Overview of Imperial Space
Imperial Space resides within a crystal sphere that when approached looks to be made of fine red crystal that has a very faint luminance which can be only seen when within 15 miles of the crystal shell. For those who visit the interior, it appears much like many other spheres one primary which is orbited by several planets. What surprises most visitors when they enter this sphere is the dominance of one theocratic empire, better known as the Ezhian Empire (which is where this space gets its name.) This empire has ruled the wildspace region of this crystal sphere for just over 300 years. As one travels closer to the center of the sphere it become obvious that the primary is more than just a source of light it is life.
The primary is simply known as "Gleaming Star." This sphere of light produces trillions of different colored light rays from its surface. This has an odd effect when viewed as one is never really too sure what color the primary is, as each person eyes perceive a different color bandwidth of light at any given moment. Regardless of color, the light is always intense. Only when one is in the atmosphere of a planet do the multihued light rays refract enough so as to appear like a normal sun.
Unlike most primaries, Gleaming Star is relatively small for a primary, being only 100,000 miles across with the photosphere making up 90% of that diameter. The photosphere is minor-positive dominant (see MotP page 12) energy charged and those within the photosphere can only perceive up to 10 feet infromt of them (on a spot check DC 20) because of the brilliant light. Due to the extremely powerful light a character has a make fortitude save (same DC 20) each hour to avoid becoming blind forever (curable if the victim receives a remove blindness spell). The core is solid 'light' and measures only 90,000 miles across. This core, while solid, will slowly absorb objects heavier than 5 pounds. This rate of sinking is 6 inches per 6 seconds. Once fully immersed the character is considered both drowning and under the effect of a major-positive effect (see the same MotP article).
Also a major problem is the extreme heat of Gleaming Star. Treat this as being on a fire-dominant plane; this creates a strange sensation as one's flesh melts away due to the great heat and at the same time being healed by the positive energy trait of gleaming star. Unprotected wood, paper, cloth, and other flammable materials catch fire almost immediately, and individuals take 3d10 points of fire damage every round they are in the photosphere. Those that sink into the core take 20d6 points of fire damage.
Tears of Sequena
The Tears of Sequena are a set of watery "asteroids" that are the nearest planetary bodies in orbit around the primary. These small water bodies are often less then 10 miles in diameter and many of them have coral reefs that 'float' just below the surface. Because of its close proximity to the primary the waters of the "Tears" are always warm like that found in the tropics of many worlds. The "Tears" have orbits ranging from only 10 million miles from the primary to 30 million miles. Those "Tears" that support coral reefs have merfolk and other creatures found in the seas. Inhabitants from Nimbus notice the asteroids and observe that they look like tears that streak across the face of Gleaming Star.
The 2nd planet from the Gleaming Star is the most populated planet in this crystal sphere. Dozens of kingdoms can be found on its 3 continents, along with some fairly large island chains. Nimbus sports an ice ring around its equator. Inhabitants view this ring of ice in awe and refer to it as the crown; as such Nimbus is the most majestic of the planets of this sphere. Nimbus's distance is 100 million miles from the primary.
Most inhabitants of Nimbus are not aware of the tiny moon known as Emperor Lung. The moon has been sculpted to appear as Emperor Lung of the Lung Dynasty. It stands 465 feet tall. The tip of the emperor's scepter is said to glow at night (the scepter's tip is 25 feet in height and 15 feet in diameter and is used as a lighthouse). The last detail of the tiny moon/colossus was finished in the year 245 I.R., just two years before the collapse of the Lung Dynasty. The orbit of the Emperor's moon is synchronous over the Isle of Petann (one of the islands that belong to the Lung Dynasty.)
(Note: This is my main world where I run most of my planet-side adventures for my world)
The 3rd planet from the primary is a Size E world with continents of hardened lava and basalt; its seas are molten lava. The planet gets its name from its largest continent which looks like a serpent. When positioned at just the right angle and the moon Fireball comes around the horizon, it looks as if the serpent has spit a fireball out from its gapping open maw. The continents are very hot at its edges but as the super heated water travels across the cooler continents, it rains. The rains are constant and the jungles of this world are horridly humid. This planet is known for its exotic spices and a few gemstones that are commonly found in volcanic regions. The inhabitants have learned to make use of huge chucks of a pumice-like stone that is very light (some pieces have been said to float away into the sky!), to create crafts that can resist the heat of the lava seas to trawl for some of the exotic life that dwells therein.
