1d12 Tables innn SPAAAaaace!

Roll 1d12. Please have other dice on standby.

Captain, sensors indicate a breathable atmosphere on the planet, but…

Roll 1d12. Please have other dice on standby.

  1. Super heavy gravity. Roll 1d10+1 times normal Earth gravity.
  2. Massive wind storms dot the planet.
  3. Innately hostile flora and fauna have adapted to other toxins on the planet’s surface.
  4. A serious lack of water on the planet contributes to massive dust storms.
  5. It’s breathable, but… The humidity is 200% that of Earth. Most of the planet is water covered in dense fog. It’s pleasant minus the almost constant rain.
  6. It’s basically a hollow moon with lots of deep craters that somehow conspired to maintain an atmosphere. The plant life all growns deep underground.
  7. The inhabitants don’t exist in a visible spectrum available to human eyes.
  8. Pollution in the air, water, and soil is almost toxic to most beings. The previous residents really made a mess of things before they died or abandoned the planet.
  9. Geomagnetic and electrical storms pound the planet day and night. The planet is bathed in constant darkness, with sunshine being only about 4 Earth hours long on a given day. The planet sits in orbit behind a jovian planet’s shadow.
  10. Low gravity. Roll d00% for the fraction of 1G. Bouncy!
  11. Mountainous planet with most of the breathable air being at low altitudes. There are also some big creatures down there at those altitudes.
  12. The planet is currently experiencing an ice age. It’s a lot cold down there.
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1d12 Things found floating in or around asteroid fields.

  1. Clank! The ship finds an abandoned electrogravitic mine! It might even still go boom. Or maybe it won’t? Sure hope we can figure out how to detach it,.
  2. Bleep. A forgotten? alien probe is floating around out here. Who and what it reports-to is anyone’s guess.
  3. Halp? A distress beacon from a ship stranded deep within the field. It may or may not still be there. Someone got stranded. Seems harmless enough.
  4. Grawr. Giant space worms with massive teeth lurk within nearby asteroids.
  5. What the?!? A giant space tardigrade floats by. It’s alive.
  6. Tong-tong-tong. A space train of full ore cars seems to be looking for a ship to dock with.
  7. Ping. A long deserted ship floats by. It’s on minimal battery reserve and almost no life support. It’s an old mining ship from some long dead world. It’s as if the crew fell prey to some kind of vicious xenomorph. There might even be eggs still on board.
  8. Tink tink. A rogue mining operation has taken up residence in a large nearby asteroid. They aren’t hurting anyone, but they’re officially not supposed to be there.
  9. Swish. A stellar cloud of ice, iridium space dust, and radiation create a deadly combo that knocks sensors offline and interferes heavily with communication.
  10. Hmm. A seemingly innocuous vessel detaches from one of the asteroids and leaves the field in a hurry. If questioned, they seem to be regular cargo haulers. If searched, it eventually becomes apparent they are smugglers.
  11. Alert! Space pirate vessel detected. Shields up. Red alert. They apparently have a stash in one of the asteroids.
  12. Vreeep Pew Pew Pew! A series of especially aggressive Kill Satellites have opened fire on your vessel. An unknown species built them, possibly as a doomsday weapon. They seem to be coming from an automated facility in one of the asteroids. Good luck, commander.

Creating Worlds

But here’s the kicker- you don’t need all of that. Even in a completely random game or fictional environment, location is just another plot element.

The Multiverse is HUGE!

I’ve been playing space games since around 1982. I grew up watching Star Wars and Star Trek. For the longest time, I’ve thought about the vastness of space.

There are billions of stars out there. There are billions of planets around them. Now, those billions of planets, there are billions upon billions of moons. By this logic, how many of them support life of some sort? It staggers the imagination.

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Want to go another step deeper? The human eye can only perceive maybe 3% of what’s actually out there. Take any “regular” planet and add the onion layers of dimensional energy beyond human sight. Then include the notion of time and alternate timelines.

Whew! Now we’re pretty deep in this particular rabbit hole. And I’m only talking about ONE planet! What else is out there?

We humans haven’t even explored a vast amount of Earth. That’s the “normal” realm. Imagine the amount of those myriad onion layers of dimensions can be explored within the sphere of one planet.

Did I really just go there?

Yes, build rockets and warp engines to go explore. Sure. Hyperspace is potentially one of those onion layers of energy I was talking about above. Traveling at speeds beyond mere human comprehension is one of the great mysteries we struggle to overcome in fiction and real life.

Once we get out there, and we discover a new planet, it’s going to have all those facets to potentially explore on top of whatever sentient three dimensional creatures we might encounter.

So the next time you’re writing about “strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations,” just remember that we’re talking about an infinite source of adventure and wonderment. Please also remember not everything in the Universe is determined to kill, probe, or eat humans.

Ha! I bet some of you thought I wasn’t going to bring this back around to fiction. I’ve seen so many RPG sourcebooks and charts try to simplify planet creation. I mean, yes you literally can roll dice all day and determine populations and weather patterns. I’m sure Traveler probably has an entire sourcebook dedicated to it.

But here’s the kicker- you don’t need all of that. Even in a completely random game or fictional environment, location is just another plot element. GMs- save yourself the headache and just describe it the way you want to fit it into the story. I mean, unless you really are worried about how many milliliters of rain fall on the opposite side of the planet from where your characters currently are. (Not trying to squash anyone’s fun here.)

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! Take care. See ya soon.

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