I realize that my lesson started and shifted a but abruptly. But, you seek the worst and weirdest that arcane space has to offer. Why would I slouch on a golden opportunity to explain all that is delightfully dooming in the stars beyond? Ah, yes. Do stop me at any moment. As much as I relish spreading nightmares, it could be bad for the tutoring contract. So, young one, let us talk particular subjects involving space today. After all, fear not when being taught by the famous Jermaine the Arcane. I always provide means of rescue advice.
Author’s Note: Spelljammer, at last! All the same, October kinda of usurped a bit of that. And so with that, have some RavenJammer! Likewise, conspiracies and mysteries within the setting too. Also, the largest heresy to the alternate cosmologies, they’re just Crystal Spheres with Planar elements… Don’t be mad at me! Plus hey, I love a good conspiracy angle, the retcon fits the Great Wheel and its many mysteries to some extent. Primers be damned! (But, mostly Clueless.)
Shipwrecks, Ghost Ships and Horrors of the Sailing Space
It should come as no surprise that many never make the journey ahead of them. They are forever lost, truly the damned. Often the desperation and sorrow consumes them, keeping their souls from passing on. Some bond with their grim environment and awaken as unique undead. Others merge with the vessel itself, possessing and creating unique ghost ships. Others are mere spirits, forced to haunt the jammer of their last voyage. No matter the case, one best avoid a spelljammer graveyard. Here lie phantoms and here lie those envious of the living. Dare you put your very soul in danger? Of course you do, that is the way of adventure.
The Void Out of Space and Time or “Mythosspace”
The Void Castle of the King in Yellow was only the beginning. There are places were crews and space sailors were never meant to reach. However, it would seem that recent events have accidentally opened the doors to realms of horror. This void is reached through cracks in the sphere glass. Where stars are normally the way through the Phlogiston, strange cracks are the path to something far different. This void is what many might consider the Far Realm, a dimensional fracture impossibly distant from all things; beyond all things imaginable and all things possible. This is the dominion of sleeping giants, titans capable of shattering the mind with a simple stare. From here, all dark possibilities can occur. Welcome to the home of powerful eldritch beings far beyond comprehension.
The void is an anomaly built upon eldritch horror, it need not conform to any rules of wildspace or phlogiston. It’s possible for one of these nightmarish cracks in reality to form within the latter as well. The caretakers and dread masters of this alternate dimension are curiously apathetic of the gradual degradation of the multiverse. As far as they are concerned, many of these realms were once a piece of them. This is no act of aggression or horror, but reclamation of reality itself. To them, they are the banished and deserving of reparation. All things in their way are just insignificant insects towards a larger goal. For now, even in these vile cosmic spaces, they are locked in a mystic sleep. From their dreams, they can influence reality. But, it is thankfully limited in scope and either centralized to one point at a time or a massive weak influence across a spanning space.
Many creatures haunt this Mythos Space. The Binder of Dimensions, the entity who stole the name “Tchernobog” was once at home in the false Sphere. Through various “stable” rifts, he made contact with his dread acolytes known as “The Cabal” within Gothic Terra’s reality. Many possibilities and timelines existed at his fingertips, only for irony to claim him and Mists to take him away. Other nightmares of Terra are either locked beyond existence or forced in slumbering depths. In time, the Alien Gods will awaken to enact their wrath. And should that day come, the reality of this version of Terra will be shattered. For that matter, others will join it in falling. This void has also collected and enhanced other beings of the multiverse. It is said that Ghaunadour as the drow know him is but an aspect of something greater. Many theorize that this is his true home realm, and a flicker of his abilities has escaped into the planes beyond Toril… even fooling Lolth the Spider Queen. Others suspect that Tharizdun haunts Oerth from the void as well. And that which “manifests” as The Elemental Evil is merely a corrupted projection of something too uncanny and unfathomable to otherwise pigeonhole as evil.
