Spelljammer’s Steamspace – Light and Dark

Take heed, mighty explorer!  Danger is afoot!  Always prepare!

Free D&D playtest hints that Spelljammer reboot is on the way - Polygon

You are among the brave few, those who readied themselves for the great journey into a breathtaking new world, one of many that swarm around the very source of much great power.  The Steam Titan, as many call it, as a colossal body that anchors the many sites we aim to use for our cause.  Far from alone, there are others like us who remain friendly for now.  Likewise, other beings have existed on the micro worlds far before us.  Tread lightly and with caution.  For the environments beyond and their lifeforms?  Steady and prepare.  A carefree adventurer is a dead adventurer.  The Queen’s Voyage Adventure Charter will explain more.  Please report to them post-haste.

Author’s Note: Obligatory Victorian steampunk, almost arbitrary…  Likewise, far more grimdark steampunk, because that’s really the only way I like the genre.  Though, not enough look at over industrialization, to complete “Victorian High Tech, Low Life”.  Well, here’s a continuation of my mess.  Why am I tying all of these things into Spelljammer?  I’m not sure.  At least steampunk isn’t super trendy anymore, if I wanna be all hipster about it.

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Spelljammer’s Steamspace – Desert Winds

Steamspace

A fascinating cluster of worlds unlike any other.  There is one true world within steamspace, an incredible Gas Giant that bounced between several sun-like star shapes.  Orbiting the giant are many moons which foster life, while acting as a means of sampling the greater world for the benefit of the denizens below.  This charter details the various inhabitants upon each of the moons.  The Known Moons of the Gaseous Body, a cosmic cradle that harbors a bubbling and steaming watery world below known as “Steam Titan”, are as follows: Bashar, Destiny Expanse, Victoriana, Noire, Metallum and maybe even more.  Splinter from the Iron Coil Gnome crew became a vital part in the infrastructure and well being of the moons themselves.  While the company presence in the Crystal Sphere fizzled as fleets of Minoi entered roughly ten years ago, they left behind means of survival on otherwise hostile worlds.  Enter moons built on extremes and oddities.  Behold a fantastic gas giant that tethers all of them together, the very source of wondrous power here.  But for today, let us look at the first two moons.

Author’s Note: Remember my Weird Western?  Al’Bashar?  Bits on Space Victorian British?  Blatant Stephen King rip-offs?  Well, it’s all part of the same world cluster!  Also, expect a handful of homages to bits of pulp, sci-fi and then some.  In fairness, this is the kind of insane crack I’d come up with when I did more with 2E AD&D.  In short, mixing Spelljammer with Masque of the Red Death Ravenloft and Gamma World 4th Edition mechanics together would make something like this.

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Planes of Terror and Madness: Dark Shadows of the Wheel

Some mad scholars and greybeards speak of the Demiplane of Dread in hushed whispers. But, this is not the only accursed place to float within the Wheel. No. Other planes have been covered, including rather lightly from Ramon the Planes Chronicler. But, his information is too sparse to be helpful to many. I, a humble scribe assisting “The Narrator” shall regale you with wonders and horrors alike. Know that the planes isn’t just dangerous at times, it’s an unending nightmare.  Prepare to never wake up again and let us continue our journey.

Author’s Note: Happy Halloween from The Planes!  I figure it’s time to mix things up.  So, RavenScape madness continues as I also look at nightmares of the Great Wheel both canonical and fanon.

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Rumors in Mists, Endless Whispers

skulls | Skeleton art, Art, Skull art

Autumn harvest draws towards a close as the heat dies down.  A dull wind wraps along the lands, bringing in disquieting eeriness and a spine-chilling cold.  The time of phantoms returns, as the bridge between worlds living and dead lowers once again.  This is a time when spirits observe our realm, or so the stories say.  Those within Darkon are clever enough to document and comment on such things.  You would be wise to as well.  Beware, for upsetting the souls of the damned is a fool’s task!

Author’s Note: Whispers of secrets always travel the mists, at least as long as I can think of cool characters and places.  Also, more Prisoners of the Mists references.  Likewise, my homage to the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.  On one more note, please pardon the previous post, I was on vacation and was very tired.  Hopefully, all of the goodies in here make up for it.

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Mist-cloaked Ways – Traditions, stories and beliefs of the Lands

Ravenloft by Stephen Fabian | Fantasy art, Concept art, Painting

Storytelling, it is a tradition.  For Vistani wanderers, there is no exception.  The spoken story has helped keep tribes and clans together.  And by all means, those of different clans have collected countless tales across travels.  Some speak of taboos, others of strange secrets, others purely bizarre.  Tonight, you are invited to hear some of these tales and decipher what is fact and what is mere myth peddled along for entertainment.

Author’s Note: Huge thanks to Matt Doyle alias “strahdsbuddy”.  His own creation got my own creative juices flowing, even if a few ideas were looted.  This one is a bit shorter, but that’s partially because I’m on vacation and need a break from life for a little bit.

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Within Doors of Darkness Everlasting – Misty Prisons within a Misty Plane

Horror House by Metalius666 on DeviantArt

Dare you seek shelter in places where solace cannot be found?  They have roofs and walls, but they are not homes.  They are prisons all their own, where cries of horror and derangement mix with the maniacal methods of their overseers.  Enter through these doors and never leave, for your caretakers have other plans for you now.  Below are a few buildings designed to ensnare, persecute and afflict.  They are not prisons in the traditional sense, but the dark powers have a habit of changing all to accommodate the punishment of another.  Some existed prior, such as a place of holy contrition and a house of state security.  Others came about as domains are built from a darklord’s sins or as a consequence of them.

