spaceshipit: (above the sky)
The Mod Journal ([personal profile] spaceshipit) wrote in [community profile] driftfleet_ooc2017-03-03 08:46 pm

March Star System

The fleet continues on it's course. The neighboring system to Rew isn't far, so only within a few days of flying does the Marsiva reach its next destination.

→ The fleet will be in this star system from 3/04 to 4/01.
→ We'll put up a post with additional event info on 3/17.

Another Singing Planet…?
The Mahig system only contains one planet with three uninhabited moons, orbiting a blue giant star. This planet is another singing planet, like the ones the fleet has come across in the past. As the fleet enter the system, the same buzz of interference washes across the comms. This hum can only be traced to somewhere on the planet's surface, and pervades every frequency. At first, it seems to only be static, but listening close enough this time will reveal the sound of whale songs amidst the static.

However, as the fleet comes close enough to get a visual on the singing planet, it becomes very obvious that this planet lacks the typical lush forests of the others. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any landmasses at all. The entire planet is covered in a deep ocean, and scans read that any lifeforms are dwelling beneath the waves.

Mafik, the Water Planet.
Just when your crew starts to think they're going to be spending the month in their ships, they'll be hailed by the local authorities on the planet. In a manner that indicates that this is routine, they'll inform them that they have permission to land but will need to go through decontamination. Before one can argue that there's no land to land on or ask what they mean by decontamination, a tractor beam will lock onto their ship and start pulling them into the water.

Once pulled beneath the surface of the water, passengers will begin to see the true landscape of the planet. Lush kelp forests, colorful coral reefs, and magnificent underwater cities all reside beneath the waves. This is a planet that's as full of life as any other singing planet, it's simply all underwater.

The ships will be beamed to the only space dock on the planet, outside the largest city, Dasil'di. Once docked, a box of complimentary wetsuits and flippers of various sizes and colors will be beamed into the cargo bay, notably without any sort of scuba equipment. Stepping outside their ship, the passengers will find themselves in an airlocked decontamination room. The decontamination process isn't anything too bad, just a few futuristic cleaning scans as a generic welcome audio plays:

Welcome to Mafik. Please wait as we finish decontamination
to help keep our oceans healthy. Any damage done to the
decontamination room will result in a fine being forward to your ship.
After decontamination, the floor will open into the main center of the ship station,
Once your ship and crew has finished decontamination, you will be free to travel.
Any questions regarding travel or lost items may be directed to the help kiosk.
Please refrain from screaming or causing a disturbance to others.
Thank you and enjoy your visit to Mafik.

Once decontamination is complete and the message finishes playing, the floor will open up and drop the passengers straight into a fully submerged ship station. Years of dealing with land-dwelling races have long taught the locals there's little point in trying to convince them to go underwater on their own accord. It's much more efficient to just drop them in.

Luckily, the energy from the singing planet has infused the water with unique properties, so when they recover from the initial shock, passengers will find they are able to breathe and talk just fine underwater here. Likewise, the personal communicators are waterproofed via futuristic technology, so they'll function just fine. Any other electronics and/or water-susceptible items on their person however? Not so much.

When a crew completes decontamination, and the ship is given its own decontamination scans, crews will be allowed to explore the planet as they please, whether it be with shuttle or flippers.

The Dasioe.

(Art used with permission from chop-stuff!)

This planet is the homeworld of the Dasioe that the fleet encountered in the last system. Living in their natural environment, they don't need to wear any sort of environmental suits, allowing passengers to see what they look like. They're tall and slender humanoids, with webbed hands and feet, long ears, and glowing eyes that are adapted to see well in the water. Unsurprisingly, they are very strong swimmers.

The Dasioe are very much into fashion and beauty. They prefer wearing flowy, half-transparent garments made from sea silk in every color from plain white to crazy detailed patterns. The wealthier the Dasioe, the more ornate and arguably strange their jewelry becomes. Silver, gold, and copper are all common enough, but they also enjoy wearing shells, sea glass, and whatever else they can trade for. Some creative examples of Dasioe jewelry include tiaras consisting of soda bottle glass, bracelets hammered from soup cans, and charms made of keys and ancient coins.

They also enjoy making music, though it is eerily similar to whale calls. Instruments are generally drumlike in nature and made with found materials, like stretched whaleskin or a bit of scrap metal.

