Space Does Not Work That Way
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Basic Information


Science Fiction has taught us that outer space is just like our atmosphere, except you can't breathe in it. Other than that, and maybe gravity, it's just like being on the Earth.

Of course, that's utter nonsense.

Specific Tropes that don't work the way space really does:

Other related tropes:

The way it really works:

In addition, the lack of gravity has all sorts of biological and chemical affects that you might not expect. These ripple-effects of microgravity can change the way things smell and grow, or alter the shape of reactions such as fire and boiling. See the link below about 6 things that happen strangely.

3. Space dot com - List of "6 Everyday Things That Happen Strangely In Space"

Game and Story Use

  • The decision of whether to follow science, or follow hand-wavy trope-fueled Rule of Cool goodness will depend on the style of game you're running.
    • Most serious games will need to stick to science, or at least be really clear up front about how you're subverting science.
      • Players may want to know what dangers their characters face, and how to minimize the risks.
      • Playing loose with science may have unintended consequences. If the only danger in space was lack of oxygen, boarding actions would be rather more practical.
      • Ignoring science might damage Verisimilitude and Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
      • A more knowledgeable player might get on the GMs nerves by pointing out his mistakes. If this happens with any frequency, it is bad.
    • More light-hearted games can get away with very loose science for the sake of keeping things simple, fun, or funny. However, it's still a good idea to tell the players up front if this is what you're doing, especially if spacecraft will be a common setting for the game.
    • Some campaign settings may use alternative science, or magic to subvert the way outer space actually functions. If you're flying across the aether in sailboat, no one expects it to work like the Apollo Program.
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