About Dark Sunspace

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About Dark Sunspace

Postby Zeromaru X » Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:03 am

Seeing this is the month of Dark Sun, I'm going to ask a few question about the Dark Sunspace.

I know there are two moons (Ral and Guthay), and that the sun is dying. But, there is something beyond the moons? Other planets? Other stars? There are some illithid colonies in Dark Sunspace and that sort of spelljammer stuff? Also, does Athas's sun have a name?
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby Big Mac » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:00 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:Seeing this is the month of Dark Sun, I'm going to ask a few question about the Dark Sunspace.


Great idea! :cool:

Zeromaru X wrote:I know there are two moons (Ral and Guthay), and that the sun is dying. But, there is something beyond the moons? Other planets?


There must be other stuff out there, but I don't know how much is in the actual canon. (I suspect not much.)

One thing I learned about, one or two days back (because I didn't notice the topic when Lord Torath first posted it :oops: ) was the Messenger.

Zeromaru X wrote:Other stars?


One major difference between Spelljammer and the real universe is that "suns" and "stars" are not the same thing as each other.

In Spelljammer: suns are large fire bodies (usually but not always) in the centre of a crystal sphere and stars are smaller bright objects (not necessarily fire bodies) on the inner side of the crystal sphere (or close to the crystal sphere).

The crystal sphere is a barrier between the wildspace within Athas's planetary system and the phlogiston (which is a rainbow ocean outside of all the crystal spheres in the SJ universe). So...according to Spelljammer...when someone looks up into the night sky on Athas, they are not seeing distant suns - they are only seeing stars at the edge of their crystal sphere.

Zeromaru X wrote:There are some illithid colonies in Dark Sunspace and that sort of spelljammer stuff?


There could have been some really interesteing Dark Sun/Spelljammer crossover stuff, but the designers decided to isolate Dark Sun from the rest of the D&D multiverse instead. Even CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (a Spelljammer product) advised against mixing the two campaign settings...although it did go on to give a small amount of advice to anyone who wanted to ignore that advice.

Luckily for us, Night Druid decided to ignore the advice and build The Crimson Sphere. :D

David Cummings and Lars H. Loeher also had some ideas on this Dark Sun/Spelljammer crosover concept. David called it "Athaspace" and Lars called it "Crimsonspace".

Zeromaru X wrote:Also, does Athas's sun have a name?


When Night Druid created The Crimson Sphere he didn't give Athas's sun a name. He is good at research, so if there was a name in the canon, I think he would have used it.
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby night_druid » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:22 pm

Since I've been summoned...;)

Zeromaru X wrote:Seeing this is the month of Dark Sun, I'm going to ask a few question about the Dark Sunspace.

I know there are two moons (Ral and Guthay), and that the sun is dying. But, there is something beyond the moons? Other planets? Other stars? There are some illithid colonies in Dark Sunspace and that sort of spelljammer stuff? Also, does Athas's sun have a name?


I am unaware of any name for Athas' sun, nor of any planets beyond Ral & Guthay (Indeed, I've seen speculation that Athas orbits one of the "moons", and is not the largest of the three bodies). I've been told that, at least as of 2e DS, that no planets are visible from Athas. So they must either not exist or are really small.

I wrote the Crimson Sphere several years ago to allow for SJ/DS crossover games. The approach I took was to a) extend Dark Sun themes into its sphere and b) present obstacles that keep "common folk" out, but not adventurers. Effectively there is very little trade between the Crimson Sphere (my name for Athas' crystal sphere that seems to have become the popular name) and the rest of the Known Spheres. But a group of determined adventurers could make the voyage, if they were so inclined. Within the sphere there is some trade between the various city-states in wildspace, but little between wildspace and Athas, as planetfall is very difficult. I added a few small planets, but nothing major.

Were I to do it over again, as today I have a better understanding of Athas and have matured as a writer, I'd probably do things a bit differently.

* I'd probably add a couple of planets and make the sphere bigger. Perhaps a world of savanna were kreen dwell. Maybe a world of dinosaurs (Dark Sun-ized, of course). Further out, probably a few more moons and such to give players more things to explore.

