The Steam Titan is a curious host. The world itself is hostile to most life, but its moons offer a diverse array of habitats and beings. None the less, the gases within the world have proved most useful in propelling already technical societies far forward, with fascinating innovations. But, what of other worlds within the sphere?
Author’s Notes: To keep in line with the fiction of the era, many of the worlds refer to various dime novel/pulpy tropes and then some, such as the lost world, masked heroics, divine revelation, proto-cosmic horror and then some. Likewise, a poke at the genre mashup and rules-Frankenstein needed to make all of this possible. Hell, one of the worlds is even more tie-in to my RavenScape stuff. Anyway, here’s a post JAM PACKED with content! Enjoy! Perhaps at some point, I’ll return to Steamspace.
There exists a world that hosts creatures thought to have been gone on countless other worlds. While Primigenial has its variations, the similarities within the lifeforms are truly uncanny. Massive beasts stalk amidst archaic plants, as small creatures of yore skitter the grounds. This is nature as it once was, with little disturbance save for divergent changes unlike anything seen or imaginable. Any sort of climate is accounted for, throughout the many points of the strange world. The central sun lies a fair distance, but not enough to rob it or overflow it with warmth. With the orbit of the sphere, it is the 4th planetoid away. Two other incredible worlds, flanking the Steam Titan, stand between this world and its sun.
Woe to those who decide to explore this ancient world, for it is hostile to outsiders. Predators seem to know every step one takes, as even the most docile of beasts will respond with threat to those who get too close. Some believe there are magical protections and detections that alert those around them to “unknown” and “unnatural elements”. Some think that a Power has made its home upon Primigenial, actively working to ensure that all of its domain is sheltered from others. But, should you find a way around this aggressive wilderness, then what? Many wonders to behold, beyond the danger. There are plants and beasts unlike anything gazed upon by other worlds. This sanctuary holds ancient creatures, even dinosaurs, within its clutches. Many are far from prepared for these mighty titans, as well as the incredible megafauna that have only been the things of olden lore and dreams. Likewise, incredible and alien flora matches what could have been in the past of many realms. It’s possible that this world was something of an ark for numerous cultures doing whatever they could to preserve the past. Perhaps orders of druids and nature priests assembled their own spelljammers and dimensional travel to escort these final survivors of days gone.
The truth is perhaps much stranger, as it housed a secret organization that the failed-power Antorek once belonged to. His knowledge of planar travel and magic proved valuable, even before his “gift” was created. Like other lands he has abandoned, it has been overtaken by a savage wilderness. However, this world is far more ancestral, primordial. For his order, this was a perfect world of untainted and preserved wilderness, of ancient aeons long gone but now restored to natural beauty. The hidden gathering has long since broken up, made more apparent by the death of their strongest member. But, their personal project continues to grow without them. Thankfully, any grim agendas with it are lost. Likewise, the Gift of Antorek does not touch this world. However, something in its stead occurs instead. Any visitor foolish enough to visit is marked for death, as all predators know where they are and all prey will defend themselves against the visitor as well. Also, all attempts to build upon the world shall be undone, as the world consumes all that is brought in. Even abandoned spelljammers aren’t immune to this. At the very least, parts that can’t be eaten are taken into the world to be used in other ways. And from that energy, new life is born.
Attempts to colonize the planet have proved fruitless, much less a temporary encampment for trade. As if aware, the life forms of the planet begin to conspire against anyone who dares to stay more than their welcome and take more than their determined worth. Those who simply visit to observe the natural beauty? They too face danger, but not a whole world conspiring against them. Hazardous geography, weather, natural predators and other perils of a savage and untamed realm await those who dare to explore. This isn’t to say such a place should be wholly avoided. It is a land of natural beauties that seems aware of those who attempt to exploit it for selfish gain. Despite the influence of a dark master, the younger incarnation that helped create this world was far less powerful and far less vindictive. It reflects in a world that while fickle and petty, can be appreciated by those who put in the effort and planning. Abandoned by all of its masters, it flourishes on its own. It simply desires to be and act within natural accord, or as natural as a mystically created refuge can be.
