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More than one month ago, I sent to the list an history of the Damocles planet and its relation to Mystara (involving the Dark Elves, the Modrigswerg, and Emerond).

Back then, I had little time to answer some of the questions I received, so I'm going to answer those questions, and other I thought up myself, now.

Damocles Q&A

by Giampaolo Agosta

What is Damocles?

Damocles is the fourth planet of the Mystaran solar system. It is inhabited by the Pyrithean Races, descendants of the Grens from the alien Federation.

Why is it called Damocles?

Damocles is a deformation of the name given to the planet by the FSS Beagle captain Bork Riesling, "DMK-3".

As the language of the stranded Grens evolved, the name was pronounced "Damok-Tres", which later became Damocles, and finally reached its standard form some 500 years ago.

The original name was meant to show the galactic sector where the planet was found (Sector D, though actually this was wrong, as the Beagle had unknowingly entered some kind of portal, and shifted to the Mystaran Milky Way).

M and K designated the Mystaran Solar System, in a base-32 code. Three was the number of the planet (Mystara was DMK-2, the numbers were given in order of exploration).

Dimensions of Damocles

Damocles is a flat world, a semisphere whose flat surface is inhabited.

It is slightly smaller than Mystara in equatorial diameter (around 6,500 miles), so its inhabited surface is nearly 80 millions sq km.

What can you see in the night sky of Damocles?

Damocles has no moon. There is an asteroid belt around the planet.

Damocles is far from the sun, but it receives additional light and warmth from the giant gaseous planet "Jupiter".

Due to the strong influence of "Jupiter" on Damocles' climate, the seasonal patterns are very different from those of Mystara.

Damocles experience a very cold winter when "Jupiter" is farther, while it is warmer when the giant planet is nearer.

Geography of Damocles

The surface of Damocles is encircled by the Outer Barrier, a circle of tall, unbreakable mountains that prevent water, air, and people from leaving the flat area.

On the outer side of the Barrier, and on the curved face of Damocles, the atmosphere is thin, and only simple lifeforms-or those who don't need air-can survive.

Also, gravity is very low (natural gravity of a small planet like Damocles).

On the flat side, gravity is magically enhanced, up to Earth-like values near the ground.

Within the Outer Barrier, there is an ocean that surrounds two continents and some archipelagos of minor islands.

Climate of Damocles

Damocles' climate is influenced by its distance from the sun, and only the strong emission of warmth from the very heart of the planet allows life to thrive here.

Due to these emissions, the earth is often warmer than the air, so there are accessional currents that make flight easier even to larger flying creatures.

Why did the Pachydermions leave for Patera, when "Mars" was nearer?

Quite simply, because Patera has an atmosphere and gravity that allow Pachydermions to survive without magical support.

What were the Pachydermions doing on Damocles?

In this setting, Pachydermions are one of the "native" races of Damocles.

This means they either arrived on Damocles before the Grens, or they evolved on the planet.

The Mystaran and Pateran Pachydermions may be the original group or a very old colony.

Who are the Grens?

The Grens are the aliens from the galactic Federation that arrived in the Mystara solar system on the FSS Beagle.

They are a race of human-like beings, whose skin takes a green tint under the rays of the Mystaran sun.

What monster types can be found on Damocles?

The Dark Pyrondians have created many servant races, often getting the design from their lower planar allies.

Some AD&D monsters that could be used for servant races are:

Broken One (failed experiments)
Ettercap (Pyrondian-hunters)
Gibberling (shock troops)
Golem (many types; few of them, used as guards or frontline fighters)
Kobold, Urd ("aircraft")
Mould Man (early experiments)
Mongrelman (experiments gone awry)
Tasloi (basic jungle fighter)
Undead (Skeletons/Zombies, these are not true undead, but are animated through life-shaped grafts or other means; the Dusanu is another good option)
Yuan-ti, Histachii (created from Pyrithian prisoners)

Some outer planar monsters can be found on Damocles as the result of the Dark Pyrondians' summonings:

Imp or Quasit (these appear as familiars for the Dark Pyrondians)
Mephit (messengers from the lower planes)
Least Baatezu (Spinagon, common messengers and familiars)
Lesser Baatezu (Abishai, Barbazu, Erinyes, all rare, appear as advisers, spies, bodyguards and other specialised roles)
Least Tanar'ri (Manes, Rutterkin: expendable infantry)
Lesser Tanar'ri (Alu-fiend, Cambion: half-Tanar'ric Pyrithians)
Lesser Tanar'ri (Bar-lgura, Succubus, rare, scouts and spies)
Yugoloth (very rare, mercenaries)

Other creatures from the Outer Planes or the Space can appear as mercenaries.

Who are the Dark Pyrondians?

The Dark Pyrondians are fiendblooded Pyrondians from the Pirate Age. There are two types of Dark Pyrondians.

The more common kind is also known as "Dark Elves", and existed in the Mystaran Northern Reaches centuries ago, but their civilisation was destroyed by Antalian tribes.

The remaining Dark Pyrondians, who exist on Damocles, are a handful of powerful lifeshapers, nearly immortal, and very strong in psionic power.

The most important and powerful of the Dark Pyrondian is Pheazar, also known as the Dark Elf Feasar on Mystara.

There are nine Dark Pyrondian "sorcerers" on Damocles:

Pheazar Lives in the north-east, has been on Mystara
The Dread Prince Killed by Pheazar around AC 700
Gheertihz Killed by Pheazar around AC 840
Maekir Killed by Pheazar around AC 840
The Scarlet Sorcerer Killed by Pheazar around AC 835
Khaltar Survived the war AC 800-850
Urhnam the Deep Disappeared after the war in AC 800-850, rumoured to live in the deep sea
Captain Cortal Ihetarm Piratical, lives on an Asteroid (see "What can you see in the night sky of Damocles?")
Ragol of the Ring Lives in the Outer Ring

What is a graft?

A graft is a lifeshaped items that bounds to the flesh of an host, allowing him to access its powers.

What are lifeshaped items?

Life shaping was developed within the Dark Sun setting. It is fully described in "Windriders of the Jagged Cliffs" and "Psionics Artifacts of Athas".

Basically, life shaping is a sort of genetic engineering, allowing the operator (nature master) to create new animals or plants that can duplicate the effects of technological or magical items.

There are three classes of lifeshaped items: creatures (plants or animals); tissues (raw living matter); and items produced by lifeshaped creatures (silk, scales, etc).

Lifeshaped items and creatures can serve different purposes: tools (weapons, clothes); producers of other lifeshaped items; grafts (see above); replacing domestic animals.

Note that the Pyrondians are themselves lifeshaped creatures.

What PC races are available in a Damocles-based campaign?

*Pyrithians (base race, replace humans in this setting)
*Dark Pyrithian (these are fiend-blooded Pyrithians, use rules for Tieflings from Planescape's "Planewalker's Handbook")
*Broken Ones and/or Mongrelmen (Broken Ones use the rules from "The Making of Men" by the Kargatane, Mongrelmen use the rules in the Complete Book of Humanoids)

Note that Dark Pyrondians are limited in number, so they are unavailable as PCs--all nine Dark Pyrondians are NPCs.

What native Damoclidean races are available on Mystara?

As PCs, only the Emerondians. Dark Pyrondians--a.k.a. Dark Elves-- are not available as PCs.

Pachydermions are not a native Damoclidean race, but they are available on both Mystara and Myoshima.

When is Damocles destroyed?

Canon material is not very specific about this. Any date between 1000 AC and the end of the Wrath of the Immortal War could go. A suitable choice would be some time before the Great Meteor event, so that the Meteor could have been a fragment of Damocles.