Arcane Space, a strange place for those not initiated. Plus, for those lacking the essential tools of travel, it’s deadly. There is no natural air here, likewise the heat is very unnatural. This is especially the case within the traveling warp known as the phlogiston, a realm of burning energy that can shuttle protected spelljammers in rapid time. Yes, it truly is wonderful. And for many, it’s a far more logical alternative to the planes beyond. Why discover what lies beyond life when you can learn all that life truly has to offer? There are countless worlds already out there, all within the Prime material. Plus, the metropolitan space hubs prove far less pretentious than the likes of Sigil anyway. No weird slang to make yourself feel smug. Or well, less of it.
Author’s Note: Spelljammer? But of course! October will probably make a shift back to Ravenloft, but Spelljammer always needs love. And past that, more Docker’s Catch, crossover with other settings and a massive reference to Sea of Thieves (again). So with that, have a double post… IN THE SAME WEEK! Give or take.
Within Known Crystal Spheres
Within Realmspace, one can gain access to a well kept secret. A collaboration of sailors of the Phlogiston and travelers of the planes has resulted in a demiplane called the Spelljammer Ward. Access to this strange realm comes in the form of an artificial star doorway. It can only be summoned at the edge of Realmspace by a skilled conjurer, and one who wears the badge and holds the knowledge of a Ward member. Despite a limited number of Torilians belonging to the exclusive realm, many other wildspace travelers have found their way in… often by accident. The gates used to keep prime world travelers at bay sometimes go haywire by those from well beyond, even those traveling the phlogiston itself. Those on other spheres have found ways to “hack” their way inside. However, those who do contend with the fierce security always on the lookout for stowaways and infiltrators. In fact, privateers have assembled from a mix of Sigil, Realmspace and Bralspace. Their goal is to eliminate pirates from within the City of Doors, as well as purge their influence in Arcane Space as well.
While nowhere near as important to greater Arcane Space than the Rock of Bral, secret portals and linked travel ways have united the two. Some even regard the Spelljammer Ward/Greater Docker’s Catch as part of Bralspace. And thus, it continues to be a melting pot of Bral influences alongside Sigil influences. And to an extent, a bit of Toril has made its way here as well. In truth, Bralspace already had direct connections to Realmspace anyway. But, Bralspace may not be the correct term, the Elves of the Spiral are ones to correct visitors. To them, it is “Spiralspace”. The Ancient Elves of this realm have always regarded their spiral in great regard. Such a name relates to equally distant traditions not well understood by many contemporary travelers. But, for such travelers, this new colony under the umbrella of Bral is far more relevant to them.
There has never been such a wretched hive, but yet one of the based realms all the same. Havenspace was the results of a colonization effort upon a sphere that was seemingly abandoned long ago. The reason? Likely a mixture of things such as foul curses, divine evils and the pursuit of treasures beyond this realm. Needless to say, the natives had all but left it. The prospects of unprotected dungeons filled with treasure and fertile lands proved enticing, unaware of the grim tales from within. Ages later, its prospects attracted united pirate crews. The Legends, as they became known as, built upon isles and even forged guilds to ensure prosperity within each other. However, in time the allure of power became too much for many. Dark magic, greed and delusions of grandeur overrode previous goals. And just like that, many guilds and people turned against each other.
There are many villains in Havenspace. The grim spectral visage known as The Soul of Phlogiston was once a dastardly Pirate Lord! Something resembling a ghostly firelich, The Soul hovers as it unleashes ghostly spelljammers upon those who gather too closely. The phantasmal fleets unleash ghostly ammunition in the shape of phantoms and wraiths, pounding into the hulls of their enemies. It was said that his soul was in hiding for a time, in preparation for his return upon Havenspace. Unfortunately, a crew who desired to free the souls of another lost bunch ultimately found their way to the Soul of Phlogiston. This was done so through cleverly articulated tricks and traps by a deserter now loyal to the undead pirate lord. The deserter even tricked other crews to help free the dark Soul into the Crystal Sphere, to bring untold damage in a bid for power. However, other dark powers dwell and linger. Hypnotic creatures called sirens have adjusted to living in arcane space, with their vile queen assembling forces to take the Sphere. However, the queen has recently fell silent, after her aquatic legions took hold of a whole world by purging most of its life. The remaining forces assemble means to fill the power vacuum, as they continue the dread plans of expansion through space. Likewise, a ferryman has emerged into this Shell, bringing souls of the living and dead to where they must go. However, some have revolted from his crew. They tear through memories themselves as a means of breaking into the living world. The phantasmal legions are corrupt and vengeful, hoping to bring doom upon all living in their path. Many were bloodthirsty pirates long before death.
