[Crimson Sphere] Updates?

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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby dulsi » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:16 pm

wtrmute wrote:Hi, just wanted to remind everyone that I recall the Athasian year as *not* being 365 days long; I think it was 375? Someone who has access to the boxed sets could confirm that for me...

Spelljammer doesn't use standard physics. The distance from the sun and mass of the planet doesn't have to have any correllation to the length of the year.
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby wtrmute » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:42 pm

dulsi wrote:
wtrmute wrote:Hi, just wanted to remind everyone that I recall the Athasian year as *not* being 365 days long; I think it was 375? Someone who has access to the boxed sets could confirm that for me...

Spelljammer doesn't use standard physics. The distance from the sun and mass of the planet doesn't have to have any correllation to the length of the year.


It doesn't, but the Athasian year is still 375 days long (divided in three 125-day-long phases). Night_Druid put it up as 365 days in his description of Athas.
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby Big Mac » Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:58 am

wtrmute wrote:Hi, just wanted to remind everyone that I recall the Athasian year as *not* being 365 days long; I think it was 375? Someone who has access to the boxed sets could confirm that for me...


My boxed set is in the loft, but Dark Sun Wiki has an article about Athasian calendars. They said it is 375 days. It seem a bit pointless to be honest to add ten more days (except to get across that Athas is not Toril or Krynn or Oerth).

wtrmute wrote:Also, the distance of an orbiting body depends on the mass of the orbited body, as well as the period of rotation; assuming that Athas is about as massive as Earth and those orbits are circular, we get 270,040 miles for Ral's orbit and 656,184 miles for Guthay's. To calculate the diameter from these, I'd have to know how many degrees of sky those moons cover, and I think that depends on what the angle of vision for a particular picture is. If you can get that information (by selecting a picture where there is something whose distance to the "camera" and size are known so we can compare) we can do the rest of this exercise.

Also, doing astronomy calculations in non-SI units is a royal PITA...


Dulsi already told you about the lack of real world physics in SJ. It would also cover this situaltion. I can't find the moons on the Dark Sun Wiki yet, so I wouldn't know if there are any full stats on them.

EDIT: There are no pages on the Dark Sun wiki for the moons. They are only mentioned on two other pages. Thanks for trying to solve our problem, wtrmute (especially without the SI units). I'd guess that the best thing to do would be to look around for some forumla designed for science fiction writers and then use that as a rough guide for designing moons for spheres. With SJ not obeying physics, things can always be tweaked if the "realistic" numbers are inconvinient.
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby night_druid » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:37 pm

wtrmute wrote:It doesn't, but the Athasian year is still 375 days long (divided in three 125-day-long phases). Night_Druid put it up as 365 days in his description of Athas.


Wasn't aware of that at the time I wrote the article. Easy enough to fix. :)
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby night_druid » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:38 pm

Here's an idea I'm toying with:

Planets to Wildspace
In the Crimson Sphere, travel between wildspace and large planets is extremely difficult and dangerous. By in large, the ships of the Crimson Sphere have a difficult time traversing a planet’s atmosphere. They can be damaged by the high winds found in the upper atmosphere of most planets, or the trip can so long that a helmsman cannot keep the ship aloft the whole time, causing it to crash catastrophically. There are short-cuts around these problems, however.

Beanstalks
On all of the large planets of the Crimson Sphere are natural phenomenon known as beanstalks. A beanstalk is an invisible column of unknown energy that hover roughly a mile above the ground, and extends all the way to a point in wildspace above the planet. The column is fairly wide, about a mile across. When a ship enters a beanstalk, the distance it travels becomes distorted, such that a trip from one point to the other takes 6d10 minutes. A beanstalk can only be entered and exited via one of the two endpoints; a ship or a flying creature could pass through a point in the beanstalk and will be unaffected. Once a ship has entered a beanstalk, it cannot exit, unless it is through one of the endpoints.

If a ship becomes powerless while in a beanstalk, such as the helmsman being knocked unconscious, the ship will cease all forward movement and simply drift at the altitude it is currently at. The ship is effectively stranded, although the crew has hope of resuming their journey if they can repair their ship or rescue, if another ship passes by.

Beanstalks are believed to be semi-sentient, as they can be detected by psionic means <<insert power here>>. No means, magical, psionic, or mundane, can affect a beanstalk. It is believed, but not proven, that the sorcerer kings can summon beanstalks.
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby night_druid » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:56 pm

Wow, someone took my ideas in regards to the Crimson Sphere, and created & posted a "Warden" template on Athas.org's forums. 8-)

Nicely done, jaanos! :mrgreen:

Link


Also dredged up the old post on wizards.com's forums where I originally posted it...man, I had almost forgotten the silliness that followed. And I thought *I* had a vidid imagination! :lol:
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby Big Mac » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:21 pm

night_druid wrote:Planets to Wildspace
In the Crimson Sphere, travel between wildspace and large planets is extremely difficult and dangerous. By in large, the ships of the Crimson Sphere have a difficult time traversing a planet’s atmosphere. They can be damaged by the high winds found in the upper atmosphere of most planets, or the trip can so long that a helmsman cannot keep the ship aloft the whole time, causing it to crash catastrophically. There are short-cuts around these problems, however.


