A Sundered World: Traveling

So after reading the comments from my first take at revising the structure of the world and talking to Josh, we decided to just stick with the original, more "gonzo" vision of the setting and try to work out some of the issues that I identified. So, let us start again, this time with traveling.

In my original campaign the first two characters had to book passage on a small skiff to get to a tiny, forest-covered island where they ran into a clockwork horror. To give them more leeway, I gave Josh's character an astral vessel and a crew. This allowed them to go where they needed to, while instilling the impression that everyone would need one.

This does not need to be the case.

Inside the demiplanes (or pockets, dominions, sanctuaries...still thinking of a name for these) where the natural world (or Prime Material Plane, if you prefer) is the most dominant, physics are somewhat more of a thing. So if there is lots of water, you can row to get about. Since there is wind in the astral, there is wind in the demiplanes as well, which can be used to sail.

Outside there is nothing to really slow you down, and creatures can also travel via willing it (or just fly or swim if they could do that normally). So, I see now reason why mundane vessels cannot simply pick up speed before leaving a demiplane, a crew cannot just communally will their ship (perhaps the act of rowing with the belief that it should move the ship, does), or simply have swimming creatures tow the ship.

The benefit of this is that it allows characters who do not have to have access to an expensive magical vehicle to still get around, as well as something to look forward to (ie, an expensive magical vehicle that they can use to get around). Astral vessels still have use (probably higher speed and maneuverability), but to add some variety Josh and I have come up with some other options.

Anima Reactor
The denizens of Asmodeus, in keeping with their fiendish nature, delight in using black ships that are powered by the souls of the dead. An anima reactor emits an agonizing wail while in use, which can instill a sense of dread in mortals (especially in animals). Even worse, souls contained within a reactor's soulcage can be harnessed in an emergency to fuel magic, in particular necromancy.

Elemental Collider
Dwarves and humans have managed to invent a kind of magic device that, through the forced collision of incompatible elemental...well, elements, can easily hurtle a ship through the astral. They are fast and environmentally healthy, except when they explode: the insurgence of conflicting elements must be carefully regulated by an engineer to ensure safe operation.

The astral sea is vast, and despite the planar collapse it is still pretty empty. To help deal with the issues of navigation, many sailors rely on the stars or ley lines. Ley lines criss-crossed the world prior to the Sundering, and their energies register with those that can sense spirits. Sometimes they extend from one demiplane to another, but most commonly they are used to orient a sailor.

Angel Gates
Not all travel requires the use of a ship. Angel gates are magical constructs, similar in function to a teleportation circle, but rely on the Angel Roads that existed before the Sundering. Activating them requires a substantial amount of celestial essence, prayer, angel hearts, or powerful miracles.

Other forms of travel exist, such as astral whales and dragons (especially in the case of the githyanki), but hopefully this starting list is more inline with the fantastical nature of the setting that I initially conveyed. I will try to do an update of more stuff at least once a week as Josh and I hang out and kick ideas back and forth.

Next week, I think we will talk about a city where the dead go to celebrate before finally passing on.


  1. This is definitely much more of the sort of stuff I envisioned when first reading the Sundered World transcripts. I am very delighted (and impressed) at the options and am super-happy that you guys took the suggestions to heart and decided to stick with it. :D

    Don't let reason weigh you down; create your own logic and go from there. It will make everything that much more interesting! I am super-excited to see what else you guys have in store for this world.

  2. I rue the day that I have to start my next campaign. I'll have to choose between Eberron and A Sundered World! gonna be a tough choice...

  3. @Nick and Anon: Thanks for the kind words and support. I think that the previous post gave both of us a better direction of what people expect and where to take things. If you like this stuff, I think you will also dig what we have in store for the next post.

  4. @David: I eagerly await the next entry! :D

    Question, now: what sort of engine did Josh's ship have? I imagine it was an elemental collider, which would also explain how the bladesinger was able to power the engine with blasts of magic?

  5. It was a spelljammer as best as I could remember it from older editions, where I thought they were powered by magic and/or magic items. I pretty much made it up on the spot what Kia's character was able to do with her magic.

    The stuff in this article are things that we thought up much more recently for a more public release of the setting (as are a lot of other, hopefully equally cool things). :-)

  6. You can call the pockets of dimension, shards.

  7. I don't understand. why call POCKET DIMENSIONS 'shards'?

    just a little confused

  8. Since its a shattered plane of existence where "pockets" of this plane (and others) still exists as they float in the astral sea. Its easy to image this plane as a mirror that when shattered, all we see are the shards that are left of it scattered around... or something :P

  9. Ah. Now I understand... I think :/


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