Where is the Rock of Bral?

Written by Paul “GM” WestermeyerDocks of Bral by Silverblade the Enchanter

Reprinted from An “official” Spelljammer Guide to the Spheres by permission of the author.

The Rock of Bral presents a special problem for any Spelljammer sphere list that tries to focus on canon material, because the canon on Bral originally was that the DM could place it in any sphere. Bral was designed to be plugged into the DM’s home campaign with minimal fuss and bother. This is an admirable idea, and it worked very well for Spelljammer, SJR5 Rock of Bral is not only the very best of all the Spelljammer products, it is the only Spelljammer product which can stand with the very best AD&D products of all sorts. Bral doesn’t need to shirk from comparison with other top ranked city accessories such as Sargent’s The City of Greyhawk, Greenwood’s FR1 Waterdeep and the North, or even the hoary greats; Chaosium’s Thieves’ World boxed set or TSR’s Lankhmar: City of Adventure. If they did one thing right for Spelljammer, it was SJR5 Rock of Bral.

So, the canon answer to the question, “Where is the Rock of Bral?” is “Wherever the DM decides to place it.” But that’s not particularly helpful for this project, and it also ignores some later TSR work which does seem to place the Rock in specific spheres. The Rock appears directly in two fiction products. Roger E. Moore’s The Maelstrom’s Eye begins on the Rock of Bral, and in Spelljammer #9 ‘The Geas’ Jeff Grubb sets most of the action on the Rock of Bral. ‘The Geas’ has no sphere specific information, and has no impact on where the Rock is located. The Maelstrom’s Eye has a great deal of information on other worlds in the same sphere.

Several published works place the Rock within the Tears of Selune, in Realmspace. In Polyhedron #127 “A World of Your Own: Island Campaigns: Part 6 Strange heroes, strange adventures”, Roger E. Moore suggests placing the Rock in the Tears, but since the series is a sample of campaign construction, it is not really more forceful than the suggestions in SJR2 Realmspace or SJR6 Greyspace that place the Rock in the Tears or the Grinder, respectively. But in Faiths and Avatars (p170), in the entry on Tyr, Julia Martin and Eric Boyd establish that for Forgotten Realms canon, the Rock is in the Tears. That would seem to end it.

Except that The Maelstrom’s Eye mentions several planets that are definitely within the same sphere as the Rock of Bral, and none of those planets are mentioned in SJR2 Realmspace or any other published source on Realmspace. And they are definitely big enough to mention. Moreover, the Elven Admiral in command of the Fleet by the Rock is not the Admiral that War Captain’s Companion places in charge of the Elven fleet in Realmspace. No products mention a major scro invasion of Realmspace, though one definitely occurs in the same sphere as Bral. In fact, Roger E. Moore’s own Forgotten Realms short story, ‘Gunne Runner’ (Realms of Magic, 1995) hints strongly that the scro have only a weak presence in Realmspace (admittedly, this could reflect the scro presence after The Maelstrom’s Eye).

On the other hand, the planets mentioned are small enough to be easily added to Realmspace. In addition, Into the Void ends with Teldin departing the planet Toril in Realmspace, and The Radiant Dragon begins with Teldin on the asteroid Garden in Realmspace. The Maelstrom’s Eye never mentions Teldin traveling from Realmspace to Bral, so Bral could be in Realmspace. The bottom line is that a Forgotten Realms product establishes a canon location for the Rock, but circumstantial evidence in Spelljammer products contradicts it.

It’s actually easily reconciled. SJR2 Realmspace mentions a Spelljammer-canon asteroid city in the Tears, Dragon Rock. Aside from the short paragraph in SJR2, Dragon Rock is not detailed in any published sources. The similarity between the names makes it easy to simply substitute ‘Dragon Rock’ in Realmspace, which leaves us clear to maintain the Rock in its own sphere. This sphere has entered canon as ‘Casaspace’ in Hackjammer, according to the lead Hackjammer author, Adam Miller. But Hackjammer also contains the Rock of Brawl, which is firmly placed in Hackspace. So, we have three asteroid cities, all with similar names, that act as centers of spelljamming traffic and trade: Dragon Rock in Realmspace, the Rock of Bral in Casaspace (which some fans on the internet have called Bralspace, or Spiralspace), and lastly the Rock of Brawl in Hackspace. Of course, DMs can still choose to place the Rock wherever they wish.

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