Nebulae

OnceFarOff's picture
OnceFarOff
August 11, 2012 - 8:06pm
What's the deal with Nebulae in SF?

Jump routes can't go through them... the only way to the rim is through Zebulun, but the Sathar can attack White Light - through a Nebula?

How do you guys deal with them in your campaigns?
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 11, 2012 - 8:27pm
Jump routes through nebulae are not impossible just difficult hence the Capella/Zebulon route being difficult to chart and the fact that some maps present it as bent

There is the possibility that the Ebony Eyes system described in a Dragon article is the vector by which the sathar hit numerous "inner" systems. The battle of Ebony Eyes described in the article establishes the fact that the sathar can reach this system- i think that makes it an excellant staging area for hitting multiple systems within the Frontier. How they get to it is still a mystery.

Zebulon seems to me to be the vector by which the sathar have invaded both the Rim and the UPF.

Since sathar scout vessel(s) were found on the planet that the Ellanor Mores experienced its mutiny they clearly and track into the Frontier from Liberty system possibly using the same jump chain that the UPF forces used to reach Liberty, This gives them a vector into the Southeast of the map.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
August 11, 2012 - 8:49pm
I wasn't aware a ship could jump "through" a nebula. Do they exist in the Void? Undecided Perhaps their is a "shadow" copy of everything in real-space in the Void which prohibits such jumps. 

I use nebula to separate areas of the map. Much like a D&D map that has forests, mountain ranges, etc. It limits the PC's traveling directly from Point A to B or if they choose to, they accept the risk there-of!





bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
December 18, 2013 - 2:45am
I thought it states somewhere that passing through the nebulae in SF is deadly.  The planet Far Reach comes to mind.  Isn't that the one that passes through the Xagyg Nebula and is therefore uninhabitable?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 18, 2013 - 6:28am
I believe that the particle density in a nebula is negligible in the real world .

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 18, 2013 - 6:45am
Yes, in real space, the particle density of a typical nebula is lower than the best vacuum that can be created in a on earth Smile.  About the only exception is the dense molecular cores of nebulae that are just about to turn into stars.
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bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
December 18, 2013 - 2:40pm
Yeah, I always had a hard time reconciling the difference between real-life nebulae and Frontier nebulae.  Not sure how something with such a low density can act as a barrier.

Maybe there is some kind of electromagnetic field that disrupts biological systems & electronics.

Abub's picture
Abub
December 18, 2013 - 3:04pm
I would say they mostly make getting the very precises reading you need for the void jump calculations.  making it very hard to jump through them... leading to many misjumps.  Perhaps once you are inside the nebula they make it very hard or impossible to make new calculations causing ships to get lost in them thus making it a no-no among the spacer communities.

My players would then just try to void jump for a minute or more to escape the nebula... which makes me wonder...

Why can't people void jump for longer than the few seconds to jump clear across known space?  Even if they missjump and don't get to there target destination... couldn't they do a big jump to get somewhere close and then do a more precise short range jump to get where they are going.  
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bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
December 23, 2013 - 2:29am
I remember as a teenager wondering why they didn't just jump past the nebulae...




Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
December 27, 2013 - 1:16pm
I think the general sci-fi plot idea is that Nebuleas mess with the ship's tech: sensors, blinding the electronics, mess with video feed, radio feed and in some cases sub-space feed. Star Trek seemed to use this cliche a few times. So the up shot is ships move very slowly becuase you can't see so to speak, weapons often work not as good, either targetting systems not locking on or weapons interact with nebulea... I think for game play the idea is Navigation Hazard, Burmuda Triangle Space, and Hiding Place all rolled into the idea of Nebuleas... different Nebuleas could have different properties which are unique to them as well. Maybe a weird undiscovered space critters (undiscovered because every ship that encounters them disapears) live in the Nebuleas and that is the real hazard?

I just figure it is part of the "classic" feel how it is explained well that is the fun part. 

Besides it is not like science has never gotten things wrong. I have been told many times by people in many feilds I was wrong about this or that but I was eventually proven correct. You could argue that science just turned out to have gotten it wrong. 



 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

dmoffett's picture
dmoffett
December 29, 2013 - 12:33am
Since telescopes are part of astrogation in the game, perhaps the nebula are only a barrier due to: not being able to see what is beyond them with the naked eye and telescope. ie no special instraments other than the lens. Just a thought.
The bombing starts in five minutes.

Abub's picture
Abub
December 31, 2013 - 12:41pm
That is my main assumption DMoffett, but I know my players will say "ok... I jump ten light years in that direction".  if they land still in the nebula... then they jump again ten more light years in that same direction.

