Welcome to Freebooters in the Start Lanes

This is a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5E) campaign set in an original space-fantasy setting heavily borrowing from the old Spelljammer setting. It makes a lot of use of home-brew rules, and rules may be adjusted on the fly as the situation demands.

The Setting

Beyond the blue skies of your world, the cold black void opens up, like a hungry shadow. But it is not the void we think we know. Instead of an airless vacuum, the air is there, but most often very thin, requiring acclimation. It is very often cold, but not so cold that heavy furs and leathers can’t protect a man on the deck of a ship. There is little to no gravity, but this is a simple matter for those who have ships powered by geotic engines, which extend gravity in a bubble around the ship. Missing are the deadly radiations that we might expect to find, and many other life-destroying hazards. Instead, there are different dangers, like great schools of carnivorous black toothfish, enormous sun leviathans, hazy and deadly-fast void-sharks, and, of course, pirates.

The Star Lanes criss-cross the skies like bundles of luminous threads, silvery spiderwebs strung between the stars and running in curling, jagged, nonsensical patterns through the blackness of the universe. Up close, they are enormous, as large as some worlds, endless, and endlessly moving, carrying currents of starlight from tangle to tangle. With the right sails, a ship can catch this star wind and sail from world to world, as a sea vessel crosses water to find new islands.

The ascendant power in your corner of space is Victoria, a confederacy of seven worlds ruled by High Queen Elspeth III. Her navy protects her territories from foreign powers, and lawless marauders, and seeks out new lands to explore and claim for the crown. Her colonies stretch far and wide, a source of exotic spices and luxuries, although they sometimes rise in revolt and must be put down.

The Victorians are not the only state in the game. There is also:

  • Ybarra, the great military armada of the elves, in their living, growing crystal-tree ships, supported by vast agrarian plantation-worlds.
  • Arnheim, the stoic and teutonic mining conglomerate of the dwarves in their great stone fortresses.
  • Cogister, the World of Steam, from whence gnomes send their clanking and hissing wheelships into space.
  • The broken worlds of Jotun, the orcish viking hordes.
  • The decadent Shade lords of Valakhya, with their lightless, windowless spire ships and rumors of vampirism.
  • The humble, wandering Ruami halflings, nomads without a world, distrusted everywhere as thieves and criminals.
  • The debased remnants of the Meteotl, the empire of dragonborn that once ruled and now are reduced to barbaric tribes on jungle worlds.
  • The Karaduin, a nation of pious insect-people who often leave their homeworld to seek work as mercenaries.
  • The various worlds of the Beast-Man Cluster, with the Leopard-Man samurai, pharaonic Falcon-Men, Wolf-Man gunslingers, peaceful Rhino-Men, and labyrinth-dwelling Bull-Men.

Beyond those realms lie even more dangerous wastelands of the void, where dwell such horrors as the spider-like Ogwai slavers, and the tentacled Illithid mind-devourers.

And who are you?

You, of course, are pirates. Whether you are patriotic corsairs empowered by a sovereign nation to prey on its enemies, mercenary privateers seeking to ride the line between merchant and thief, or brutal marauders making a living as unrepentant criminals, you sail the Star Lanes in a mighty vessel manned by a stout crew. Your skills have earned you a place of honor on your ships, and, who knows, perhaps you may some day even have your own ship to captain. After all, the current captain can’t live forever…