Natural and magical engines that drive starfaring ships
Types of Starfaring EnginesStarfaring engines come in two varieties, operational by use of a variety of Helms, which are interfaces that draw upon different kinds of energy to power the motive functions of a ship.
In Shaundar’s opinion, that was the most beautiful part of the magic of starfaring. The bond between the Pilot and the living intelligence of the Starseeds that formed their ships was truly unique. Pilots caught glimpses of infinity through the symbiotic link they shared when they manned a ship’s helm. And a Pilot’s ability to see and sense the Airts that wound through the Void like river currents, guided the ship through space at incredible speeds; much faster than the seeds drifted on their own. The guidance of a Pilot could correct for eddies and current changes that a Starseed drifting alone could not, or even take advantage of faster currents by redirecting the craft on a different course. Shaundar privately suspected this was the real reason the Starseeds consented to being used in such a fashion, though his instructors at Aces High had thought he was being fanciful.Starseeds naturally contain a starfaring engine that is a necessary component of its reproductive cycle. The starfaring engine of a Starseed is an integral part of its structure, and destroying it would require significant damage to the entire Starseed. However, a Starseed has a limited number of interfaces, or Helms , that are restricted by its size and age.
The Pilothouse was even stranger. The helm chair seemed normal enough. It was just a big, overstuffed chair, spiderwebbed with wires connecting it and the Pilot to the spindizzy engine, though it was bigger than Shaundar was used to so as to accommodate an orc’s larger frame.Spindizzy engines are artificially-created starfaring engines that involve the use of rare alchemical ingredients, and meticulous enchantments, in their construction. Unlike a Starseed engine, they are localized within a craft, and it is possible, though difficult, to destroy the engine without necessarily destroying the craft or its helm.
They bounded along in the lesser gravity, following Captain Madrimlian’s lead. They didn’t go far. He led them to another crystal formation—or was this one actually ice?—less than a hundred feet from where Shaundar had set their pinnace down. Shaundar felt the pull of the embedded spindizzies that created earthlike gravitational forces on the base long before he saw anything.Spindizzies can also be used to provide air and gravity by creating an Etheric Membrane and Gravity Wells in areas that do not naturally have earthlike gravity or air pressure. Their most common secondary use is in establishing settlements on smaller bodies, such as asteroids or dwarven mountains. In at least one case a sequence of spindizzies spinning in tandem has been used to propel an asteroid through space like a giant spacecraft. Since a spindizzy also creates an etheric membrane, they have also been used to power high-atmosphere floating cities, or provide breathable air for extreme high altitude mountain settlements.
Gravitational WeaponsGoblins and gnomes occasionally try to adapt the arcanology to build gravitational weapons, but these efforts are usually short-lived. The weapons are often as dangerous to their operators as they are to the enemy. Related Technology: Rail Guns
Space Survival Gear
Shaundar pulled at his regulation belt buckle, where a thin layer of mithril, about the diameter of a Nova coin, coated a sliver of starmetal, pressing it against the buckle’s brass. Dad had been very clear that he must never take it off aboardships, just in case he was knocked overboard and exposed to the open vacuum of the Void.A tiny facsimile of a starfaring engine, generally referred to as a Starmetal Talisman , maintains air, air pressure, and a thin barrier against radiation, for a short while outside of atmospheres and gravity wells. It does not generate enough power to be used for starfaring on its own, however.
Tree of Life (Starseed)
Trees of Life are often so vast they become worlds of their own, and their Starseeds are the ships that made space travel possible.
Airts are the currents of the energies of raw creation, having a special relationship with time, space, gravity & magic.
What happens when you travel faster than the fastest physical thing in the universe? And what effect might that have on space and time?
Gravity wells are a concentration of Airts that coalesce around large celestial bodies and starfaring engines.
Don't forget that you can click on the blue compass on the left to access the Table of Contents at any time!
Want to read all of the Toy Soldier Saga fiction, even before the rest of the world does?Subscribe now!
The Sounds of Starfaring Engines
Tendrils of sinister red light snaked their way out of the death-engine and began to graft themselves to his blood vessels like macabre veins of their own. A low-pitched heartbeat thrumming echoed throughout the ship, only it was a keening funeral dirge instead of the life-affirming thrum of a spindizzy, or the crystal song of a Starseed.Active starfaring engines make different sounds as they travel through space. A Starseed engine sounds a bit like a large crystal bowl, or rubbing a wine glass that has been pitched down to a tenor or baritone octave. The sound made by an operational spindizzy largely depends on the kind of helm used to power and direct it.
Starmetal is a unique material formed by the pressures and atmosphere of space. It is extremely important to starfaring, because it is essential in the construction of spindizzies.
Mithril is a surprisingly lightweight, silver-blue metal that is essential to a variety of technologies, the most important of which is Starfaring Engines.