Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Essay by Moon (link provided) and Starstrands comment

Moon's essay is at -- all I can say is that is a guest post that would make anyone proud. ;)

I also recently was sent a link to a map that was  connected to Starstrands.

The map is here:

This map is a completely new, Shook's creation.

But it made me think of something else.  An artist's improvement of a hand drawn map and encounter key for a space created by what I could best describe as an extraplaner mollusc.  Looking at the map you can tell there are lots of differences (once I start describing it all), but it just made me think about a partial plane.

Much like some snails burrow tubes into the sand, and shell and all are at the bottom, some magical creatures extrude themselves into extraplaner space, creating a partial plane (since it has all the characteristics of a plane of reality except independence from the plane it is tethered to, size and durability).

Unlike a typical mollusc, as they grow their shell spirals larger towards the center, and "outwards."  The "tube" portion of the space will often accrete other bits and pieces (think of them as parts of things torn loose from reality).  Mostly those are just mass, but if there has been a great disruption (think a city, like the City of the Revenaunt) torn apart by very powerful magic, sometimes structures add themselves in.

So, you have the creating creature, in the process of estivation.  Some minor creatures in the unused spaces created by the jumble that was the "tunnel" portion of the space (the entranceway repulsing/shrinking so as not to allow powerful creatures in).  Flotsam and jetsam in the form of broken buildings collapsed up against one side. And deeper in, but not to the back (no one wants to awaken the sleeping creature at the heart of it all), a colony of Ogre Magi and gnolls.  A very small one, think a bandit leader.

The flotsam portion had downgraded elementals and constructs (imagine what a three hit die brass golem would be like), a few undead (zombies and planer zombies, a skeleton mage or two), and some traps.

Some other small ecologies. 

The space is reached by a simple ritual magic, and exited by a simple ritual magic that happens to require a ring finger on the left hand.  You can lock someone away in the space by amputating their left ring finger (which the Ogre Magi have done to some prisoners).

Gary had suggested to Eric Shook that the space be connected to Starstrands, which he had turned over to Eric to finish developing (though the maps, encounter charts, monster write-ups and other material all appear to have not made it to Eric as a side effect of the transition between Gary and Lorraine Williams

So, what Eric has in his map, with professional quality artwork, is something completely different and unattached from what I was doing.

But thinking of it brought back a re-visualization of the spaces and I'm hoping a reworked encounter key.  There were a number of customized creatures and small set encounters (a "reduced" air elemental should not just be an air elemental with fewer hit dice).

Otherwise, it was a lot of fun.

To recap Starstrands (or why it was also called Dream Web)

I had the idea of a dream spider creating a large web, tethered to various planes.  Dream Spiders are, as a friend would say, monsters "way above my pay grade."  This one was in interplaner space, its web catching things and gaining mass.  You can think of them as a cross, in danger, between very old, very magical dragons and plankton feeding kraken.

A servitor of one of the gods was caught in the web (you know how it is, speeding in a construction zone ...) (the material for Starstrands included twelve cards for each of the twelve servitors, and the implied pantheon, god, etc.).  In the ensuing fracas, the dream spider leaves the world of the truly alive, the servitor continues on her way.

But that means that the web is no longer alive (the webs are dream material extensions of the spider), but is still accreting mass.  The result is a world.

With funny rules of physics.  Gary liked the idea of actually defining the places it connected to, so as to connect various campaign worlds and rules set (e.g. this world is AD&D, this world is under the Boot Hill rules, etc.).  Turns out Eric Shook actually caught some flack over that.

I was contacted about the entire revival of interest in the concept and actually did some material.  You will note, if you look at the links, the material I did is from the perspective of writing stories and providing background material for a 12 to 16 year old girl/young woman.  My daughter Heather was my primary audience, given how much I've written for projects that did not complete.

The on-line material is here:

    Hope that provides some feedback and perspective. I know, a long post to answer questions about a map Paul Stormber sold for Eric Shook and that really has little else to do with the post. But it brought back some memories.

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