[Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

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[Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:40 pm

I just started playing around with some mars maps - nothing serious yet - but wanted to get folks take on it.

M-Mars

What you see here is basically an overlay of 3 different maps. The bottommost is a straight projection map. Layered on top of that is Lowell's map of the canals on Mars. Then finally the topmost layer is a portion of a topographical map where I've taken the lowest level topography (the portions that would most likely be sea if water was present).

I'm not sure whether to go with one idea over the other (seas vs canals) or to go with some combination of the two.

Thoughts? Ideas?
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Gawain_VIII » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:52 pm

Could we see the different combinations? Maybe each one individually?

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:12 pm

Yup, that's easy enough:

M-Mars_Canals
Canals only is the classic representation of Mars - a dying frozen world, where water is shipped to the equatorial cities from the polar regions through a massive canal system. It's what Percival Lowell though he saw when he was observing the planet.

M-Mars_Seas
This is a more modern view of Mars - what it might look like after it's been terraformed to the point where liquid water is viable on the surface of the planet.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:28 pm

A few more thoughts on the matter: I suppose that one consideration has to be who built the canals? Do we want a global power (boring IMO) or do we want the world populated by several nations? Having multiple nations is the better possibility IMO, but it does raise some problems with the canals idea. Here are some solutions:

1) Due to the water crisis, all nations must extract liquid water from the poles and so all nations have built some kind of canal system to do this. This might make the poles hotbeds of contention between the nations.

2) At some point in the past there was a single globe spanning nation that created the canals. For whatever reason, this nation went into decline and was replaced by the modern nations. These modern nations inherited the canal systems from their predecessors and still keep them working.

3) There is only a single nation of canal builders. This would mean that only a portion of the above shown canal system would be used (possibly that portion covering the western half of the map - as I think the eastern half has several interesting features of it's own).
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:50 pm

I like that you are working on this map Chimpman! I would like to see a map with canals, but the canal map example makes the canals look enormous...

My idea is that Nithians discovered gates to M-Mars and that these built the canals. While originally Nithian, these colonists may have developed in a different direction than those Nithians who remained on Mystara however.

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:07 pm

Havard wrote:I like that you are working on this map Chimpman! I would like to see a map with canals, but the canal map example makes the canals look enormous...
Yeah, let me see if I can find some other canal maps and superimpose them. The final map would have the canals hand drawn of course, and they would be much more to scale at that point. I don't imagine them to be as wide as they are currently depicted - most are probably as wide as your garden variety river. Some few could be miles wide.
Havard wrote:My idea is that Nithians discovered gates to M-Mars and that these built the canals. While originally Nithian, these colonists may have developed in a different direction than those Nithians who remained on Mystara however.
Heh, ;) my idea has always been the other way around - a pyramid building planar spider nation that cross-pollinates its culture with those on Mystara (eventually leading to the Nithians). I do like the idea of Nithians on M-Mars however - the Cydona (sp?) region (complete with the Great Face) is just too good an opportunity to pass up.

I wanted the canal builders to be a little more alien. My original thought was to take the Githyanki Invasion series that Dragon and Dungeon printed a few years back, and convert that into a "War of the Worlds" scenario. Having planar spiders invade from a cold and frozen mars just seemed cool. It's great for a campaign arc, but it does have problems if you want to build a living, breathing, fully functional planetary ecosystem (similar to the HW or Sharon's HM settings).

Anyway, I'm not married to any of these ideas. Just sharing them. If I were participate in building an M-Mars setting, I'd probably split the two ideas off as separate development paths. Having M-Mars be full of different cultures/nations is more appealing long term.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:38 pm

Chimpman wrote:Yeah, let me see if I can find some other canal maps and superimpose them. The final map would have the canals hand drawn of course, and they would be much more to scale at that point. I don't imagine them to be as wide as they are currently depicted - most are probably as wide as your garden variety river. Some few could be miles wide.
Sounds good. I am looking forward to seeing what you can come up with! :)
Heh, ;) my idea has always been the other way around - a pyramid building planar spider nation that cross-pollinates its culture with those on Mystara (eventually leading to the Nithians). I do like the idea of Nithians on M-Mars however - the Cydona (sp?) region (complete with the Great Face) is just too good an opportunity to pass up.
Ah! Was that you who mentioned the Planar Spiders, and the Needle connection elsewhere? I do like this actually, but I couldnt rememer if that was suggested for another planet or not. I would like to see both Planar Spiders/Chak and Nithians here. Do you see the Planar Spider culture of MMars as signifcantly older than that of the Nithians? Or cold they have developed around the same time? It would be interesting if the Nithians were invited to MMars by the Spiders...

I wanted the canal builders to be a little more alien. My original thought was to take the Githyanki Invasion series that Dragon and Dungeon printed a few years back, and convert that into a "War of the Worlds" scenario. Having planar spiders invade from a cold and frozen mars just seemed cool. It's great for a campaign arc, but it does have problems if you want to build a living, breathing, fully functional planetary ecosystem (similar to the HW or Sharon's HM settings).
War of the Worlds type scenarios are definately interesting. I see MMars as a war mostly desert-type world though, building up on the Egyptian/Middle Eastern theme with canals, pyramids, the huge face thing etc. I would also like to see a type of primitive Egyptian-style Giff living here...
Anyway, I'm not married to any of these ideas. Just sharing them. If I were participate in building an M-Mars setting, I'd probably split the two ideas off as separate development paths. Having M-Mars be full of different cultures/nations is more appealing long term.
Throwing out ideas is better for now. Besides we are talking about whole planets here, so there is room for lots of different things. I do like using Mystaran cultures or cultures/creatures appearing in Mystara modules (I include Needle here) rather than just coming up with random stuff though since that helps preserve a Mystaran feel...

