Cradlespace is a remote sphere that lies on an unnamed intermittent flow river that flows between it and Gossamerspace. It has recently moved onto this river (about a thousand years ago) but it is still largely overlooked by most explorers.
Cradlespace is notable in that its many planets are not arranged in a plane. Instead, the 20 inner planets are all at the same distance from the primary. The planets are arranged regularly, forming the corners of a dodecahedron (d12). This arrangement is known as the Cradle, and gives the sphere its name.
One lone planet, Betensar, orbits outside of this shell of worlds.
The planets of Cradlespace show some evidence of being created artificially. In addition to their unusual arrangement, the individual worlds frequently have somewhat unusual shapes and unnatural features. Most spacefarers that venture into Cradlespace suspect the Reigar were involved. Despite the possibly artificial nature of the system, Cradlespace is home to many thriving cultures that only occur in this sphere. The native races discovered spelljamming several hundred years ago, but have not ventured much beyond the sphere wall. The various races have established small towns on each other's worlds. Relations among the various races are usually peaceful, though conflicts do occur.
Small isolated tribes of more traditional humanoids do exist, and can be found on most of the worlds in the sphere, but they are uncivilized and isolated. Three main groups exist. Tribes of dark-skinned jungle elves inhabit some of the more remote jungles and rainforests. They favor blowguns and sniping tactics. Furred arctic orcs dwell in more frigid regions. Finally, some barbaric humans with unusual skin patterns also dwell in remote areas. Other, smaller groups also can be found, but they are even less civilized. Their presence, appearing on many of the inner planets, may be linked to the founders of the sphere, or they may suggest earlier spelljamming visitors who have succumbed to savagery.
Cradlespace features not one but many different and distinct world-civilizations and cultures. These cultures have been integrating spelljamming within their societies for a few hundred years, and are just starting to take their first steps into the larger universe. PCs encountering any of the races might be viewed with suspicion because they resemble some of the savage races. None of the civilized races of Cradlespace resemble normal humanoids. Their descriptions (and notes for their use as characters) may be found here.
The worlds have flora and fauna as unique as the dominant creatures. This ranges from the relatively normal fauna of Izam to the utterly bizarre creatures of Jeiban and Voska. The creatures of most worlds frequently have some of the same characteristics as their dominant race. For instance, many of the creatures of Voska resemble rocks, while the aquatic fauna of Athor frequently have minor psionic abilities.
The sun of Cradlespace resembles a swirling ball of fire with tentacle-like streams emanating from it. The streams extend into space, writhing as if it were alive. Some sages suggest that the primary may be a fire-liveworld, but no one has been able to verify this. The sun has no natural inhabitants.
Because of the erratic nature of the sun's tendrils, it has not been explored by any of the sphere's civilizations.
The inner planets, in no particular order, are arranged in a static dodecahedral arrangement. Each is 120 million miles from the primary, and the planets that are adjacent in the cradle are 85 million miles apart. The cradle itself rotates around the primary, switching axes every few years, so the planets do not follow a fixed path. The planets are:
Athor is a temperate water world with abundant life. Kelp and other plant life float through the waters of Athor, and fish of all varieties also flourish in these waters. The surface of Athor has a number of small floating continents, many of which have tall mountains.
The continents of Athor have developed over huge floating sea plants; the mega-plants form a thick rock-like crust on their upper surface. Other mineral deposits have accumulated on the surfaces of the continents, with materials coming from asteroids or other sources external to the planet. Frequently, multiple plants grow together, resulting in long mountainous continents. Furthermore, since the continents drift slowly across the world, sea navigation can be quite challenging, as the continents form a wide sea-maze in some areas.
The Athoras dwell in cities on and under the floating continents. The undersea cities are constructed from the mega-plants, while the surface cities have buildings constructed from both the mega-plants and minerals harvested from the continent surface.
Spelljammers who visit Athor will find numerous places to dock, and the athoras are quite welcoming of strangers. They are naturally curious, and many will join a spelljamming crew out of curiousity.
The world-cluster of Berga is composed of five enormous trees in parallel. Each of these trees has a leaf-crown at each end, rather than roots at one end. The branches of each of the world-trees intertwine, allowing the native life to move from one of the trees to another.
