The Basic Representation of Worlds

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Dragon Lord's picture
Joined: 11/04/2010
The Basic Representation of Worlds

Those of you who were involved in previous iterations of the project will probably be familiar with the Standard Representation, the basic structural guide for information about worlds in the Anargo Sector.  During the re-visioning process we went back to the old Standard Representation and had a close look at it to make sure that it was still appropriate to the new vision for the project, for the most part we kept the original structure but we have made a few important changes and to go with the changes and the new face for the project in general we have rebranded it the Basic Representation of Worlds.  You will note in particularly that the 'of worlds' part of this is new, this is because we plan to create similar templates to aid people in producing information for other entities and artefacts in the project too.  So without further ado I present to you the:

Basic Representation of Worlds

Planetary parameters
Planet name:
World Class:
Tech level:
Tithe grade:
Star spectral type: (e.g. the Sun is a G2V star)
Orbital distance: (AU)
Orbital period: (Terran standard days)
Rotation period: (Terran standard hours)
Equatorial diameter: (km)
Surface gravity: (Earth surface gravities, G)
Surface atmospheric pressure: (Earth atmospheres, atm)
Atmospheric composition: (e.g. Oxygen, nitrogen mix)
Mean surface temperature: (degrees C)
Hydrosphere: (percentage of total surface area covered by water)
Indigenous life forms: (brief description of levels of native life, e.g. microscopic, simple macroscopic, complex macroscopic)
Satellites: (Number of natural satellites)

Descriptive Sections

  • Planet Description: An evocative and brief introductory description of the world, from its physical characteristics to its social makeup.  The 40k equivalent of what you would find in a travel guide.
  • Government: This section highlights the type and nature of the government of the world/system.  This should be as detailed as required to allow roleplaying on that world.  (For example, "Imperial Government" is not an acceptable description of the government of a world.)
  • Religion: This section discusses the religious beliefs of the world and how they might vary from what is generally considered "the norm" of the Imperial Cult.
  • Society and Law: This section allows you to describe the culture of your world, how it is structured, how it relates to government, religion, the rest of the sector, how laws are enforced, and so on.
  • Technology: Technology is a highly variable part of the 40k universe, with the Imperium encompassing technologies from the "Stone Age" to something that is much higher than our present (real world) achievements.  This section allows you to discuss this and how it might differ from the common perception of technology in the Imperium, what the world might have that is "special," or what they might be lacking.
  • Trade and tithes: What are the main imports and exports of the world and how does the Imperium extract its tithe?  
  • Physiology: With so many different worlds and environments, humans might have changed over the history of the world.  If that is the case, then describe those differences here.  Variations in the appearance of people across the world can also be described here, for example are the nobility taller due to better nutrition?
  • Psychology: The culture of the world might have created certain psychological traits that make them stand out from the avarage Imperial citizen.  If this is the case then you should list it here.  Similarly if there are notable psychological variations between different groups on the world these can also be described here.
  • Language and Dialect: How does the local language vary from that of Imperial Low Gothic?  Is it a dialect, or is it a completely different language?  Are there regional variations in languages/dialects on the world?
  • Planetary Defense Force: Discuss the nature of the Planetary Defense Force (PDF) that exists on the world.  Are they an elite, trained army, or little more than a militia of peasants?  This can be an interesting part of the PDF, but it should be noted that it is not the most interesting part to many.
  • Geography: This section is for describing the geography of the world.  For example is it dominated by a single large continent, or does most of the land consist of small islands scattered across shallow seas?  Are there extensive polar ice caps or are the equatorial regions dominated by vast deserts or sprawling rainforests?  How are the cities of the world distributed?  Often includes a sub-section entitled Significant Locations to detail any particularly notable locations, e.g. capital cities.  The world map should also be included in this section
  • Biology: Here you can describe some of the characteristics of the flora and fauna of the world (assuming it has any).  Does the world have a lot of large animals on the scale of large dinosaurs or is it the smaller animals that dominate?  Are there perhaps breathtakingly tall trees or unusual flowering plants?  How are the native creatures of the world adapted to their environment?
  • History: Here you can describe the history of a world, from when it was colonised (or even before that if appropriate), through the history of the Age of the Imperium, until the present setting of Anargo (470.M41).

Beyond the Basic Representation

The Basic Representation is as it sounds a guideline for the minimum information that there should be for an inhabited Imperial world (uninhabited worlds can do without all of the descriptive sections apart from Planet Description).  The intention is that once the Basic Representation has been fleshed out it becomes a 'living world' with a book page on the new drupal based website which the World Builder, and other users, can continue to add new material to into the future.

In terms of what additional material you might want to add to a world over and above the Basic Representation the sky is the limit but here are a few examples:
Perhaps you might want to delve into the inner workings of the world's government system in greater detail, getting into the workings of the civil service and the typical arguments and issues that drive the politics of the world.
Maybe you want to greatly expand on the illustrious (or perhaps rather dubious) history of the world's Planetary Defence Force detailing great victories or defeats and occasions on which it magnificently saved, or brutally suppressed, the populace of the world.
Going into greater detail regarding regional variations in the physiology, psychology and culture of the people of the world might be more to your liking, looking at how they have developed and the relationships between different groups.
Fleshing out the cities and settlements of the world, how they've grown, peculiarities about them and landmarks/well known locations within them could be more your thing.
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas as to how a world might continue to be developed after its Basic Representation is finished, and indeed there is nothing stopping a World Builder from adding material over and above the Basic Representation in the initial stages as long as all of the required information is there.


So what goes in the world class, tithe grade, aestimare and tech level?

It will probably not take that good an eye to notice that I have not said anything about what goes in these four fields at the top of the list of planetary parameters.  Descriptions of how to work out what to put here can be found in the topics on tech levels, and worlds of the Imperium: <coming soon>


Junior techpriest: This new machine still isn't working
Senior techpriest: Have you tried adding more skulls and applying more holy oils?