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:18 pm

Havard wrote:Ah! Was that you who mentioned the Planar Spiders, and the Needle connection elsewhere? I do like this actually, but I couldnt rememer if that was suggested for another planet or not. I would like to see both Planar Spiders/Chak and Nithians here. Do you see the Planar Spider culture of MMars as signifcantly older than that of the Nithians? Or cold they have developed around the same time?
:) It was. I had the first spark for the idea after buying Frostburn.
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The ideas were epic, but I never really developed them further. [Campaign #3 was the War of the Worlds idea.]

I've always seen the planar spider culture as predating the Nithians. Talking more with folks about the HM and Mystara 2300 BC, I'm starting to firm up my ideas for that general era (BC 2300 to BC 1000 or so). I don't think that the Nithians would have started developing a distinct culture until BC 1900 and ironically it would have started as a slave culture (under Mogreth). I'm also starting to see the Thothian colony as more of a reunification of two very similar cultures (both influenced by a common source - the planar spiders). In that sense Thothia is actually the older culture on Mystara (hmmm... possibly contributing to why they were spared Nithia's fate - it's an interesting idea). [Another recent idea I had was that the "Nithians" were the folks who got too close to the spiders, and ended up being captured and sold to Mogreth as slaves.]
Havard wrote:It would be interesting if the Nithians were invited to MMars by the Spiders...
Or if not explicitly invited, at least welcomed when they got there (due to some peculiar twist of fate regarding their numerous shared cultural elements). Of course the opposite could also happen (as seen with the Azcans/Shadowelves - but that's been done before ;) ). Based on Needle however, I think it is safe to assume some level of interaction between the Nithians and the M-Mars spiders, sometime during BC 1750 and BC 500. If I had to pick a colony establishment date (on M-Mars) it would be around BC 1200.

Havard wrote:War of the Worlds type scenarios are definately interesting. I see MMars as a war mostly desert-type world though, building up on the Egyptian/Middle Eastern theme with canals, pyramids, the huge face thing etc.
Yup, I agree. How do you see the M-Mars desert though (or even M-Mars climate in general)?
Havard wrote:I would also like to see a type of primitive Egyptian-style Giff living here...
:D Something that I never considered, but I think it's perfect for the setting. One thing I think would be nice to do is to also tie M-Mars (and other planets in the system) to the larger Spelljammer universe, and this is a great way to do it! Another precept in MyMystara is that the Grunland elves were colonists from the spheres in BC 6000 (or was it BC 7000?). My Exiles campaign has an IEN fleet stumble into carnifex controlled space and finally escaping pursuit once they reach the Mystara system (where they crash and hope they aren't found).

I'm not sure how well the Unhuman Wars fit with Mystaran history, but perhaps there are other SJ elements we can pull as well.
Havard wrote:Throwing out ideas is better for now. Besides we are talking about whole planets here, so there is room for lots of different things. I do like using Mystaran cultures or cultures/creatures appearing in Mystara modules (I include Needle here) rather than just coming up with random stuff though since that helps preserve a Mystaran feel...
I quite agree as well. One other thing to keep in mind: The HW and HM settings give us great museum piece settings where we can see snapshots of some historical Mystaran cultures... I don't want to do that here.

M-Mars shouldn't be a museum setting. I see it being on a parallel development path with Mystara... so when we visit M-Mars Nithians, that should give us a chance to explore what Nithia would have been like if it were allowed to continue its development. That's why your Giff idea really intrigues me. Nithia + gunpowder :D.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:07 pm

Chimpman wrote: Frostburn in Mystara
Frostburn campaigns in Mystara
The ideas were epic, but I never really developed them further. [Campaign #3 was the War of the Worlds idea.]
Thanks! I will have to save this for later, as its almost bedtime for me now ;)
I've always seen the planar spider culture as predating the Nithians. Talking more with folks about the HM and Mystara 2300 BC, I'm starting to firm up my ideas for that general era (BC 2300 to BC 1000 or so). I don't think that the Nithians would have started developing a distinct culture until BC 1900 and ironically it would have started as a slave culture (under Mogreth). I'm also starting to see the Thothian colony as more of a reunification of two very similar cultures (both influenced by a common source - the planar spiders). In that sense Thothia is actually the older culture on Mystara (hmmm... possibly contributing to why they were spared Nithia's fate - it's an interesting idea). [Another recent idea I had was that the "Nithians" were the folks who got too close to the spiders, and ended up being captured and sold to Mogreth as slaves.]
Interesting! I can work with the Nithians being influenced by Mogreth and the Spiders. OTOH, it would be interesting if the Spiders arent all static either, and might have picked up some ideas from the Nithians? I like the idea of Thothia predating Nithia by the way. It sort of makes sense to have that culture be truly old, particularly with the Spider connection.

