[Realmspace] References to space in Kara-Tur products

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Big Mac
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[Realmspace] References to space in Kara-Tur products

Post by Big Mac » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:50 pm

The Spelljammer product line says that both the nations of Shou Lung and Wa have a presence in Wildspace, but I'm wondering what the Kara-Tur products say about space.

Can anyone help me with an references to mentions of things in space in any of the Kara-Tur products (including Toril itself)? I'd be interested in the following (and anything else you think is relevant):
  • Do any of the Kara-Tur products give alternative names for the world?
  • Are there any descriptions of the Sun? Do they have names for it or legends about it?
  • Are there any legends or alternative names for Selûne?
  • Do Kara-Tur sources say anything about the Tears of Selûne?
  • Is there anything like astrology in Kara-Tur? Do they have anything like constellations?
  • Are there any mentions of planets, comets or other celestial objects?
  • Are there any monsters that are said to have come from somewhere else (especially the sky, the moon or space)?
  • Are there any mindflayers, beholders or other monsters with a major Spelljammer presence in Kara-Tur sources?
  • Is there anything else that you think might interest me?
Just to be clear, I'm interested in both 1e and 2e Kara-Tur sources, as well as any magazines in the 1e or later eras that are specifically about Kara-Tur. (I'd even be interested in "secondary Kara-Tur sources" in Forgotten Realms or other product lines that have a space tie-in.)
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Re: [Realmspace] References to space in Kara-Tur products

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:50 pm
Do any of the Kara-Tur products give alternative names for the world?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms refers to the mortal world as the Red Earth a number of times.

Another relevant bit of trivia, from the section on Lesser Immortals of the Celestial Bureaucracy, are the Moon Women.
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Moon women are responsible for maintaining the proper care of the Heavens—refilling the oils in the great lamps of the Sun, polishing the million crystal orbs that are the stars, and directing the Moon and the constellations in their courses. Because the calendar is derived from the actions of Heaven, Moon Women are also the patron saints of any actions regarding time, such as festivals, portentous moments, and auspicious times of action. They appear as slender young women in gauzy blue robes, who at times are nearly transparent themselves.
Big Mac wrote:Are there any descriptions of the Sun? Do they have names for it or legends about it?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:The main god of the T'aghurs is the sun. All of the tent openings of the T'aghurs face east to honor the sun. Their most significant holy day is the first day of summer.
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Matasuuri Shogoro was given three symbols from the Spirit of the Sun in recognition of his efforts to unify Wa. When Matasuuri Nagahide became shogun, he decided the symbols were bad luck and gave them all away. Recently, the Spirit of the Sun visited Nagahide in a dream and became offended when he learned Nagahide no longer had his gifts.
Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Many important shrines are dedicated to the sun goddess and the emperor, who is believed to be of divine ancestry.
Big Mac wrote:Are there any legends or alternative names for Selûne?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Thousands of years ago, the moon came to earth and appeared as a beautiful woman, wandering the night. All the white tigers of the land were summoned to her and mesmerized by her beauty, and she pressed her hand to each of their foreheads. Each of the cats stood up and became a man, strong and intelligent. There were nineteen tigers, and each founded a clan. One is now Phutan and the others used to control the great lowland cities, before the High Lord of Oceans began his rule on earth. The moon, of course, went back to the sky, and these new men went on to feats of heroism.
Big Mac wrote:Is there anything like astrology in Kara-Tur? Do they have anything like constellations?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Luri-Tai is the niece of Muki Gohei, the daimyo of the Shuni province of the island of Shidekima. She was the prize pupil of the Master of the Grand Sky, perhaps the greatest sorcerer in Shidekima's history. Eight years ago, the Master of the Grand Sky ascended into the starry night, never to be seen again.

