Thursday, November 15, 2018

Unnamed Mothership Setting: Solar Gazetteer

Jakub Rebelka

Part two of my Unnamed Mothership Setting.

Planets were generated using Mephit James' repurposed Traveller tables with some extra aide from the Stars Without Number and Red Tide tags. Distances between stars came from Space Engine which is terribly helpful in general.

For the sake of space, I'm not going to detail every single planet that was rolled up. There are a whole lot of indistinct dwarf rockballs and asteroids out there, so unless there's something particularly interesting about them, they shall be elided. Planets will be listed in order outwards from their sun, with the orbital region in parentheses. Moons will be listed in italics under their parent planet.

Some Handy Terminology

  • Epistellar - Really close to the star.
  • Inner - Close but not that close to the star.
  • Outer - A sizable distance from the star.
  • Terrestrial - .02-5 Earth Masses
  • Helian - 3-15 Earth Masses
  • Vesperian - Tidally locked 
  • Pelagic - Ocean world
  • Bathypelagic - By God that's a lot of ocean
  • Panthallassic - Even the sky is ocean.
  • Gelidian - Frozen 
  • Pelagic-Gelidian - Frozen crust surrounding subsurface ocean.
  • Post-Gelidian - Cooling tectonic world, subglacial oceans.
  • Cytherian - Venus-like
  • Arid - Mars-like
  • Amunian - Terrestrial ammonia worlds 

Sol - G2V

Home sweet home. Even the posthumans still have a certain fondness for it, living out in the Oort cloud or in micro-Dyson-swarms. Every major body in the solar system has been settled by this point, though much of the activity has moved outwards towards Jupiter and Saturn: interstellar ships are much more likely to stop off at Callisto or Titan, with their goods launched towards the inner system via mass driver. Venus is home to thousands of aerostat nations, Earth is coming out of centuries of environmental reclamation, and Mars is heavily para-terraformed.

Proxima Centauri - M6V

The closest star to Sol and the cultural hub for spacers. All three planets and their orbits have been heavily settled and para-terraformed. Most of the system population is transient, but those who stay on permanently are a proud and stubborn community - corporate interests rarely reach far into Proximan doings, co-operatives and mutual aid organizations flourish.

GargarinRocky vesperianEpistellar0Complex single-celled
Armstrong & AldrinBinary rocky dwarfsInner0No
ShenArid MethaneOuter0No
    For visitors overwhelmed by the thousands of cantinas, hostels, shrines, and spaceports around Proxima, pay a visit to Clever Lu's in Shen orbit. It's got work, people, talk, drinks, whatever you're looking for.

    Alpha Centauri - G2V / K1V binary

    A prime example of what not to do. The original colonization attempt collapsed under incompetent leadership and construction by the lowest bidder, leading to a period of violent anarchy then replaced by a militaristic corporate-fascist police state. Over 60% of the system's habitats were built with faulty water purification and filtering systems (using proprietary hardware and legacy software from a defunct company with no documentation) that cannot be fixed without completely replacing them. The native environments of both Onwards and Prosperity have undergone catastrophic mass extinctions via industrial exploitation.

    UpwardsPanthallasic HelianOuter3Single-celled producers
    OnwardsPelagicOuterN/ALarge macroscopic
    ProsperityAridOuter1Complex global ecology +potential proto-sapients

    Barnard's Star - M4.OV

    Barnard's Star has a single shining attraction: the planet Dorothy is a tropical paradise.  Some combination of the planet's air, water, and temperature triggers the human body to purge itself of stress and toxins. Locals have the highest non-augmented life expectancy in human space and some of the best health. The artificial islands of the planet are held up as a poster-child of environmentally-non-invasive colonization. Generations of such good living have made themselves manifest in the local population with a borderline-dangerous naivety of life outside the system and a complete disregard for measuring time.

    DorothyPelagic GaianInner1Large macroscopic
    AliceAmunianOuter0Single-celled producers
    LirazelSaturnian Dwarf-JovianOuter1No

    Travelers might also wish to explore the bizarre daydream-cultures of Wonderland Arcologies of Alice and all the court machinations of the Chess Queens.