* Add more city-states with sorcerer kings, but maybe not god-like sorcerer kings. Or make their powers place-based, and not related to becoming dragons.

* Bigger variety to transports, but keep the general theme that Crimson Sphere ships are small, poorly armed, and fragile. Probably use something similar to Splendid Sails to keep ships from making planetfall on Athas.

* Use Barsoom as an inspiration, as Athas is, in some ways, D&D's version of Barsoom.
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby Zeromaru X » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:09 am

night_druid wrote:I am unaware of any name for Athas' sun, nor of any planets beyond Ral & Guthay (Indeed, I've seen speculation that Athas orbits one of the "moons", and is not the largest of the three bodies). I've been told that, at least as of 2e DS, that no planets are visible from Athas. So they must either not exist or are really small.


In 4e DSCS they mention that even common people "know the night sky and its familiar constellations, and many peoples assign different meanings to the motions of the stars and planets." But that is all, the book says nothing about the names of those planets or how many are out there. It says, however, that there are more complete writings about the topic, but all known books about it are in the sorcerer-kings treasure vault.

Another stuff that caught my attention was that Ral and Guthay seem to have jungles and seas, and that there are stories about fabled moon gates that lead to the moons, but nothing about this topic is expanded in 4e DSCS or the Dragon magazines articles about 4e Dark Sun. Is there something about the moons in 2e Dark Sun?
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby Jaid » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:20 am

fwiw, i'm not sure i've ever heard of a sun that isn't basically just named "sun" or "the sun" really.

i mean, take our own sun for example. there are those who would argue that it is named "sol".

that's all fine and dandy... but sol is just the latin word for sun. or, in other words, our sun is named "sun". well, "Sun" with a capital S i suppose; it is a proper noun. i would further add that our so-called name for the moon (Luna) is *also* nothing more than the latin word for the moon.

so really, just calling the sun in dark sun "the Sun" should be perfectly fine. because in the local language, unless there are two suns or something like that, odds are pretty good that the word for sun in any given language is also the name of the sun in that language.
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby Big Mac » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:18 pm

night_druid wrote:Since I've been summoned...;)

Zeromaru X wrote:Seeing this is the month of Dark Sun, I'm going to ask a few question about the Dark Sunspace.

I know there are two moons (Ral and Guthay), and that the sun is dying. But, there is something beyond the moons? Other planets? Other stars? There are some illithid colonies in Dark Sunspace and that sort of spelljammer stuff? Also, does Athas's sun have a name?


I am unaware of any name for Athas' sun, nor of any planets beyond Ral & Guthay (Indeed, I've seen speculation that Athas orbits one of the "moons", and is not the largest of the three bodies). I've been told that, at least as of 2e DS, that no planets are visible from Athas. So they must either not exist or are really small.


They might also be a long way away too. We have planets in our own Solar System that are not visible to the naked eye.

Another possibility is that the "Dark Sun" of the sphere is actually dark and less light reflects off of celestial bodies, making all of them harder to spot.

night_druid wrote:I wrote the Crimson Sphere several years ago to allow for SJ/DS crossover games. The approach I took was to a) extend Dark Sun themes into its sphere and b) present obstacles that keep "common folk" out, but not adventurers. Effectively there is very little trade between the Crimson Sphere (my name for Athas' crystal sphere that seems to have become the popular name) and the rest of the Known Spheres. But a group of determined adventurers could make the voyage, if they were so inclined. Within the sphere there is some trade between the various city-states in wildspace, but little between wildspace and Athas, as planetfall is very difficult. I added a few small planets, but nothing major.


Dark Sun is already a "PCs have higher levels than normal" campaign setting. How much more would you suggest bumping Crimson Sphere spacefaring characters?

night_druid wrote:Were I to do it over again, as today I have a better understanding of Athas and have matured as a writer, I'd probably do things a bit differently.

