The World of Andoria
The cosmography of the Astral Sea is not symmetrical. Some dominions are large, and some are small. Some are well known, and others are virtually forgotten. The Astral Sea washes up against many strange and distant shores, and no one has ever charted out all its floating islets and dark currents.
Carceri, the Red Prison
Carceri is a well-hidden astral dominion. Its entrance is barred by great gates of adamantine. Those who breach the red color veil of the dominion are deposited in front of those adamantine gates. They cannot enter the dominion further without discerning a way to open or bypass the gates. Carceri is a prison plane. The Three Sisters created Carceri as a place to imprison a terrible primordial monster that was too powerful to destroy without unleashing power sufficient to destroy all existence. The Angel Moradin himself forged the mighty gates and the chains that bind the monster inside.
Carceri takes the form of a bleak archipelago beneath a starless sky. Six barren islands lie beyond the adamantine gate: Othrys, Cathrys, Minethys, Colothys, Porphatyx, and Agathys. The first five islands are cold and marshy and sometimes lashed by acidic rain. They are inhabited by a wretched, lawless handful of stranded creatures—mortals, mortal spirits, devils, and monsters of all sorts—who were sentenced to perpetual imprisonment in this plane.
The strongest among these prisoners and outcasts dominate and enslave the weak. The sixth island, Agathys, is uninhabited. It lies far beyond the others, and it is here that the gods buried the nameless thing the dominion was made to entomb. Grim, vigilant angels guard the shores and permit none to approach.
Titans and other powerful beings are sometimes preserved in the Astral Sea after their deaths. Drifting through the starry mists like statues of their former selves, they slumber through eternity, awaiting the divine spark that might reawaken them. One such drifting corpse is Haemnathuun, the Blood Lord, a terrible Titan who fell during a furious assault on the dominions of the Aboleth countless ages ago.
Haemnathuun’s drifting corpse is a floating mountain of strange scarlet stone 1,000 feet long. The primordial was nowhere near this size when he perished, but as the ages pass the drifting corpses of dead beings in the Astral slowly transform into astral matter. Haemnathuun was a terrible giant with four clawed arms and a wide mouth full of needle-sharp fangs. The petrifaction of his body and the trees and vines veiling his form do not obscure his monstrosity. The abominations known as blood fiends were his creation, and Haemnathuun made them in his own image.
A fierce tribe of astral stalkers dwells atop Haemnathuun’s corpse. They dwell in the weird forest covering his body.
Tu’narath, City of the Githyanki
The greatest of githyanki settlements is Tu’narath, a city ruled by the githyanki lich-queen Vlaakith. Built atop the vast corpse of a forgotten god, Tu’narath is an astral metropolis. Tens of thousands of githyanki and a like number of slaves throng its twisting streets and spiked towers. The city encircles the body of the lost deity, and dizzying bridges span the spaces between outstretched limbs and twisted sections of torso.
A small number of nongithyanki merchants and mercenaries granted safe passage by the Lich-Queen’s functionaries carry out their business in the city’s crowded market districts but are barred from leaving the quarters set aside for foreigners on pain of death. More than a few visitors have discovered the hard way that their safe conduct lasts only as long as the githyanki find it profitable to permit them to remain free.
Vlaakith the Lich-Queen has ruled over the githyanki race for more than a thousand years. Although other cities and citadels are nominally independent of Tu’narath, no githyanki dares to defy her. She habitually destroys would-be rivals with her fearsome necromancy, feeding on their life forces to sustain her in undeath. Vlaakith’s palace is carved from the great skull of the dead deity upon which the city stands, dominating the skyline.
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