Sketches – Caustic Berries

Nordhausen’s biosphere makes for several odd forms of life, befitting a planet that has a robust chlorine cycle in addition to the more common carbon and nitrogen cycles seen on other planets. Often times the plant life itself has evolved several unique survival mechanisms that allow them to function in a highly toxic and reactive environment.

One such plant is a family of plants that are informally called “caustic fruit berries”. Broadly similar to the nightshade family (most notably similar to various tomato and pepper species), this family of plants has evolved several defensive mechanisms that in turn make some of them economically valuable to harvest. Some varieties concentrate caustic chemicals inside, while others have evolved tougher exteriors that can resist even the worst corrosive, abrasive weather can provide.

In turn, these plants have become a staple farming crop for long-chain chemical compounds. While heavy industry can still produce the same materials cheaper and faster, “chemical farming” has a far lower capital cost to start production. And for smaller colonies and local industries, the absolute amount of product actually needed can be quite low, which works against heavy corporate suppliers.

I thought that I had posted all of the plant life that I’ve sketched, but I found this one hiding in the pile of scanned images I had kicking around. So now it’s done too 🙂 This one got done at the same of a few of the other ones, and it was a bit of an experiment to see what kind of life would survive in different biomes. Nordhausen’s one of the more interesting worlds, since it’s a place that is ‘technically’ survivable, but it has some pretty rough challenges at the same time. What we called ‘acid rain’ on Earth in the 70’s and 80s’ would barely be called rain on Nordhausen!

One of the real dangers with worldbuilding is that, well… you can build too much world and lose track of why you’re building. But at the same time, I can’t help but admit it’s fun!

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