Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Paul Westermeyer (aka GMWestermeyer) has given us permission to bring you a Spelljammer netbook he has been working on called Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide.

Here is what he told us about his guide:

This summarizes oriental cultures in each of the major D&D settings, as well as in Hackjammer, it also includes an OA only SJ timeline, and my Kara-tur timeline. It includes original material on many of the worlds, especially Forgotten Realms, and a reasonably complete bibliography.

I’ve only quickly skimmed through the 67 page netbook, but there are all sorts of useful information including:

  • 8 sections giving you information on Asian content that can be used in Realmspace,
  • 4 sections giving you information on Asian content that can be used in Greyspace,
  • A section giving you information on Asian content that can be used in Mystaraspace,
  • A section giving you information on Asian content that can be used in the Hackjammer crystal sphere,
  • 3 sections giving you information on Asian content within the Spelljammer product line,
  • A section about the Asian D&D content located on the Mythic Earth,
  • A Spelljammer Oriental Adventures Timeline,
  • A detailed bibliography, with details of 12 different types of sources that can improve your Oriental Adventures/Spelljammer crossover gaming experience and
  • A timeline of Kara-Tur

Being a Paul Westermeyer document, the citations and bibliography are a major part of this, allowing you to follow his research back to all the original sources and formulate opinions based on his research, as well as his conclusions.

This is a must-have PDF for any Spelljammer campaign.

There is a discussion topic over at the Spelljammer forum at The Piazza, where you can discuss Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide with other fans and the author himself.

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A Complete History of the Elven Imperial Navy: Part 2 – Discovery of Krynnspace to Arcane Age

Elven Man-O-War Transparency by Silverblade the EnchanterBy Adam “Night Druid” Miller

Note – Adam has created a very detailed campaign setting. Much of this is based on canon material but much is his own creation. For those who follow the Toy Soldier Saga, I will be using some of this information among my “fanon” but by no means all of it. In particular, my thoughts on the early history of the origins and creation of the Navy are different.

Krynnspace Discovered

In -3,948 OC, world scouts discovered a mid-sized sphere that formed a rough triangle with Realmspace and Greyspace. It quickly became known as Krynnspace, after the primary inhabited planet of the sphere. The term “Radiant Triangle”, a reference to the Phlogiston Rivers that connect the spheres of Greyspace, Krynnspace, and Realmspace, start to come into use at this time.

Investigations revealed Krynnspace to be relatively young, with only two major civilizations. The native elves were busy building their civilization in the forests of Krynn and Zivilyn. Oddly, they worshipped their own deities and not those of the Seldarine. The native elves were soon welcomed into the Council of Elven Worlds. The other major civilization, the Ogres, would soon plague the Elven Fleet, not only in Krynnspace, but across the entire Radiant Triangle, and beyond.

Rise of the Ogres

The Ogres of Krynnspace were a tall, powerful race blessed with intelligence, beauty, and magical abilities. They built mighty kingdoms in the mountains of Krynn and Zivilyn, dominating much of those worlds. The ogres of Zivilyn were particularly skilled with magic, and by -3,901 OC, they had discovered Spelljamming and were already building ships to explore wildspace. They quickly established colonies on every major world of the sphere. Within a century, they dominated the wildspace of much of the Radiant Triangle much like the Elven Fleet does today.

Unlike the Elven Fleet, the ogres were avid slavers. Much of the glory of their empire was built upon the backs of slave labor. Although humans and demi-humans were the ogres’ favored slaves, they were happy to enslave every race they felt they could easily control.

The Elven Fleet skirmished frequently with the ogres, but never engaged them in outright war. For the next thousand years, both sides made use of Letters of Marque and privateers to wage a proxy war against each other’s merchant vessels. Neither desired a true war, as the risks far outweighed any potential gains.

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A Complete History of the Elven Imperial Navy: Part 1 – Foundation and Early History

Elven Man-O-War Transparency by Silverblade the EnchanterBy Adam “Night Druid” Miller

Note – Adam has created a very detailed campaign setting. Much of this is based on canon material but much is his own creation. For those who follow the Toy Soldier Saga, I will be using some of this information among my “fanon” but by no means all of it. In particular, my thoughts on the early history of the origins and creation of the Navy are different.

Origins of the Elves (As told by the Myth-Keepers of Lionheart)

In ages long forgotten, when the countless worlds of the Endless Spheres were new, the Seldarine set about shaping those worlds to their liking. They created the first sentient beings, spirits of nature bound by mortal vessels. They created the Minyaeldar, the First Elves. As they took their first steps on their now-mythical homeworld, they were taught the ways of magic by their creators. In time the Seldarine taught them much, and in gratitude the Minyaeldar dedicated their entire civilization to their divine creators.

The creation of the elves did not go unnoticed. Other gods came to know of the elves, and grew jealous. They rushed to create their own races to worship them. Yet none had the patience of the Seldarine. In their haste, their creations were flawed. Most flawed of all were the creations of Gruumsh the One Eye. He and the gods aligned with him created the Morionello Ash’hen, the Black Sons of the One Eye, the orcs. Where the elves were beautiful, the orcs were ugly. Where the elves devoted and loyal, orcs were treacherous, their loyalty bought by treasure or threats. Only in destruction and murder did the orcs excel. Shamed, Gruumsh angrily accused the Seldarine of tricking him, and vowed war upon them.