World-Axisspace or How A Conspiracy Continues
The Points of Light, that is what the deities within the Crystal Sphere call it. What is considered the World Axis is actually a series of linked crystal spheres: Astral-space, Nerathspace and Elementspace. All three of these are tethered to the dark divine plans of mad gods seeking to write the reality of the multiverse, as they see fit… and should all go to plan, the Wheel will fall and the Axis will triumph. How can they get away with it? While these deities often don’t get along, they have a unity pact formed into what they call “The Demiurgos Society”, built from planar gnostic thought. Essentially, they are the gods of their own multiverse, born of others and sheltered from spiritual reality. However, their attempts to make their own planes are ultimately a farce, somewhere between demiplane and wildspace. Likewise, conflict is meant to be kept in these clusters. However, the denizens are doomed because of this. They only see the layouts made for them by their deities. While some have had luck in Sigil, they are cursed to never experience the planes beyond it. Those who spend enough time in the Cage have broken this, but they can never return to their home world. All attempts, even in Sigil, will either push them back or randomly send them elsewhere.
Given the major similarity to regular Wildspace, Astral-space or “The Astral Sea” proves to be the safest to travel with an outsider spelljammer, without huge modifications. Within Astral-space, there are many worlds that vastly resemble the Outer Planes of the Great Wheel. But, these are indeed world-spaces of a fractured cosmic alignment. It would seem, in the gods attempts to recreate planar structure, this crystal sphere was sent into madness by having worlds strewn about without greater reason. Almost any conceivable “divine realm” related to these gods and other supernatural beings can be found within this sphere, even the likes of Baatezu for some reason. Despite all of this, there are hidden gateways to the Astral Plane itself. But, the petty gods hoard this information at all costs, lest mortals escape to call upon other beings to stop them. Captured Astral Marauders have been let loose across the murk for some reason, allowing them to now chase ships instead of just astral chords. Likewise, the captured Gith Pirates already know the ways of both Wildspace and the Astral Plane. They’re all too accustomed to messing with travelers on both grounds. While the deities pose a threat to these travelers, some lucky Clueless have struck hard enough to knock a deity’s pocket space around. A crew lead by Sir Lord Blothollomew Crompst lead an assault on the Astral-space world of Tytherion, home to dark serpents and dread dragons. However, technologically advanced weapons from “Terra 1889” ultimately allowed the warring Giff to savage the planetoid, leaving it a scarred wasteland. The outsider Giff were unwittingly trapped within the sphere cluster though, unable to breach the arcane space and back to their home. However, in the process, the denizens used portals to leap into Nerathspace instead. One curiosity is the abyssal wormhole, where an Abyss-like planet once stood. Now, it acts as a one way portal into the darkest depths of Elementspace.
Nerathspace, like Mystaraspace, has several complications though. Like its distant cousin, heat escapes rapidly and leaves a cold void behind. Ships must be isolated. Likewise, air dissipates without proper protection. Nerathspace isn’t a fully official term, but the human empire of the eponymous land were the first to make the name and thus it stuck. It contains the worlds of Fey Wild aka The First World and Shadow Fell aka the Darkness World. Due to the radically different atmosphere, spelljammers have enough trouble getting through The Point of Light, the world that spawned the Nerathspace name. Because of this, spelljamming isn’t exceedingly popular within these sphere. Fallcrest, in its ever steady expansion, has established the official “Spelljamming Club of the Nentir Vale”. The Darkness World has its own secret spelljamming port, “The Raven’s Last Voyage”. It was here that countless followers of the Raven Queen used coveted crafts to sneakily launch. Their mission was to locate their patron, that had somehow fled the restrictive spheres and into the wider Great Wheel. None of the crews that embarked on this mission have been seen for years, it’s assumed that they died for the cause. If it’s possible, the First World has no official or major ports, if only because the denizens are simply too curious of such a craft that they’d probably attack of abduct it. Several instances have been reported. One less tragic example involved a legion of tinker gnomes bringing a vessel into their workshop, for all means of insane and bizarre augmentations. No other planets truly exist within the bounds of this sphere, due to the so-called war of the “primordials”. Regardless, there are blasted fragments of worlds and “far realm corrupted stars” that float in the distance. Such places are hostile towards outside life.