Unlike the Co'kal who aren't at all very religious, the Dasioe tend to have stronger spiritual beliefs embedded into their culture. Most Dasioe worship a set of three deities they commonly refer to as “The Three”. Each of these three deities represent different aspects (that coincidentally, shares the names of their moons):

  • Dafik often takes the form of a large red fish or serpent. Represents the earth, volcanoes, and heat.
  • Zafik takes the form of a large blue fish or serpent. Represents the water, ice, and cold.
  • Kahig takes the form of a large white bird or flying fish. Represents the sky, winds, and stars.

    Reference to either one or all three of these deities can be found throughout their settlements. Temples can be found for each deity or all three of them, and it's pretty common for households to have small shrines. While there are plenty of Dasioe who are less religious or spiritual, parts of the belief system still seep into their daily lives. For example, hunting and eating fish is completely banned due to their religion, though they still eat the meat of other creatures: sea stars, porpoises, waterfowl, etc. Residents who ignore the ban in the presence of the Dasioe may be shunned, yelled at, and/or removed from Dasioe houses/settlements for a time.

    The Illness.
    Sadly, Mafik has seen better days. The illness among the Dasioe on Siourew is here, and it's a full blown epidemic. It started small a few years back, but by now it's spread far enough that large portions of the population have contracted the illness. Fatalities are not uncommon, especially among children, the already sickly, and the elderly. Even some of wildlife has been affected. At this point, it's taken enough of a toll that the society is starting to strain. Medical resources are running low while the costs run high. It's clear that if this illness continues, these people may be facing a civilization collapse.

    Passengers can look into this illness if they are inclined to help. Just like the Dasioe on Siourew, they are exhibiting the same symptoms as the toxicity poisoning that occurred on the toxic moon last year. Testing the water and plants will confirm that this planet has been afflicted with the same toxins. The toxin level is still low enough that it won't affect the passengers unless they have a very, very weak immune system or have a particular weakness to toxins, but the Dasioe - who didn't evolve to have robust immune systems - aren't nearly as lucky.

    The source of where these toxins might be coming from isn't clear. This planet was never terraformed, and the local people have no memory of anything that could have caused it either. Passengers can do some research and attempt to find the source, but it's going to take some time as the water and ocean currents dilute the trail. In other words, we'll be covering that in a later post.

    In the meantime, medicine can be created by the lab supports to either give away or sell to the locals. If a passenger has healing magic that can cleanse or purify toxins, that'll be effective as well. Pilots can fly medical supplies or even patients to wherever they need to go, and cooks or anyone else with cooking skills could try cooking medicine into food and then attempt to get the infected wildlife to eat it. The problem can't be fully solved without figuring out the source, but helping out where you can will still do a lot of good.

    Points of Interest.
    As previously stated, the water on this singing planet is perfectly breathable, as if you were still in proper atmospheric air. Your lungs will not fill with liquid and you will be able to speak perfectly normally. It is definitely ocean water - with a decently high salinity if chemically tested - but fortunately, you aren't subjected to the taste of salt with every breath you take. It's magic!

    Still, it is water, and you will have to swim to get around. If you choose to attempt walking along the ocean floor, it will likely take you a while to get to where you're going. Water physics still apply here! This also means people with long hair are going to have some crazy floaty hairdos going on... perhaps you'll start a new fashion trend?

    While this planet lacks actual land for the giant forests you'd typically find on a singing planet, Mafik still has its own kind of forests. Massive kelp forests are found all over the ocean floor, sometimes reaching all the way up to the water's surface. In other parts, breathtaking coral reefs span across the scenery in incredible, vibrant colors.

    Animals can be found all over the place. Most of them look like mishmashes of aquatic species of Earth and other worlds: sharks with dolphin bodies, playtpus fishes, jellyfish the size of elephants, color-changing tentacled things with too many eyes, small fish with one giant eye, and birds with scales instead of feathers are all common sights outside civilization. The species can resemble ones that look close to saltwater or freshwater species, but curiously enough, they all live just fine in the oddly-breathable saltwater.

    If you're looking for an animal to keep, the Dasioe love everything colorful, and that includes their wildlife. They've domesticated a species of flying fish, about the size of conures, for companionship. Red, blue, yellow, and rainbow are the most popular colors but you can get whatever you'd like. They are friendly, though not talkative, and they seem to be able to live in water as well as float outside of it.

