interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

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Tom Kalbfus
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interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:47 pm

First I will define the terms:
Interstellar Milieu is a space opera involving a faster than light drive, with many thousands of star systems, that are little more than a dot in a hex, a Starport and World codes, there are so many worlds out there that most player characters are only familiar with the starport and its environs, it is a port of call just like an island in the ocean, even though its an entire planet.
Examples of an Interstellar Milieu are Traveller, Star Trek, Star Wars, one thing they all have in common is a way to get around the speed of light restriction, where it be Jump Drive, hyper drive, warp drive, or wormholes, we need some violation of the known laws of physics or a loop hole if you like in order to quickly visit these thousands of star systems in play, each star system has a main world and a gas giant for refueling in the case of classic Traveller, and most of the time we don't care about the rest of the System

The Planetary Romance originates from a time when we knew little about our Solar System besides what could be seen through optical telescopes, a lot of this dates to the 19th and early 20th centuries, All we knew about Venus was that it was surrounded by impenetrable clouds, so it provided a blank slate for our fertile imagination of what could possible lie underneath those clouds. We knew that Venus was closer to the Sun, so we could guess that it was probably warmer than Earth, this conjured up images of a tropical jungle or swamp, and with all those clouds, we could imagined it rained all the time or very frequently, we associated that planet with prehistoric Earth, imagined something like dinosaurs, and also some mythological elements came into play as well.

Mars by contrast was mostly cloud free, but our telescopes were small, and we had to see through a turbulant atmosphere, and good seeing nights for viewing the red planet were rare, so Mars appeared as a blurry red disk with different colorations, some darker and some lighter, our eyes played tricks on us in in our minds we connected those dark patches we saw with some straight lines, and they became the Martian canals. Planetary Romance usually involves just two planets Mars and Venus, though sometimes the Moon has habitable caverns underneath with strange monsters, but mostly it was just Mars and Venus. Mars as a World of Canals a dying desert world with ancient cities, Venus was a Jungle/Swamp world. Now as more information became available about our Solar System, we learned that Venus was a dry hell hole and Mars was cold and lifeless with a thin barely existent atmosphere, the interests of science fiction writers turned to the stars, they had to get around that pesky light speed limit, and then thousands of stars with unknown planetary systems became available to set various stories, and we all know how that led to various settings including the Classic Traveller campaign, it was easier to have a 2 dimensional map, because 3 dimensional space on the scale we wanted to map it contained just too many stars, millions of them, and we couldn't possible map them all on a sheet or even several sheets of paper.

We can go back to Planetary Romance, the one suspension of disbelieve, instead of finding a way around the speed of light is that Mars and Venus are habitable and inhabited, if we can change that basic assumption of our solar system, then we're ready to roll, it requires living in an alternate Universe, but the laws of physics can remain as we know them, no FTL drives required, as we don't really need to visit the stars when we can just hop on over to the planet next door. To me a Planetary Romance is a natural Tech Level 8 setting, the equipment and spaceships are just a little more advanced than what we have today. It is all fiction anyway. Mars and Venus as we know aren't habitable, but with terraforming, they could be. The people doing the terraforming could be us, or alternately they could be someone else, the second option gives us a fantastic place to explore and the mystery of the aliens that did all the planetary engineering and then left, plenty of ruins to explore, many monsters to fight. What do you think of the possibility of a Planetary Romance, with of course a hard science physic edge to it, as a roll playing game setting, a lot of the traveller rules can be used as is. I think there is some leeway to throw in things of more advenaced tech levels like artificial intelligence of course. having a serviceable rifle, maybe a laser rifle is a must.

What do you think?
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby phavoc » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:25 pm

Nothing wrong with planetary romance. But if you are keeping things at TL8, you'll need to do some more rearranging of your stellar cartography if you want to keep things in the believable tech range.