Finally, there is Elementspace. This is a sector where elementals gather and mix chaotically. This was the most dangerous part of the conspiracy, even leading to disastrous results such as an elemental parody of The Abyss. Said warped Abyss is always at the farthest point of Elementspace when charted or studied, requiring extra magical means to visit. Though, why one would visit it is beyond reason. The denizens are mostly lobotomized mockeries that mix and match elemental traits freely, save for the captured and tortured elemental lords that mostly murmur and slumber within these hybrid-power worlds. The worlds themselves collide and mix with each other constantly. Each world is infused with some kind of element. There are far too many mini-planetoids to count. Often, they’ll fuse and mix with other elements upon interacting with another. There is good reason why this Crystal Sphere is known as The Elemental Chaos to many. Its strange nature if off-putting to many jammer travelers who aren’t used to such weirdness. Of course, all of this might be off-putting to primers who proclaim that both Elementspace and Astralspace are part of a wider cosmology with Nerathspace. But, the weepin’ Clueless are following the propaganda of a Powers’ grip on know-how.
But, surely these Powers are just insular and have no outside contact? Wrong! Recall letters getting the chant and the dark on some coastal mage cabal? Biggest shocker of the multiverse, they’re deeply entrenched in this! They have already established numerous portals into Nerathspace, through the Sphere worlds of Shadowfell and Feywild. Likewise, they have spent an insurmountable sum on a propaganda campaign. In short, similar planes and locations on the Great Wheel are actually these realms instead. By their decree, reality shall meet their demands as they deliberate with fiends and cosmic horrors. They don’t seem to like rivalries either, butting heads with the Shadows behind The Acts of Balance and various sects. It is said they have a financial deal with the Subverts of Gehenna though, true to the methods of the Yugoloths. However, their initial base within the World-axis sphere collective was found out by explorers who found ways in and out of the spacial trap. As such, the mage cabal has fled through use of chronomancy into a parallel timeline within Abeir-Toril. For now, they are safe. In such times, it could prove helpful to find ways to stop them. Should one consort with their exact opposite of these sages, they will learn that they are not inspiring and should not be trusted. The currently anonymous rivals seek the destruction of the multiverse in their own ways deemed reactionary by many. But the mysterious dark mages have made their own allies elsewhere to cope with this.
Of Rumors on Shardspace
It is said that Eberron has not one, but two (and a half) crystal spheres. The first fits more along with the Prime, while the second is mass speculation to fit in with their views of The Planes. The “half” comes in through the strange nature of the underground world below true Eberron. It would seem that whatever ambigious powers exist in Eberron follow methods similar to the Demiurgos Society. But, whatever began them has long since faded away. Three draconic beings took over where the Originator fell. And more over, there is evidence that the olden ways of such society are failing. Spelljammers have slowly made their way into the world, finding brief haven by landing outside of Stormreach. For the far more questionable, Port Verge may be more suitable to your tastes. Several pirates have disguised their jammers while causing mayhem to more local populations even.
Eberronspace, the first, encompasses a sun-like star alongside many others. Beyond that and the world of Eberron, there are 13 moons. Allegedly, the last moon disappeared. There are also rumors of other worlds, but it is said that they vanished or crumbled when realigning of the spheres caused Syberisspace began to interfere with Eberronspace. What can be said about supposed worlds within the sphere is minimal, as the seem to materialize and vanish not long after. All research into this is inconclusive, as if reality itself is warping to stop any attempt at discovery. Though curiously, the greater collective of Shardspace has a great deal of trouble accessing the planes beyond. In fact, this is the result of their neighboring Crystal Sphere.
What of the Orrery Cosmology? A Crystal Sphere! Syberisspace is an oddity that seems to somehow overlap with Shardspace. The Orrery Sphere is composed of strange demiplane-like formations that seem to rotate much like an actual orrery model. In fact, Shardspace isn’t so much a connection of two shells as it is one surrounded by its neighbor. Thus, the Syberisspace dimensions overlap whenever one drifts too close. This sphere has a profoundly strange effect on planar interaction. For one, Greater Shardspace is mostly cut off, beyond the use of strange exceptions. For two, even Syberisspace interacts strangely. Only through connecting to “analogue planes” can one escape the Orrery Crystal Sphere and into the Great Wheel proper. While not a true sphere, below the world of Khyberspace. In some worlds, they might have called it “Underdark”. All sorts of horrible creatures and forces dwell here, all more strange and disturbing than the likes of “the underdark” in Oerth or Abeir-Toril.
