Introduction

Thine is the golden glow of day,
Thine is the blue hue of twilight,
Thine are the worlds of two shadows:
Thine is Solaris.

First and foremost, Solaris is a home grown sphere. I have been using it in one form or another for as long as I have been a GM (off and on since 1982). During that time, it has undergone a variety of changes, mainly from failed experiments.

My original world was a place called Cartania, an earth world that bore a strong resemblance to Oerth (Greyhawk), the only packaged game world available at the time. However, there were many things about Oerth that I did not like, so I took what I did like, and either modified or dropped the rest. This is a pattern I have followed to this day.

Like many young GM's, I had far too many ideas to carry out, and I tried a number of hair-brained experiments. As a result, Cartania constantly underwent changes, and those alterations that proved unwise were put aside for a rainey day.

It was raining the day I bought the original Spelljammer boxed set. It had been out for almost two years, but the obligations of my "real world" life (undergraduate school) kept me away from gaming. I picked up the game from a hobby store in central New Hampshire, and boarded a train for Lawrence, Mass, where I was visiting some family. By the time my father (God rest his soul) met me at the train station, about an hour later, I was already addicted to Spelljammer.

One of the first things I did was create a sphere for my world. I knew it had several planets, and a binary star primary. The rest just grew, mainly from things that didn't work before, but did now. Spelljammer allowed me to tie the whole thing together.

Now that you know how Solaris was created, I invite you to visit! It is a large sphere, even larger than Greyspace, the largest sphere in the Radiant Triangle. Most of the worlds are inhabited, and some of them are quite exotic. Almost every known race has a settlement somewhere in this sphere, so a GM could run an entire SJ campaign without having the PCs open a single portal.

Now that I have waxed my sphere for all it's worth, read on and judge it for yourself.

Thanks go to my mother, brother, and my scatterbrained terrier. I would also like to thank Eric "Onestar" Schetley, Pascal Gaudette, the crew of the "Eternal Wanderer," and the rest of the Spelljammer list gang for their refusal to let this game go by the wayside, despite its untimely murder by the managers of TSR Hobbies.

Special thanks go to my father, David Lee Pugh. Sleep well, dad.

Sphere Overview

One thing can be said about Solaris: it is BIG. The sphere's radius is 16,800 million miles. It's displacement is about 1.9862*10e+31 cubic miles. You could put Greyspace, Krynnspace and Realmspace into Solaris, and still have some room left over.

From the phlogiston, Solaris's crystal shell looks like a soft brown disk, somewhat like polished wood. The sheer size of the shell has been known to make people naucious. The sphere is made of a crystaline material, and is coated with a strange, jell-like substance. If one were to walk on the outer surface of the shell, the ground would seem slightly elastic, allowing someone to sink a few inches. Why this material is on the outer surface of the sphere has never been adequately explained, but whatever it is it absorbes any magic that is thrown at it, causing the magic force to ripple away over the vast surface area of the sphere. All attempts to carry the jell away from the shell have failed. Apparently, the jell can only exist where the shell and the phlogiston connect. This jell has never been found anywhere else in the known spheres. As an upshot of the jell, the sphere is allowed to make a saving throw against a Create Portal, saving as an 18th level wizard.

Fortunately, stable portals are well marked. At some point in the past, someone placed several pyramids on the outer surface of Solaris. These pyramids neutralize the magic eating jell, allowing portals to be created normally. The pyramids appear in groups of three, and are spaced anywhere from two hundred feet to three miles apart, on an equalateral triangle. A Locate Portal will locate a trio of pyramids, and a Create Portal will be altered by the pyramids to make a portal appear between them. Clearly, these pyramids were created by someone with a good reason to enter the sphere, otherwise they would not have gone to the trouble. On several occasions people have tried to enter the pyramids themselves, but never has one been found with an enterance of any kind. This is curious, because they clearly have chambers inside.

These pyramids are the only way to enter the sphere, but since there are at least two thousand sets, this isn't much of a problem. Finding one of these sights from the inside the sphere is done by using a detailed star map of the sphere. The stars in Solaris are artificial firegems, like those of Greyspace. Since random portals never occur, the star pattern in the sphere has never changed in recorded history. The stars figure prominantly in religions and legends throughout the sphere.