Luri-tai has since continued her studies on her own, specializing in astronomy and astrology. She spends every night studying the sky, gazing into the heavens so intently that she must be forcibly moved indoors in case of a thunderstorm or typhoon. Rumor has it that Luri-Tai has visited the sun and the moon and that she can speak with the stars.
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Shou mathematicians have developed complex theories for the way in which the stars of Heaven are moved, and the mathematics to prove their beliefs.
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:The five Edu'sascar were made by the founder of the S'tung Monastery in 894. This shukenja-turned-monk's real name is lost, but his posthumous title is "Sky Father," for he was an avid astronomer and left many charts of the star's paths and records of shooting stars and comets.
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:In 1765, Shiz-ti was arrested for attracting a falling star which fell in the merchant's district and killed 200 people.

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Re: [Realmspace] References to space in Kara-Tur products

Post by Seethyr » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:11 am

I’m curious if those snippets (as awesome as they are, thank you for finding them!) were written in complete ignorance of Faerunian lore. It’s first edition? If it was, Spelljammer wasn’t even a consideration yet. With that being said, the lore would have to somehow adapt to fall in line with the Torillian meta story.

Or not, if it could somehow be considered separate but imo that’s one of the drawbacks of plopped these sub settings in the Realms.
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Re: [Realmspace] References to space in Kara-Tur products

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:31 am

Seethyr wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:11 am
I’m curious if those snippets (as awesome as they are, thank you for finding them!) were written in complete ignorance of Faerunian lore. It’s first edition? If it was, Spelljammer wasn’t even a consideration yet.
Yes, because it's written for Oriental Adventures, which was 1st edition and never got a proper 2e update.

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (a.k.a., The Grey Box) was published in 1987 and Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, published in 1988, mentions the Forgotten Realms and is written in-character by an Eastern sage writing to Elminster, so no, it's not written in complete ignorance of Faerunian lore. There's a section on portals to other alternate material planes that's quoted verbatim from the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Spelljammer wasn't yet a thing, however; the Spelljammer: Adventures in Space boxed set was published in 1989.

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Re: [Realmspace] References to space in Kara-Tur products

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:31 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:50 pm
Do any of the Kara-Tur products give alternative names for the world?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms refers to the mortal world as the Red Earth a number of times.

Another relevant bit of trivia, from the section on Lesser Immortals of the Celestial Bureaucracy, are the Moon Women.
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Moon women are responsible for maintaining the proper care of the Heavens—refilling the oils in the great lamps of the Sun, polishing the million crystal orbs that are the stars, and directing the Moon and the constellations in their courses. Because the calendar is derived from the actions of Heaven, Moon Women are also the patron saints of any actions regarding time, such as festivals, portentous moments, and auspicious times of action. They appear as slender young women in gauzy blue robes, who at times are nearly transparent themselves.
That's fantastic!

I never noticed the Moon Women before, but I'd certainly expect a Shou or Wa explorer or two to go looking for evidence of them in Realmspace.

I've made a separate topic, called "[Realmspace][Kara-Tur] Moon Women (Lesser Immortals of the Celestial Bureaucracy)" to discuss how the Moon Women might come into play with Shou worshippers across Realmspace.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:50 pm
Are there any descriptions of the Sun? Do they have names for it or legends about it?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:The main god of the T'aghurs is the sun. All of the tent openings of the T'aghurs face east to honor the sun. Their most significant holy day is the first day of summer.
There is an article about the T'aghur on Forgotten Realms Wiki that suggests they live in the Hordelands:
T'aghur article on Forgotten Realms Wiki wrote:The T'aghur were a tribe of humans living on the Plain of Horses in the Hordelands.

Society

They spoke the Chuchian tongue.
I don't recall any mention of The Hordelands in Realmspace, but I guess there is plenty of open land for ships that can land on the ground to visit.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Matasuuri Shogoro was given three symbols from the Spirit of the Sun in recognition of his efforts to unify Wa. When Matasuuri Nagahide became shogun, he decided the symbols were bad luck and gave them all away. Recently, the Spirit of the Sun visited Nagahide in a dream and became offended when he learned Nagahide no longer had his gifts.
Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Many important shrines are dedicated to the sun goddess and the emperor, who is believed to be of divine ancestry.
The Spirit of the Sun sounds fun.

I can imagine a community of Wa-like fire elementals living on the surface of the Sun.

