In the hyperdrive era, artificial gravity aboard starships provides seemingly normal gravity, perpendicular to the floor. It also compensates for acceleration, so that it is not felt by those inside the ship. On the starship Lying Bastard, the artificial gravity could be set to different strengths in individual cabins. The Liarís airlock also had its own internal gravity, which was turned off when the airlock was opened.
A group of mammals native to Earthís oceans. By circa 2080, several species, most notably Dolphins, were recognized as sentient and granted civil rights by the UNJudy Greenberg said "Dolphins have been legally human since before you [Larry Greenberg] were born!" (World of Ptavvs p. 26). It is not clear how old Larry Greenberg was at the time of this account, but since he graduated from college and spent some years working with dolphins, he must have been at least 25. World of Ptavvs is set in 2106; 2106 - 25 = 2081..
The Puppeteer who gave the explorers of the First Ringworld Expedition a briefing (remotely, via projected image) about the Ringworld, at the iridescent dome on Hearth in 2850. He had a silver mane, and in speaking Interworld sounded like Nessus. Also like Nessus, Chironís real name was unpronounceable; "Chiron" is a name from Greek myth used when dealing with Humans. The mythological Chiron was a wise centaur who tutored many Greek heroes.
(e) "Tabac sticks" were among the things Grogs could only buy through Garvey Limited circa 2646.
(f) Beowulf Shaeffer, a limber Crashlander, liked to smoke using his toes, and in 2647 enjoyed the shocked reaction of Flatlanders.
Reference: (a) "The Ethics of Madness", (b) "The Warriors", (c) "Neutron Star", (d) "Neutron Star", (e) "The Handicapped", (f) "Grendel"
Gummidgyís biggest ocean, covering a third of the planet. Its circular shape is said to be the result of a large asteroid impact.
City Builder colony worlds
Ten planets in stellar systems in the vicinity of the Ringworld, reportedly colonized by the City Builders. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] The Map Room in Heaven displayed ten globes; Louis Wu thought these were the colony worlds. According to the story told by Halrloprillalar Hotrufan (Prill) to the First Ringworld Expedition, the City Builder race originated on one of these planets, five of which were visited by her ramscoop ship, the Pioneer, on its regular trade run. Prill claimed two of these worlds were densely populated before the Ringworld was built, but had afterward been abandoned, the populace moved en masse to the Ringworld. Nessus speculated these worlds included some in Human Space, and Louis Wu even briefly speculated Earth itself was once a City Builder colony A discussion between Nessus and Louis Wu (Ringworld ch. 21, p. 288) revealed that Prill spoke of an abandoned region of space about 200 lightyears from the Ringworld, where she claimed the City Builders started but abandoned terraforming projects. Louis said this was about the distance to Earth, apparently speculating that the Ringworld Engineers might have colonized Earth. Nessus pointed out that primates on Earth are related to Humans, indicating Humans evolved there. But then it was speculated that the Engineers could have brought pets and servants, "Like apes and monkeys and neanderthals..." Louis ended the discussion, saying "Itís just speculation.". [Spoiler alert: The Ringworld Engineers] However, in light of the discoveries of the Second Ringworld Expedition, it appears this was one of Prillís "tall tales" aggrandizing her people, and that the City Builders originated on the Ringworld. No other account mentions these colony worlds; therefore their existence, abandoned or not, is unconfirmed.
[Spoiler alert: Ringworld] A hominid species on the Ringworld. Once a powerful culture ruling much of the megastructure, the First Ringworld Expedition and the Second Ringworld Expedition discovered a relatively few remaining City Builders, dependent upon wondrous but decaying machines they were no longer able to repair. Although scattered and few in number, they were still revered by many or most primitive Ringworld natives, and influential in large areas. Note the term "City Builder" does not appear in the account of the First Ringworld Expedition (published as Ringworld), where they are referred to as Ringworld Engineers. The term first appears in the account of the Second Ringworld Expedition (published as The Ringworld Engineers).
Appearance: Regal in appearance and posture, with fine features. Balding, with no facial hair, and only a fringe of hair on the scalp, which crosses over the ears and meets at the base of the skull.
Culture: The City Builders once ruled much of the Ringworld, and a trade empire which reportedly included ten City Builder colony worlds. They built the floating cities, and established trade routes reportedly spanning hundreds of lightyears with their City Builder ramships. According to the somewhat questionable claims of Halrloprillalar Hotrufan (Prill), a City Builder, some colony worlds were as much as 200 light-years from the Ringworld. The City Builder civilization on the Ringworld fell, somewhat literally, in the Fall of Cities, when a superconductor plague brought their cities crashing down in 1733 A.D.
Origin: Prill claimed her species originated on the City Builder colony worlds, and that once two of the worlds were heavily populated by her people before they built the Ringworld. Louis Wu even briefly speculated that Earth might once have been a City Builder colony, which would have explained the remarkable similarity between Humans and Ringworld hominids. [Spoiler alert: The Ringworld Engineers] However, in light of discoveries made by the Second Ringworld Expedition, it seems almost certain these were myths created by the City Builders to aggrandize their accomplishments, that the City Builders were one of the thousands of hominid species native to the Ringworld, that the City Builder civilization arose long after Ringworld was built, and that the City Builders used ramscoop ships built on the Ringworld to visit and perhaps colonize other worlds. An unofficial source claims the City Builder civilization rose to prominence on the Ringworld about 14,000 B.C. "Seventeen thousand years ago... the City Builders became undisputed masters of a large sector of Ringworld" (Ringworld Roleplaying Gameó Gamemaster Book, p. 17). Presuming this is 17,000 years before the Ringworld Era, that makes the date (17,000 - 2850 =) 14,150, or circa 14,000 B.C..