The trunks of the world trees are large enough to have their own ecosystem, and are covered in an earth-like crust. So even on the trunks of the trees, there are small hills, rivers, and dense forests. Forests cover much of the trunks of Berga - whether these are independent organisms or part of the world trees are unknown. The berganies dwell both along the trunks and in the branches that interconnect the world-trees, fashioning multi-level buildings among the branches and trunks high off the ground.
In the few clearings, the berganies raise crops. These clearings also sometimes hold settlements of the savage races, which the berganies allow to survive simply to provide a physical challenge. Large beasts also roam the cluster-world, and the native berganies hunt such creatures for both sport and food. Where there are few challenges, the berganies fight each other, either in ritual combats or actual battles between their city-states.
The berganies have built spelljammer ports into some of the communities among the branches of the cluster-trees. This prevents large ships from docking easily, and the berganies keep a close eye on more heavily armed ships. They may join a crew that offers adventure and the opportunity for a bergany to test him/herself.
The world of Casarom is variously described as a ring-shaped cluster flatworld. It is composed of a series of solid rings around an empty central point. Each of these rings is mostly flat, and 30-150 miles across. Some of the rings have both water and earth segments, or hold small lakes. Many of the rings are not complete circles, having gaps or large spaces within them. They are separated by gaps of around 10-120 miles. There are multiple major rings, along with even more partial rings that form short arcs.
Originally the ring segments were all separated. However, the native casarins have built a complex web of wooden bridges between the different ring segments, This marvel of engineering let the native casarins truly dominate their world.
With the discovery of spelljamming, the casarins adapted many of the bridge spans to serve as docks for ships. Ships can usually dock anywhere on Casarom for comparatively low rates.
The world of Hunysar is a very fertile world, filled with game and edible vegetation. However, Hunysar is overrun with the savage races of the sphere. All three tribes have numerous tribal villages on this world. Many of the civilized races of Cradlespace attempted to settle on Hunysar, with tragic results. After several failed attempts, the Athoras discovered that the atmosphere of Hunysar contain something which heightens the savages' ferocity.
Hunysar is roughly round, but not perfectly spherical, with several significant depressions and rises. The world has no natural caves of significant size, so the world may have had some sort of massive cavern collapse leading to its irregular shape.
Izambe is a disc-shaped world with two different sides. One side is primarily plains and savannahs, broken by the occasional copse of trees or hills. The other side is a deep jungle. Four large freshwater lakes penetrate the disk. Rocky islands within the lakes contain large tunnels which allow passage from one side of the world to another. While few animals venture from one side of the world to another, the native Izams have fully explored both sides of their world.
The flora and fauna of Izambe are unusual in several respects. Most notably, while Izambe is home to a typical assortment of animals and plants, many of them have unusual colorations. Rather than greens, the vegetation on the plains side of Izambe has a warm golden-orange color. The foliage on the jungle side is primarily blue. This has led to some animals developing unusual color patterns - Izambe's jungle side has tigers with blue and black stripes.
The Izams roam over much of this world. They have built many cities, but retain a respect for the natural order of their world. Izamben clothing is decorated with animal or plant patterns, either as a tribute to their hunting prowess or simply as a fashion statement. Many Izams eschew the city life though, and prefer to roam around the wilderness in small bands.
Izams are less likely to join a spelljamming crew than other races, because they like to roam over land, and the deck of a ship offers little chance for roaming. Izam has relatively few spelljamming ports, but larger cities offer a full range of services to spelljammers.
The world of Jeiba is shaped like a 5-pointed star. The planet is thicker in the center, so the points are actually the points of cones. Aside from its unusual shape, the world has a typical range of terrain.
Jeiba is dominated by the Jeibans. The jeibans have built numerous cities, and most of the surface of the world is civilized. There are few wild animals or monsters on Jeiba, as the small jeibans have tried to exterminate most of the dangerous ones. Recently, they have started to change their approach due to the influence of the other Cradlespace races.
Of particular note are some of the plants of Jeiba. The jeibans harvest plants to serve a variety of needs. They cultivate some plants whose leaves can be treated and used as parchment easily. Other plants and berries produce juices which the jeibans use for ink, and their clothing is made from other peculiar plants.
Jeibans have little interest in forming their own spelljamming navy, and their few ports are not particularly well-designed. However, individual jeibans may be interested in joining a crew - if the crew can tolerate the jeiban's mannerisms.