The first is going to be having your planets in the habitability zone of the star. Sure, you could still have different climates, but they are all going to orbit roughly in the same zone as Earth does (give or take). With an elliptical orbit and a few other mechanics you get about 2AU with Sol as your example sun. This would change with a different star.

Now if you added in a second sun, or say a proto-star where Jupiter is, you would get additional zones for life to exist.

The reason I mention this is because we simply don't have the ability to shift around the mass necessary to even think about terraforming another planet today, unless we were to think in hundreds of years. And to do so would take the combined might of the world to achieve (or the larger industrial parts of it). Which might mean there would be less conflict and thus less adventuring in your gaming system.

You could, also, simply toss things out the window and have a TL-8 planet plucked out of space and placed upon the surface of a ringworld (or Dyson's sphere for more possibilities) and then you could easily mix all kinds of planetary goodies, repleat with alien cultures and other things that would never normally see one another except in interstellar contact. At that point just about anything imaginable is possible - and all without space travel or getting around your TL-8 limits.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:38 pm

phavoc wrote:Nothing wrong with planetary romance. But if you are keeping things at TL8, you'll need to do some more rearranging of your stellar cartography if you want to keep things in the believable tech range.

The first is going to be having your planets in the habitability zone of the star. Sure, you could still have different climates, but they are all going to orbit roughly in the same zone as Earth does (give or take). With an elliptical orbit and a few other mechanics you get about 2AU with Sol as your example sun. This would change with a different star.

Now if you added in a second sun, or say a proto-star where Jupiter is, you would get additional zones for life to exist.

The reason I mention this is because we simply don't have the ability to shift around the mass necessary to even think about terraforming another planet today, unless we were to think in hundreds of years. And to do so would take the combined might of the world to achieve (or the larger industrial parts of it). Which might mean there would be less conflict and thus less adventuring in your gaming system.

You could, also, simply toss things out the window and have a TL-8 planet plucked out of space and placed upon the surface of a ringworld (or Dyson's sphere for more possibilities) and then you could easily mix all kinds of planetary goodies, repleat with alien cultures and other things that would never normally see one another except in interstellar contact. At that point just about anything imaginable is possible - and all without space travel or getting around your TL-8 limits.
Well with Mars, there is something called the Greenhouse effect, the main problem with Mars is it tends to lose atmosphere over time, but if it had an atmosphere with about the same mass as Earth, it would stack higher under Martian gravity, it would attenuate more gradually than on Earth, that is if the Martian sea level air pressure was the same as on Earth, you would have to climb a mountain three times as high as mount Everest to get the same air pressure as at the top of Mount Everest on Earth. Mount Everest is 8,848 meters high above sea level, Olympus Mons, the highest mountain on Mars is 25,000 meters high, it is indeed about three times as high as Mount Everest on Earth! So to climb Olympus Mons on a Terraformed Mars, you would need the same gear as to climb Mount Everest on Earth. The Greenhouse effect is affected by the gasses that make up the atmosphere as well as the atmospheric thickness, and under Martian gravity, an Earthlike atmosphere would extend three times as high. So why is Mars the way it is now? 1) lack of magnetic field, 2) its crust is too think there is only one crustal plate, so very little geologic activity, namely Earthquakes and crustal movements, the shield volcanoes argue for vulcanism, but Mars isn't very volcanically active. Olympus Mons is so huge because it is billions of years old, there is no volcano that old on Earth, and Olympus has stayed in the same place on Mars over that same volcanic hot spot the entire time, and there was very little weather to erode that mountain, so it gradually got huge, that and the one third gravity of course.

Venus has another problem, it is too close to the Sun and so suffered a runaway greenhouse effect, plus it had no magnetic field, so the solar wind disassociated water molecules in the upper atmosphere and they hydrogen escaped, the remaining oxygen combined with carbon in the crust to produce 92 crushing atmospheres of carbon-dioxide at a temperature hot enough to melt lead! To make Venus a primeaval paradise, you have to put back all they hydrogen it lost and then you have to shade the planet to prevent the runwaway greenhouse effect from happening again. Venus is already shaded by its clouds, but we need 100% cloud cover at a lower temperature, some aliens can probably arrange for such an artificial cloud layer, and from space, Venus would look much the same through optical telescopes in the 19th century.

