The ‘world’ of Asylum is the accident of cosmic design or a mad joke of the gods. To see Asylum from a side view it looks like a rough spindle with platforms arranged around the central axis of the spindle. Much like a god angry with his creation, squished it with one fist and tossed it aside. Fortunately for the spindle, the magic of creation remained and besides the odd shape, it became a world on to its own.
Forces of Creation:
Water flows from tier to tier from the first to the fifth. On each tier the water flows both over the edge of the tier and there is a flow through the center of the spindle to stabilize the rotation.
The sun holds a point slightly above center of the spindle, tier 3 getting approximate ‘earth-type’ solar cycle. 1st and 2nd tiers receiving good portions of light, the 4th tier receiving slightly less light from the 3rd and the 5th the least light of all, requiring artificial light for the most part of the day. Seasons change as the spindle follows an elliptical orbit around it’s sun. Climate ranges from mild changes on the third tier to very little change on the first and fifth tiers.
Gravity is consistent, parallel to the axis of the spindle. Note: you can fall off the edge of a tier, if no tier is below to stop your fall you may find where the water goes! Airship movement along a tier ascending or descending is unimpeded, however cities on the 2nd and 4th tiers have rarely seen airships, but may know of their existence.
The Source of Change:
Plant life flourished on the tiers where growing areas provided, soon ties to the Plaines started to make their way. Animals began to flourish as Creation herself provided homes for all. Other godings began to dabble, allowing their creations to choose their own fates.
The original Spelljammer that crashed was a human ship carrying refugees that were caught in the middle of a clash between the Elvin & human armada facing off against an Illithid and Gith incursion. The whaleship managed to punch its way through the armada, however badly damaged. It managed to run away but was swept into the current of the phlogiston. The helm was damaged to the point of using glue and binder-twine to keep the field active. It was with the pilots last breaths that he managed to guide the whaleship into Asylum’s crystal sphere and close enough to the spindle to attempt the landing. The whaleship crashed onto the 1st tier.
The survivors, two of which were silver dragons in elvin form, made their best efforts to mix in with the existing populations. The dragons decided the best course for them would be to make the small island in the sea their home. (3rd tier) Another survivor knew about their ‘little’ secret and asked if he could visit them, as he made good friends with them on the ship during the escape. They accepted the old wizards request and made a cottage for him while he was on the island.
Dantalus made many trips out to the island and eventually ‘retired’ to live with them. He made his way in the populations of asylum learning what he could, helping where he could, and keeping out of politics as much as possible. He founded the first collage in Alderton, teaching who wanted to learn. Most of the graduates went on to form their own schools and wizarding groups.
The known lands of the spindle consist of 5 tiers and the Spine.
Coarse rock structure maintaining the support structure for the tiers, many valuable minerals can be mined from it. The Spine also contains the water feed for the Spindle so deep mines run the risk of puncturing the water vein within the spine, which would be disastrous to all on the tier with the puncture. Fortunately the spirits of water and stone protect the Spine from the deep delving of the Dwarves and their kin.
The Spine itself is far wider in diameter that any one of the tiers, leaving room for a corkscrew like shaft down the center for the Flow. The Flow brings water back up from the bottom tier through to the 1st tier, filtering and re-mineralizing it as it travels upward. As the waterfalls travel from tier to tier, the water dissipates minutely into the atmosphere giving each tier its own cloud and weather structure. Due to this dissipation, the Flow is supported by various access points to the elemental plane of water.
Traversing the spine provides an alternate method of ascending and descending the tiers. Dwarves, Gnomes, Drow and Dugar could be common races found making their homes within the spine with tunnels branching out to all the tiers as well.
There is a known corridor from the 1st to 5th tiers, however due to defense of the various tiers strategic cave-ins and other means of defensive measures have been constructed along the windy trails.
Long dead civilizations, ruins, and the leavings behind of the first travelers to the spindle dot this tier. Oasis around the waterway for quite a few miles, but the rest is open desert.
Of the ancient wreckage of the SpellJammer ship, only bits and pieces remain. However, the bits that are found are true pieces of treasure to the academics. High prices are paid for true relics of the Arc-ship.
Waterway supplied from the spine of the spindle allowing for the formation of the life-sustaining water system for the tiers.
Highlands and craggy mountainous peaks make up the greater portion of this tier. The highlands are lush with shrubbery and vegetation prime for cattle and herd animals. The crags are great places for giants and other large humanoids to make their home and raid from. Dragons are not unknown.