Hmm. If you want to have high winds in the upper atmosphere, have you considered adding an Alabeth-like layer of air? If you were to do that you could make it a universal thing for the crystal sphere and force all ships to fight their way through storm winds.

night_druid wrote:Beanstalks
On all of the large planets of the Crimson Sphere are natural phenomenon known as beanstalks. A beanstalk is an invisible column of unknown energy that hover roughly a mile above the ground, and extends all the way to a point in wildspace above the planet.


Very interesting, but why is this called a beanstalk? It seems like a reference to "Jack and the Beanstalk" rather than something that describes this unknown effect.

night_druid wrote:The column is fairly wide, about a mile across. When a ship enters a beanstalk, the distance it travels becomes distorted, such that a trip from one point to the other takes 6d10 minutes. A beanstalk can only be entered and exited via one of the two endpoints; a ship or a flying creature could pass through a point in the beanstalk and will be unaffected. Once a ship has entered a beanstalk, it cannot exit, unless it is through one of the endpoints.


Hmm. This starts off as "energy" but changes to something that seems to bends space.

night_druid wrote:If a ship becomes powerless while in a beanstalk, such as the helmsman being knocked unconscious, the ship will cease all forward movement and simply drift at the altitude it is currently at. The ship is effectively stranded, although the crew has hope of resuming their journey if they can repair their ship or rescue, if another ship passes by.

Beanstalks are believed to be semi-sentient, as they can be detected by psionic means <<insert power here>>. No means, magical, psionic, or mundane, can affect a beanstalk. It is believed, but not proven, that the sorcerer kings can summon beanstalks.


I'm wondering what the point of beanstalks is (from an ecological point-of-view). They don't seem to gain any benifit from transporting ships up and down. If they ate ships, I would see a "point" to them being alive, but I think that the Crimson Sphere is dangerous enough without having invisible air that eats ships.

I wonder: couldn't you achive the same sort of ship-raising thing with some sort of "super-thermal" that appears in certain places during the mid-day sun and sucks air from the bottom of the atmosphere and dumps it into the upper atmosphere? You wouldn't need a life-form to do that, it could be driven by the sun. In fact, you could make a "super-thermal" travel slowly around Athas and the other planets (so that it always faces the sun).

Something like a super-thermal could also be linked in to a "super storm layer" on the upper part of the atmosphere as it could be the mile-wide eye of a world-wide tornado. The entire upper atmosphere could rotate rapidly around the eye of the super-thermal and be the mechanism that keeps it active.

You could have your storm, but use a super-thermal to throw people through the small (mile wide) gap in the storm and enable ships to pass through the super storm unharmed. I would be inclined to surround a super-thermal with fast moving whirlwinds that are identical to the storms in the upper atmosphere. This would give ships the ability to try to leave, while making it highly dangerous. This would block off the planets from wildspace, but then provide people in the know with a way to get into space.

This would only allow ships to go up, but I think you could have a reverse-thermal on the midnight side of each planet that worked in reverse. However, the reverse thermal would be a lot harder to use because its position on the night side of the planet would mean that ships would have to fly into it in total darkness. This could give planets a bit of a reverse-Hotel California effect, as it would be easier to leave a world than land on it. :twisted:
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby Big Mac » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:33 pm

night_druid wrote:The Crimson Queen


Hmm. Somehow I missed this before. :?

night_druid wrote:One site of the Crimson Sphere to be avoided at all costs is a vast, strange ship shaped like a enormous insect with broad, colorful wings. Those few who have escaped this ship report it to be a ship of horrors. When they first board, they are greeted by polite elves dressed in silvery uniforms, who offer wine and roasted meats and invite them to stay. Slowly, over a course of time (nobody can really say; time flows differently on the Queen), the true nature of the ship becomes apparent. The splendor is an illusion. The elves are in fact, undead or demons, creations of the ship itself, which is an undead monstrosity. Visitors are subjected to illusionary horrors, preying especially on painful memories such as lost loved ones or abusive parents/masters. One by one, it drives them to madness and subjects them to terrible torture. Even death does not release them from this horror, for their souls become bound to the Queen, forever serving as insane, undead crewmen.


