Today I posted about my Planescape-Spelljammer-Traveller mashup on Google+ and I was asked to say more about it.
Basically the players got hold of a Spelljammer ship to sail the astral sea. It was one of the classic ships: a Mindflayer Nautilus class called the Black Strangler. Basically the astral sea is what Planescape has as the sea at the bottom of Celestia. When I read about the astral plane, the big wheel and all that, I was confused and I figured the players would be as well. Instead I opted for something alike Marion Zimmer Bradley’s travel to Avalon: get on a boat, travel for a bit, use some magic and you can be elsewhere. I think the astral sea is how D&D 4E does it as well?
Anyway, so we have a “sea” and “islands” on it – or basically worlds, systems. It already starts to sound like a bit of Traveller. Many of them will have gates linking them with larger worlds – fantastic worlds inspired by Planescape: hells, elemental planes, alternative prime material worlds. A bit like Philip José Farmer’s World of Tiers, perhaps?
One world, for example, is non-magical except for the gate that leads to the astral sea. So they built a fortress in the astral sea and discovered that magic works on the other side. Now they use it like a space station or star port to manufacture mundane stuff that requires magic to be built.
All these small worlds, astroids and stations get an UWP and I feed it to my Traveller Subsector Mapper to produce a nice map. Check out the astral sea map and click on the systems to go to the campaign wiki pages.
I think my greatest inspirations from the web where the One Page Dungeon submission The Forgotten Depths by the author of The Metal Earth and the session reports on Planet Algol. Nevertheless my campaign took a while to evolve to this place. At first it was very traditional Wilderlands of High Fantasy. Then we explored the first few levels of Dismal Depth, the Fight On! megadungeon and a bit of Barrow Maze. And when a player character fell into an “infinite pit” and another player character threw himself after the first one (picture), I decided to push it to a new level.
Oh, and the Google+ post was me saying that I was working out the domain stats for the region using the rules from An Echo Resounding (interesting comparison of An Echo Resounding and Adventure Conqueror King). I hope my players aren’t overwhelmed by my sneaky introduction of these domain rules. I think the two key phrases I heard last session justifying this move were “I think we’ll keep Monkey Island as our base!” and “Can we benefit somehow from reopening the mine on Monkey Island?”