DnD: Honor Among Thieves was a better and more faithful adaption than either LotR: Rings of Power or Wheel of Time.
Regula was a small main sequence star, barely two thirds the mass of the Sun. She had three planets from birth and captured two more.
The innermost, Andar, orbitted Regulus at a period of three days. Andar was a gas giant captured millions of years ago and orbitted almost perpendicular to the solar plane. From Aschites, it seemed to go up and down, and so massive was it that Regula oscillated against it. Their dance was called the Divine Waltz.
Morian, the Dawn Star, orbitted far inside Regulus’s habitable zone. Tidally locked to the Regulus, Andar gave it a bit of a wobble so the small rockball continuously juttered around like the eyeball of a frightened giant.
Theo, the Wanderer, was the outermost of Regula’s true-born children. An icy giant of methane and water, it orbitted at the edge of space, and outside it, great Holon, the captured brown dwarf, ranged in what could be considered space. Holon glowed with its own light, a faint brown and blue, and lit up with flashes when comets fell into its clouds. It was one tenth the size of Regula, larger than everything else in the system combined, and hid in the solar halo with the ice clouds and dust.
Aschites, middle son of Regula, orbitted across the habitable zone. It was an old world in an old, cold system. Soon after forming it had eaten its moon, and their collision threw it into a wide, eccentric orbit. Full of heavy metals and radioactive elements, Aschites took nearly a billion years to form a crust. It took another billion to collect an atmostphere. Life had already appeared by then.
Six billion years after Anschites’s impact with its forgotten moon and four billion years before Regula would catch Andar from his wandering, the first two-celled organism arose. One hundred million years passed. Two-celled life exploded in all directions, formed shells and tails, scilia, spines, ridges, and spores. Within three million years, Regula’s eyes appeared: billion-celled organisms that floated like jellyfish across the deep seas. A geological eye-blink later, something like a worm appeared. Another blink, and something bigger ate the worms. Soon fish swam. The seas turned green with plants.
Aschites’s hot and raging core formed terrain wildly unlike Earth. With fewer planets to clear the system of comets and no moon to shelter it, Aschites took asteroid impacts constantly. The crust was less firm, and the mantle more fluid. The seas formed pits fifty miles deep and made mountains that rose above the atmosphere. The deeper parts of the sea were full of geysers, and even in the black, lightness abysses, things crawled, climbed, and swam.
Life did not so much venture out of the water as it was pushed. So many things were swimming, hunting, chasing, and living in the oceans that creatures infested the beaches just to get away. From there they crawled upwards. The air was hot and thick, and seven ice comets struck Aschites in less than a year, each more than 1% of the planet’s mass. The air turned to water vapor and fog. Their impacts pushed Aschites close to the Regula. Fog turned to steam and boiled the land clean. The ocean surface cooked, but life endured and grew old in the dark, cool places far beneath the waves.
Finally, Regula caught Andar, and his coming perturbed Aschites to a new, further orbit. The atmosphere cooled. Life climbed out of the depths again and found the soil impregnated with nitrogen fixing microbes. They had gone down to escape the heat. The gentle cooling acted like releasing a brake, and Aschites turned green. Within a thousand years, its surface was covered in trees. The forest grew old. Mushrooms came to take the dead, small creatures lived around the roots, and mammals appeared high on the slopes of the giant mountains.
Regula burned slowly. She was less than ten billion years old when the first man climbed to his feet and watched a crystal space-ship fly away. That memory was lost like Aschites’s moon, and the man turned to surviving. The sky was blue, the sun was green, and the seas were dark.
Now Ashites had hot, wet summers and cold, dry winters. Its air was thick, and the atmosphere was tall. Nitrogen rich comets had seeded the atmosphere far above its stability level, and within thirty million years, a short nap in Regula’s life, Aschites’s atmosphere would boil away, down to the level gravity could hold it. But life could do much in thirty million years, and on the banks of a river, older than names, a man and a woman played with sticks until they discovered fire.
Two million years later, Gerard Aswego got his ass beat for stealing bread.