Astralspace is a large sphere with a number of planets and other unusual features. At the center of the sphere is a stable portal to the Astral plane, giving the sphere its name.
Within Astralspace, few gods can grant spells. Instead, the religions within the sphere are dominated by the exemplar races - archons, tanar'ri, slaad, etc. Priests within this sphere serve one of the unique lords of the exemplar races, such as Talisid or Demogorgon. The only true powers that can grant spells are those powers that have a strong connection to one of the exemplar races (such as Lolth).
Astralspace also has a number of worlds that are considered dangerous to visit. For this reason, experienced space travelers avoid Astralspace, or make sure they have a strong crew and know their destination well.
Though the portal normally opens to the astral plane, the presence of Cube 572 and Tonzura within Astralspace suggests that it might not be totally stable. However, it has not changed in over a thousand common years. However, this instability might also be a clue to some features in the outer planes - is the moon in Gehenna originally from Astralspace?
Astralspace has a few unusual properties. Teleportation magic and far scrying do not work at ranges over about a mile. Because of this, the outsider races reluctantly depend on spelljamming vessels to ferry them between worlds. In addition, those planar creatures who assume the sphere is another battleground for the Blood War will find out that both Jurgarten and New Baator do not care about each other, and are focused on affairs on their own world.
Within Astralspace are a number of large clouds, millions of miles across. The clouds resemble a silver-gray haze. The clouds are translucent, so they do not totally block line of sight. Within these clouds, spelljamming is more efficient - helmsmen have their effective spelljamming level increased by 50% while within one of the clouds. These clouds move around Astralspace randomly. Unfortunately, they are frequently a haven for gith pirates.
Gith pirates are a common problem within Astralspace. To add to the danger, githyanki have an uneasy truce with their cousins, and augment the pirate's ranks. The githyanki have also experimented with adding spelljamming helms to their void cruisers from the astral plane.
Because it is a natural trading gateway, the mercane try to maintain control over the spelljamming activity within the sphere. In fact, they secretly encourage the gith pirates, and helped to broker the deal between them and the githyanki. The gith will not attack mercane vessels, and the mercane secretly serve as fences and brokers for the gith pirates.
Astra is the name given to the primary of this sphere, a stable portal to the Astral Plane. From space, Astra appears as a sphere that glows a soft silvery-gray. The portal is spherical, and anyone entering the portal is immediately transported to the astral plane. Entire ships can easily enter or leave the astral plane. The arrival point in the astral plane is apparently random.
From the astral plane, the portal to Astra appears as a color pool that resembles a star field. The color pool is usually larger than normal, even up to a mile across on rare occasions, but nowhere close to the size of Astra. Astral travelers who enter the pool appear on the surface of Astra, floating about an inch above the portal surface. Astra does not have gravity, though it does have an air envelope.
Astra does have a number of cities that float over the surface. These cities are primarily inhabited by rastipedes and formians from Arcadia, who trade goods to spelljammers and also offer guidance to disoriented astral immigrants. The cities also offer services to spelljammers, and the rastipedes help any new arrivals to book passage on spelljammer vessels. Because they try to help out the travelers, the rastipedes generally provide ship repair services at half cost to anyone willing to take on passengers.
The rastipedes and formians obtain their trading resources from the outer planes, bringing materials and foodstuffs through the portal. The mercane maintain a strong tie to the rastipedes, and finding a mercane in one of the floating cities is comparatively easy.
The Rimfelsir Belt is an asteroid belt that orbits closely around the primary. It is a rather dense asteroid belt in most places, and the air envelopes of many of the asteroids are contiguous. Many of the asteroids have vegetation and water, and have developed a thriving ecosystem. In fact, many of the larger asteroids even have small forests and lakes, and the flatlands of most of the asteroids have verdant fields stretching across them.
The asteroids are inhabited by several different races. Centaurs control the most territory, and have developed a thriving culture and healthy agricultural economy. They have several cities where spelljamming visitors are welcome. Small enclaves of satyrs also dwell among the centaurs. Unlike normal satyrs, both genders are represented among the satyrs of the Rimfelsir Belt.
Harpies plague the asteroid belt, building nests in the more inhospitable reaches of the asteroids. They attack passing ships, and plague the centaurs and satyrs. Like the satyrs, the harpies of Rimfelsir also have two genders.
Chenia is the sun of Astralspace, providing light and warmth to the various planets. It is shaped like a flat hexagon, burning on both sides.
As the name suggests, this small volcanic world immediately reminds visitors of hell. It is primarily inhabited by humans, though a wide variety of races are represented. Devils of all varieties make this world their home, forming the middle and upper classes, and ruling over the humanoids and half-breeds with a tyrannical fist. Cities are strictly regimented, and freedom does not exist.
The devils have remade sections of this world to resemble their original home. They have industriously used magic and slave labor to create sections resembling each of the layers of Baator, so they can feel more at home. Of course, this means that both the terrain and the devils torment the native humanoids.
Cities on New Baator do welcome spelljamming visitors. The devils have no interest in spelljamming, but spelljamming ships are strictly guarded to prevent slave escapes. Port masters expect spelljamming officers and their crews to obey all rules of New Baator, and punish any violations strictly.
Gamemasters can use the map of the 4th edition Baator astral dominion for this world.
Long ago, one of the cubes from Acheron somehow entered Astralspace through Astra. This particular cube contained several armies of bladelings and spikers. In addition, it included some living construct races which mysteriously resemble the Warforged of Eberron.
