log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General Campaign setting in a Gas Giant World with Floating Islands

Faolyn

Hero
Lots of air elementals and their kin. Probably a lot of flying creatures don't have legs. Dragons may be more serpentine. Sea creatures would be adapted to air--just slap wings or a balloon on a whale or aboleth. Swarms of insects would replace krill.

Much like the oceans, there's going to be "oases" surrounding the islands (or patches of solid fog, as Kobold Avenger mentioned), and "deserts" where there's next to no life.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

One thing I thought, is if there's horses in this world there's less of a reason to domesticate them for riding. Most people are going to want to ride and train flying creatures like giant flies, griffons, wyverns, giant bats and the like.

You might get a situation where the crew of an airship is going to have fight off Dragoons (remember I said 1600s to 1800s type tech) on wyverns.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
One thing I thought, is if there's horses in this world there's less of a reason to domesticate them for riding. Most people are going to want to ride and train flying creatures like giant flies, griffons, wyverns, giant bats and the like.

You might get a situation where the crew of an airship is going to have fight off Dragoons (remember I said 1600s to 1800s type tech) on wyverns.
Indeed depending on how big your islands are, horses would be useless for anything but plowing and farming.

a setting like this actually changes warfare in general.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Have you heard of Coliar? It's a planet from Realmspace (the Crystal Sphere that the Forgotten Realms takes in in Spelljammer). It has basically the exact same premise as this. It's a gas-giant with floating earthmotes and creatures that live on it. There's even a sub-type of dragon specific to this world: Air Dragons.

The world is mostly inhabited by Aarakocra (that fly from island to island) and Lizardfolk, and they're pretty big rivals.

Anyway, I'd read up on it a bit to get some inspiration.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Right, but a gas giant has such a thick atmosphere that (if it is at earth like temperatures) than it's going to look overwhelmingly grey when you look down on it or while on it you look down or sideways. It might well look blue as you look up though.
As an analogy, suppose the planet is like a spherical egg.

The albumen eggwhite of transparent earthlike atmosphere is definitely a vivid blue, especially when viewing it from an angle.

However, as one looks directly thru the albumen toward the eggyolk core, it may well be dark and cloudy, depending on where the sun is. Also, the shift from blue toward cloudy might gradual, and even the cloudy core will be bluish.

Compare Uranus whose gas is methane and mostly invisible, but the overall planet appears blue-green because the atmosphere is blue-green. Neptune is also mostly methane plus something yet unidentifief to make the atmosphere and the planet as a whole, a vivid blue.

The color of the atmosphere is from the way the gas scatters sunlight, not from the color of the gas, per se.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
In the clear upper atmosphere, the rocky islands might orbit rather than float. But in the hazy core, the islands would float because the sre surrounded by gravity on all sides.

The air pressure of the core is extreme and hot.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Or, you put the planet close in to its star, just about it's Roche limit, so that it has a problem keeping its atmosphere - so the atmosphere gets smeared out in a ring orbiting the star. and there's stuff living in the ring nowhere near the planet...

Oh, hey, that's Larry Niven's book The Integral Trees!

 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
The Integral Trees, referenced above, and the sequel novel The Smoke Ring have ideas and descriptions you will find helpful.
Also the novel 2010 (sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey) pokes around just a little bit with the 'life floating in Jupiter's atmosphere ' idea.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
So here's some things I'm pondering, what happens if someone falls off an island or a ship? Should there be a bunch of additional last chances, before falling into unknown oblivion of whatever might be at the planet's mysterious core or lower atmosphere?
In the Eberron setting. there are "feather tokens" (Common magic items that activate a Feather Fall effect when the user falls more than a short distance) and "life rings" (magic wooden rings used for when you have to abandon an airship, that you hang onto to drift down from the sky at a safe pace), both of which might be commonly available to give more time to save a falling character.

Carl Sagan once theorized about what life might look like if it existed "on" ("in"?) Jupiter. I think it involved enormous creatures that "swam" in the gas clouds.

