Magic and miscellany
The greatest advantage that the Sun Mages of the Antilan Empire possess is their knowledge of sunmagic. It is this mastery that has allowed them to gain the advantage over all other races, and to put down the illithid uprisings that constantly threaten Sun Mage territory.
Exactly how sunmagic works is something of a mystery, even to those who use it. The mages know that the power of sunmagic is linked directly to the central sun Firefall, but whether this has to do with the light put out by that sun, or some magical energies that it emits is unknown.
DMs must note that sunmagic should never fall into the hands of player characters. Even if a character is an Antilan mage, that character will never become a part of the inner circle that knows the secrets of sunmagic!
There are two parts to sunmagic. The first is the amplification of power that Sun Mages receive, and the second are the new and dangerously powerful spells they may learn.
The power amplification is directly linked to the distance a mage is from the central sun. Within the Inner Ring Sun Mages are at their most powerful, and there are a number of enhancements to their spells. These benefits are:
- Spells have their damage increased by 1 die.
- Spell duration is increased by 50%.
- Spell range is increased by 50%.
- Fire and light-based spells have their damage increased by 3 dice. The duration of these spells can also be increased by 100%.
Outside of the Inner Ring, but within the distance of the Fringe, sunmagic is much weaker. The spell-caster can only increase the damage of fire and light-based spells by one die. In addition, Sun Mages cannot access their specialty sunmagic spells (see below) outside of the Inner Ring. A Sun Mage in magical darkness or at night is also reduced to this limit regardless of his or her location. The mage will be unable to use his or her most potent abilities and becomes easy prey for those who dislike Antilans.
Sunmagic also provides a few new spells that the Sun Mage may learn. These are all quite powerful, and are all of 8th or 9th level. The mage must be standing in full sunlight to cast any of these spells.
Sunflare (Conjuration, Evocation)
Range: 10 yards/level
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 9
Area of Effect: 1 Spelljamming Vessel
Saving Throw: Special
This spell envelops an opposing spelljamming vessel in flames that appear to erupt directly from Firefall. The effect is very brief, but devastating.
The spell will damage all the ship’s rigging and sails, reducing its Maneuver Class and SR by 1. Non-wooden ships do not burn as readily as other types, and will have only rigging or sails burnt by a casting of this spell, not both. External weapons will also be damaged, with a 1 in 6 chance that any such weapon is destroyed. Wooden ships may also burst into flame. On a roll of 1 or 2 on 1d6, the ship’s hull and deck have caught fire and will suffer 1 Hull Point of damage per round, and will suffer the appropriate deterioration of its air quality. The spell itself causes 1d4 points of Hull Damage.
Crew members on the ship within the spell effect take 5d6 points of fire damage, with saving throws reducing this damage by half. No normal or magical effects (other than wishes) will reduce the amount of fire damage. Crew members will also be stunned for 1 – 4 rounds by the sudden combustion of the air and all flammable materials.
The helmsman can try to make a saving throw for the ship and its inanimate contents. If successful, the ship will not lose its rigging or catch fire, but will still suffer 2 points of Hull Damage.
This spell cannot be cast if the mage and the target ship are farther from Firefall than the orbital paths of the Antilan flatworlds.
Range: 40 feet + 10 feet/level
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 round
Casting Time: 9
Area of Effect: One creature or object
Saving Throw: 1/2
The sunstrike is one of the Sun Mages’ most deadly attacks. It causes a fiery line of magical energy to shoot from the hand of the caster to a designated single target within visual range. This line is l’ wide and can go around corners, through windows and doors, over walls, and under or around any obstacles between the caster and the target.
This spell automatically hits any one opponent the mage wishes and causes 8d8 points of damage (1÷2 damage if a successful saving throw is made) to the target. Like sun flare, normal or magical flame protection does not defend against this spell.
The sunstrike also causes any flammable items to burst into flame on contact (only magical items are entitled to a saving throw).
This spell is a favorite among Antilan Warlocks, who channel the spell through their soulblades for an additional 1d8 of damage (for 9d8 total).
Components: V, S, M (crystal portal)/V,S
Duration: 1 year/level of the caster/instantaneous Casting Time: 1 month/9
Area of Effect: 1 crystal portal 5’x 5’x 5’/caster Saving Throw: None
The sungate is a powerful teleportation device used by the Sun Mages to achieve secret movement from one point in the Astromundi Cluster to another.
The spell must be cast upon a crystal portal, usually in the shape of a door. The portal may be no more than 5’ x 5’ x 5’ in area, and must be worth at least 5,000 gold bars. The spell takes one month of preparation to cast, and, once cast, lasts for one year for each level of the caster.