Unlike traditional spheres, Mystaraspace holds some dark secrets for the unaware. This chunk of wildspace of a cruel and cold vacuum. There is no chance for the Spelljammer to remain warm, unless it properly insulates or magic is used to supply warmth actively. Likewise, this vacuum sucks out air. In a matter of many hours to days, air will seep out and be lost from the ship. Only through other means of protection can a fresh supply be trapped or maintained. As such, Mystaraspace is not a popular place to explore too deeply. It’s perhaps for that reason that Skyships are much preferred.
Not all of Alphatia traveled through portals ages ago, some used the stars as a means of saving themselves. Through a convoluted means, many ended up on another world within Mystara’s sphere. While the mages of today are best known for their airships and many other wonders, a splinter group had achieved what the arcane oligarchy has failed to achieve within Mystara, true Spelljamming. This was not done out of innovation, but necessity. Mystaraspace was far crueler and bleaker than other Crystal Spheres. Those who couldn’t rapidly adapt were stranded upon hopeless rocks or would die in the void of space. Alphatian Observance is a floating colony that has endured the odds. Sitting upon the oceanic world of Protius, it is inherently aquatic. None the less, these classic Alphatians have managed to keep themselves to their artificial land pockets and cities floating just above. As to why they came to such an alien world, unknown. The colonists proclaim that they attempted to settle other worlds with disastrous results.
The ancient empire of Nithia was largely cleansed off the overworld by the Immortals. Their demise was surrounded in constant tragedy and poor decision, many of which weren’t fully their fault. This was, in reality, not entirely true. While Immortal preservation has created a copy on another planar domain, many true Nithians continue in wildspace. A moon orbiting some far off world is known as Necrotica. The World itself is a dead and nameless one, but the moon curiously can sustain life… even if muchof its population is not alive. But in many ways it is akin to the fabled Shadow Nithia in the Mystara demiplane of Limbo. It is here that undead kings lord over a grim and barely livable realm. Many recall their ancient regimes and crave lost glory, seeking an attack against the Immortals themselves. In fact, some bid for positions amidst the Sphere of Entropy as wrathful immortals themselves. Not all is gloomy and dead within this new Nithia. Many rebel against the Necrocracy that has ruined their ancient civilization in the first place. However, in order to interact with the world of Mystara or other worlds within space, they were forced into an agreement with the Immortals. In short, the New Nithians were to endure a false history that they always lived on this moon. And furthermore, any details within Mystara itself were altered or lost. Many of these rebels contend with this, expressing shock when they see pyramids within Ylaruam and other lands in the Known World. Their goals are not exactly noble however. Many of these rebel factions seek a return to old order and immortals, but wish to bring a brutal dogma to not only stop a return of the undead, but anything that deviates from old and sometimes oppressive norms. In this case, they would get along with the Nithia found in the Hollow World. As if the Necrotic Nithians had enough issues to contend with, another ancient order brings woe. The Taymorans of days old have somehow stowed away and have infiltrated this new colony. Well aware that their civilization was gone well before Nithia’s height, they seek a revival of Taymora itself. Several Vampire Princesses bicker among their own factions, in hopes of becoming a true queen once again.
Blackmoorian Legions were stranded within Wildspace as the Great Rain of Fire rocked their world. Before then, a mixture of airship magic and inspired technology fused into something much like a Spelljammer. These magitech cosmic ships allowed for seamless travel around the ancient crystal sphere. There was no need to worry about spelljammer and its complications within these astronomical zones. These ships are mostly wrecks and salvage, long abandoned after failing systems could no longer be sustained. Those who fled their stations and motherships looked for any methods to rebuild their technologies or find welcoming worlds. It is likely that some of these other worlds have descendants of Blackmoorian populations that have biologically modified themselves. However, in the 4000 years since many departed the world, some of these outliers still live yet. Knowledge of their home world is documented, but still extremely ancient. They have long evolved beyond the need for Blackmoor and its way. The remaining Legions are semi-nomadic, having perfecting blends of mad science and strange magic. In the ages since the Great Rain, their methods have splintered into something so logically distant, a true Blackmoorian would consider them alien. Curiously, the green tinted skin seen in the crew of the F.S.S. Beagle is present within this New Blackmoor. The only ones who don’t display this trait is a branch of the Legions that broke off thousands of years ago and through planar anomalies found themselves within the Great Wheel of their “distant future”. Ultimately, they forged a colony upon Mechanus before it was later moved near the Gate-Town of Automata for its own safety. These Blackmoorians are basically the same as those who escaped the Great Rain, with little other change save for the Lawful forces of Mechanus upon them.
