The biggest obstacle to the domestication of elephants is the long amount of time it takes for an elephant to reach maturity. For humans to domesticate an animal, it needs to be relatively fast growing, reaching breeding age in less than 5 years. Horses and cattle do it in 3-4 years for examples of our largest domesticated animals. Economically we don't have the time to wait out 20 years for a baby elephant to become a bull.
So the space gnomes create GMO elephants, and they just happen to grow faster and reach maturity sooner. Its still an elephant the same way Monsanto's non-fertile self terminating insect repellent poison resistant product is still legally corn.
So normally I side with realism and functional mechanics, but this time I've absolutely got to side with fantasy space opera. If there is faster than light travel and planetary scale terraforming, then there is no reason to not techno-handwave domesticated elephants into existence.
The same goes for molten salt batteries, does it sound cool? Does it sound like it has some crunchy science nuggets in it? Go for it. The batteries are composed of a polymer casing and contain metallic salts in a molten state blah blah technobabble. If laser swords and telekinesis are good to go in Space Opera, then tasty hot batteries and space elephants are good too Go to Comment
I'm sure there's a planetary scroll around here somewhere to add this to. Nice work, either way. I like the blending of fantasy (gnomes) and science (interplanetary colonization), and the elephants made me laugh. It feels like it's missing a little something, though, but I don't know what it is at the moment. Go to Comment
There are a number of things I could certainly have included in this sub that would probably have made it feel more complete: Some fluff text to give a better feel for the place. More details, such as a number of prominent individuals and locations. Specific events in history. More about where space Gnomes come from and how they interact with other races and places. Ultimately, I could have spent another day or two on it but my goal for this piece was to get it out as quickly as possible as part of my personal 8-in-8 challenge.
As far as the other feedback:
Why is it believable that the Gnomes could tame an entire planet but not raise elephants? It's a large world with more arable land than they can use. They have a history of interactions with elephants and plenty of time to figure things out; maybe they played with the genes a little to make them more amenable animals.
Molten-salt batteries actually exist today, they are just not very widespread and the technology is currently immature.
The Gnomes used biotech to turn the dry land into usable soil. They bred genetically modified bacteria, mixed it with other organic matter, and introduced whatever other species it took to prepare the soil. It was a long process, taking many years, growing outward from a small area and continues on into the present day. Every Committee Chair has seen a consistent rise in productivity for many generations. Go to Comment
The PCs track a known criminal with a bounty on her head to Beta Arconis. She is hiding out in one of the numerous fishing villages. Good luck getting help from the insular Gnomes or the persecuted fishermen.
Now that Beta Arconis is no longer the inhospitable rock it once was, numerous other races are pushing to create their own settlements. The Gnomes are doing their best to block these attempts. The PCs may be hired by outsiders to help expedite the process or they may side with the Gnomes and help them defend their world.
Someone from offworld has been sabotaging operations on Beta Arconis: poisoning crops, setting fire to grain silos, blowing up machinery. Is it a rival provider of food commodities seeking to break the Gnomish hold on trade? A hate group? A lone maniac?
I agree with Dossta. This is missing something, I just don't know what.
Moving on to the technical.
You say they raise elephants. If by raise you mean they threw a bunch of elephants int the wild and now take them, then yes, it would be possible. My only concern then would be the elephants getting enough food. But if by raise you mean domesticate, as in raise like cattle or horses, then it is impossible. Humans have been trying for thousands of years. If it could be done, Carthage and India and all the other elephant-containing areas in history would have done so. After all, a domesticated elephant would be far better in military- better control over the beast, less likely to go on a pain-driven rampage killing your own guys, etc. Frankly, they gnomes could not raise elephants like livestock.
Also- molten salt batteries? I like how you used a byproduct to help the process that created the byproduct in the first place, but if we could have molten salt batteries, that were powerful enough to be competitive on the global (or universal) markets, we would be using them. I am not a chemist, so I don't know how feasible the idea is, but I feel the only way you could use the salt as a power source is pouring it through a turbine, like hydro-power.
Moving on to the good stuff
I do like how these gnomes managed to turn a hostile world into a top producer of food. They are productive little chaps, arean't they? Anyways, as a said in the salt but, I like how byproducts were used to drive the process.
Ooh! Here's my question: how did the gnomes turn the deserts/dry plains into fertile farmland?
Anyway, I like this, but there are some technical issues. Go to Comment
If the gnomes played with the genes of the elephants to make it possible to raise them, then they wouldn't have elephants any more, would they? They'd have something that looked like elephants, sure, but not actual elephants. Also, we have had plenty of time to domesticate elephants, and all we've managed to do is go into the wild, tame them, and bring them back home. Elephants are simply impossible to domesticate. If you want me to quote non-fiction books at you, I will. Go to Comment
This is a good submission. The plot can be hooked into fairly easily, and there are a number of elements of momentary importance which could be adjusted to fit the scenario into a campaign. The setting helps to flavor things, but isn't critical, and the overall tale seems interesting.
My one problem is with the end. It's very abrupt. Rather, it's confusing in how it's supposed to tie together. I think an overview of the chain of events here would be very helpful. Go to Comment
This has a nice, classic feel to it. I can envision this as a nice, low-mid level quest for a party. The detail you provide are very nice, but loose enough that it could be adapted for any setting (e.g., instead of a Taoist temple, it's an elven shrine that some sylvan elf clan is attacking). For a random-word sub, you've put together something very clean and usable. Go to Comment