Tag Archives: galaxy23

Wreck of Z15A #galaxy23

Today we head back to Mephistopheles Cluster and the giant wreck of Z15A. A wrecked generation ship, Z15A is so named because of where it it is – Z sector, 15th quadrant, largest object in that quadrant, according to first Terran survey of the cluster.

The Z15A main concourse – this large corridor on the very top of the ship is now open to space (Stable Diffusion)

Z15A has a number of notable features – it is huge (over 1000km long), it is apparently still sort of working (there is a breathable nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere in parts) and nobody really truly knows who originally built it.

Major parts of Z15A

In the thousands of rooms, corridors, bays and other spaces of Z15A, there are several that stand out as noteable.

Chi-nith-ra (Great Plain)

A massive space in the centre of the ship, the Chi-nith-ra or Great Plain more resembles a slice of a planet than the spaceship it is. Amazingly, this space retains both an atmosphere and heat, so can be walked around without a space suit.

Ruins of the living quarters on the Great Plain (Stable Diffusion)

During The Closing, inhabitants of several space stations retreated here as systems started failing on their stations. These humans and other species still squat here, despite all efforts to move them.

Shanty town below ruins of living quarters (Stable Diffusion)

There are three distinct settlements within the Great Plain – New Hope is a primarily Human settlement, from the major Solar Compact station as well as few outer colonies. The Halite Commonwealth has formally accepted the small remnant of Qoss and Yishk who live in Britli-kat as part of the Commonwealth, although no other power recognizes their de-facto ownership and control over this part of the ship.

Lastly the reclusive Bredensonee, a large herbivorous species that resembles a bipedal woolly mammoth, have a large settlement in the far stern end of the plain. They are a descendants of a large family ship that was caught in the cluster due to The Closing on its was to a colony world. By far the most numerous settlement (really settlements), the Bredensonee have resisted efforts by their government to resettle them of Z15A, the suspicion amongst the others who live in Z15A is that this settlement is some type of religious order who may have fled to avoid persecution, although neither they, nor the central Bredensonsee government are saying anything.

Main Concourse

Running down the centre top of the whole ship, from above the bridge at the front to the large docking bay at the rear, the main concourse is almost all open to space.

Docking and Ship Building Bays

A big part of the external parts of Z15A comprise the many docking and ship building bays that befitted a ship of this class. Most of them are empty, possibly when the original inhabitants left the ship, but some are filled with debris and parts of starships.

One of the many ship building bays, filled with junk and debris littered around (Stable Diffusion)

In the explorations of the ship, nobody has of yet found any intact small ships, but it is possible deeper in some of the bays, beyond the debris piles, there are complete starships.

Robots and other automated beasts

While Z15A is very definitely clear of any of the original inhabitants and large parts of it are open to vacuum, the ship is far from dead. The fusion reactors or whatever power the ship still function and the energy signal is very faintly detectable. Some parts of the ship retain atmosphere and heat, notably the vast inside space known as Chi-nith-ra. There are also a fair number of smaller robots that still function, some of which can pack a fair punch.

Security Bots

The stern end of the port side, beyond some empty ship building bays is an area that is shielded and still patrolled by security bots – armed with fairly primitive but highly effect lasers as well as low-velocity slug throwers. They appear to be guarding room that is approximately 500m cubed. It is on the exterior of the ship, with a large bay door that is similarly shielded and armed. Nobody has successfully entered this area and reported back, although it is possible a stealthier mission might have penetrated the defences here.

Security bots can be found scattered throughout the rest of the ship as well, although most are inactive. They appear near what look like former weapons installations (all removed or destroyed) or in a few of the small craft hangers

Cleaning and Repair Bots

Far more numerous are the cleaning and repair bots that function in some parts of the ship. These vary in size from the size of a bread box to large vehicle size, depending on the area. Most of these are harmless, although some malfunction and their tools can be harmful or even lethal.