Once a sungate has been created, its magic will work without fail so long as it is kept in the light of Firefall. Sungates that are not illuminated by the rays of that sun will not function, as it requires that sun’s energy (in conjunction with the magic of this spell) to power it. Mages may pass from one sungate to another that they are aware of, anywhere within the sphere. There is no chance for failure, and the mage always arrives at the portal he desires, as long as that portal is functioning. If it is not functioning, the mage will remain at his starting point.
Range: Within the Astromundi Cluster
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: The Astromundi Cluster
Saving Throw: None
This spell provides a means by which a Sun Mage near death can contact his or her peers. It creates a magical shout that can be heard by all Sun Mages within the Astromundi Cluster, and directs these mages to the one who cast the sunscream. In casting this spell, the Sun Mage permanently loses 10 hit points due to its powerful effect on the caster.
The main effect of this spell is focused on sending this sound throughout the Astromundi Cluster, and thus anyone within one mile of the caster’s location is affected as per the deafening effects of a shout spell. In addition, creatures within a five mile radius see a radiant, fiery image that resembles the caster’s masked features expanding from the spell’s point of origin. This image is immaterial and does not radiate heat, and swiftly expands into nothingness.
Sun Mages rarely ignore this call, as it is only used in times of direst emergency, when a Sun Mage is about to fall. A side effect of the spell is the identification of the mage in trouble. If a mage cries wolf, it is very likely that he or she will be ignored in the future, or at the very least response to the call will be slow.
Sunshield (Abjuration, Evocation)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: Permanent until triggered
Casting Time: 1 day
Area of Effect: Self, special
Saving Throw: 1/2
This is the most fearsome of the defensive spells used by Sun Mages. It is cast into a specially-prepared shadowstone gem of at least 1,000 gp worth. This gem is worn at all times by the mage casting the spell. At the time of the casting, the Sun Mage establishes a command word that will activate the gem’s power.
The first effect of the sunshield is to enhance the wearer’s AC by 3 points, lowering an AC of 9 to an AC of 6, for example. This effect is permanent and always accessible, regardless of the status of the secondary effects; the wearer does not need to speak the command word to keep this power active. This gem’s armor class bonuses can operate with both bracers of defense and rings of protection. However, after the secondary effects of the spell has been activated, the gem shatters into useless shards.
The second, and by far more dangerous effect, is the sudden explosion of flame that engulfs the Sun Mage wearing the sunshield stone. These flames are extremely hot, and seem to explode from the caster, enveloping everyone within a 30’ radius. With the exception of the Sun Mage who activated the spell, those caught in the expanding flames suffer 10d6 points of fire damage; victims can attempt a saving throw vs. spell for half damage. As with all offensive sunmagic spells, no natural or magical resistances to fire has any effect against the sunshield.
The Antilans possess two unique magical items that can be found only in their care. The first is a magical mask that is worn only by Sun Mages, and increases their ability to memorize spells, and the second is a deadly mystical sword used by the dread Warlocks of the Antilan military.
Mask of Memory
There are a wide variety of masks of memory in existence. All of them share some similar characteristics, but they all have some unique powers as well. A Mask of Memory is always a golden-red in color, as a reflection of the flames of Firefall. It has no visible eye holes, though there are always two fire opals located where the eye holes are normally found. The mask has no house or ranking markings, leaving the wearer’s identity a mystery.
The mask wearer incurs no penalties for the lack of eye holes; the mask allows normal vision and even grants its wearer magical infravision (60’ range). The mask also provides protection against intense bursts of light that would otherwise blind the character. 20% of all masks of memory also provide the ability to see through magical illusions created by first through third level spells.
Each mask has a variable number of gems present on its face, usually a mixture of fire opals, diamonds, and other various precious gems. Masks may have up to 25 large gems or 100 smaller gems on them; the fire opals are always configured to be the most prominent gems in the design of the mask.
The number of fire opals is equal to the number of extra spells the wearer may memorize each day. These extra spells are of first to fifth level; the contained magics do not allow extra access to higher level spells. Masks of memory always have from two to twelve fire opals in them, with their rarity increasing with the number of opals. They will never have more than twelve fire opals per mask, as the magics involved are too powerful to contain more than that number.
In recent memory, masks of memory have been used only by the Sun Mages, though they can be used by any magic-user (the Sun Mages do not wish this to become common knowledge). Possession of one of these masks by lower class Antilans is a crime punishable by death. If a mask are found in the hands of non-Antilans, the Sun Mages will do whatever is necessary to retrieve it, offering as much as 100,000 gold bars for its return (though they are more likely to destroy offenders for their presumption).
The soulblade is a dreadful weapon, more feared than any other hand-held weapon in the Astromundi Cluster. Carved from shadowstone, the soulblade is similar in size to a short sword, though each individual blade has a unique design and decorative pommel. Soulblades are +2 magical weapons and cause 1d6+2/1d8+2 points of damage, whether the blade resembles a short sword or a small khopesh.
