The Curious Case Of Triaxus


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So of all the planets, Triaxus has been one that I've always found fascinating and yet utterly boring at the same time. It has the craziest orbit, getting closer than Aballon and as far away as Aucturn. But because it has an orbit of 517 golarion years, you'll only see one of its forms. Because it has very different people depending on the generations-long season, yet it is pretty much always going to be the same because of that slow speed. And, based on Raia's story, there are definitely Winterborn Triaxians (or now, Rhyphorians), which heavily implies we are in their winter cycle.

Yet, when you look at the map of the planets from the recent blog post, it is as green as Castrovel. Which implies it would be summer. So that got me thinking-what if the season the planet is in has nothing to do where it is in its orbit. What if they use weather control devices to change their weather. So they could have regular (or irregular) seasons that no longer last longer than a lifetime.

So what do you guyts think of Triaxus? Based on what little we know so far, do you think its in winter, summer, or do you think they've worked around that?


Maybe it's Spring?


Nope, they retconned Lashunta so you could play any combination, it would be hilarious if they forgot to make that an option across all races with a sub-species. Probably once they developed AC it became a choice about living in hot or cold temperatures during pregnancy and that's how they choose what their children are born as.

Maybe all of their cities are in massive domes that regulate a nice constant 73 degrees inside.

Liberty's Edge

Maybe Summer just started.

Silver Crusade

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Maybe they were born offworld? Like if they were born on another world during winter or we're it's just really cold they'd be a winter Rhy?


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Rysky wrote:
Maybe they were born offworld? Like if they were born on another world during winter or we're it's just really cold they'd be a winter Rhy?

According to the available Pathfinder sources, even Triaxians born off-world in vastly different climates are supposed to match the current season on Triaxus -- but given what was done with Lashunta sexual dimorphism, who knows what the new rule will be in Starfinder?

Silver Crusade

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*nods*


Planet-scale weather control would be a pretty cool sci fi trope to throw in, and it would have the bonus of a completely logical reason for summerborn/winterborn (or whatever they're called now) to exist simultaneously: [summerborn] live in the equatorial regions, [winterborn] at the poles. Or heck, maybe they don't use latitude; if you've got planetary weather control you can make Borneo into New Iceland if you want, I guess.


Actually, everything in Distant Worlds points to a magical reason for the Triaxian cycle:

1) planet's solar cycle travelling in slow motion compared to what sages would have calculated to have been only decades

2) as mentioned, the Ryphorian/Triaxians actually maintaining their dimorphic cycle even when not on-planet, in the pre-Gap days

So could it mean that the method for this transformation was discovered and manipulated in the current day, by the natives themselves?


But then that's 2 races who are retconned into being able to control how they look, and I feel like they didn't go down that route. Interesting alt the off-planet part though... hm.


Liavara has huge floating domes/arcologies, so I'm sure it could be possible to create small areas where the weather is controlled by technology...


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I know this is a rather old thread, but I've been getting into Starfinder fairly recently. I don't know how active I'm going to be on the boards, but since I'm posting, I'll try to pay attention to any responses. As I've long studied astronomy and astrophysics, the description of Triaxus jumped out at me, and I found this thread.

Provided that you're using standard astrophysics like exist in our universe, the equation to determine a planetary orbit around a single star isn't that difficult, it just involves some pretty big numbers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_period#Small_body_orbiting_a_central_ body

However, there's no guarantee that standard astrophysics are being used any time we're talking about Starfinder. There are bubble colonies connected by transparent tubes floating on the surface of the Sun, and interstellar hyperspace travel is literally a gift from the gods. If they were obeying astrophysics, then the fact that Verces is tidally locked, with one side always facing the Sun, would mean that there's no active molten core to the planet, which means there's no magnetosphere blocking the solar wind, and therefore no atmosphere to breathe. If you look at the diagram of the orbits shown in the endpaper artwork of all the books, it doesn't even look like the orbit of Verces is irregular... which leads me to imagine one of two possible conclusions:

1. That artwork is wrong, and the orbit of Triaxus is what astrophysics says it should be. Since the Sun in Pathfinder is called "the Sun", I'm assuming it has the same mass as our Sun for the equation linked above. So, with an orbital period of 317 years (10 billion seconds!), it gives Triaxus a semi-major axis of 46.4735 AU. If it had a fairly circular orbit, that would be relatively close to Pluto's furthest distance from the Sun (its aphelion). With an elliptical orbit, it means that the major axis (the longer distance across the center of the ellipse) is 92.947 AU, and at the perihelion (point closest to the Sun), Triaxus comes closer than Castrovel! Based on its vague half-length year, the second planet should have an orbital distance around 2/3rds of an AU, but in any case, it's less than the 0.947 AU by which the major axis of the orbit exceeds 92 AU. That means that at the other end of its orbit, the aphelion of Triaxus is a little over 92 AU away from the Sun. This is further than Eris is from our Sun most of the time, and almost out to the furthest aphelion point that Eris reaches. (Anyone who wants to check my math, please go ahead.)

