This image by deviantART artist Ignacio Bazán Lazcano would be how I would depict the steam mechs of the core worlds of SJGW’s Steampunk Spelljammer universe.
The steam mechs of the core are a little more mech and a little less magic. Such mechs are well taken care of by their handlers, although ages of warfare makes most steam mechs look less shiny. There is a darkness to how steam mechs are viewed in the core worlds. The constructs are seen as dangerous, dirty, and frightening even though they are required for the security of the Empire of Monarchs.
Steam mechs in the far reaches of the Aether (like those seen in Rielunspace) wouldn’t be as advanced as those near the core worlds. Such mechs are more magical than mechanic, and they are built for their aesthetics, especially by the Elven Flotillas. (imagine a Elven Warbird spelljammer morphed into a mech and you envision what I see in my own mind.) The steam mechs of Rielunspace are considered primitive by core world mecha designers but the effectiveness of the magics they wield cannot be understated.
Before there was anything else for Rielun, there was the half-orc known only as “Spears.” Before I ran my first AD&D 2E campaign set on Rielun (then known as the Islands of Malecade), I created a hero who was raised by pygmy-like demihumans who lived in harmony with the wilds of nature on the continent of Malecade. His home and heart was two-fold. He became an adopted son of a village called “Gremlin” while keeping in touch with his primitive youth. His constant companion in his early years was a giant cat that was more like a gigantic house cat than a wild cat. (His nameless cat was tragically killed by evil humanoids.)
Later in his life, he would become fast friends with a group of characters that I now refer to as the Lions of Malecade — Knak Rynne (name was a homage to my favorite Dragonlance author), Marty Lionmountain, Nona Heartwood, and Simon Mardin (and Simon’s twin brother who turned to evil before being killed by the others). These characters were never a group of PCs being played by my friends at the time. Instead, they were all constructs of my own imagination. In the current era, they are known as the Heroes of the Past and are remembered with reverence by current adventurers. Whether or not they were truly worthy of such praise is up for debate.
“Spears” is now known as The Spearion in the annals of history. His last name was never known, although Rielunian historians often doubt he ever had a last name. His adopted parents were most likely tigés (also known as the tligen) or trooda and a statue of his visage stands in his adopted town, now called Gremlin Home, which still exists in the forested hills of the region known as The Lions’ Gap. He is looked upon as a savior of the town and a icon for all civilized half-orcs to strive to emulate. In truth, he was far from civilized. In current D&D 3E terms, his final stats would be as follows: NG male half-orc, Animal Lord 11/Adept 9. Yes, his soul was good, but his heart was savage.
He was the first hero of the world I created and one of the first characters I ever created. I still remember him fondly and I was lucky enough to get a sketch done of him by an online artist whose name escapes me at the moment. (Once I re-remember the artist’s name, I’ll add it to the caption on the image below.)
(Animal Lord is an alternate d20 system class from Legends & Lairs: Sorcery & Steam, which was published by Fantasy Flight Games.)
“Spears,” The Spearion
Here is where the world has been…
Islands of Malecade… Warped World… these campaign names have always referred to my first world… Rielun (the world has had more names then I can remember). A campaign that started out with one map of a small portion of the continent Malecade. For years this campaign grew and grew — to a size roughly twice the size of Earth. By this time I was completely lost in a mass of maps that didn’t have any consistency or theme. So… I tossed the worst ideas, archived the original core of maps for the campaign, and transferred other ideas to other worlds (such as Triadora to Kulan). Warped World died with a whimper but Malecade lived on in my soul… lost but not forgotten. And now I have revived it with a new name but true to the original concept — Time of Ages.
And here is where the world is now going…
Time of Ages was never supposed to be a straight fantasy world. Magic would play a vital role in the development of the world but so would technology. The original concept was to blend magic and technology together in such a way that prevents technology from existing on the world without magic to power it. I’ve referred to this combination of magic and tech in numerous ways — technomagic, magitech, etc. — but the idea has stayed the same. Dragonstar and several other technological rich D20 campaigns have inspired me to change Time of Ages. The campaign is now becoming more like my original concept than every before. I will be able to justify the creation of the super cities and the technology while still allowing for the wild nature of the world’s inherent magic. The powers of time, druidism, and arcane science can now come together into one world.
I had intended for this world to become part of my Arcanum of the Stars Dragonstar campaign concept, but after thinking it over, Time of Ages doesn’t fit very well into the feel of Dragonstar. Thus, the world and its moon Jarad will be a campaign unto itself. The campaign will not be a part of the standard D&D Spelljammer cosmology, my Mirrored cosmology (for Kulan and Dark World), or the Dragonstar universe. Instead it will be part of my Spelljammer Gone Wild cosmology. This separates it from both Arcanum of the Star and World of Kulan.
Rielun: The world of Time of Ages.
Rielun has four continents… Argethon (south pole), Heuveon (north pole), Malecade, and Trasunia. Beyond this and thousands of islands both large and small, Rielun is covered with dark purple-green oceans. Thus, Rielun is roughly 60% to 75% covered by water but is also deceptively shallow in many places (less than 500 – 1000 ft.). The climate is arctic to temperate for the most part; only the regions near the equator rise to subtropical levels.
Digital artwork by Steven James, a.k.a. Silverblade the Enchanter. Here’s a link to his Spelljammer artwork on his web site, Silverblade’s Suitcase. I asked him if I could use this image for my Time of Ages | Steampunk Spelljammer Facebook group, so i figured it would be okay to use it here as well.
Terra Trader (Blue)
I’ve created two new WordPress blogs related to my various homebrewed D&D campaign worlds. The first one I create is for the World of Kulan. Kulan World Journal won’t just be for Kulan, however. It will also go into more details about the Mirrored Cosmology and my homebrewed version of Spelljammmer knowns as The Plane of the Unseen Infinity. Since Dark World (the world of Maran) is tied closely to Kulan, it will be detailed through KWJ.
The second blog is for a world I call Almagra: World of Worlds. However, it is also for all my RPG “otherworlds.” Almagra is a super world that will have a complex Crystal Sphere. The other worlds that will be detailed on the blog will vary between old school D&D worlds to new campaign concepts for D&D v.3.5, D&D 4E, and D&D 5E. Homebrewed campaign worlds, beyond Kulan an Maran, that exist in the Mirrored Cosmology may or may not be detailed on Knightfall’s Almagra and Otherworlds. My AD&D 2E setting Odyssey World, for example, will be exclusive to KFAaO.
as for this blog, it will be for my Spelljammer Gome Wild steampunk universe, which includes my homebrewed campaign world known as Time of Ages. Rielun will be the primary world for this blog. My goal is to post more here and Rielun might dominate for a time before I go into more detail on how I view the Aether of SJGWs universe.