Created by special sunmagic rituals, these blades always flicker with cold white flames. The flames cause no additional damage to Sun Mages, but they will cause a loss of 1d4 hit points to non-Sun Mages. The flames of a soulblade can also destroy cloth or nonmetallic armor with a successful hit; the flames engulf leather or padded armors (and any normal cloth, ropes, etc.) and consume it within one round (magical clothing or armor gains a saving throw against this effect.).
If exposed to sunlight, the soulblade begins to glow, its flames slowly turning red and brightening to the intensity of a light spell. After three rounds in direct sunlight, the wielder may fire a 30’ long beam of fiery energy that causes 1d10 points of magical fire damage. The mage must roll a melee attack as normal, but receives a +2 magical bonus to this roll. No natural or magical resistances to fire provide any defense against this attack. After this energy discharge, the sword returns to its normal, dark color with white flames. The soulblade can only release this stored energy five times a day; after the fifth use of this power in one day, the soulblade will not absorb any energy for 24 hours.
No single craft is as feared as the Antilan crystal citadel. These craft are monstrous, ranging from 1200’ to 1700’ tall and 300’ to 600’ around. Larger than any other craft in the Cluster, they are virtually indestructible under normal wartime conditions. The only method of destroying one of these craft is to actually enter it and explode the great shaft in the center of the citadel by applying at least 200 hp of damage to it in three separate locations. This will cause a dangerous weakening of the infrastructure, which will collapse the entire citadel.
Of course, it is extremely difficult to get that close to the citadels. They hold upwards of 700 Antilans at all times, most of whom are at least 4th-level fighters. They also hold a full contingent of crystal ships, and no fewer than 50 of these craft are within the citadel or affixed to its exterior at any given time.
Their armaments are as fierce as their defenses. At any time, the crew of a crystal citadel can bring 20 ballistae to bear on a target, and their wizards will be able to deliver up to 40 separate magical attacks every round. Few ships can stand within weapons’ distance of a citadel for more than a few seconds without being reduced to flying splinters.
A map of a crystal citadel is provided in this box, and the following is a description of the pictured citadel, the Vengeant.
Hangars: The hangars aboard the Vengeant are stocked with 5 crystal ships each, as well as the support personnel and maintenance crews needed to keep the ships running and in top fighting trim. The hangars are heavily defended, with ballistae ringing the deck and constantly manned in case of attack.
Boarding these decks is nearly impossible despite their open-air construction; crystal spikes jut from the area around the decks, making it almost impossible to fly into the hangars. Without proper training and familiarity with the crystal pattern, something in short supply among the enemies of the Antilan Empire, flying through the gauntlet of crystal spines is suicide. If the ballistae and magical attacks don’t get you, the spikes surely will.
Barracks: The Vengeant holds nearly 1,000 battle-ready troops, not including the support personnel and flight crews that number an additional 1,000 or so. The troops stay within the barracks, which are surprisingly spartan compared to the typically opulent Antilan quarters. The soldiers aboard the Vengeant have no complaints with their quarters, as they are too busy to do anything but sleep in them.
Officers’ Quarters: The officers of the Vengeant stay here. Though larger than the barracks, these rooms are by no means lushly appointed. Most of the space is taken up with tables and charts, and the numerous forms that are filled out on a daily basis.
Officers spend more time in their quarters than their troops do, but far less time sleeping. The majority of their day is taken up with the constant record-keeping and roster-filling that is their primary task. What time they have to spare is used to review the troops and keep them in fighting trim. The officers of the citadels, and the Vengeant in particular, are spar-tan men and women completely dedicated to their tasks.
Eating and Recreation Facilities: The various personnel aboard the Vengeant eat in six different shifts, allowing the mess halls to much smaller than might be suspected. The cooking crews work rotating shifts, insuring an uninterrupted flow of food from the kitchen to the mouths of the hungry troops.
The recreation facilities are on the same level of the Vengeant as the mess halls. The facilities are rather crude and ill-used, as most of the crew doesn’t have much time for leisure activities. There is a bar or three to kick back in, but the main draw is the brutal pit fights. Slaves are brought in to fight to the death in small arenas. Wagers are taken and occasionally an Antilan soldier will deign to take on one or more slaves.
Storage: A ship as big as the Vengeant has to have space to hold its necessary supplies. Preserved food and large containers of water is kept here. Raw metal that can be used to make or repair weapons, and armor and magical supplies are stored here also.
Anything that the ship or crew could possibly need can probably be found in storage. If any item is in short supply, the Vengeant will probably dock to procure more of it. The Antilans learned the importance of proper supplies during their early squabbles with the illithids, and they make sure that they have more than enough of what they need aboard when they leave dock.