Very interesting concept. And the best thing about it would be that any visiting EIN ships would naturally want to make contact with The Crimson Queen to find out what was happening in the sphere.

night_druid wrote:In game terms, the Queen is a monarch Armada. Her captain is basically a lich who can only be destroyed (and released from his torment) by the destruction of the ship. The crewmen are specters. Every day visitors spend aboard the ship, they are subjected to one illusionary attack, particularly when they are alone. Failing a save drives them towards insanity. The crew will work to prevent their escape, such as sabotaging the PCs' ship, attempts by comely elves at seduction, or even directly overpowering them, if necessary. If the illusions can be seen through, the ship appears ancient and decayed, the crewmen as mummy-like creatures, and the food as spoiled and disgusting. The ship itself has powerful psionic abilities (at least on par with a 20th level psion).


This sounds good, but I would suggest the captain was a death knight (like Lord Soth) instead of a lich. A lich is a spellcaster who intentionally transforms into an undead, but a death knight could be anyone who is being punished for some sort of wrongdooing. You would need a back-story for a death knight. Lord Soth's backstory was that he murdered his wife to take an elven mistress and then abandoned his duty because he convinced himself she was having an affair.

Maybe the "captain" of the Queen could be a lower officer who staged a mutiny to avoid being sent on a suicide mission during the Unhuman War. The real captain could have volunteered his ship for a mission to locate and destroy a space marauder and the officer could have killed him (and his supporters) and fled to the Crimson Sphere to escape justice.

The crew of the Crimson Queen could be doomed to relive the night where the secret mission was revealed, with the death knight forced to play the part of the captain he/she murdered and the other undead forced to play the parts of the loyal officers who were also killed. You could have the players reguarlly find crewmen who have been murdered in foul ways and have them and the "elves" search the ship looking for some sort of unseen killer. It could be fun to actually have the elven "crew" appear to be the main target for the attacks and slowly kill off the entire crew in horrific ways. When all the crew except the "captain" are "dead" they could start to "come back from the dead as undead".

The ship could be a obscure ship that was reported as "missing presumed destroyed" after the First Unhuman War. The ship could contain old out-of-date charts of other crystal spheres and the ship's log could contain entries about searching for foul creatures created by orc war-priests. In fact the Crimson Queen itself could be changed. The ship could be running under a new name, to conceal the fact that the very decks have taken on the colour of the blood spilled on them. The original name could contain the word "Queen", but not the word "Crimson".

I would guess that with the ship being formed from a starfly plant, you are turning the ship into an undead plant. Technically, it should probably be possible for clerics to turn the ship or even damage it by casting cure spells onto its surface.

night_druid wrote:Think Event Horizon as the inspiration (although I've never seen that movie :P )


Well, the ship in Event Horizon had some sort of star drive that took it to hyperspace. And the premise of the film was that hyperspace was supposedly the same thing as hell. I would say the closest thing you have is the Black Gulf. You could possibly make a connection between the Black Gulf and the lower planes (especially the ones that the drow gods were banished too) and make a link to the "elven hell". You could also possibly throw in a Ravenloft link in there. It really depends on how far you want to push the horror connection.
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Re: [Crimson Sphere] Updates?

Postby The Dark » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:41 am

night_druid wrote:RE: Elven Imperial Fleet

Here's an idea that just hit me; just throwing it together.

The Crimson Queen

One site of the Crimson Sphere to be avoided at all costs is a vast, strange ship shaped like a enormous insect with broad, colorful wings. Those few who have escaped this ship report it to be a ship of horrors. When they first board, they are greeted by polite elves dressed in silvery uniforms, who offer wine and roasted meats and invite them to stay. Slowly, over a course of time (nobody can really say; time flows differently on the Queen), the true nature of the ship becomes apparent. The splendor is an illusion. The elves are in fact, undead or demons, creations of the ship itself, which is an undead monstrosity. Visitors are subjected to illusionary horrors, preying especially on painful memories such as lost loved ones or abusive parents/masters. One by one, it drives them to madness and subjects them to terrible torture. Even death does not release them from this horror, for their souls become bound to the Queen, forever serving as insane, undead crewmen.

In game terms, the Queen is a monarch Armada. Her captain is basically a lich who can only be destroyed (and released from his torment) by the destruction of the ship. The crewmen are specters. Every day visitors spend aboard the ship, they are subjected to one illusionary attack, particularly when they are alone. Failing a save drives them towards insanity. The crew will work to prevent their escape, such as sabotaging the PCs' ship, attempts by comely elves at seduction, or even directly overpowering them, if necessary. If the illusions can be seen through, the ship appears ancient and decayed, the crewmen as mummy-like creatures, and the food as spoiled and disgusting. The ship itself has powerful psionic abilities (at least on par with a 20th level psion).

Think Event Horizon as the inspiration (although I've never seen that movie :P )
A bit of thread necromancy (although that's actually rather appropriate for the topic of discussion) - possibly the captain could be a baelnorn who was created to protect the ship during the First Unhuman War, who has gone evil/insane over the ages? Being linked to the ship should make the baelnorn immune to turning, and a few centuries/millenia of a 15th-level wizard enchanting the Crimson Queen would help explain the heavy illusions.
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