    Sirius - AOmA1 + White Dwarf Companion 

    With empty Epistellar and Inner orbits, the few bodies orbiting Sirius are cold and empty. Hardly befitting their namesakes, but the Dog Star needs its pack.

    Gelert & GuinefortBinary icy dwarfsOuter0No
    HachikoArid MethaneOuter1No
    LaikaCthonian JovianOuter4No

    Most of the system's settlements are in the business of mining and volatiles. Of note are Lonely Glow, a partially-abandoned debtor's prison on Hachiko, and the feral autofactory General Product Production Installation 113 in Laika orbit.  

    Epsilon Eridani - K2V

    An economic powerhouse and the third most populated system in human space. Originally settled by ships of the Indian-Venusian Diaspora, it has since expanded into a bustling, diverse, and all things accounted for not terrible place to live. All major worlds in the system have been settled, and the few posthuman habitats seem to be oddly fond of the human population, inasmuch as they can be.

    Matsya & KurmaTwin burning terrestrialsEpistellar0No
    ParashuramaGelidianGaianInner3Simple global ecology
    RamaCampian (Hot, wet) GaianOuter0Complex global ecology
    KrishnaAmunianOuter1Complex multicellular
    Buddha's BeltDust RingOuterN/AN/A

    Of note to scientists is the extinction of any life on Parashurama outside of the subglacial seas due to swift cooling of the climate. Digs have revealed an extensive fossil record, and the planet is oft cited by those believers in ancient alien civilizations.

    Ross 128 - M4V

    Currently entrenched in a gamelike civil war of ritualized combat, fought in daily one-on-one combats broadcast openly, backed by an elaborate system of points and territories. The religious tension at the root of the conflict appears to have originated in political demographics that jumped over into belief systems. Dozens of minor faith-parties have emerged in the cracks, starting their own proxy conflicts.

    RadamanthusChlorine VespirianInner0Single-celled producers
    AeacusCryoNebulous HelianOuter2No
    MinosArid AmmoniaOuter0Complex multicellular

    The majority of the system's settlements are in orbit around Aeacus, save Charon City on Minos, home to the Silicon Sepulchre - a library of memories and experiences from over half a billion androids from across human space.

    Tau Ceti - G8Vp

    With so little in the system, Tau Ceti is a more of a stopover location than a destination. Hou Yi and Chang'E are both settled, though not heavily. Of note are reports of unexplained freak geology below the clouds of Chang'E and the Hou Yi biotech and agritech industries - the system is the sole supplier for a panoply of exotic genengineered foods.

    Paris & HelenBinary hephaestan dwarfsEpistellar0No
    Hou Yi Chang'EArid world with Cytherian companionInner0Single-celled producers / No

    Luyten's Star - M3.5V

    Contains almost nothing of note or importance. The very definition of a filler M-type.

    LeanJovian with icy moonsInner4No
    LurchGeoNebulous HelianInner2No
    LacrimosaBathypelagicInnerN/ASingle-celled producers

    Weitown: A small settlement that mines volatiles from the moons of Lurch. Serves as a stop-over and refueling depot for interstellar travelers. Founded by ex-corporate soldiers abandoned without pay or pension. They aren't particularly fond of company, which leads to conspiracy theories of hidden wealth and dark secrets.

    More Cowboy Bebop

    82 Eridani - G6V

    The Red Ash Plague (named for what it does to victim's skin) has crippled the system, and after years of work no one has been able to find a cure or an origin. it comes and it goes in cycles that follow no pattern, it is survivable one day and lethal the next. it has made the locals secretive and withdrawn, communicating with outsiders purely by masked broadcast and hiding their scarred faces.

    MoriartyThetusian HelianInner1No
    Holmes & WatsonCytherian + Pelagic Inner0No / Single-celled producers
    AdlerArid methaneOuter0No

    There is a running reward of a hyperelite's ransom for any clue to the cure or origin of the Plague, posted by the eccentric and short-sighted trillionaire behind the catastrophically failed Baker Street  adventure habitat. The habitat is still there and technically still in operation, the owner is still technically alive, the androids technically still keep to their roles but all have fallen into disrepair.