In the Heavenly realms, Gruumsh marched to the very gates of Arvandor. There he hurled insults upon the Seldarine, and invoked a challenge for one to meet him in a duel. The Seldarine were afraid, for in those days Gruumsh was unmatched in his strength and fighting ability. Only one of the Seldarine, the bravest and strongest of their number, took up his sword to meet Gruumsh on the battlefield. Corellon Larethian. Their battle became legendary, for the Godswar shook the planes with their battle. How long the war lasted, none could say. By the end, Corellon emerged as the leader of the Seldarine, his mate was cast into the Abyss for her treachery, and many deities had perished.

Most importantly, the Godswar scattered the Minyaeldar. Great portals opened before them with magic now forgotten. A Great Elven Diaspora scattered the elves to countless new worlds. On many worlds, they found waiting for them were the Eldar Serkearda, the Elves of the Blood and Earth. The Serkearda were born when the blood of Corellon had mixed with the tears of the Moon and the soil of the Earth. They had sprung up upon the many worlds the two gods had battled. On some worlds, they greeted their Minyaeldar as brothers, and upon others they were greeted as enemies.

As the elves rebuilt their shattered civilization, many Minyaeldar withdrew into remote mountain fortresses and enclaves. They came to be solemn and wise, and became the Gray Elves. Likewise, many Serkearda decided to forsake civilization and withdrew into their forest homes, and became Sylvan Elves, or Wood Elves. But many Minyaeldar and Serkearda did not withdraw, instead choosing to rebuild and intermarry. These became the High Elves.

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U is for Underdark

Jeff Grubb mentioned the Underdark, including that of the Rock of Bral, in a recent blog entry:

U is for Underdark

Rumble on the Rock (Book Excerpt)

The elven wine came in three different varieties; a green elven summer wine, an Evereskan red, and a dry white that seemed to have come from somewhere in Greyspace.  Of the three, the summer wine was his personal favourite.  He brought those up first.  “I recommend this one,” he said to Luigi.  “We used to drink it back home.”  He coughed and cleared his throat.  Then he went back down and hauled up the ale.

“Set it in the empty spot,” Luigi instructed him.  In the meantime, the beholder had tossed some trash into the empty cask and he asked Shaundar to carry the full barrel that preceded it into the alley; which he did.

Shaundar saw the movement out of the corner of his eye at about the same time that the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.  He put the stack of waste barrels between him and the intruders.  A small troupe of brightly-dressed street performers came into the alley; except that these so-called performers were armed with slings and belaying-pins.  There were two humans, a mustachioed man and a hatchet-faced woman; a gnome with a respectably tall red hat, a scowling halfling, and a half-elven youth with a pencil-thin mustache.  He resembled the human male somewhat.

“Good evening, Mr. Sunfall,” the man with the curly mustachios greeted him with a bow and a flourish.  “The Juggler, on behalf of her friend young Mr. Kullek, sends her regards.”  He grinned and they began to spread out, tapping their pins against their hands.

Kullek?  Who in the Demonweb was Kullek?  But the Juggler was a name he knew.  She was one of the four legendary Underbarons of Bral; a leader of a criminal syndicate that often included swindlers and con men, according to rumour.  He supposed that explained the performers’ outfits.  “Don’t do this to yourselves,” Shaundar sighed.  He had no urge to fight anyone; he was weary of death and bloodshed.  “If you’re here for the little punk I threw out of the bar last night, he’s not worth the effort.”

The mustachioed man’s grin widened.  “The Juggler takes the needs of her clients very seriously.”  Shaundar saw with an inward wince that he had mistaken Shaundar’s reluctance for fear.  They started moving towards him.

“To the Hells with this,” Shaundar said in disgust, waving a hand dismissively, and he turned to head out the other end of the alley.

“Please, one moment,” another voice chimed in, this one slightly accented.  Everyone was equally surprised to find the other way blocked by a pack of five Shou men with rolled-up shirt sleeves and tattoos completely coating the visible parts of their arms to the wrist.  Three were apparently unarmed and two had twin weapons that looked like some kind of billy clubs with handles so that they could be clutched against the long bones of the forearms.  One of the unarmed ones clasped his hands before him and made a perfunctory bow.  “Nai hao, konnichiwa, Mr. Sunfall.  We represent Mr. Ozamata, who offers protection services for the inhabitants of the Low City.  I understand you reneged on your agreement with your landlord?”  He was crisp and polite.

Shaundar groaned.  Mr. Ozamata was the head of the Shou Town criminal syndicate, the Yakuza.  They were a dangerous bunch.  The other guys probably just wanted to rough him up, but they might actually kill him.

“We were here first,” snapped the hatchet-faced woman to the tattooed Shous.

The Yakuza man smiled a bit more.  “I am sorry to disappoint the Juggler and to deprive you of your fee, but Mr. Ozamata has an image to uphold.  It would reflect very poorly on his business if he were to fail to provide the services he is paid for.”  Now the two groups began to keep watch on each other as well as Shaundar.

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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.

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