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Basic Information

A hypergiant is a rare HUGE star. The biggest examples known so far can be over 1,500 times the size of our Sun, and/or over 250 times the mass of our Sun.

Corresponding to their monstrous proportions, they are very bright and hot, and release incredible amounts of energy. They come in blue, white, yellow and red varieties, with yellow being the rarest. (Only 15 yellow hypergiants have been discovered thus far.) Hypergiants last for relatively short amounts of time, a few million years, burning out or ejecting mass rapidly. They are so large that the radiation pressure pushing light-weight superheated gases and plasmas away is stronger than the gravity at their surface. So they are likely to have extreme space weather literally billions of times more powerful than our own solar wind and coronal mass ejection phenomena. When they've reached the end of their lifetime, they may explode into a hypernova (a really big supernova that leaves a black hole behind).



Game and Story Use

  • Having such short lives, hypergiants are unlikely to feature planets with naturally occurring life. Even planets near other stars in the region might be fried from all the energy emissions.
    • However, the hazards may not stop scientists or determined colonists from building in the neighborhood. That the whole neighborhood is likely to blow up in a few hundred thousand years isn't likely to deter anyone with a human-length lifespan.
  • The hypergiant is a ginormous power source, and some civilization might try to tap that. You could fit an awful lot of stellar-megastructure-scale machines in orbit around one of these. Huge converters to power a hundred distant worlds, or mirrors to bake an enemy civilization. Impress your players with the mind-numbing scale of it all!
    • A space-faring civilization in the region of a hypergiant might develop solar sail technology that would be less useful in other parts of the galaxy. But here near the big burner, there's enough solar wind to sail between worlds.
  • A hypergiant nearing the end of its lifecycle is a huge danger to the region. When it "erupts", the destruction will reach very far.
  • Think outside the sci-fi for a moment. If the PCs in your fantasy campaign are so tough they've graduated from fighting Giants to enslaving Titans, then perhaps it's time to throw something even bigger at them. I'm talking Galactus-sized. Supergiants and Hypergiants. Bonus points if you make multiple species of them corresponding to the colors or letters of the Stellar Classification scale.
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