Is it abandoned by outsiders? No, not fully. Both a moon and cluster of asteroids provide a base for those who wish to study the world itself. The Range Scholar Corps are stationed between these settings, in hopes of sheltering the wider world of Primigenial. This is to keep the safety of the world, but also prevent the unprepared and curious from a grizzly fate. Some have used the latter to make something of a business, escorting the wealthy in something of a safari trade. Many within the ranks hold a disdain for this, but are reluctant to stop it due to the funding it provides their efforts. So far, patrons haven’t attempted to disturb the peace. And those who have? Usually killed horribly upon the world somehow. On a mission from Morgrave University of Sharn, their initial investment was simply documenting findings. Since then, those motives have quickly changed. That said, there is much about this world that remains an absolute mystery. Many in the Corps are actively trying to gather any information or studies that they can about this unnatural world of nature. Knowledge of its creators has been purged from record, save for a sense that something divine or mighty is responsible for how Primigenial operates. No travelers are any the wiser either. All that there is to study is the rampant wilds, something that proves just alien as it does familiar. The interactions between habitats and life forms is fascinating, especially the strange start and end points between biomes. So far, the rangers have no understood why this is the case or why it would be made this way. But, as their numbers increase, so does their scope. Many of the worlds and moon homes are enigmatic to many. The Range Scholars aim to fix that. As their reach expands, so too does their pool of knowledge.
This world is oddly similar to worlds like Terra, save for its presence of incredibly powerful heroes and villains. So-called Valiance is a world with a passingly similar history, but an open knowledge of magic that has changed up all too much. Names are similar in convention to those many from New Albion would recognize, but much is also different. For starters, the prevalence of adventurers seems to be regulated by sanctioned guilds of heroics and criminalized guilds of villainy. This isn’t to say it’s a world of strict black and white, as reports of other nations using villains and heroes for other agendas have emerged. All around, it’s a world with problems like any other, but many continue to be a positive embodiment of their ideals. Likewise, it is a world where empires have long fallen and new ones have since taken place; where ancient good and evil can be found in an endless cosmic battle. While further from the sun, heating plates and steam vents are essential for the existence of sprawling cities and incredible heroes.
Celestian is a city that embraces its need for heroes. However, their continuously known presence has lead to the creation of alternative identities, to ensure safety. This masquerade is upheld to the highest degree, lest everyone be put in danger. Champions are educated and later celebrated, for accomplishing good among the masses. Even simple gestures and everyday acts are encouraged within said city. However, it’s a primary target of cruel masterminds, the vindictive and generally petty. As such, skilled civilians have done their part to lend a hand however they can. This ranges from the Hero Jammer Guild, which offer rides to any hero on a mission; to the heroes themselves lending time for civil service within the community. While the greater world is far from perfect, the city of Celestian operates as a model of how these orders can function for the better. Problems continuously arise as times may change and needs evolve, but dedicated guilds do all in their ability to examine, plan and tackle said issues however they are able.
Is this to say this model is perfect? No. Many aristocratic houses have used the hero orders to keep the peace and aid their civilians. But, this isn’t for altruistic intent, so much as ensuring the public doesn’t strike back. Likewise, many hero orders are made to swear an oath of aid to a respective house or power while working in their lands. In a sense, they are acting as an extension to that respective state. Trade caravans have had heroes as security, with strict measures of not distributing any goods to any needy travelers or locals at rest stops; despite how sad some conditions may be. It’s no wonder many orders attempt to fracture from lawful control and operate as “anti heroes” to continue their mission for good. However, these vigilantes are frowned upon, as many lack guidance or firm grounding. As such, some of these anti-heroes can take a matter too far. News of these vigilantes as well as organized villains is exactly why other worlds in the Sphere are reluctant to embrace this model. Some even criticize the heroic orders for being a reason why the others exist in the first place.
