Flight of the Queenyan's Revenge
So you want to play Spelljammer aka "Wildspace, how the fuck does that work? "
For the tone of the game I would like to run think of the series Firefly, but replace western with Fantasy, and Sci-Fi with the Age of Sail, but still in SPACE! Okay, that isn’t the greatest example but I’ll work with it. In a Spelljammer game you can run an Imperial Elven blockade to loot the ruins of a long forgotten groundling temple and then later on get in a sword fight with illithids over the cloud cover on an air world as ballista fire rains down around you.
What this means for character generation is that in general, I’m looking for characters which fit into the D&D alignment spectrum from Neutral to Good. I’d like to run a game of heroic acts and daring-do, not plotting to crush a worlds population for a few more pieces of gold (That’s the Rogue Trader game on Weds, check your local listings.) I’d also like to include elements of exploration into the game, as Outremer Space is on the edge of the Known Worlds, a frontier both inside the crystal sphere, and outside in the Phlogiston.
So what is Spelljammer? It is fantasy, with a bit of sci-fi mixed in. The general action of the game takes place in what’s called wild space, which is roughly analogous to a solar system. It is a roughly spherical void into which many worlds may exist in various configurations. Outside the Crystal Sphere is the Phlogiston, or Flow. This highly flammable gas filled area is what speeds the flight of spelljamming ships between crystal spheres.
So if its space, how do I avoid floating free of the ship? In spelljammer every object generates its own “gravity plane.” This plane is not noticeable until an object gets to roughly 25’ in length, at which point you could walk on it just as you do the surface of the Earth. In Spelljammer, either gravity exists, or it doesn’t, a 25’ tall creature generates as strong a gravity plane as does a 100’ long Elven Armada class ship. Just the creature tends to not want you to walk on its face. This gravity plane always exists parallel to the longest section of the object creating it, and draws objects down to it from both the top and bottom. Again using our 25’ long space fairing creature as an example, you could stand both on its chest and its back.
Recalescence – At the center of the Sphere exists this fireworld which is a bright and giant ball of fire in the prime of its life. Its heat can be felt from vast stellar distances. Those who have managed to get close to the world in magically protected ships report that its surface is alive with elementals and other fire loving creatures.
Scorch – The first world to orbit around Recalescence is a poor earthworld known only as Scorch, for it exists so close to the fireworld that its surface long in the past was scoured clean of life by heat and flames. Some dwarves from the Stonebeard Citadel have attempted to mine here, but they were either destroyed by the flames or the creatures which live in them.
Drail – Scorch’s only moon. Little is known about it. Earthworld.
Aquintallia – This waterworld is the first inhabited place in Outremer space. Its vast oceans are dotted by many independent floating platforms from which humans and their lizardfolk allies launch fishing expeditions and loot its many natural resources for trade within the Sphere, and out in the Flow. Both the humans and the lizardfolk are spelljamming races, neither evolved on this world. The only known natives are the merfolk who usually avoid the colonies. The primary exports of the world are derived from the dire whales which swim through its depths.
The Broken Arc – The arc is not a world, not in the traditional sense, but an elongated arc of asteroids and debris that orbit around Recalescence. Historians and explorers in the sphere have speculated that the arc is a remnant of another Earthworld, destroyed long ago by an unknown cataclysm. This theory is backed up the shear number of ruins, tunnels, and artifacts discovered in the arcs debris. Due to this fact the arc is dotted with many small freeholds which are small hollowed out or converted asteroids that house tiny communities devoted to exploiting the ruins of the arc for profit, or to small mines which harvest the minerals needed and not found commonly on other worlds.
Stonebeard Citadel – A dwarven citadel that has been moored into the Broken Arc, it drifts along slowly in its trail, the inhabitants using the raw materials from the arc to further power their creative endeavors. While currently none of the other spelljamming races in the Sphere have come into conflict with the dwarves, they are known to be politely standoffish. Though they do some trading of their goods with others for that which they can’t harvest from the arc, mostly food. Those allowed to trade are only given the privilege under a close watch.
Brittlefire – The second fireworld in Outremer Space, it is much more pitiful then the much more lively Recalescence. Its surface is barely visible as anything more then a dull angry red glow as it has been covered over in many areas by cooling magma flows, with geysers shooting high into the atmosphere where the flows grind together. Like the other fireworld though it is also inhabited, with fire giants having raised their own kingdoms along the surface and taking slaves from those who can survive long enough there unaided.
Sestile – A temperate and large earthworld, Sestile is the primary source of groundlings in Outremer Space. Its surface is dotted by various kingdoms, states, tribes and nations that have no idea of the wonders which exist beyond their atmosphere. Due to this fact the majority of spelljamming races when having dealings with the world try to conceal their origins for fear of being chased down streets with pitchforks and torches. The majority of standard human and non-human races can be found there, with the exception of the Giff.