So when they refer to a long Triaxus winter, they're not kidding. For more than a quarter of the year, Triaxus is out at a distance analogous to our Kuiper Belt, where the Sun looks like just another star in the sky, with only astronomers those who fly and navigate spacecraft even knowing which star in the century-or-so of night, is the one they orbit. What should be "spring" in a normal cycle, is an 80-ish year period spent at a similar distance as the outer planets, between their Kuiper Belt and the asteroid belt (theirs or ours). Over the course of some ryphorian's lifetime, the concept of "day" slowly becomes more significant. At the end of springtime, day is very real, with the sun coming up every morning and lighting up the entire sky. The period when Triaxus has summer lasts a few decades in the inner solar system, first about 20 years of getting hotter every year, then 3-4 months of being incredibly hot as it passes closer than Absalom Station, so that the most creatures would likely take shelter in underground caverns and bunkers, or in the era of spaceflight, decide on an extended vacation off-world... followed by another 20 years of cooling off increasingly each year. This leads back into "autumn" as the reverse of springtime, another 80-odd years passing through the outer planets, as the Sun rising and setting has less and less of an effect each year, until it can't be easily distinguished from other bright stars.

This means that Verces is just currently between Eox and Liavara, as its distance from the Sun in 317 AG. Since these writers prefer to be interesting, I would imagine that it's "spring" and heading towards the inner solar system, coming up on its summer cycle "soon"... but now that I look at those numbers, I can't help but notice that we're exactly one Triaxus year after the Gap. Is that meaningful?

2. The other possibility is that the artwork in every sourcebook is not to scale (of course) but is canon, by definition, and the entire irregularity to Triaxus's orbit is off the page where we can't see it. In this case, Triaxus does not obey Kepler's Laws of orbital mechanics. Given that the curve as shown is not significantly different from the other planets, it sounds like Triaxus would then spend at least 70% of its year between Eox and Liavara, probably more than 80%, but that makes its orbit of 317 years very strange. It's moving at about one-thirtieth the speed of the planets around it. Then it somehow alters its path and swoops in for a close orbit over the course of several decades, maybe 50 years or more. This means Castrovel could pass Triaxus in its orbit a hundred times during the period when it is passing close to the Sun. It then moves back into its regular orbit, without getting out as far as Liavara's orbit at its furthest.

That would mean there is something as fundamentally bizarre about Triaxus as the colonies on the Sun, the missing Golarion, the River Between connecting the Diaspora, or the Elder God egg that is Aucturn. Orbital mechanics, and gravity itself, does not affect this planet in the same way as all other bodies in space are affected.

I don't *think* that's what they intend. I think that the intended level of weirdness for Triaxus, is supposed to be that its atmosphere has a consistent composition through the temperature extremes of its Castrovel summer and Kuiper Belt winter, which very notably does not drop below 100 degrees Kelvin to become absolutely deadly to everything except the white dragons. This degree of oddity is on par with Verces having an atmosphere despite being tidally locked, or there being native life (or something resembling it) on every planet in the Pact Worlds system, including floating in the clouds of gas giants and evolving on half of their significant moons.

However, I would love to see at some point if there was a real answer.


Waaaay over thinking this


This is Triaxus, not Eox, no thread necromancy needed.


Ragnarökr Games, as this is similar to what I do most days at work, I appreciate the time and effort you put into this.

I hope you enjoyed doing it, and I hope it helps your game (or your meta-fun)!


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Torbyne wrote:

Nope, they retconned Lashunta so you could play any combination, it would be hilarious if they forgot to make that an option across all races with a sub-species. Probably once they developed AC it became a choice about living in hot or cold temperatures during pregnancy and that's how they choose what their children are born as.

Maybe all of their cities are in massive domes that regulate a nice constant 73 degrees inside.

They didn't retcon the Lashunta. They just established that, in the X centuries since the Pathfinder era, the Lashunta have developed both the medical tech to choose your/your kid's morph*, and a culture that embraces a disconnect of morph and gender. "Your morph is your gender" is still something that *was* part of Lashunta culture and history, it just isn't currently a thing.

