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Author Topic: Lords of the Rings?  (Read 877 times)

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Offline Khairn

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Lords of the Rings?
« on: December 29, 2008, 08:53:51 AM »
No ... not those little bands of metal that you put on your finger.  I'm talking about the eerily beautiful rivers of ice and stone that circle a planet.

I'm working on a campaign setting where the world has a planetary ring, like those that can be found circling Saturn.  The rings are there for a specific purpose, and I'm happy with that central concept.  But I'm now working on some secondary effects that the rings could have on the fantasy races and societies that live on the planet.

Some of the idea's I've already got include the following ...

-diffused light from the sun reflects off of the ice crystals in the ring, providing varying degree's of illumination throughout the night.  I imagine that the light from the ring would be brightest at dusk and dawn and weakest at the middle of the night.
-increased frequency of meteorite showers
-the stars would be less visible because of the brightness of the rings

What other idea's can you think of?


Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Lords of the Rings?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 10:12:50 AM »
I would assume that the latitude of the viewer would affect the appearance of the rings, at the equator the rings might not be anything more than a thin line across the sky. At the higher and lower latitudes the rings would be a bit more prominent, maybe barely visible in the day, like mountains that are not quite out of sight. At night, the rings in the sunlight would reflect sunlight just like the moon does.

Also, the rings would cast a shadow across the planet depending on it's axial tilt. Winter could be punctuated by long eclipses when the rings pass between the surface and the sun. These umbral days could cause the planet to have violent weather as the shadow causes the atmosphere in the area to cool. I'm sure a more mathematically inclined member might be able to estimate how long this sort of ring shadow would last. It could be a seasonal thing, with entire bands of the planet in twilight for months.



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Offline Khairn

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Re: Lords of the Rings?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 11:20:58 AM »
I would assume that the latitude of the viewer would affect the appearance of the rings, at the equator the rings might not be anything more than a thin line across the sky. At the higher and lower latitudes the rings would be a bit more prominent, maybe barely visible in the day, like mountains that are not quite out of sight. At night, the rings in the sunlight would reflect sunlight just like the moon does.

Also, the rings would cast a shadow across the planet depending on it's axial tilt. Winter could be punctuated by long eclipses when the rings pass between the surface and the sun. These umbral days could cause the planet to have violent weather as the shadow causes the atmosphere in the area to cool. I'm sure a more mathematically inclined member might be able to estimate how long this sort of ring shadow would last. It could be a seasonal thing, with entire bands of the planet in twilight for months.

That's a great point about the change in weather!  I can see how there would be a greater temperature swing at the higher latitudes.  Taking that thought a little further ... how opaque do you think planetary rings are?  Light is already diffused when it enters our atmosphere, so wouldn't the twilight effect of the ring's shadow be minimal?

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Lords of the Rings?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 01:31:37 PM »
I went and looked at a couple pics of Saturn, it's rings cast a visible shadow on the planet. So i guess it depends on the general thickness/density of the rings. Glitterly little thin rings wouldnt do much, but some nice thick bands with visible striations would certainly cause a defined shadow


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
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