The hill villages are small fortresses ranging in size of wooden walls to large stone fortifications. Stone being the more common building material as there is a lack of good trees except in the basin. Wood is a high commodity, but still used in construction and furniture.
Hill folk are mainly human 50%, dwarves 30%, halflings & gnomes 15%, and a smattering of the other races including the non-standard PC races.
Golinoids are a constant threat as well as the nomadic tribes roaming the upper highlands and snow plateaus.
The basin is quite lush with surrounding forest of pine and some hardwoods. Known as ‘The Flow’ the water fall from the first tier empties into ‘The Deeps’ a very deep sea size lake. Whaling and fishing are the main sources of income for the small villages that line the coast but few go far from the sight of land in fear they will get caught in the currents from The Deeps to the 3rd tier. The villages are mainly descendants of the nomadic tribes who gave up the spear, many are still holding to the ancient ways and fishing grounds are hotly fought over, ship to ship in most cases.
A religious sect calling themselves the Oban is making a foothold in the southern lands. A knightly order devoted to rule of might. Lands taken in battle are regulated into the Oban’s strict lawful society. The Oban tends to take holdings and leave them more fortified with strong garrisons as each new outpost becomes the frontier. Very much a ‘peace through war’ society. The youth are enlisted, any with talents, arcane or divine, are soon found out and sent to properly integrate them into Oban’s war machine. Wizards are trained in the battle arts, clerics the tenants of Obania, in whose name the Oban conquer. After 10 years of enlistment the person is encouraged to maintain a new garrison or settle in the new land. Often granted lands to farm or raise cattle to help feed the machine.
The current high priest knight of the Order is on a crusade to cleanse the land of all evils, hence the current expansion. The tenants are to purge the unclean and to save those that can be saved. The city fortresses of the Oban state are in a word, safe. Crime is extremely low, poverty is unheard of, as there is work for all and jobs found for all who need them. There are but three punishments for breaking the laws, lashes in the square, imprisonment, and if required summary execution. The prisoners are detailed to hard labour. Once a sentence is served they have an option to serve the city state by being placed into a penal regiment, life as a farm labourer or craftsman, or sent away from the city state. All convicts are branded. A repeat offence is not tolerated.
A burgeoning small city of Kempt is becoming a center of trade and a major hold out to the Oban. Situated on the plateau overlooking The Deep Fall to the 3rd tier, the residents get a great view of their neighbor below on a clear day and get an airship delivering goods from the Kingdoms twice a year. The limited access routes to Kempt give it a highly defensible position to deter envoys of the Oban. Kempt is also a lawful society, but prefer to give the populace the choice to fight or leave as they will.
The most populated tier, approximately in the middle of the spindle, is primarily a temperate climate.
Has for the most part a quite civilized society north of the Sea of Souls, consisting of three kingdoms who work together to keep the peace.
South of the Sea of Souls is mainly unexplored other than the fort-towns ringing the sea. The fort-towns support the fishing fleets and other trade that fuels the economy of the kingdoms.
The Sea of Souls is a large body of water centralized in the 3rd tier. From the sea flows two main rivers one feeds into the core of the spindle and the other flows and provides for the 4th tier. One island juts out from the sea. Surrounded by dangerous coral reefs and wicked outcroppings of rocks the Isle of Kryanael is thought to be the home of a great daemon as all those who try and venture there never return……
The three kingdoms have been about for quite some time and have gotten to rely on each other quite a bit. If long lulls in trade happen all will suffer.
-city population ~35,000. 60 % human, 15 % Dwarves, 10 % Halflings, 5 % other.
The city of Mann is one of the principal farming centers in the civilized lands, also one of the northernmost cities on the 3rd tier. From its upper most towers you can get a good view of the waterfall from the 2nd tier and on a good day a silhouette of the first tier.
The fertile lands of the kingdom keep the vast population busy farming and supporting the farms. The kingdom has many communities of ready and able people to enjoy a pipe and a pint. Many of the outlying communities are Halfling settlements.
Although land locked the city has a vast ‘port’ area. New ideas in magic and engineering, has formed a experimental way to travel via airships. The fleet of transports travels from Mann to Alderton and Carr Noinarr on a weekly basis, other outlying areas on a monthly basis.
- Castle Fortress over a stone town, population ~15,000, 50 % Dwarven, 30 % Human, 20 % various other subterranean races.