In addition, the past few centuries and into decades have challenged this world as well. The Elven Navy has opted for assistance, so long as it aligned with general protocol. However, few are aware that many within this world have a distant relation to them. In the distant past, many Mechanist tribe members tried to find their place in this built up world. However, their own stubbornness and shell shocked paranoia made integration into the heavily urbanized world far tougher. It took decades before the tribes were fully accepted into heroic guilds.
A lost secret, hardly a part of the cluster anymore. Its almost coterminous overlap into the planes beyond has it subject to strange activity. No life here is native and often finds itself pulled into a surreal wasteland. But, nothing is more sinister than its greatest purpose, an existing anchor into The Void. While the Void has been brought down in power by brave bands, its foul influence continues to pull and twist. In fact, much of this world is filled with bits of the shattered void. Terrible monster hybrids float and crawl around haunted ruins that follow little in the ways of logic. Likewise mind rending blends of multiple realities create a gothic nightmare where multiple buildings almost literally bleed into each other. Dimensions blur as cemetery grounds hover as a ceiling above some blinking metallic compound as one observes the primary landing port, with denizens that prove especially hostile. Many are terrible mutants; two or more bodies fused together, demonic monsters built from flesh sculpt like dough and more.
Is there hope of survival? Yes and no. Phobos Street Station acts as docking for spelljammers, with several void-spawn also docked nearby. At least here, none pay attention until you actually leave your ship. For all the talk about strangeness upon the settled reaches of the Steam Titan moons, anything here is far stranger. Guards sport armor and weapons far too alien for even the most accomplished sailor of the phlogiston to possibly comprehend. The residents of the macabre techno-hell shanty towns are likewise horribly alien. All of them are bent and mashed parodies of several different creatures at once. A crown jewel of this small world is Outer Base Cyclopia, something of a military stronghold encasing the Rift-jammer Warden; an unholy fusion of ship pieces and parts, with a confused helm that practically carries a mind of its own. Debris likewise floats and twirls throughout the sky, ranging from complex machinery to flying islands containing bits of one world that didn’t full fuse into this one, all connecting to others in fantastic ways. The true power of this dimension is highlighted by a ghastly evil found deep in the crust of this world. It is a temple, but not one devoted to a deity. It is a shrine for the King in Yellow, the horror governor of the void turned colonial overlord of current Phantasmagoria. As it is not lost like Carcosa, one cannot find him there. But, his essence hovers like a plague of locusts. Those locusts follow another, a sweet and familiar smell, a new eldritch deity. The so-called Waking Nightmare holds claim to this abyssal world of terrors and nonsense logic. Some speculate that this creature is an attempt at multiple elder horrors breaking the threshold of reality at once, occupying a single manifest body.
Other places of note can be found in the mess that this world became. Deimos Point is something of a coastal town infused into a built up complex of machinery and sludgy waste. Awful aquatic creatures trawl the shallow ends looking for quick food, as their mutant overlord awaits sacrifices below the atomic murk. The Buckets of the Beast is a local tavern, or what’s left of it, somewhere between a wooden pub supported by castle town infrastructure and a ship’s hull wood and iron. The bartender is a bloated three armed thing of a man, always carrying a bloodied cleaver in his extra arm. Those who aren’t mutants or hybrids always incur his rage. It’s along a boardwalk/plated walkway overlooking a toxic sea in Deimos Point. Twinion Asylum for the Unwell is almost a work of art in its twisted creation. Lines of brick, lumber and concrete literally swirl in ridiculous blends, looking like the building is painted with sequential stripes, even the doors are made of different materials. The inmates are running the asylum, as those within the gates are dashing around in discord, few able to help them… as their fused plights are incurable.