In some of the very early MSpace discussions (many years ago), I think it was Cthulhudrew who suggested that a culture of Planar Spiders existed near the Galactic Federation near the Galactic Hub. Maybe we could draw in this somehow as well?
Or if not explicitly invited, at least welcomed when they got there (due to some peculiar twist of fate regarding their numerous shared cultural elements). Of course the opposite could also happen (as seen with the Azcans/Shadowelves - but that's been done before ;) ). Based on Needle however, I think it is safe to assume some level of interaction between the Nithians and the M-Mars spiders, sometime during BC 1750 and BC 500. If I had to pick a colony establishment date (on M-Mars) it would be around BC 1200.
Relations could definately have varied at different stages. Nithian colonization around BC1200 sounds good. I guess we are seeing the beginning of a timeline here? :)
Yup, I agree. How do you see the M-Mars desert though (or even M-Mars climate in general)?
Well, we probably want to avoid a complete mono-climatic setup ala Star Wars for our planets, but I've come to see MMars as dominated by deserts and dry land (kept fertile through the canals, but with some smaller bodies of water (probably near the poles? I see most of MMars terrain as resembling the Middle East and North Africa. The fauna is dominated by insectoid and scorpion-like creatures. Sandfolk also originated from MMars btw, at least according to SB Wilson's writeup (based on Misher IIRC).

This in contrast to MVenus which I see as a humid planet dominated by swamps and rain forests. IMC MVenus was once colonized by Azcans and Oltecs and also has dinosaurs...
Havard wrote:I would also like to see a type of primitive Egyptian-style Giff living here...
:D Something that I never considered, but I think it's perfect for the setting. One thing I think would be nice to do is to also tie M-Mars (and other planets in the system) to the larger Spelljammer universe, and this is a great way to do it! Another precept in MyMystara is that the Grunland elves were colonists from the spheres in BC 6000 (or was it BC 7000?). My Exiles campaign has an IEN fleet stumble into carnifex controlled space and finally escaping pursuit once they reach the Mystara system (where they crash and hope they aren't found).

I'm not sure how well the Unhuman Wars fit with Mystaran history, but perhaps there are other SJ elements we can pull as well.
I dont know enough about the SJ universe to contribute much here. However, I think it would be a good idea to present MSpace in such a way that it can be used both by those who want to integrate it with the SJ universe and those who prefer a more Gold Box style independent cosmology.

I quite agree as well. One other thing to keep in mind: The HW and HM settings give us great museum piece settings where we can see snapshots of some historical Mystaran cultures... I don't want to do that here.

M-Mars shouldn't be a museum setting. I see it being on a parallel development path with Mystara... so when we visit M-Mars Nithians, that should give us a chance to explore what Nithia would have been like if it were allowed to continue its development.
Good point. What I think we could do is treat the solar system like one of those migration maps from the HW boxed set. Just as cultures have migrated from one continent on Mystara to the other, cultures have also migrated between the planets. Most of the major civilizations of Mystara may have visited other planets at some point in history. Some will have used Voidships, but Gates will probably have been more common. At the same time, colonies which have been established on other planets have not remained static.

Blackmoor is one of the oldest civilizations to have explored space. There may be Blackmoorian ruins discovered on any planet in the solar system. IMO the Immortals were so frightened by the GRoF that they would have taken drastic measures against tech based colonies in the solar system after the cataclysm. Many Blackmoor colonies would have died off without support from Mystara anyway. Others were perhaps made to forget about tech through Spell of Oblivion-style intervention? Still, old tech devices may be found.

Azcans(MVenus), Oltecs(MVenus) and Nithians (MMars) have already been discussed. The Alphatians having settlements on various planets has also been discussed in the other threads here.
That's why your Giff idea really intrigues me. Nithia + gunpowder :D.
Quite interesting! My original idea went along different lines though. I see the MMars civilization as one that has experienced greatness in the past, but which has forgotten much of its former greatness. Ofcourse we could have both. If we do have an advanced Renessance meets Egypt style culture, I suggest that this is a small group which lives under threat of barbarians.

It depends on how crowded you want MSpace to be though. In general, I see the other planets of MSpace as places that can be discovered by Mystarans, rather than having too many cultures out there which may be a threat to Mystara. Your War of the Worlds scenario is certainly interesting though, so we will have to think about how we want to develop this. If we still have Damocles around, I would see that as the most advanced world in the solar system.

Okay, way past my bedtime now... :)

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:54 am

There were a lot of ideas in the above post, but I wanted to get to this while my own thoughts are still fresh.
Havard wrote:
That's why your Giff idea really intrigues me. Nithia + gunpowder :D.
Quite interesting! My original idea went along different lines though. I see the MMars civilization as one that has experienced greatness in the past, but which has forgotten much of its former greatness. Ofcourse we could have both. If we do have an advanced Renessance meets Egypt style culture, I suggest that this is a small group which lives under threat of barbarians.