I do not want to altern history on Earth very much, so I want to keep the history of Earth about the same until we would have discovered the true natures of Mars and Venus, that pretty much covers the entire history of the Earth up until World War II, and a little beyond. To solve the little matter of interplanetary travel, I'll have a couple visitors from Classic Traveller Charted Space give the local tech level a little boost. Basically the time of this campaign is a parallel 2015 where there is common interplanetary travel, humans and other creatures that are not so human are discovered on both Mars and Venus, though they have different cultures and speak different languages

The physical appearance of the Martians are that they are tall, standing between 7 and 8 feet tall, and have pale skin, because of the Martian distance from the Sun and the three times thick ozone layer that blocks out most of the UV rays that do manage to reach Mars. Venusian humans look much like Earth humans, they average about a couple inches taller than Earth humans due to the lighter gravity on Venus, complexions range from Caucasian to medium brown skin, I am tempted to include a race of intelligent reptiles as well as dinosaurs, and perhaps some large carnivorous plants similar to the Venus flytrap and others.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:40 am

Planetary Romance settings do not need any changes in how we think of our universe, since they are played in another universe setting. Players just need to be familiar with 1890's sci-fi, and rename the TL descriptions and Traveller skill names is all.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:23 am

Planetary Romances were still being written in the 1970s, possibly later.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Rick » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:12 am

Sorry, but the term 'Planetary Romance' is a purely 20th century term for what the 19th century called 'Scientific Romance' stories, although it has been used more often to refer to the fantasy/pulp sci-fi genre, set on planets (obviously), rather than 'harder' sci-fi.
I know, I'm a pedant, but I happen to like the 'scientific romance' genre and have enjoyed playing Space: 1889 and Sky Galleons of Mars, which are not as 'steampunk-ish' as other systems.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:40 am

Rick wrote:Sorry, but the term 'Planetary Romance' is a purely 20th century term for what the 19th century called 'Scientific Romance' stories, although it has been used more often to refer to the fantasy/pulp sci-fi genre, set on planets (obviously), rather than 'harder' sci-fi.
I know, I'm a pedant, but I happen to like the 'scientific romance' genre and have enjoyed playing Space: 1889 and Sky Galleons of Mars, which are not as 'steampunk-ish' as other systems.
Why not go with Spelljammer then? Spelljammer and Space 1889 share one thing in common pseudo-physics.
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The planets are very much like Space 1889, only my means of getting there are very much 21st century, I don't bend the laws of physics to allow a 19th century civilization to get there, Spelljammer bends it even more. Though there is teleportation which John Carter uses.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Rick » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:29 pm

No, I'm quite happy using Space: 1889 for the 'scientific romance' genre thanks.
I was just correcting your definition of terms (a bit pedantically, I'll admit), that was all. As GypsyComet pointed out, 'planetary romances' are not limited to this solar system or to a time when more information was known from other planets. So basically - around 1912-1970's really; before then, in the C19th you had the 'scientific romance'.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:13 pm

Rick wrote:No, I'm quite happy using Space: 1889 for the 'scientific romance' genre thanks.
I was just correcting your definition of terms (a bit pedantically, I'll admit), that was all. As GypsyComet pointed out, 'planetary romances' are not limited to this solar system or to a time when more information was known from other planets. So basically - around 1912-1970's really; before then, in the C19th you had the 'scientific romance'.
Essentially then, My Triplanetary Setting is Space 1889 set in the 21st century, and without the special tweeks to the laws of physics that allowed 19th century people to travel in space and visit Mars and Venus. Triplanetary Mars is very similar to Space 1889 Mars, though I try to stay away from the rubber suit aliens, if the Martians are humanoids, I might as well make them humans, I don't make up parallel evolution explanations for them or pretend that Mars and Venus are natural planets that Earth is in this setting. To a 19th century man, it would not be a total shock to discover Mars had life and they were similar to humans, after all, to the Christian 19th century way of thinking, we were made in God's Image, and why wouldn't Venusians and Martians not also be made in God's image since there was only one God? Evolution was a new theory in the 19th century, and not everyone accepted it. So from the Judeo-christian point of view, why shouldn't their be further acts of creation by God on other planets, its a big Universe after all?