It is likely Phantasmagoria is a victim of the void attempting to survive and reconstitute itself, according to bits of evidence strewn about. After the Throne of the King in Yellow was shattered by survivors of the void, it began to phase beyond reality. Somehow, this world became a host. From what notes haven’t been altered or lost in what’s left of research laboratories and alchemist studios, the original inhabitants wanted to bind a force between dimensions, one lost to mists, Tchernobog. Lost souls speak of a vengeful entity who was abandoned and forced to watch her world fall. This is Nalharisd the Stone Binder. It is likely that a neighboring world, turned into an asteroid belt, was hers. A powerful protector of this world, Sorvog’n, lied about aiding her and watched her collapse. And so, the wrathful wraith entered this world to assemble and trick a cabal for dark doings. In attempting to do their evil work, they got a fragment of their “dimension binder” stuck in the void. The power of the Phlogiston itself was subverted, a practice that proves exceedingly dangerous and should be impossible. As portal ways opened, the dimension collapsed and super-imposed itself onto the world. The ensuing apocalypse either killed most of the life there or changed it. All the while, the fusion abominations of the void invaded and quickly conquered their current home. Nalharisd vanished, as Sorvog’n pursued her, and Phantasmagoria became its current form. Should Sorvog’n return, this world will likely be purged of all things and started anew, but he is lost to the stars in search of the phantasm that brought him to his world. Details of this are washed between disjointed hellscapes and cobbled messes. Occasionally, the red deserts that survived the attack may also hold caches that detail this world’s fate.
All in all, this planet is especially dangerous. There are few reasons to consider visiting here. It is possible that lost wonders of the world, including rumors of incredible cross-world and planar artifacts, still exist within the sick bowels of the world. Likewise, many survived the initial wave of nightmares, keeping some level of integrity and sanity in tact. Should they be rescued, then perhaps there is hope for them. But, Phantasmagoria itself is far too doomed. Curiously, a strange energy shell has kept it contained. Some speculate that some powerful force is attempting to build a Crystal Sphere around it. Others feel that it’s attempting to grow itself by consuming all around it into its own imposed sphere. Regardless, there is no immediate call to action. Some suspect that research into the strange cosmic phenomenon that lives in dreams requires this world. Though, those who search too deeply hear this dark power’s call. Few are aware of how to handle this unholy travesty. Metallum’s premiere researchers and mages ponder rethinking their attack upon Noire, instead focusing fire on Phantasmagoria in the event its shield proves not enough… or worse, attempts to spread.
The perfect convergence of the machine is upon us. What is spoken of is not the faulty “mortal” cult upon Noire. Likewise, their view of the other strange cult-like societies upon that moon with a particular disdain? Why is that? In their eyes, they are the perfection of what they all seek. Their order and tactics are non comparable. They function with the proficiency of a well trained military, adherent to supreme order. Their unity and devotion are both unflinching; where they see themselves reflecting the divine and see themselves as a piece of a larger mechanical puzzle. They are Light in the Darkness, the true Noire antithesis. Their acknowledgement of these “Machine Angels” frightens them. For others, they see alien automata and quake at the unfathomable. But, for the Moon World of the Dark, they see their bane and their destroyer.
The angelic Automata of Dictum Mechanica are united in the involvement and worship of The Convergent Engine. This engine samples fonts of power throughout Dictum and utilizes them for divine messages to the Automata, as a call to action. This Harmonic Program becomes the central focus of that day’s activity. All orders are understood and unquestionable. This work of perfect engineering was forged in regards to their major goal, apotheosis into a divine unity. This one into the great whole forms an entity known as Numeric Ascendancy. As long as more of these “angels” are created, the entity can grow stronger. Due to their disconnect with organic life, such creatures remain curiosities or aberrations. As such, not a part of their goals, yet. In the meantime, they focus on the perfection of both technology and religion intertwined. Unlike Modrons of Mechanus, their pursuits aren’t solely in the advancement of Cosmic Law. What this means for the rest of the Sphere and the wider multiverse? Uncertain, for now.