* I'd probably add a couple of planets and make the sphere bigger. Perhaps a world of savanna were kreen dwell. Maybe a world of dinosaurs (Dark Sun-ized, of course). Further out, probably a few more moons and such to give players more things to explore.

* Add more city-states with sorcerer kings, but maybe not god-like sorcerer kings. Or make their powers place-based, and not related to becoming dragons.

* Bigger variety to transports, but keep the general theme that Crimson Sphere ships are small, poorly armed, and fragile. Probably use something similar to Splendid Sails to keep ships from making planetfall on Athas.

* Use Barsoom as an inspiration, as Athas is, in some ways, D&D's version of Barsoom.


That's a nice design pitch for Crimson Sphere II. How many pages do you think it should have? ;)

Would you do anything with the Shipfloaters concept? I really liked the way that it worked by a psionic connection to the past, where there was a liquid sea there. I'm not sure how that sort of thing could relate to wildspace, though. :?

Would you not have wildspace dragons that started out as sorcerer kings then?
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby Big Mac » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:48 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:
night_druid wrote:I am unaware of any name for Athas' sun, nor of any planets beyond Ral & Guthay (Indeed, I've seen speculation that Athas orbits one of the "moons", and is not the largest of the three bodies). I've been told that, at least as of 2e DS, that no planets are visible from Athas. So they must either not exist or are really small.


In 4e DSCS they mention that even common people "know the night sky and its familiar constellations, and many peoples assign different meanings to the motions of the stars and planets." But that is all, the book says nothing about the names of those planets or how many are out there. It says, however, that there are more complete writings about the topic, but all known books about it are in the sorcerer-kings treasure vault.


It sounds like the Dark Sun Campaign Setting follows along with what CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook said:
CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook page 13 wrote:Athas. The world of the Dark Sun™ campaign is not on the spacelanes where Realmspace, Krynnspace and Greyspace can be found. No spelljammer travels its skies; no ancient tome tells of the routes to its crystal sphere. Whether it is unreachable by spelljammer or merely so far from these worlds that any journey would take lifetimes is unknown.

The current inhabitants of Athas have no knowledge of spelljamming. There is no way to know whether the closely guarded library of some sorcerer-king conceals an ancient tome revealing the basic concepts of wildspace. Even if such a tome were found, the defiling power of such powerful magic would certainly wreck havoc on the fragile balance of live on Athas.


But where CGR1 came up with the idea that nobody knows if one of the sorcerer-king has a book about "the basic concepts of wildspce" DLCS has stated that all known books are in the sorcerer-king's treasure vault. Does it say how much people know about the existence of these books on space?

Zeromaru X wrote:Another stuff that caught my attention was that Ral and Guthay seem to have jungles and seas, and that there are stories about fabled moon gates that lead to the moons, but nothing about this topic is expanded in 4e DSCS or the Dragon magazines articles about 4e Dark Sun. Is there something about the moons in 2e Dark Sun?


"Moon gates"? I've never heard of those before (but then I don't know the setting very well).

I can't help you with the 2e Dark Sun sources, but I would like to know the 4e sources that mention these moon gates. I think they could be a good way to get around this thing of "no spelljammer travelling in [Athas's] skies". Because ships could land on Athas's moons instead of directly on Athas.
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby Big Mac » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:59 pm

Jaid wrote:fwiw, i'm not sure i've ever heard of a sun that isn't basically just named "sun" or "the sun" really.


There is a sentient sun in Spelljammer called "I". And Greyspace has a sun called "Liga".

Jaid wrote:i mean, take our own sun for example. there are those who would argue that it is named "sol".

that's all fine and dandy... but sol is just the latin word for sun. or, in other words, our sun is named "sun". well, "Sun" with a capital S i suppose; it is a proper noun. i would further add that our so-called name for the moon (Luna) is *also* nothing more than the latin word for the moon.

so really, just calling the sun in dark sun "the Sun" should be perfectly fine. because in the local language, unless there are two suns or something like that, odds are pretty good that the word for sun in any given language is also the name of the sun in that language.