In the 20th and 21st centuries, a Venus or Mars with humans already on it would require some explanation. How did those humans get there, we were just pioneering space travel in the 20th century, yet these Venusian and Martian natives have evidently been there for thousands of years, who brought them, the answer inevitably would be that aliens brought them, or at least outsiders. Somehow aliens visited Earth in the remote past and picked up humans and other animals and brought them to these planets, and Venus has dinosaurs, so these aliens must have been doing this for a very long time. The point is, Saturn is not a planet either but a wormhole, it has an atmosphere, a set or rings and natural satellites, but what was Saturn was replaced by a wormhole of about the same size and net mass as Saturn, there is even a breathable atmosphere within the throat of the wormhole, and a layer of ocean 600 meters thick with some floating rock islands (asteroids that fell into the wormhole and never got out again) The other side of the wormhole, it has been discovered is in a system with a red giant in it, the mass of the red giant is about the same as the Sun, some of the heat from the red sun leaks through the wormhole to the Saturn Solar System side, and so it is warmer than it should be, although it is warm as far as the Saturnean system is concerned, for humans it is as cold as Antarctica, and there is a layer of ice covering this ocean on the Saturn/Solar System side of this wormhole, some of the floating rock islands stick out above this ice layer and are covered in ice and snow themselves, the ice layer cracks and buckles due to the ocean surface and occasionally liquid water gets exposed, dissolved gases in this ocean layer are released into Saturn's atmosphere, which is also breathable to humans although quite cold. 600 meters of the ocean layer blocks most of the Sunlight from the other side, though the relative warmth from the water ice layer radiates upward into Saturn's atmosphere. The ambient light reaching Saturn's icy surface is enough to read a book by, about the equivalent of a 14 watt light bulb. About 14.5 watts per square meter. There are creatures that sometimes break the icy surface, whales for instance, and penguins nest on the Saturn side of the Wormhole to avoid predators.

So whoever terraformed Mars and Venus is also likely responsible for that Saturn-sized wormhole.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby rust » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:29 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: What do you think?
""Interstellar Milieu" and "Planetary Romance" are not mutually exclusive, they
can be just different elements of the same fictional universe. A good example is
Jack Vance's Planet of Adventures, a planetary romance in an interstellar milieu.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:57 am

rust wrote:
Tom Kalbfus wrote: What do you think?
""Interstellar Milieu" and "Planetary Romance" are not mutually exclusive, they
can be just different elements of the same fictional universe. A good example is
Jack Vance's Planet of Adventures, a planetary romance in an interstellar milieu.
So we have two things, change the facts of Mars and Venus and then throw in some Rubber science FTL drives, so we can zip over to alpha centauri in time for a commercial break.