It depends on how crowded you want MSpace to be though. In general, I see the other planets of MSpace as places that can be discovered by Mystarans, rather than having too many cultures out there which may be a threat to Mystara. Your War of the Worlds scenario is certainly interesting though, so we will have to think about how we want to develop this. If we still have Damocles around, I would see that as the most advanced world in the solar system.
Based on our discussions so far I think I've convinced myself that canals are the way to go. I really like having some tie to RW history in my Mystara products, and in this case that will be early space exploration. So, here are the thoughts (again, let's not marry ourselves to any of these):

1) M-Mars is a desert world, mainly due to lack of water (rather than intense heat). Equatorial regions may have "normal" temperatures, but the closer to the poles one gets, the colder it gets.
2) Some remnant oceans still exist (very small) but most of the water has been stolen and now resides in one of the two polar ice caps.
3) Canals link the ocean remnants with the rest of civilization, bringing what water remains to the natives.
4) The poles are now controlled by some icy invaders, possibly planar invaders. Do we know any Mystaran Immortals that this could be linked to?
5) The natives battle each other for control over resources (water and canals), as well as combating the invaders when necessary.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:25 am

Ok, my last post was cut a bit short - here are some refinements to those ideas:

- The planar spider culture spans much of the planet. It is large and advanced, and may be fairly old (old enough to have had contact with Blackmoor).

- The planar spiders colonize other worlds, including Mystara. During their travels they awaken something that should not have been awakened. Unknown to them it follows them back to the planet. This is the beginning of the "Great Freeze" that will grip the planet in the millennia to come.

- Other cultures visit M-Mars, including the Nithians and aranea of Mystara. They share some cultural traits and are allowed to colonize portions of the world.

- The planet is slowly but surely being attacked by some great force... something that is causing the polar ice caps to grow (and thus removing the liquid water from the rest of the planet). To combat this the planar spiders build massive canal systems throughout the planet in an attempt to bring water from the dwindling sources to where it is needed most.

- The planar spiders realize they are fighting a loosing battle and withdraw to their places of power. The lesser races begin to fight amongst themselves while attempting to seize as many of the available resources as possible (water and canals).

Perhaps we can get some kind of Flash Gordon theme going on here where the main goal would be to get all of these warring nations together so that they can confront their real enemy (whatever is causing the poles to freeze and the water to recede). Again this would be a nod to some of the early sci-fi stories that took place on Mars.

- Unknown to all, the planar spiders have set on a new course of action. If they can not save their own planet, they will do the next best thing... take over a new one. They set their sights on Mystara. For centuries they gather their forces and every last ounce of their power, bending all of their resources towards the creation of an invasion fleet that will move their entire culture to their neighboring planet.

EDIT: To make things even more Flash Gordony, the lesser races might even be expected to bring the "Invader/Emperor" tribute at his palace in one of the Poles. They would pay tribute in exchange for being able to take away a little of the water stored there (melting it and shipping it through the canals). Again, just a thought. Now... what Mystaran entity could fill Ming's shoes...?
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:20 pm

Ok, now back to some of the things I missed last night.
Havard wrote:Interesting! I can work with the Nithians being influenced by Mogreth and the Spiders. OTOH, it would be interesting if the Spiders arent all static either, and might have picked up some ideas from the Nithians? I like the idea of Thothia predating Nithia by the way. It sort of makes sense to have that culture be truly old, particularly with the Spider connection.
As a Cthulhudrew pointed out in another thread, the spiders from Needle are planar spiders, while some of their offspring on Mystara were the aranea. So, what if we keep the planar spiders as the powerful/ancient race, but introduce their aranean children as contemporaries of the Nithians? We could have any amount of cross pollination between those two groups as we want.
Havard wrote:In some of the very early MSpace discussions (many years ago), I think it was Cthulhudrew who suggested that a culture of Planar Spiders existed near the Galactic Federation near the Galactic Hub. Maybe we could draw in this somehow as well?
This works well, especially if we want the planar spiders as the builders of the canals. It also works well if we want to use them later as the martian invaders (ala War of the Worlds). So perhaps they ended up on M-Mars in much the same way as the Emmerondians ended up on Mystara? Their culture might even parallel that of Blackmoor in some way (having a shared Galactic heritage).

Havard wrote:Well, we probably want to avoid a complete mono-climatic setup ala Star Wars for our planets, but I've come to see MMars as dominated by deserts and dry land (kept fertile through the canals, but with some smaller bodies of water (probably near the poles? I see most of MMars terrain as resembling the Middle East and North Africa. The fauna is dominated by insectoid and scorpion-like creatures. Sandfolk also originated from MMars btw, at least according to SB Wilson's writeup (based on Misher IIRC).
I like this vision of M-Mars (what the heck are we calling this place anyway? Vanya? -> Vania?).
Ohhh... the sandfolk. I had forgotten about them. Sounds like we are building up quite a community already.
Havard wrote:This in contrast to MVenus which I see as a humid planet dominated by swamps and rain forests. IMC MVenus was once colonized by Azcans and Oltecs and also has dinosaurs...
I agree. I'd also add in (at one time) carnifex as well.
Havard wrote:Good point. What I think we could do is treat the solar system like one of those migration maps from the HW boxed set. Just as cultures have migrated from one continent on Mystara to the other, cultures have also migrated between the planets. Most of the major civilizations of Mystara may have visited other planets at some point in history. Some will have used Voidships, but Gates will probably have been more common. At the same time, colonies which have been established on other planets have not remained static.
:D Ok, solar migration map sounds like fun. We'll have to see what we can do with that. An interesting point could be that not only are cultures migrating outward from Mystara... but they are also migrating inward from beyond (whatever beyond is). Some examples of inward migration could be Beagle/Galactic entities (including the planar spiders), elves, and Alphatians (I have more thoughts on those later).