( * I can't remember offhand, they might have always had this ability, they just used to use it 99% to match morph with gender. In which case, the change was purely cultural. )


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Also, why did I suddenly get a smurf avatar showing up?

Wayfinders

Metaphysician wrote:
Also, why did I suddenly get a smurf avatar showing up?

Do you play 40K Ultramarines?


I don't recall how much attention, if any, it's given in Pact Worlds or the Starfinder CRB, but in Pathfinder's distant worlds it was specifically called out that Traixus' year is actually too long for it's orbit. It would have a very long year if it orbited normally, but not nearly so long as it is. They speculate that there's some sort of magical effect cloaking the planet, potentially even a temporal one slowing time there so it just doesn't orbit as fast as it should.

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Ragnarökr Games wrote:
1. That artwork is wrong, and the orbit of Triaxus is what astrophysics says it should be. Since the Sun in Pathfinder is called "the Sun", I'm assuming it has the same mass as our Sun for the equation linked above. So, with an orbital period of 317 years (10 billion seconds!), it gives Triaxus a semi-major axis of 46.4735 AU. If it had a fairly circular orbit, that would be relatively close to Pluto's furthest distance from the Sun (its aphelion). With an elliptical orbit, it means that the major axis (the longer distance across the center of the ellipse) is 92.947 AU, and at the perihelion (point closest to the Sun), Triaxus comes closer...

I just want to say this is super interesting. I love the way you describe the Triaxus "year," and what it is like at different seasons. Thank you so much for doing all that work!


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Metaphysician wrote:
Also, why did I suddenly get a smurf avatar showing up?

You said "kid's morph".

The smurf detecter is very sensitive.


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Jason Tondro wrote:
I just want to say this is super interesting. I love the way you describe the Triaxus "year," and what it is like at different seasons. Thank you so much for doing all that work!

Thank you, I appreciate it. However, I decided that while I've been publishing with the business name Ragnarökr Games, I should just go by my name here. (I go by Selv for short.)

The funny part is, when you have the astronomy background, this isn't much work. It took longer to write it up, and review my post for typos and grammatical errors, than the actual math of the orbit. I'm glad you and kadance appreciated it, but two-body orbital mechanics are pretty easy as far as astrophysics goes. Three-body problems... that's another matter entirely.

It may well help the game I'll be running - I don't know yet. That depends a bit on my players.

I did carefully read through all the material in the Starfinder rulebook and Core Worlds sourcebook, but I don't have the Pathfinder books. If what FormerFiend said is the case, then my instincts are off, and it's option #2 from my post:

FormerFiend wrote:
I don't recall how much attention, if any, it's given in Pact Worlds or the Starfinder CRB, but in Pathfinder's distant worlds it was specifically called out that Traixus' year is actually too long for it's orbit. It would have a very long year if it orbited normally, but not nearly so long as it is. They speculate that there's some sort of magical effect cloaking the planet, potentially even a temporal one slowing time there so it just doesn't orbit as fast as it should.

Well, that would mean that the movement of Triaxus is incredibly bizarre. This is one of those things that some folks may not spot as being insanely unnatural... but planets move at an easily calculated rate through space, based on the gravitational and centripetal forces exerted on them. If Triaxus is usually sitting between Eox and Liavara, with a quick dip through the inner planets for the summer (but it doesn't speed up significantly while doing so!), then it's moving at 1/30th the speed that it should for most of the year, and about 1% of its expected speed during the summer. Just imagine a Triaxus summer lasting around 50 years, which by definition means that Absalom Station passes it 50 times and Castrovel goes by 100 times, during the time it takes its slow-motion pass through the inner system. People are bound to notice this during a space-faring age, as opposed to the minor curiosity that it was in ages past.

The shape of Triaxus's orbit is also freaky, by extension. It is not actually elliptical, but a deformed circle, indented on one side, like you dropped a round beanbag on the floor. Again, bodies in space just don't do that, which just shows how much physics is not at play here. Some seriously cosmic magic is at play here, that compares with the biggest mysteries of the Pact Worlds. This may not get the kind of attention that "Golarion is missing" or "a ribbon of water that flows through the Diaspora" receive, but it's just as far out there.

I would be wary of attributing a temporal effect, because there's no indication that time progresses at a different rate while on Triaxus. I'd be inclined to suggest a warping of space around it, that impedes its orbital trajectory and directs it on the altered path into the inner solar system for the summer.