Reference:Ringworld chs. 12, 15, 21-2, The Ringworld Engineers, The Ringworld Throne, Ringworldís Children
A voice communications device used by the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851. Basically a long-range two-way radio, it was capable of relaying data to and from the starship Lying Bastardís autopilot-computer. This computer could "learn" and translate alien speech after some exposure to the unknown language. In use, the device enabled conversation by providing a real-time running translation, alternating between translating an explorerís words into the nativeís language, and the nativeís words into the explorerís language. Designed to be worn on the Human wrist or Puppeteer neck, the disc was bulky and not very comfortable. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] In Zrillir City, an automated system detected the communicator discs using a restricted frequency, and remotely caused them to turn white-hot and burn out.
A large asteroid in the Belt was hollowed out and rotated for spin-induced gravity to provide a place for pregnant Belters to safely bring babies to term. Note "confinement" is here a euphemism for pregnancy. The project was completed in 2071.
Reference:World of Ptavvs
In 2645, verbal contracts in Human Space were legally binding when recorded.
The following contracts or potential contracts are documented:
Reference: "At the Core"; (a) "Flatlander"; (b) "Neutron Star"; (c) "Neutron Star"; (d) "Neutron Star", "At the Core"; (e) "A Relic of the Empire", "The Color of Sunfire"; (f) "At the Core"; (g) "Flatlander"; (h) "Flatlander"; (j) "Grendel"; (k) "The Soft Weapon"
[Spoiler alert: "At the Core"] The stars in the core of our Milky Way galaxy are so closely spaced that one supernova set off a chain reaction of supernovae. Beowulf Shaeffer discovered this in 2645, while piloting the starship Long Shot on a survey mission to the galactic core. The core had finished exploding about nine or ten thousand years before, creating a wave of radiation so lethal it would kill off any known form of life on every planet it reached. It was predicted this wave would reach Known Space about 20,000 years later. Knowledge of the core explosion prompted the Puppeteer migration. The core lies within the plane of the Ringworld. Apparently the scrith foundation provides sufficient protection against radiation to make most of the habitat safe from the core explosion.
Reference: "At the Core", "Flatlander", Ringworld chs. 1, 3, 24
A passenger starship which in 2657 was owned by Jason Papandreou, and operated by him with his wife, Anne-Marie. With a dozen staterooms, it could hold 30 crew and passengers. Its shape was a thick, round-edged, flat-bottomed disk. [Spoiler alert: "The Soft Weapon"] It was involved in the incident of the Tnuctip spy weapon and the Kzinti of the starship Traitorís Claw. See "The Soft Weapon" (story summary).
The treaty negotiated between Humans and the Kzinti Empire in 2505, at the end of the Fourth (and last official) Man-Kzin War. Its provisions included restricting the Kzinti to police weapons only, and although the worlds of their former slave species the Kdatlyno and the Pierin were freed, the Kzinti were allowed to keep some Jotaki and Pierin as legal slaves. The Covenants were still being enforced in 2657.
A shock-absorbing couch used aboard spaceships, designed to protect a passenger from high gee forces.
Reference:Ringworld chs. 4, 9
A force field designed to hold someone immobile inside a vehicle in case of a crash, in use by 2647. It is triggered by excessive pressure on the pilotís crash web, whose strands are thin as coarse thread and not much stronger. It was used by pilots of spacecraft, and in aircars as an improvement over seat belts.
Reference: "Grendel", "The Soft Weapon", Ringworld chs. 9, 10
A Human native to We Made It. By 2641, most were albinos due to lack of exposure to sunlight. Other evolutionary changes include motile ears, and toes nearly as dexterous as fingers. Beowulf Shaeffer and Anne-Marie Papandreou were Crashlanders.
Reference: "Flatlander", "The Soft Weapon"
The first Human settlement on We Made It, founded prior to 2100. There are cliffs above the city. See also music (f).
An uninhabited, frozen, Luna-sized planet orbiting Beta Lyrae. Apparently the name was inspired by the look of its featureless surface of snow and ice. It has a faint hydrogen atmosphere. [Spoiler alert: "The Soft Weapon"] In 2657 it was the setting of a Kzinti "incident" involving the crews of the starships Court Jester and Traitorís Claw.
A bar in Downtown on Down. The booths inside were built to levitate using artificial gravity, but this proved too dangerous and by circa 2647 they had been grounded.
Reference: "The Handicapped"
The City Builder name for a device which projects a field in which solid objects become highly permeable, allowing one object to pass through another. Louis Wu described it as an "osmosis generator". In use it is typically "tuned" to affect only one substance. The City Builder ramships carried a cziltang brone which was used to pass through the solid scrith wall of a Ringworld spaceport, which had no airlocks. There was some resistance when moving through a scrith wall, as if walking against a steady wind. Larger objects could be pulled through with tractors. A malfunctioning cziltang brone in the starship Pioneer killed two crew, trapped waist-deep in the metal floor, and 17 others suffered permanent brain damage "when certain permeable membranes became too permeable". Nessus suspected the word "brone" was "a modifier, possibly obscene".