Since the topic of the solar system was brought up, I'd like to make one other quick point. I'd prefer to keep whatever the system "boundaries" are as vague as possible. For myself I prefer the Spelljammer Crystal Spheres idea, but I know many other Mystarans prefer the standard/real universe setting. I think our write up on M-Mars can remain fairly neutral on the subject and let individual DMs choose what's best for them.
Havard wrote:Blackmoor is one of the oldest civilizations to have explored space. There may be Blackmoorian ruins discovered on any planet in the solar system. IMO the Immortals were so frightened by the GRoF that they would have taken drastic measures against tech based colonies in the solar system after the cataclysm. Many Blackmoor colonies would have died off without support from Mystara anyway. Others were perhaps made to forget about tech through Spell of Oblivion-style intervention? Still, old tech devices may be found.
This is a great point and I totally agree with your assessment of how the immortals would have handled the Blackmoorians. How does this bode for the planar spiders? Something to think about.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:37 pm

Ok, I apologize in advance for the total brain dump here, but the ideas are coming and I have to get them out. I hope others will contribute ideas as well (I don't mean to dominate the thread).
Chimpman wrote:EDIT: To make things even more Flash Gordony, the lesser races might even be expected to bring the "Invader/Emperor" tribute at his palace in one of the Poles. They would pay tribute in exchange for being able to take away a little of the water stored there (melting it and shipping it through the canals). Again, just a thought. Now... what Mystaran entity could fill Ming's shoes...?
I had this idea while driving into work this morning: What about Brissard for the Baddie on M-Mars? According to the Codex Immortalis this pure Alphatian ascended to immortality in 630 BC (just before the fall of Nithia). He could have led a group of pure Alphatians to M-Mars and settled in the polar regions. His portfolio is domination, slavery, oppression, circumvention - all sound perfect for a "Ming" type character. Perhaps our M-Ming could be one of his descendants, or even Brissard himself in mortal form (in the same way as Rad operates as Etienne d'Ambreville).

BC 630 could also be the start of our planetary troubles - when the water starts to become more scarce and the canals are first built. That gives us ~1600 years of history to play around with, leading up to the present day, and should be more than enough time for a treacherous immortal to plunge the planet into its present turmoil.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:18 pm

Bringing the discussion back to maps - one of the things that Rotipher did with the HM (and what I'd also like to do with M-Mars) is to look at various maps of the moon (or in our case Mars) in order to get ideas and inspiration for what should be there. Here are a few areas that I've found so far:

Valles Marineris - This thing is nearly as long as the U.S. and it just screams out to be one of the few sources of water on the planet. Traversing the narrow sea within, with looming cliff faces on either side is just too good an image to pass up.

Noctis Labyrinthus - This feature at the end of the Valles Marineris even looks like a labyrinth! Yeah, we have to find some reason to put minotaurs down there.

Amazonis Planitia - Got to have sexy amazons to counterbalance the chauvinistic Nithians. Hmmm... if they are the descendants of Beagle crew, that would make them... green women... :mrgreen: [Yes, I'm a Trekkie]

Cerberus - Some kind of dog related creatures here. Perhaps Hutaakans? Perhaps something else (or a combination of canine-like races)

Terra Cimmeria - A land of barbarians? Perhaps the sandfolk hold sway here?

Hellas Planitia - Perhaps the hottest desert on the planet? Most terraformed mars maps show this as an inland sea, so perhaps there is a small sea at its center. That gives a reason for having canals run through a searing desert (something I think would be cool).

Cydonia - Pyramid shapes here could mean Nithians (of course a shared culture with the spiders could mean this is the home of the planar spiders as well).

Vastitas Borealis - The slowly expanding realm of glaciers.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:57 pm

Chimpman wrote: Based on our discussions so far I think I've convinced myself that canals are the way to go. I really like having some tie to RW history in my Mystara products, and in this case that will be early space exploration. So, here are the thoughts (again, let's not marry ourselves to any of these):

1) M-Mars is a desert world, mainly due to lack of water (rather than intense heat). Equatorial regions may have "normal" temperatures, but the closer to the poles one gets, the colder it gets.
2) Some remnant oceans still exist (very small) but most of the water has been stolen and now resides in one of the two polar ice caps.
3) Canals link the ocean remnants with the rest of civilization, bringing what water remains to the natives.
4) The poles are now controlled by some icy invaders, possibly planar invaders. Do we know any Mystaran Immortals that this could be linked to?
5) The natives battle each other for control over resources (water and canals), as well as combating the invaders when necessary.
All of these ideas work for me! :)
Chimpman wrote:Ok, my last post was cut a bit short - here are some refinements to those ideas:

