I need to flesh out a planet, just looking for ideas please

chevelless's picture
November 23, 2008 - 8:53pm
Ok so I have check out this site alot. It seems I'm not the only old school geek out there. Anyway, with all the great info on here I was hopeing i could get some feedback on fleshing out a planet. The articles in the starfrontiersman are really great and I was curious to how the planet maps were generated? As in volume2. Also, not being a rocket scientist, I was curious if the various star types have bearing on what systems can and cannot be habitable. Currently my small campaign (just the wife and I) is going to be on timeon for a bit, so I want to flesh out the whole system, but I'm having a creative block on creation at the moment(God just made it look simple and all) so any answers or comments on creation methods would be appreciated. I'm not much of a scientist, more of a mechanic type so my thoughts just are not pulling together well.
  On a side note, the vehicle info in the Equipment project streamlined my somewhat long system, so many thanks to whomever set that up. I was, and am, trying to combine that set up with the tanks alot article to put together a full set of guidelines to armoring and arming vehicles. If I can pull it all together I would like to submit it and try to comtribute to the cause. I have gotten so much great info from this site I would like to try and contribute somethig back.
  Ok, if you made it this far, thanks in advance and thanks for helping in the continuation of a great game.

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
November 23, 2008 - 9:19pm
There is a link to a fractal planet generator used in the webzine on this site somewhere.... I should bookmark it. Undecided

Just have fun, it does not have to be heavy science.
And God won't mind, He created us to be little creator's. :-)

There is a habitable zone around a planet's home star - which varies with the type of star.
I started a Random Planet porject here. if you want to join and check it out. There is code in that project where you can make your own generator - in fact it's the same used here.

We would Tank you A Lot for any work you have - espically vehicles!

chevelless's picture
November 23, 2008 - 10:03pm
sweet thanks. I'm glad this site has good humored people. I'll try to get those guidelines together and coherent to read. Right now there a mess of notes and articles on my desk.

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
November 24, 2008 - 12:23pm
Here are some planet building considerations.

(By the way - this looks like a great basis for a Frontiersman Article!  Larry, are you listening?)

Temperature :  How warm is the planet?  If it is hot, is there a danger of radiation?

Gravity : You are best off here working from Earth.  1G = Earth.  Move from there.  Be careful - if you allow your players to jump around like the Incredible Hulk, they will do so, with possibly unforeseen consequences for your campaign.  Not that you can't have a low grav planet, of course, but just make sure you work in the details.

Atmosphere : There are several different types here - none, minimal, toxic, or earth-like.  Do the PCs need breathers?  Can they cook up a serum to make them immune to the poisonous atmosphere?  How do the locals and animals deal with the hostile gases?  Do the PCs need enviro suits, just gas masks, or nothing at all?  Are there moons?  If so, do they effect the planet in any meaningful way (ie tides?)

Life : What kind of critters are on the planet?  Which of them are a threat to the PCs?  Or is the planet barren and lifeless?  Are the critters in herds, or colonies, or do they wander around alone?  Are they nocturnal?

Sentients :  Does any of the life have a higher intelligence than animal?  What is the nature of their society?  Where and how do they live?  What do they eat?  Who is in charge?  What are the values of the society?  What is their political situation?

Geographic Structure : Is there liquid water?  Where are the landmasses?  How big are they?  Are there valuable minerals?  Are there forests and mountains, rivers and lakes?  Keep in mind that any sentient life on the planet will take this geography very seriously.  If primitive, they may even view certain areas as sacred or as gods. 

Phenomena :  Does the planet get visited by advanced aliens?  Are there storms, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, or tornadoes?  Do solar flares or lightning come down and ignite fires?  What is the wind like?

Use Earth as a baseline guide, and work from there.  Feel free to be creative, but make sure that what you do makes sense.  A village on top of a giant mountain is not going to be feasible unless there are sources of sustenance - food and water. 

If your planet has "feasibility gaps" then your players may exploit them and mess up your story, so take the time to make sure your planet makes sense. 

Be prepared!

TerlObar's picture
November 24, 2008 - 12:18pm
The stellar type does influence whether or not the planet can be habitable.  Or at least where the planet has to be relative to the star in order to be habitable.  Cools stars require that the planet be closer in to be warm enough and big hot ones require you to be further out, thus affecting the length of a "year" on the planet.  Also, the bluer stars have more radiation that inhabitants have to deal with.

In fact, Earth is just at the outer edge of Sol's habitable zone.  If it wasn't for the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere the Earth would be too cold for life (average temp of about -30 C).  In fact, if it wasn't for greenhouse gasses produced by human industry (and here I'm talking about things starting with the culitivation of rice in China ~8000 years ago) the natural greenhouse gases wouldn't even be enough and we'd be in the middle of another ice age right now (and would have been for the past 5000 years).
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Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
November 24, 2008 - 2:59pm
Who's says the human race doesn't have a greenhouse thumb?


Brian, great idea. I'd like to see some d100 and d10 tables with that. We love to roll on 'em.
I got overwhelmed with the enormity of the stuff involved to generate a star system and planet. I should have picked one and finished.

jedion357's picture
December 3, 2008 - 3:29am
The space master rules from Iron Crown has some really really anal set of charts for randomly rolling up a star system with tons of extra info that has no effect per se on the game (Star Frontiers rules not neccessarily Space Master) but it ends up being nice fluff for a system read out to give to the players.

Also Dire Press has a set of free tools for fantasy and SF games: SF Name Generator, SF World Generator, Star System Generator- the world generator does some seriously cool fractile maps which are based off complicated math theory that produces natural looking nature environments in any computer game thats current. Site is here: http://direpress.bin.sh/tools/

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

chevelless's picture
December 3, 2008 - 7:50pm
jedi, you rock. thats the map i was looking for. thanks for the link