The world of the k'karos is a cylinder, dominated by a single large landmass. There are three continents of Kokor, two of which occupy the top and bottom of the cylinder. These continents are largely covered by frigid, inhospitable mountains. The round face of the cylinder is mostly covered by an immense, roughly rectangular continent. This continent is criss-crossed by mountain ranges that range north-south and east-west, dividing the landmass into numerous smaller regions surrounded by mountains. The k'karos dwell within these regions, where they raise their crops and livestock. The cities of the k'karos usually are near the various mountain passes.
The world is also dotted with a number of small settlements where the k'karos have integrated with one of the savage races. The k'karos have largely assimilated the various savage races within their culture, allowing them to benefit from the k'karos' society, and also utilizing their own talents.
With the spread of spelljamming technology throughout the sphere, the k'karos attracted several herds of comet steeds to their world. The comet steeds mostly dwell on the north and south face of Kokor in the few hospitable regions. The k'karos have small settlements where they train the comet steeds. While the k'karos do have a few spelljamming ships, they prefer to ride with the comet steeds.
The world of Lon-Parr is a spherical ball of rock with a thin atmosphere above the surface. However, the world has numerous caves, many of which are miles across. While the surface of Lon-Parr has abundant plant life and many beasts roam the surface, the most varied life occurs within the deep caves and caverns which permeate this world.
Within the caves, the parr-lons have developed their civilization, hewing ornate cities from the rock. With the discovery of spelljamming in Cradlespace, the par-lonns have constructed vessels that can navigate both through the tunnels of their world and the depths of space. The vessels of the par-lonns are usually small, but armed with their powerful bombards and similar weapons.
The center of lorondin culture, the surface of Lorond has many moderate-sized islands in the water. Each of the islands connected to the world's core by a long rocky pillar that is miles thick. The pillars flare out near the surface, spreading into each of the islands. On the surface of these islands, the lorondin culture flourishes. The island-continents of Lorond average several hundred miles in size.
Each of the island-continents has a variety of terrain. The lorondins have thoroughly colonized their world. They harvest wood from the dense forests, extract ores from the rolling hills, and are accomplished sailors. Their ship designs use the most effective naval vessel designs in the sphere, and are heavily armed. With the advent of spelljamming technology, the lorondins have ventured into space with their powerful ships. They are overly concerned with defending their homeland, so the lorondins always maintain a fleet of ships in orbit around their world.
Madar is a cluster of worldlets, each containing verdant fields, small forests, and rolling hills. Each of the worldlets is long and curved, forming crescents and tapering curved ellipsoids. As a whole, the world is quite beautiful from space.
Madar is one of the least settled and civilized of the worlds in Cradlespace. It is the home of the madarins, who split off from the lorondins long ago. When the madarins left Lorond, they explored the other worlds of the Cradle, and decided to claim an uncivilized planet as their own. The planet was inhabited by some of the barbaric races, but through tenacity and some luck, the madarins have managed to tame large sections of their new world. Savages still harass the more isolated settlements, and the madarins are still exploring and taming their world.
All moderately-sized towns of Madar have ports that can handle spelljammer traffic. The madarins were the first spelljammers of Cradlespace, and have led the other races in space exploration. They have explored the entire sphere, and even taken some tentative steps into the Flow. Their ships are the most advanced of the sphere, though they have shared their skill with their lorondin kin.
Munnac is a spherical world that is uninhabited by living beings. The surface of this small world has small oceans covering roughly half of its surface. The other half of the world is entirely covered by empty cityscape. Buildings in a variety of styles and sizes cover the surface of the planet, while roads and paths wind among them. None of the buildings have any inhabitants, but returning visitors claim that the buildings are not static, but change over time.
Anyone visiting this world may become infected by a wasting disease. The effects of this disease is identical to the effects of the Radiant Golem, leading some to suggest that the material used to create the radiant golem might have come from Munnac. Because of this, visitors only come to Munnac for brief periods.
Nahed is a world shaped like a hemispherical bowl, with a wide variety of biomes on both the inner and outer surface. The cross-section of the world is 50 miles thick, and the native nahedils have built settlements not only on the inner and outer surface, but the rim as well.
The nahedils have thoroughly explored and colonized their world. Of all the planets in Cradlespace, Nahed is among the most heavily populated. Long ago, they discovered ruins and artifacts in the center of the bowl, and this has become a protected center for research.