Freed from the influences of Acheron, the cube's inhabitants have tried to transform their world into a better place. Their warlike nature transformed into industriousness, and Cube 572 has become a productive world, if a bit harsh. The inhabitant's militant natures still exist, and occasional skirmishes do take place. However,
As it entered Astralspace, Cube 572 passed through the asteroid belt, and pulled a number of asteroids into orbit around it. It also collided with a few, which had the benefit of annihilating one of the leaders of the original warring armies. The cube eventually slowed, and entered orbit around Astra, becoming another world in this bizarre space.
Once the inhabitants of 572 realized their plight, they used the material from the asteroids to transform one of the faces of the cube into farmlands capable of growing food. They spread the earth over the entire surface, and aggressively imported other raw materials and livestock. They even hired some farmers to teach them how to raise food and care for animals. Today, that face of the cube is the world's bread-basket.
Cube 572 has a thin ring of dust and tiny rocks in orbit around it. There are no bodies larger than size A within the ring. Strangely, the ring is square-shaped rather than circular, conforming to the cube's shape.
Poltina is a strange hollow water world with an inner core of water. The outer layer is 100 miles thick. Below that is a gap of breathable air (with weather patterns) for another 100 miles, ending at another surface of water. The air glows slightly, giving the inner world enough light to see.
The outer layer is mostly solid water with some floating vegetation. However, most of the inner core of Poltina is filled with coral, leading some people to suggest that the planet should be classified as a liveworld. The coral covers about 30% of the planet's inner surface, though regions where the coral has not grown so far are most common. Like most coral reefs, the coral is quite porous, and small fish can easily swim all the way through the core of this world. In the deeper water, a variety of sentient whale-like creatures dominate the seas. Many of these whale creatures can fly, and thus flying whale creatures are also common in the air layer between the outer shell and the inner core, as well as on the inner surface of the shell. Few of the creatures can hold their breath long enough to swim all the way to the outer surface, so visitors to the outer world may never encounter them.
A few land-based civilizations have built small towns on the coral that breaches the inner surface. Unfortunately, the depth of the outer shell of water prevents easy trade between these civilizations and spacefarers.
Some inhabitants report finding a stream of black waters flowing through the outer layer of Poltina. Others have mentioned regions of silvery water appearing for a time. If either of these exists, they appear to move at random, as no one can find either of them consistently. Both phenomena occurs so rarely that no one has been able to investigate them.
Poltina has three moons:
This world is a frightening world where demonic powers clash with each other, and tribes or civilizations of evil creatures challenge each other. Given one of the alternate names of the Abyss, the epithet fits far too well. Enclaves of good creatures do exist, but they are quite suspicious of strangers. Strangely enough, some of the evil lands are quite open to visitors, though a savvy captain must negotiate from a position of strength (and be alert for betrayal).
Fortunately, the natives of Jurgarten are largely devoted to fighting each other, and will not usually threaten a spelljamming ship once it leaves the planet. Conflicts on Jurgarten fall largely along racial lines, though cults and powerful warlords can command large regions. A spelljammer is considered a valuable resource as a war machine, so Jurgarten natives may try to recruit or cajole spelljamming captains to their cause.
More information on Jurgarten coming soon
Orbiting Jurgarten is a cluster of earth asteroids. About a hundred irregular bodies up to size B orbit the planet in a low orbit. These earth bodies have no atmosphere, so they remain largely uninhabited. Explorers have reported that some of the stones appear to have multiple faces carved in the stone surface, all with agonized expressions. Who made the faces, or what their purpose is, remains unknown.
Nyseme is an idyllic planet. It has a number of floating continents with a variety of biomes and terrain. Some of the continents are dominated by thick forests, while others have jungles, mountains, or grassy plains. The continents remain fixed in their location, and are parallel with one of Nyseme's four lateral faces.
One of the most spectacular features of Nyseme is the waterfalls. Rivers will flow to the edge of a floating continent, then plunge a hundred miles or more to a continent below. Eventually, the water from the rivers forms a watery core at the center of the planet. The planet also has polar geysers that eject water from the core, returning the water all the way to the upper atmosphere.
The planet is sparesely populated by humanoids, and many areas are still untamed. The most populous races are humans, standard gnomes and kenkus. Avariel (winged elves) also have a few enclaves on Nyseme, and pixies also are common. Approximately 10% of the animals on Nyseme are awakened, living in relative peace with the humanoids. In fact, the gnomes and pixies both actively seek out awakened animals as companions; for some gnome communities, this is a rite of passage.
In addition to the gnomes and kenkus, several clans of phoelarchs and vazalkyons dwell on Nyseme. The relations between the two races are good, and both consider the skies to be their domain.
Some gnomes and humans have built balloons and zeppelins to move from continent to continent. Spelljamming ships are welcome in Nyseme, though the world has little to offer aside from food and raw materials.
Like Cube 572, Tonzura is a world that was pulled into the sphere from its original outer plane. In this case, the plane was Carceri, and somehow one of the nested spheres from Carceri emerged into Astralspace, with each of the spheres becoming its own worldlet within the cluster. Tonzura has been within the sphere far longer than anyone can remember, so it must have entered Astralspace long ago.
The six spheres all still glow red, and retain the name from their original planar layer. However, some of their features have altered slightly over the millenia:
Unlike Cube 572, the initial inhabitants did not make any significant effort to improve their lot. Instead, many of the initial inhabitants fled the world when they discovered spelljamming. Over time, different groups have attempted to settle on Tonzura, despite (or perhaps because of) its unforgiving nature. Each of the spheres of Tonzura has several towns, blending the original architecture with new construction.
One of the most common threats to inhabitants of Tonzura is the oni. No one knows if they were the original inhabitants, or if they arrived on Tonzura through other means. But oni of all varieties stalk the various worldlets of Tonzura.
More Worlds to Explore
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