Toy Soldier: A Spelljammer Saga

A series of novels set in the Spelljammer® fantasy universe

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Development Notes for Chapters Six & Seven "Brothers in Arms"

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

So, it was necessary to get Shaundar and Yathar to the Blacktusks, and Skullport seemed the logical place to do that, so that's really what the very short Chapter Six was concerned with.  I liked the idea of the tressym so went with it for a little bit of comic relief in what is otherwise a pretty grim novel up to this point.


Chapter Seven turned out to be much longer than originally intended, however.  Shaundar and Yathar spent more time with the Blacktusks than I had expected them to.  I think that it was important to me to provide a contrast.  The Blacktusks are everything you expect of orcs, save their intelligence.  They are nasty, brutish people.  Not to put in too much of a spoiler, but the scro they will meet later on are not so much.


I also wanted to impress upon the reader the horrors of lifejammers, which you know I'm going to bring up somehow later, and the harshness of shipboard life.  I also wanted to throw in some details of navigating Scrospace, and why it is that the Imperial Elven Navy, whom I do not believe are completely incompetent, have been unable to discover the location of the orcish homeworld Dukagsh, nor find charts to show them the way.


This diagram of the points of aerial navigation is provided for reference, since I use these terms in this chapter.



Sources for this chapter included numerous D&D® official books, most of which were from Second Edition: "Skullport" and "Realmspace" mostly, and an article on portals in the Forgotten Realms® called "Perilous Gateways," originally published in Dragon® Magazine.  The rest of it I invented, except for the details, once again, of Spiralspace, and you can find that information on my Appendices page.


Enjoy!


Blessed be,

Sable

A Breakdown of the Spheres in Book One

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Since this is my first entry, I think I ought to explain that this blog is as much for my benefit as that of my readers.  I intend to locate development notes here for my own reference as well as information that will be relevant to you.  This is a breakdown of the spheres mentioned in book one, "Simple Toy Soldier," primarily for my benefit, but it may also be of interest to the Spelljammer® enthusiasts out there.

 

The only sphere which comes from canon material is, of course, Realmspace.  Spiralspace is loosely founded on material that comes from the novel "The Maelstrom's Eye." which was reworked by Paul Westermeyer into the fan material on Bralspace, located on the Beyond the Moons Official 3rd Edition Spelljammer® website.  I am not going to break down the sphere here, because I am choosing to not pay a great deal of attention to the details.  What is relevant from our novel's point of view is the following:

 

  1. Spiralspace contained the elven world of Spiral, which was conquered by the scro Tarantula fleet. The elven population was kept around to be tortured for the amusement of General Vorr, half-orc, half-ogre General of the ground troops in the Tarantula Fleet. (The Maelstrom's Eye).
  2. Based on the events of the Second Unhuman War according to novel and canon material, we can make the following assumptions:
  3. By traversing phlogiston currents, Spiralspace is likely between Scrospace and Realmspace, because war came to the edge of Realmspace at the same time that Spiral was entirely conquered. While Dungeons & Dragons® writers often seem to have little understanding of warfare, logically when conducting a campaign of war, one does not randomly attack sporadic targets scattered over the multiverse like wind-sprinkled seeds. One spreads out from a central point of strength, reinforcing supply lines and protecting occupying forces as one goes. I see the Second Unhuman War as progressing very like WWII, with the scro standing in for the Nazis and the elves as the Brits (and the feel of my novel will reflect that.) The Nazi campaign was fueled largely by navy and air force, which is basically what we have in Spelljammer®; a combination thereof. Therefore, I see the scro, being not at all stupid, as conducting their campaign almost exactly like the Blitzkrieg. So one does not attack the edge of a sphere until the sphere before it is completely conquered. Essentially, Spiralspace is Poland and France, and Realmspace is the British Isles.
  4. The Raven's Talon Prison Camp would have to be in a place decisively controlled by the scro, but not very far away from Realmspace, or Shaundar never would have seen home again.
  5. It is logical for the prison camp to be located in a place where that kind of thing already is happening (as it does on Spiral,) but it would be better guarded than an occupied world of civilians because the prisoners are military personnel.  Therefore, the Raven's Talon Prison Camp is located on some isolated asteroid in Spiralspace.  
  6. I am choosing to not really pay much attention to the admittedly well thought-out material of Bralspace, for two reasons. The first is that much of the details, such as the world of Flicker, are inconvenient for my campaign details. The second is that I have a different understanding of the nature of Spiral's sphere. The work on Bralspace assumes that Numeliador, Spiral, and Minial's Arch are all in the same sphere, because they are mentioned as small elven worlds that have fallen to goblinoid races by Admiral Cirathorn as he ponders his protectorate. (The Maelstrom's Eye, p. 106.)  However, the Admiral comes from a destroyed world in an obviously distant sphere. He is therefore a far traveller in Wildspace, and so really, those worlds could be anywhere. They might not be within several crystal spheres of each other, actually.   Also, why would the scro have conquered Spiral so decisively, and then engage in harassing Ironpiece, a small gnomish world, without first conquering both Numeliador and Minial's Arch (which are still elven worlds, according to the Bralspace material,) that are almost entirely undefended in the sphere because they choose not to have contact with the EIN, especially when no other force in the sphere would give a damn?  Doesn't make sense to me.

 

If you do choose to use the Bralspace material, I would locate the Raven's Talon Prison Camp somewhere in the deep asteroids of Grainfields, where undead and ghost ships are rumoured to dwell (what better way to keep the nosy out?)

 

Phlogiston Currents:

Realmspace leads to Spiralspace and Dragonspace, but not Scrospace.