Hierarchy and Authority are built upon castes. To little surprise, their organization isn’t entirely different from the Modron of Mechanus. While more distinctly humanoid in shape and in some behavior, they remain just as strange to outside eyes. The Numeric Ascendancy is the end all of the order. It is the goal, the source of all and the origin of faith. The Convergent Engine is the central focus of said faith, from where those upon the world can gain connection and greater understanding. The Clockwork Ecclesia make up the Automata assigned to herald and protect the messages of the Engine. Supplicant Coordinates specialize in the submission of plans for approval. They all relate to the improvement of technologies, as well as means of enhancing worship. Architect Theologians are the master crafters of the automata, bringing designs to life with the aid of the engine. The Enumeration makes up the political aspects of the organization. As matters are uniform, their politics often involves dealing with widespread reality. Likewise, they are tasked with performing routine census to ensure that functioning numbers are maintained. The Security makes up the warrior caste, who are devoid in defending against both threats to the Ascendancy and to rogue elements. In the latter regard, they are not unlike Modrons. The Acolytes of Apparatus are the equivalent of civilian members of a church. They are no less devout, but their tasks revolve around worship and lesser duties such as baseline maintenance. Below them are the Lesser Automata, machines with less humanoid design given few purposes. They are respected, but they are held to a standard to practice their designed tasks. Below even that are the Rogue Elements, dangers to the holy orders and threats to their general society.
But, how did these creatures come to be? What would create this hyper logical reaction to an unfocused reality? Human error. The Mechanist tribes were constantly searching for ways to improve automata. This was for labor, for computing, for companionship, for even faith in the great beyond. Regardless of reason, many saw fit to bring the inorganic into the world of the organic. For a while, these constructs studied their world and sought to work alongside their creators. However, something strange occurred. The fall of Phantasmagoria unleashed a wave of Positive Energy over Dictum for a brief period of time. What followed were also flashing visions of Mechanus, a realm of pure and technical law. Few were hurt by this and no major anomalies happened to the people or the grounds they moved on. But the automata? They developed a new conscious and their perceptions of reality quickly warped. Their awakened minds realized that their world was imperfect and they had to build an engine to prepare for the rise of their god-like focus of faith. To them, a divine force had called them to action. They were to perfect the flaws of organic ideas, build a base to establish a true home and prepare the multiverse for the Liturgy of the Messianic Core. If all proves successful, all life will revert to formula. This shall result in total unity with the Ascendancy. Their methods range from rapid construction of new automata to soul transference into a machine shell, the latter in preparation for this trek into the beyond.
For the onlooker who knows too much, they are a technological theocracy of absolute madness. In reality, they are more complicated than that. Their methods, while disturbing and detached from morality, are not driven by a murderous intent. It’s perhaps for that reason that they seek to destroy and rebuild and “reprogram” Clockwork Horrors. Both of these artificial beings hold each other in absolute contempt. While the “Clockwork Angels” are uncanny and terrifying, they don’t seek to eliminate all “flawed” organic life. Likewise, these angels would have been more sympathetic to the Lost Ones. In the case of their lost tribe, they helped “upgrade” them by bonding their souls to robotic carriage bodies. Without much shock, many of the “rogue elements” that they are forced to put down were former organic lifeforms who have gone insane from their augmented fate. Others are simply “torn from the directive” by outside cosmic powers, such as the vile chaos plague known as “Augmental”. And unbeknownst to the angelic automata, they might be distorted corruptions of Mechanus, much like the Clockwork Horrors that they deeply hate. Their end goals are hidden to those below high clergy. When Dictum is deemed to be a perfect model for the Numeric Ascendancy, they shall begin a new phase of working to bring all worlds into the divine collective. All shall understand the Machine Angels.