The Great Plain has a variety of robots that work around it – underneath in the passageways that service the ecosystem

Cliffside monastery of Sheksha-kah on Halite #galaxy23

Today we find ourselves on Halite, the namesake planet of the Halite Commonwealth and homeworld of two separate intelligent species – the related lizard-like Qoss and the snake-like Yishk. On Halite is the cliffside monastery of Sheksha-kah, a famous religious centre in the commonwealth and a common retreat location for the wealthy and powerful to avoid unwanted notice or rehabilitate their image.

The Myth of Othaos

Perched high above the seas below on a narrow ledge, the monastery was founded by famous Halite scholar and skeptic turned prophet Othaos. They (neuter gender Qoss) famously boasted that “The gods don’t exist” and lead a group of atheist scholars that were seeking to unseat the orthodoxy.

Legend says (as told by Othaos themselves) that they were on a small boat travelling to Scorzetti when a massive, unseasonable storm suddenly descended upon their little ship. Soon all hope for control was lost as the heavy waves and wind pounded them. For hours the storm raged, pushed them closer and closer to the menacing cliffs they were pushed. Othaos said they prayed to the Goddess Sheksha of the Light Moon (the larger of the two of Halite’s natural satellites) in his time of need.

Othaos’ ship founders in the storm, as the light moon breaks through the clouds (Stable Diffusion)

Shortly after midnight , the Light Moon broke through the clouds and illuminated them, pointing them at a gap in the cliffs. Through that cliff was a small protected beach and stairs up to the ledge high above the seas. Through skillful navigation, the small ship found its way on the beach, nearly swamped.

Othaos promised then and there to build the grandest monastery on Halite, the building that now stands on the ledge to this day. How much of this tale is true is left up to the reader.

Adventure Hooks

As the monastery often hosts the wealthy and powerful who are looking to avoid some public scrutiny or atone for a public failing, the possibilities for adventures include smuggling people or goods out of the monastery, a covert assassination or similar nefarious things. The monastery can only be reached by foot – either up Othaos’ cliffside route or the newer path alongside the cliff. Both are under easy view of the monastery staff at all times, so any party would need excellent skills and some luck to pull off an action. Conversely, if defending the monastery the powerful storms that whip up in the seas below it often prevent easy reinforcements, so if players are defending the monastery, they might need to hold for quite some time with limited resources.

Authors Note: The above is also being rolled into an upcoming Sellswords & Spellslingers source booked tentatively called The Free Cities of the Rift, a Venice-like city in the world of Norindaal

Clouds of Sonnoros #galaxy23

I was going to do a piece on the Halite Commonwealth capital city today, but I thought I would detour with a stop at Sonnoros, a Saturn-like planet in the Halite system home to the intelligent Zennanesh race, a very large floating jellyfish-like species.

Sonnoros with two of its moons (Planet created with the PlanetMaker)

Native hydrogen breathers and from a gas giant, Zennanesh are the first known intelligent species of their type in the galaxy.

Sonnoros also hosts the Halite Legislature (somewhat similar to how the European Union or South Africa used to function, where the executive is hosted in a different city from the legislature)

Halite Legislature building (Stable Diffusion)

Adventure Hooks

As most player characters aren’t capable of either flying or breathing hydrogen, adventures in Sonnoros will be limited to either the main floating stations – often mining stations for rare elements in Sonnoros’ atmosphere, or meeting points. Although the Halite Commonwealth is stable, wealthy and safe, even the richest places have their underbelly.

Players have been approached to smuggle some goods off of a mining platform. They have to move the objects across the table to the airlock (and their ship). The loading dock is busy with civilians, so lethal force is not allowed. Players must create distractions so the port police don’t notice what they are doing.

The Mephistopheles Cloud #galaxy23

Today we turn to an odd enigma – the Mephistopheles Cloud – named for the swirling colours and massive graveyard of ships and space stations that dot the cloud.