Author’s Note:  This one slides a bit into mature content, warranting a word of warning.  As it is, one of the domains was built on a dare to make something quite disturbing.  It is disturbing.  Is it wholly original?  Not really, it’s basically The Golden Cat from Dishonored meets dark aspects of Planescape and Ravenloft; plus the House of Lament.  Will I use it for something?  I don’t really know, but it’s now a piece of the Demiplane either way.  Likewise a few other things slide well into proper Ravenloftian grimdark.  Debauchery, zealotry and totalitarian horror await.  For what it’s worth, more Planescape and Mystara references are here as well.  And while I’m at it, very very few WotC-era references, hehe.  But, even if this version is slightly tamed down, some viewer’s discretion is advised.

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The Cluster Sphere: Spelljammer… in the Mists?

Image

Fantastical Space would be one of the last things people associate the Demiplane of Dread with, but it exists even there.  The recently discovered “Castle Darkspace” is a testament to that.  While T’laan stews and broods in nihilistic apathy, he knows that it’s possible to break the veil into greater space.  But, this is but a facade meant to give false hope.  And by all means, others who have touched a Spelljammer have fallen to the Dark Powers.  Even the maligned and much ignored “Port Barmy” has its roots in a Spelljammer ship.  Save for the latter domain, all things Spelljammer have found their way into a unique “Cluster” or rather “Mist Sphere”.  The Mist Sphere works much like a Crystal Sphere, complete with Wildspace connecting the worlds.  However, there is no true world, solely the domain and lands trailing off into mists.  However, they can be accessed by spelljamming.

Be warned though, for those who sail their incredible ships in this sphere cannot leave normally.  Trying to seek the Phlogistan has disastrous results.  Consistently, a spelljammer will explode upon impact.  Likewise, entering other domains and clusters beyond this one spells doom.  Doom already comes for all who dare to trifle with the mists.  As of 740, even arcane space (excluding the phlogiston beyond) was not immune.  Tower Darkspace was taken into the mists.  By 743, Rogerport and Gnomonia had joined.  Primordium Station was taken in 748 and The Chariot fell in 757.  By 758, these were no longer islands of terror.  The Mists unveiled that the spelljamming days of yore had returned, but with a dark twist.  A new Sphere of sorts revealed itself, but those within were very much trapped.  And worse, new locales and minor domains continued to appear, such as the Sparkling Halls in 759.  Perhaps the Arcane Space is doomed to fall to the Dark Powers in due time?

Author’s Note: Spelljammer in the Mists! They said it couldn’t be done, but I proved them wrong! Ahahahahah!  I know Ravenspace has been a thing for years, but here is my own take on a cluster in the style of a Crystal Sphere.  Also, there is plenty of opportunity to reference bits of space horror, such as System Shock!  Also, more Eberron crossover!  And even more crazy, Returned Blackmoor makes a cameo as a domain all its own.  Is it canon for my Threshold series?  Hard to say, but it’s certainly a possible ending for it!  Also, Port Barmy remains a joke.  I have no plans to do much else with it, maybe I’ll add it to here one day.

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Worlds and Cosmos of Spelljammer – Fantastic Space!

 

Spelljammer" cover art by Jeff Easley. | Scifi fantasy art, Dungeons and  dragons art, Fantasy art illustrations

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.

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Grim Rumors Eternal – More Ravenloft Plots and Places

The Darkness lasts forever!  Don’t think the Light is still your friend though.

Author’s Note: Mystaran homage, more lands based on Philippine folklore, more on the undead of Rockbaecche and a native of Kalidnay experiencing Abaddon.  Also, two more references to the excellent Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  If you love the Campaign Setting, it’s one of the best sources that keeps it alive.  Also, I’m aware that referencing Abrahamic religion in D&D is controversial, but thanks to Prisoners of the Mist, it could be a fascinating thing to examine in brief.  I should really pick that up again, it was good fun.

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Gazing upon a Misty Void

TAE _ - Sea Zombie-2

“This is the Alleigosto Exploration Team, is anyone out there?  Anyone on the Cog Auditory-Wave Line, please respond!  We are lost on the Ichthyan Sea.  We’ve observed and overheard terrible creatures.  Send help immediately.  These waters are dangerous, arm yourselves by all means.  I repeat, arm yourselves.  Air waves will remain open, in hopes of response.” – The distress signal of Her Heavenly Embrace, sunken wreck

It is time once again to gaze into the mists and see what gazes back.  I bring you tales and people traversing the mists, woes of the occult, crime never paying, schemes of a warmonger and rising spirits assembling a demonic gallivant.

Author’s Note: More ambitious conquering for Drakov, Victorian spiritualism, Japanese ghosts and more on a thieves haven homage to Yojimbo.  That is what to expect from this post!  Also, I know I’ve griped about it before, but I feel like I should cover and flesh out my own worlds.  I don’t really want to play D&D anymore, even though I like pondering about the settings.  It’s this weird paradox for me.  I have more posts I want to do, so we’ll see how quick I can get over this funk.

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