Terraforming – Behind the Perfect Beach Getaway

“You want to see the galaxy? How about a trip to the Outer Rings … Zegema Beach, huh?” How do you create the perfect vacation spot that people will pay well for and travel beyond their system to enjoy?

Hello again, Randal here. This week I want try something a little different. Kind of a look into my process, if you will.

My break out episode discussed the foundation of the company, providing an organization for us (me here on Know Direction and you there at home) to use as we expand the business of entertainment on a galactic scale. This organization has both good and questionable aspects that will make for a fine source of material for adventurers of all types and scruples. The Pod Racing and Ring Surfing were primarily about describing sport and only mentioned people that could possibly be used in plots while the Little Golarion and the Moon of Infinity were designed to inspire plots, adventures, friends and foes.

I just randomly had that line from Starship Troopers pop into my head and thought I should design something like that. But as I started thinking about it, I starting going ‘round and ‘round. In thinking about the draw of a custom made beach planet, I really wanted to figure out what would it take to draw the visitors all the way to this star system just for a beach. The views would have to be spectacular, the water and sands immaculate of course, but what is it that would draw them there? Most exotic locations have a culture about them, subtle ways in which the location and people blend into an entity that draws you in. Creating a moon and populating it with Biodroids is going to lack just such a … history. No matter how well you design it, there is going to be something missing, some spark that makes it truly alive. The one thing that this moon is going to have that no other place will is the view when looking up from the beach. Visitors will be able to see many of the custom moons orbiting the same gas giant from donut shaped to infinity shaped, cubed, pac-man (an ancient deity worshipped by humans), and more depending on the location of the moon, the giant, and the suns.

Creating a beach world is an interesting endeavor. You want to have as much beach as possible, so the core locations are going to be designed as a series of sandy islets that you can walk, wade, or float between. You want to have just enough beach to keep people happy, but also just enough trees and shade to provide cover and camouflage for the buildings that you don’t want ruining the aesthetic. This sort of beach goer isn’t going to spend as much time under the water, so you can move your reefs further out, providing some travel as part of the anticipation of the adventure. Creating an atoll would do nicely, providing multiple features for multiple beach goers, adding a lovely element to view from above while arriving or departing. Species evolved differently due to the worlds upon which they were born, and so each species is going to have a vastly different concept for the idyllic beach world.

The mere concept of “sand” and “water” will differ, but this particular location will be based upon liquid water. Each atoll is customized to the world from which its beauty is based. Humans are used to white sandy beaches comprised of silicon dioxide quartz. Other worlds are likely to have higher concentrations of feldspar or mica in colors other than white or clear, let alone the color of the sun that reflects off of the sand. For this reason, the perfect beach could be pink or sea green or even matte black. Likewise, the composition of the “sea water” will be different and must be calibrated to avoid accidents from reacting differently with the various elements in the sandy beaches (for instance water and sodium metal explode). To account for this, and any possible chemical interactions, each atoll is best isolated in some form of oversized aquarium for the safety of the differently evolved plants and creatures. Such a view from space (seeing these vastly different ideals) is sure to draw amazement from viewers as well as repeat and extended guests as they want to see all the wonders of the galaxy in one location.

Now that we have the basics for a “perfect beach vacation world” we need to have some fun reasons for why our PCs would end up there, other than “let’s take some downtime” … In addition to the various atolls and their specialized reefs, there is also an underwater clear dome designed to let vacationers watch sea life away from the beaches. With many transparent tunnels and tubes to wander the sea floor and through reefs, what could possibly go wrong? Ocean waves are generated by gravity from a moon … but when your entire ocean world *is* the moon, you need to have some other way to regulate the waves, as well as creating big surf for that competition on Surf Isle. Nobody would dare to sabotage the mechanism for creating waves to hinder their competition, would they? If it were to malfunction, there is no chance that a creature harmless to one species could end up getting carried to an atoll in which it is deadly to the visitors native to that beach, right? An entire portion of the moon is sectioned off to cater to humans that seem to be caught up in emulating an ancient ritual of catching giant sharks and whales. Eschewing modern technology and craft, they take floating boats powered by sails and something called “fishing tackle” to catch a monster bigger than their boat with the same filament that makes up their clothing … nothing bad could happen to them …

Randal Meyer

As a lover of crunch (rules and numbers), Randal is always tinkering with rules options. His love of magic users has led him to always fuss with the mechanics of magic and magic items. Years of GMing on the fly have given him vast amounts of ideas and content from which to draw on for adventures (ideas, plots, NPCs). When not working, playing with his kids, bowling, or running a PF campaign, Randal is likely writing some new mobile web app to enhance the experience of playing Pathfinder!

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