Harsh Words About the Planetary Worksheet: Avoid It

I just tried to gin up the stats for the first planet of the Deeps of Lyrae campaign: Family Whee. This is the backwater planet described at the end of the last post where everything begins.

I have to say that I made a huge mistake: I tried to use the free planetary creation worksheet from the GURPS Space book. Since it is called the planetary worksheet I figured it would be useful to create planets, and that’s what I needed to do as the GM.

The character templates in GURPS Space were fantastically useful and in fact they pretty much worked out-of-the-box, so I had high expectations for the planet creation rules.

Background: I enjoy setting design and I am very familiar with GURPS. I’ve even done this worksheet before, but think the last time I tried to do this was many years ago.

Then I tried to actually do the worksheet. O. M. G.

I’m not saying the rules and worksheet are wrong, they are just trying to do something that I don’t want or need to do. EVER.

They are designed to come up with a set of specs for a planet that is realistic as to what we know about astronomy and physics using a calculator, dice, and paper worksheets.

I gave up on Step 26 — the Atmospheric Compositions table — while I was trying to figure out the pressures and composition marginals. I had a brainstorm that this was…

  1. Not fun.
  2. Not relevant to anything that would happen during game play.

I’ll attach the completed planetary record on the next post as I *did* figure out all of the stats that go on there although I didn’t draw the map (sorry).

After spending those hours on this I thought — dang, even if these rules were really important to me, there *must* be a better way to create a planet. A lot of this just seems like drudgery. A computer program should be able to do it. And then — too late — I found that a GURPS fan has already written a computer program to do it.

Note to self: In the future, the way to go is to buy a copy of one of the GURPS Space Atlas books (the edition number of the GURPS rules won’t matter) and steal a planet from there, modifying a few things if I need to. That would take about 2 minutes, while this took me hours.

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