This planet has two moons, Fireball and Salamander. Fireball is a spherical fire-world much like many primaries found in other crystal spheres except it is fairly small (Size Class B). Salamander is just a bit bigger then Fireball (Size Class C) and is an earth type of world with 90% of its surface being an ocean. Temperature on Salamander is variable due to the fact that Fireball's orbit is elliptical about its mother planet and it comes exceedingly close at times to Salamander (and at other times it is very far away.) This rapid change of temperature results in fantastic rainfall, so the few islands are lush tropical jungles. The oceans are not deep; the greatest depth is about 1,000 feet with a few abyssal trenches that reach almost a mile into the core. The core of Salamander is solid and cold. Most people who travel closer to the core of a moon or planet typically find it gets warmer, but this is not the case with Salamander.
The planet Dragon orbits at a distance of 200 million miles from its primary.
The largest planet is Springtime. This gas giant is 88,000 miles in diameter (Size G). This planet is known for the intense lightning storms that rage across the surface continually. It is only in the eye of such a storm that one can reach deeper into the planet's atmosphere without being torn apart. In the most upper part of the atmosphere one finds the weather more reasonable and it is here where a few courageous souls have opted to create floating cities. These cities are made from shipwreaks and other exotic flotsam that floats up from the surface. These cities are supported by colossal air balloons and magic. These cities are not so easy to find from space; however, quite a few spelljammers have taken the time to visit them. Most spelljammers simply use Springtime as a means to replenish the air supply aboard their ships. Springtime orbits at a distance of 400 million miles from its primary.
Perhaps the most studied and remarkable spectacle of Springtime is the 22 moons that orbit Springtime, most of which are earth types and even some of them can support life. The notable moons that can support life are Alicorn, Chalice, Chandra, Escobar, Horadi, Jehave, Korin, Rheama, Rhiza, Sanora, Sappho, Tenzar, Titus, Tsin, Ture and Xiqquratu.
Of the remaining 4 moons, two have been explored Badb and Niet. Badb is a water world that is without life near its surface. It is only at the depths near volcanic vents where life is found. The cloud cover is so dense that little or no light reaches it surface. So dark is the planet that explorers have given up on finding any islands. Niet is an odd planet being only 50 miles in diameter (Size Class B) in that no life or water is found on its barren surface. Its surface seems to be one vast desert composed of very dark pebbles. Those that observe Niet from high in the atmosphere or from low orbit can make out pictographs of strange creatures while those who are closer to the ground perceive that the lines are formed from scraping the darker soil to reveal the lighter soil underneath. What these strange carvings mean (and who made them) is anyone guess.
The two moons that have not been explored are Wildstar (Size Class E) which is a fire body and the air body Cirrus (Size Class E).
Gold Coin is a fairly large earth planet (Size F), which is very oddly shaped. It looks like it might have once been a spherical world which had slightly more than half of its mass blown away by some vast cataclysm. Following behind Gold Coin is a large chain of asteroids; these asteroids are the remains of the once spherical world. Now Gold Coin is nothing more then a desert planet, with little or no life resting upon its surface. Water is so rare that the inhabitants of the world wear special suits to collect all perspiration that they might have lost otherwise. It is only in the depths of Gold Coin where underground rivers are found and these rivers are guarded by creatures most foul. Gold Coin orbits at a distance of 700 million miles from its primary
The asteroids following Gold Coin are known as the Merchants by those of the Ezhian Empire. It is here in the asteroids that one finds the asteroid city of Anvault. Anvault, while called a city, is more akin to a small town, and here in this town is where one can find the mercane most plentiful. The reason for this is that the Ezhian Empire carefully monitors Mercane activity in this crystal sphere and has forbidden the Mercane to travel elsewhere in the crystal sphere without their permission, which is rarely granted to them.
Orbiting Gold Coin is the moon Tyrant, the only moon to survive the cataclysm. This moon is a hollow world, with the outer surface having a very thin atmosphere and thickening as one travels below its surface towards its hollow interior. The moon has gotten its name due to the large accumulation of beholder clans that can be found here. Here beholder-kin can be found as well as the Hive Mother sub breed.
