The Mindfield is a crescent-shaped asteroid belt that can be found in the fourth orbital ring from the system centre of Echospace. It occupies approximately one-quarter of the ring, although the actual size expands and contracts over time due to its contents moving at different rates. From top to tail its length is approximately 860 million miles. The Dunamic Republic regard the Mindfield as a no-fly zone in part because of the extremely dangerous creatures that inhabit the zone, but also because it seems to block or dampen attempts at long-distanced, magic-based communication and detection within the belt. It is also not possible to travel at full spelljamming speed within the field because of the sheer amount of debris that would cause a ship to drop to its basic speed, which puts off most other travelers. There are a number of different zones within the belt that are typically named after a creature type that holds dominion in that area. Anyone brave enough to fly through the belt may find themselves face to face with warring Beholders and Illithids, or unlucky enough to be caught in the grips of an Yggdrasti. As different parts of the belt orbit at slightly different speeds, the overall territory of each group constantly changes and is often a source of conflict between them.
Whilst the majority of the Mindfield is a barren wasteland of rocky detritus, there are a number of ecosystems that can be found within its gravitational body. Some of the asteroids have hollows that house colonies of Illithids or Neogi, whilst others contain forests of long-dead trees that are home to some Yggdrasti. On the trailing edge of the asteroid belt, there is a thriving pirate town known as Aster Baal with lucious green fields and a full complement of agricultural fields. As there is at least one rock of this verdant nature, it is theorised there are likely others - although it is unlikely that any of them are inhabited given the dangers the creatures of the mindfield pose.
The Mindfield is well known for the inhibiting effect it has on magic within the Divination school of magic, specifically spells that are used for long-distance detection and communication. It is theorised that this is because of the high levels of psionic activity in the area, particularly from Illithid colonies and Beholder lairs. Because this phenomenon inhibits the ability for anyone to find a specific person, the Mindfield has become a hotbed for piracy and other illicit activities. Whilst most would not be brave (or stupid) enough to trek through the entirety of the Mindfield, there is a pirate enclave known as The Rock of Ba'al that can be found in The Tears of Selune on the trailing tip of the Mindfield's crescent. A non-exhaustive list of spells and magical effects that have limited success, do not function as intended or do not function at all are as follows: Sending (including Sending Stones and Speaking Stones) - communication has a chance to fail. Detect Thoughts - may pick up strange background thoughts that give misleading results. Locate Animals or Plants - nonfunctioning Locate Object - nonfunctioning Clairvoyance - nonfunctioning Arcane Eye - limited range, interference beyond 120 feet, non-functioning beyond 300 feet. Locate Creature - nonfunctioning Telepathic Bond - nonfunctioning beyond 120 feet Scrying - nonfunctioning Find the Path - nonfunctioning
Fauna & Flora
The biggest threats within the Mindfield are the Illithids and Beholders that make it their home. There are other threats, such as dragons, murder comets, scavvers, Yggdrasti, hags and swarms of stirges, but none of them pose the same organised threat as these two. Listed below are the most notable of the regions found within the Mindfield, and what you can expect when flying through them.
The Nautiloid DominionHome to a hive of Illithids, the Nautiloid Dominion routinely sends out ships to find new converts to their population. It is one of the more expansive regions of the Mindfield, as the Illithids are always looking to increase the size of their colony - although as they regularly come under attack from roving bands of Githyanki and Githzerai looking to avenge their fallen peoples, their population never really grows out of control. Other threats within the Dominion include Troglodytes, Intellect Devourers, Gricks and Grells.
Fulgur's Hollow - EldingheimA moon-sized domain that consists of an outer shell and various inner floating platforms, Stormheim is home to a reclusive group of storm giants and other giant-kin. The outer shell consists of various plates of rock that generate an electrical field, with constant blasts of lightning shooting between them. This forms a protective shell around the contents of the sphere where a continent-sized plate of rock can be found. The inner continent is home to Storm Giants who have built a citadel known as Stormheim. From this citadel, they defend their domain from outside threats and can often be found engaging in combat with nearby aberrations. They are generally peaceful, but they find the colonising nature of these aberrant species (particularly the mindflayers) to be a threat and so engage in pre-emptive strikes against them. Because of their defensive operations, mortal ships can often pass through their domain peacefully.
The Oculus RiftBeauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the ones living in this region would rather you didn't bother them. They are very much a shoot-first, ask questions never bunch. Whilst the Beholder that claims this region is a solitary creature, it has a number of pets it likes to keep around. These include Nothics, Quagoths, Ropers and lesser Beholder-kin.
Yggdrasti FieldsYggdrasti are ambush predators, and so they hide amongst the forest of dead trees that have come to be known as the Yggdrasti Fields. One of the only ways to tell the difference between an Yggdrasti and a dead tree is by the barnacles that have grown on an yggdrasti during its time flying through wild space and the astral sea. While dead trees can't produce their own air envelope, Yggdrasti can. If you're surrounded by dead trees and can breathe, and Yggdrasti isn't too far behind - but they won't be the only dangerous things around. Other predators are also known to take to the fields, including a group of Ssurans who scavenge the fields for prey.
Haggle RocksA coven of Night Hags have claimed dominion over a region of the Mindfield. Occasionally, the truly desperate seek them out to make a bargain that invariably ends up very one-sided. As the coven is relatively peaceful to those who haven't wronged them, and they look to make bargains with as many marks as possible, they can typically be found bordering the Tears of Selune. When flying through Haggle Rocks, look out for swarms of stirges and the array of carnivorous plants that the hags grow within their enclave.
The Tears of SeluneHome to the pirate settlement of Aster Baal on the Rock of Ba'al, the Tears of Selune is the most friendly of the zones found within the Mindfield as pirates regularly dock within the city and like to keep their approach clear.
For those brave (or stupid) enough, there are veins of many different precious gems and ores to be found throughout the entire Mindfield. It is because of this that many people theorise that the entire asteroid belt is a destroyed planet, although there is little other evidence that would verify this claim. There are also a number of creatures that can be hunted for various arcane and alchemical ingredients, and so high-level hunters and adventurers may attempt to do so. This is extremely risky, but it does come with great reward.