Story Seed – Alien Planet

This story seed introduces a habitable alien planet. In many cases this can be a planet in our own solar system such as Mars, Venus or even the moon. Alternatively it could be a mysterious planet X that has just been discovered. Interstellar flight would normally be considered inauthentic for a steampunk setting, with so much unknown about the existing planets in our solar system there are plenty of possibilities. Mars is the most prominent candidate for alien life in the steam age because of what was observed to be canals in the surface of the planet.

With this seed the players will either have to travel to the alien planet or they are transported against their will to it. Often some new form of energy is cited as the mode of travel when man is able to fly to other planets. Unless the characters are provided transport, one of them may have to invent one if they haven’t already in character creation.

All of the known planets in our solar system were discovered by the mid 1800’s (except Pluto which is a dwarf planet).

Mars

Mars was thought to be a dying planet with an ancient civilization because of the extensive canal system that seemed to criss cross it’s surface. Of all the planets, Mars was thought to be the most likely candidate to have the technology to visit Earth.

Because our name for the planet is the name of the Roman god of war, it was often speculated that the inhabitants of Mars must have been very militaristic. Although the logic behind this thinking would seem to be flawed, it never the less was commonly cited.

Moon

In the early 19th century in the stories of the time it is supposed that the Moon can be reached by balloon or some kind of airship. By the latter half of the 19th century writers begin to realize that more extraordinary methods are needed to get high enough to reach the Moon.

The Moon is frequently inhabited by all manner of creatures even though it is often depicted as rocky and barren of green vegetation.

Venus

Because of Venus is completely covered in cloud, it was assumed that the vast majority of the planet was covered in swamp or in ocean. Venus is used frequently in the period literature as a stormy wet planet. Inhabitants are often simply unusual animals similar to those in Earth’s prehistoric past.

By 1922 it had been proven that Venus’ heavy cloud cover was not water and so scientifically the chance that Venus was a water world became unlikely. Some scientist then proposed a dessert world but this did not catch on in popular literature.

Jupiter

It was frequently supposed that since Jupiter was so much bigger than Earth, any inhabitants must be enormous also. Possibly living much longer because their years were so much longer.

Jupiter is often depicted as a solid planet with dinosaur like life on it.

Saturn

As with Jupiter the inhabitants of Saturn were imagined to be large creatures. Saturn is sometimes inhabited in stories of the time but often it is rocky and desolate.

Other Stars

There are mentions of beings from other stars in stories of the time so the concept is not completely out of the picture but traveling to other stars is considered to be a vast beyond. Godlike aliens far more advanced than man can make the journey, possibly by catching a beam of light (as in Voltaire’s Micromegas).

Mechanical Considerations

Large sentient creatures need to be much stronger than man and this obviously means a high Strength attribute but Strength Methods should also be more effective. To accomplish this, large aliens (up to twice the size of a man) get a +1 to all Strength Methods. Very large aliens (twice to three times the size of man) get a +3 to all Strength methods. Gargantuan aliens (three to ten times bigger) get a +5 to all Strength Methods.

Other attributes may be treated similarly if for instance an ancient race has great intellect, their Intelligence attribute and methods may be boosted accordingly.

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