Some sages have suggested the Juna as the builders of the Pyramids and the ones who put up the stars. In truth, they are even older, because some old artifacts have suggested that the Juna used the pyramid portals the same way people do now. Even the mighty Spelljammer uses the pyramids (albit one of the well spaced sets).

While the outer surface of the sphere is smooth, disturbed only by the pyramids, the inner surface is very rouph and uneven. Some of the mountains reach up nearly ten miles, and some of the canyons drop just as deep. Since the sphere is about five hundred miles thick, this would be difficult to notice in a cross-section, but it is very noticeable upon entering. Some travellers have compared entering Solaris to flying through a range of enemorous mountains.

The stargems rest in special recepticles and are spaced anywhere from three hundred miles to twelve million miles apart. They are not as hot as the gems in Greyspace, but anyone who touches one would still be incinerated. The colors of the stargems vary tremendously, and some have been known to change color. This suggests that the gems are somehow tied to the demi-plane of radiance.

Among the peaks and vallies of the inner surface of the sphere are the Briarvines. These are forrests of a plant similar to infinity vine. This plant grows very slowly, but a single patch can cover several square miles. The patches of vines cluster around the stargems, using them as a source of heat and light. The best part about these patches is the fact that they can provide air and water for a travelling ship. Some of these forrests support life, and in some cases communities of intillegent beings.

The most noted communities of this sort are the Vagabond Cities. These are settlements of humans and demi-humans who have for whatever reason taken up a life in this remote wilderness. If someone wanted to dissapear, this would be the place to try it. Aparusa are common among these people, along with dowhor, bartering whatever they can. If you find a Vagabond City (seven have been recorded), you can find almost anything that money can buy. The population of the cities averages around 2000, and all of the recorded ones have been within a day's travel of a portal. These cities make a convienent stopping point before leaving, or upon entering the sphere.

The other noteworthy feature of the sphere shell is the catacomb network. At the base of some canyons, entry tunnels can be found, leading to a huge network of caves and passages within the sphere shell itself. It is assumed that these were drilled by the same race that built the pyramids, but nobody in recorded history has ventured more than a few miles into the network. In theory, the tunnels lead clear to the other side. Considering that all of the charted entry tunnels lie near a portal, this makes sence. What is known is that they are inhabited by a variety of subterranian beings. One drow nation, with a space fleet, is known to live in one section.

Note however, that Solaris is not a Dyson Sphere, like Heardspace (See "The Maelstrom's Eye," Book three of the Cloakmaster Cycle for a description of Heardspace). The vegitation that grows on the inner surface and the life that lives there is not the primary ecosystem of the sphere. In fact, they are analagous to lichen on a large rock: along for the ride.

Worlds of Solaris

Solaris

Type: Spherical Fire Body
Size: H
Escape Time: 24 turns
Length of Day: approximately 28 hours
Length of Year: none
Population: Creatures from the elemental plane of Fire, fire giants, and other fire dwelling creatures.

Solaris is the greater star of this binary system, and serves as the primary for the sphere. It is slightly off center, and some sages think it wobbles around the center of the sphere. If it does wobble, it is not sufficient to alter the orbits of the other planets.

In "real world" astronomical terms, Solaris is a K-1 V (Main Sequence) star, burning with a slight orange color. One can approach within three million miles of the star's surface without any ill effect, but the heat will be quite uncomfortable. However, if one were to view the star at that close distance, they would quickly develop temporary blindness, and a face full of blisters. There is no way that a human could survive on the stars surface, as the heat is too high for any magical protection.

Many of the sphere's trade routes round about the star, so ships are more common near the sun than would be expected. Many of these ships have noted existance of intelligence living on Solaris, and even cities of iron and brass resting on the ever moving sunspots. According to legend, there is a race of fire dwelling humanoids living in one of these cities. These humanoids are supposed to be human in build and basic appearance, but with no hair, and gold colored skin. No one has ever gotten close enouph to Solaris to verify this, however, and it is unlikely that anyone ever will.