    To the far north, there's a vast and deep sea gorge that the locals simply call “The Depths”. Currently, there's a force field surrounding it, blocking any entry into the gorge itself. More religious Dasioe will explain this is because the depths are considered a sacred place, and thus are sealed off to preserve it. Less religious Dasioe will explain that it's because going into the depths is a surefire way to die, and thus it's sealed for safety.

    Even if you can't go into the depths itself, the sight of them is an impressive view. There are also a number of small religious shrines and touristy spots that have popped up along the edge. However thanks to the recent epidemic, most of these places currently stand empty.

    Dasil'di - By far the largest city on Mafik, Dasil'di towers above the ocean's surface and begins far, far below. The Dasioe's technology has gone a step further. Rather than building things out of found materials, they have integrated their giant jellyfish-shaped buildings into the world itself. To an outsider, it's hard to tell the difference between the buildings and some of the natural wildlife.

    There are quite a few refugee camps set up on the outskirts of the city, all people who have fled from their smaller villages in search of a cure for their illness. Some didn't make the journey. Every night, those poor souls are guided to the afterlife on the backs of great manta rays that blot out the moonlight overhead.

    Aswal'di - The second biggest settlement on Mafik is the Aswaldis Reef, where houses rise out of the coral and rocks, while some nestle within colorful plants the size of barges. The people here lack the infrastructure to support themselves in a time of crisis, however. A few residents remain to peddle goods and watch over their town, but the rest have fled for the main city.

    Ifil'di - Despite the gorgeous view of a rainbow kelp forest, this place is a ghost town. It lies further away from the capital than any other settlement. As one of the first places to be affected by the sickness, it was also one of the first abandoned. Many of the houses give the impression of people who had stepped out only for a moment.

    A few writings remain that can be found in the abandoned houses:
    “Kylia and her sister went to the Dark One's resting place. We all know it is forbidden. Now Kylia is sick. Mother says I cannot see her anymore. I miss Kylia.”

    “Every night we pray to the Three, but our pleas fall on deaf ears. We are forsaken by our own creators. The coral loses its color, and so do my people…”

    “Grandmother is sick. I am sick. The children of the city are dying. Even the fish have stopped coming near this cursed place. I am sending my daughter to Dasil with every coin I own. My soul goes to you, salt of my sea. I will see you soon.”

    The clothes and accessories that the Dasioe favor are for sale, and given their humanoid forms, they would surely fit members of the fleet - so if you fancy their style, you're in luck! If you're looking for something closer to home, or at least different, you're probably not going to find it here.

    Weaponry for sale is clearly meant for big-game hunting. You'll find plenty of harpoons, javelins - polearms with blades, serrated more often than not. There are larger hunting knives available, meant for slicing paths through thick kelp forests, but other bladed weapons won't be found here, and certainly no firearms. Bullets underwater? No way.

    Want something to remember this lovely planet by when you leave? There are many tourist-y shops scattered around that are more than happy to sell wonderful little souvenirs of Mafik to any travelers! Fossilized sand dollars, petrified coral pieces, little kelp plants you can grow on your own... there are even model shuttles in bottles! (Yes, the bottles are also full of water - that's part of the fun!) Of course, what's a souvenir store without adorable plush figures? Grab yourself a poofy little fish, a cuddly sea serpent, or other strange sea creature that might or might not be immediately familiar to you!

    And of course, don't forget the pet flying fish! Available in many, many colors, these fish are roughly the size of conures and perfectly domesticated. They're friendly, and fully capable of surviving both in and out of water - a perfect addition to any home or ship!

    The Dasioe live entirely on a diet of seafood and kelp. With the obvious lack of fire underwater, most foods are served either boiled, pan fried on heating devices, or simply raw. Kelp farms grow and harvest kelps of many different flavors, ranging anywhere from plain, to sweet, to savoury. There's even a market for types grown to try to mimic the tastes of human foods such as bacon, chocolate, or "pizza" flavor. How successfully they pull off these flavors varies.

    Seafood is a staple in their diet, but there's one stipulation: fish is forbidden. Reptiles, sea mammals, crustaceans, turtles, and amphibians are all perfectly acceptable meats to serve, but consuming fish is taboo for religious belief that it will anger Zafik. Thus, you won't find it served in any restaurants or shops. Passengers could still potentially fish for their own fish to consume, there are plenty that make quite tasty meals, but doing so around the locals will cause some bad reactions that'll range anywhere from disapproving looks to being forced to pay a fine.

