Developer's Notes: the Gatespace Cluster

This describes in greater detail some of the thoughts I had when developing Gatespace and its satellite spheres. While descriptions of the various planets and systems are valuable, it is sometimes useful to get in the developer's head to better understand the ideas behind the worlds.

Obviously, there are some planets which still need work. I will be adding to the systems as I find the time and inspiration. Like many developers, I can't force creativity. Feel free to send comments and suggestions.


Hasaril is a typical sun. I admit I ran out of inspiration to make Hasaril unique. But then again, not every world needs to be weird. So I'm not worrying too much about it.

Wegrya is a good continuing low-level conflict that characters can get involved in, or simply be indirectly affected by. The native sentient races of Wegrya are varieties of "fish men", so they will have different modes of thinking.

Belagin is a relatively typical air world. The rising continents were an idea I adapted from another source. This also keeps Belagin from being a significant power in the sphere.

Phaeris and its moon Vostyl are basically hot worlds. I developed a magma race and associated monsters long before Spelljammer, and needed a good place to put them. The Rel-Eth mentioned in the moon's description looks like an amoeba with a single large eye and batlike wings. Its the top monster of Vostyl.

Dauveron was initially based upon another person's game. After fleshing out some of the ideas and cultures, the idea of the dominant gynocracies worked. Basically, Dauveron is a good world that is superficially the same as most game worlds, but the culture is significantly different. The male inhabitants might not even believe they can learn magic. Its also a good setting for a rough wilderness adventure, particularly an "on the run" style of adventure.

Ganae is my primary game world. Every GM needs a home planet to work with. I am still developing all of the continents and nations in detail.

The moons of Ganae are varied. Alinah's monochroma style occurred to me when thinking about silvery white moons. Gloran is essentially inhabited by mer-creatures: Merfolk, mer-horses (hippocampi), mer-lions, etc. Vensuri is designed to be a seldom-visited moon; inhabitants aren't friendly, and there's not much to find here. Herlom is useful for astrological omens.

The Braid is the system's asteroid belt - every spelljamming sphere seems to have one. The concept of the braid occurred to me when looking at a girl's braided hair, and thinking about streams of asteroids. Inspiration is a funny thing.

Lindrac is my dragon-world. Instead of the typical dragons dominating humanoids concept, I thought about dragons developing their own culture which didn't involve humanoids. After thinking about ecology, I also realized I needed a creature which served as a primary food source. And the idea of dragons herding dinosaurs was just too fun to ignore.

Lindrac's secret is designed to be known by few, but not absolutely secret - most travelers won't know about it, but that wizened guy in the corner... after all, adventurers are resourceful. Some of the dragons also may be interacting with humanoids in secret (the chaotic dragons, most likely), and other dragons on other worlds may have heard about Lindrac.

Krensar is designed to be a weird place. Its a strong magic source for the sphere, and each of its moons have been affected by the proximity to such magic. Also, each of the moons corresponds to one of the schools of magic (if you can't guess them, email me). The manushya are various types of rakshasas, but they have kept their nature a secret.

Aeslir is the outermost normal planet. It was also the last world I added to the sphere. After looking at the outer planets, I decided I needed a relatively normal world, one that was aware of spelljamming, but not as able to benefit from it.

The Strinads are superficially similar to the Sisters of Greyspace. However, the Dancers are more dynamic, and they are also more dangerous. But they also have another purpose. They clean up the material from the various flow stars (the moonlets), and deposit them into the protoworlds.

Other Bodies of Gatespace are primarily (right now) the proto-worlds. These are worlds in the process of being built. The Strinads pick up stray matter from the flow stars, and deposit the matter into the worldlets. The process is largely automatic, but the results are somewhat chaotic (and not particularly useful, as the current protoworlds demonstrate). However, the process can be controlled somewhat, tuning which type of material is deposited on each protoworld. I haven't decided which race knows how to control the Strinads enough to build planets according to design, so its currently a mystery to explorers.

The various stars of Gatespace are designed to provide a balance to the elements within the sphere, as well as unusual features. Why should portals on the crystal sphere be limited to just fire and radiance? In addition, the different hazards mean that travellers never know exactly what to expect (and GM fiendishness is encouraged).

After some initial designs, I decided that Gatespace didn't include all of the elements I wanted to explore within Spelljammer. But the system already has a fair amount going on, and adding new factions, planets, and other elements would make for a hyper-busy sphere. So I decided to create a series of other spheres, which were connected to Gatespace. These became the satellite spheres. They allow characters to venture into different spheres without straying too far from home (at least initially). Each of the satellite spheres were designed to be somewhat distinctive, with fun elements to explore


Splitspace was designed to be a challenging space for characters. There are some strong factions within the sphere, and there are a lot of things going on. The illithids are fairly strong in the Todrima system, while the conflicts among the fire races on Kasalsh and Bewcartch can be dangerous to anyone nearby.

