When creating fantasy worlds, I used to restrict myself to a planet nearly identical to Earth.  “Too many rules,” I decided, so I named my own planet, gave it its own environment.  It’s similar to Earth, but different enough.

Varanganska is the sixth planet to orbit the A-type main-sequence star known as Daraksto.  Varanganska has a diameter of 15 840 kilometres, four moons, and a gravitational [acceleration] constant of 17,7 (given the formulas for the volume of a sphere and Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, this checks out).  Varanganska tilts 8 degrees on its axis, completes one revolution in roughly 24 hours, and completes its orbit in 2405 days (65 months of 37 days each).  From this point on, all uses of the word “year” refer to a Varanganskan year.  The planet is nearly one billion years old, has been able to support life for 200 million years, complex macro-organisms for roughly 100 million years, and has supported civilisations, both technologically advanced and primitive, for 15 million years. 

Two of Varanganska’s moons are locked in opposite positions of the same orbit.  They have been known by many names throughout the planet’s history, but all civilisations have picked up on the relationship between these twin moons at one point.  A third moon, the Prime Moon, is slightly farther away from the planet than the twin moons, and a fourth moon orbits in an ellipse twice the distance as the third moon at its closest point and three times the distance at its farthest point.


Varanganska has 17 major continents and 32 minor continents.  Major continents occupy the majority of the tectonic plate on which they sit, while two or more minor continents can occupy a tectonic plate and may disappear depending on long-term tectonic activity.  They are still called continents, however, since they have significant size and complex climates. Since the land masses are distributed fairly evenly among the oceans, the oceans themselves do not have names, and are instead referenced by surrounding coastlines.  Trans-oceanic travel, incidentally, is almost unheard of except by submarine and high-altitude aircraft, since perpetual storms rage over the open oceans and are impossible to travel through except in the largest surface vessels.  Unlike on Earth, Varanganska’s Age of Exploration did not begin until well after the appearance of steel-hulled ships.


Varanganska has supported civilisations of all types for 15 million years, as mentioned earlier.  These civilisations have been comprised of many different species, from mammals and birds to intelligent insects and molluscs.  None of the first civilisations still exist, and since little information is shared between civilisations, the technology that one develops usually dies with it until it is reinvented by another civilisation at a later date.  Climate change, tectonic shifts, disease, war, and the odd asteroid impact have all been responsible for both the rise and fall of civilisations throughout the planet’s history.

As mentioned earlier, Varanganska has four moons.  One of them is habitable, having similar geography to the “homeworld,” but much smaller in size and having a gravitational constant of 4,5.  The Prime Moon became civilised when colonists from the planet landed on it, though its population density always remained low.  The settling of the moon became the basis for the New Global Varanganskan Lunar Calendar, which is referenced by the dates GC.  From that point on, cooperating civilisations used the settling of the moon as 0-0, or year 0, month 0.  Since Varanganskan years are so long, the month, or time it took for the Prime Moon to orbit the planet, became the new basic calendar unit.  There is another unit of time that more primitive societies use in lieu of the year, and it is called the Lunar Cycle, or cycle for short.  A cycle concludes when three of the four moons are visible in the same area of the sky, meaning that one need not turn one’s head to see all three.  Since the three moons together light up the night sky far more than our hunter’s moon here on Earth (also called a harvest moon), the two or three nights at the end of a lunar cycle are a period of great festivity.  I should mention that a lunar cycle is 370 days, which is mainly a literary device.

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