    As for the drinking scene? Admittedly, it leaves much to be desired. There are a few "dry bars" that have been set up for travelers in Dasil'di. These are airlocked, waterless facilities run by humans and Co'kals, serve liquors from Siourew and the kerosene-tasting stuff from the waystations - but in fancy shell cups. All of it is imported, so expect a price hike.

    If you're looking to get drunk and try the local fare, there is alcohol infused kelp that's sold in different shops and restaurants. Caffeine addicts can find coffee infused kelp, but they have yet to figure out how to make it not taste like old coffee.

    Like everything else on this planet, many of the hotel rooms are completely submerged in water. Besides that, they are fairly standard hotel rooms beyond the occasional coral growing on the walls, the lack of the shower, and the toilet looking like it belongs in a zero/micro-gravity spaceship (here's a video for the very curious).

    Over time, the Dasioe have come to recognize that land-dwelling species may not be all that comfortable sleeping in water. As such, there are several hotels that offer airlocked, waterless rooms where travelers can get a good, dry night's sleep. They're pretty standard hotel rooms, including a thankfully normal bath and shower. However, every single bed available is a water bed.

    The standard handyman jobs are available - construction, crafting, repairs, etc. - but there will be the added challenge of everything being underwater, of course. Other typical jobs include answering any help wanted ads for wait-staff, host-staff, or other jobs that simply need to be done here and there.

    There are also credits to be made if you choose to help track down the source of the illness around these parts! Pilot augments can help fly shuttles full of explorers around, and communications augments can put their radars to use, scanning the depths for any sign of abnormality that might help point the way. And, of course, lab support personnel will certainly be needed to study the origins of the illness, and to create the medicine.

    Many tourists come to Mafik to experience life in breathable water, and the natives are very welcoming. They encourage people to look around - to explore the vast expanse of the ocean floor, or to just take it easy in the city and live life the way they do. Common attractions include your standard fare of tours, via swimming or open-air/water submarine; museums, featuring the art and culture of the Dasioe; and public parks and reserves, where visitors can swim and play to their heart's content.

    For the thrillseekers out there, a popular tourist attraction is air-diving! Participants board crafts that fly above the ocean, and then dive into the water below. People can dive from varying heights, depending on their personal levels of daredevilry/comfort, and there will always be professional staff to make sure accidents don't happen and everyone has a good time. Those who choose not to dive can simply stay in the craft and watch, or opt to hang out on the surface (by treading water, or using a provided floatation device) while everyone else makes the leap. The sight of the ocean and the sky extending seemingly forever in all directions is enough of a thrill for some people.

    There is one sport that is wildly more popular than others here: buoya! The object, like most sports, is to maneuver around the opposing team and carry a melon-sized ball of neutral buoyancy (thus, the name) into a designated goal-zone. Of course, this is far more complicated when it's entirely underwater. Not only do players need to be excellent - and fast - swimmers, but having to consider the dimensions above and below instead of simply being aware of the surrounding area is a lot to initially take in. As a full-contact sport, buoya can get pretty rough. While there are rules in place to keep serious injuries from being a common occurrence, there are fans who are into it for just how rough-and-tumble it can be! Fleeters are welcome to attend games, as there are many leagues to cover age groups, skill levels, and professional versus recreational. Professional games can be quite the spectacle, with all of the glitz, glamor, and excitement you would expect from a major sporting event. Large stadiums, overpriced concessions, loud and/or obnoxious fans, and ridiculous fan souvenirs can all be found. If Fleeters feel like trying their hand at playing, there are plenty of small leagues to join, and pick-up games in parks are incredibly common.

    Temple Ruins.
    There are plenty of reasons to go out and explore as much of the planet as possible. There's so much to see, after all! Searching the oceans far and wide means that, surely, someone is bound to stumble across a seemingly ancient underwater temple or two. Naturally. Which means, it's time for...

    That @$#%ing Water Level that Everyone Hates™. With bonus feature: Complicated Puzzles.

    Ah, yes, and last but not least, there's a water temple -- many water temples, actually! There are temples to be found all over the planet. Some lie deep in the hearts of kelp forests, others seem to have been constructed into the sides of tall underwater mountains, and others still are almost buried under the ocean floor. From the outside, they are beautiful structures, built from ornate stone that appears to have been strong enough to survive the tests of time even with being underwater. If you're into sightseeing, then these locales will definitely make a wonderful photo op. Those who would take the time and care to have a closer look at these ruins might come to the conclusion that perhaps something about them seems just the tiniest bit... out of place, compared to the other structures on the planet. Anachronistic, perhaps? Artificially aged? It's anyone's guess.