How about this... along the post of TChklinxa's... but maybe the nebula for some unknown reason actually cause ships to drop out of the void... perhaps this only happens in the deep nebula so you could have some action happen using the edges of it for sneakly ships, or just to have a sort of blind ship fight inside it where radar/energy/visibility is drastically reduced.  Perhaps the astrogator has to make checks to try and detect a trail left in the nebula's particles and energy  where the other ship passed through it.


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jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 31, 2013 - 4:54pm
the only cannon statement as to difficulty navigating a nebula is concerning the Xagyg nebula centered around Volturnus which isn't all that far from Laco and the Tetrarch pyramids. What if we went with it being a unique phenomenom of the Xagyg nebula and not all nebula. After all Xagyg is Gygax's name backward and a nebula named after Gygax should be special. so in this one case there is a mystery and that could be the stuff of adventure. sure jump 10 LY in that direction and lets just see what will happen., after all the reports on all the explorers that did just that and were never heard from again are public record so go ahead and try it.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
December 31, 2013 - 5:49pm
I like the idea of the Xagyg dust nebulae being weird.  All other Nebulae could be navigatable, but Xagyg is spooky.

I wonder if there could be navigation problems for long jumps because you can't see through them to plan the jump properly so you would have to half jump to where you can see enough through then jump again.  Maybe that is why it is a bent jump to Voltrunus.
-iggy

Karxan's picture
Karxan
January 18, 2014 - 9:26pm
Could there be debris big enough to hurt a ship hidden within the nebulae that would cause blind jumps to be very dangerous?

iggy's picture
iggy
January 18, 2014 - 10:17pm
I think it's not that SF ships can't fly through a nebulae, it's that they can not line up a jump accurately through a nebulae because they can't see thrugh the nebulae to the stars beyond.  A jump requires accurately lining your ship up to the destination star via telescope measurements.  If you can't see the destination star because the nebulae is opaque to your telescope(s) then you can't jump there.  So I see exploration ships trying to compensate by aligning to artifacts in the nebulae as a way to aim at the star hidden behind the nebulae.  They might sight on the peak of a pillar of nebulae gas they have found has a motion close enough to the star beyond that the jump is accurate for several hundred years.

Point Go, the point at the bump between Zebulon and Capella, could be some cool shape in the Xagyg Nebulae that has enough gravitational attraction to orbit a station around.  In millions of years a star may even form here.  But in the mean time this is a trading and jump station in the middle of the nebulae where the sky is illuminated by all the background stars in brilliant colors.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 19, 2014 - 1:26pm
What if its not a "cant navigate thru the nebula" but rather more difficult as doing so greatly increases the chance of a miss jump? Potentially its a function of the extra mass from the dust of a nebula. If you stop and think about it why dont ships miss jump to empty space? Perhaps void space is linked to mass of objects in real space.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
January 19, 2014 - 9:43pm
If you can't see properly through an area of space to acurately line up a jump you will misjump.  At intersteller distances fractions of an arcsecond will be a significant misjump.  A star obscured by a nebulae will not be able to be lined up to accuracey needed.

As for mass in real space producing links to void space, I see that as highly likely.  However nebulae are so dispersed that their mass is not concentrated enough to create that void space link.
-iggy

Abub's picture
Abub
January 20, 2014 - 4:36am
how about this for a question


Is travel through the void subject to the concepts of straight lines?  I'm saying maybe... if you can't calculate some details acurately enough travelling through the void might cause the actual jump to turn 0-360 degrees for some reason.  In other words... maybe without the approproate amount of data to do the void jump you could easily turn around completely in the void and end up where you started?  I'm thinking gravity has profound effects on your jump and if you can't account accurately for all the sources of it your misjump becomes totally unpredictable and you might get drawn back to the gravity well of the system you just left or dropped in a random deep space/deep nebula location and every jump from there results in another random turn in the void.  This would cause your ship to be lost in the nebula forever as you run out of fuel to try and get out of it.

So... as the result ships never go so deep into a nebula that they can't see the stars out of one side of it.... that might allow for some "shallow nebula" steath operations.

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jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 20, 2014 - 5:14am
iggy wrote:
If you can't see properly through an area of space to acurately line up a jump you will misjump.  At intersteller distances fractions of an arcsecond will be a significant misjump.  A star obscured by a nebulae will not be able to be lined up to accuracey needed.