Smithy/Armorer: Most of the crew maintain their own weapons and armor as a matter of course, but there are some things that can’t be fixed without a forge and anvil. Thirty smiths work on each of these levels, mostly making new weapons and repairing the shipboard equipment.
Magical Research: The Antilans are a magically advanced race, and their spelljamming vessels make provisions for this. The Vengeant in particular is dedicated to magical research, and there is plenty of room for the mages aboard to stretch their collective mind muscles. Sunmagic is the biggest concern in these areas, and the mages aboard do what they can to expand the Antilans’ knowledge of this relatively new branch of magic. It is here, too, that improvements or adjustments to the spelljamming helms of the Vengeant are made.
Spelljamming Area: A craft as big as the Vengeant, and especially one that must move quickly upon demand, cannot get by on a single spelljamming helm. Instead, whole chains of them are connected together at two central points and used to power the craft in a method similar to a series helm. This allows them to push the craft and steer it through the use of spelljamming helms rather than furnaces and sails.
The spelljamming areas are nearly as heavily guarded as the Hangars. If something were to happen to the spelljamming helms, the Vengeant would be a sitting target. Even if it could not be destroyed, it would be stranded and the crew left to starve until rescued.
The Jungle: This is the means by which the Antilans replenish their oxygen. Trees and plants grow here in abundance, sustained by magic and fed through a complicated system of troughs and ditches in ten feet of rich soil. The Jungle is also used as a training area for planeside bound troops, specifically those assigned to fighting the elves of Giltiond.
All crystal citadels are nightmares for moving around in, riddled with staircases that might run for only a few levels before dead-ending. Tunnels also wind in and around the exterior of the ship, making it very hard to know where you’re going until you get there. This is why crews are assigned to a citadel permanently. It may take them a while to get used to getting around in their citadel, but once they do, they’ll never get lost again.
To speed movement of large cargos or numerous personnel from one level to another, move tubes were created. These are floating platforms that hover within tubes that run the length of the citadel. These platforms can hold thousands of pounds, and magically lift and descend at the riders’ command. There are five of these tubes, one central cargo tube and four peripheral people moving tubes.
In addition to their standard weaponry, crystal citadels are also equipped with massive sunsails. These great crystal webs can be spread from four separate areas of the citadel, and create “wings” that radiate nearly a half-mile from the main ship. These wings increase the movement of the citadels over long distances and are used to hide siege targets from the sun.
Because shadowstone is worked into the wings, they literally suck heat from their target by absorbing it and funneling it out the opposite side of the sail. Surprisingly enough, the sails are remarkably tough and will not burn. Even crashing a ship into them isn’t necessarily going to break them; this tactic has failed miserably in the past, ensnaring the attacking ship in the wings and allowing the crystal ships to pick them off at leisure.
The surface of the Astromundi Cluster has only been scratched by the contents of this box. There are many more mysteries and terrors with which to entrance or horrify your players. The simple fact of the matter is that the Cluster is just too big to do cover in detail in any number of boxed sets or supplementary material.
Billions of humans and humanoids live in the Astromundi Cluster, and there’s nothing to say that the races listed herein are the only ones to live there. There could be virtually anything walking, crawling, flying or slithering out there, anything at all.
Take a look at the starchart that came in the box. See all those little squares? Each one represents a distance of 400 million miles across. Which means that each one is over a trillion square miles, and 160,000,000,000,000,000 cubic miles. You can put anything in there that you want. Compared to the vastness of Clusterspace, this boxed set is barely a start. You could easily fill thousands of pages with the information in one square on the map alone.
So, what have I done here? I’ve given you the tools that you’ll need to expand on what’s in this box. I’ve handed you the keys to the empire, my friends, and can sit back and watch what you decide to do with them. Everything that you need to start is in this box: heroic races battling against oppression, savage elves with a secret everyone wants, evil mages bent on conquest, an unexpected enemy of all life everywhere, and much more.
Want to put dowhar in charge of their own asteroid belt somewhere outside the Inner Ring? Go for it. A place where the illithids are hunted monsters? Why not, there’s plenty of room for it!
Well, that’s it for me. When Bruce Heard handed over the reins of the Astromundi Cluster, I must admit I was more than a little overwhelmed. This was a big, big project! But, with the helpful guidance of Anne Brown and Michele Carter, the daunting task became much more manageable and enjoyable. Now, I can’t help but think of this place as my own; a dark little corner of the AD&D® SPELLJAMMER® Universe that I helped to create.
That’s why I’m thrilled to finally see this project leave my computer and find its way into your hands. Because to me, it’s not done until you, the players and DMs, get your hands on it and twist and turn it to your desires. Ultimately, I want you to have fun with it. And that’s why I wrote it.
Sam Witt March 5, 1993
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