An Alternate Pern

Our version of Pern has four significant changes from what you might read in Anne McCaffrey’s novels.

First, our campaign takes place in the early days, after the Fourth Pass. The year is 1,252 AC (After Crossing). For comparison, Moreta’s tale takes place in the year 1,550 and the Ninth Pass events of the original trilogies don’t begin until 2,505. Our timeline will diverge from official events.

Pern is enjoying what is called a Long Interval.  Thread has not fallen in 443 years and no one expects it to happen again.  The belief that there will never be another Threadfall has had a significant impact on society.

Second, dates are listed as AC (After Crossing) and not AL (After Landing). Many of us who read the series were disappointed when the setting became science fiction instead of fantasy. This “plot twist” introduced numerous major plot holes and transformed the original setting into something unrecognizable. The Pern of this campaign does not trace its roots to a high tech Earth.

The First Crossing was the arrival of humans on the Southern Continent.  The Second Crossing was the abandonment of the Southern Continent to settle in the Northern one.  There are no records of the First Crossing.  They were lost in the volcanic cataclysm that forced the hasty northward migration.  It is believed that the Second Crossing happened shortly after the First, before the explorers had a chance to settle into their new home.

Third, dragons cannot travel through time when going between. They can jump incredibly long distances through space, which extends the time they spend in the void between places. Time travel is often a source of plot holes and confusion, so we’re leaving that out.

Finally, we will roleplay in a consistent world that lacks conflicting elements that slipped into the Pern series.  Here is a list of conflicts that will have the most impact on this game.

  • Dragons either take 18 or 24 months to reach full growth.
    • Decision: Green and blue dragons reach full growth at 18 months, brown dragons at 20 months, and the larger bronze and gold dragons at 24 months.
  • Dragons fly at a variety of maximum speeds.
    • Decision: They fly at 30-40 knots  (34-46 mph) depending on their size, but can push themselves faster if they are willing to tire quickly and risk injury.
  • When two dragons with male riders mate, they may or may not become temporarily homosexual.
    • Decision: When riders sexual preferences come into conflict, their significant others or willing partners are on hand to take care of their immediate needs.
  • All six Weyrs, or only Fort and Benden, were built at the end of the First Pass.
    • Decision: All Weyrs were built by the end of the Second Pass.  Ista and Telgar are all but abandoned, with few resident dragons.
  • Fall occurs 2-3 days apart, lasting 10 minutes to 6 hours, moving 15 to 67 mph.
    • Decision:  Falls begin at 170 hr (7.1 day) intervals and work up to 65 hrs (2.7 days) after about a year.  They last for 10 minutes in a particular place, which extends to 15 minutes during the first year.  Over the entire band, Fall lasts for 6 hours.  The leading edge moves 107 kmh (67 mph).  At the start, the trailing edge is only 20 km (12.4 mi) back but this extends to 30 km (16.75 mi).
  • Dragonriders must combat Thread every Fall or half of them.
    • Decision: 13% of Falls are “misses”, falling completely over safe areas where Thread will die on its own, such as ocean, tundra, or desert.  19% are “double” Falls, requiring the same Weyr to fight twice in a row.  31% are normal Falls and 37% have bands that partially overlap areas immune to Thread.
  • The Dawn Sisters have different types of orbit.
    • Decision: The Dawn Sisters have a geosynchronous orbit and are bright enough to be seen for a short while past sunrise.  They are often used for ocean navigation.
  • The rulership of minor holds and cotholds may be fixed or change over time.
    • Decision: Lord Holders sometimes invade and expand their territories.
  • Firelizards may be companions or banned, depending on the date.
    • Decision: Firelizards stopped being companions during the Third Pass after they spread a deadly disease to dragons.  Since Thread is no longer a threat and the disease is long past, firelizards are companions once again, though not as wide spread as before.
  • There are felines, no felines, or only large, wild, predatory felines.
    • Decision: There are wild, predatory felines in the great plains.  Small, semi-domesticated felines are extremely rare.  Small dogs, traps, poisons, and children with weapons are used to hunt vermin in the lower caves.
  • People on Pern might have psionic abilities.
    • Decision: Although this is often debated, the books are quite clear that a variety of psychic abilities exist, especially among dragonriders. For example, Lessa uses telempathy against humans on more than one occasion.

I have posted additional world information on this site so that you can learn about this campaign’s Pern and how it may differ from the one you have read about.

This entry was posted in Game Posts, Reference. Bookmark the permalink.