Thursday, October 25, 2018


In moments stolen from other projects (or day jobs), Jason Sholtis and I have been bandying about ideas for a Sword & Planet setting for some future publication. It's still taking form, but here are some facts about Zarthoon as we currently know them:

  • It is a planet orbiting a G-type star, 66 G. Centauri, some 30 light-years from Earth. It is about one and a half times larger than Earth, but is less dense, so it has a similar gravity. It has one moon, but also a glittering band of dust, where perhaps another moon once orbited.
  • Some people of Earth have come to Zarthoon in the past, by mysterious means. Indeed, the primary intelligent species seems to identical to Terran humanity in all respects.
  • There was a nuclear war centuries ago. Zarthoon's advanced civilization was mostly destroyed, only ruins remain of once advanced cities on most continents, though there are a few cities, including the domed city of Azmaron, which hold on to a bit of their former glory. In most places it is a "points of light" setting where city-states are isolated and surrounded by monster and mutant-infested wilderness.
  • Much of Zarthoonian technology is based around the radioactive mineral called zuranite. Its radiation is focused to provide beam weapons of deadly force, used to power the buckler-like hand-shields that are the only protection against those beams, and to power the anti-gravity engines of fliers.
  • Most disputes aren't settled with zuranite ray guns, but instead with swords, graceful rapiers edged with crystalline adamant so that no metal armor can resist them.
  • Not everyone has access to fliers and so many rely on beasts of burden, including the swift, flightless avian zurch, and the beaked and elephantine vastidars.

Size comparison of a vastidar and a human


Knight of Roses said...

Sounds wonderful. Can a energy buckler defend against a crystal edged sword?

Trey said...

That's one of the things we have yet to iron out. :)

Anne said...

Oh man, this sounds awesome. Let me know if you ever need an extra head for brainstorming.

Sean said...

Something you may be able to use:

I worked on a similar idea a while ago. One thing that bothered me was why people with rayguns would use swords. My answer was that the rayguns were an ancient technology, and the batteries that powered them were slowly wearing down. They still worked, but could only fire once before needing several minutes to build up a new charge. Really valuable guns could recharge in a couple minutes or even just several seconds.

Trey said...

@Anne - Thanks!
@Sean - The "takes time to build up a charge" was exactly the same answer we came up with (borrowed from Simon Green's Deathstalker novels), but we alsomay require it with "needs a new battery crystal periodically."

Chris C. said...

This sounds great. I can't wait to see how it progresses.

Blue Tyson said...