Welcome back to DECK OF FRIDAYS, our weekly feature here at FATE SF. We make a draw from the Deck of Fate, RPG Inspiration Cards, or another Aspect-generative randomizer. Then we do something interesting with it, using the Aspect as inspiration for a campaign or scenario seed, a situation, scene, location, NPC, thingie, etc.
This week, we are continuing a planet generation project we began yesterday. We made a series of rolls using the Planet Generator rules in Chapter 26 of Starblazer Adventures. Then we asked readers to contribute their speculations and help interpret the rolls.
Today, we are putting those comments together, and drawing a card from the Deck of Fate to help further flesh out the world. From the card we drew, we'll be using the Aspect Uninspired.
Part of the Linebarger survey series, the dwarf planet LB 1968117-G is the seventh planet in orbit around a red giant star. It is the outermost planet before the large asteroid belt surrounding the system. The planet, ironically known as Deep Gee, only has a gravity of about .35G. It's a metal-rich planetoid covered by a thinning layer of ice.
The planet's three small moons, which are actually ancient terraforming machines of unknown origin, concentrate and augment the distant sun's radiation, focusing it on the planet's ice layer. The ice sublimes and chemically degrades under the radiation lens effect of the moons, releasing a thin layer of oxygen which steadily bleeds into space. Current projections are that the remaining planetary surface ice will be gone within a few decades.
In deep crevices and fissures on the surface of Deep Gee, the oxygen is concentrated enough to be thin-but-breathable - with many impurities, some of which are organic. The planet has a faint ring system with this same water-oxygen-organic mix, albeit once again frozen. Most settlements on the planet are built in these fissures in order to harvest, filter, and purify the available atmosphere.
While located far coreward of the Empire (and indeed coreward of the R.U.R.), the planet has a fairly sizable human population of 6,310 miners, prospectors, and scientists. They live in cliffside/subterranean settlements built within the gloomy fissures, which provide protection from the radiation emitted by the moons.
Human settlements are highly functional but entirely uninspired in their design. No one would come here for a holiday, or work here if they had better employment or research prospects. The suicide rate is between 3 and 5% per year in the different settlements; no one is doing anything about this, and bringing the matter up just results in indignant muttering about "Ghost Wolves." The locals are obsessive about never being alone, which has caused some odd variations in privacy norms and resulting "personal" accommodations - double beds only, double restroom stalls, and no one-person vehicles. All private spaces are designed for a minimum of two persons only.
Many of the settlements were built on top of more ancient settlements constructed hundreds of years ago by others - presumably by other species. There are a few variations in the paleo-settlements' designs, which has led xenoarchaeologists at the Nexialist Institute in G-Port (the largest fissure-settlement) to conclude that up to four distinct races may have explored this planetoid in the past.
The planet's only industry is mining, which gives the Deep Gee its Good (0) rating in Resources (industrial). The overall Technology Level of this world is Poor (-1), meaning that trade is a necessity in order to keep mining and life support equipment functioning. Tunnels and mines run below the surface in many directions. Miners extract metals, as well as interesting and sometimes dangerous alien junk from vast subsurface vaults that the locals call "Shrines." Most Shrine locations are jealously guarded secrets held by an individual prospector and a small team of miners. Several stasis boxes have been recovered from these Shrines.
In a few settlements, including G-Port, all subsurface extraction is done by the Autonomous Subsurface Assemblies (ASAs): collectives of ancient R.U.R. mining robots who were on the planet before humans arrived. The ASAs are known to be hostile to intruders mining or prospecting in the deep areas that the collectives claim for themselves. Instead, the robots bring ore to the surface (but only very rarely alien artifacts), and trade allotments of ore for items that either interest them (e.g., data crystals on various subjects including a variety of texts in extinct alien languages) or for replacement parts, tools, and equipment that the collectives require for self-repair and the maintenance/expansion of their own habitats.