As for mass in real space producing links to void space, I see that as highly likely.  However nebulae are so dispersed that their mass is not concentrated enough to create that void space link.


I agree but the nebulae does have some mass and while its not enough to create the void/real space link its mass "buggers the system" and makes travel through a nebula more difficult. Commercial ships thus avoid it but military ships with orders or scout/explorer/science mission ships will chance it.

this is also the delay in charting to and from Zebulon from both the Frontier and the Rim, the routes required seriously well documented charts.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
January 20, 2014 - 8:09pm
The mass of the entire nebulae easily matches or exceeds a star it's just so spread out that no one point is massive ehough to effect the void.  Any point in a nebulae that does effect the void is likely massive enough to be a proto star.

Now, if I adjust my mass limit to effect the void down to moons and large asteroids then there could be many points in a nebulae the have a void footprint.  Nebulae are predominantly gas but we can guess that there are chunks of other stuff in them as well.  Stuff massive enough to be a large asteroid or even a moon.

On question I have been pondering is the nature of the Xagyg Dust Nebula.  Is it the reminants of an exploded star or the left overs from a star forming nebula?  If was a star forming nebula, are there still some stars forming and where?

I have also bee thinking that much of the frontier must have briliant painted night skys as the stars are so close to the nebulae, Xagyg, Lesser Morass, Greater Morass, Yreva, and White Light.
-iggy

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 21, 2014 - 9:53am
Since there are neutron stars about, I'd almost have to say that it is a supernova remnant.  Any star large enough to leave a neutron star behind goes out explosively (incidentally sterilizing every planet in the Frontier and probably blowing away their atmopheres as wellKiss).  Thus any dust clouds left over would be a combination of the ejected outer material of the star (probably 5-10 solar masses worth) plus any remnant gas still around swept up by the outward streaming stellar material.
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Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 21, 2014 - 5:02pm
I completely ignore the neutron stars for the reasons you just specified.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
January 21, 2014 - 10:55pm
I have the same problem with the neutron stars so have never visited them on the map.  They are there just ignored until I figure out how to use them.  I have often wondered what the authors might have confused them with.  If I could deduce how they perceived the nutron stars I could change them to a more accurate object that matches their vision.  What did the common man think of neutron stars back in 1980?

Neutron star = neutral star like the subatomic particle?
-iggy

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
January 22, 2014 - 6:02am
They probably thought it sounded cool: Neutron star.

I am no expert but...

Their gravity is high. They could just be a space hazard I suppose though there is an escape velcety.  Any survivng planet would be a cold and desolute airless mass in space. But that does not mean no one would have a reason for not going to a Neutron star system or setting up a base. Archelogocal digs? Asteroid or planets to mine? or secret research base or ancient burried and sleeping civilization that is a hidden threat waiting to wake up?

It seems pulsars are Neutron stars. Binary Pulsars emit gravitaional waves. Maybe some one use the gravity wells to enter and exit void? 

Sci-fi:(a couple from quick net search)
Dragon's Egg is a hard science fiction novel written by Robert L. Forward and published in 1980. In the story, Dragon's Egg is aneutron star with a surface gravity 67 billion times that of Earth, and inhabited by cheela, intelligent creatures that have the volume ofsesame seeds and live a million times faster than humans. Most of the novel, from May to June 2050, chronicles the cheela civilization beginning with its discovery of agriculture to its first face-to-face contact with humans, who are observing the star from orbit.

"Neutron Star" is an English language science fiction short story written by Larry Niven. It was originally published in the August 1966 issue (Issue 107, Vol 16, No 10) of Worlds of If. It was later reprinted in Neutron Star, (New York: Ballantine, 1968, pp. 9-28, ISBN 0-345-29665-6), and Crashlander (New York: Ballantine, 1994, pp. 8-28, ISBN 0-345-38168-8). The story is set in Niven's fictional Known Space universe. It is notable for including a neutron star before their (then hypothetical) existence was widely known.[1][2]

Beowulf Shaeffer, a native of the planet We Made It and unemployed for the last eight months due to a stock market crash, is contracted by a Pierson's Puppeteer, the Regional President of General Products on We Made It, to pilot a General Products-hulled starship, in a close approach about neutron star BVS-1. The Puppeteers want to determine why two previous researchers, Peter and Sonya Laskin, were killed during the previous attempt on a similar mission. Shaeffer has no intention of even attempting the dangerous mission, but agrees anyway – he has other plans. He has the Puppeteers construct what he dubs the Skydiver to his precise specifications, supposedly to ensure he survives to return with the relevant data: an advanced sensor package, a high-powered thruster – and a high-powered laser. It is thus the only warship ever constructed by the cowardly and paranoid alien race – a prize beyond value and a perfect means of escape. However, he is forced into compliance by an operative of the U.N.'s Bureau of Alien Affairs, Sigmund Ausfaller, who has had the Puppeteers install a bomb somewhere inside the Skydiver. Ausfaller informs Schaeffer that if he does not attempt the mission he will be sent todebtors prison, and that if he attempts to escape in the ship the bomb will be detonated within a week – well before he could even reach another planet, let alone find a buyer for the ship. Shaeffer, realizing he is trapped, agrees to fly the mission.


