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Beneath Alien Waves


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The setting I am currently working on is a colony on water world in the "Ho-

norverse" of David Weber's books.

The biosphere of this planet has been destroyed by a "nearby" supernova ex-

plosion, and the colonists are now re-building a viable biosphere by introdu-

cing various marine creatures, for example (non-intelligent) dolphins, wrilla-

bees (from the Ringworld RPG), whale sharks and so on.

I am still looking for other interesting and unusual sea life of the kind prudent

colonists might want to have on their world (= no "monsters"), and perhaps

one of you could give me a hint where to search ?

Of course I am also very interested in science fiction marine technology of al-

most any kind. Currently I am using GURPS material (GURPS Vehicles etc.) to

design the infrastructure, vehicles and equipment of the colonists as well as

the "space infrastructure" which connects them with the known universe, but

I would appreciate any information about other potential sources for the de-

velopment of the setting.

Well, and if there is anything else you would recommend for a setting of that

kind, please just let me know.

Thank You !

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Yes of course - but "nearby" in this case means about 50 light years, and

the astronomer I asked was quite convinced that in this case the radiation

would kill of the plankton (and with it almost all life forms except those in

the deep sea trenches with their own food supply from chemosynthesis in-

stead of photosynthesis), but would not really damage the planet itself.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Yes of course - but "nearby" in this case means about 50 light years, and

the astronomer I asked was quite convinced that in this case the radiation

would kill of the plankton (and with it almost all life forms except those in

the deep sea trenches with their own food supply from chemosynthesis in-

stead of photosynthesis), but would not really damage the planet itself.

I guess I would have to check, but to be honest it doesn't really matter that much, if it's not 50 you can make 100 or 500...

You can also find some other local problem (in the planet) to kill out all life (volcanic activity, meteorite collision). It's just that a supernova is quite a drastic measure just to eliminate a few carbon units.

But in any case, it's your setting so it's up to you.

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Well, I decided to use the supernova because it has the added advantage

that it provides me with an "empty quarter" in space, a region where the

colonists have no immediate rivals, and where they can discover relics of

spacefaring cultures destroyed by the supernova.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Yes, it took my colonists almost thirty years to rebuild the plankton-fish-food-

chain, and they have just started (after fifty years) to reintroduce some co-

ral reefs - and now they are looking for some more interesting creatures, be-

sides the few dolphins, dugongs, whale sharks and wrillabees they already ha-

ve.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Cephalopodes were no problem, but sea turtles gave and give me some head-

ache, as they need beaches to lay their eggs, and Pharos IV is a pure water

world without any land (and therefore beaches) at all. I have a similar problem

with sea birds, they also need at least some land to reproduce. Artificial isles

might be a solution, but the colony's economy does not (yet) provide the ne-

cessary means to spare resources for such "luxuries".

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Floating islands made of seaweed etc. still have the problem that birds and

turtles need warm and mostly dry sand for their eggs ... they will probably

have to wait some more years before signing on as colonists ...

Sea cucumbers - thank you very much for that information, I just checked it

in the Wikipedia and learned that these creatures indeed provide 90 % (!)

of the entire biomass in the deep sea; obviously important enough to do a

bit more research on them, and perhaps even an interesting potential natu-

ral resource.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Sea cucumbers - thank you very much for that information, I just checked it

in the Wikipedia and learned that these creatures indeed provide 90 % (!)

of the entire biomass in the deep sea; obviously important enough to do a

bit more research on them, and perhaps even an interesting potential natu-

ral resource.

You can also eat them. I remember being fed them in Japan - one of the few foods over there I didn't actually like. They're kind of disgustingly slug-like in their natural state, specially on a plate - but apparently they're food! :shocked:

But - from a natural resource / biomass POV, they could be very important. With "flavour enhancers"... :D

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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  • 2 weeks later...

Over the years there have been various "undersea environment" supplements

for some of the RPGs (D&D, Transhuman Space, Traveller, etc.), with rules

for activities under water, equipment and sea creatures.

However, up to now I was unable to find out whether something of this kind

was ever produced for one of the BRP-based games, be it fantasy or science

fiction.

If you know of any such material (I am especially interested in unusual "non-

monster" sea creatures like the Wrillabees from the Ringworld RPG ...), could

you please let me know ?

Thank You !

