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Countries of the Known World in the Spelljammer Universeby Leroy Van Camp III
The vast majority of the Known World has heard of the airships of Alphatia. Their first reaction to seeing a spelljamming vessel up close will be that it hails from that country and act accordingly. If the ship is shaped like a creature of some sort, some may be fearful if the ship is seen from afar. This will change once they have determined it to be only a ship.
If spacefarers reveal their origins, they will probably not be believed and treated with mistrust. If a native does believe, due to proof, or whatever, they will probably be fearful. This, of course, will depend wholly on the individual.
As in many countries of the Known World, Karameikan towns have only one real rule on spelljamming ships: Any ship that flies over the town is considered an attacker and all efforts to knock it out of the sky will be made. Seaworthy vessels must land several miles out from coastal towns and sail into the harbour. Ships landing on land must do so several miles away from both the town and any major roads.
The exception to this is Fort Doom. The word has spread that the rulership of this town has tried to steal several spelljamming vessels by killing it's crew. Most spacefarers consider it off limits.
There is only one city of any consequence in Karameikos, Specularum, it's capital. Docking here is 5 gp, plus 1 gp per day for berthing. It has no shipyards that build or repair spelljammers specifically.
Specularum is not a very popular place amongst spelljamming folk. There is relatively little to see or learn, and it has no shipyards that build or repair spelljammers specifically. Nearly half of the population, the Traladarans, are highly suspicious of spacefarers, leaving merchants only small numbers of customers.
The Callarii elves of Karameikos know of spelljamming and the Elven Imperial Fleet through connections in Alfheim, but they have, as of yet, shown little interest, The gnomes of High Forge have been contacted by their tinkering cousins, but little has come of this. High Forge gnomes seem more concerned with mining and trade than machines.
Because the vast majority of the population have never even heard of spelljamming, or know of life in space, they see races such as the minotaur, dracon, thri-kreen and lizard men as monsters to be avoided or attacked, not talked to. The usual reaction is to run away and get the town guard.
The Minrothad Guilds
Of the countries of the Known World, only Alphatia has accepted spelljamming and spacefarers more than Minrothad. Although they still require ships to land away from they towns before approaching, they are greeted with interest rather than suspicion. Spelljamming ships are seen as a chance to increase the range of products Minrothad merchants have access to, and can thusly sell for profit. Minrothad merchants know that spelljammers are not readily accepted in most countries, and that spacefarers are looked upon with suspicion. This gives them a bit of an edge, since it means space merchants have few other places to sell their goods. The Minrothad merchants can then carry the goods throughout the world, selling them at inflated prices because of there exotic look, taste or usage. They almost never tell their customers it's from space.
Spelljamming ships pay the same costs for docking that regular ships do. Although none of the shipyards cater specifically to spelljammers, many can do basic repairs (i.e. restore hull points, patch holes, etc.). Costs are normal.
Several Minrothad merchants have bought minor helms form Kerneth, an arcane who has set up shop in Minrothad city. Knowing how spacefarers are accepted in most countries, they have chosen to use them for expanding their fleet into space rather than planet bound cargo transportation. Some in Minrothad would like to see spelljamming come to be accepted in the Known World. This would allow goods to be moved faster and cheaper, once ships were purchased. Many, though, dislike this idea. It would remove their near monopoly on space goods. Clan Elsan especially hates this kind of talk. Even if such a thing were to happen, it is decades in the coming.
Despite it's openness towards spacefarers and it's cosmopolitan nature, many Minrothaddan are still uncomfortable with the races considered "evil" in their world, such as minotaurs and lizard men. Non-humanoid races, such as dracon and thri-kreen are similarly viewed. This does not mean they will be attacked, or even rudely treated. They will just be avoided when possible. As the years progress, and these races are seen more and more, this will pass.