The castle is the holdings of the Dwarven realm. Of the 7,000+ Dwarves living there 3,000 are active members of the garrison, the rest are ready militia. Reasons why the kingdom requires such a force is due to the mines. For the most part the mines just follow veins of ore, however from time to time they become gateways from other things that live in the spindle of Asylum.
Along with the massive armed force, Carr Noinarr is the center place of artisans. Visitors will find unique pieces of functional art all over the place. Most every tool from the smallest pipe cleaner to the massive siege engines are covered with unique carvings or in intricate shapes.
The airship port of Carr Noinarr is one of the second most guarded areas in the kingdom. If the supply ships from Mann were ever to slow or stop, the kingdom would be in trouble. Gold is good but it makes a hard loaf of bread. The lands surrounding Carr Noinarr are quite stony and are hard to grow any crops.
- city, population ~40,000. All known civilized races in decent proportions.
The city of Alerton is the place of high learning, finding the best of all the known schools and colleges. The majority of the magical schools has their homes or has attachments to Alderton.
The birthplace of the airship, the Alderton king was free to share the idea with the other two kingdoms, much to the disappointment of the council.
Alderton’s are for the most part highly educated, the only export is for the most part knowledge. The area is quite self sufficient, but would be hard pressed to support more than it self as the agriculture is not as developed, nor the metal supply sufficient to sustain itself for long term basis.
Isle of Kryanael
The island is surrounded by many treacherous outcroppings and coral reef. The island is home to Kryanael, an ancient silver dragon and her host. The tower of Kryanael is a major fortification staffed by her warforged guardians. They tend to The Lady and keep her in comfort. She shares the island with an old wizard who makes the constructs. The wizard and The Lady are the last survivors form the crashed SpellJammer and prefer to be left in peace. The island had a lava tube that allowed the entry of lower tier forces, a war of climactic scale was fought to close the tube, costing the lives of Kryanael’s mate and many other survivors. The creation of the warforged is in preparation of any other attempts to breach the collapse.
The Southern Lands
The southern lands are the home of the fair folk, although peaceful by nature, the encroaching humans onto their shores are beginning to tire the long lived and has led to more than one clash of arms. Note: this is not an open declared war as of yet, but definitely a hostile situation, expect tempers to flair.
The need for defense of the Elvin lands is mainly due to the portal to Fey lands. Wild eleves, Eldarin, and even Drow, who have had their differences in the past, unite to protect the fey gate. The Drow are somewhat trusted to protect the southern lands from incursions in the Spine and holding large areas of the 5th tier, keeping the denizens in check. Needless to say the politics are quite complicated, but the end result of protecting the Gates seems to keep the different factions working together.
The wild lands, relics of ages past and ruins cover this land. Climate is a cool temperament as it receives much less light and heat from Asylum’s sun the 4th tier is the home of years gone by. Many adventure’s tales include escapades into the jungles of Asphodile with returns more than they could carry, however more tales of famous kings and generals leading many men with none to carry back any tales of success.
In the deep jungles can be found great cities that are all but grown over, many ruins and temples from bygone ages are also in abundance.
This tier is the primary home of the ‘monster’ with tiny outcrops of humanity 30%, and other races 15%, struggling to make a home here. The wild elves and less socially acceptable in the higher tiers are at home here and thrive.
Closer to the Spine is a staging point for raids up-spine. Common goods brought back are weapons, foodstuffs, and slaves. Slaves being the primary currency besides the shinys and metal, they are often used to curry favor from the down-spine.
There is a Lich of unknown power amassing a large force to gain dominance in the region; however the other occupants are large enough to keep it in check.
The ‘Under Tier’, receiving only the smallest amount of light causing long cold periods, this tier is populated primarily of creatures that are at home in the dark.
‘Underdark’ creatures and races that are capable of gathering in sufficient size to support them thrive as most of the major creatures are solitary hunters, however they have to keep up patrols and guard against the intrusions of the tier.
A small contingent of daemons and possibly some devils have made their way onto the 5th tier. Their plans are currently unknown.
Planners and schemers of greater movements and longer term plans send their envoys up-spine to implement their designs. Great cults are known to reside in ‘The Bleak’, providing all sorts of services from daemon summoning to assassinations.
Asylum is accessible by SpellJammers and other planer travel; it is thought that the majority of the races are descendants from a large ‘Jammer that crashed. Alderton’s libraries are closed to most but do contain scraps of knowledge of the first SpellJammer craft and hint to the possibility of more visits and relics yet to be found. It was with this knowledge that the council of sages was able to guide the creation of the airships.
