The Vodoni Empire was a vast and aggressive realm in the phlogiston. Spanning twelve crystal spheres, it was the largest and mightiest empire in the region of the Prime Material plane known to the inhabitants of Realmspace. In the mid‒14th century DR, an attempted vodoni invasion of Realmspace, Greyspace, and Krynnspace triggered the conflict that became known as the War of the Spheres.
The vodoni expansion started sometime in the 10th century DR, when Vodon Prime, the star of Vodonispace, exploded in a supernova. The disaster caused unimaginable destruction throughout the system, completely destroying the fourth planet Kathyk and opening a portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire on the first planet Sala. The entire population of the sphere had to flee to the neighboring sphere of Vodonikaspace in a massive exodus led by emperor Vulkaran.
The deities of the vodoni pantheon, led by the Crystal King, also needed to flee the sphere from the impending disaster, but were incapable of doing so while keeping their own power. The pantheon designed a way to escape by entering the artifact known as the Eye of the Gods, built by the Crystal King himself, and trusting a mortal to release the deities at an opportune time. However, Vulkaran tricked the deities into trusting him with the key of their release, as part of his plan to keep them trapped for eternity while he consolidated his own power.
After completely colonizing Vodonikaspace, the vodoni set out to recover their lost technological knowledge by conquering and annexing neighboring crystal spheres. This expansion campaign slowly rendered the vodoni more aggressive and warlike, as sphere after sphere came firmly under the control of Vulkaran and his army of werewolves.
The War of the SpheresEdit
In the mid–14th century DR, Vulkaran set his eyes on three spheres that neighbored the Empire: Greyspace, Krynnspace, and Relamspace. Only vaguely aware of space travel at the time, the spheres seemed like an easy conquest for the Empire. As a prelude to invasion, vodoni spelljammers conducted minor raids throughout the spheres with relative impunity, until an incident with a group of adventurers in Realmspace brought matters to the attention of the Elven Imperial Fleet, as the Arrow of Justice escorted the adventurers to the Rock of Bral for the first war council of the Free Space Alliance.[note 1]
After a reconnaissance mission into Vodonispace, the council decided that, in order to prevent the impending vodoni invasion, a fleet composed of nearly all spacefaring races of the alliance set out to strike Vodonispace, with the adventurers assigned to spearhead the invasion and defeat Vulkaran himself in his palace in the Imperial City on Vulkarus. Vulkaran's defeat marked the dissolution of the Empire, freeing the imprisoned pantheon and restoring freedom to the twelve spheres.
The twelve spheres under control of the Empire were the following:
- Principal sphere of the Empire and the location of its capital, the Imperial City, located in the planet Vulkarus.
- Inhabited primarily by humans and dragons, with a culture similar to Greyspace.
- Located in a central location within the Empire's territory, its only habitable planet Gorth served as a hunting ground and leisure center for vodoni armies.
- A strange, solid crystal sphere whose "planets" were bubbles within the shell material, each with its own "star" at the center of the bubble. It was inhabited by drow-like elves who did not know the concept of night.
- A sphere entirely filled with breathable air, where large asteroids made of plant matter floated freely, unattached to any gravitational body. It was inhabited by the benevolent kra'aken, or kra', translucent winged humanoids with telepathic abilities and unearthly beauty.
- Totally ravaged by an ancient, all-consuming war, this sphere had no surviving inhabitants, but was intensely researched by vodoni in search of advanced weaponry.
- A system with no central star and bereft of life, its numerous asteroids were explored and mined for their abundant natural resources.
- One of the first spheres to be annexed by the Empire, it had a small water body at its center, surrounded by eight fiery stars that produced small explosions when they collided with one another. Its inhabitants, the immortal salzarians, were huge watery spheres immune to all magic. No magical devices operated within the sphere.
- This sphere's only planet, Thasia, was an enormous body inhabited by intelligent entities similar to shambling mounds. Vulkaran's hold on the system was extremely tenuous and was expected to be challenged when the thasians became sufficiently advanced to achieve space travel.
- This system's six planets' human inhabitants were at a constant state of war with each other, a situation that was maintained by Vulkaran in order to ensure the system's weakness. After the dissolution of the Empire and the end of the internal wars, it was expected that the warlike inhabitants would unite and pose a new threat to known space within one century.
- The closest sphere to Vodonispace, it was the destination of their exodus. After wiping out the original inhabitants, the vodoni colonized the sphere and turned it into a replica of the original Vodonispace, as diversely populated as the spheres of the Free Space Alliance.
- This was inhabited by the peaceful, yet terrifying zalani, humanoids that resembled gargoyles and had an alien taste for art and beauty. It was the location of all the Empire's shipyards.
- ↑ 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."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 3. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 35. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 51–52. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 53. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 46. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 60. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 44. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 24. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 1. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 3. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), chaps. 5–6. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 22. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 Grant S. Boucher (1991). Under the Dark Fist. Edited by Jon Pickens. (TSR, Inc.), p. 52. ISBN 0-56076-131-8.