Sometime in the mists of time, the world suddenly was divided into thousands of self-contained, magically sustained little worlds. Whole civilizations found themselves separated from one another, entire empires divided from their own people. These worlds became known as "shards".
When the world shattered, it created a light-less, airless void that holds all of its' fragments in a strange orbit around the Center. Unlike space, the Void is not entirely a vacuum. Instead, throughout the vacuum strange currents of viscous golden magic flow, creating a mystical "breeze" which has in recent years been harnessed to propel voidships from shard to shard, in much the same way as wind and waves upon the ocean. These currents bring light from the Center to many of the shards, although more than a few shards remain in darkness. This magic is really quite harmless, although certain creatures are known to dwell within them, preying on voidships and stranded creatures.
Outside of these currents, the Void is indeed a vacuum, which is quite dangerous to unprotected creatures. On the third round of exposure to vacuum, a creature must succeed on a Constitution check (DC 20) each round or suffer from aeroembolism (“the bends”). A creature that fails the save experiences excruciating pain as small air bubbles form in its bloodstream; such a creature is considered stunned and remains so until returned to normal atmospheric pressure. A creature that fails the Constitution check by 5 or more falls unconscious.
The real danger of vacuum comes from suffocation, though holding one’s breath in vacuum damages the lungs. A character who attempts to hold his breath must make a Constitution check (DC 15) every round; the DC increases by 1 each round, and on a successful check the character takes 1 point of Constitution damage (from the pressure on the linings of his lungs). If the check fails, or when the character simply stops holding his breath, he begins to suffocate. In the next round, he falls unconscious with 0 hit points. The following round, he drops to –1 hit points. On the third round, he drops to –10 hit points and dies.
The most mysterious, yet important part of the Void, the brilliant sphere of glowing energy known as the Center provides the light necessary for life to flourish throughout the shards.
Beyond that, and it's location, very little is known about the Center. It seems to simply be a magnificent font of magical energy that holds all the shards in orbit around it. The climate within it is very similar to the Coruscal, although magic functions even more erratically and it is intensely hot (about 8,000 °F).
Dividing the inner and outer shards is a golden ring of pure energy known as the Coruscal, or Outer Ring. While its' origin is shrouded in mystery, the Ring is provides many of the outer shards with a much-needed source of light, as well as certain measure of protection against the ever encroaching Palantium Empire.
The Ring is several hundred miles wide, and it completely surrounds the inner shards, meaning that most travelers to the outer shards must journey through it, rather than take the months long trip around it. This journey, however is far from a proverbial walk in the park.
The Ring possesses a very random atmosphere: certain parts contain oxygen and are breathable, while other parts might contain a rudimentary cloudkill spell. There is no gravity, but there is also nothing to propel ships forward, meaning that they most rely on other methods.
The Ring reacts very oddly to spells cast within it, acting much like an area of wild magic, making it difficult to determine your location using divination spells. This trait attracts many Void-dwelling creatures whom feed off magic, some of which grow to astronomical proportions.
The Shards Edit
While no one can yet explain why, the world shattering created hundreds of miles wide spheres, called "shards".
Most shards still retain the same ecosystem that existed before the Shattering, although millenia of isolation has caused many organisms to evolve very strangely. Many races have changed greatly from others of their kind, adapting perfectly to their own little worlds.
The shards are divided into four categories based on their position around the Center: inner shards, outer shards, deep void shards and transitory shards.
Inner Shards Edit
Inner shards occupy the area closest to the Center, with the closest known being Argonis Lycar. Most of the inner shards are controlled by the Empire, however a small few retain their own governments.
Due to the constant light from the Center that most of these shards receive, the inner shards possess the highest concentration of life, with only a rare few lifeless, usually due to extraneous circumstances.
Outer Shards Edit
Past the outer ring, literally thousands of other shards exist, most outside of the reach of the Empire. While many of these shards are lit from the light of the ring, a few of them acquire light from the currents of energy that flow from the Center, which are very few out here. Far more receive no light at all, which often means that these shards are devoid of life entirely.
Other organizations are more prevalent in the outer shards, especially the Confederation and the numerous fleets of pirates that stalk the Void.
Deep Void Shards Edit
Past even the wild outer shards, dozens of shards exist in the area known as the Deep Void, a section of near total darkness breached only seldom by distant light.
Life is sparse in the dark, barren shards, made even rarer by the strange proliferation of planar bleed-through and breaches. The most common are often outer planes such as the Nine Hells or The Abyss.
No governments are known to control any deep void shards, although the Empire has a small outpost on Descada.
Transitory Shards Edit
A select few shards move slowly from one section to another sections, these shards are known are transitory shards.
The most famous transitory shard to date is known as Uvifluen, which moves from the inner shards in the summer through the outer ring into the outer shards in the winter, in a magnificent cascade of fierce thunderstorms.