The Rock was roughly ovaloid in shape, about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) long and half a mile thick on the other two axes. The gravity plane ran through the center lengthwise, such that the Rock had a top side and a bottom side. The city of Bral was located on the "upper" side. The "bottom" side was government property owned by the ruling prince and contained hangers for his fleet.
The edges of the Rock were steep and dangerous to climb, so it was challenging to traverse from one side of the asteroid to the other without using a tunnel to pass through. Rescue stations were placed along the edge to recover unfortunate souls who might fall into the gravity plane and begin to drift out into wildspace.
Fresh water on Bral was provided by Lake Bral, a huge chasm plunging deep enough to pass through the gravity plane. The lake was periodically filled with fresh water from harvested ice asteroids and was treated with animal cultures and waste-eating monsters to keep its waters pure for drinking.
Oxygen and food were produced by vegetation on the lower side of the asteroid. Most of the work at tending the fields and groves was done by convicted criminals as part of their sentence.
The Rock was heavily fortified. It included a system of nine ballista towers on the topside that protected the city. Each such stone tower was hexagonal and 25 feet tall. Atop the tower was a dwarven-built heavy ballista. Each ballista was set in a special mount that permitted it to be aimed any direction, including straight up from the gravity plane. A complicated counterweight mechanism within the tower aided the fifteen crewmembers in reloading it, such that it could fire once every ten seconds! Each ballista had an effective range of 2,000 yards, which was over a mile and well beyond the extent of the Rock's air envelope. A squad of crossbowmen and shieldbearers were tasked with protecting the ballista engineers, and each tower was stocked with 50 heavy crossbows and hundreds of crossbow bolts for this purpose. The crossbowmen fired in volleys of 25 bolts at once in regular spaced ranks. These smoothly drilled crews operated under the leadership of the noble houses of Bral.
On the bottom side of the Rock was the Citadel, a heavily armed fortress.
Gamalon Idogyr of Tethyr lived on Bral for several decades in the 14th century DR and met and married his wife Mynda there. Gamalon maintained a curio shop on the Rock. Elminster Aumar and Haedrak Rhindaun III had also traveled there on occasion to visit him.
Despite the Rock being a haven for pirates, it was also home to the only temple to Tyr, god of justice, in Realmspace that did not lie on the planet of Toril. The Pantheist Temple of Tyr was home to priests who held a number of non-standard religious views, but nevertheless they felt compelled to fight crime and injustice wherever they found it. Thus, they waged a number of crusades and wars on crime on the Rock of Bral. Needless to say, the Tyrrans and their god were not popular on Bral.
The Rock had changed hands many times in its history. Indeed, humans had only been living on the Rock since the 12th or 13th century DR. The original inhabitants were unknown, but cavern expeditions into the center of the asteroid revealed artifacts indicating that mind flayers lived in the Rock around the sixth century, and beholders more recently than that. Scholars believed that the beholders had exterminated the mind flayers and that the beholders had destroyed themselves in infighting. Neither the illithids or the beholders had any records of their past settlements on the Rock—unless they were simply hiding that knowledge for some reason.
After the illithids and beholders, a clan of about 200 dwarves seemed to have settled the Rock. Their ruins appeared to have been from the tenth century. They left no tombs or memorials and seemed to have vanished without a trace, with pots still in the fireplace and blades still on the anvil.
Captain Bral, a space pirate, "discovered" the Rock of Bral near the start of the 13th century. He planted trees and crops and lived within the caves that later became the docking caverns. Bral assembled a group of pirates known as the Black Brotherhood, and over time, a small town developed on the surface of the asteroid. When Bral was finally killed by the elves, the pirates of the asteroid town named the settlement Bral in his honor and the asteroid the Rock of Bral.
Over time, the population of the Rock shifted, until by the end of the 13th century, there were more merchants and shopkeepers on Bral, selling goods and ale to the pirates, than pirates themselves. At this time, the pirate Captain Cozar literally purchased every piece of land on the whole asteroid from the merchants until, by the end of only several months, he owned the Rock of Bral. Next, he evicted any pirate who would not lease land from him or operate a legitimate business. In this way, Cozar became the first prince of Bral, and established the House of Cozar.
Rumors & Legends
Within the entire of the Rock of Bral were a mazework of tunnels and dungeons, the ruins of the asteroids various previous inhabitants. These extensive caverns had never been fully explored and almost certainly held ancient artifacts and monsters.
Rock of Bral cuisine had some unique dishes. The kitchen in Harper's Hold, lying in Waterdeep, Toril, had cookbooks with recipes from all over the Realms and other worlds, including from the Rock of Bral.
- The Rock of Bral was originally designed to be placeable in any crystal sphere of the DMs choice, as stated on p. 94 of the Concordance of Arcane Space and p. 2 of Rock of Bral. However, it was then claimed to be one of the Tears of Selûne in both Faiths & Avatars and the Lands of Intrigue boxed set. On the other hand, the Spelljammer novel The Maelstrom's Eye depicts the Rock of Bral as being in the same crystal sphere as two other "worldlets", Spiral and Ironpiece. Fans of the Spelljammer campaign setting have given this sphere the unofficial names "Spiralspace" and "Bralspace", but author Roger E. Moore seems to have gone out of his way to never name the Rock's sphere, consistent with the original publications. Since Spiral and Ironpiece are only worldlets, it is within the realm of possibility for them to also be part of Realmspace, as is the Rock of Bral, leading to no conflict between The Maelstrom's Eye and the two FR sourcebooks.
Further indirect support for Spiral and Ironpiece being in Realmspace with the Rock of Bral comes from Moore's own article on the scro in Dragon Annual 1. On p. 46, Moore claims that the Second Unhuman War came to Realmspace in 1360 DR. The Maelstrom's Eye is set in 1361—or at the very latest early 1362 DR—and the former book describes the scro Tarantuala Fleet having already been in the sphere of Spiral for a whole year (p. 19). A second fleet returns to Realmspace's Garden in the sequel, The Radiant Dragon, too late for a date of 1360 DR, so Moore's dating of the Second Unhuman War may refer to the earlier fleet in The Maelstrom's Eye, if that fleet were indeed in Realmspace.
Later Spelljammer sourcebooks also add support to Realmspace being the canonical location of the Rock of Bral even for the "pure" Spelljammer setting. The adventure module Under the Dark Fist involves the PCs being picked up by an elven Armada named Arrow of Justice and taken to the Rock of Bral. Notably, the War Captain's Companion boxset states that Arrow of Justice is captained by Icarus, and he is said to work "strictly in the Realmspace crystal sphere."
- Skull & Crossbows
- Under the Dark Fist
- Referenced only
- Card Games
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 170. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book One: Tethyr. (TSR, Inc.), p. 86. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 94–96. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
- Steven E. Schend (July 1990). “Bazaar of the Bizarre: Magic from the stars”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #159 (TSR, Inc.), p. 18.
- Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), pp. 16–17. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
- Steven E. Schend (July 1990). “Bazaar of the Bizarre: Magic from the stars”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #159 (TSR, Inc.), p. 15.
- Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 49. ISBN 1-56076-052-4.
- Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
- Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 2. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
- Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
- Steven E. Schend (November 1994). “"I Sing a Song by the Deep-Water Bay"”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #211 (TSR, Inc.), p. 32.