Mehlcix is a fairly typical sun with a nasty infestation. Of course, the system has more than enough fire bodies to make up for the cooler sun.

Tybarg is a dead liveworld. Its residual sentience allows the crust shaping. I haven't figured out the inhabitants that migrated inside of Tybarg yet. For the illithids' goals, see the notes on Zontex (below).

Kasalsh is a battleground among fire races, with the efreet and salamanders being the dominant factions. The Sollux are spoilers, keeping the efreet from dominating the system. The moons of Kasalsh are designed to get PCs involved in the flaming mess. I haven't gotten around to detailing the moons yet.

Sycrubin is a giant arid planet with giants as the dominant race. To keep it from being too boring (and have somewhere to visit), I added some rivers and jungle. I decided to drop the saurials in as a second dominant race, and other saurial-like creatures added for good measure. Whether these other creatures are saurial offshoots is up to individual gamemasters.

For Bewcartch, I wanted a fire body (or set of fire bodies) that wasn't dominated by generally evil creatures like salamanders and efreet. The sollux fit the bill nicely. Add in elmarin and other similar flaming creatures, and it becomes an oddly beneficial fire world.

Donema and its moon Kilvuri are places for spelljamming visitors to get their bearings. Kilvuri is the most 'normal' port in the Mehlcix system.

Todrima is a variable sun, basically one smaller sun whirling around inside another. I got the idea from a toy my toddler was playing with. But it works nicely. I haven't added inhabitants yet.

Dobargen is only lightly detailed. The sail plants I envision to be shaped like massive propellers or fans.

Zontex is a fun world. The native inhabitants include a variety of creatures which do not have a skeleton or exoskeleton; gamemasters should feel free to add other similar creatures. Zontex itself is supposed to be something of a mystery. The illithids, who dominate the area around this world, have a major goal - feasting on the brain of Zontex itself. Why bother with a few paltry humanoids when there is a sentient planet? Of course, they haven't figured out how to deal with Zontex. They weren't responsible for the death of Tybarg, but are trying to learn about it, and therefore figure out Zontex. To complicate matters, Zontex's Cage may be literal - is Zontex somehow malevolent?

Naradia is a typical asteroid field. The wateroid zone is an interesting touch I thought up. Inhabitants would include any aquatic version of a major spelljamming race - they would colonize the wateroids to help their space-bound brethren.

Tixmar is another mystery world. I ran out of ideas initially. Expect to see more detail on Tixmar later. The goblin moons are a place to drop goblinoids - I like goblinoids more than orcs and scro, so I gave the moons to them. I also needed another presence in the sphere that could serve as an unreliable ally.

Kestrif was a planet I wanted to put somewhere, and the warm sphere of Splitspace, together with the numerous fire bodies, seemed to make sense. Kestrif is a good place for weird encounters - the sentient plant life will have completely different cultures and concepts than the characters, so gamemasters can have fun with culture shock. I am still developing the moons.


If Splitspace is designed as a dangerous sphere, Windyspace was designed as a fun sphere. I envision adventures in Windyspace to be similar to 1930's pulp science fiction stories. The villains are larger than life, the heroes dashing, and mysteries abound. Gamemasters are encouraged to develop wind-ships flying between moons, bold captains, etc.

Uelde is not significantly developed yet. More here later.

Rynness is a relatively normal world populated mostly by anthropomorphic creatures - also known as furries. I've toyed with the idea of a furry-world, and with some of the recent discussions on the SJ mailing lists, I developed Rynness. I decided it would be much more interesting than the typical dwarf-elf-orc mix, particularly for Windyspace's character.

The dual nature of Rynness - the inner and outer surfaces - came about because I wanted both a primitive land and a fairly sophisticated one. The inner surface of Rynness would be a good place for vessels such as some of the Eberron magical vessels, or elements from Champions of Mystara. The primitive cultures on the outer surface are even more easily mystified by spelljammers because of the lack of flyers - characters can play god, while avoiding the inhabitants of Ennal, who protect the surface primitives.

The moons of Rynness provide a wide variety of settings. Ennal is a relatively standard spelljamming port - though I always get a laugh when characters encounter the miniscule spelljamming ships operated by kercpas. Veras is designed to be a magical place of wonder. Ageir is a harsh world, full of danger. Finally, Nalden is the stronghold of evil. Vainor Kruss is designed to be the megalomaniac villain with secret agendas, but also with no one knowing his/her/its motives or even appearance. Nyah hah hah...

Kypale is the Windyspace equivalent of Atlantis, Lemuria, or whatever. It is the mythical lost civilization, the location of hidden lore, etc. Have fun with it.

Kinis is a big snowball. I plan on adding more to it when I get a chance. Its moons are two more ideas I had - the enclosed moon of Siston are a good place for Dohwar. Erton was another weird idea. I had the idea of gravity zones which took the role of continents on other bodies. The gravs were a natural for inhabitants, and using it as a penal colony provided another harsh place that characters might need to go.