Amongst the asteroids of the 'merchants' are the malevolent murderoids. Most have been driven from the common trade routes by the Ezhian Empire, but once in a while a few venture close to the shipping lanes. The shipping lanes are marked by asteroids with lighthouses on them, showing the safest paths throgh the asteroid trail. The Ezhian patrols warn others to avoid the rest of the 'merchants' because of the murderoids. Only one murderoid has since been allowed into the commonly ventured spacelanes as it is peaceful (why this particular creature is docile is unknown). This murderoid calls itself 'Gem'.
Shimmer is a small community found on 'Gem' which has a few docks. The ruler of Shimmer is Tanith.
At a distance of 1,100 million miles from the primary, Ironshod is the most distant planet, but not the most distant object in Imperial Space. Ironshod is a square world that is 200 miles to a side and as its name suggests it is rich in iron deposits; but, this iron is far from pure and those that try to mine often find themselves dying in agony. The veins of iron are mixed with a poisonous material and this material, while non lethal in small amounts, has increasing deleterious effects when exposed to it for a long time. A miner become ill because the poison that he inhales and absorbs through the skin in just a single day clogs his respiratory and immune systems. Each day that a miner is exposed to the surface and/or atmosphere of Ironshod, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1 for every 4 days of exposure.) Upon failing a saving throw a miner takes 1d4 Constitution drain, and needs to then check each hour thereafter as his body succumbs to the poison and starts to break down. Each failed check causes an additional 1d4 Constitution drain. Once somebody has started to die from this wasting poison, removing him from the atmosphere is the only way to save his life and even then he must still make 24 Fortitude saves (once every hour over a period of 24 hours) to fully detoxify. This is not an easy feat as ships entering the atmosphere of this planet carry away with them not only a fouled atmosphere but one filled with the poisonous gas of this planet. The only way to really survive short of magic is to not land on this planet at all or at least use only small vessels, like the goblin arrow, so that when it reaches another ship the poisonous atmosphere is dispersed. All efforts to mine this planet have failed.
Moon of Etsem
The moon of Etsem is an anomoly since it is not truly a moon (it orbits nothing) and is odder still in that it is made mostly of bone matter remains of shattered ships and a few small asteroids. This moon has no particular orbit, but instead wanders the spacelanes seemingly with a mind of its own. The moon has a 4 mile diameter (Size A) and those that walk on its surface swear that the whole moon is one vast undead creature. The moon travels at a rate of 50 million miles a month, much slower then any spelljamming ship could travel at spelljamming speed.
The moon moves at the will of its master, the lich known as Etsem. Etsem avoids being within 32,000 feet of other planetary bodies as this tends to be larger then Etsem's collection/moon and the "moon" starts to fall apart within the natural gravity of larger planets. The lich is said to have once been an ogre and those few that encountered him stated he is most likely skilled as a fighter and true necromancer. It is even rumored he was a general for the ogres during the first unhuman war. His lair is a collection of ships interconnected by bone passage ways (two of the ships are ogre mammoths).
(DM notes: for simplicity sake Etsem has 4HD as an ogre, 8th level fighter, 10th level cleric, 10th level sorcerer, 10th level true necromancer [CR 42]. This makes Etsem epic in level, a true challenge for even the most hardened epic characters).
Tear of Jekalize
It is said that when the goddess Jekalize fell from grace and righteousness and was thrown down from Mount Celestia she shed but a single tear. This tear is now a comet that travels the depth of Imperial Space. The comet is 10 miles by 5 miles and produces a spectacular tail when close to Gleaming Star. Life can be found on the Tear of Jekalize notably the comet steeds, frost worms, frost salamanders, ice mephits and oortlings. There are also the Two Silver Towers of Jekalize found here as well. The bizarre metal they are constructed of is of unknown origin and is no stronger then steel; however, the metal is immune to sonic and acid attacks and will over time close any gapping wounds to its structure (10 hit points per hour) provided the material is not taken more then 300 feet from the towers. Pieces will liquefy and ooze back to the structure to once again merge with the walls. In the towers one can find both living quarters and a library. The most upper portion of the towers are glassteel domes which house gardens one at tropical temperatures and the other temperate. The library was recently sacked by unknown malcontents and no books are to be found in the library, but the metal towers remain.