Technology of Steamspace
Steam works, some tinged with electrical currents, are the major creations of this sphere. From the ancient mechanists, to the traveling elves to Eberron houses to Krynnish gnomes and beyond; this is a realm that fosters creative thought and technical action. Artificers work powerful forges and complex tools to create spectacular devices rarely seen far beyond. With trade routes only starting to popularize around the sphere, the wider multiverse must prepare itself for the wonders and woes of such technology. Build through raw muscle and arcana alike, these creations are truly unique for the wider reality. They range from terrain specific vehicles to new forms of weaponry to appliances for the day-to-day and much more. But, dive further and learn more.
In terms of transportation, several options exist relating to ones living condition. Within New Albion, automated carriages known as “Tank Carts” are the most common. While bulkier than a standard horse-drawn cart, it does not need any animal attached. Upon Bashar, a variant of a dinghy has been constructed. This Sand Drifter is a small boat-like craft with a massive propeller fan blowing the craft through the sandy sea. Runner skies connected by powerful stanchions allow a swift gliding. Ships have slowly expanded in size, as needs for larger crews have grown. Many utilize sails to catch drifts, but risk the wrath of a sand storm as well. The battering of sand has often resulted in protective shells, rather than open driving. Likewise, glass shields require mechanical wipers, lest crew constantly clean the sands off of them. A more arctic variant has emerged with Metallum, as treads prove useful for slower and secure travel as well. These carts often lack the air fan in the back. However, should too much force be exerted on the tread tires, it can risk overheating. But, these prove shockingly capable of speed without incident. Or, at least for a while. Near the Terran base, alien vehicles are used to and from “civilized areas”. Save for the Terrans themselves, these crafts are not well understood. Likewise, the magical substitute fuels are not understood by the Terrans. Noire replies on similar tread based technologies, if only to carry entire buildings along the dark wastelands. Other attempts have been made to build on the Lightning Rail, a creation that previously existed in Eberron. These augmentations either focus on light sources or speed. For transit and lighter cargo, this is preferred. But, for more secure means? Transporting a building to a whole block is preferred. Destiny Expanse, often lacking in the sheer economic power houses of the other moons, often finds themselves working with what they have. Due to some Albion roots, a variant of the Tank Cart (or “Barrel Cart” on this moon) has been favored by either the wealthy or prospective tinkerers. Some variants often incorporate the widely respected trainjammer in some aspects, often using the coal-furnaces to power their engines too. Valiance operates on a similar path as Victoriana’s moon, save for differing aesthetics. Overall, this seems to be the case for them. Phantasmagoria is too chaotic and incomprehensible to break down, due to the impossible nature of everything that transpires there. Even more utility based vehicles, such as those built for construction work or agriculture upon harsh lands, have sampled the various methods of the above.
One needs to draw from power in order to get running. Steamspace has a few offerings on that. The much divided gnomish trader crews of the elemental planes have made their stakes and market war over this very thing. The most prominent sources of energy are from steam harnessed from burning engines and directly from the gas giant. Likewise, space storms around the sphere give lightning coils a chance to power up their own methods. While neither merchant house wants to cooperate, both see the value of ensuring that energies stay viable. One work of collaboration was on a battery container capable of storing energy and even being recharged once drained. Both steam and electric models are available, with neither being more popular or more functional. Whether linked up to power furnaces or coils, the function is the same. Such power stations provide a multitude of purposes. One emerging technology that is especially important to Noire is the Glow Lamppost. Without having to just burn oil, steam and electrical technologies offer new solutions for light fixtures. Aligned in rows and connected, the energies either heat up components or charge them with a minor surge; creating a welcoming glow upon its street corner. Likewise, temperature regulators have been a blessing for paying patrons in the deserts of Bashar and Destiny Expanse as well the tundra of Metallum. In the case of the last one, the presence of Terran military might have had something to do with it. This in turn has revolutionized storage and preparation of food, with machines to help maximize their freshness and potential.
