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Month Index: October, 1994


From:     Ville Lavonius <Ville.Lavonius@??.????????.cs>
Date:     Fri, 21 Oct 1994 17:31:18 +0200 (EET)
Subject:  Re: europa.txt
Europa - another icy mystery in Jovian League

Earthworld, size D
Normal atmosphere
EWS gravity
Orbits in 33 days
Period of rotation: 39 hours
No satellites
No weather

Danger Index: C (ubiquitous cold)
Resources: D (none known)
Spelljamming activity: Low (no starport)
Bases: Jovian, Thalaric's (both very minor)

Reputation:
"Hhm.  I've cut ice in Calotia, in Hethla, just about anywhere where
there is ice.  But my saw cannae cut Europa's ice.  I'm still not
considering retirement." -- McLwach, supplier
"It's a mirror for the gods, from the funny house." -- Bugles,
Harlequin in Thalaric's court
"So far our drilling venture has cost us several kilo-julii, but the
dwarves are doing even worse.  And that IS a consolation since I
personally sabotaged their equipment." -- Niccola Velsaco, engineer
for Jovian Navy

Appearance from space:  One of the very few perfect mirror surfaces
in space.  Due to lack of cloud cover, the smooth ice-surface
reflects everything.

Geological Facts:  Europa seems to be just another anomaly in the
Known Spheres, a too-hard ice world.  But it is something much more
sinister in truth.  Of course, the idea is so farfetched, that no-
one's been close to the truth yet.
Namely, Europa is the only known nested crystal sphere, that is, a
crystal sphere within another.  The ice (and the atmosphere) have
naturally formed on the surface during the millennia.  And there's
no way to know where the ice stops and crystal begins, thus
everybody has just assumed that the ice hardens immensely after a
hundred feet or so.

Weather:  The atmosphere is without winds, the temperature a steady
0 centigrades, and all humidity in atmosphere bound to the ice.

Flora and Fauna:  No species are known from Europa.  And in fact the
only thing that survived the salinization of the environment was a
kelp-like 'plant' that actually consists of steel.

History:  It is not known whether Europa is a natural occurrence of
a nested sphere, or was it transported here by the Europans.  So far
the Europans have eluded all explorers, but sooner or later the
shell of the planet will be breached.  Europans are spelljamming
veterans, having traversed the spheres millennia ago, concurrently
with Juna.  However, bereft of companionship after the juna
vanished, their culture (certainly not based here) fell into
depression and the Europans retreated to safe places to await the
rise of the next sophonts.  It took far longer than anybody
believed, and they no longer wish any contact from 'outsiders', in
fact it may be the case that Europa is their last haven, since none
have been found before.  What befell this ancient race, and why...
Jovian League, for a reason only known to Emperor Lucian IV declared
the moon to be a Jovian colony about a hundred years ago.  So far
the exploration has been really minimal.

Inhabitants:  Europans are a colony of truly bizarre creatures,
shapeless anemone-looking blobs who are psionically very powerful.
They are also very secretive, solitary and would have no
compunctions in 'removing' anybody who's discovered their existence.
So the PCs would better tread very carefully.  And the thick salt-
plasma makes conventional combat almost impossible, so the
characters need strong psionic abilities to succeed.

Cities:  Europa has no cities in conventional sense, and europans
themselves are telepathic and have no need for closeness.

Other notable sites:  The Jovian Navy Engineering Corps has been
trying to drill the planet for years, without success.  Their 'ice-
mine' is by far the largest congregation of spacefarers on the
planet.  Dwarves (despite the fact that Jovian League annexed the
moon a hundred years ago) operate on the surface too, perfecting
their heaters.  So far both parties have been totally unsuccessful
in breaching the surface to a greater depth.

Adventure seeds:
-*- First contact.  Someone breaches the sphere and the characters
are treated to a wondrous sight, a bulging plasma explosion.  And
they have the honor to greet the Europans.
-*- The dwarves, rather angry at the latest sabotage attempt, decide
to show the Jovians how the magma-powered heaters work.  The PCs are
caught in between and have to stop the escalation to avoid a crisis
with Thalaric.
-*- A deranged neogi great old one rammed the planet a few months
ago (convinced that the mirror image was just another mindspider).
The elven navy would like to study the ship, but being on Jovian
territory, they have no access to it.  The PCs will have to
accompany the elves travelling incognito, or try transporting the
wreckage unnoticed.  And there might still be some survivors in the
ship...
-*- Speedskimmers from Callisto discover the smooth fields.  Most of
them get lost due to total lack of friction.  Kidnappers have a
field day picking them up.  How PCs fit into this scheme is up to
you.

Gamey bits:  Even a ring of free action will not enable a character
to move in the plasma with any speed, it is far too viscous to swim
in.  And the salt will affect any exposed body parts (damage about
d6 / round, depending on precautions taken).

The whole idea is 'reverse-Clarke'...  In his Space Odyssey 20xx
novels Arthur C. uses Europa as the next cradle of life in solar
system.  Here it's the other way round.  And the loneliness in space
is conveniently ripped from David Brin's 'Crystal Spheres'.

--
Ville.Lavonius@????????.fi             into    the           flood    again
http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/~lavonius/   same  old   trip  it was back   then



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