What is known is that for as long as people have plied the spacelanes of the sphere, Solaris has been home to a variety of fire dwelling creatures, including a kingdom of fire giants, living on one of the sunspots. These fire giants are known to travel the burning "seas" of the sun in a type of sailboat called a Fire Rigger, that glides just over the "surface" of the star. Somehow, this nation of fire giants has aquired a few spelljamming healms and has altered some of these fire riggers for exploration and piracy. Because of their need for air and high temperatures, the giants have never traveled beyond Hydralax, and rarely travel beyond the star's corona.

The only other major life form on Solaris is the Flame Serpent, a dragon-snake like creature that travells in packs across the surface of the star, hunting the lesser creatures that live there. The fire giants have been known to hunt these creatures for sport and food, and other times training them to serve as mounts or as guard animals.

Climate

The climate on Solaris is hot. Plain and simple. No human or demi-human could survive there, regardless of magical protection. The only trick that might work is to polymorph into an Efreeti, but no one has tried it yet.

Land Features

Collectively, Solaris is a huge sea of burning gas and plasma, with no "land features" to speak of. There are two groups of sunspots at the two poles, where things appear to be a little cooler, and this is where the giants and the mythical "golden huamans" are reported to live. Since there are no land features, the sun offers no ports for spelljamming traffic. The fire giants must have facilities for their spelljamming fire riggers, but no one has been able to gather information on them.

Aramoth

Type: Spherical Fire
Planet Size: B
Escape Time: 2 turns
Length of Day: 12 hours
Length of Year: ???
Satellites: none

Aramoth has been a figure of mystery for most of recorded history. There are those who believe that the tiny star is a power source for the undead, while others believe it to be some kind of prison for an evil being from the Elemental Plane of Fire.

There are no established civilizations on Aramoth as such, but there are small groups of fire giants, salamanders, and magmen. For all of its mystique, Aramoth falls miserably short of its reputation. Rather that an undead world or an elemental prison, is is a violent, firery hell. If it were possible to live on Amaroth, one would compare it to living in a mercelles desert.

It orbits wildly around Solaris like a misguided pendulem, and it is entirely possible that some day it may slingshot free of its orbit and either smash into the wall of the sphere or, worse yet, break through it. Neither option is very appealing to the natives of the sphere, but the star has heald the same orbital pattern for almost a millenia, and if anything it's orbit is becomming more stable.

Climate

Aramoth is actually hotter than Solaris, but one can get within about 1000 miles of it before noticing the heat. After that it rises exponentially, so that by the time a ship is within 800 miles of Aramoth, it has been reduced to a black cinder.

Land Features

The surface of Aramoth has never been completely mapped, but there appears to be several small clusters of sunspots peppered across the surface of the tiny star. This is difficult to verify however, because the light is so painful to look at that accurate mapping is impossible.

Hydraxa

Type: Spherical Earth
Size: E
Escape Time: 4 turns
Length of Day: ???
Length of Year: ???
Satellites: one

Overview

Hydraxa is the first true planet in the system. It is not an appealing place, having almost 85% surface water, only a handful of islands, and fairly uncomfortable weather. The climate is tropical, with rain forests taking up most of the islands. Dinosaurs are the dominant life forms, mainly the marine varieties. A few humans live on the islands near the southern polar cap, but they are truly primative peoples, falling into the stone age category. The appearance of a spelljammer would probably frighten them to the point of violence.

From time to time, Hydraxa has been visited by spelljamming societies. Dwarves have mined the islands, humans have harvested the seas, and elves have farmed the reefs. None of these societies have made a permanent home here, what with more hospitable planets so close by. If you know where to look, evidence of these visitations can be found. There was a time when Hydraxa was used as a "dump" for criminals. During the Magic Wars, criminals would sometimes be brought to one of the islands, thrown overboard, and left there. One can safely assume that these people didn't last long, and were simply being fed to the natives - literally. Some detractors think that these outcasts formed a society of their own, and that their decendants could survive to this day.