Of course, frontier life isn’t complete without an arsenal of arms and armory. Tools for enhanced agriculture, mining and whatnot are essential; but many will argue so is the fine art of fortified self defense or straight up offense. Firearms are no stranger to the Spelljammer. However, massive leaps were undertaken after settlements in Steamspace arose. Ancient tribes shared their secrets, which melded well with the styles of the traveling foreigners. The rotating multi-chamber pistol or “rotation pistol” has become a quick staple of Destiny Expanse. Likewise, the Cranking Gun has taken this to new levels. The simple act of using a crank has allowed a rapid-fire of numerous shots at once. Likewise, new forms of armor plating have proved cheaper thanks to improved technologies. Even alternative sources to metal have cropped up, such as from an imbued ceramic like material. Energy weapons have been propelled thanks to tribal engineering and outsider arcana coming together, resulting in firearms capable of elemental blasts and beams. In Noire, light firing guns are especially popular.
Of Steamspace Proper
Mechanist Belt is an asteroid belt that likely had some functionality many ages ago. In fact, amidst the space debris are ancient wondrous machine parts frozen in time. According to a Minoi, expeditions and expansions started by visiting here. The fantastic contraption bits were connected to the incredible gas giant that was a fixture of the sphere. And from there, all things clicked and a technological revolution could rapidly begin. Rocks range from over 8 feet to over 600 in diameter. Many theories exist as to how this belt formed. For the Minoi, they fear that it was the remains of a world that blew itself up. Years within this sphere have thus changed them, even altered them more towards their more “mad” brethren. This conclusion only furthered that. This idea is further pushed by the Tribes of the Machine that exist on multiple worlds. Composed of humans, elves and half-elves; each tribe across the many worlds of the sphere each take to some craft or specialty within their enclaves and villages. After the world of Mechanist was shattered, the societies that survived formed tribes and sought new homes to rebuild. In the ages before settlers from different worlds found them, the tribes further honed their crafts. However, old identities and knowledge beyond their expertise faded.
The Tribe of the Powder dwells and moves throughout Destiny Expanse, helping the settlers enhance their knowledge of firearms. Many of the settlements have left the Powder tribe alone after, but the more greedy have gone as far as capturing them to help with manufacturing more. The infamous “Booming Day” resulted from escaped slaves destroying a warehouse. The lost Tribe of Combustion had tales of incredible fiery engines. It is said that they were slaughtered by the Ursin, who themselves were likely not original inhabitants. Their knowledge is jealously coveted, even though details have gotten out and inspired the lands on Metallum. The Tribe of the Flyer pushed the bounds of the Spelljammer to new lengths. Many of them ultimately intermingled and assimilated with the Gangly people. New and alien spelljammers emerged from the union, allowing further travel across the spheres, discovering Phantasmagoria. Ultimately, their skills were matched and outdone by the smug and unrelenting people of Albion. The Tribe of the Gliding Winds made strides in cooling arcane works. Many within this tribe ultimately assimilated within Al’Bashar. The rest were sadly captured by drow in the Darklands for wicked experiments. The Tribe of Enigma experimented with light sources. However, they incurred the wrath of that world’s spirits, purging the world of Noire into eternal darkness. The remainder of the tribe are nomads who carry secrets of light that the settlers desperately desire. These rugged survivalists greatly distrust the outside Shardspace colonists and avoid them however possible, even attacking them when too close. Many recall images of drow somehow among their ranks, where the awakening of shadow was likely their fault. The Tribe of the Occult were skilled mages and archivists, many of whom pondered on how to practice planar magic within wildspace bounds. They ultimately settled upon Phantasmagoria, joined by the Gangly and Tribe of the Flyer. In the ages to follow, the Cabal of the Binder of Dimensions found its way and took over the society, leading to the horrors of today. The Tribe of Numbers used their knowledge of mathematics to build what they called “perfect metal humanoids” or automata. A cataclysm changed them, causing the machines to pursue those goals on their own ends.
