View Full Version : Fantasy World Colonization of Mars Setting?

Mr. Mask
2016-01-21, 10:06 AM
How would you design a fantasy setting about colonization of Mars (or Mars equivalents) and other solar bodies? I was considering how you might make it interesting, and wondered what your thoughts on the matter might be.

I understand fantasy has a lot of meanings, so I'd largely leave it to your own interpretation. I was primarily interested in high fantasy with the traditional races, but I can see others taking different approaches.

What sort of approaches do you think your fantasy races or factions would take to colonization? Could you imagine some excelling while others failed? What events do you think would be thematic to such a setting (for example, should there be orc pirates, or are space pirates outside of the setting's technological scope)?

2016-01-21, 02:08 PM
In immediate regards to the space pirates: It depends on how much, if any traffic, is going between 'Mars' and any or all other planets that have been colonized. If it's just 'Earth' and 'Mars' then the technology/magic probably isn't good enough to support space pirates, much less the necessary traffic.

That being said, magic is your friend here. Whoever is setting up the colony will need four basic things once they arrive: the means to build/maintain a breathable atmosphere, the means to gather enough water to at least be self-sufficient, the means to build/maintain a place to live, and the means to farm enough food to feed their population. Of these, the food one is the one you're most likely able to skimp on, if they're able to set up a trade relationship with the other colonies through a resource they can get reasonably easily on 'Mars' compared to 'Earth'; at least enough so to justify the expense of sending people out there and setting up a colony. Naturally, this is all much easier with some magical help (summon things from the appropriate planes or convert the chemical makeup of things, etc).

Self-sufficiency will be the biggest and most immediate concern. Once that happens, and the colony is theoretically able to survive on its own and provide its own appeal to outsiders, you'll be able to see just about anything, including the space pirates (though they'll initially be based more in separate micro-colonies outside of the immediate influence of whoever is protecting the main colony area on the planet; space pirates proper will show up once there's regular enough traffic between the 2+ worlds to reasonably get away with the crime, and at a profit).

2016-01-21, 08:49 PM
There's also the questions of 'why do you want to do that when you could just live on Earth?' and 'how do you even get all the way from Earth to Mars?'

This thread may be related. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?473901-Liches-IN-SPACE)

2016-01-21, 09:30 PM
For high fantasy setting, I would treat it as planar travel. Long and excessively complex teleportation rituals required to get back and forth, which maybe can only be completed under specific conditions or at certain times of year (otherwise, the colony would be too easily accessible).

Specialist Wizards would need to be paid large sums to transport groups of people and material. It would be a situation similar to European colonists going to the new world. Companies would find sponsorship with wealthy aristocrats or seek investments from governments or business ventures to cover the costs. Sometimes groups without patrons or investors would combine their life savings to buy passage, and start over on the new world.
Like old Europe, political and economic conditions would be what motivates people to want to colonize. Common folks want to leave because of low social mobility, bad economies and constant warfare. Merchants and wealthy folks see opportunity for business in resources coming from and to the new world. Governments might see a new source of natural resources and trade goods to boost their economy.

Mars itself may also need magical terraforming, requiring the hire of additional magic specialists or artifacts to create air, water and soil. If fantasy mars is already habitable, then it needs to have strange native inhabitants and wildlife.

2016-01-22, 04:46 AM
Are we talking 'real-world'-ish Mars, or Barsoom?

2016-01-22, 05:28 AM
Look up the manga "Negima"...

Mr. Mask
2016-01-22, 05:46 AM
I thought about the subject some more, and came up with some ideas on the matter.

One question is, would Earth be a united nation of different fantasy races, or a loose alliance of several super powers (possibly an alliance of alliances)? Regardless, there's probably racial overlap between super powers, especially with races that haven't become super powers.

At first, only a few would be selected for colonization, like today's astronauts. So, you mightn't get any orcs, unless for some reason they could cope better with the conditions (a possibility). If that was the case, you might see more diversity in the colonies, particularly in experimental ones designed to assess how well various races manage. You could also combine that with other conditions, if goblins have less humanitarian protection against genetic experimentation then you'll get more goblins because they want to test how various mutations effect conditions in space.

You could have some interesting history. Maybe the elves get ahead in colonizing Mars(?), but ended up bearing a lot of the first problems that come with colonization. In a desperate situation, they loosened their claims to Martian soil and encouraged other powers to make their colonies there, so that the elven colony would have some support. One of the early responders was the dwarves, who decided that rather emphasize the basics they were going to make efforts to build reactors, mines, and factories, trading technology and niceties with the other colonies to make up for any shortcomings in their own food production (their hope being this will make them the dominant power on Mars, in the long-term).

And of course, we can mix in less traditional fantasy groups. Maybe cloning becomes a popular means to bolster your population on the colonies? Maybe some more magically inclined groups instead try designing homunculus or golems to fill the same role (perhaps a mixture, using cloned meat to construct a new life-form Frankenstein style)? Even less moral groups might try using undead, have skeletons work outside of the domes and with minimal protection, making all the other colonies darned nervous as to whether the necromancers are going to kill them and make them undead slaves as they take Mars for themselves.

Maybe there are Martian natives who might cause trouble for the colonists, later on? You can try to make this in itself interesting. Have the rather primitive Natives who weren't spotted because they never worked out radar and are stuck on underground complexes, but also the "lost civilization", a technologically advanced group of aliens who disappeared underground centuries ago--but are now resurfacing.

Mars is likely not the only space civvie that will be coming together, with attempts at satellite homes around Earth and maybe Mars, Lunar bases, and the first attempts at asteroid mining where large numbers of workers might be tricked into working slave-like conditions far from any chance at appeal to justice.

Has what I described sounded interesting?

2016-01-22, 05:51 AM
There's also the questions of 'why do you want to do that when you could just live on Earth?' and 'how do you even get all the way from Earth to Mars?'

Along with "Can you breathe on Mars?", "Are there native intelligent species?", "is there space-travel related magic" and "Can you breathe in SPACE?!"

Since we're talking about fantasy, you could dust up concepts like currents in the Ether, and space creatures :)

2016-01-22, 06:58 AM
For getting there, you can pick your method - Spelljammers, Stargates, teleportation, Malifaux-style cross planar-rift travel, a big-wizard did it and ran away, or whatever.

Using D&D as a reference, spells like (Leomund's) Tiny Hut, Wall Of Force/Stone, Stone Shape, a variant of Water Breathing, maybe a variant of Purify Food/Water as Purify Air, plus those conjuring Elementals or even the undead could be very useful to build a base if the atmosphere isn't breathable, although you'd probably need someone who knows about the relationship between plants, CO2 and O2.

Either that or handwave it away with magic (maybe someone's mass producing whatever generates the atmosphere on Spelljammers).

2016-01-26, 02:33 AM
As I stated earlier (very briefly), the manga Negima did this after a fashion. Basically all the wizards on earth got tired of being persecuted and moved to Mars. One, know as the "Life Maker" cast an illusion over the entire planet, creating "Inverse Mars". Inverse Mars is completely invisible to mundane observation (and visitation), is a lush, green paradise and populated by not only humans, but various and sundry other races. Basically, the spell creates an alternate reality over lay over the entire surface of Mars that can only be accessed from Earth via special gates that transport people not only across interplanetary space, but also into and out of the alternate overlay. Part of the plot of the manga (later in the story) is that the magic sustaining the illusion is about to fail, dumping everybody back onto "real" Mars to suffocate and die a horrible death.

2016-01-26, 02:58 AM
I think it would be very, very cool, though I'd take out Greater Teleport and similar effects from whatever system you're using. Being able to just 'port home removes a lot of tension.