- The planar spider culture spans much of the planet. It is large and advanced, and may be fairly old (old enough to have had contact with Blackmoor).
That fits with previous discussions about the Planar Spiders. Does any of the old modules feature Planar Spiders? I seem to remember them showing up in IM3? IIRC the Planar Spiders had saucer-like vessels...
Linking this to some older discussions about MSpace, another space faring race discussed were the Adaptors. Perhaps there could be adaptors living among the Spiders? They could even have infiltrated the Spiders.
- The planar spiders colonize other worlds, including Mystara. During their travels they awaken something that should not have been awakened. Unknown to them it follows them back to the planet. This is the beginning of the "Great Freeze" that will grip the planet in the millennia to come.
I seem to remember the Planar Spiders being presented as interplanar merchants, but according to the RC writeup, they can be of any type or culture. We could have these colonizing Spiders as one faction or "nation"?
- Other cultures visit M-Mars, including the Nithians and aranea of Mystara. They share some cultural traits and are allowed to colonize portions of the world.
This is quite cool. We also know that the Nithians were able to contact other worlds like that of the Alphatians. Perhaps there could be some connection here?
- The planet is slowly but surely being attacked by some great force... something that is causing the polar ice caps to grow (and thus removing the liquid water from the rest of the planet). To combat this the planar spiders build massive canal systems throughout the planet in an attempt to bring water from the dwindling sources to where it is needed most.

- The planar spiders realize they are fighting a loosing battle and withdraw to their places of power. The lesser races begin to fight amongst themselves while attempting to seize as many of the available resources as possible (water and canals).
This has the potential of Epic written over it. I like it! :)
Perhaps we can get some kind of Flash Gordon theme going on here where the main goal would be to get all of these warring nations together so that they can confront their real enemy (whatever is causing the poles to freeze and the water to recede). Again this would be a nod to some of the early sci-fi stories that took place on Mars.

- Unknown to all, the planar spiders have set on a new course of action. If they can not save their own planet, they will do the next best thing... take over a new one. They set their sights on Mystara. For centuries they gather their forces and every last ounce of their power, bending all of their resources towards the creation of an invasion fleet that will move their entire culture to their neighboring planet.

EDIT: To make things even more Flash Gordony, the lesser races might even be expected to bring the "Invader/Emperor" tribute at his palace in one of the Poles. They would pay tribute in exchange for being able to take away a little of the water stored there (melting it and shipping it through the canals). Again, just a thought. Now... what Mystaran entity could fill Ming's shoes...?
I really like the Flash Gordon/Mars Sci fi references. And a Mystaran Ming! Finally we are getting some individuals here instead of just cultures and structures...

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:18 pm

Chimpman wrote:As a Cthulhudrew pointed out in another thread, the spiders from Needle are planar spiders, while some of their offspring on Mystara were the aranea. So, what if we keep the planar spiders as the powerful/ancient race, but introduce their aranean children as contemporaries of the Nithians? We could have any amount of cross pollination between those two groups as we want.
Yes, this works for me. It will be interesting to know that the PS have been around since Blackmoor anyway. I might be able to tie it in with some projects for that era... 8-)


Havard wrote:In some of the very early MSpace discussions (many years ago), I think it was Cthulhudrew who suggested that a culture of Planar Spiders existed near the Galactic Federation near the Galactic Hub. Maybe we could draw in this somehow as well?
This works well, especially if we want the planar spiders as the builders of the canals. It also works well if we want to use them later as the martian invaders (ala War of the Worlds). So perhaps they ended up on M-Mars in much the same way as the Emmerondians ended up on Mystara? Their culture might even parallel that of Blackmoor in some way (having a shared Galactic heritage).
Well, there are dozens of ways the Planar Spiders could have ended up in the MSolar System. Travelling between planes and solar systems is pretty much what they do. Speaking of the Galactic Federation, the FSS Beagle most likely visited MMars on their way to Mystara (to pick up the Sandfolk). They may have left some junk as well, possibly including a few AI probes?
I like this vision of M-Mars (what the heck are we calling this place anyway? Vanya? -> Vania?).
The one reason I dont like using the names of the Immortals is that its confusing to use the same term for two things. How about keeping the names, but in their latinized genitive form so that Vanya would be Vaniae (ie Vanya's world?) or something like this?
Ohhh... the sandfolk. I had forgotten about them. Sounds like we are building up quite a community already.
Indeed!
IIRC, I also had Earth based elemental creatures make their home on MMars (making each planet associated with one type of planar creature) and Brown Dragons...
Havard wrote:This in contrast to MVenus which I see as a humid planet dominated by swamps and rain forests. IMC MVenus was once colonized by Azcans and Oltecs and also has dinosaurs...
I agree. I'd also add in (at one time) carnifex as well.
Yes, that's perfect!
:D Ok, solar migration map sounds like fun. We'll have to see what we can do with that. An interesting point could be that not only are cultures migrating outward from Mystara... but they are also migrating inward from beyond (whatever beyond is). Some examples of inward migration could be Beagle/Galactic entities (including the planar spiders), elves, and Alphatians (I have more thoughts on those later).
Yep! Obviously, many of these cultures wont appear on each planet on their route. I would add Adaptors (as mentioned earlier) as another visitor race from beyond.
Since the topic of the solar system was brought up, I'd like to make one other quick point. I'd prefer to keep whatever the system "boundaries" are as vague as possible. For myself I prefer the Spelljammer Crystal Spheres idea, but I know many other Mystarans prefer the standard/real universe setting. I think our write up on M-Mars can remain fairly neutral on the subject and let individual DMs choose what's best for them.
I completely agree with this. That strategy will help make the project more useful for both groups of fans. I am still undecided myself.
This is a great point and I totally agree with your assessment of how the immortals would have handled the Blackmoorians. How does this bode for the planar spiders? Something to think about.
Do you see the Spiders as tech based? If so, maybe Korotiku could have intervened on their behalf?