An area of space around 1/4 of the AU across, the Mephistopheles Cloud is home to some 15 warp gates and at last catalogue, some 90 years ago, 524 individual space stations or ships, most of which are abandoned. Both Solar Compact (Earth and most of the solar system) and the Halite Commonwealth maintain active stations here, as this is a waypoint to just about anywhere else.

The mystery comes in – how did the warp gates end up here? Nearly every else that has warp gates is by a major gravitational feature – a star or something similar. It wasn’t until after The Opening that a chance discovery lead to the finding of the grooves in space. Somebody dragged every warp gate from the systems many light years around to this cloud. And that “dragging” left telltale grooves in the universe.

Adventure Hooks

  1. The biggest ship here is the generation ship Z15A. Massing millions of tonnes and some 1000 km long, this is a remnant of an alien race leaving their dying sun.
Bridge of the Z15A (stable diffusion)

Players are tasked with retrieving a lost scavenger party. The ship retains power through fusion generators, so many of the automated systems are still active. Foes include sentry robots and automated cannons, while stasis traps catch the unwary.

Beginning #dungeon23, or in this case, #galaxy23

Like a fool, I (Corey) am throwing myself into #dungeon23 to build a galaxy for my upcoming Sellswords & Spellslingers scifi rulset. I’ll be creating a planet or so a week, with locations added each day

Hicanede

Today we visit, Hicanede, a mining colony famous for its incredible snowstorms and deep orange sky. The planet is incredibly rich in minerals that are rare elsewhere, and most of those deposits are easily accessible right below the surface. Massive open pit mines dot the planet, some recent and still being worked, others abandoned at various stages, including some after The Closing (the event when most warp gates closed at the same time)

Vast open pit mine on Hicanede (image from Stable Diffusion)

Adventure hook

Strange radio transmissions have been received from a long-closed mine. Players will need to investigate it. The mine was abandoned well before the Closing, but has been worked intermittently since then.

Foes include corrupted zombies, potentially also including a rival salvage crew.

The Closing (added Jan 3rd)

Travel in our galaxy involves using warp gates – instantaneous travel between linked pairs of gates, usually in solar systems. Most of these gates can be found in the 5 to 10 AU range from the star (between Jupiter and Saturn), although they have been found inside stars and scattered throughout the galaxy.

The event now known as The Closing actually began about 10 years before the event itself, as astrocartographers began noticing gates fluctuating and blinking on and off, initially seemingly at random.

A year or so before the closing, the blinking began happening consistently, each gate closing for 48.61 minutes at a time. The discovery that this was 1/1200 of the rotation time of the pulsar X-45JB was discovered by the AIs at the Martian National Radio Observatory, observing this strange pulsar with an orbital period of days rather than seconds.

X-45JB as captured by Cho-Lo artist Loh-Fen a few years before the Closing (stable diffusion)

The Closing is now known to have begun with X-45JB stopping for a full rotational cycle. At that very moment, around 75% of all gates shut. And stayed shut, for nearly 75 years. The chaos this caused is incalculable. Billions are believed to have died in the upheaval that followed, as stellar nations suddenly became chopped apart. Many newly settled worlds failed, as the lack of new people and resources meant they didn’t come.

And then, just like they closed, the gates reopened. It is now 3 years since that event and people and ships are flooding through the reopened gates. Alliances and wars are being fought over territory, while many planets are still as of yet officially unrecontacted.

Adventure Hooks

Dreglo Landing, the capital city of Halite Commonwealth (stable diffusion)

Just about any type of adventure is possible now. Earth and the Solar System, long self-sufficient, weathered the closing well. Charismatic leadership kept the Solar System intact as a single political body. Similarly, the Halite Commonwealth got extremely lucky – only 1 of the 5 gates for their main planets of Speibahi and Dreglo shut, meaning they expanded quickly. However, hundreds of other planets exist in states from totally uninhabited through to struggling with pre-warp or pre-space tech.