Within the two towers is found a small shrine to Jekalize. This shrine's guardian is an advanced Gelugon (Baatezu) 12HD plus 12th level cleric of Jekalize. It maintains a form of a beautiful elven maiden. An ice cave close to the two silver towers is home to an adult white dragon.
Superstition and legend has it that those who dwell within the comets coma (atmosphere) or its gaseous tail (which is said to be as long as ¾ million miles long) and those who sight the comet when it passes close to a planet or moon are doomed to a great suffering that is close at hand. No game effect is given for this as it is up to DMs creative mind how he wants this to affect his campaign.
Moradin's Forge is planetoid (Size A) that makes a complete orbit of the system every 175 years. The Forge is 4 miles to a side. From space one can see the structures the dwarves have carved out from it along time ago. Its has been mined for centuries and most of the dwarves have left it, arriving on Nimbus a little over 2,000 years ago. When it was first created it was used as a quarry (it was much bigger then it is today) to create dwarven citadels for wildspace exploration. Now monsters of all sorts can be found in its passages and great halls. The dwarves did take one stab at reclaiming the Forge but required too many resources to maintain it (after all no more resources can be found within it and the dwarves couldn't afford the continual upkeep of supplying the Forge.)
This is a great place for adventurers to get some experience as some races that have been abandoned can be found here. For example the dwarves sometimes exile their notorious criminals or unwanted, or the neogi could use it as a temporary base of operation, or a wizard has set up home within the forge and does not want to be bothered, et cetera.
Sword of Kell
Another famous comet found in Imperial Space is Kell's Sword. This comet is reddish in color. What make Kell's Sword unique is that it has a smaller object that orbits it. When both get close to the primary the comet looks like a giant blood red sword (which usually is an omen that a great war is coming to plague the kingdoms.) The gaseous coma (atmosphere) is safe to breath for a short time but those who breathe it for more then an hour find themselves becoming more irritable. Each hour beyond the first hour of exposure, one must make Fortitude save DC 15 (17 if the victim has the rage or frenzy ability) or become irritated. In such an irritated state, the character is easily provoked into a battle (Will save DC 15 (or 17 as above) for even the slightest bit of rudeness or off color remark; those failing the subsequent save go berserk and attack the offensive creature). Those characters immune to poison are not affected by the atmosphere. What else is found on this comet is not known, as most leave once the first signs of battle break out...or wind up dead on the surface.
Most groundlings who gaze up into the sky often look at the stars and try to envision various constellations. The truth to the stars is that most are Al-haq'ah (80%) and the remainder is very small fire bodies that are stationary (19%). One percent of the stars are neither Al-haq'ah nor very small fire bodies, but are something else altogether (A permanent portal to the phlogiston, an ancient lighthouse built by some unknown race for unknown purpose, et cetera).
Star of Beasts
Most of the stars are nothing more then sparkling lights in the night sky; but, the Star of Beasts is monitored by all astronomers. The reason for this is that the Star of Beasts usually flairs up (once every 28 days) and when it does all lycanthropes have an overwhelming want to assume their hybrid form and go on a murderous rampage. Even those good aligned lycanthropes feel a need to spill blood and as such will seek out a source of evil to sate that urge. The Star of Beasts rarely and unpredictably flairs out of cycle. The reason for this is as yet unknown.
Dark Horse Nebula
This huge nebula is composed of air, Al-haq'ah, asteroids and firebodies. It covers an area of 200 million miles by 800 million miles. The nebula gets its name for the way the gaseous cloud forms a void which from a distance looks like a horse's head. The stars in the nebula help light the expanse, giving it an eerie feeling. Murderoids and goblin ships are said to ply the nebula looking for victims. Hidden within the nebula's gaseous cloud are a few very small planets (Size A, all fewer than 10 miles in diameter). The air is far from pure and most races cannot stand the putrid smell. All of a ship's air envelope is considered fouled after exposure to the nebula but will never become deadly while it remains within (the goblins do not seem to mind). It should be noted that the elves avoid this area with their living ships as the gas causes their ships to wither and die.
Imperial Space Created by ©2003, Mark Doolan