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:44 pm

Havard wrote:That fits with previous discussions about the Planar Spiders. Does any of the old modules feature Planar Spiders? I seem to remember them showing up in IM3? IIRC the Planar Spiders had saucer-like vessels...
Linking this to some older discussions about MSpace, another space faring race discussed were the Adaptors. Perhaps there could be adaptors living among the Spiders? They could even have infiltrated the Spiders.
Hmmm... I'm going to have to dig IM3 out again and check... I can vaguely remember something like this.
I like the Adaptor ideas. Being planar travelers I can see them following the spiders around. Hmmm... would they have the ability to shape change into spider form then? I could also see them working for or against our M-Ming.
Havard wrote:I seem to remember the Planar Spiders being presented as interplanar merchants, but according to the RC writeup, they can be of any type or culture. We could have these colonizing Spiders as one faction or "nation"?
True. I'm not averse to setting up differen groups within the PS culture. ;) Then again... One nation's "merchant" could also be another nation's "spy"... and a pleasant outward appearance doesn't necessarily signify good intentions. :twisted:
Havard wrote:This is quite cool. We also know that the Nithians were able to contact other worlds like that of the Alphatians. Perhaps there could be some connection here?
Ohh... I like this. What are you thinking of?
Of course if we use Brissard as our BBEG, it could be that the Nithians brought the Alphers to Vaniae first (unwittingly sealing that planet's ultimate doom). The Alphers on Mystara could be a second wave of colonists, or even refugees fleeing M-Ming's rule. As such the Vaniae Alphers could actually have a longer presence in the system than their brethren on Mystara.
Havard wrote:I really like the Flash Gordon/Mars Sci fi references. And a Mystaran Ming! Finally we are getting some individuals here instead of just cultures and structures...
I agree. And of course there has to be a princess as well... ;)
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:57 pm

Havard wrote:Yes, this works for me. It will be interesting to know that the PS have been around since Blackmoor anyway. I might be able to tie it in with some projects for that era... 8-)
Cool, that's something I'd like to see.
Havard wrote:Well, there are dozens of ways the Planar Spiders could have ended up in the MSolar System. Travelling between planes and solar systems is pretty much what they do. Speaking of the Galactic Federation, the FSS Beagle most likely visited MMars on their way to Mystara (to pick up the Sandfolk). They may have left some junk as well, possibly including a few AI probes?
... and green women :mrgreen: don't forget them ;)
Hmmm... I wonder if this could be a good way to include warforged into the setting? I'd give them a descriptive rewrite of course, but they would still be sentient constructs. I just had a glimmer of an idea for half organic undead warforged working for Brissard/M-Ming. <shudder>
Havard wrote:The one reason I dont like using the names of the Immortals is that its confusing to use the same term for two things. How about keeping the names, but in their latinized genitive form so that Vanya would be Vaniae (ie Vanya's world?) or something like this?
Vaniae sounds good to me.
Havard wrote:IIRC, I also had Earth based elemental creatures make their home on MMars (making each planet associated with one type of planar creature) and Brown Dragons...
I think this is very much in keeping with a "Flash Gordon" theme. We'll have to go back over some of the Mystaran elemental creatures. Isn't the Horde earth based?
Havard wrote:Do you see the Spiders as tech based? If so, maybe Korotiku could have intervened on their behalf?
Hmmm... I can see the spiders as being very technologically advanced, but not necessarily (machine) tech based. Perhaps their technology is more bio-oriented? Having Korotiku as a patron also makes sense. If the PS are on par (power wise) with the Blackmoorians, but don't use exactly the same technology to achieve that standing, that might also absolve them from immortal persecution.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:52 am

Ok, more mapping related issues:

Using a diameter of 13248 miles for M-Mars, that means that mapping at a scale of 72 mph will create a map that is 184 hexes long, by 92 hexes high.

My Hollow Moon project was mapped at a scale of 40mph, which resulted in a map 170 hexes long and 85 high.

So, as far as work efforts go, I'd say they were about equal (and that this is something worth attempting).