Scrospace leads to Dragonspace and Spiralspace, but not Realmspace.

Spiralspace leads to Realmspace and Dragonspace, but not Scrospace.

Dragonspace leads to Scrospace and Realmspace, but not Spiralspace.

 

 

Realmspace

 

Realmspace is the sphere that contains the Forgotten Realms® campaign setting, which is located on the world of Toril.  It is the sphere in which our story begins, on the world of Garden.

 

Sun - Type H  Fire

Anadia - Type B  Earth

Coliar - Type G  Air

Toril - Type E  Earth,  Moon (Selune) &  Cluster (Selune's Tears); principle world of the sphere.  Evermeet, and the lost empire of Cormanthyr and the destroyed city of Myth Drannor, are located here.

Karpri - Type D  Water

Chandros - Type F  Water

Glyth - Type E  Earth

Garden - Type A  Earth (Liveworld); Nedethil is a large (Type C) planetoid in Garden's roots

H'Catha - Type C  Water

 

Dragonspace

 

Dragonspace is the sphere in which my homegrown campaign setting, Draconia, is located.  It becomes much more significant in "Sable's Privateers".  For now, its primary significance is that the secret N'Velahrn base where Shaundar and Yathar receive their training is located on Permafrost, a frozen water flatworld on the edge of the crystal sphere. 

 

Dragonspace is also significant because by prevailing phlogiston currents, you have to pass through it to get to Scrospace from Realmspace, unless you go through Spiralspace, which is occupied by the Tarantula Fleet.

 

It is important to note that dragons and dragonkin of all kinds are abundant here, and generally, dragons of suitable elemental type will be found on every planet in this sphere.

 

Aurel (The Sun) - Type J   Fire; Irregular star-shaped gate to the Elemental Plane of Fire

Sumask - Type C  Earth

Azuria - Type E  Water

Draconia - Type G  Earth,  3 Moons (Ardath, Valdemar, Warlock); rotates east to west instead of west to east, so the sun rises in the west and sets in the east

The Rocks - Type A & B  Earth; mostly this terrain is atmospherically poor, and is best suited to spacefaring life (radiant dragons, anyone?)

Adonia - Type E  Earth (Liveworld); intelligent, giant and often predatory plant life dwells in abundance here

Ballock (The Wandering Star) - Type E  Fire; Irregular Orbit

Permafrost - Type E  Water (Iceworld)

The Stars - Type A  Fire

 

Scrospace

 

Home sphere of the Scro Empire; burial site of Dukagsh, founder of the scro race, for whom the principle world of the sphere is named.  Our campaign had free license to do whatever we liked with this sphere, since the canon sources have limited themselves to describing Dukagsh as "a harsh world," and explaining that the tomb of legendary hero Dukagsh, for whom the planet is named and founder of the scro race, is fixed in a stationary orbit around Dukagsh's North Pole.  Even fan material rarely mentions it; only a novel series called "The Bri'kerzz Sweep" touches on it at all, describing the destruction of Dukagsh's Tomb by the protagonist's ship, and there is nothing on the sphere's statistics itself.  Hence, we were free to engage in full-fledged flights of fancy.

 

Gruumsh's Eye (The Sun) - Type J  Fire; the planets in this sphere orbit this coin-shaped flatworld, creating an effect like a slowly closing and opening eye.  The "bright side" of the sun causes summer, while the "dark side" causes winter, with the Eye appearing as a half-closed eyeslit during spring and fall.  The natives refer to this process as "Gruumsh's Wink" and use it to tell time: "My son has seen Gruumsh wink six times as of today!"  Also, extradimentional travel is not possible on the dark side of the Eye, so one cannot teleport or gate etc. to or from Dukagsh in the winter months.

Dukagsh - Type F  Earth (Liveworld),  Moon (Luthic); periodic dangerous space storms of mist and solar winds often make approach by spelljamming ship difficult.  This planet is a tropical jungle climate teeming with an overabundance of life, much of which is predatory.

Tarrak Gar - Type B  Air/Fire; this comet loops in a rapid elliptical orbit between Gruumsh's Eye and Bahgtru's Teeth, throwing off solar winds, mist, and electromagnetic interference that it gathers from Gruumsh's Eye as it goes.  It creates solar weather that varies from rapid winds to dangerous tempests throughout the sphere, especially around planetary bodies.

Shargaas - Type F  Water (Rings); this very dark world water world is almost invisible from Dukagsh; hence its name, inspired by the orcish god of thieves and darkness.  Since it is abundant with aquatic life that would be at home in the deepest depths of most oceans or Underdark seas, passing spelljamming ships often land in the rings, which are a belt of obsidian asteroids, to resupply.  Occasionally kua-toa tribes attack fishing spelljammers, and every once in a while, an aboleth is inspired to take slaves.

Bahgtru's Teeth - Type A  Earth; these asteroids are a favourite site for scro prison camps, goblin and kobold mining colonies, and pirates.

 

Bibliography

Beyond the Moons Spelljammer® Website, accessed October 8 & 9, 2011.

Boyd, Eric L. and Mona, Erik.  Faiths and Pantheons.  Copyright (c) 2002 by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Cunningham, Elaine.  Radiant Dragon, The.  Copyright (c) 1992 by TSR, Inc.

Grubb, Jeff.  Concordance of Arcane Space, The.  Copyright (c) 1989 by TSR, Inc.

           -----   Lorebook of the Void.  Copyright (c) 1989 by TSR, Inc.

Moore, Roger E.  Maelstrom's Eye, The.  Copyright (c) 1992 by TSR, Inc.


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