-Selv


Okay, got my copy of Distant Worlds out to take a look at.

So it mentions that at it's closest approach it's closer than Castrovel and at it's furthest is farther than Bretheda("out past the gas giants" is the specific wording). A few paragraphs later it mentions that "conventional physics" would have the orbit being measured "in decades rather than centuries", suggesting that it should take less than 100 years instead of the 317 that it does, and that "compared to the other planets whos orbital speeds correspond neatly to their distance from the sun, Triaxus appears to be moving in slow motion".

The temporal anomaly thing that stuck out in my mind is just one of two theories(among many unmentioned ones) that "scholars have postulated", the other one being a portal at the planet's center, which, I guess could be causing a spacial warp.


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Or weirder things than a spatial warp. A portal to, say, the First World, or the Maelstrom, could have effects far more esoteric than space being bent. "You don't understand, space is not abnormally bent around Triaxus. Its the equations themselves that describe orbital motion that are different!"


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Smurf.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Weird....!


Smurf?

edit: YAAAAS


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FormerFiend wrote:

So it mentions that at it's closest approach it's closer than Castrovel and at it's furthest is farther than Bretheda("out past the gas giants" is the specific wording). A few paragraphs later it mentions that "conventional physics" would have the orbit being measured "in decades rather than centuries", suggesting that it should take less than 100 years instead of the 317 that it does, and that "compared to the other planets whos orbital speeds correspond neatly to their distance from the sun, Triaxus appears to be moving in slow motion".

The temporal anomaly thing that stuck out in my mind is just one of two theories(among many unmentioned ones) that "scholars have postulated", the other one being a portal at the planet's center, which, I guess could be causing a spacial warp.

Many thanks for checking on exactly what the book says.

By saying that the aphelion of Triaxus is "past the gas giants", it could mean "just barely past Bretheda" which would normally give that ellipse an orbital period in the range of 20 years. It could also mean the aphelion is more than double Bretheda's typical distance from the Sun, such that normal physics gave it an orbit a little under a century. If we wanted to be pedantic, anything under 200 years is still measured in decades rather than centuries, but that's not how the phrase is normally used.

The result is a decently wide range (10 to 20 AU aphelion), but it's midway between the two notions I had. If it's closer to the higher number, then more than half the time, Triaxus is the outermost planet (as Apostae is a dwarf planet and Aucturn is an egg) and it just happens to be between Eox and Liavara right now. If it's closer to the lower number, then Triaxus spends most of its time between Eox and Bretheda, on either side of Liavara. (In relative distance, of course, as Triaxus presumably orbits at an angle to the standard orbital plane of the other planets, just like any body with an elliptical orbit... otherwise the question in another thread of "why doesn't it collide or get way too close to other planets?" becomes relevant.)

I'm a little sad that my description of the extreme Triaxus year is fairly off: it would be more accurate to say that it spends a century (or more, depending on the orbit) where daylight is as ephemeral as it is in Fairbanks or Stockholm in December... you don't have "daytime" so much as those hours when the sky lightens up a bit and you occasionally catch a glimpse of the Sun. If you have the angle of the planet providing "summer" during the orbital "winter" this could easily last for 60-65% of the day at more common latitudes, but it would still be minimal light the entire time. Having experienced both Alaska and Scandinavia, this idea is a bit much, even for someone who avoids sunlight for medical reasons. At least the people who live on the moons of Liavara and Bretheda have a gas giant providing a more direct light source than the Sun itself... while most of the residents of Eox aren't actually living.

Metaphysician wrote:
Or weirder things than a spatial warp. A portal to, say, the First World, or the Maelstrom, could have effects far more esoteric than space being bent. "You don't understand, space is not abnormally bent around Triaxus. Its the equations themselves that describe orbital motion that are different!"

Oh dear gods, I love that idea. Space and time aren't warped at all, Kepler's Laws just don't apply to Triaxus the same way and it moves at 1/10th the speed that it should. It leaves open the question of whether it moves at a constant rate, or still speeds up as it passes closer to the Sun, just at a rate much, much slower than it should be moving.

In any case, the answer is yes to my question of whether the orbit of Triaxus is as bizarre as bubble colonies on the Sun, or a river of water that flows the entire orbit of the asteroid belt. It may not be as obviously spectacular as a missing planet or a Lovecraftian egg floating through the Kuiper Belt, but the orbital movement of Triaxus is one of the great metaphysical mysteries of the Pact Worlds.

(I am *not* saying the S-word!)

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