Satellites

Moon

Hydraxa has one moon that orbits the planet every eighteen days. In contrast to the planet, this moon is rather cold, almost like a permafrost. This small world is also inhabited by "prehistoric" creatures, such as mastadon and sabre-tooth cats. It has a small human population. These tribes tend to be more advanced than their planet-bound bretherin, employing metal weapons characteristic of the bronze age. A spelljammer would arouse their suspicion, and they would be cautious, but they wouldn't necessarily run away.

Adventuring Ideas

  • Did the outcasts of the Magic Wars survive to form a society of their own? If so, what is it like? How would they react to visitors from another world?
  • Characters could explore the ruins of a dwarven mining complex on one of the islands. What treasures await them there, and what dangers will they encounter?
  • A spelljammer has crashed on Hydraxa's cold moon, and has vanished without a trace. Your mission? Find it.

Cartania

Mercader projection map of Cartania

Orbital Radius: 1.1 AU
Type: Spherical Earth
Mean Diameter: 12800 km (size E)
Escape Time: 4 turns
Length of Day: 23 standard hours
Length of Year: 370 standard days
Atmosphere: Standard
Resources: manufactured and agricultural goods
Satellites: four
Inhabitants: Most known races, with humans, elves and humanoids being most prominent.
Government: Balkanized
Port: A (Terranova), B (Watergate), C (Li-Ming)

Cartania is the main world of Solaris. Aproximately fifty nation states are peppered across the three primary contents and numerous islands. Four of them are involved in spelljamming. Cartania has about 60% surface water, so it is slightly warmer and dryer than Toril or Oerth, but it is still quite hospitable to humans, demi-humans, and many other forms of life.

Cartania's history is too well documented to cover here, but it can be said that evidence of Cartania's colerful history are common. The "Magic Wars," which ended about 800 years ago, raged across the planet (in fact, the whole sphere) for 200 years. The Magic Wars were a long, bloody series of wars between warring factions of kings, wizards, and priests. They started with the Nimar, an order of very powerful wizards, suffered a schism and the two factions started fighting with each other. Eventually the Kanons, their clerical counterparts, followed suit. Eventually these battles involved not only the spellcasters and their personal armies, but war lords as well, who were either allied with one of the spellcasters or were out for their own gain. In short, the Magic Wars became a free-for-all of death and destruction which spread through the whole sphere. In the end, the benign or "White" Nimar unleashed some magical spells too powerful to think about, and systematically killed or banished their enemies. Had they not done so, Cartania would have been reduced to an asteroid field given the time. In ending the Magic Wars, however, the White Nimar were themselves driven away from Cartania by a populus who had simply "had enouph."

This series of wars left their mark. One portion of the planet, near the equator, is a lifeless wasteland about 300 miles wide that was once a thriving empire. Some have compared this, "The Skeleton Reach," to the Sea of Dust on Oerth.

Another noteworthy landmark is the Maelstrom: a huge stationary storm almost 200 miles in diameter. This horror can be clearly seen from space. Despite its prominance, it has little effect on planetary sea traffic.

Cartania also has numerous ruins in the World Spine, a chain of mountains that almost circles the planet. The history and lore of the peoples of the planet would keep any historian busy for several years. It is known, for example, that at the end of the Magic Wars, The Spelljammer landed in a Cartanian bay.

Cartania re-discovered spelljamming about three centuries ago, and the people have taken very well to it. Four nations engage in active spelljamming. Spelljamming was very common during the Magic Wars, and in desperation a magical shield was placed around Cartania to prevent further incursions from other-world invaders. The wars ended soon after the shield was erected, but it was left in place as a precausion. When these wars ended however, magic was almost completely eliminated. The shield, which drew its power from the tectonic activity of Cartania, remained in place. With magic virtually gone, Cartanians stopped building spelljammers, and with the shield in place, others couldn't bring the technology in.

For nearly six centuries, magic eeked out a minimal existance, The return of the drow brought it back, but only in a few areas. Still, magic began to make a come-back, and flying ships came back in the process. Since passage off-world was still impossible, the tactical healms were the only uses used.