Arthur C. Clarke did something similar, with enormous gasbag creatures (like living zeppelins) that could manipulate static electricity to shock attackers.
 

Have you heard of Coliar? It's a planet from Realmspace (the Crystal Sphere that the Forgotten Realms takes in in Spelljammer). It has basically the exact same premise as this. It's a gas-giant with floating earthmotes and creatures that live on it. There's even a sub-type of dragon specific to this world: Air Dragons.

The world is mostly inhabited by Aarakocra (that fly from island to island) and Lizardfolk, and they're pretty big rivals.

Anyway, I'd read up on it a bit to get some inspiration.

Elminster has a Retreat there.
 

Floating bodies of water would be another thing in this world where there might be aquatic creatures or civilizations living in them.

I think rainfall or storms happens regularly enough for most floating islands to get drinkable water and things like lakes.

There's also the spell Airy Water that existed in previous editions, which made an airy frothy substance that's sort of half-water/half-air, that both air-breathers and water-breathers could live in, there's roaming clouds of that around the world.
 


MarkB

Legend
A planet the size of Jupiter is much larger than most of us can fathom, so what sort of supernatural phenomena should there be to make travel around the world quicker? Air their magical currents of wind that Airships use? In fact how long should it take for an airship to go around the world?
Look at Jupiter with its bands of clouds constantly circling it.
https%3A%2F%2Fspecials-images.forbesimg.com%2Fimageserve%2F5f639de868735185123ad589%2FThis-latest-image-of-Jupiter--taken-by-the-NASA-ESA-Hubble-Space-Telescope-on-25%2F960x0.jpg%3FcropX1%3D0%26cropX2%3D1280%26cropY1%3D100%26cropY2%3D953
If you set up your world like that, and have each band rotating around the planet at different speeds, with the floating islands being carried along with them, then you could change the rate at which you go around the planet by heading north or south to a different band, allowing you to overhaul or outpace the locations in your starting band.

You could have each band be effectively its own biome, with some of them very inhospitable, and the boundaries between them are always a challenge to cross, perhaps needing a higher grade of airship - or pilot.

Of course, if you're set on going full Jupiter size, each of those bands is nearly the diameter of Earth, so you're still in for long journeys.
 


I certainly see there being a lot more weird and supernatural "terrain" and weather patterns. I've given them some thought to a few of them.

Skyshards, areas of massive floating crystals with some bigger than ships. The crystals can be of different colours, and as a highly magical world you can be sure that many of these crystals have special exploitable properties and are mined. Sometimes from Skyshards there are the Shardstorms where tiny crystal shards are carried by strong winds becoming a deadly cutting wind, this weather is rare in civilized areas, but can be deadly to anyone who isn't indoors.

Solid Clouds are areas of the material like that from the Solid Fog spell, thick opaque haze that one can stand on. Patches of Solid Cloud are more common the lower one gets in the atmosphere, often saving many unfortunate enough to fall off something. Solid Clouds move slowly across the world, often unmoved by winds. Cloud and Storm Giants live on Solid Clouds in the upper atmosphere in great cities that they rule of their global yet scattered empire.

Airy Water resembles what's invoked by a spell like Airy Water, it's a thick viscous mist that said by many to be a mixture of elemental air and water. Creatures that can breath air and creatures that can breath water can both survive in Airy Water. And those with actual swim speeds (so therefore not most humanoids) can swim in it. Some marine life can be found in these patches of Airy Water (most are found in lakes on floating islands or in floating seas), and with some effort drinkable water can be extracted from Airy Water. Airy Water has been known to slow the descent of some unfortunate enough to have fallen.

Floating Seas exist across the world in much the same way there are Floating Islands. Marine life of all varieties live in these seas. They vary in sizes, with some being massive enough to have cities of people such as Merfolk, Sea Elves, Tritons, Koalinths, Sahuagin and others. Floating seas are constantly merging with other floating seas or splitting off into smaller floating seas after strong winds blow against them.