Several Elven stations remain, even without the linked armadas of the past. Only a few of the tribes have had access to them, most of them being fully blooded elves. Many of them were decommissioned, utilized for either resources or left to rot. A few are actively maintained, such as The Sky Wheel or a station that resembles a wagon wheel. Elves who maintained their fleet connections are active here, especially as future generations of the Imperial Fleet found Steamspace. Many Flitters can still be seen around these installations. These remaining stations have been vital in fights against Scro, where they crop up. While the Scro have had only so much luck in co-opting and reproducing the technologies of this sphere, they have begun to form an edge against their foes. Likewise, Clockwork Horrors have learned a few things from the tribesmen they’ve torn apart and the hidden wonders the sphere has to offer.
But, what of these tribes and their roots? Supposedly, the humans within the tribes have existed as long as they can recall. Their details beyond a certain point are lost to time. However, the elves unsurprisingly originate from the Elven Imperial Fleets. Ancients and reliable scribes can recount ships escaping through the flow, with drow tailing nearby. All means of contact were cut off, as both sides sailed into an unknown sphere. After several short campaigns dotting this space, both sides required retreat. The deserts of Bashar hid most of the drow, as the technocracy of Mechanist welcomed the elvish navy. No future battles occurred, as it became more clear that no help would follow either of them. The drow excavated the strange caves belong before building their own empire. Some expanded to what would become Noire, where they learned of shadow spirits in contrast with those of light. This founded a new religion which quickly reshaped them into a mighty force. Their later interactions with travelers would spark a war that would seal the fate of the moon. Darkness didn’t always cloak it, but following a victory and eventual ousting, it always shall. The elves in Mechanist shared their own means while slowly integrating into the wondrous world of artifice, despite initial protests from superiors. Over the generations, the elves and humans even joined in marriage leading to a population of half-elves later. Despite this growing society of elements, new divisions and proposals for powers arose. This lead to a civil war as claims for control were waged. Whoever caused it is lost, but one of the sides created a death weapon, which was used as leverage for surrender. Someone either misinterpreted the response or was dissatisfied, activating the machine which drew power from the Prismatic Eye. However, it was defective and began to slowly tear the world apart. In horror, both sides declared truce and plotted evacuation, despite tensions remaining.
The Prismatic Eye is an effective sun for the sphere, continuously changing color without having an overall effect on the heat it gives off. Trying to reach this light source is a death wish. There has been evidence that previous inhabitants and current natives have tried to understand the meaning of this strange sun, liking the colors to the mood of a deity or the changing of times. These interpretations vary wildly, with few proven right or wrong. However, many of the olden Mechanist tribes have very similar viewpoints when it comes to the Prismatic Eye. Some speak of a weapon that drew from this sun, which ultimately ruined their original world. The sun also carries another strange property. Blasts of energy sometimes shoot out and transform into something of a storm of electrical energy. These space storms are very dangerous, complete with strange force currents capable of rocking a spelljammer around.
Influence into the Aether – The Phlogiston
Steamspace has its own respective flow connections to other spheres. Herospace is the start point of a flow that seems to be majorly one way. However, it has been proved possible for especially fortuitous adventurers to endure their way back through Steamspace. Only the most hardy and prepared should take such a task, as the flow is far less kind on that other way. Rather, one would have to take a far more roundabout approach, as is common for the flow. Travelers from Shardspace and even Krynnspace have had far more luck reaching here, explaining the higher presence of respective cultures from there. In the case of Shardspace, workarounds were required to circumnavigate the strange atmosphere within their own crystal sphere. The same can be said for Mystaraspace, which has seen some level of visitors as well.
IMAGE CREDIT: BC Parks – Christophe Vacher – Treasure Planet; Ancient Forests; TCM – Valley of Gwangi; Adam Hughes – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Adrian Smith – Chaos; r/JamesRiav – Cacodemon Beholder; Zach Stella – Cryptolith Rite; Privateer Press – Clockwork Angels; Andrea Uderzo – Stryker; PedroDeElizalde – Asteroid’s belt