Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Astrophikus: Principia Geographica Mythologica

One of the occasionally visited realms that manifested during one of my Spelljammer campaigns in the early nineties, Astrophikus likes to keep popping up in current campaigns ever since, a strange fantasy realm which is inextricably tied to the weird realm of fantasy wildspace. Astrophikus has appeared in 2nd, 3rd, 4th edition and pathfinder campaigns. It may make an appearance again soon in my planned 5E playtest. I'll be throwing some data on this into the blog in the coming weeks for fun...

Astrophikus: Principia Geographica Mythologica

"The Jewel of Chaos"

   Astrophikus is a small world, perhaps half the size of the Earth. It exists in a region dubbed by Spelljamming explorers as “chaos space,” a solar system where it is said that the power of the Primordial Chaos God ruptured the fabric of space-time, as it attempted to reclaim the vastness of the material plane in to its crawling chaos. It has often been dubbed "The Jewel of Chaos" for the small but lush world is regarded as a paradise by those who have traversed the empty realms of the ether and the phlogiston for far too long.

   Astrophikus operates like a fairly dense but otherwise normal world. It is spherical, and has normal gravity, despite its smaller size. The world has modest oceans, one at each polar cap, and several large lakes and a single inland sea, though less than 40% of the world’s surface is covered in water. The world has temperate extremes across the globe, with strong, humid equatorial regions rife with growth, leading out to vast cold deserts in the inland regions furthest from or most protected by the coastal regions. At the poles much of the water is locked in ice caps; likewise, many of the largest mountains stretch out in to the thinnest regions of atmosphere, where ancient glaciers remain forever locked in ice.

   Astrophikus has a thick crust and deep mantle, beneath which the mythology of the land claims lies one of the more terrifying progeny of chaos, the destroyer god Sulziddaran. Indeed, most of the scholars of Astrophikus assert that this world is, in fact a vast prison designed to contain the dreaded god, forced in to perpetual slumber by his prison-keeper, the baleful elder god Draeggaron, usually called the Star God. Astrophikus is notorious for its terrifying earthquakes and volcanic events, and these are usually attributed to the restless movements of the slumbering Sulziddaran.

   Astrophikus has two small, curiously shaped moons. The mythology of the moons is complex, a strange tale of dark power, in which the moons were once a single whole. Each moon contains the ruins of a vast city that was once said to be a single great metropolis from which Dreaggaros and his minions held watch over their charge, the entombed chaos god below.

   As the story goes, Draeggaros’s lesser seraph minions grew complacent, and in time they lost sight of their overall purpose, for Draeggaros himself had passed on the the Astral Sea and moved in to the outer realms of thought, only occasionally being called back to his realm through great sacrifice or need. This complacency led to corruption from within, and a dark cult of infernal beliefs insinuated itself within the city of the seraphs.

   Over a period of eons the cult expanded and turned in to a terrible conflict that wracked the Great City in fire and destruction. In the end, the battle was won when the dreadful lord of battle, Metatron, sundered the city in twain, thus creating the two moons. The survivors of the cataclysm, desperate for redemption, fled to the planar realms in search of their god, for Draeggaros, disgusted with their fall from grace, had chosen to forsake them all.

   Thousands of years later, the myths of the two moons are known to all. The dark moon, called Ternikos, is a vast graveyard of undead and infernal devils. The powerful and evil entity called Halistrak the Lich Lord is the ruler of this realm, or at least portends to be. The other moon is called Metaros, and its ruins are filled with weird and ancient mysteries, mad angels and other strangeness. Rumors suggest that somewhere deep in the heart of this moon Metatron still dwells, where he was instructed to continue vigilant watch over the prison world below.

   Current belief on Astrophikus suggests that the two moons, which can fall in to alignment once every century, will bring terrible doom, earthquakes and bad luck during this period if a valued living sacrifice is not offered to the god Draeggaros, to call him back from the Outer Realms to impose his will upon the world and set things aright.Though it has been many thousands of years since at least one of the major cities of Astrophikus failed to offer sacrifice, the stories do tell of a terrible cataclysm two thousand years ago, in which the planet suffered a year of quakes, floods, plague and famine the likes of which none could imagine. As such, all of the kingdoms of the world today invoke regular sacrifices to call upon the protection of Draeggaros during lunar alignments.

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