I think having thousands of planets to explore means they end up as just dots on a map, you can't cover any particular one in detail, you don't get a chance to develop any particular species or societies, because players are here today and gone tomorrow on their faster than light drives, what it effectively does is shrink entire star systems down to towns, villages and cities on an interstellar map, you have planetary codes with Starport, Size, Atmosphere, Hydrographics, Population, Government, Law Level, and Tech Level to describe a dot on the map, and the GM ends up using cliches and so forth, and every starport ends up looking the same. Now the elements of a Planetary Romance that I want to focus on are just a few planets that are visited multiple times, and planets are big places, we don't need thousands of them! Now the problem with our Solar System is the nearby planets don't support life, and the conventional fix that nmost science fiction authors have is that instead of contradicting the facts that most science fiction readers know about Mars and Venus, they move on to the stars, and they invent a little rubber science called the FTL drive, that gets our heroes there in a turn of the page, and then the author can throw in any planet he wants, and this is done so often it becomes trite, we all know about the typical Star Wars/Star Trek Situation, its been done to death. Have hyperdrive will travel! How about something different? Instead of trying to invent some hidden loophole in the laws of physics to get us light years away, how about we posit some different facts about our Solar System, we know Mars and Venus don't support life, but what if we had a story that supposed they did, and then within the framework of the story we try to invent some plausible explanation for this? Hyperdrives and warp drives are just too easy, lets work with the facts we know about the Solar System and then alter them just enough so we can have an interesting setting within the Solar System for our fictional adventures. Mars basically is boring as we know it to be, lets bring back some of the ideas of Lowell and make them fit within the laws of physics, we know it can be terraformed, so lets start there, and imagine someone else did this before we launched our first satellites. That is the idea I mean by Planetary Romance, not the hugging and kissing and saving the maiden or princess in peril from that hungry monster or whatever, yes you can do the same thing with Star Wars, but that's not what I'm talking about. In Star Wars by the way Tatooine is "Mars" with two Suns and Dagobah is "Venus".
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby heron61 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:01 am

It's perfectly possible to have planetary romance that uses cutting edge modern science just like some of the older planetary romance used cutting edge science of the 30s, 40s, & 50s. Well done recent examples of these sorts of books include both Chris Roberson's Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, which is both excellent and with a very few exceptions is hard SF underneath the pulp, and S.M. Stirling's The Sky People (Venus) & In the Courts of the Crimson Kings (Mars), where some version of the Ancients terraformed Mars & Venus, kept them habitable, and then introduced early humans to each world.

I think using this sort of approach is a far more interesting way to approach modern planetary romance rather than going seriously retro like Space: 1889, The Rocket Age or similar games.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:33 am

heron61 wrote:It's perfectly possible to have planetary romance that uses cutting edge modern science just like some of the older planetary romance used cutting edge science of the 30s, 40s, & 50s. Well done recent examples of these sorts of books include both Chris Roberson's Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, which is both excellent and with a very few exceptions is hard SF underneath the pulp, and S.M. Stirling's The Sky People (Venus) & In the Courts of the Crimson Kings (Mars), where some version of the Ancients terraformed Mars & Venus, kept them habitable, and then introduced early humans to each world.

I think using this sort of approach is a far more interesting way to approach modern planetary romance rather than going seriously retro like Space: 1889, The Rocket Age or similar games.
Yeah, I don't like deliberate bad science in Steampunk novels. I think a habitable Mars or Venus is plausible without the destraction of steam powered spaceships running ether propellers.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Rick » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:30 am

Yeah, I don't like deliberate bad science in Steampunk novels. I think a habitable Mars or Venus is plausible without the distraction of steam powered spaceships running ether propellers.
Ah, but again, your terms are wrong. Space 1889 isn't Steampunk, it's Scientific Romance - the 'bad science' you refer to was 'good science' for much of the C19th!
Scientific Romance takes the world of the C19th and projects possible futures from that, whereas Steampunk takes the modern world and projects a Victorianesque facade onto it.
Very, very different concepts, I'm afraid.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:56 pm

