Vir's Archive

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dwarf Planets, Giant Problems (Content)


Something I talked about earlier - and I will talk about again - is the idea of "potential energy" for the setting of TDE.  What I mean by the phrase is that I want the setting, as written, to be a snapshot of a very dynamic place with a lot of things going on.  TDE should be a setting in motion once the players are introduced.  Like a held drawstring, there is a lot of energy waiting to explode once the right catalyst is added -- and the right catalyst should always be the PCs.

So, here is an example of that potential energy: the Huns.  The Huns present the PCs with a number of heroic (and challenging) things to do.  There is a looming natural disaster, a refugee crisis, and while not mentioned int he entry below -- some very dire political machinations that could mean social upheaval on Mars.

Its up to the PCs to resolve one or more of those crises -- for good or ill.


The Huns: Venus, which is the most recently settled inner planet, was just starting to hit its stride in 2126 when it was positively identified that a massive collection of migratory asteroids are heading right for Venus.  The asteroids, nicknamed the "Huns," were originally detected in the Oort cloud as early as the 2080s -- slightly off the ecliptic.  The significance of the discovery was not, at first, identified.  The odd behavior of the distant Huns was attributed to an eccentric orbit around the sun.  In the end, it was their unusual positioning helped mask the Huns until they began transiting close to the core system.  The danger the Huns present was finally confirmed late 2180s when scientists revealed that the Huns would travel into the inner system.  Numerous trajectory analyses were made, with most indicating that the Huns would miss the inner planets or possibly hit fast-moving Mercury.  Scientists were initially more concerned about the Huns’ gravitic influence on settled space.  Further study as the Huns started to transition past Pluto raised a number of concerns, as newer trajectory estimates had the likelihood of the Huns hitting Venus jump into the more-likely-than-not range.  

The primary Huns (Genghis and Attila) acts as sweepers for smaller planetary objects like asteroids and comets -- which are called "kith-warriors."   The leading theory on the appearance of the Huns is that they were larger planets that were ejected from a supernova explosion.  Their expulsion, many millennia ago, put them on a trajectory near to the Sun, which captured them and brought them into its gravity well.  

As of 2191 the Huns are between Jupiter and the main belt and continuing to head in-System.  There are about 4 years before the intersection of Venus and the Huns.  Thus, the System now struggles with a growing refugee crisis as a large number of Venusians seek new homes.  Of course, Earth doesn't want them (it maintains a very carefully controlled population numbers) and Mars/Mercury/Jupiter can only absorb a certain amount.  Cue low-level conflict by the desperate refugees, food shortages, looting, and whatnot on selected stations and aerostats.  


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I want a lot of bits of potential energy seeded throughout TDE.  Wars, political crises, hostage situations, peace keeping, social upheavals... they will all be in there.  I want to give the PCs and the GM a lot of ideas on what they can, and should, do with the setting.

Oh, and Canada? Where you at?  Since I am basically an honorary Canadian by now - more of you should be reading this blog.  Over the weekend I think I got 3 total pageviews from your great country.  Booo.