Travel rate is 50 to 100 gp per person depending on cargo or mounts. The travel does shave days off the trip between cities as the inter city travel can be done in as little as a half day for a messenger airship, or a little over a day for the cargo ships.
The airship is held aloft via the gasses contained in its lift bags. The gasses are generated by a type of alchemical reaction developed by accident, it is known as wizard flatulence as the smell is potent. The lift bags are contained in the airship’s sleeve, a wood or wire construction that has the rough shape of a fat arrow. The end of the sleeve has fetchings to help guide the flight. Propulsion is maintained by two small air elementals. Lift is maintained by the pilot’s controls and in an emergency a summoned greater air elemental.
The airship has room for cargo and passengers and is a ‘safe’ method of travel, barring a draconic encounter, to most anywhere in the Asylum Spindle. Getting a shipmaster greedy enough to risk his ship leaving the known shipping lanes is not unheard of but will cost plenty. 25 – 250x normal rate depending on risk and cargo, delivered in advance.
The Pantheon (major players)
Racial deities still have some pull (dwarven, elven, orc, etc …..)
The four elements have a strong founding in Asylum, for without the aid of the elemental plains the spindle would not exist. There are points in Asylum where one can get access to each of the elemental plains; however, these points are strongly protected by protectorates on Asylum and the elemental plain. The powers that be in the elemental realms are content, and rarely interfere with the spindle other than seeing that the life flourishes on the spindle.
Obania, Lawful, is the White Knight; seeker of purity of spirit and being; defender of the weak; and cleanser of evil. Obania was one of the first demi-gods to ascend to the pantheon. She was a stalwart fighter and bringer of justice to civilization, sometimes by any means fitting to get the desired result. Priest-knights of Obania, sometimes paladins, serve the greater good.
Siries, Good, Goddess of growth and rebirth. Spring, morning’s dawn, fertility, and healing are attributed to her grace. She also chose the path of god-hood. Clerics serve as healers and caregivers to all.
Brakk, Unaligned, bringer of old age, the cold of winter, the bringer of the last sleep. Brakk weighs deeds and determines who to send on and who needs to stay. The souls he keeps are added to the walls of his tower to feel the proper weight of their misdeeds. Deity of justice, in the civilized courts and the tribal lands, judge-clerics of Brakk are sought to give needed fair judgment.
Dwr, Unaligned, often thought as the deceiver, Dwr is the prince of illusion, trickery, and the mover behind the scenes. The pageantry of Dwr temples are a fine night out where almost anything goes, however, watch your purse. Tenants are to avoid both the brightness of the Light and the blackness of the Dark.
Helb , Unaligned, Lord of Battles, Stormlord, courage in the face of danger, and bravery of heart.
Moranna, Evil, Disease, darkness, assassination, poisons, and pain are attributed to the basalt throne.
Nulb, Evil, The Corrupter, undeath, secrets, lies, cowardice, and deceit, Nulb is all things that go bump in the night and the shiver in every spine.
Magic in Asylum:
Clerics and Magi are common and have their own sources of energy.
The easiest form of creation is alchemy. Brewing is a simple art requiring time and a little effort of energy. An apothecary will often be found in most towns and cities or a local brewer may have the medicinal components to make a restorative tea. There is also the village crone or local druid that can help. Some druids have a form of hospice and for donations will care for sick and injured.
Item creation however, is quite a bit rarer. The item in question to be enchanted is always of the extreme high quality to survive the enchantment process. The second and quite a bit harder to find is convincing a mage to give up some of his power to enchant the item in question. The personal cost to the mage is quite high as they have to give up some of their own life essence. No item is ever made lightly. A mage may take the time and invest his energy into making a staff or a wand, however you will never find a ‘magic shop’. Items that cost that much to make are only passed on in death.
Magical armour and weaponry are almost unheard of except in legend. You will always be able to find the common standard items. Master-crafted items are made by master smiths, they have to invest their time and energy perfecting each piece and are well paid for everything they make. Most will have orders that will take months to clear at any given time. There may be one or two master smiths in a city usually have a small contingent of apprentices lucky enough to be chosen to work in the same forge. For magical arms and armour, not only does the smith invest his life essence but the making of such items is solely at the whim of the gods. An unsuccessful attempt still costs the smith, and may even kill him. (what do wizards know of armour and weapons anyway) Every one made is considered a great artifact, no matter its size or abilities. Most all have names and /or hereditary powers that will only come about when wielded or warn by a member in the family line.