If I recall correctly, there was something in one of the Spelljammer books about groundlings all calling their sun "sun". I think it was suggesting that they were all unimaginative or something along those lines. But I think it makes for a good in-character hand-wave. It acknowledges what you just said and turns it around to make it something that the GM can use...instead of something that the players might question. :)
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby night_druid » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:18 pm

Big Mac wrote:They might also be a long way away too. We have planets in our own Solar System that are not visible to the naked eye.


True but I wouldn't put them too far away; I envision Crimson Sphere ships as not having much of a range, when compared to standard SJ ships.

Another possibility is that the "Dark Sun" of the sphere is actually dark and less light reflects off of celestial bodies, making all of them harder to spot.


True. Might be a moot point; its probably safe to assume Athas has neighboring planets, but they are not particularly noteworthy to the people of Athas.

Dark Sun is already a "PCs have higher levels than normal" campaign setting. How much more would you suggest bumping Crimson Sphere spacefaring characters?


None. Treat people in the sphere exactly as you would on Athas. Now, if you're talking crossing from the Crimson Sphere to the Known Spheres, then probably you're looking at name-level PCs to make the trip. And expect a high casualty rate among the mooks.

That's a nice design pitch for Crimson Sphere II. How many pages do you think it should have? ;)


On a guess? Probably 50k words for the sphere itself, and probably another 50k words for all the rule changes to SJ, monster write-ups, ship write-ups, and the like. So 128 pages would be the goal.

Would you do anything with the Shipfloaters concept? I really liked the way that it worked by a psionic connection to the past, where there was a liquid sea there. I'm not sure how that sort of thing could relate to wildspace, though. :?


I'd have to sink some thinking into it :p

Would you not have wildspace dragons that started out as sorcerer kings then?


Well, the primary theme of Athas is that there's only one dragon. I'm not sure I'd do wildspace dragons at all. Wildspace drakes, sure, but not dragons.
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Re: About Dark Sunspace

Postby Jaid » Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:11 am

athas only has one fully transformed dragon, but at one point it had as many as 20 people who had started the dragon transformation process, and a few of the sorcerer kings are several stages in (plus of course dregoth who is 9 stages in iirc). if the middle stages of becoming a dragon didn't make you run around destroying everything in your path as you're so full of rage that you can't control yourself, there would probably actually be several dragons by now (one of the big holdups is that everyone is basically looking for ways to either bypass the middle stages completely, or to mitigate the rage).

that said, i don't think the crimson sphere needs a dragon, nor does it necessarily need actual sorcerer-kings, or the cleansing wars, or many of the other things that athas itself has. it probably should reflect some of the changes however... for example, psionics wasn't a thing until the green age. that should probably be incorporated into the sphere. arcane magic was also not a thing until the green age either, and is typically (but not necessarily always) fueled by the life force of plants... the sphere might not have had the wars between the defilers and preservers, and may not have discovered either form of magic for quite some time, or perhaps not even at all until a few refugees fled athas. there might actually be a number of asteroids that are still basically equivalent to the green age of athas in many ways. also when the blue age ended there were a lot of mutations, and the world went from having basically only halflings and (probably unintelligent) kreen to having having the full range of typical fantasy world creatures. that actually had more to do with the prism tower than the sun, however, so it might actually be the case that there are few or no varieties of intelligent life in the wildspace of the crimson sphere. again, with the possible exception of athasian refugees (with planar travel being much more difficult, it would make some sense imo for people to look elsewhere for places to flee, and with psionics it could even be done without spelljammers relatively easily).

one particular point of interest that i seem to recall from the crimson sphere that adam wrote was that it seemed to have a large "manifest zone" (for lack of a better term i'm borrowing one from eberron, which may have borrowed it from elsewhere) of the Black. later dark sun products had the possibility of wizards drawing power from other planes, in particular the Black and the Grey. perhaps arcane magic in the wildspace of the crimson sphere draws more on that strong planar connection than it does on athas. perhaps you could even have something like the conflict between defilers and preservers, with shadow magic (which taps into the black for power) being the *cause* of that huge manifest zone.
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