It was a natural disaster that brought spelljamming back in full. A very large earthquake cut one of the shields "power points," leaving a hole in the shield. Unfortunately, this occured during a brief resurgance of the Humanoid-Elf wars (the First Unhuman War passed Cartania by). When the fleeing humanoids found this nearly defenceless world, they decended on it like a plague. Furthermore, since the Magic Wars, the elves had stopped patrolling the Solaris sphere. Simply put, there was no need for them. So, the Cartanians suddenly found themselves facing the flying sky-ships of old, and had to deal with it, and fast. "Sky Gallions," which are planet-bound spelljammers using tactical helms, returned to their original prominence on Cartania. Kingdoms and merchants who can afford them use the flying ships to travel from one point of Cartania to another. Spelljamming resumed within a few decades of the humanoid arrival. Human mages, using information purchased from Arcane, "reinvented" spelljamming helms, and the Cartanians returned to space.

Spelljamming has little or no effect on the everyday lives of people, but most are aware of it and take it as a matter of fact. Four nations are actively engaged in extra-planetary spelljamming. These nations are:

Li Shou: An Eastern land similar to Shou Lung on Toril. Li Shou dragonships tend to be very ornate, and are loaded with all kinds of fancy stuff (making them favored targets of pirates). The Li Shou emperor uses his space fleet to advertise his power and grandure, and doesn't see it's potential for commerce. Recently, the empire of Li Shou has become increasingly isolationist, and their dragonships are becomming more and more rare.

Olvenhold: This federation of five elven kingdoms maintains an active spelljamming fleet, but it is not part of the elven navy. Some time ago, the elves managed to break their own power in Solaris in a series of civil wars. The Olvenholt federation wanted to be free of imperial entanglements, and when the fleet withdrew, Olvenholt quickly established a secure position for itself. They are not on the best of terms with their human neighbors, but the humans do not see them as a threat. In truth, the elves want to be left alone, and most of Cartania's other natives seem willing to grant this wish.

Krystentine Empire: Of the four spelljamming nations of Cartania, these are the upstarts. In less than a century, they have established themselves as the second most powerful spelljamming power on the planet. They tend to be rather aggressive, like the ancient Celts of Earth, and they like to put on a good show. It is unlikely that they will ever become number one, because they manage to antagonize everyone they encounter. This appears to be a quirk of their spelljamming crews, however. Most groundlings of the empire are just like everyone else.

Muldravian Empire: Without a doupt, the Muldravians are the dominant spelljamming power is Solaris. After being pulled into the Second Elven Civil War against the imperial fleet, the Muldravians have a fully functional fleet of spelljamming ships to match almost any challenge. The marlin, or "warfish" is their most common ship, and it has proven itself time and again. A group of Muldravian warfish served in the Vodani wars, and proved themselves quite adept at space combat. One should not assume that the Muldravians are vicious by nature. On the average, they do not interfere with day to day traffic in the sphere. If a strange ship appears, they may ask a few questions of the crew, but they will not make a major issue of things. On the whole, the Muldravians are benavolent, and are genuinely trying to keep the space lanes of Solaris safe (the idea of a major invasion makes them nervous). Most would say that they have succeeded.

Kingdom of Karamaka: One should also be aware of the kingdom of Karamaka. This kingdom resembles the civilization of classical India on Earth, and they currently have a small but growing spelljammer fleet. Considering that they enjoy good commerce relations with the Muldravians, and many others on the planet, there is a very good chance that this kingdom will play an increasing role in the space lanes of Solaris, as Li Shou retreates behind its Great Wall.

Ports of Call

Cartania has a wide variety of places where Spelljammers can dock, but Terranova, Watergate, and Le-Ming are the most frequently visited docks. While a spelljammer can land almost anywhere on the planet, these docks are the most tollerant, and the best equipped for visitors.

Terranova is the best equipped port, and one can obtain almost any kind of spelljamming equipment there. Three major ship yards are available for making repairs, or for fitting a new ship. However, as the capital of the Muldravian Empire, security around the city is rather tight. A cuttle command maintains a stationary position directly above the city, and it is in constant contact with the surface. What's more, taxes and mooring costs tend to be high. Still, Terranova has the largest market for off-world products, so merchants are willing to tollerate the taxes, because the profit margin on their goods makes the trip worth while.