Rick wrote:
Yeah, I don't like deliberate bad science in Steampunk novels. I think a habitable Mars or Venus is plausible without the distraction of steam powered spaceships running ether propellers.
Ah, but again, your terms are wrong. Space 1889 isn't Steampunk, it's Scientific Romance - the 'bad science' you refer to was 'good science' for much of the C19th!
Scientific Romance takes the world of the C19th and projects possible futures from that, whereas Steampunk takes the modern world and projects a Victorianesque facade onto it.
Very, very different concepts, I'm afraid.
The thing is Space 1889 wasn't published in 1889, so it basically makes fun of 19th century people's ignorance about the laws of physics. We know what laws of physics applied in the 19th century and they are the same as those of today, even if the people living at the time didn't know them. Maybe some people think old outdated theories about how the Universe worked were charming, my question is do we really need to do that. Does Mars and Venus really need an alteration in the laws of physics in order to be habitable. As far as Space 1889, I would drop the ether impellers and keep the planets.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby rust » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:08 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: The thing is Space 1889 wasn't published in 1889, so it basically makes fun of 19th century people's ignorance about the laws of physics.
I do not think so, Space 1889 only uses the Victorian era's ideas of the natural
sciences as fact, much like fantasy roleplaying games use medieval ideas of the
working of the universe (deities, magic, etc.) as fact without making fun of the
medieval peoples' ignorance. Most roleplaying games try to offer the players a
more interesting universe than our real one without introducing completely new
concepts, so they use ideas players can be expected to comprehend and deal
with because these ideas are a part of our cultural heritage - like the ideas of
the Victorian era or of the Middle Ages.
I think having thousands of planets to explore means they end up as just dots on a map, you can't cover any particular one in detail, you don't get a chance to develop any particular species or societies, because players are here today and gone tomorrow on their faster than light drives ...
This depends on the referee and the players. The huge majority of my own set-
tings cover a single planet in much detail, and all the other planets are used to
give the inhabitants of that planet some opportunities for diplomacy, trade or va-
rious types of conflicts. Still, almost all adventures of the player characters hap-
pen on the setting's main planet, the other planets are basically window dressing.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby dragoner » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:49 pm

Rick wrote:
Yeah, I don't like deliberate bad science in Steampunk novels. I think a habitable Mars or Venus is plausible without the distraction of steam powered spaceships running ether propellers.
Ah, but again, your terms are wrong. Space 1889 isn't Steampunk, it's Scientific Romance - the 'bad science' you refer to was 'good science' for much of the C19th!
Scientific Romance takes the world of the C19th and projects possible futures from that, whereas Steampunk takes the modern world and projects a Victorianesque facade onto it.
Very, very different concepts, I'm afraid.
Space 1889 shares a lot with 2300, having some of the main designers, you can really tell about 2300, esp if you are a German speaker, like things being named from a history book about the Napoleonic wars. But 2300 came out as 80's vibe 'dieselpunk' then tried to move towards cyberpunk.

Another thing that is weird, is when people criticize Marc Miller over Traveller but not 2300.
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:14 pm

rust wrote:
Tom Kalbfus wrote: The thing is Space 1889 wasn't published in 1889, so it basically makes fun of 19th century people's ignorance about the laws of physics.
I do not think so, Space 1889 only uses the Victorian era's ideas of the natural
sciences as fact, much like fantasy roleplaying games use medieval ideas of the
working of the universe (deities, magic, etc.) as fact without making fun of the
medieval peoples' ignorance. Most roleplaying games try to offer the players a
more interesting universe than our real one without introducing completely new
concepts, so they use ideas players can be expected to comprehend and deal
with because these ideas are a part of our cultural heritage - like the ideas of
the Victorian era or of the Middle Ages.
I think having thousands of planets to explore means they end up as just dots on a map, you can't cover any particular one in detail, you don't get a chance to develop any particular species or societies, because players are here today and gone tomorrow on their faster than light drives ...
This depends on the referee and the players. The huge majority of my own set-
tings cover a single planet in much detail, and all the other planets are used to
give the inhabitants of that planet some opportunities for diplomacy, trade or va-
rious types of conflicts. Still, almost all adventures of the player characters hap-
pen on the setting's main planet, the other planets are basically window dressing.
That kind of makes my point, all those other planets are dots on the map besides the main one.