In many ways, it was not for the best that Eberron discovered the secrets to space on a wider scale. Accidents have spawned many ship graveyards, new threats have emerged and perhaps the biggest terror of all has a far greater grasp on the world of Eberron and beyond. And yes, the Dark Powers had their means of taking from Khorvaire and beyond, many who flee the prime worlds are more inclined to leave many scruples behind as well. Many a knave, pirate or brigand has left the watch of the various Dragonmarked Houses in favor of something refreshing…. as well as a new type of damnation. But, how do the Mists relate to space? Well, that’s an easy question. Let me please explain.
TAKEN BY MISTSPACE
Yes, it is real. Even in Wildspace, the forces of the Dark Powers can reach in and grab something. But, you are unlikely to find something this strange in the likes of the Core, save for a few displaced wanderers. But, how does the Demiplane of Dread interact with the worlds passed by Spelljammers? For starters, each world in a Crystal Sphere is just as susceptible as any other Prime world for the Mists. Darklords from these seemingly unknown worlds are often avoided by travelers in the demiplane. But, this is often by coincidence, not on purpose. The truly odd phenomenon is when creatures in fantastic space or within a whole sphere are pulled into the mists. The biggest case of the latter is the entirety of Darkspace, which completely vanished to form T’laan’s domain.
How does Mistspace work? Is it whole planets consumed into a parody wildspace? Not quite. This new Mistspace is something of a misty travel way, but deep and concealing darkness into the void. Charting a direct course is impossible, as the Dark Powers are ones to twist and turn said courses on a whim. What may be revealed as a planet is just a misty gateway into a respective domain. Upon the domain, wandering too far will simply lose one to the foggy banks, either to wander forever or find themselves in a new domain. Unlike with traditional domains, the only way to access another within this cluster is through a spelljammer. Only a few domains are not locked off from the rest of their “world”. Most of these are asteroids, floating stations or small moons; all of which can support the size of a single domain or pocket domain. In some cases, ships themselves can become traveling pocket domains.
Many scholars of the Demiplane proclaim that it cannot connect to the Phlogiston. This is only partially true. The Mists can create their own barrier at the edge of the Phlogiston, making their own foggy equivalent instead. Ships not even doomed to the service of the powers have been ripped in this way. But, for those who are certainly Doomed, they are usually already in Space or on their way to a world. In the case of Point Barmy, crashing down. Seers of the Vistani tied to Madame Eva, who are aware of Spelljamming, warn that the Phlogiston itself cannot hide from the Dark Powers forever and a time of darkness will change all of it. One thing that foreshadows this doom is a possible new cluster that mimics the workings of a Crystal Sphere. Impossible? Likely not, but something to research! We might find out sooner than we thought. But, there will be more on this later. In fact, our ship seems rather close to a bank of cosmic fog…
Join us in the mists beyond.
IMAGE CREDIT: BryanSyme – Ship Fight; Amando de Ossorio – Ghost Galleon; Markus Kösel – Creepy Planet Surface; Judas Priest – Ram it down cover; chrislie – Sharn; agetech – Echo Night Beyond;
2 thoughts on “Conspiracies and Terrors of Wildspace and More”
Hell yeah, Shardspace! The nation’s of khorvair start their space race, and the ring of siberys turns out to be a sphere. We get the hints of gothic-space with Mist-Space. In space, no one can hear you scream.
Fun fact, those Raven Queen jammers are really similar to an idea I’ve been playing with: Shadowjammers. Shader-kai spelljammers able to temporarily go into the plane of shadow, inspired by Romulan cloaking technology.
I doubt yours are crazed zealots willing to die for a pointless cause… At least, I hope not. But, given their home on The Darkness, they could probably replicate such abilities.