Shattered Crystal - Spelljamming in a binary system
Campaign Setting; Binary System; Races & Classes selection
This system is essentially a binary system. One luminous Ring shaped object "The Great Mother" we would think of as a star gives forth light, warmth and births forth floating island teeming with life. The other end of the spectrum, "The Devouring Worm" is close to a wormhole or black hole in our frame of reference. But both parts are significantly different as explained below. In between the two areas exists a place of lower than normal magic, here steamworks and the beginnings of gunpowder have been developed.
The Great Mother, is a large firey ring shaped object believed to be a lifegiving dragon of fire that consumed its own tail rather than be consumed by its brother the devouring worm. It periodically produces small island clustered "birthed" forth out of the ring. These floating island then drift forth throughout the system. To be colonized, farmed, or left wild on their travels. Nearest to the the lifegiver it is impossible to exist. Ships moving too close find their wooden beams begin sprouting leaves and growing, shortly destroying the integrity of hte ship. The islands that come forth often are colonized by numerous lifeforms, birds and plant life. Essentially jungle planets being birthed forth. Collections of dwarven miners, farmers, and others often wait nearby and try to lay claim to the choices islands being delivered forth. Great waves of misty fog also pour forth, giving the entire system plenty of fog and moisture which can coalesce into rain readily. Close to the Great Mother, conjuration spells are +1
The Lifegiver's brother exists at the other end of the system and is close to a worm hole in appearance, seemingly devouring all that falls into it.
However the "Devouring Wurm/Worm", it isn't a black hole, as occasionally dark things crawl _out_ of it. Nevertheless the natural course of the floating islands in this system is to gradually revolve around the system till eventually falling into the wurm. The final approach, the island spins rapidly and is destroyed into smallest pieces that spiral into the hole. There exists a strong aura of necromancy here and infact an entire city of necromancers has been built in a ring shape surrounding the great mouth. The area around the devouring worm is suficiently far from the Great Mother that most of the time day is like dusk. Vampires can walk freely here almost all the time. Necromantic magic the closer to this point, the stronger it is. (All necromantic spells +1)
The City of Necromancers requires further explaination. This city is run by necromancers of the highest order. Not necessarily evil (although many are) they believe in the right to your own body. Anyone imposing on that right is performing a crime. Hence, the vampiric attacking of victums is deemed criminal, although willing blood doaners are not. Hence vampirism isn't illegal, just the forceful taking of blood. Believe it or not, your right to your own well being is protected to the highest order. But of course, criminals are treated most harshly. Criminals forfeit their lives on greater infractions. Their lives can then be legally purchased and used as desired by the buyer (Usually wealthy necromancers performing experiments). It exists built on the back of a great skeleton of some great worm, also apparently eating its own tail. The central area formed by that ring however is the actual devouring part of the wormhole... The city exists in a rather precarious position as can be imagined. The entire plane of islands slowly fall towards the devouring mouth and are destroyed in their descent. There rarely exists any fallout on the city from this process given the vast current falling into the city. However, something far worse is the fear of the necromancers... Things, crawl forth. Things of nightmares. Nightmare to necromancers? Yes, that bad. They drive the wizards mad, and hence must be defeated. The necromancers have built a great wall arounnd the event horizon of the mouth and staff it with the undead defense forces. Mindless beings endlessly protecting the city, from what comes below. For this reason, all visitors to the city and all inhabitants owe their bodies to the defense of the city. Your living body is yours. Your souless husk of a shell is forfeit to the city on your death, with few exceptions. Resurrection is still allowed in the city although a death tax must still be paid. Afterall, resurrection is only a temporary thing, eventually your body will be forfeit to the city.... Surrounding the great city many smaller islands exist, often composed of farms growning mushrooms tilled by countless working zombies run by the local farmers. Large numbers of skeletal workers collecting spiderweb and weaving it into textiles, endlessly mining asteroids for rare metals, there exists a large amount of trade items being made by cheap labor all directed towards the City of Necromancers...
Midway between these two great heavenly bodies, there exists a very stable zone, an area where much of the current from the Great Mother to the Devouring Worm slows, also midway between creation and destruction, Conjuration and Necromancy. This is a place where magic is relatively less powerful, and Steamworks, firearms and Magitech have developed. Alhough magic and steampower work through this system, firearms and steam essentially work at +1.
The surrounding cosmos of Spelljammer at the least is different in this system. For standard Spelljammer, the cosmos contained individual Crystal Spheres. Each sphere was a crystaline substance and within existed a solar system of a given game system, such as Greyhawk, Mystara, Forgotton Realms, Athas, etc. I believe the crystals were installed as a plot device to explain why rules worked differently for each gamesystem, and also to prevent the other systems to have the ability to manipulate a given set of religions, rules, magic use, etc. Essentially making each game system protected in a crystal environment. However, I just thought this a bit silly. Magic is magic, closer to one planet one gets the magic of that planet changes how things work. Period. Perhaps the universe is balanced enough that each realm is well protected from invasion from the others at least in the now, again, no reason for crystals... Standard Spelljammer also differentiated between the space within these spheres and space between spheres. Between spheres little exists (much like our concept of outer space), within the spheres exists the phlogiston. Also, space in SJ was somewhat similar to our space in that you would run out of air in it (although not zero Kelvin like our is), you carried a pocket of air with you lasting 2-20 rounds... In this Shattered Crystal Campaign, Air, Water (mist) phlosgion is all combined. Essentially a person falling off a Ship in space wont suffocate, perhaps wont even die of thirst, but will float somewhat endlessly and slowly until he starves. Perhaps an even worse death then falling into our oceans, at least that ends in a day or two till exhaustion sets in... On the other hand, animals of many types can swim and or fly in the phlostigon. Dragons can move throughout as can spacewhales, even griffon and pegasus might leap off from a floating island for a bit. There exist schools of spacefish type animals that can be netted in larger waves of phlostigon mist and found in the currents throughout the space. Spelljamming space is much fuller with life than standard Spelljamming space, and definately moreso than our own outer space... And both swimming and flying allow a motive force to move (slowly) from point to point in 3 dimensional movement.