Strange Star
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Basic Information

A strange star is a quark star made of strange matter (which is to say, compressed degenerate matter comprised predominantly or exclusively of strange quarks). Strange matter is hypothetical, and likely to be the strongest, most dense, most stable material in the universe, but probably completely unusable because strange matter is also potentially the most dangerous matter in the universe. It is likely capable of "contagious" conversion of normal matter into strange matter, rapidly shrinking and imploding anything it touches. See strange matter for further details. Strange stars do not begin "life" as strange stars. They were probably normal stars that underwent one or possibly two supernova explosions, and collapsed first into a neutron star and later into the degenerate matter strange state.

A binary star pair composed of two strange stars, or a strange star and a black hole is a terrifying dangerous stellar configuration. If and when those celestial bodies finally succumb to each other's gravity and crash into one another, they are likely to blast strangelets at high speed in multiple directions. This rogue globules of strange matter could potentially eventually convert the entire universe into strange matter, snuffing out all life everywhere.

A strange star is relatively dim for a star, and unlikely to produce enough light to sustain life. If it can sustain life, the goldilocks zone is probably pretty narrow and relatively close to the star.

Most likely, each strange star is a single giant amorphous super-hadron of strange matter. Destroying it is likely impossible, and even breaking some small amount off would require enormous energy. It's unclear (to my limited understanding, anyway) if nuking it would be enough to break bits off. If the goal is to weaponize it, you may be able to shoot a black hole at it to break some strangelets off of it and project them along a chosen trajectory. That said, if you have the ability to shoot black holes at targets, why would you want to bother with a trying to weaponize the strange matter? Just shoot black holes at your enemies, and you won't have to worry about accidentally converting the entire universe into strange goo.

Don't be surprised if it turns out that one or more planets in the system are (or eventually become) strange planets as well.


Game and Story Use

  • A nasty bit of interstellar terrain. See Neutron Star for ideas on how to use it in your campaign, and strange matter for ideas on how it might end your campaign universe.
  • The planets orbiting a strange star are an interesting place to find precursor artifact. A civilization may have been right on the Kardashev Cusp when suddenly a stray strangelet caused their star to rapidly dim and shrink. They may have struggled with climate change for a bit if the stellar conversion was slow, but the eventual collapse of their ecosphere became too much.
    • They either died off and are now frozen beneath a layer of ice.
    • Perhaps they built a generation ship to flee to another system.
    • Or, they may have gotten lucky and been able to colonize a previously uninhabitable world much closer to their sun.
      • Or, you may find an abandoned colony that suggests they attempt such colonization, but were unsuccessful in their terraforming efforts and eventually died off on a world whose atmosphere they were never able to breathe. Bleak stuff.
  • In the event that science is able to figure out a way to use strange matter, either as a WMD or in some non-suicidal way, the Strange Star is a giant repository of the stuff ready to be mined. That is, assuming you have some pretty amazing mining equipment that can survive an operate in neutron-star levels of gravity, and the necessary protective measures to keep from converting the whole system and your merchant fleet into little hyper-compressed quark nuggets. Seems like a lot of hoops to jump your spaceship through.
  • A mystery plotline or this week's negative space wedgie could begin when a star, somewhat distant but within range of your stardrive, suddenly dims. PCs fire up their FTL to go take a closer look, and discover that the star has rapidly shrunk. This is probably caused by some sort of mad scientist experiment gone awry, precursor artifact, strange WMD being unleashed by the big bad evil guy and his space empire, or other fun and plot-relevant explanation more interesting than just "random strangelet bumped into it after being flung by a neutron star collision hundreds of light years away, thousands of years ago".
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