The Republic of Darokin
Despite it's mercantile similarity to Minrothad, Darokin's view of spacefarers is quite the opposite. It's merchants sees spelljammers and their ships as threats to their business; virtually none of them will deal with a known spacefarer. And since merchants have a lot of control of the country, they insured laws have been enacted that encourage spelljammers to stay away. Docking fees are high, taxes are exorbitant, and spacefarers are often arrested on only minor charges. Because of all this, only spacefarers who are ignorant of the situation, or desperate, land in Darokin.
Recently, some attempts have been made by goodly space organisations to contact the Darokin government, through the Darokin Diplomatic Corp. They hope to show that most spacefarers are not conniving merchants bent on stealing away business. There has been some success, but it will take a long time.
Because of the governments policies, the vast majority of Darokin has never even heard of spelljamming, or know of life in space, so they see races such as the minotaur, dracon, thri-kreen and lizard men as monsters to be avoided or attacked, not talked to. The usual reaction is to run away and get the town guard.
The Theocracy of Ierendi
There have been numerous stories of spelljamming ships that never returned from Ierendi. Some who have landed and managed to return speak of an evil society dedicated to the worship of the Immortals of Entropy. They said the populace attempted to steal their ships and sacrifice their crews. Because of these reports, Ierendi is considered off limits by most spacefarers.
The Principalities of Glantri
Glantri is not a popular place amongst most spacefarers for two reasons. The first is that there are no major bodies of water to land seaworthy ships in. This seriously restricts who can land in Glantri.
The second is because of the nature of the Glantrian people. The are, by and large, a group of Machiavellian intrigists, constantly plotting to further their station and power in society. The rulers, all powerful wizards, are not above attempting to confiscate ships that land in their Principalities. Almost no one ever lands in Glantri
Despite this many of the more determined spacefaring wizards still make their way to the capital, Glantri City, through other means. This is a centre of magical knowledge and learning. Exotic components and creatures can be acquired, sometimes at surprisingly cheap prices. Some also seek to learn at it's renowned Great School of Magic. And some wizards simply enjoy the atmosphere. Also, a minotaur or lizard man walking the streets would receive nary a glance. Non-humanoid races, such as the dracon or thri-kreen would receive attention of a curious, rather than hostile, nature. They must be careful, though. A wizard may get too curious and attempt to steal them away for experimentation.
One the other hand, there are several groups of people who despise Glantri. The first are the dwarves. Because of their high resistance to magic, many who visit Glantri are kidnapped by wizards for the subject of experiments. Few dwarves are willing to set foot in Glantri. To a lesser extent, this also happens with halflings.
Another group that dislikes Glantri are priests. Simply put, the law states that religion is illegal, punishable by torture by exposure to black pudding, followed by imprisonment. Priests are put to death by fire. Spacefarers are not excepted. Despite this, there are priests in the underground, stealthily trying to bring Glantri down. Also, worship of Rad, an Immortal of Magic, is often ignored when discovered by officials, especially when money exchanges hands.
Recently, Saigran, an arcane, has set up shop. He has had surprisingly few takers, though. Most wizards in Glantri would prefer to either pursue their own experiments, or further their own plots for power. Those few who have bought helms or ships have quickly departed for the stars, eager for exploration.
Despite the fact their are two clans of elves, the Imperial Fleet has yet to make contact with them. They have been warned by the elves of Alfheim to be cautious. The Imperial elves plan to wait and watch before initiating discussions of alliance.
Kingdom of Rockhome
For the most part, most spacefarers don't even know that the area of Rockhome is a kingdom. They believe the forts and towns are all that there is, and are seen as unimportant. They are ignorant of the extensive underground cities.
Those who do know of the kingdom see little need to venture there. Places such as Smaggeft, which manufactures large quantities of metal and stone goods, are geared towards their current level of output. Businessmen believe increasing their output for trade to possibly sporadic spacefarers is a risk they don't need.
Also, most of the towns and cities have little in the way of services that can't be acquired elsewhere. The only city that allows spelljamming ships to dock is Stahl. It charges 10 gp to dock, and 1 sp per foot of length per day to berth. As usual, ships are required to land a mile or two away, and then sail into port. Note that the port itself is on the banks of the lake, while the city is several hundred yards up river.