I went looking for a Spirit of the Sun article on Forgotten Realms Wiki, but they don't have one yet.

But I did find an article about a monk called Yuchimo EIn who stole a glowing sword that was one of the Spirit of the Sun's gifts to Matasuuri Shogoro.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:50 pm
Are there any legends or alternative names for Selûne?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Thousands of years ago, the moon came to earth and appeared as a beautiful woman, wandering the night. All the white tigers of the land were summoned to her and mesmerized by her beauty, and she pressed her hand to each of their foreheads. Each of the cats stood up and became a man, strong and intelligent. There were nineteen tigers, and each founded a clan. One is now Phutan and the others used to control the great lowland cities, before the High Lord of Oceans began his rule on earth. The moon, of course, went back to the sky, and these new men went on to feats of heroism.
The moon turning tigers into men sounds like something similar to lycanthropy. :)
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:50 pm
Is there anything like astrology in Kara-Tur? Do they have anything like constellations?
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Luri-Tai is the niece of Muki Gohei, the daimyo of the Shuni province of the island of Shidekima. She was the prize pupil of the Master of the Grand Sky, perhaps the greatest sorcerer in Shidekima's history. Eight years ago, the Master of the Grand Sky ascended into the starry night, never to be seen again.

Luri-tai has since continued her studies on her own, specializing in astronomy and astrology. She spends every night studying the sky, gazing into the heavens so intently that she must be forcibly moved indoors in case of a thunderstorm or typhoon. Rumor has it that Luri-Tai has visited the sun and the moon and that she can speak with the stars.
I can imagine Luri-tai wanting to travel through Realmspace, to search for the Master of the Grand Sky.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:Shou mathematicians have developed complex theories for the way in which the stars of Heaven are moved, and the mathematics to prove their beliefs.
Sounds great.

I guess there could be Shou devices that are models of way the celestial bodies of Realmspace moves.

And this means that there should be Shou words for each of the celestial bodies in Realmspace (even if the canon does not give them all to us).

I bet that there would even be Shou sages with theories about that (in character) "double diameter rule".
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:The five Edu'sascar were made by the founder of the S'tung Monastery in 894. This shukenja-turned-monk's real name is lost, but his posthumous title is "Sky Father," for he was an avid astronomer and left many charts of the star's paths and records of shooting stars and comets.
I know the King Killer Star is supposed to be one of the comets. (Although I'm not sure the Sky Father would have seen that one, he might have seen others.)

I don't think that comets have been made enough of, in Spelljammer (and Realmspace). Each one is an opportunity for a random encounter.

And if the Sky Father has charts showing where comets were, maybe some Shou spacefarers could go looking for some of them. (I think that non-devolved Oortlings, that have an Asian-like culture and some sort of Ki-abilities might be a fun encounter on a comet.)
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:23 am
Kara Tur: The Eastern Realms wrote:In 1765, Shiz-ti was arrested for attracting a falling star which fell in the merchant's district and killed 200 people.
That's very interesting.

I found out recently about a spell, called the Crown of Flame, which was designed to suck one of the Tears of Selûne into the sky of Toril and create an artificial eclipse of the Sun.

So it is actually possible that Shiz-ti used a spell to summon a falling star.

I thought this sort of thing was a bit over the top, in the past, but given that Forgotten Realms canon supports it, I suppose that a powerful figure in Kara-Tur might want to suck down something like an asteroid, in order to obtain something like adamantite.

There are some great things there. Sadly, I don't think that Spelljammer (and Realmspace) made the best of the Kara-Tur crossover potential. I'll have to find these things you have mentioned and see if there is a story to build around any of them.

Reading between the lines, it would seem that the Shou spacefarers probably knew a lot more about the Sea of Night than the Netherese. :)
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Re: [Realmspace] References to space in Kara-Tur products

Post by Cromstar » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:44 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:31 pm
The moon turning tigers into men sounds like something similar to lycanthropy. :)
Oooooooooor tigerweres (which wouldn't technically be lycanthropes).

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