EDIT: Lol :lol: I set my map up last night - got my background layer in place and the hexes - and then I realized it is going to be about 2x the effort of the HM, since half of the HM was crystalbarren and not mapped! Oh well. I still think it's doable.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:34 am

Havard wrote:That fits with previous discussions about the Planar Spiders. Does any of the old modules feature Planar Spiders? I seem to remember them showing up in IM3? IIRC the Planar Spiders had saucer-like vessels...
Linking this to some older discussions about MSpace, another space faring race discussed were the Adaptors. Perhaps there could be adaptors living among the Spiders? They could even have infiltrated the Spiders.
Just checking IM3 and it does feature planar spiders in flying saucers :D. They populate the plane Morcellate. Apparently they have been isolated from the Astral and therefore can no longer plane jump... however several paragraphs after that statement it says that once the spiders become aware of the PCs the captain gets scared and plane jumps...
<sigh>

Well, at least there is some precedence for high tech planar spiders.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:31 pm

Chimpman wrote:Hmmm... I'm going to have to dig IM3 out again and check... I can vaguely remember something like this.
I like the Adaptor ideas. Being planar travelers I can see them following the spiders around. Hmmm... would they have the ability to shape change into spider form then? I could also see them working for or against our M-Ming.
According to the RC, Adaptors can take the shape of any human or demihuman sized creature. Planar Spiders are noted as Man-sized.

By the way, I never commented on the Brissard/M-Ming idea, but I really do like it! I think having M-Ming as a descendant of an immortal sounds like an interesting idea.


Nithians contacting the Alphatians:
Ohh... I like this. What are you thinking of?
Not really sure where to take this farther. Perhaps the Nithians used their Pyramids to contact other planets/stars. They could also use them as "Star Gates".
Of course if we use Brissard as our BBEG, it could be that the Nithians brought the Alphers to Vaniae first (unwittingly sealing that planet's ultimate doom). The Alphers on Mystara could be a second wave of colonists, or even refugees fleeing M-Ming's rule. As such the Vaniae Alphers could actually have a longer presence in the system than their brethren on Mystara.
That is interesting. I always assumed the Alphatians of M-Space to have journeyed along with the Alphatians who landed on Mystara, but simply stayed behind in space. OTOH, they could ofcourse just as easily have been earlier explorers.
Havard wrote:I really like the Flash Gordon/Mars Sci fi references. And a Mystaran Ming! Finally we are getting some individuals here instead of just cultures and structures...
I agree. And of course there has to be a princess as well... ;)
Always! I am not too well versed in the Carter of Mars series, but I think this is also something we could use here. Again with princesses and giant insect monsters... :twisted:

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:45 pm

Chimpman wrote:
Havard wrote:Yes, this works for me. It will be interesting to know that the PS have been around since Blackmoor anyway. I might be able to tie it in with some projects for that era... 8-)
Cool, that's something I'd like to see.
Lets just keep developing the Spiders first and perhaps something more can grow from that. I like having various elements that can be used to connect the various eras of Mystara's history. Perhaps the Spiders can be used in this manner :)
... and green women :mrgreen: don't forget them ;)
Hehe, always fun! Green women could be explorers from Pyrithia/Emerond I suppose? These guys might likely show up anywhere in the M-Solar System.

FSS Beagle Probes left on MMars:
Hmmm... I wonder if this could be a good way to include warforged into the setting? I'd give them a descriptive rewrite of course, but they would still be sentient constructs.
I have about 200 different ideas for how to incorporate Warforged on Mystara. I can never decide on which I prefer though. But yes, I suppose that would work quite well. I am thinking there could also be something bigger though, like a huge mega-computer or, something like this. In effect, an ancient technology based intelligent lifeform, hidden somewhere in some deep dungeon.
I just had a glimmer of an idea for half organic undead warforged working for Brissard/M-Ming. <shudder>
Scary! :o


Elementals:
I think this is very much in keeping with a "Flash Gordon" theme. We'll have to go back over some of the Mystaran elemental creatures. Isn't the Horde earth based?
I think so. I had different elementals associated with different planets, but I think M-Mars was the earth based one. Gates to the Elemental Plane of Earth might be more common here. Another result of the workings of the Nithians? Or just a natural phenomenon?
Hmmm... I can see the spiders as being very technologically advanced, but not necessarily (machine) tech based. Perhaps their technology is more bio-oriented? Having Korotiku as a patron also makes sense. If the PS are on par (power wise) with the Blackmoorians, but don't use exactly the same technology to achieve that standing, that might also absolve them from immortal persecution.
Bio-oriented is interesting. That seems not unlike what the Emerondians were doing with their gigantic insect-like mounts....

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Havard » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:46 pm

Chimpman wrote: Just checking IM3 and it does feature planar spiders in flying saucers :D. They populate the plane Morcellate. Apparently they have been isolated from the Astral and therefore can no longer plane jump... however several paragraphs after that statement it says that once the spiders become aware of the PCs the captain gets scared and plane jumps...
<sigh>

Well, at least there is some precedence for high tech planar spiders.
Hehe, not surprised to find such things in a wild adventure like IM3. Still, I guess not every group of Planar Spiders would need to have Flying Saucers....?

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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Chimpman » Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:49 pm

Ok, I have a very preliminary map of Vaniae at 72mph. So far it includes the major seas and canal lines. Let me know what you think, and if you'd like to see any changes.
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Re: [Mystaraspace] Map of M-Mars

Post by Seer of Yhog » Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:13 am

Just popping by to say this is very interesting! Any effort to create an M-Mars setting absolutely needs to borrow elements from ERB's John Carter series. The books are fabulous examples of pulp action at its best. The whole dying world motif, if pursued, would be an interesting backdrop IMO.
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