Beyond Rielunspace, the wider Aether is home to hundreds of thousands of worlds in the Spelljammer Gone Wild universe. There are steam-powered societies so old that their power approaches near godlike potential. Luckily, most of these worlds are beyond the reach of the fractured Kings’ Monarchy or the Elven Navy. However, once in a while a spelljamming ship will come into contact with a Steampunk Sentinel ship from one of these Distant Spheres (or The Beyond) and are either left in awe of the visitors powerful ship or left in ruins from that same power.
The reiger and the mercane seem to have knowledge of these ancient spelljamming people but refuse to talk about it with the other peoples of the space lanes. The only advice reiger give to captains and their crews that might encounter Steampunk Sentinel is to flee as fast a possible. It is better not to…
Another great image by by p2722754 on Pixabay, but I decided to use this one specifically for Time of Ages. I like the small but dangerous feel to this ship. Its crew would would be survivors — a small fish is very big pond.
While piracy is a huge concern in the sky above Rielun, out in the wildspace of Rielun’s sphere is another matter altogether. Pirates often take to the Aether to prey on ships coming into the sphere for the first time or to harass traders moving from planet to planet. (I really need to create the crystal sphere for Rielunspace. Hmm, I have a feeling it’s going to be huge.) While most of Rielunspace’s pirates are dastardly and greedy, there are some out in the space lanes just trying to survive. The ship below would belong to one of these small time survivors who would spend most of their time avoiding the patrols of the Elven Navy, which have a strong presence in Rielunspace and privateers for various Aether Kingdoms spread throughout the sphere.
I found this image on Pixabay and immediately thought Spelljammer, and the image’s creator even noted it as being a steampunk-inspired creation. This old trader ship would be typical for the Aether skies of Rielunspace — older ships that have fallen out of favour in the spacelanes of the Kings’ Monarchy.
Last Saturday, at 12.00 noon EST, he broadcast the first episode of a new a live-streamed 2nd Edition AD&D Spelljammer game on his Twitch TV channel.
Called, Adventures in Arcane Space, the show features some of the viewers of Auld Dragon’s channel testing out Roll 20 for the first time.
Catch up on You Tube
The game stars off on The Rock of Bral, with the player characters being summoned to a drinking establishment, called The Rampant Lion, to meet with a mysterious stranger who is looking for some people to help him carry out a mission for The Seekers.
Want a perspective on what flying through space might actually look like? Here’s one project to give you an idea. Working on the knowledge that radio waves travel at the speed of light, this simulation shows you the local neighbourhood near Earth (excluding exoplanets) up to the limit of the first Earth radio broadcasts; up to 110 years ago (as of 2015).
Things I learned from this:
In general, stars don’t float randomly by themselves. They appear in clusters. We’re part of a pretty little cluster of mostly much tinier, dimmer stars than our own, that might look like the Pleiades with a red-shift in someone else’s perspective.
We can infer that most of the stars near us are smaller/dimmer than our own because most of them have alpha-numeric names (more on that in a minute). Also, stars progress from red to orange to yellow to white to blue in terms of brightness and most of the stars around us are more orange than we are.
Every once in a while you do get singular stars just floating in a void, but it’s the exception, not the rule.
There are two nebulae relatively near to us. One’s about 40 light years away and the other is about 80 light years away. Each is about 10 light years across.
The oldest stars we know about have proper names. Those tend to be the brightest from our perspective and are typically the ones visible with the naked eye. Most such names are derived from the Arabic language. You’ll see relatively few of them in our local neighbourhood (Sirius, Fomalhaut, Pollux, etc.)
Sometimes stars are named for astronomers or the people who discovered them. You’ll see a couple of those in this simulation. One of them, Barnard’s Star, which you’ll see right after the Centauri stars that are our closest neighbours, blasted right through the edge of our solar system only 70,000 years ago! Talk about a near-miss!
Some stars are catalogued. The Bayer Designation names stars by a lower case Greek letter generally representing its corresponding number, plus the constellation it appears in. (ie. Sigma Sagittarii). Once all 26 Greek letters have been assigned, letters of the Arabic-derived alphabet are used (ie. G Scorpii). Sometimes when concurrent stars were discovered (like, say the smaller star in the Alpha Centauri binary) it was designated with a superscript. The Flamsteed Designation is used when no Bayer Designation exists or when the Bayer designation uses numeric superscripts, because it’s less awkward. (ie. 61 Cygni). These stars are usually visible with a decent telescope.
The most recently discovered stars, visible with ultra high resolution or space telescopes and tracked by computers, are named with an alpha-numeric designation based on their position in the sky. Over 990 million such objects exist.
Special cases: Pulsars are designated by the prefix PSR, with a series of hyphenated numbers in which the first indicates its right ascension and the second its degree of inclination. Supernovae are designated by the prefix SN, plus the year they were discovered in, and if there was more than one, a letter indicating the order of discovery (ie. SN 1987A.) A few supernovae are known by the year they occurred in (ie. SN 1604, also known as Kepler’s Star). Novae are usually given a name according to the naming convention of the General Catalogue of Variable Stars, which includes a number or letter designation and the constellation it’s from (ie. V841 Ophiuchi, SZ Persei, T Bootis.)
Here’s a preview to show you what it looks like: you can find the simulation itself at Lightyear.fm. Note that if you hover your cursor over each celestial body (save the Earth, the Moon and the Sun) it will tell you what it is and how far away from Earth it is. Enjoy the simulation!
Starfinder seems to be a bit like Warhammer 40,000, in which a fantasy world is advanced to a more highly technological society, as opposed to taking fantasy into space, but it sounds like a great deal of fun! Check it out by clicking on the link on the image (courtesy Paizo).
So begins a player’s adventures in Skybourne. A wizard’s arrogance left a world broken, ravaged by a sentient forest, and surrounded by the planar wound called the maelstrom. Yet in this aftermath lies a world of adventure, where airship pilots delve a world’s worth of ruins looking for ancient treasure, where Aasimar kings and barbarian lords battle for control of a dozen new cultures, and where anyone with a ship and a will can make their fortune, if they have luck on their side.
Built for both the traditional and Spheres of Power magic systems, Skybourne is a campaign setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game built around the adventures of an airship and its crew, and borrows as much in tone from Firefly, Star Wars, and other shows as it does from classic sword and sorcery adventures. In this, the Player’s Guide to Skybourne, you’ll find:
A host of new races, including the plant-born Alraun, the octopus-like Cacaelia, the dinosaur-blooded Cherufe, the magically-constructed Created, the draconic Cuazaj, the pheonix-like Fenghaung, the plant-like Leshy, the fey-blooded Sidhier, and the insectoid alien Tatulani.
Over a dozen new archetypes, including the Halfling dragonrider, the tranquil barbarian, the Alraune bodysnatcher, the gun chemist, and more!
New traditions, a ‘tradition trait’ system, and the Fallen Fey racial sphere for the Spheres of Power magic system.
Religions and magic rituals.
Rules for using crews- swarm-like groups of hired hands that aid the PCs in sailing ships and attacking their enemies!
Airship rules, including sailing, customization, and combat!
New feats, new skills, new equipment, new magic items, and more!