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Month Index: December, 1994

From:     Skreyn@???.com
Date:     Mon, 5 Dec 1994 04:22:09 -0500
Subject:  Re: Life, Mercury, Communication
Three topics, folks.

1. "Life"
Jeremy wrote:
>and I'll be talking to Sean about including some/all of it... Right

Right.  I'm getting everything on George the HD, and once I get have
the time to put it all in amore coherent format....

I like the Stormwood stuff - if someone comes up with data for
incorporating into a ship, I'd definitely like to see it.

2.  Mercury

OK, here's some stuff I planned to add to Terraspace, specifically
the planet Mercury.
Since Mercury's rotational period is equal to its year, one side
is always kept facing to the sun, and the other in perpetual cold.
Rich has some ideas for what lies on the "hot" side - some neato
metallic dwarves, I believe?

Anyway, the cool side once had a temporary gate to the planes of
Hell, and seven ice devils came through this doorway before it
closed up (I have no idea what the ice devils are called in 2nd
ed - they're the bug-looking guys that sometimes carry spears).
No longer having to worry about the archdevils, these seven
began to trounce the locals and set up their own little empires on
the cold side.  Each has enslaved some of the more evil frost-
dwelling creatures as thugs, and use them to control the local
populace (mostly cold-adapted humanoids, with one or two small
human tribes).  The locals live near the rare hot spring, and
eat strange creatures native to the cold twillight landscape,
as well as mineral-bearing ice deposits and the few stunted
slightly magical plants that grow off of the limited starlight
and occasional carnivorousness.

The hot springs carry dissolved minerals to the surface, where,
when exposed to the cold, form various-colored ices, depending
on which minerals are present.  While often aesthetically
pleasing, the real value of these ices is that when melted,
the minerals settle out of the water in a very pure form,
and are easily separatable.  Thus, rather than coins being
the medium of exchange, metal grains or dust, either held
in pouches or re-frozen into ice, is used as wealth.

Offworlders would probably be able to trade common materials
such as cookware, wood, and food for small amounts of these
pure metals, which are useful for spell components or in

The "thugs" most common to the ice devils are either tribes of
frost giants or small bands of frost men.  The devils' strength
and magic resistance are enough to keep the thugsin line, plus
the devils' habits of being generous in rewarding them with
plunder, food, and slaves.

The most powerful ice devil goes by the name of Hoarshard (not
his true name, of course), and lives in a large castle of ice
and stone, called Winterock, about thirty miles southwest of
the exact center of the cold hemisphere, near a frozen lake.
The lake is slightly heated in the deeps, allowing some larger
fish to grow.  It is these fish that attract the humanoids,
seeking more substantive and easily portable food.  Hoarshard's
proximity to this lake means those locals are in thrall to him,
and they give him offerings of food and whatever meager valuables
they can find to appease him.  As a result, he sends his giants
to clear the land of large predators.

The devils are comfortable here, in their place of power, and
will _not_ gate in others (from Hell) if they are attacked -
they do not wish to disturb the power structure they have

Occasionally, one of the hot-siders will cross the thin band
of normal-temperatue land that encircles the planet (normally
to trade with some of the cold-siders for pure metals), and be
captured.  They normally are immediatly offered up to the
devils (after having their non-valuable but useful items,
such as metalware, removed), who generally torture them to
death.  If one of the other six devils gets his hands on one,
he may give it to Hoarshard to gain esteem or a favor.

3.  Communication

I've always been bothered with how it takes so bloody long
for information to go from a ship to the land and back
again, or from remote outposts within a sphere.  So, I
decided to have somebody do something about it.

The result: a black sphere with a smooth reflective surface,
either four or two inches in diameter.  A wizard who casts
a Message spell and holds one of the larger spheres can
use the spell as normal, except that the message is magically
sent outward in all directions on magical beams of invisible
light.  Anyone holding another one of the black spheres (small
or large) will hear the exact message as broadcast, as it is
sent (the signal travels as fast or faster than a spelljamming
vessel).  This signal is blocked by any class A body or larger,
or by the walls of a crystal shell, so being behind one of these
prevents communication by such devices.  Other common methods
for preventing scrying, such as six inches of lead or magical
protections prevent the signal from reaching a reciever.
Also note that the spheres are rarely effective when used to
communicate between two points on a planet's surface, as the
signal travels outward in a straight line and doesn't bounce,
so things like mountains, the curvature of the planet, and
the like usually are sufficient to block the signal).

The smaller spheres cannot transmit, only recieve.  So far,
test have shown that the signal comes through strongly
even at great distances - even inside very large crystal shells.

If used in the phlogiston, the signal only travels about a mile
before becoming to garbled and weak.  The wizard who creates
these spheres, Raymond Trafalgar of Rebirthspace, is trying to
figure out why, but he believes that it is the nature of the
phlogiston, and doesn't expect much success in overcoming it.

One drawback to the spheres is that when a message is sent,
_everyone_ with a receiver that isn't blocked can hear it -
there are no "stations" to "tune in" to, allowing privacy.
Thus, various codes are generally used over the device to
ensure secrecy.

The spheres are called "Distance Obliterators" by their
creator, but most call them "D.O.'s" for short, often
reducing that to just "deeyo."  So far, Ray has made
eight large deeyo's and fourteen small deeyos, and sells
them for 13000gp and 6000gp, respectively.
The Arcane have become interested in the deeyos (as they
would with any mass-produced space technology), but haven't
yet been able to duplicate Raymond's work.

Comments, suggestions, corrections, digestions?
Sean K Reynolds      |   "We hug and we kiss, We sit and make lists
a.k.a. Veggie Boy    |   "We drink and I bandage your wrists."
skreyn@??????.com    |   'Everything Old Is New Again'
skreyn@???.com       |   - BareNaked Ladies

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