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Qaphat is an ultra-cool red dwarf star, orbited by seven rocky worlds, all comparable in size to Earth. It is also the home star system of the Ulsharri, who live on Qaphat's outermost planet, Ulshar. The Ulsharri have seeded life on the next three outermost worlds as well, with each planet eventually giving rise to a sentient civilization, though these civilizations are all very different from each other, and from the Ulshar themselves.

The planets of the Qaphat system are extremely close together, and are clearly visible to each other in the sky.

The Inner Planets


Pyrdah, the innermost world of the system, is approximately one third larger and more massive than earth, and has a dark, molten surface. It is tidally locked to Qaphat, and the side facing the star is a constantly-erupting volcanic hellscape. Carbon dioxide and other gasses emitted by this volcanism are blown away from Pyrdah by the solar wind, and significant amounts of this gas are eventually captured by other planets in the compact Qaphat system. Pyrdah is quite close to Qaphat, and orbits the star once every 36 hours.

The name Pyrdah comes from the Ulsharri name for a species of flat, disc-shaped fish-like creature whose underside is completely covered in bioluminescent cells, and whose dorsal side is completely dark. The pyrdah has a habit of flipping itself over at regular intervals to attract mates and confuse predators. From Ulshar, the planet Pyrdah appears completely black when passing in front of the sun, but its glowing, molten inner face can be seen as it passes around the far side relative to Ulshar, resembling the behavior of this fish.


Garoo is nearly an earth-twin in terms of size and mass, having a nickel-iron core and a rocky exterior. However, although Garoo is nowhere near as hot as Pyrdah, it still orbits very closely to Qaphat, resulting in an average surface temperature above the boiling point of water. Salt deposits on the crust are evidence that Garoo might once have had water on its surface, but any water that might once have existed on Garoo boiled away and was blown into space by Qaphat's solar winds billions of years ago. Similarly to Pyrdah, Garoo experiences significant volcanic activity due to tidal stretching, and although the Ulsharri have sent probes to perform studies on the surface, They've never found a reason to actually visit.

The Name Garoo comes from. the ancient Ulsharri word for “double,” as its orbital period around Qaphat (slightly less than two and a half days) is almost exactly the length of two of Ulshar's days.


Fafnith is a small world with a runaway greenhouse effect similar to that of Venus in the sol system, though its low mass and density mean that this atmosphere is lacks the crushing pressures of Venus. Its surface temperatures are actually hotter than those on Garoo, and its thick CO2 atmosphere swirls with clouds of sulfuric acid. In spite of its inhospitable nature, the Ulsharri are currently considering the technologies that would be required to terraform it.

Fafnith's name is a reference to the diaphanous sheets of single-celled organisms which drift beneath the icy crust of Ulshar, which resemble the cloudy surface of Fafnith.

The Outer Planets


Similar in size and gravity to Earth, Almheth is a garden world with a rich biosphere. The third world to have been influenced by Ulsharri experimentation, Almheth was once, like the inner worlds of Qaphat, tidally locked to its sun. Its distance from Qaphat made it an “eyeball” planet, with one side constantly heated by the sun and one side largely frozen. It is not clear how the Ulsharri managed to break Almheth out of this locking and provide the planet with a day/night cycle, but it is known that it required an enormous amount of time and the combined effort of the houses of Halvor, Julith, and Palox. Meanwhile, Ulsharri biologists of the houses of Imlor and Galen manipulated the genetic makeup of the existing lifeforms on Almheth, a project that itself has taken several hundred thousand years, but without the power of the shards, would have been impossible.

Almheth is the home planet of the Kyburni, a sentient species that tends toward a peaceful, nomadic, pre-industrial lifestyle. The Kyburni are unaware of the Ulsharri or any life on the other worlds in their skies, and have no knowledge of the role the Ulsharri played in bringing them out of the primordial ooze. The Kyburni have never known scarcity, and are able to supplement their ample vegetarian lifestyle with a limited form of photosynthesis of their own. Their language has no words for “war,” “murder,” or “hatred.”

The name Almheth means “garden” in the Ulsharri language.