The cities on the outer surface are more likely to be interested in spelljamming. Many cities there have spelljamming ports. Nahedils are very interested in exploring and colonizing other worlds, and are likely to send ships to other worlds to try to settle there. Most of the other homeworlds take a dim view of this, so the nahedils would be very interested to hear about worlds in other spheres.
The world of Olotrima is shaped like a toy jack, with rounded lobes on the end of each of six spokes. On each lobe (which have a radius of 1000 miles), the olotris raise crops and horse-like creatures to use as mounts. Each of the stems, which average 250 miles in diameter, join at a central point in the center of the planet known as the nexus.
The nexus is densely populated, as the olotris have constructed many cities around it. These cities frequently hold religious significance, and non-believers are barely tolerated in these cities. Olotrima is ruled by a powerful theocracy which frequently preaches hostility toward other races of the Cradle. Their power is centered at the nexus of Olotrima.
The cities and towns on each lobe are more tolerant. On the lobes, the olotris have several centers of learning that welcome other races. However, the tension between the clergy and these centers continues to be a source of conflict on this world.
The world of Ridadi is a small fire world, burning orange. However, it is largely occluded by a shell of black clouds, so it usually appears a dull brown from space. The clouds also conceal numerous small sargassos, so navigating to the small sun is dangerous. The clouds are not completely solid, so occasionally the burning sun within can be seen from space.
A few intrepid Madarin explorers have visited inside the clouds and returned. They describe towering burning beings that walk the surface of the sun, and are visible from space. These gigantic beings - fire colossi - either did not notice or ignored the Madarin ship. A later ship did not spot the beings, so they remain a mystery.
The world of Sajaman is a voidworld, devoid of both air and water. Long ago, this world held another civilization, and was a normal earth world. However, some calamity caused the air to disappear and the water to evaporate. Now, a line of salt crystals mark where the oceans' edges once were. The remains of small villages dot the shorelines.
The planet is far from uninhabited though. The world is now populated by undead - likely the remains of Many of the original inhabitants. Ghoulish creatures and beings resembling mummies roam the planet seeking prey - finding none. Any spelljamming crew foolish enough to land on this barren world will probably feed the creatures' hunger.
Strangely, the undead were all standard humanoids, apparently elves, orcs, and humans - which hints at a connection to the savage races of the sphere. This makes the other races uneasy
Tenokan is a tiered flatworld resembling a colossal wedding cake. The world has three layers, each of which are roughly square. The largest and lowest layer is 2000 miles on a side; the second layer is 1200 miles on a side, and the smallest one is 400 miles on a side. Each layer is approximately 100 miles thick, and is about 750 miles above the layer below it. Five enormous pillars rise from the lowest tier to support the middle tier, and the top tier is supported by four pillars. The pillars strangely have no gravity, but both sides of each tier are inhabited.
The native tenoks control the world, and have explored it thoroughly. Each tier has a range of environments, though the planet as a whole is warm. It rotates so that even the areas beneath the tiers get some sunlight. The tenoks have created several different ways to move between the layers, typically air-ships that can fly from one to another. Air fills the gap between the tiers.
Tenoks have taken to spelljamming quite readily. They welcome trade with other races, and fondly demonstrate their innovations to other races. They have been surprised at the other races' fragility, but are keenly interested in any new things.
Thesseb is primarily a desert world. 50% of the surface is desert, while another 30% is covered in water. Only approximately 20% of this world is habitable by most races. However, the Thessebis thrive on this world. They have built cities on the edges of the desert, fashioning fantastic buildings made of glass and stone. Thessebis have learned to fashion glass that is as strong as steel, so while their cities look fragile, they are quite solid.
Thessebis cultivate special plants and animals which thrive in the arid deserts. These plants include special succulent plants, as well as other plants that grow below the desert surface. Thessebis have perfected irrigation techniques to provide their crops with just the right amount of water.
A number of cities on Thesseb offer ports for spelljamming ships. With the relative scarcity of water, the thessebis have experimented with creating soft silt beds for ships that would normally land in water. Thessebis have relatively few spelljamming ships, with most of them built from glass.
Voska is a cold world, with ice caps covering a third of the planet's surface. Even the warmest places on the planet rarely get above 70 degrees. The world is covered by vast plains and tundras, with the occasional stand of pines and rolling hills. Cold rivers slice through the plains, leading to inland seas.
