Archives of Nethys

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Infinite Worlds / Weird

Weird Worlds

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 93
Weird biomes defy expectation; they tend to feel most natural when experienced in isolation, with an entire world being uniformly weird, rather than including an eccentric ecosystem on an otherwise mundane planet. Any monolithically weird world becomes a study in what-ifs. If a planet isn’t roughly spherical, how might that affect gravity? If a planet is truly dead, does it lack a magnetic field that would deflect cosmic rays? If a planet is largely molten, does it instead have an overwhelming electromagnetic field? For a living planet, does it need to feed or respire, and if so, how does that drive its weather? For utterly bizarre realms, does matter consist of completely alien elements or operate under aberrant physics?
Unpacking all the potential ramifications isn’t necessary when presenting a weird world; however, the GM should prepare at least three of these consequences as a way of illustrating the weirdness and making the world more believable. Thick skeletons could allow the native fauna to weather unexpectedly heavy gravity. Creatures on a dead world might shelter underground during the day to avoid irradiation, emerging at night to compete for ever-dwindling resources on the dying surface. Their counterparts on a molten world might be silicon-based or soar high above the lava, with visitors’ computer equipment malfunctioning almost immediately from overwhelming radiation. A living planet might exhale regularly, blasting air from crater-sized geysers that travelers exploit with sturdy gliders, reaching lofty ecosystems sustained by these updrafts.
Even where a world’s explanation is “it’s magic,” it needs an underlying logic. Identify and apply that logic consistently, and even the most bizarre planet can come alive—sometimes literally!