Satellites

Notes from the Chronicles

comiled by Static
  • Irilion (also spelled Irilian) - city on Cartania; similar to "Low City" on Bral [Heart of Stone I, Stories From the Rock VI]
  • Grissariet Archepellico [sic] - an island chain on Cartania [Solaris X]
  • Kien Chain - Cartania's southern hemisphere; original location of the Tower of the Nimar [Solaris XVIII]
  • Irania (aka Irin?) - Cartania's second moon; reddish-brown color from orbit; has settlements [Solaris XIV]
  • one moon is yellow, another is reddish (Irania?) [Solaris VIII]

Karadex

The Octopus Club: A nightclub/restaurant on Mt. Kardras (Solaris sphere) that is considered a "class act." The place is made from a grounded octopus ship and rests in a shallow pool of water, and is located on the central square of the city. The menu is quite varied, catering to almost any taste. It does not provide rooms, but does operate a lodging service that will locate rooms and boarding houses elsewhere in the city, for those who need rest. Several of the rooms in the club can be reserved for small banquets or business meetings.

- from a post on Tavern Names on the Spelljammer Mailing List

Notes from the Chronicles

comiled by Static
  • Mt. Kardas - main port on Karadex; built on a three-mile high mesa by dwarves; air must be pumped up because of the great height; landing pools for ships are carved into caves below the city [Solaris X]
  • Mt. Kardas serves as the "Rock of Bral" for Solaris

Iris

Tyrisa

Ephos

Gandorine

Notes from the Chronicles

comiled by Static
  • Gandorine is an air world with many resource bearing rocks in its atmosphere [Solaris I]
  • Gandorine is important because of its "Reefs" [Solaris I]
  • Has elven colonies [Solaris I]
  • Gandoria Port - maybe part of Reefs [Solaris I]
  • Reefs of Gandorine are a haven for merchants of all types; called "interplanetary bazaar" by travelers [Solaris I]
  • Reefs of Gandorine contain the Tabaxi Shogunate of Tigera ("Tiger's Rock"), most important group besides the Gandorian elves [Solaris I]
  • Darson's Rock - asteroid in the Reefs of Gandorine [Solaris I]

Octerak

Swarm

Playards

Notes from the Chronicles

comiled by Static
  • Six small worldlets in cluster; been at war since being colonized [Solaris V]
  • At least one Playard is populated by gnomes using Whelks

Beros

Shorakoth

Caronax

Tileria

Beacon

Orbital Radius: ???
Type: Spherical Earth
Mean Diameter: 12800 km (size E)
Escape Time: 4 turns
Length of Day: 27 standard hours
Length of Year: ???
Atmosphere: Standard
Resources: commercial products and services
Satellites: fire ring
Inhabitants: Most known races, with humans, elves and humanoids being most prominent.
Government: Balkanized, military camps, outposts
Port: A (Luminates Noir)

Beacon is the last planet in the Solaris sphere. It is so named for the firey ring that circles it, which can be seen from almost any point in wildspace. It is a frequent stopping point for travellers in and out of the sphere, and a good deal of commerce takes place here.

The world itself, however, is a rockey, desolate place. Most of the planet is covered with badlands where little or nothing lives. Only 5% of the planet is covered with water, this being one large fresh water lake in the southern hemisphere, but precipitation is actually fairly common, in the form of snow. The temperature never gets above 50 degrees during high summer, and many believe that the heat from the fire ring is the only thing that prevents Beacon from turning into a frozen ball of ice.

Beacon has a number of settlements, each catering to a variety of races. The most prominant city, which lies on the shore of the lake, is called Luminates Noir: Light in the Darkness. Most people simply call it "Beacon City," because of all the ports on the planet it is the one most commonly used. Luminates is primarily a human city, with a sizeable elven population as well. There a community of dwarves about ten miles up the shore from the city, and a community of halflings about five miles inland. Numerous other races have small neighborhoods in the city itself. Luminates is also a well patrolled port, so it is reasonably safe. The Muldravian navy maintains a semi-permanent post at the city.