Lurzh is an ocean world similar in size to Earth. Its oceans are kept warm by a combination of relatively high quantities of CO2 and active plate tectonics and a radioactive core that warms the water from beneath. Nonetheless, most life on Lurzh is limited to a band around its equator roughly equivalent to Earth's tropics, with extensive ice caps at both poles. Most of the surface of Lurzh is covered in water, but is sprinkled with island chains across its surface. Lurzh has an unnaturally long day/night cycle. Although the planet orbits Qaphat roughly every nine days, it rotates so slowly that one sidereal day on Lurzh is equal to five orbits around its star.

Lurzh is the home of the second of Ulshar's three genetic manipulation projects, which resulted in the Popivot, a warm-blooded amphibious race perfectly adapted to life on islands. Though the Popivot have cities across Lurzh, most of them prefer the climate of the upper latitudes near the ice caps. Early in their development, the Ulsharri revealed themselves to the Popivot, resulting in several millennia of uncomfortable worship by the Popivot, who believed the Ulsharri were their gods. The two races now have a friendly, if somewhat unequal relationship. Of all the races of the Qaphat system, the Popivot are in many ways the most human, varying significantly in attitude, aptitude, appearance, and philosophy. They are aware that the Ulsharri keep much of their technology secret from them, but also generally accept that this is for their own protection, as the Ulsharri have shared stories of the Myzrahli, and the devastating effects of too much meddling. The Popivot currently have technology roughly equal to Earth's very early industrial era, though much of their technology is powered by water, rather than by fossil fuels.

The name Lurzh


Myzrah is a rocky world slightly larger than earth, with a thick, heavy atmosphere consisting of water vapor, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. In spite of this, Myzrah is very nearly a snowball world, with large ice caps that cover a majority of its surface. Around its equator, however, is a band of cold, global swampland. This band of relative habitability is home to nearly all of Myzrah's life, including the Avalin, a species of near-humans adapted to their cold world.

These sentient creatures were the first attempt by the Ulsharri at genetic manipulation beyond Ulshar, and are considered by the Ulsharri to be their culture's greatest failure. Rapidly and forcibly evolved from much simpler life-forms, and then given technologies well beyond their understanding, the Avalin came very close to wiping out all life on their planet in a global war. The Ulsharri were forced to step in and recover their technologies, whipsawing the Avalin back to pre-industrial levels. In the past several hundred years, they have rediscovered their own modern technologies, in spite of repeated global conflicts. They blame much of their misfortune on the Ulsharri, whom they hate, and who have actively prevented the Avalin from traveling to the other worlds of the Qaphat system.

Myzrah once went by another name, but for the past two millennia, this name, which means “hubris” in Ulsharri, has become the common name for Qaphat's sixth planet.


A small, rocky world with deep global oceans covered by kilometers of ice, Ulshar is nonetheless home to an abundance of life. Ulshar's core has an unusually high quantity of heavy, radioactive material, which in combination with extensive thermal venting, warms the planet's oceans from below.

Nearly all life beneath the ice sheets is bioluminescent, and in many ways, it is similar to sea life on other worlds. The evolution of a complex, tool-making species in the deep ocean is highly unusual, but the Ulsharri culture has been stable for millions of years, making them one of the oldest continual civilizations known.


Qaphat is the Truth Arts universe alternate name the red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, which lies in the constellation of Aquarius. The Acronym TRAPPIST stands for TRansiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope.

Qaphat is 40.66 light years away and is estimated to be 7.6 billion years old, which is older than Earth's solar system.

Planetary System

TRAPPIST-1 is orbited by seven planets, designated TRAPPIST-1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f, 1g, and 1h in alphabetic order going out from the star. It is believed that 1h is Ulshar in the Truth Universe. According to the The Archivist messages (which labels Ulshar as “G”), there are 3 other planets that also have intelligent life.

These planets have orbital periods ranging from 1.5–19 days, and are all much closer to TRAPPIST-1 than Mercury is to the Sun, making the system very compact. The inclinations of planetary orbits relative to the system's ecliptic are less than 0.1 degrees, making TRAPPIST-1 the flattest planetary system in the NASA Exoplanet Archive. The orbits are highly circular, with minimal eccentricities and are well-aligned with the spin axis of TRAPPIST-1. The planets orbit in the same plane and, from the perspective of the Solar System, transit TRAPPIST-1 during their orbit[100] and frequently pass in front of each other.

For more on the Planetary System of TRAPPIST-1, visit the Wikipedia page Here

Additional Resources

qaphat.txt · Last modified: 2024/06/06 14:59 by pentabruce