    Delta Pavonis - G8IV

    In the grips of a humanitarian crisis after a meteroite slipped through the detection net and struck Laozi, crippling the planet's infrastructure. Resettlement of refugees to Diogenes orbit is underway, but there are not enough ships and not enough space. With the loss of Laozi's solar farms, food production for the entire system finds itself in precarious position.

    LaoziRocky TerrestrialEpistellar3No
    DiogenesNeptunian SubJoviamOuter2No

    The Lamp in Diogenes orbit serves as the governmental hub in the system. it is currently overwhelmed with desperate people looking to flee the system and the government's philosopher-parliament is overwhelmed.

    Gliese 581 - M3V

    Founded by Proximan anarchists driven out by the Centauri Wars, the system is the keystone world for autonomists in human space. In order to remain as independent as possible from capitalist interests the system does keep tight watch on who enters (especially with Gliese 667 so close by).

    Eat-the-RichAridInner1Complex single-celled
    No GodsThetusian GeoHelianInner4No
    LibertyAridInnerN/ALarge macroscopic
    No MastersHyperionic GeohelianInner1No
    ResponsibilityEoGaianInnerN/AComplex global ecology

    If one is feeling social, visit Lalu Lilalo's, in No Masters orbit. It can provide whatever entertainment you can want or need, from hanafuda to fighting games to just making friends with strangers / having sex with them.

    Gliese 667 (Fu Xi / Nüwa / Shennong) - K3V / K5V / M1 trinary

    The first two stars of this trinary circle each other closely, and so have cleared out their orbits of everything but some asteroids and a few rocky dwarfs. Gliese 667 C (Shennong) orbits A&B at a much greater distance, allowing it to maintain a stable system of its own.

    HuangdiHalcyonic HelianEpistellar2No
    LeizuChlorine VesperianEpistellarN/ASingle-celled
    ZhuanxuTwin CytheriansEpistellar0No
    Dì Kù MesoGaianInner2Multi-cellular
    Tang YaoCytherianInner1No
    Great ShunArid MethaneOuter5Building Blocks

    Despite its position, the system is second only to Sol in terms of population and economic output. It has little love for spacers and Company loyalty is strong. Asteroid kowloons filled with unfortunate poor pepper the region. A wide-spread crackdown on the makers of anti-government / anti-corporate VR interactives has, as of yet failed to dredge up the underground master-artist "CC540".

    Fomalhaut - A3 V / K5Vp / M4V Trinary

    Fomalhaut A is the only star of this trio to be settled thus far. Multiple dust rings make travel in the system difficult, stripping unprotected ships bare from friction.

    AtargatisArid terrestrialInner1Single-celled
    OannesPelagic-GelidianOuter1Small macroscopic
    DagonSaturnian Dwarf-JovianOuter3No

    The largest settlements in the system are Ahab on Oannes and Jonah in Dagon orbit, operated by rival family-owned companies. They've taken the system's economic downturn in stride, using the high unemployment to hire raiders to harass their competition's ships.

    Arcturus - KOIII

    A great curiosity among xenobiologists: a system where an old and expanded star has consumed or expelled all but two of its worlds, and both of those worlds are as overflowing with life as Earth in its prime, with multiple species on the cusp of sapience? A coincidence that ought be too good to be true.

    TormanceRocky vesperianInner0Complex global ecology + potential proto-sapients
    AlppainBathypelagicOuter0Complex global ecology + potential proto-sapients

    For the protection of the local environments most of the population lives in orbit (Main stations Maskul and Nightspore), though small settlements do exist planetside. The initial colonists were of an esoteric neo-gnostic sect that has grown only stranger in the time since, often overlapping with the scientific demographic.

    The word "uplift" is not bandied about lightly. It has a tendency to spawn riots.