One can obtain most standard spelljamming services at Lumanates, but at highly inflated prices. Being literally the last point of civilization in the sphere, price gouging is a way of life. In light of this, the arcane openly operate in the city, as do the dowhor.

Beacon has several other cities and settlements as well, which can cater to any taste. The other human city on the planet is simply called "mountaintown." It is in the outback of the world, settled on a deep valley. There is no law in this city, and most of the people who go there are criminals of some sort.

There are also small outposts of gnomes, aarocakra, lizard men, grommam, giff, and rastipedes on the planet, in addition to illithids, scro, a small k'r'r'r scout base, and even a neogi labor camp. The neogi camp is routinly bombarded by the Muldravian navy, but they have yet to destroy it.

Surface commerce between the various camps is rather constant. It isn't uncommon to encounter a heavily clad caravan moving from one settlement to another. Travelling the badlands of Beacon has been described as the worst experience this side of hell, so the caravans tend to travel heavy to guard against the hard, cold nights of Beacon. Unfortunately, raiders are sometimes encountered in the outback, practicing a groundling form of piracy.

Space pirates can be encountered around Beacon, but not as often as one might think. With all of the commerce going through Lumanates, the space lanes are too heavely travelled for the average space pirate, who would prefer to strike at a lone wolf in the void of wildspace.

Notes from the Chronicles

comiled by Static
  • Beacon to Cartania trip is 45 days [Solaris VII]
  • Beacon to Gandorine trip is 18 days [Solaris VII]
  • Kimberley's - a liquor store at Beacon City; caters to every taste [Solaris VI]

Additional Astronomical

Comet Cumars

A companion to the nebulae, this comet emerges from the nebulae every 96 years (standard time). The comet appears to be a large irrigular crystal about 100 miles in diameter, leaving a trail of irridecent light. Nobody has ever landed on the comet, but some believe it to be inhabited, perhaps by Oortlings who survived the Illithid carnage in Realmspace. The biggest problem with landing on the comet is keeping up with it. If travels at about SR 12.

(There is indeed a colony of Oortlings living on the comet, but it is a small colony, numbering about 200.)

Cumara Nabulae

This natural cloud of gas maintains a fixed location, far above the ecliptic plane of Solaris, and can been seen on a clear night from every world in the sphere. The nebulae appears in folklore all over Cartania, both as a sign of good omen and a sign of death and dispair, depending on who you ask. The cloud is not a wild magic cloud or a saragasso, but it can play tricks on the mind.

People who have travelled through the nebulae have spoken of strange dreams, containing experiences from people who have been dead for centuries. The nebulae has earned the nickname of "The Dream Cloud" by some space travellers for this reason. One sage has suggested that the Cumara Nebulae is the remains of a world that was destroyed some time in the past, and that the dreams are the echos of the people who once lived there.

Another theory is that the nebulae is a mass of haunts and wise spirits. Some people have experienced a greater clarity of thought while in the nebulae. Others have experienced visions of horror and a loss of reason. There is absolutely no consistency to how the Cumara Nebulae will effect any one person. Large as it is, the Nebulae is easy to avoid, and that is what most travellers do.

Romula

Wild Clouds

One of the more dangerous features of Solaris are the wild clouds. These patches of vapor float throughout the sphere, and are generally not a problem. What they do is temporarily amplify any magic that passes through them, including a helm. This isn't a problem, unless you are near the shell! There are recorded instances of ships preparing to open a portal and passing through a wild cloud minutes before hitting the gravity field of the shell, and slamming into the sphere at four times their original speed! Fortunately, if a Detect Magic is cast on the helm, the healmsman can sence the clouds and act accordingly. It is standard practice to approach the shell very slowly to avoid or minimize the effect of the clouds.

