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Month Index: October, 1994


From:     "Kelly St.Clair" <kstclair@????.????.edu>
Date:     Thu, 20 Oct 1994 23:21:33 -0700
Subject:  Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)
While I like 3D maps for space games (I think they're a generally
  nifty concept as well as most accurate), I have to say that I don't
  think they're right for Spelljammer.  It's a much different paradigm
  than your typical SF game or story.

First and most importantly, Spelljammer is supposed to be FANTASY, not
  your favorite science-fiction game with different props.  All the
  time, I see people trying to import real astronomical objects (nebulae,
  pulsars, quasars, etc etc).  I suppose that the Practical Planetology
  book started us down this path, with its very modern-textbook style
  of describing each world, just as we're used to seeing SF universes
  described.  Since then, the focus seems to have been not on exploring
  the possibilities of a magical universe, but on translating ours into
  Spelljammer.

Completely accurate, three-dimensional charts showing every sphere in its
  proper relationship to each other is something that we players, living
  in an age when every inch of our world has been precisely mapped from
  orbit, take for granted.  Try looking at those out-of-proportion
  medieval and Rennaisance charts, the ones with bent coastlines and lots
  of blank space, compiled from the questionable measurements of
  explorers.  That's what maps of the phlogiston should look like, IMO.

Being able to know where everything is and how to get there gives one a
  sense of freedom that is appropriate for most SF games, where FTL
  travel is unlimited and navigation trivial.  Not so in Spelljammer,
  where travel is effectively restricted to the swift paths of the Flow
  and few means of navigation work in the endless rainbow ocean.  I
  believe that a better type of map for this kind of universe is a web
  of spheres connected by currents, rather like a "jump-lines" chart
  for a science-fiction setting.  Distance and precise relationship is
  irrelevant; only travel time matters.  Destinations not connected by
  the Flow are hard, even impossible to reach (unless you're a very
  determined undead).

I don't want to see "light years" or "parsecs" or grid coordinates on
  a Spelljammer map, any more than I want to hear people classifying
  fire bodies by spectral type and position on the H-R diagram.  It's
  a fantasy game.  If you want scientific, go play GURPS Space.

Finally, I have heard rumors that the spheres themselves drift (slowly)
  in the phlogiston.  That would make any comprehensive chart obsolete
  after a time.

Discussion welcomed.  Flames, tomatoes, and kender sent to /dev/null.

---------------------------
Kelly St.Clair
kstclair@????.????.????.edu


Previous Message: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)
Next Message: Re: Groundlings using spelljammers
Month Index: October, 1994

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
3D maps and distances (2nd try)    RJPugh@???.com    21 Oct 1994 02:30:46
Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)    Kelly St.Clair    21 Oct 1994 06:21:33
Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)    Michael Bauser    21 Oct 1994 06:57:59
Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)    Stephen Burton Mann    23 Oct 1994 02:22:29

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