Terraforming – Spherical Composition

Hello, I am Randal, and I am back for another dose of Terraforming. Taking a cue from a conversation recently at our Discord https://discord.gg/Rt79BAj, I wanted to describe two variant methods of gathering energy from the sun, but the more I wrote the more I got into the two primary species and their weird symbiosis.

Ricin Planetary System As you drop out of Drift and enter the Ricin system, you see what appears to be a couple of large metallic orbs on your sensors. It takes you a second to really understand the scale of what you are seeing, as each of these spheres are larger than most suns, and are orbiting each other in the center of what looks to be a dead solar system. As your scanners continue to process the system, they report that there are a dozen planets orbiting the common gravity of the twin spheres. Per common solar system models, the inner 4 are rocky, the next 4 or gaseous, and the furthest four appear to be icy. Further scans show something completely uncommon, said planets are on perpendicular orbital planes, alternating planes the further out the they go. Additionally, as your scans finish, each planet contains evidence of advanced civilization, to include space stations and moon bases. As your ship flies near an orbital plane you are treated with a sight … an orange glowing line along a metallic sphere. As your sensors dim the light, you are able to make out a sun inside the sphere, and you realize that each metallic sphere houses a sun and only allows light to escape along one of the two orbital planes.

Initial Contact Shortly after your scanners finish, and you stare in awe at the holographic projection of this strange arrangement of planets, your communications array receives twin signals, one from each of the dark metallic spheres. You reach initiate a connection, choosing at random, but your system connects to both simultaneously, showing you two vid displays. You are barely able to respond with more than yes or no as you are barraged with questions about your origin, your destination, your purpose, and your crew makeup. The two creatures speak in tandem … often in unison and sometimes alternating words. The experience is very disconcerting … especially when your brain is trying to process the visuals you are seeing. Each of the entities speaking to you is a security/perimeter enforcement agent from the Ricin system, the one on the left is a Dysonian and the one on the right a Tysonian. For reasons beyond comprehension, and not explained during your brief questioning (perhaps interrogtation?), these very different creatures from very different locations within the system spoke as if they were identical twins trying to freak out a confused babysitter. Your comms system receives a burst of data, and your computer informs you that your alien archive has been updated with a number of species from the Ricin system.

Dysonians The Dysonians are beings of electrical energy. Their activity, in the form of electrical pulses, creates a static charge that attracts grains of silicon. Young Dysonians appear as small dust devils due to the chaotic and incoherent development of their mind and self.  As they age, the amount of activity they can generate increases, as does the amount of static that they create. Thus, their silicon bodies grow in size along with their ability to control the form that they take on. As a dominant species in the system, and not the only one of energy, they are commonly seen in many forms that and shapes that humanoid creatures have a hard time grasping or making sense of. They do, however, generally conform to humanoid shapes when they are dealing with Pact Worlders. Having no true body, however, means that they have perfected means of communicating telepathically.

Tysonians The Tysonians, on the other hand, have the unfortunate evolutionary prank of being something rather comical to many humanoids from the known ‘verse. They resemble seven foot tall yellow chickens. Their wings are not large enough to support their bodies for true flight, but they can manipulate feathers at their wingtips as a human can fingers. Their feet have also seen evolutionary changes to support their larger size and weight, making them generally slow walkers and runners as well.

Ricin Spheres It turns out, those dark metallic spheres are actually power stations created and maintained around twin suns. Pre gap, the Dysonians and Tysonians evolved symbiotically. Such was their relationship and harmony that they managed to create advanced technology at a pace more rapid than any other known civilization. They even began work on harnessing the power of their suns in a clean way to maintain the health of all forms of life in their system. They were at about 2% power consumption before the Gap, but when the Gap ended, the Ricin system was a thing of science fiction (yes, even for them). There was some sort of schism during the Gap that set the Dysonians and Tysonians at odds, each developing their own power harnessing sphere around their own sun. The Dysonian’s system utilizes vacuum manipulation, while the Tyson system simply relies on heat and light. Both systems currently operate at 80% capture rates, and something about that much energy capture caused the vacuum system to tilt on its axis, and something about the wavelength of the vacuum system caused every other planet to be caught in the tilt, thus creating the two perpendicular orbital planes.

Symbiosis The symbiotic relationship had changed drastically. Now, Tysonians are spawned when a Dysonian’s egg is laid, existing as a simple cloud of dust and energy until the egg hatches. They are bonded on a quantum level, such that their thoughts (and often actions) overlap with each other, regardless of distance. But as it turns out, the perpendicular nature of the two orbital planes has some effect on this quantum link, allowing the two creatures to function independently of each other so long as they are not on the same orbital plane. Therefore, many pairs find themselves separated at “birth” so that they may grow independent of each other and then reunited at a celebration of maturity, at which point the two spend an orbit (on an icy planet) attuning to one another. Approximately 50% of these attunements fail and so roughly half of each orbital plane is a Dysonian or Tysonian living perpendicular to their linked other. Attuned pairs, however, are some of the strongest and fiercest creatures in existence and have the ability to physically morph into a single entity that is reminiscent of mythological birds of prey, such as a phoenix or roc.

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!