Inhabitants of Solaris

Li Shou

Solaris, Cartania, S'ing Ti L'ack

Li Shou is similar to Shou Lung on Toril, and is one of the four nations of Cartania that actively engage in spelljamming. Li Shou uses Dragonship vessels to bring back the treasures of other worlds, but Li Shou also uses them as showcase vessels. Even from a distance, one can tell when a Dragonship is Li Shou (as opposed to Shou Lung or privately owned). The ship is covered with elaborate flags and pennants that glorify the land from "The center of the Universe." Li Shou mapmakers believe that Solaris is the center of the universe, and that Li Shou is the center of the Solaris sphere (at least from a cultural standpoint). When a Li Shou Dragonship sets down in another land, it often makes a big display of itself as if to say "Look at me, I am from Li Shou, center of the Universe." Trading is a secondary concern. The primary objective is to show off.

Shou Lung captains find this cultural bravado rather amusing. Li Shou has passed up many good opportunities for trade because the other peoples were "beneath them." In such cases, Shou Lung wastes no time in collecting what Li Shou was missed. The elitist attitude has led to a marked reduction in Li Shou spelljamming. Since they have not found many things that interest them in other lands, they are becoming increasingly isolationist. In fact, the Li Shou government is actively trying to stop the use of Spelljamming technology, except for those merchant vessels that use tactical helms to 3 travel within the empire.

The Muldravian Empire

Solaris, Cartania, Chorrad'ek

Of the four spelljamming nations of Cartania, the Muldravian Empire is the most prominent. This is to be expected, since it is perhaps the largest single nation on the planet. The Empire is actually a highly co-operative group of small and medium sized states that have pooled their resources for the common good. Most of the states are human, but there is a single halfling state that places itself under the Muldravian flag, and one of the other states has a significant Gnome population. The Empire enjoys good relations with several of its neighbors, allowing it to pursue other interests.

About 250 years ago, a study was conducted on the capabilities of "Sky Galleons." Sky Galleons never traveled off-world (being powered with Tactical Helms they couldn't get very far), but the belief was that this was not always the case. After several years, Spelljamming Helms were re-invented (with some help from the arcane), and the Muldravian Empire was the leader in this endeavor.

Of all the spelljamming peoples of Solaris, the Muldravians hold the greatest presence, surpassing even the Elven Navy within the sphere. The Muldravian Stellar Navy (MSN) is about 100 ships strong. Most of these are Marlin-class battlecruisers, with squid ships for planetary defence. The fleet is commanded from a Cuttle Command (perhaps the only one in active service anywhere) that maintains a fixed position over the Muldravian capital city. The Cuttle never engages foes, however. A small pod of squid ships is always present to deal with intruders. The Cuttle is jokingly called the "Muldravian High Command."

Wildspace Societies

Ironicaly, wildspace in Solaris is rather empty, despite (or because of?) the huge amout of space available. From time to time, wildspace races like the lakshu, reigar, and others have wandered the empty skies of wildspace, but currently, there are no permanent residents.

The most prominent travellers of wildspace are humans native to either Cartania or Tileria, the two worlds that maintain steady spelljamming fleets. In a true case of irony, the dominant spelljamming power in Solaris is a human realm on Cartania, the Muldravian Empire, with the Krystentyne Emerate, also of Cartania, coming in a close second. Tileria is a world empire that also boasts a spelljamming fleet, but their presence is restricted to within ten days travel of their home world. The Tilerians, unlike their distant neighbors the Cartanians, do not appear interested in spreading throughout the sphere in large numbers.

Much to the shame of the fleet, the elves have recently managed to break their own power in the sphere after a series of civil wars. This breaking of the fleet left a power vacuum that was quickly filled by the opportunistic humans.

From time to time there have been individual groups of adventurers who have gained some measure of prominance in various areas of the sphere. Examples include "The Chambered Nautilus," a group of benevolent adventurere who travel about in a re-fitted nautiloid. Another such group is the Shire-t-'rek, or "Guradian Cats" of Tiger Rock, a order of tabaxi warriors dedicated to removing potential threats to the Shogunate of Tiger Rock.

Note that these are both small groups, and that neither of them have made a lasting impact on the sphere beyond their current location.

Magic and Religion

Monsters of Solaris

Ships of Solaris