Big, Giant Space Creature

“Untouched” was probably a bad word choice, but I believe I covered that:

“Close” is the operative word in what you’re describing. The strength of gravitational forces decreases with the square of distance, which means much less effect at greater distances. Small objects need to be close to cause a noticeable effect (I’m not counting a shift of a couple of metres as noticeable!). On a system scale, a moon is small and the distances are immense. It will have an effect on everything in the system, but in the vast majority of cases, it will be effectively negligible.

I’m sure I’m not explaining it well, I was trained as an astrophysicist, not a teacher, but hopefully it’s a little clearer?

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What would you say is “close”? An AU? A light minute? Or a light second? Or less?

“This discussion to ridiculousness and/or off-topic.” seems like an apt definition of “close”.

That’s not ridiculous! That’s important if you want to use a big giant space crature. If it is too large then you have a big problem.

Fair enough. :slight_smile:

I ran a big space creature mission- the “creature” was only a partial extension of a larger entity intruding from subspace, while it abducted crew members to assimilate their life experiences. (This plays into a underlying and ongoing plot in my campaign, so the details are naturally suited to their environment.) This created an A plot of the shipboard crew trying to figure out how to rescue their kidnapped comrades, while also facing the ticking clock of being dangerously close to Romulan territory, and a B plot with the abductees trying to resist being absorbed and stripped of the identities, meaning that even if they could be rescued they might be vegetables. (I had them being “attacked” through memories, which would wear them down either through direct violence or through social conflicts, either of which designed to exhaust and deplete all resistance.)

Not saying you should use my “space monster”, but somewhere therein might be a random seed of inspiration for your own.

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Appalling answer, I know, but it would depend on the combined and relative masses of the objects involved. I’m no longer able to come up with the equations off the top of my head (it’s been 30 years), but they’re relatively simple. IIRC gravitational force is proportional to Mass1*Mass2/Distance^2 so that should give you an idea of the scales involved. Then remember to take the speed of the invader into account as a fast moving object will have less time to affect the system’s constituents.

(Note that with relativistic (or warp) speeds all bets are off. Anything hit by the invader - such as a small meteorite or the solar wind - would be vaporised, along with part of the invader itself, releasing high-energy x-rays and all manner of nasties, probably sterilising part of the system. This would be a good point to get a starship involved and ISTR was the point of “For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky”.)

Folks, I’m not trying to score points - just want to emphasise the vast scales and differences in scale involved here. Sorry if it came off different.

@MisterX Fair cop. I’ve said far too much on the subject, so I’ll shut up now.

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@Astronut, the equation that you wanted, I believe is F(g) = G ((m1 * m2) / r^2) where G is the gravitational constant (6.6743 x 10^-11) and r is the distance between the two masses.

Please, by any means, please don’t! I’m dead serious.

Oh yeah! Thanks for sharing, great plot! :slight_smile:

The campaign I am running now I had the players looking to establish trade with a mining colony on a small moon that had a very unique form of dilithium crystals. Upon investigagion along with some other campaign plot points they discovered that the moon in itself was a living being and rhe miners were harming it by mining the life force out of it. It fought back with what were essentially its version of “white blood cells” that converted miners into crystal based creatures. The kicker for the campaign thoough has been an unknown force that is taking over/manipulating things throughout the galaxy. I plan to have this living planet be one of those such things later on now that the party knows such a being exists


Clarification - F is not in g’s, it’s in Newtons, so needs to be divided by 9.81ms^-1 to get the equivalent in g’s. The values for m1 and m2 are in kg and r is the distance between the centre of the two bodies (important for large bodies) and is in meters.

This equation works fine for a pair of spherical bodies, but for anything sufficiently large with an irregular size, like a giant space dragon or V’Ger, you have to do a set of integrations to combine the force vectors. Typical physicists -everything has to be a perfect sphere in a vacuum.


This formular tells us two things:

  1. double the mass, double the gravitational force.
  2. double the distance, divide the the gravitational force by two squared.

So if you want to change the mass of an object but do not want to change its gravitational pull on another object, you have to multiply the distance with the square root of the factor used to change the mass. If you change the mass by four, you have to increase the distance by two.

Subspace Squids – swimming in the lanes and eddies of subspace, these Sovereign Class sized creatures go about their lives, occasionally providing a navigational hazard to ships far off the “normal” space lanes. Generally they avoid interacting with regular space and the little sentients flying around doing whatever BUT they are attracted to Dilithium which is an important part of their life-cycle. A pod of these creatures has wandered into Federation space and this leads to distress calls from mining stations or facilities as the Squids slip out of subspace with hardly any warning and then encircle a target with their enormous tentacles and use their neutronium strong beaks to crack stone or durasteel to get to the dilithium deposits they need to ingest.

A locust style plague of these could cause a dilithium crisis, some hostile force could find a way to steer the squids at their enemies, etc. You could probably wring a seasonal arc out of the creatures if you liked.


@Modiphius-Gavin, F(g) was trying to indicate an uppercase F with a subscripted g as it was written in my physics textbook years ago. It was not stating that there was to be any multiplication or other mathematical function taking place. Specifically, it was to represent the Force due to gravity (thus F(g)).

You are correct that this equation is for spherical bodies rather than oblong or otherwise not uniformly shaped. However, we need not get too complicated for this discussion, agreed? :grin:

I do not know if some one mentioned them but the image on page 46 of The Command Division supplemental rulebook depicts a school of some sort of “space whales” with the USS Titan between them. And the interior front cover of Strange New worlds shows a huge tentacle monster destroying a Sovereign-class vessel.

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Spot on - I didn’t want to get too technical!

I love this idea - bookmarked!

So on the main subject, there’s a good series of articles on creatures in general on Continuing Mission, which offered a series of cards that could be combined to inspire new creatures. There’s a subset for spaceborne creatures (termed cosmozoa).

My current campaign has my 2295-era crew exploring the Black Cluster, and finding a lot of these types of creatures, as I’ve set it up as a kind of spawning ground (again Continuing Mission features something like this in their Sargon Campaign). I’m heading down a distinctly Lovecraftian route with my version: the Cluster distorts perceptions and there are massive, distinctly alien, spaceborne intelligences deep inside the region.

Paizo’s Starfinder has several vessel sized creatures in its books. I am sure that some of those could be used in STA.

Sure. Often when a variable has a parenthesis like that it indicates units, F(g) would indicate Force in g’s, but regardless, it’s still worth stating the F is in Newtons and show people how to convert Newtons to g’s.

You can also use it to calculate surface gravity for a planet, if you assume the value for r is the planet’s radius.

I also agree that this level of detail is totally not necessary for most Star Trek games, but expressing the gravitational attraction in Newtons is exactly the kind of thing a Vulcan science officer could do :slight_smile:


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