As in many other countries, most of the Rockhome citizenry knows nothing of spelljamming. Their reaction to such races as minotaurs and dracons is usually to attack or seek help.
An exception to all this are several spacefaring dwarven nations who are in contact with King Everast XV. They recently gave him a forge helm as a token of alliance. Everast is cautiously optimistic about the alliance, seeing how well his spaceborn cousins have down with their citadels. Currently, one of the peaks in the Denwarf Spur is being tunnelled and separated from the rest of the mountain. When it is close to finished, they will install the forge and, with the help of the space dwarves, fully separate the peak and launch into space. This project is being kept secret from the population until it is finished, when it will be revealed in a large festival and ceremony. Because the dwarves are being particularly careful, it will be five to ten years until they are finished.
The groundling and space dwarves working on the project together have been getting along fabulously. Their lifestyle and personality are quite similar. The only difference is that the dwarves of Rockhome have a bit more of a mechanical bent, although not nearly as much as tinker gnomes. The only exception to this goodwill is some minor disputes between the Rockhome priests of Kagyar and the spacefaring priests. They have been attempting to convert some of the Rockhome dwarves to the "traditional" pantheon of dwarven gods, such as Moradin and Clangeddin. They believe Kagyar is not truly a god since he started as a mortal, and possibly a non-dwarven one at that. Their view is further lowered by the fact that Kagyar has many non-dwarven worshipers. Needless to say, this angers Kagyar's priests. There have even been a few bar room brawls between the clergy.
For the most part, though, this dispute ends with the clergy. The other dwarves see little need to argue over the point. As long as a dwarven god is worshipped, their happy.
The Five Shires
Bluntly put, most spacefarers have little desire to visit a country of halflings. They either fear for their purses, or believe the halflings have little to offer.
As of yet, no spelljamming ship has landed in the Five Shires. A few ships crewed by halflings have discussed visiting their groundling cousins. For the most part, though, they feel they probably have little in common with them.
Due to it's history as a country that has been conquered several times, the people of Ylaruam are very suspicious of strangers. Any spelljamming ship that pulls into a Ylari harbour will be visited by an official, accompanied by several soldiers (Order of the Pike) and a wizard (Order of the Spell). The captain of the ship will be politely informed that they are not welcome in Ylaruam. If they insist on staying, they will not be forced away. The official simply informs them of two rules. First, they are not allowed to reveal that they come from space, but should rather indicate some terrestrial, though distant, origin if asked. The official warns that they may be followed to insure this. Second, no "monster" races are allowed off the ship. Only races normally native to Mystara, and civilised. Breaking these rules may lead to arrest and possible confiscation of their ship.
Docking costs 5 to 20 gold, depending on ship size and the mood of the official. Berthing is 2 gp per day. It is virtually impossible to find someone willing to work on a spelljammer. Foreigners are generally regarded with polite suspicion. If told about space and spelljamming, they will disbelieve, becoming even more suspicious.
There is one exception to this unwelcoming treatment. Ships crewed by mostly people of the other known Arabic-type societies, such as Zhakhara of Toril, and Ekbir and Zeif of Oerth, are greeted with surprising friendliness. Several years ago the Sultan of Ylaruam learned of spelljamming, and later, of the other Arabic cultures. It fascinated him that similar societies could spring up on such distant worlds. When ships from such cultures arrive, it's captain and crew are often invited to the Sultan's Palace for dinner, where they are encouraged to tell stories of their home. Their docking fees are waived and they are offered rooms in some of the nicer inns, at the Sultans expense.
Unfortunately, few ships are manned by Arabic crews. Recently, however, the Sultan has been in contact with Gallarin, an arcane. He is planning to purchase several ships, probably Squids and Wasps, and send them on an expedition to Toril and Oerth. Gallarin has provided a large number of books and maps detailing space. Because of the expense, and the need to train the crew, it will be several years until the expedition leaves.