Mystara has not one, but two moons. However, one is hidden from known eye. The known moon, Matera, holds its own secrets. However, Patera has been the subject of several expeditions in recent years. The Princess Ark crew was introduced to the Rakasta civilization of Myoshima in their travels. It would seem that the isolated dynasties and empires faced new perils, such as Heldannic Knights and other opposing forces also encountered by the Voyage of the Princess Ark. Later on, the plane-traveling bard known as Ramon has made his way through the imperial palaces even, but not before an ally of Myoshima betrayed him. However, some strange manner of chronomancy has lessened this, as the natives are less likely to turn against a fellow “Rakasta”. While little in spelljamming activity has touched this moon and air ships have had more luck, it isn’t against possibility for the rogue spelljammer to slip through into the “invisible moon”. And even then, more exists within Patera alone. But, what of Matera? The Voidship wreckage is a terrifying and haunted place where many flying ships have met their mysterious doom. Likewise, a crater exists as a possible gateway to Pandius, the City of the Immortals. Also, it has its own hidden secret, it has a hollow world just like Mystara. Many strange creatures of the dark remain preserved within it. These range from crystal-like humanoids to strange undead.
Many suspect that the “Solar System” is where Terranspace begins and ends. No, the so-called “Milky Way Galaxy” might just be a Crystal Sphere all its own. In fact, there are numerous terms that describe “more enlightened” takes on jammer terms. For starters, Terrans or “Earthlings” call their vessels “spaceships”, while the phlogiston is called “hyper-space”. How absolutely dull. Likewise, they have jump drives and control vessels instead of normal helms. In reality, the Milky Way is not the entirety of the sphere, as other realities have been absorbed as well. This includes links to another sphere known as “Andromeda”. Beyond a base list of worlds, several asteroids and other nebulous forms drift well in the distance. However, only a handful of the actual worlds have a steady population. The namesake of this sphere, Terra, claims to be the only home to sentient life. Oh, how little they know.
Other races have been discovered by jamming crews, such as Venusians, Martians and Plutonians. All of these prove to be rather strange beings in comparison to Humans. The most numerous are the Martians, who have a divided society between above and below ground. The above-grounders, simply “Martians” or “Greens”, are considered the true inheritors of the world. They value olden aristocracy and live within massive artificial dome colonies. Their secondary namesake is due to their green skin. Other features of note are large olive-like black eyes, a bulbous upside down egg-like head, a tall lanky body and no discernible sexual anatomy. Their cousins, the “Deep Martians” or “Greys” are long since exiled from the above land. They have roughly the same societal and technical proficiency. However, they’re hardier and more generally vindictive when things go awry. They are a little more squat in build and have the eponymous grey skin. Both sides retain a neutrality pact, but they have little to desire in each other. Aggression flairs up over various issues though, but these tend to be resolved well enough.
Venusians and Plutonians, on the contrary, are both familiar and alien. For the spacefarer, they are comparable to the elves and dwarves already found in wildspace and beyond. Venusians carry a strange cosmic beauty to them, almost crystalline in nature. However, like a crystal statue, their frames seem almost delicate at times. Their forms are indeed mineral-like, rather than that of flesh. A pulsating energy seems to keep them together, perhaps their source of life. Crystal forms contract and extend, creating joint movements. It’s almost as if they have a whole body made of a complex ever shifting skeleton or machinery. The Plutonians are more rock like, lacking in the poise and elegance of their distant neighbors. They’re far lower to the ground, shorter and have less in the way of social graces. Despite coming across as crude, they’re heavily technical and skilled survivors. They’ll be quick to point out how much hardier they are than the “aliens” around them.
IMAGE CREDIT: Jeff Easley – Spelljammer Boxed Set; SilverbladeTE – Spelljammer View; Rare – Reaper’s Hideout; Havard – Mystara Planetary Map; Glen Orbik – Atomic Avenue #1
2 thoughts on “Worlds and Cosmos of Spelljammer – Fantastic Space!”
I was hoping for some terran-space! Taking a 1950s scifi route with some old Edgar Rice Buroghs inspirations leaves alot of fun to be had. But one wonders what horrors lurk in Gothic-Space….
I’ll get to something like Gothic Space.