies, reduces the likely-hood anyone is looking your way also, but still makes getting anywhere important in the system pretty fruitless.

But with those afore mentioned tactics - enters the pirate/militia conundrum most people who would want to hide know of these areas, and most people who are paranoid of possible attack know to look there... thus it doesn't make a serious hiding place either... possible tactic, but not fool proof enough for the military mind to rely on strategically.

As TerlObar points out it is a matter of genre-trope and supported in the basic premise of mechanic effect that some potential of a 'silent-space-sub' game is expected... but still realistically it isn't so 'neat and convieniant' to expect such tactics to be viable...
 ...and if your players are wise to that it may not be viable to force it on them.
I have ruled for greater sensor and communications ranges incurring penalties incremental to exponential increases of range, and assumed the rather short ranges as 'basic-operation minimums' for 'expected minimal sensor contact' - all in an attempt to provide some flexibility toward realism... this made some of the more technical-minded players a bit more happy.

Yes a ship ground-side is much easier to hide, I was assuming the difficulty in needing to get around in space was of more importance... as long as the ship isn't out in the open even an approaching survey craft will have considerable difficulty spotting that 'cold-needle' in a 'hot-haystack'... but it should be a matter of normal procedure to be checking during approuch for 'signs of civilization; past or present/foreign or domestic' if there is any ground to land on... so still this is no easy guarantee.
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?