Isulo is somewhat based on the Arabic culture. with the theocracies thrown in for good measure. Feel free to use genies, genasi, and other Arabic-style elements here. The moon Sulkim is a haven. I initially thought to have the Moon Princess be an elf, but she could be another race too. I haven't decided.

Rothaler was another weird idea. Why should fire and water never mix? We have magma worlds that are earth (or cool fire) bodies, but nothing similar for water worlds. So add a burning-oil ecosystem, and Rothaler becomes a challenging place to visit.

The Adonrod cluster orbiting Rothaler is a good place for more adventures. Since Windyspace features over-the-top villains, I had to use Neogi. Since much of Windyspace has anthropomorphic creatures, I had to throw in Giff. Mix well, and have a blast.

Bescha is another mystery planet. The Mind lords fit the role of disinterested super-powerful beings that occur in quite a few pulp series (to say nothing of the original Star Trek series). I'm still working on the details of these beings. The grell seemed a natural addition, considering their traits. The appearance of the grell - oversized brains with beaks and tentacles - might suggest a connection between them and the Mind Lords. Does it exist? Hmm...


Chitinspace is a sphere torn by war. In addition to the low level conflicts elsewhere within the cluster, I wanted a major war that was totally uninvolved with the Second Unhuman War. The best (and most ferocious) wars are frequently religious ones. I also wanted to have the thri-kreen nearby, but not as a significant force within other spheres of the cluster. The K'r'rrr were a perfect opponent for them - both have religious agendas, and both are somewhat alien. To keep the conflict within the sphere, I needed something that both races would want - and I wanted a sphere with starbeasts. They seem woefully underused in published material.

Each race got one planet as a home base - Rakak-Ord for the thri-kreen, and Ryttos for the K'r'rrr. One world, Taithek, was designed as the current battleground, and one (Keddak-Ti) was a victim of the conflict. I wanted at least one or two worlds which were largely immune to the war though, so Choja-Ruk was created. Insects have trouble with water, so it became a hands-off world. Chik-tani was added as a savage world which allowed me to create and use any insectoid creature I felt like. In addition, it was a tribute to an old minigame I used to play, Chitin: II.

I have not developed each of the planets in great detail yet. More info when I get the chance.


Chromaspace was designed to be an unusual sphere. I started thinking about the crystal sphere itself, and thought about space being black. So I flipped it, and made space white. The stars had to be dark, so I simply made them the permanent portals - the flow would appear dark in contrast.

Bialtur was another odd idea I had. Since I was flipping the sphere from black to white, what would happen if I flipped a world from earth to air? I thought about the underdark of many gaming worlds, and how they form labyrinthine caves and tunnels. If I flipped the world to an air world, the tunnels would become earth tunnels. To keep water from flowing where I didn't want it, I came up with the hollow-bridge idea (aka straws).

Nyvisien, Yertasien, and Therosien are the three earth worlds. Since I had three suns (see below), three earth worlds balanced it nicely. I'm still developing them, so more notes later.

Rothir, Ulzir and Vandir are the suns of the sphere. I had the idea of three different colored suns, and then came up with using the three primary colors from computer graphics - red, blue, and green. When added together, white light is created, so this illuminated the sphere nicely. It also allows some fun with colored shadows.

The Samaldia belt was another weird idea. Instead of an asteroid field, why not an asteroid field of water bodies? I used a similar idea in the Naradian Ring, but here the water bodies stretched all the way around the sphere. Since it is the outermost body, I wanted it to be somewhat friendly to visitors, but still a little odd. I'm still populating it, so more notes will be coming soon.

Since there were three suns and three earth worlds, it made sense to make it the home of trilateral creatures. This gives the sphere some creatures that are weird, but not necessarily that different to gamemaster. It also becomes an interesting sphere for Juna investigations.


Shamblespace was fairly simple to come up with. I like the wide varieties of beholderkin, but any time I wanted to put them on a planet, it just felt wrong. Beholders are simply too powerful to mix with other races easily. Asteroids were a good option, and the immense Lagan Zone idea came about because most asteroid fields are fairly linear. I wanted the beholders to interact in three dimensions. The Lagan Zone may have been created from the wreckage of multiple planets that were destroyed, but I haven't decided yet.

Toilnys is a relatively typical sun (at least so far), but I haven't really thought too much about it. Obviously, since it tightly orbits an empty central point, it is not quite standard, but I haven't really thought about inhabitants or other special characteristics. Fire beholderkin could be fun...

As with most asteroid fields, the Lagan Zone makes a good place to put settlements of every different race. The beholders are common, but they are far from the majority of creatures within the sphere. Of course, there would also be astereaters, argos, and other beholder-related critters.

Suithine came about simply because I needed a place to link in Eyes of the Deep to the Beholder conflicts. I also figure there are other aquatic beholderkin too - be inventive!

More Worlds to Explore

Back to Dungeons & Dragons Page