Monday, May 7, 2018

O'Neill's Archipelagos

Did you know that NASA puts all their images up as public domain?

O'Neill cylinders are incredibly cool, and all the things that make them cool in make them absolutely fantastic for role-playing games. I can't recall being this enthralled with an idea in a good long while: It's the foot in the door for hard-science space opera, and that makes me a happy man indeed.

So then: the steel-hulled station proposed by O'Neill in 1976 was a cylinder 20 miles long and 5 miles across. That can be unrolled into a rectangular map of 20 x 16 (rounding up the decimal). With two mile hexes, that's a 10 x 8 grid and a decently-sized adventure setting. A bit of wilderness, a few towns, some points of interest, you're good to go.

The self-contained nature of a cylinder means that each one can be its own cultural and environmentally distinct region. Unlike planets (or regions on a single planet), cylinders can be placed conveniently close to each other, resulting in transit time measured in hours or days.You can get a wildly different setting for next week's episode and just be the next station over.Yoon-Suin to the Veins to Psychon to the Ultraviolet Grasslands to Chromatic Soup and so on (I show my love of stitching modules together yet again).

Enough talk, have some random tables.

The cylinder is...
  1. Ancient
  2. Venerable
  3. Around the block
  4. Recent
  5. Up-and-coming
  6. Factory fresh
  1. Isolationist
  2. Out of the way
  3. Quiet
  4. Of modest activity
  5. Busy
  6. Bustling
The population is...
  1. Absent
  2. Sparse
  3. Modest
  4. Significant
  5. Cramped
  6. Overwhelming
And overall the place is...
  1. Absolute dogshit
  2. Rough
  3. Getting better
  4. Decent
  5. Wonderful
  6. Paradise
Apply Stars Without Number tags, Dark Heresy world generation, random historical oddities, or whatever other tool in your drawer to taste

That's pretty cool.

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