    Trappist-1 - M8V

    A xenobiological grail: five planets with life, potentially with the same point of origin. Its distance from other major worlds has kept it at a relatively low population. It is home to  variety of exiled and heterodox religions, most being splinters from the Titantian Catholic Churchs, the displaced Martian Cathars, the Buddhislamic Fellowship, the Techno-Presbyteriat, and the Old Orthodox Xenodeists.

    AugustineBurning terrestrialEpistellar0No
    ScholasticaArid methaneInner1Complex single-celled
    FrancisPelagic-GelidianInner0Complex multi-cellular

    The primary settlement is Subiaco on Benedict, which is run by the ever-patient remnants of the officially-dissolved Jesuits.

    Zeta Reticuli - G3-5V / G2V binary

    A lively and populous system, famous for the heterocultural communes of Le Guin, the Domes of the Living Dead on Herbert (kill rabid flesh-eating gene-engineered clones for the entertainment of the streaming audience), the android-run habitat of Positronic in Brackett orbit, and Rocketman's Repose around Bradbury, the memorial of every known human to have died in space.


    Verne & WellsDwarf BinaryInner0No
    Le GuinXeric GaianOuter0Complex global ecology
    HerbertArid ammoniaOuter1Multi-cellular
    BradburyPoseidonic SubJovianOuter2No



    With little of interest beyond resources and some xenological studies, few ever visit Zeta Reticuli B. There are no permanent settlements in-system - automated fuel depots and comm buoys will be your only company.

    Barney & BettyBinary Rocky DwarfsInner0No
    NiburuPanthallassic HelianOuter0Large macroscopic

    Upsilon Andromedae (Titawin) - F9V / M4.5V binary

    Located in a relatively unpopulated region of human space, Titawin serves as a sort of regional hub for explorers and travelers. It is home to the storied Academy of Astrogation in orbit around Majriti.

    SaffarHot JupiterEpistellar0No
    The DancersSix Companion DwarfsEpistellar0No
    SaltAridInnerN/ALarge macroscopic
    Zarqālī MesoJovianInner2No
      Upsilon Andromeda B is known to have a epistellar Vespirian orbiting it. An exploratory expedition is currently being crowdfunded and selection of the membership is underway.

      Mu Arae (Cervantes) - G3IV-V

      Home to the most Earth-like planet yet found, the system is a home for wanderers, dreamers, fools, and scientists (or so goes the stereotype). Corporate interests from Gliese 667 are present and active, but have been barred from interfering with La Mancha in any way by the initial settlers - no permanent surface colonization has yet been made. Like Titawin, the system serves as a hub for exploration further out beyond the Frontier Margin.

      DulcineaHot Sub-JovianEpistellar0No
      RocinanteWater-rich Dwarf JovianInner4No
      La ManchaContinental GaianInnerN/AComplex global ecology
      CardenioArid MethaneOuter0Small macroscopic
      Marcela & Grisóstomo EoGaian / MesoAmunianOuter0Simple global ecology / Small Macroscopic

        Map of Relative Locations

        If distances seem weird, it's the Z-axis at work.

        Trip Table / Distance in Light Years

        Click for bigger version.

        Yes, I Would Like More Planets to Add to This

        • Gatecrashing, plus exoplanets featured in Farcast, Seedware, and H-REP.
        • Expedition, Wayne Douglas Barlowe. The Discovery Channel adaptation is good too.
        • Halo. That first game is unapologetically an Aliens ripoff and it's great.
        • Known Space, Larry Niven. Creepy weirdo author, but he made some nifty space places.
        • Hyperion, Dan Simmons. Damn, I love this book.
        • Warframe, especially the new Fortuna expansion.
        • All of Chris Tamm's space posts and Michael Raston's Blasphemous Roster.


        1. I've spent the last four days in what can only amount to a fugue state getting this done.

        2. Thanks for putting this all together and sharing it!

          1. My mind wouldn't allow me to do otherwise. The idea needed out, you know?

        3. I never considered using Raston's Blasphemous Roster for Sci Fi! What a great idea!