Aja – The moon of Sestile is a barren and airless location, home to little except for the fact it is a prime source of the materials needed for the powder used in the firearms of the giff and others. This has turned the groundlings moon into a hive of activity near the mines.
Niffleheim – Brittlefire’s sole moon is a frozen ball of ice and snow, bifurcated by a range of tall mountains which fall away into deep fjords, creating the only open water on the planet. The sentient life on the world is split between ice giants which control the peaks and hardy tribes of humans who control the fjords. The origin of the human tribes is a matter of debate among scholars, with some saying they are native, others that they are what remains of ancient colony ships from Aquintallia that were stranded and went native. They do not in general possess the ability to use spelljamming helms, but those they have were recovered from ships that had crashed on the surface.
Outremer Subsystem – This is a miniature system of worlds and the namesake for Outremer Space. This is of course due to the fact the elves have claimed them as their colony, and they have a habit of naming everything they find.
Ultraymis – The primary world of Outremer, this gigantic airworld is nearly the size of Recalescence. Its atmosphere is almost totally obscured by dark and fast moving clouds which would be difficult to navigate in the best of times, even without the world splitting lightning that frequently arcs across its surface. It is suspected by elven explorer’s that deep within the core of Ultraymis a permanent gate to the para-elemental plane of electricity exists.
Betincle – This earthworld is the seat of the elven colony, and the home of the armada forces in the sphere. Its surface is as anywhere claimed by the elves verdant, temperate, and boring. Duke Calafalas rules from his seat of power in the towers above the elven city of Shal on the worlds largest landmass.
Annotur – A moon of endless sand, only the drow have a sizable population here, with the elven nobility the second largest group, in fact Duke Calafalas can often be found here leading hunts from modified ships for the many dangerous creatures which live on the ground below. The only other populations are elves who had been exiled here and now live in small nomadic bands. Rumors of them being hunted as well by more decadent officers and nobility have always been hotly denied.
Tresal – The last of the Outremer worlds, this one is almost universally covered by jungle. Here the elves have set up their shipyards, harvesting the fast growing plants and wood from here rather then deforesting Betincle and ruining their view. While well paid artisans perform the construction of the elven ships, the heavy labor of clearing the raw materials is conducted by near slaves due to the large number of carnivores encountered in the trees.
Freeholders – An independent group made up of members from many races, they are responsible for the scattered safe havens in the Broken Arc. While this is not a formal group, most freeholders will come to the mutual defense of others in the group out of a sense of independence and the knowledge that if they don’t, no one else will.
Trading Houses – The colonies of Aquintallia are each sponsored and controlled by a separate trading house, who may have other interests in Outremer Space or even outside the sphere. In general while no open hostility exists between the houses, there is still a level of animosity between them as each jockeys for the best trade routes, and deals with the elves and dwarves to sell them goods. They are also the number one employer for mercenaries in the sphere.
Pirates – Anywhere you have valuable goods traveling long distances through sparsely populated wilderness, you will encounter those who want to steal said goods; there is no difference when that wilderness is Wild Space. Most pirate crews operate out of small bases hidden inside the Broken Arc, using its central location to hit the vessels of the trading houses, or even elven navy ships if they feel bold. The primary foes of the pirate ships are typically freeholders who band together to take the fight to their foes. Also, any rumors of a pirate city secreted out in the Arc is just that, a rumor.
Elven Navy – The elves continue to be the major military force in Outremer Space, though the majority of that is centred around the worlds they have claimed. Occasionally patrols do spread out as far as the Broken Arc, usually only if the pirate attacks have begun to endanger their supply lines. In general though, despite it being a frontier world the Imperial Navy currently has little to challenge it in this area, leaving its nobility and officers to long days of idle. This its detractors have warned, may have caused them to lose their edge.
Humans – Humans, like any good plague, creep in everywhere, even in the outer reaches of the Known Worlds like Outremer Space. Those humans native to the sphere often come from Aquintallia’s floating colonies, and are natural born traders and explorers. It is on the decks of human ships that goods are carried through the Sphere, keeping lines of communication between elven dominions, dwarven claims, and freehold. This allows them to quickly and easily deal with the various races, not that they always like it. The sole exception for this are those who hale from Niffleheim, who are usually distrusting of non-human races, magic, and well, just about everything else. They are popular though as mercenaries and guards, protecting ships against the pirates which hide in the arc and raid all with equal abandon. These Norse as they are called are warlike and fond of battle, so this keeps them out of trouble for the other civilized races.
Groundling – Most of the groundling humans loose in Outremer Space are due to press gangs or mishaps by existing spelljamming ships. Other then that they tend to be of similar outlook and appearance to their spelljamming cousins.
Half-Orc – Those of orcish blood aren’t often encountered in the Sphere, those who are here often come out this far outside of the Known Worlds to escape prejudice, or to find a world of their out on the frontier. Because of their natural physical abilities they are often employed as dockhands by the humans, or guards by those who traverse wild space. No large colonies or settlements are known to exist, with the most existing on Aquintallia, with nearly none at all in the elven controlled Outremer worlds.