Dust Clouds can be quite massive and often obscure clusters of civilized floating islands from others. A dust cloud is composed of floating minerals, that range from the size of sands of grain to pebble-sized. Winds often blow Dust Clouds around as Dust Storms, which range from being inconvenient to disastrous for civilized areas caught in its path.

Air Forests are ecosystems based around massive Banyan-like Trees known often called Monarch Trees, with a great tangle of roots, branches and gas bulbs. Soil gathers around the thickest of roots, and fungus, algae, moss and various other plants grow off the Monarch Tree, giving home to various animals and fey spirits.

Maelstroms are like the Eye of Jupiter, they are eternal storms of elemental energy and destruction. Lightning constantly crackles through it's thick clouds and floating lodestones. Lava flows in the great winds with a hail of rocks and glass. Maelstroms are eternal and unmoving, most ships know to stay away from them. But it's thought that some powerful archmages and mad scientists might have their homes within the Maelstroms.

Jet Streams or Storm Passages are massive currents of supernaturally fast wind currents that flow through the entire world. Most Storm Passages follow predictable unchanging routes. Airships can travel through Storm Passages entering and exiting their banks, traveling around the world making what might be months-long voyages into days-long voyages. Many established trade routes are based around them. Around many Storm Banks are Sky Fortresses bristling with cannons, rockets and elemental lances, warships of sky navies and port cities because of their importance to a nation.

Unbound Regions are areas where gravity has no effect, they are often unseen until one stumbles upon them. A few lost overboard have found themselves in an Unbound Region.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
interestingly enough under high pressure Oyxgen undergoes dramatic phase changers firomblue gas to a dark red liquid state and then to a amtiferromagnetic metallic solid, so a oxygen based gas giant could be constructed with a blue upper atmosphere and a red 'sea' core with a magnetic storm layer between them. That allows for magnetic repulsion being a the mechanisms that allows Islands and ships to be suspended in the atmosphere, the storms would also be epic (and thus a way to corral players
 

jgsugden

Legend
....A planet the size of Jupiter is much larger than most of us can fathom, so what sort of supernatural phenomena should there be to make travel around the world quicker? Air their magical currents of wind that Airships use? In fact how long should it take for an airship to go around the world?
...
I don't think there needs to be any. Mundane travel allows people to navigate an environment around them of reasonable size - and then everyone has to turn to magic, which has no range, when you wish to go further. That opens up the doors to other planes, etc... making the options limitless.

As a result, you just need to worry about the reasonable range around where they start, regardless of whether the world is the size of earth, 25 times the size of Earth (like my Homebrew) or 120 times the surface area of earth (like Jupiter).
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
Instead of falling get caught up in air currents.

This would be a great opportunity to make the centre of the planet/plane difficult to reach. Most people who venture toward it get thrown off course back into the upper atmosphere.
 

My generic homebrew setting when I run "standard" DnD is a world of floating earthmotes that move around a gaseous miasma. No oceans or known planetary surface. The story of how the planet got to this condition is based solely in magic instead of physics though - spell casters in an ancient war summoned the living planet Allabar who came and, instead of helping their side, started to break apart the planet. The combined magical authorities of the world kept Allabar at bay but the planet was broken into pieces that now revolve around a gaseous body of deadly fumes that produces undead and aberrations. The world now has a light moon and dark moon but most people don't realize that the dark moon is actually a living world that is waiting to prey on the planet.

The world has no oceans but there's still rain and bodies of water that eventually dump out into the void. Smaller populated earthmotes use condensers that accumulate vapor from the air to create potable water and there are rare elemental fonts where the world is connected to the planes. Every major civilization is invested in air travel, so there's a bit of a spelljammer vibe where different peoples have different styles of ship.

The material of the entire planet is suffused with magic since the old spellcasters used all of their power to hold the world together as it was ripped apart. Originally based in 4e, where residuum was the physical medium of magic, all of the land floating around is saturated with it and the mining/exploitation of residuum provides an environmentalist undertone in the setting because land sinks into the miasma as soon as the residuum throughout it is tapped out.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top