"Neutron Star" is the first to feature Beowulf Shaeffer, the ne'er-do-well ex-pilot and reluctant hero of many of Niven's Known Space stories. It also marked the first appearance of the nearly indestructible General Products starship hull, as well as its creators the Pierson's Puppeteers. The star itself, BVS-1, is featured in the novel Protector (1973), where it is named "Phssthpok's Star". A prelude to the story is also included in the novel Juggler of Worlds

 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 22, 2014 - 8:31am
I've read both of those books.  Highly recommended if you haven't.  (I own the Larry Niven one and would love to get my hands on a copy of Dragon's Egg to reread it).

Yes, neutron stars and pulsars are the same thing.  And neutron stars can have relic planetary systems around them.  In fact, the first extrasolar planets ever discovered were discovered around a pulsar.

However, visiting one is highly hazardous to your health.  They emit a lot of energy in radio and in gamma-rays. They are some of the brightest objects that the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (my work) studies.  The radiation is mostly beamed, however, so it's possible that there are angles you could approach from and be moderately safe.

I too ignore them and pretend they don't exist since their existence means a lot of problems for the Frontier (as an astronomer I guess I just know too much Smile).
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
January 22, 2014 - 10:49am
Maybe they put so many because they are most concentrated along the disk of the Milky Way?

I suppose if you don't like them you could change the star map as the ref as well as ignore them.

I read that this type of star has a very fast rotation but it slows with age but can develop "glitches" in the rotation and actually speed up? I find how the star is described also as interesting, iron surface for starters... makes me wonder what affect the Super Nova that formed it would have on surviving planets elements and form and also what affect the Nuetron Star could have as well (radioactive materials are said to be stable in the star). 

What happens to a Nuetron Star? I did not find that in the article I was reading.

Zwicky... great name might change it up to Z'wiki for one of the Star Systems, I also like Dragon's Egg and a planet named We Made It... sounds like a Star Frontiers place name.
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 22, 2014 - 12:01pm
1) Physical characteristics - Neutron stars are small about 10km in diameter but have the mass of 1.4 to 3 times that of the Sun.  A teaspoon of the stuff (neutronium) that it is made out of weighs buillions and billions (a Sagan) of kilograms.  Neutronium is just matter that has been compressed down to the point that it is all neturons (the electrons and protons have been squished together) and is at the density of atomic nuclei.  If you take the stuff out of the intense gravitational field of the neutron star it flies apart (weak nuclear force)

2) Rotation and glitchs - They start out spinning fast, dozens to hundreds of times a second and slowly slow down as energy is carried away (radio, visible, gamma radiation and magneticly).  Yes they do have glitchs (makes finding light curves for new ones and tracking old ones a pain)  What happens here is that as the neutron star ages and cools, it contracts.  The surface is brittle "real" material, not neutronium, that forms a hard shell.  As the star cools, the underlying layers shrink until this shell isn't supported, then it collapses and reforms a new shell.  The process of collapsing moves material from further out to closer to the center and just like a figure skater pulling in her arms, the star speeds up in its rotation.

3) Eventual end - Left to itsef, it will just slowly cool off, slow down and fade away.  If it can interact with other material, it can acrete more mass and even get "spun up" into a milisecond pulsar (one that rotates nearly 1000 times a second).  If it gathers enough mass (> 3 solar masses) it will turn into a black hole. 

But that's enough astronomy lecture for today, I need to go get issue 7 of the Frontier Explorer on-line.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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Blankbeard's picture
Blankbeard
January 22, 2014 - 2:54pm
If I were making a Frontier like setting (and I will be) I'd probably set it in a young, relatively high metal globular cluster like Palomar 12 or Terzan 7. Since the stars are mostly of about the same age, those pesky supernovas are in the past. Stars tend to be much closer together but I think you could find a frontier sized area out a ways from the core that could support jump routes of a decent length.