    The temples have long been considered holy sites by the Dasioe. While they used to hold ceremonies and rituals on the land outside the temples, the recent downfall of Dasioe society means that the caretakers of the shrines have either fled or died. This part of their culture is in danger of being wiped out along with their entire civilization. The temples are now unguarded; a few have even become rampant with unchecked, nastier wildlife.

    Those who choose to go inside will discover some interesting things within: trials and challenges. In the entryway of each temple, there's an inscription in a stone altar, that clearly states these trials stand between you and ”otherworldly treasures”. It's not clear what that means, and some may question if it's worth what you might have to face, but there's only one way to find out! Grab some friends (or go it alone, if you have none) and give it a shot!

    Each of the trials are different, with a combination of several tasks to be done. The number of tasks can be as few as three, but there's often more. While each one is unique, all of these trials carry similar theme of being puzzled-based. Expect locked doors with hidden keys, riddles scrawled into walls or tablets before doors will open. Or maybe there are booby-trapped rooms, with spikes, or fake treasure chests, or whirlpools that drag them elsewhere in the temple. Maybe they have to find a way to fill one chamber while leaving some others emptied of water. Could there also be ropes to swing from? Pressure-sensitive locks? Timed triggers that require more than one person to activate? Blocks to move? Paths that can only be seen if a light source bounces off of them in a certain way? All of the above?

    The possibilities are endless. Players can tailor their trials to however they'd like to frustrate their characters, as long as it stays within a puzzle theme and proves to be some level of difficult. While characters can use their powers to help them in their trials, attempts to skip or cheat at the trial (teleportation, smashing walls, walking through walls, etc) will mysteriously not work. No matter what you must face, may the best of luck be forever on your side, dear Fleeter! If you find your nerves being frayed by these puzzles, might we suggest some mood music to make it somewhat more tolerable?

    Also, please do keep in mind that some of these temples may be crawling with some not-so-nice aquatic life that seems keen on having you for lunch. … again, best of luck to you!

    Successfully completing the trials in any of the temples will grant you access to the deepest chamber: a small room with an incredibly high vaulted ceiling - with a single stone-and-tile mural on the wall before you, depicting a fantastical scene of what looks like tidal waves crashing against large, uhm, vehicles? Creatures? Strangely shaped floating mountains? It's really hard to tell what the artist was intending. However, that's not all there is! Ascend the few steps of a small altar to reach a treasure chest. Push back the stone lid, wait for the light inside of it to fade away (where did that even come from?), and the passengers will find... one item from their home world!

    The following guidelines apply to any received home item:
    → It must fit inside a medium sized box (actual dimensions: 3ft x 2ft x 2ft).

    → Each character can only receive one item. If they complete other trials at the other temples, they will not receive a second reward. The chest will be empty.

    → Everyone in your group can get a reward. Just close the chest and let someone else open it.

    → Weapons can be an item this time. However, powerful weapons may be depowered to a certain extent. Weapons that require unconventional upkeep will not necessarily be brought over along with those means. Weapons that need special ammo will come with enough ammo for a maximum of ten shots/rounds (unless they have less in canon).

    → Pets, AIs, or other “living” things may be considered on a case by case basis. Creatures may be depowered as well. Anything that could potentially count as an appable character is not allowed (example: Aladdin could get Carpet, but Elsa couldn't get Olaf).

    While we're fine if players want to handwave actually going through the trials, characters do need to actually go through the trials in order to get a item from home.

    Players who wish to receive an item from home should comment in the thread below with what item they wish to have, and the mods will let you know if all is well, or if there needs to be some sort of compromise. We are more than happy to work with anyone to come to a solution together, so please don't hesitate to start a conversation with us! We'll see what we can do!


    We want to give a big shoutout to Reiko for suggesting some of the elements used in this plot! Thanks a lot! We hope you enjoy what we came up with!

    The fleet will be in the system from 3/04 until 4/01. There will be another post regarding an event and follow-up to the illness plot, and that will go up around 3/17.

    And as always, if you have any questions about anything written above, you can ask in the QUESTIONS section below.

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