Monday, January 9, 2012

Broken Worlds (Random Table/Any System)

Games like Traveller, Space Opera, D6 Space, Rogue Space and other void-faring, star travelling, space opera type games often wind up with mega-scale wars being fought with terrifying weapons of planetary destruction. Planet Busters, Hellburners, Worldkillers -- there is a wide variety of sci-fi weaponry that can end a world. These planets have been struck down in mid-step by such weapons. These were the lucky ones. They at least have survived well enough to remain mostly recognizable as planets. Not all of their fellows were quite so fortunate.
Broken Worlds Table I (D20)
  1. Atmosphere has been completely burned-off. Only traces of what was once a human-adapted environment remain.The surface is covered in cold ashes that have settled into gentle rippled seas in-between jagged and slagged mountains and a few crater rims.
  2. Only a very few specks of land protrude above the stormy waves of this turbulent hot-house of an ocean world. The polar ice caps were not only melted, but the entire planet has shifted upon its axis and the thriving colonies of waterborne plankton are the only things suited to this new environment.
  3. The entire world is surrounded by a soft, gray cloud of microparticulate explosives that mostly prevent anyone or anything from entering or leaving the upper atmosphere. It might be possible to reach the surface, but it is likely to be a one-way trip. If you make it.
  4. The main, central continent has been submerged beneath the oceans of this planet by an incredible combination of brute force, massive bombardment, and secondary volcanism. The crust has broken-through at the edges of the once verdant land and massive upwellings of molten lava, poisonous gasses, and super-heated steam have created a volatile, corrosive, geologically spectacular world completely inimical to most forms of life.
  5. The surface of this world is a writhing and convoluted membraneous labyrinth made-up of one planet-scale biomass of a particular form of fungi not previously recorded. It is also sentient. And telepathic. Hello.
  6. Craters stretch all the way around the equatorial region to form a horrendously fractured zone of volcanoes, chasms, and yawning abysses that in some cases reach nearly to the core of the planet. Seismic instability is profound, to say the least. The regions immediately surrounding the equator are buckled, dislodged and thrust up from the mantle in a jumbled mess. Wicked storms obscure both polar regions and a large portion of the oceans are now falling back down as torrential rains, causing erosion on a scale rarely seen in real-time.
  7. Hyper-toxic. The air, water, and soil of this world have been saturated with incredibly fast-acting toxins.
  8. Sterilized. There aren't even archaea or bacteria on this world, but there are signs that there once might have been.
  9. Waterless. All the water has been removed somehow.
  10. Frozen into a mega-ice age, there are ruins jutting up from some of the thinner ice sheets that are only a few hundred miles thick.
  11. The crust of this smoldering, magmatized planet has been completely shattered; not a section more than a mile in radius remains intact. The air is hot, poisonous and extremely volatile. The cyclones and tornadoes carry massive amounts of debris, ash, dust and grit at multiple-hundred-miles-an-hour making this a very dangerous place to attempt to land and a terrible place to crash.
  12. Glassed. The surface has been hit hard by planet-scale lasers or other burners so that the atmosphere has mostly boiled away and the crust has been super-heated into a form of glass. There are signs of someone attempting to harvest some of the material, possibly the first steps towards establishing a mine of some sorts.
  13. Cratered and blasted to the point where the air is so super-saturated with fine dust particles that a perpetual series of electrical storms chase one another across the upper atmosphere like a planetary light show.
  14. Nearly one-third of this world's molten iron core has been extracted. Messily. With no regard for life, limb or other people's property. Gargantuan blobs of solidified iron form a heavy black cloud around the planet. Occasionally a large chunk slips far enough in its tenuous orbit to come crashing back into the ruined world below. Magnetic anomalies are intense and the entire planet is one unstable mess teetering on the brink of fragmenting into an asteroid field.
  15. This world fared even worse. Its core is gone and the crust that remains is crumbling in upon itself. What remains of an atmosphere is sublimating rapidly, and the debris-filled storms left in the wake of all the turmoil are almost all that is left of this world.
  16. Ice grips the northern hemisphere in a terrible centuries-long perpetual winter even as the waters of the southern hemisphere boil away under the onslaught of what appears to be some sort of massive, planet-scale furnace that sends out a stream of water vapor and debris that extends across two planetary orbits and threatens to destroy this world if it isn't somehow stopped.
  17. Hot, dark and corrosive--this was once a lush jungle-dominated world of deep ravines in-between spurs of a gloriously spiraling polar mountain range. But something hit it hard and stirred up millions of tons of dust to block out the sunlight even as all hell broke loose in the form of hundreds of super-volcanoes erupting one after another in a terrible circuit all around the world.
  18. A thick sheet of ice obscures the highly radioactive oceans of poisonous sludge that have drowned the once populous cities of this world.
  19. The moon has been driven directly into this world like a battering ram. Now there is so much debris and gas circulating around the topsy-turvy planetary core that it is unclear whether this is a planet any more, or if it is a new asteroid belt in the making.
  20. Radioactive sands drift across what remains of the surface of this world that has been cracked into three major sections and left to slowly heal or congeal back into some sort of semblance to a world afterwards.


  1. Ok, if there is ever a plane-hopping misshapp in my fantasy campaign... ;)

  2. Suitably bleak and evocative. :)


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