Alternate Earths – Gareth Hanrahan
Firstly, I don’t know any of the secrets of the Twilight Sector setting. There may be a secret reason why there’s a nearly exact duplicate of Earth on the edge of explored space, but I’m not privy to it. This blog post is all speculation, not spoilers.
Enough caveats. Let’s talk about the elephant in the Twilight Sector. Why Terra/Sol?
The universe might not be infinite, but there may be an infinite number of universes. Search the multiverse long enough, and you’ll find an instance of the universe with two or more Earths. Scour that subset, and you find a universe where there are multiple Earths and human life. In this interpretation, there’s no big secret behind Terra/Sol – it’s just a co-incidence. This explanation can be unsatisfying to paranoid players, who see conspiracies everywhere, but it’s also refreshingly strange. Existence is just that unlikely.
Even if you subscribe to the natural phenomenon theory, there are ways to build on this explanation. Perhaps there’s some strange warping of the laws of probability in the Twilight Sector, and the characters will find even more unlikely worlds as they explore. A few jumps out, they might find yet another Earth, or copies of themselves, or a world of intelligent tigers.
Another possibility is that Terra/Sol was built by some alien race with an interest in humanity. Constructing a world to order would be an unimaginable difficult task, so the aliens must have had an equally incredible need. Could Terra/Sol be intended as a lifeboat for the human species, or is it perhaps a zoo habitat? Could there be secrets undiscovered on Earth as well as Terra/Sol itself? Alternatively, Terra/Sol could be Earth! At some point in our future, the planet gets thrown through space and back in time. Tens of thousands of years pass – not enough time for the continents to shift unrecognizably, but long enough for almost every trace of human civilization to be erased. This secret goes undiscovered until the player characters find a clue pointing to the ultimate origin of Terra/Sol and the fate of Earth.
A final option is to take a metaphysical approach. The chances of another Earth are so remote that a more likely explanation is that the characters are being deceived. Maybe they’re dead and Terra/Sol is purgatory (or perhaps the meek have found the Earth they’re destined to inherit). The whole campaign could be a computer simulation, a virtual reality running in the nigh-infinite simulation spaces of Deramus, or a what-if scenario being run for the sleeping player characters as they travel slower-than-light in hibernation to a distant colony world.
The mystery of Terra/Sol is too strange not to be explored. Even in a campaign that never touches on the question of the world’s improbable existence, it exists as a taunting enigma, a sign that the characters will never understand all the mysteries of the Twilight Sector.