night_druid wrote:Planets to Wildspace
In the Crimson Sphere, travel between wildspace and large planets is extremely difficult and dangerous. By in large, the ships of the Crimson Sphere have a difficult time traversing a planet’s atmosphere. They can be damaged by the high winds found in the upper atmosphere of most planets, or the trip can so long that a helmsman cannot keep the ship aloft the whole time, causing it to crash catastrophically. There are short-cuts around these problems, however.
Hmm. If you want to have high winds in the upper atmosphere, have you considered adding an Alabeth-like layer of air? If you were to do that you could make it a universal thing for the crystal sphere and force all ships to fight their way through storm winds.
On all of the large planets of the Crimson Sphere are natural phenomenon known as beanstalks. A beanstalk is an invisible column of unknown energy that hover roughly a mile above the ground, and extends all the way to a point in wildspace above the planet.
Very interesting, but why is this called a beanstalk? It seems like a reference to "Jack and the Beanstalk" rather than something that describes this unknown effect.
night_druid wrote:The column is fairly wide, about a mile across. When a ship enters a beanstalk, the distance it travels becomes distorted, such that a trip from one point to the other takes 6d10 minutes. A beanstalk can only be entered and exited via one of the two endpoints; a ship or a flying creature could pass through a point in the beanstalk and will be unaffected. Once a ship has entered a beanstalk, it cannot exit, unless it is through one of the endpoints.
Hmm. This starts off as "energy" but changes to something that seems to bends space.
night_druid wrote:If a ship becomes powerless while in a beanstalk, such as the helmsman being knocked unconscious, the ship will cease all forward movement and simply drift at the altitude it is currently at. The ship is effectively stranded, although the crew has hope of resuming their journey if they can repair their ship or rescue, if another ship passes by.
Beanstalks are believed to be semi-sentient, as they can be detected by psionic means <<insert power here>>. No means, magical, psionic, or mundane, can affect a beanstalk. It is believed, but not proven, that the sorcerer kings can summon beanstalks.
I'm wondering what the point of beanstalks is (from an ecological point-of-view). They don't seem to gain any benifit from transporting ships up and down. If they ate ships, I would see a "point" to them being alive, but I think that the Crimson Sphere is dangerous enough without having invisible air that eats ships.
I wonder: couldn't you achive the same sort of ship-raising thing with some sort of "super-thermal" that appears in certain places during the mid-day sun and sucks air from the bottom of the atmosphere and dumps it into the upper atmosphere? You wouldn't need a life-form to do that, it could be driven by the sun. In fact, you could make a "super-thermal" travel slowly around Athas and the other planets (so that it always faces the sun).
Something like a super-thermal could also be linked in to a "super storm layer" on the upper part of the atmosphere as it could be the mile-wide eye of a world-wide tornado. The entire upper atmosphere could rotate rapidly around the eye of the super-thermal and be the mechanism that keeps it active.
You could have your storm, but use a super-thermal to throw people through the small (mile wide) gap in the storm and enable ships to pass through the super storm unharmed. I would be inclined to surround a super-thermal with fast moving whirlwinds that are identical to the storms in the upper atmosphere. This would give ships the ability to try
to leave, while making it highly dangerous. This would block off the planets from wildspace, but then provide people in the know with a way to get into space.
This would only allow ships to go up, but I think you could have a reverse-thermal on the midnight side of each planet that worked in reverse. However, the reverse thermal would be a lot harder to use because its position on the night side of the planet would mean that ships would have to fly into it in total darkness. This could give planets a bit of a reverse-Hotel California effect, as it would be easier to leave a world than land on it.