The Northern Reaches
There has been little interaction between the kingdoms of Ostland, Vestland, and Soderfjord and spacefarers. They are a mostly self sufficient people, and need little from merchants. Much of their society is a bit archaic, proud of their older ways. None of their ports offer services to spelljamming ships.
Those who have landed here, though, have reported that most are open and fairly friendly, inviting visitors in as guests in their homes. Reports have been that guests who abuse their hospitality are ejected, or even attacked. They can be a vengeful people.
Because they rarely venture far from their home, they would only be curious of a spelljamming ship that pulled into their harbours from seas. They would assume it was a ship from a distant country, such as Alphatia.
When encountering "monster" races, their first instinct would be to attack. If they learn that they are intelligent and civilised, they may be curious. There was one report of a Northman who invited a minotaur into his home as a guest when he learned he was an intelligent, even honourable, creature.
How the North will react to further incursions from space will have to be seen. As of yet, almost none of the populous has any clue.
The Empire of Thyatis
The current policy of Thyatis is plain and simple: no spelljamming ships may land anywhere in it's borders. This is actually quite surprising, considering it is usually in Thyatis' nature to embrace new cultures. The reason, though, is as simple as the policy. Alphatia, Thyatis' nemesis, has a large fleet of airships, used for both mercantile and military endeavours. Thyatis has always had a rule of no airships in it's borders. The Emperor sees spelljammers as unusual appearing airships. Ambassadors from Alphatia, along with well meaning space organisations, have tried to tell the Emperor the truth, but he does not believe their "hogwash".
Any attempts to land will be seen as an attack, and Thyatis will retaliate to it's fullest ability, using the Retebius Air Fleet, which is troops mounted on flying creatures, including dragons!
Currently, the Elven Imperial Fleet is in negotiation with Alfheim. They wish to use it as a base of operations, much like Evermeet on Toril. They wish to recruit a number of Alfheim elves into the Fleet and create an alliance. Alfheim is seriously considering it. Although they find the Fleet elves slightly overbearing, they get along well. Their only stipulation is that the base will come to be run by officers native to Alfheim within 20 years. The Fleet has no problem with this. The final details are expected to be ironed out in the coming years. Both sides foresee a lasting alliance.
Only the high-ups in each of the clans knows of the Fleet elves. Many of the younger ones have joined the Fleet, hoping to get a foot hold into the future base. Most of the Fleet elves come to ground in flitters or by magic. This is done away from population centres.
Alfheim does not allow non-elven ships to land. Of course, with it's thick forests, this is rather hard to do anyway.
The first contact between the Freeholds and spacefarers was not a promising one. The spelljammer, a squidship owned by a merchant company, attempted to land in Heldann. It was soon set upon by several Heldannic Warbirds, who destroyed it with their Blight Belchers. The only survivor was a wizard that possessed an amulet of the planes. When he returned word of what happened, the merchant house swore revenge.
The Heldannic Knights believe that spelljamming ships are little more that Alphatian airships, and will refuse to let any land. This means little to most spacefarers. Most have little interest anyway.
As with Alfheim, the Elven Imperial Fleet has contacted the leadership of Wendar; they would like to set up a minor base within it's borders. Negotiations are going much slower; the elves of Wendar have had little contact with any other elves and are a bit suspicious of their spacefaring cousins. The Fleet elves, on the other hand, see the Wendarian elves as a bit rustic and backwards.
The king of Wendar has asked for the Fleet not to reveal itself to the general populace. Because of this, most Wendarians have never heard of spelljamming.
The Hollow World
As outlined on page 127 of the DMs Sourcebook, in the Hollow World boxed set, the anti-magic zone at each of the polar openings disables spelljamming helms. Fortunately, this was determined before any ship attempted to enter. This is now general knowledge.
Because the Worldshield prevents magical teleportation, there has been no known exploration of the Hollow World by spacefarers. Recently a group of psionicists have discussed using psionic means to cross into the world and explore. It is unknown of they have proceeded.
Because of it's special situation in spelljamming on Mystara, Alphatia has it's own chapter.