Life in the Early First Pass

With a few changes made in our timeline, life is much like it was described in the novel, Dragonsdawn. If you haven't read this novel yet, it may be a good idea to pick it up from your local library… it will give you an idea of what life on Pern is like for the original settlers.

A clump of Thread destroyed this once lush forest.

Times are hard at New Landing. Thread falls every three days, and sleds provide far from adequate defense. The land is ravaged and resources are tight. Technology is gradually breaking down. Food is rationed. People must cope with doing their regular jobs and help with Thread defense, which is a full time job in itself. With inadequate resources, dwindling supplies, and failing technology, life is getting more difficult as the Pernese resort to more primitive methods of living. Pern is still a very unexplored and very dangerous place where people often turn up missing. Times are not easy in the First Pass!

Colonists settled Pern with dreams of spreading out and having a place of their own on a world free of pollution and crowded cities. Charterers, usually veterans of the Nathi Space War, were given the largest land grants and founded stake holds. As eight years passed, the colonists spread across the Southern Continent. When Thread unexpectedly began to fall, resources were stretched too thin to protect the entire continent, so the colonists came together in larger populations to seek protection. The charterers were usually pronounced leaders of these “holds.”

There is much sadness and tension among the colonists over the missing people who decided to move north. There has been no response to attempted communication, and the southerners can’t spare the manpower or resources from fighting Thread to mount an expedition to check up on them.

None of the characters from Anne McCaffrey’s books exist in our time-line with the exception of Kitti-Ping, who passed away after finishing the dragon program, and Ted Tubberman, who was killed by his genetically engineered felines after creating the grubs. He did not set off the homing beacon in our timeline.

A field recovering from Threadscore. Pernese plants must grow quickly to reproduce in between falls.


The colonists brought enough power packs and supplies to last at least fifty years, when the colony would then become a lower-tech society. However, fighting Thread took an unexpected toll on resources and the irreplaceable thread. It soon became clear that supplies wouldn’t last the entire first pass, so another means of dealing with Thread had to be developed.

The colonists still have computers, com-links, sleds, solar power, plastics, genetic engineering capabilities, fairly advanced medical techniques, and other luxuries brought with them from other worlds. They don’t, however, have the ability to replace such technologies when the originals begin to break or fail.

Hydroponics were originally used to grow the first seedlings brought to Pern and after the Pass began, they were used again to grow food indoors where they are safe from thread.


Thread is combated by aerial sleds and mopped up by ground crews using flame-throwers. Fire-lizards, or dragonets, often aid in the protection of human settlements. Three years into the pass, sleds are already beginning to break and power-packs fail, so the need for a renewable Thread defense is dire!


Bartering is most common, and credits recorded electronically are in place of the future mark system.


The colonists brought many animals from Earth. Cats, dogs, horses, cows, goats, sheep, oxen, many types of Terran fish, chickens, ducks, geese were among the animals brought to Pern. Dolphins also willingly agreed to come to Pern and work with fishermen and dolphineers. Animals are still called by their common Terran names. If there is an animal that isn’t listened but would serve a practical purpose on Pern, please suggest it to the BoD! Many sperm and ova from Terran species were brought along, so the scientists could breed a terran animal not already on Pern if there was the need for one.

Dragonets, also called fire-dragonets or fire-lizards after it was shown they could produce flame, were discovered shortly after landing. When it was clear that they could be trained and that the little creatures were quite useful, they became very popular companions. Especially after the pass began, many of the colonists had attached themselves to one or more of the little creatures. Some also have Mentasynth enhanced fire-lizards that have higher empathy with their owns and a few extra toes.

Whers exist and were created by a less-skilled geneticist in an early attempt to make bigger fire-lizards. They are most often used by miners to explore caves. Ted Tubberman’s big cats also exist in small numbers and make traveling dangerous.

Animals are usually kept for practical purposes, although cats, dogs, and fire-lizards are also companion animals.

This poor horse didn't escape Threadfall.


Terran words and expressions are still commonly used. Individuals still have last names, and male dragonriders do not yet shorten their names. Klah, fellis, and numbweed are called just that. Turn and sevenday aren't used. Healers are still called doctors, harpers are still called teachers, beasthealers are still called veterinarians.

Leisure Time

In the tradition of their Terran ancestors, the Pernese have adopted a rest day at the end of each week, and most have time to relax in the evenings. Terran games are still very popular. Pernese may spend their time betting on card games like poker, playing board games, organizing games of football/soccer, baseball, and other team sports, story-telling, placing instruments and dancing, reading Terran novels, betting, or partaking in other hobbies. Unfortunately there is little leisure time since most time is spent just trying to get by.


Craft Colleges have not yet been founded. For more information on education at New Landing, visit the education page.

Many terran jobs have been adapted to life on Pern. The following is a list of jobs on early Pern. If you have any suggestions or additions to the following, please let the BOD know!

Farmers/Plantations – orchards, nuts, grains, etc.
Hydroponics – Many plants are grown indoors where they are safe from thread

Medics/EMTs/Search and Rescue
Doctors - pediatricians, cardiologists, other specialties

Data entry


Food Preparation:
Server/Waiting staff
Kitchen staff


Jack of All Trades

Specialty Skills:
Sled Pilots
Glass blowing
Metal working
Survival experts

Stone cutter

Clothing Production:

Child Care:
Foster parent

Secretary/Administrative assistant
Lawyer/Conflict resolution
Government positions

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