Suppose the planets were Mars, Venus, and the Earth, can you base a trading game on those?, you also have the Moon and the Asteroid Belt. I suppose each city on Mars is in effect its own seperate "world", it would have its own society government and law level, and would have a planetary code population from 1 to 7, 7 being the low tens of millions. There would be a territory around the city which would be patrolled, and there would be settlements along the canals, cities would be located where two or more canals cross, or on the shores of the northern ocean or the Hellas Sea. On Venus, cities would be on the shore or on the banks of rivers. Humans from Earth began visiting these planets in the 1960s, and began appearing in larger numbers in the 1980s with improved space technology. By 2015, you have tech 8 versions of the Scout ship, Far Trader, Subsidized Merchant, Mercenary Cruiser, the Safari ship would be popular for trips to Venus, lots of dinosaurs romping around. The Venusian cities were medeaval or lower in technology level prior to the contact with the Earthlings, afterwards, its 20th/21st century version of 17-19th century colonialism. A number of Venusians were converted to Christianity, while others remained pagans, there are some savages that are resentful of the intrustions of those people from Earth, and they tend to give less than friendly receptions to visitors from offworld, and of course there are the dinosaurs themselves.

The Martians are more sophisticated, the technology is either Renaissance level or they depend on various organisms to fulfill higher tech functions. The Martians are also longer lived with lifespans of several centuries, basically theirs is a story of civilizational decay, they had a global government at one time, but that has over time splintered and various canals have fallen into disrepair and the atmosphere has thinned somewhat, that is the reason Earth humans visited them rather than the other way around, but their civilization is old, spanning tens of thousands of years, they are very conservative, set in their ways, and not prone to experiment, so their technology has not changed much for many millenia, until the Earthlings showed up on their planet. So what do you think of the adventure possibilities?

The Earth, I've decided is much like our Earth, the Nazis have been defeated in World War II, but some of them have taken refuge on Mars and have been very influential in building up the tech level of one of the Kingdoms that have adopted them. The rest of the World took some time to build their own spaceships which could reach the neighboring planets, so the Nazis on Mars had about 20 years to build their influence with the local kingdom, and have been a source of trouble ever since. A Cold War has followed the end of World War II with competition between the USA and Soviet Union in establishing colonies on both planets, it the early decades initial colonies were government sponsored, but later one privately owned spaceships were build and a number of Earth countries and even corporations set up their own colonies at various locations on both planets. the Earth is otherwise much like today with the exception of cheap fusion power and space travel being more common place.
TrippyHippy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby TrippyHippy » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:41 pm

I do actually think that Space 1889 is steampunk - in my view the seminal steampunk rpg. I think it’s steampunk rather than planetary romance because, indeed, the setting is hard science fiction, albeit in a Victorian paradigm of scientific understanding, and because it doesn’t skip on the hard edge of social commentary for the time either.

I don’t think that approach is the same as Rocket Age, say, which has a much greater emphasis on optimism, and no great detail in terms of social criticism or hard science facts. Rocket Age, in tone at least, is closer to Star Wars - even though its set in our own solar system and retro. Space 1889 plays quite differently - definitely closer to 2300AD.

Both are great genres/games though.
Outtasight!
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: interstellar Milieu vs Planetary Romance

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:26 am

TrippyHippy wrote:I do actually think that Space 1889 is steampunk - in my view the seminal steampunk rpg. I think it’s steampunk rather than planetary romance because, indeed, the setting is hard science fiction, albeit in a Victorian paradigm of scientific understanding, and because it doesn’t skip on the hard edge of social commentary for the time either.

I don’t think that approach is the same as Rocket Age, say, which has a much greater emphasis on optimism, and no great detail in terms of social criticism or hard science facts. Rocket Age, in tone at least, is closer to Star Wars - even though its set in our own solar system and retro. Space 1889 plays quite differently - definitely closer to 2300AD.

Both are great genres/games though.
Mine is modern Earth set in the Space 1889 Solar System with modern physics applied.

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