Terraforming – Drift Planet Ephasia

“What do you mean you saw a planet in the Drift? There aren’t planets there, just rubble and debris!” The grizzled Vesk looked up from his drink and replied slowly “I flew through a planet in the Drift, I didn’t see one … It was almost like a holographic projection of an entire planet.”

Hello again. Today I thought we would take a chance at transporting an entire planet into the Drift. We failed miserably. Here are the results.

GM Note. I tried to think of all the things that could go wrong when trying to power up a Drift Engine to function on a planetary scale. We already see what happens when parts of things get sheared off and sent to the drift, but I wanted to take a look at another way of sending a partial object into the Drift. In this case, I thought that just the visible light from the world would be a strange take. Let’s see if it works at all.

The System. The Apheen system is composed of a single star that was originally orbited by a gas giant and 6 rocky planets. Life formed on numerous moons of the gas giant, with only one evolving intelligent life in the form of a water-based squid-like creature. As they began to discover the worlds outside their moon, and develop space travel, they realized that their host star was about to grow, absorbing their home planet and moon.

The Evacuation. They managed to make their way out to the furthest planet, an icy planet, before the star expanded. There they tapped into geo thermal vents from the core to heat and melt enough of the surface that they could live comfortably, without environmental shelters. Over time, they learned more about and adapted to their new home through the invention of bio-engineered implants, becoming equally comfortable in icy waters as warm waters. Without the pressing need to advance their space travel tech, they put more engineering into their adaptation. As the generations passed, these devices became more advanced and where eventually integrated into the reproduction process and ultimately into the DNA.

The Next Step. During this time, they watched as their star grew and absorbed their original home, along with converting the other planets into smoldering rocks. They knew that it was only a matter of time before they would again need to find a new home for their species. Without nowhere else to go in the system, and no contact with the outside world, they began to turn their knowledge to those creatures that heard the calling of the Drift Engine, those they named the Prophets. Their spoken language was a subtle one, with nuances that can sometimes only be heard by certain genders, as well as words that have different meanings depending on whether or not one is submerged in water. It was their understanding that the Drift Engine was to be created and dropped into the planetary core, that it would be self sustaining, and that it would deflect the increasing light and heat of the star until such a time that they were able to relocate once again.

The Drift Core. Upon completion, everybody gathered around their favorite viewing devices and watched as the Drift Engine was dropped into the core. They counted down the hours until activation with parties throughout the world’s pockets of civilization. At the appointed time, they were not disappointed as the entire planet was phased from the material plane into the Drift. At least as far as they were concerned. They had no knowledge of how physics would work in the Drift, and so when nothing changed, they were ecstatic, believing that they have performed the divine plans of their deities.

The Aftermath. It took all of their engineering technology and supplies to create the Drift Core, and in their belief that they were doing divine work, they didn’t care. They were happy to live “simple” lives on their world, in the Drift, without the need to travel beyond. Decades later, they would encounter all manner of strange things within the Drift, from meteors that pass through their world to space vessels and creatures come close enough to investigate, but never interact with. Finally, they began to develop their technology once again.

The Reality. The Drift Core wasn’t built correctly. It merely phase shifted their planet’s visible light to the Drift, while leaving them physically in their original orbit. Because their physical state and visible state overlap, they are able to live their lives and interact with their home world as they always have. Because they are only visually in the Drift, they can see objects and creatures there, but they cannot touch or hear anything there, making communication and interaction near impossible. Ships in the Drift don’t even pick them up on scans, meaning that quite often any interaction is simply a vessel flying through them at about the same time as the pilot notices. There are rumors of ghost ships in the Drift, why not ghost planets, right?

The Rub. Their star has become unstable and is about to start sending dangerous bursts of energy their way before going nova. Because they have spent their recent years trying to develop tech to investigate the Drift, they haven’t realized that they are ignoring signs from their old star.

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 endless ideas and content from which to draw on for adventures (ideas, plots, NPCs). When not working, gaming, or playing with his kids, Randal is likely working on improving Sage (his Discord bot for immersive play-by-post gaming that you can see in action on Know Direction's Discord in the Know Direction Societous PFS channels) over at https://www.patreon.com/rpgsage!