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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The problem I see is that so much of Earth oceanic life depends on relatively shallow water near the coasts to survive. For example, squid may live in the depths, but octopi, crustaceans, trilobites,and marine worms need shallow water with rocky caves or other cover to survive. In the same way, think of all the other species that need shallow water to spawn or who depend on plants growing in sunny shallow coastal waters (including coral reefs and volcanic islands). The truly deep, cold oceans are deserts whose food chain depends on plankton floating on the surface. But much of plankton consists of the beforementioned spawn: tiny eggs and larvae. Whales and sharks may roam the deep, but the fish they live on have to spawn somewhere, and whales need relatively warm shallow water for calving. If your planet is all deep, dark water, where does seaweed grow (if it grows)? Where do corals and barnacles attach themselves?

This isn't to criticize your idea but to point out that the environment would be truly alien, and that your poor colonists have their work cut out for them. They couldn't just introduce terrestrial species. They'd have to build the whole ecosystem from scratch based only on deep water critters. And some of those might be "monsters." A giant squid, shark, or marine reptile is plenty scary to me. And it would be a shame not to have at least a few remnants of the planet's original fauna lurking around somewhere.

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You are right, and indeed only few creatures from Earth (e.g. drifting sea

weed, deep sea coral, dolphin, whale shark) have made it to Pharos IV.

All other introduced plants and animals came "from other colonized planets",

which means I had to invent them. Fortunately there is a friendly marine bio-

logist on another forum who lends me a helping hand now and then, by tel-

ling me which of my ideas is possible, and which is nonsense.

And yes, there are some remnants of the native fauna. Most are rather un-

interesting (snails, worms, etc.), but there are also the so-called "octopoids"

which inhabit the deep sea trenches of the planet (and which, in fact, are

not native at all - but this would be a very long story about undiscovered

ruins and previous alien visitors).

So, Pharos IV really is a truly alien environment, but this is exactly what I had

hoped for: An interesting world to build, and a true challenge for the players.

My only serious problem is that I seem to be running out of truly good ideas

for animals and plants before Pharos IV is sufficiently "stocked" ...

Thank you very much for your remarks !

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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  • 3 months later...

Yes of course - but "nearby" in this case means about 50 light years, and

the astronomer I asked was quite convinced that in this case the radiation

would kill of the plankton (and with it almost all life forms except those in

the deep sea trenches with their own food supply from chemosynthesis in-

stead of photosynthesis), but would not really damage the planet itself.

A supernova at a respectable distance from an earthlike world ( light years away)would most likely destroy the ozone layer. UV resistant organisms, genetically engineered, would be a good thing to have or artificial creation of ozone high in the atmosphere by laser induced ionisation (using satellites) would solve this problem.

http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
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Thank you very much for the feedback ! :)

Here is how I imagined the situation to develop in my setting:

The destruction of the ozone layer was an important part of the reasons for

the mass extinction event on my Pharos IV water world, with the UV radiati-

on killing much of the sea surface plankton, although most of the aquatic spe-

cies had less problems with UV radiation, because they were protected by

the water layer above them. They died because there was no more plankton

to feed on.

Since the supernova happened several centuries ago, and the star Pharos is

an F type star with a high amount of UV radiation in its spectrum, the ozone

layer has at least partially been restored naturally before the colonists arri-

ved.

However, the UV radiation level on Pharos IV is still very high, and the colo-

nists have to protect themselves accordingly.

As the colony is not exactly a wealthy one, the colonists probably will just

wait for the natural ozone layer to rebuild itself. It would be an interesting

idea to speed this up with laser satellites or thelike, but currently I do not

see how the colony could afford this.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Thank you very much for the feedback ! :)

Here is how I imagined the situation to develop in my setting:

However, the UV radiation level on Pharos IV is still very high, and the colo-

nists have to protect themselves accordingly.

As the colony is not exactly a wealthy one, the colonists probably will just

wait for the natural ozone layer to rebuild itself. It would be an interesting

idea to speed this up with laser satellites or thelike, but currently I do not

see how the colony could afford this.

Nicely imagined background. I hope that you can find the time to post a write up of it into the files section of this site. I'd love to read more about Pharos IV. Space is always the place!;)

http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
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I'd love to read more about Pharos IV.

Thank you very much ! :)

The problem with my Pharos IV setting is the language - it is in German. :(

I really intend to translate it one day, but currently I am unfortunately too

busy with other things ... :o

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Thank you very much ! :)

The problem with my Pharos IV setting is the language - it is in German. :(

I really intend to translate it one day, but currently I am unfortunately too

busy with other things ... :o

Errrrrrrr... Ich sprechen ein kleine Deusche. Did I get that in any way near understandable?:o

http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
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Did I get that in any way near understandable ?

Yes, near enough. :)

If you think that German would not be a major problem, you could send me a

PM with your E-Mail address, and I would send you the material (currently 3

PDFs with together ca. 70 pages and 6 maps / sketches) in return.

By the way, if anyone else should be interested, too, just drop me a PM, and

I will send you the material.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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