Groundling – Groundling Half-Orcs end up in space often as part of mercenary companies looking for those who don’t care about where their next mission will take them. This can lead to many then showing either signs of a death wish, or being prone to jumping ship the first time they make landfall. Those who don’t fall into these groups have journeyed out into wild space looking for a world of their own.
Half-Elf – Often traveling along with both the human and elven navies in the sphere, the half elves are often called the children of wild space itself. Many of the half blooded are natural sailors and navigators, showing an adapt hand at charting the Flow and the orbit of planets. This means most of those encountered are already in the employ of a trading interest or navy, but many more are out there on the frontier, trying to satisfy their innate curiosity either by adventuring or stowing away.
Groundling – Half-elves are wanderers by nature, even if that takes them out into wildspace. Outside of a lack of knowledge regarding spelljamming and space, most groundling half-elves are quite similar to their spelljamming kind.
Elf – In the Known Worlds and Outremer Space the elves like to think of themselves as the paternal hand guiding the lesser races, the masters of all they survey. This is partially correct, as the Elven Imperial Navy is one of the most powerful forces in the Known Worlds, though it is spread thin. Those elves native to Outremer Space come from the Outremer worlds itself, and this made them famous for having a bit of an, ego problem. Not all are like this though, as the younger members of the race will often pick up with any ship that will take them to see for themselves what exists out in the sphere, or even beyond. Captains while leary of attitude are often eager to take them on board as often or as not, they will be excellent with a blade and learned beyond most shiphands.
Groundling – The groundling elves are one of the few ground based races to may have a chance to already be aware of wild space before going there themselves. This is mostly due to the fact the Imperial Navy often has contact with the groundling elven species, giving their ‘lesser’ cousins the chance to get out into space.
Dwarf – The majority of the dwarven population in Outremer Space is located around Stonebeard Citadel, but that does not cover all the dwarfs out there in wild space. Those who do not orginate from the Citadel consider themselves native of the sphere, most coming along with the humans and lizardfolk to colonize Aquintallia, and not finding a water world to their liking spread out to the Arc and even Niffleheim. The ones who are native of the Citadel though are usually viewed with suspicion as it is a fairly recent arrival in the sphere, only about a century ago, and its inhabitants have been known to be cold, even to the other dwarves. Most dwarves though don’t worry about such things, as most of their time is taken up with prospecting in the Arc, or running a freehold and taking coin from adventurers. Sometimes though the stories told by the adventures causes them to seek out for themselves their own fortunes.
Groundling – Very few groundling dwarves make it out into wildspace due to their living deep underground and also being very suspicious of outsiders. When they do it is often to exploit the resources found out in wildspace that they could not find on their home worlds, leading to a race of explorers and prospectors.
Halfling – Wherever human life spreads, you will often find the halflings close behind. They have spread out into Outremer Space alongside the trading houses of Aquintallia as they are a popular choice for spacehand on their ships due to innate nimbleness and good nature. The traders flatly deny it is due to the fact they can fit twice as many halfings aboard a ship as they could the taller races. Now you will find many halflings living out in the freeholds as well, living a life of adventure that they crave.
Groundling – Little changes a halflings innate personality, so those in space and those on the ground show few differences.
Gnome – The spelljamming gnomes of Outremer Space slowly travel between the Arc and the civilized worlds, looking for whatever they can find to add onto their rambling almost organically build and engineered ships. They have reputations as scavengers and tinkerers, taking whatever they can find and turning it into something new for their machines. The elves aren’t very fond of the gnomes for this, branding them as operating illegal salvage operations picking over the bones of dead ship. The gnomes don’t seem to care, and know the other races will pay them well for their mechanical expertise.
Groundling – Gnomes show the greatest diversity from their groundling cousins, almost to the extent of being a sub-race. Groundling gnomes are precocious and strange creatures, even beyond their spelljamming cousin, being fond of illusion magics and tricks on the larger races. How and why they get into wildspace is always a mystery.
Lizardfolk – The tribes of lizardfolk who populate Aquintellia are embraced as “partners” by their human allies, given places to live, a berth on their ships, and the opportunity to better themselves. Many of the lizardfolk though are more sly then the humans give them credit for and know they are being used for strong backs and their expertise at water environments. For now though, the coin is flowing in quickly from the humans and they are content with their lot as long as they are not mistreated to badly. Those who can’t live by this arrangement though take to the ships of the traders, seeking out a place away from the colonies and a way to make their own name.
Groundling – None
Giff – While the Norse have a mercenary reputation, it comes nowhere near what the militaristic Giff have carved out for themselves. Their warbands are often hired out by the mysterious Arcane to any who will pay the coin for these soldiers, and the buyers consider every penny well spent. In many ways the Giff are known to carry the order of a military unit in all aspects of their lives, living in highly regimented settlements and always taking a higher ranking member of their species orders seriously.
Groundling – None