The native muvosks are stone-like creatures, who are less affected by the cool weather. Creatures of Voska frequently resemble rocks or natural features, leading casual observers to think the planet is sparsely inhabited. However, the muvosks are quite numerous, and have tamed much of their world.
Muvosk cities resemble large mountains or stone quarries from orbit. The muvosks construct their cities in multiple levels, both above and below ground. The cities usually have many underground tunnels, so the entire city resembles a complex, mountain-sized anthill. In the fields, muvosks harvest grains and small food animals, providing food for the cities.
Muvosks are relatively unconcerned about spelljamming, though they have constructed a few ships out of stone. Individual muvosks do occasionally join a spelljamming crew, some sneaking on board disguised as catapult shot.
Wachimar is a rectangular flatworld, dominated by vast plains and grasslands. Both of the faces are divided into three sections by a series of mountains and deep lakes. These mountain ranges are unusual in that, though the world is about 75 miles thick, a mountain on one side of Wachimar coresponds to a deep lake on the other side - almost as if the world were a slightly crumpled piece of paper. The world maintains a constant thickness.
The native wachimons have built their cities near the sporadic scrub forests. They have explored both sides of their world, and the vast plains have been divided into large farms, where the industrious wachimons raise livestock and crops.
The wachimons have even constructed a few cities on the edge of their world. These cities are the most active spelljamming ports, and the wachimons have begun to explore wildspace with their typical efficiency.
Though this world is classified as an earth world, its surface is 80% covered with oceans. The world has two continents on opposite sides (separated by the short axis of the world). Both continents are eerily similar in shape, resembling a whirling spiral shape. Numerous smaller islands dot the vast oceans. The spiraling landmasses also have numerous volcanoes along the arms of the spiral landmasses
The native yanokais believe their land resembles the sun of this sphere, with its tentacle-like streams. Their culture has adopted this similarity into their ceremonies and culture. The yanokais have built cities all along the coasts of their world. Some of them even harness the power of the volcanoes for energy.
Yanokais adapted to spelljamming quite readily. They easily added ports to their cities, servicing both earth and water-landing vessels. Yanokais have aggressively built ships, and have one of the larger space navies of Cradlespace.
Betensar is the lone outer planet of the sphere. It has a traditional orbit, and takes 10 standard years to completely circle the primary. Betensar is a wild, untamed world.
Betansar is a fairly typical earth world, covered with oceans on 60% of its surface. The world was originally dominated by scattered tribes of the humanoid savage races. However, the races of the Cradle have all established colonies, exploring the world and interacting with the savage races. Some of the natives tribes are approachable, but many are hostile to any outsiders.
Within the Cradle, none of the worlds has its own moon. However, the worlds share a set of moons, which migrate from world to world. Each of the moons orbits one of the worlds at a radius of 42.5 million miles. When the moon passes between its current planet and one of the adjacent worlds, the moon has a 50% chance of switching to the other planet. The moons never orbit the same world, and collisions between the moons never occur. The moons are reputed to be locations of lore hidden by an ancient race, possibly whoever created the Cradle. The moons are:
While in the flow, the PCs encounter a ship of unusual design. The crew consists of races from Cradlespace - mostly madarins, but other races mixed in. They have gotten lost, and do not know how to return to their sphere, and need the PCs help. Since Cradlespace does not have a major flow river to or from it, PCs will need to find other ways to get the ship home. Or they can bring the Cradlespace ship to a safe harbor first.
The PCs are approached by an azer in another sphere. The azer has heard about Cradlespace - and the live fireworld of their sun - and wants to lead a small group of azers on an expedition to explore the primary of Cradlespace. However, they do not have a spelljamming-capable ship, and they are deathly afraid of the Phlogiston. They want the PCs to somehow transport them through the Flow to Cradlespace, and then fly close enough to the primary that the azer can take their vessel (a metallic skiff, 10 tons, that is easily towable) into the primary.
The PCs arrive on Betansar, and are approached by one of the civilized races. Initially, they are very cautious, but when the PCs demonstrate their good will, they relax somewhat. They have been trying to fortify a city against the savages. The PCs could help, but how will they react when they discover the savages are humans or elves?
More Worlds to Explore
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