Tuesday, February 5, 2013

036: Red Green

ENTRY 036: Red Green

Among classical golf enthusiasts, the Red Green on Mars is considered perhaps the best xenoscape courses for traditional play—the course winds its way along 18 kilometers of sand traps, gravel plains, and swathes of brilliant blue-green genegineered fungus with grass-like follicles designed to grow on the Martian soils and volcanic clays. The light gravity of Mars allows for impressive drives, which the course designers have taken into account with carefully shaped hillocks and trap slopes to funnel overshoots and undershoots into nasty corners and test the golfer’s ability to chip up and putt. At a par 81 the Red Green is hardly the most difficult course in the system, but it remains a masterful test of skill for anyone playing the full 18 holes.

Red Green was built and is maintained by a commune of terraformers, The NovAres Collective, and is technically still in the alpha stages of production—large swathes of the green typically die off when they fail to take root and are carried off by dust swarms, and must be painstakingly replaced. Many members can be seen out before dawn, stripping the dead turf for recycling, oxygenating the soil with a nutrient-rich paste, and laying on new hexes of fungal-sod. The course has few rules—mostly the Collective asks for players to avoid overly damaging the sod—but a volunteer network handles scheduling, organizes the annual Mars Pathfinder Cup tournament, and accepts donations for the maintenance of the green and to further NovAres’ research.

The Mars Pathfinder Cup is, inarguably, the most important and widely-watched sporting event from the Red Green; entrance is qualified to the fifty highest-scoring players on a standardized skill test, with five wild card participants, with a minimum suggested donation of 1,000 credits (or equivalent) towards the grand prize—even with NovAres’ 10% rake-off, this has typically exceeded half a million credits in recent years.


  • One Red Second is the sculptor who designed the Red Green; in a past life he was a zen gardener, but the Fall still haunts the aged flat, and he has lost any serenity he might have had, wandering about as a scrounger across the surface of Mars. The NovAres Collective is planning a 19th hole to test some experimental soil compound-fixing features, and asks the PCs to help find One Red Second and convince him to design it.
  • The Mars Pathfinder Cup is up, and the players are dropping like flies—no rules against foul play and the pot is almost a million credits. If the PCs want the job, they’ll be given golf skillsofts and put into the game as wildcards to keep the peace—even if that means breaking a few legs.
  • A pirate terraforming outfit wants a sizable sample of the Red Green sod so they can backsequence its genome and publish the data to the Mesh. Whether they get it from the course or the NovAres lab, the PCs can earn a bit of rep if they pull off the heist.


  1. Here's another seed: Red Green had to be built somewhere and a group of Barsoomians has decided it was built on their livelihood. As the sod grows, it captures fine loess that would otherwise blow onto their small farm and ruining their crops which are the only means of pulling themselves out of poverty. An enterprising hacker down with the Movement has programmed a targetted nanoswarm to ruin the exotic groundcover that makes up the course and cost the local economy millions of credits. To get past the club's security measures, however, he'll have to release several swarms at once. Will the PCs be the ones helping him release the swarms or the ones tracking down the Barsoomians before the clock hits zero?

    1. Colin, if you still read this, would you mind if I added this (with credit) to the PDF I'm putting together, if there is room on the page?

  2. from my limited knowledge of golf. (thanks parents :D). 18 kilometers is a bit long for a golf course. Or at least it seems to me.

    The 19th hole? That is usually slang for the bar.

    1. Martian gravity is 0.376 g - that makes for some really long drives!

    2. Had not taken gravity into account. Might be a little short then ;).