- 1 Hexpanse cosmology
- 2 On reactionless travel
- 3 Stepping stones program
Some form of astronomy existed before the Exodus and as soon as new arrivals got a toehold here, the observations started. Compared to the peculiarities of the surface and the depth of our planet, the skies at first seemed pretty much usual. Two centuries of observations were needed to discover various strange features. An assortment of small moons orbits out planet (which is already uncommon, although not impossible), however, seven of them don't follow the normal rules of planet motion that we know. So called arcane corrections are employed to reliably predict their position in the sky, which is a clear indication that their nature is similar to that of our planet.
Orbits of other planets are also established but so far no arcane corrections were able to describe their trajectories. A significant part in that is played by the unpredictable year length of our own planet, as well as its axis tilt. Luckily, all this does not significantly affect climate, which some explain by this planet being artificial (or divinely granted).
A white-yellow sun is a little bigger and brighter than our ancestors were used to, otherwise there is no significant abnormalities observed. Unfortunately, our understanding of the sun function is rudimentary.
Thirteen moons in total are orbiting our planet, seven of them are tinted with rainbow colors and are named by letters from a forgotten language alphabet. They seem to exhibit features one would expect from a moon (spherical shape, a light-dark region pattern) however their orbits are erratic. Their positions can be predicted by employing arcane corrections, invented in 315 p.e., however there is no explanation as to why they are like that or even why. The rest of the moons are smaller and have uneven shape, however their behavior is almost normal (when the influence of the other 7 is accounted). They were not explicitly named, but the term "Spares" or "Spare Moons" is commonly used.
Five other planets were identified, one is closer to the sun than us and the rest is farther. Not much else is known, apart from their size estimate, as the prolonged observation is difficult.
All five planets seem to have swarms of moons, similar to ours, however no rainbow pattern was noticed. Again, the information is limited do to our inability to track the planets.
On reactionless travel
A brief history of approaches
On teleportation spells and moving targets
An obvious choice of a powerful spellcaster for a long-distance travel is some kind of teleportation spell. However, as our understanding of the arcane expanded, important limitations were identified. A caster with enough rigorous mental discipline or control is able to reliably chose a target only if it is static (relative to the planet, e.g. town, room in a building etc.) or they can intuitively predict the position of it if it's moving (also relative to the planet, such as a horse-drawn cart etc.). Our ability to create much more rapidly moving targets (like the steam train or a dirigible) uncovered our apparent inability to reliably use them as destinations. However, the properly made teleportation circle allows to anchor the destination to a moving frame.
The issue is even worse for cosmic distances. Already in 200-s p.e. there were suggestions to develop a teleportation ritual powerful enough to reach at least our moons. While such endeavor is theoretically possible, the targeting can only be done through a teleportation circle at the destination.
Means of movement
After the Handshake and eventual creating of dedicated research efforts in various fields, the question of space travel occupied the most visionary minds. A number of approaches were proposed throughout the years, some of them not without merit. Some of them are even applied in some of the modern magetech we see appearing, but ultimately they were unable to send a manned object into void.
E-Koks heat engines
A peculiar substance was discovered in some of the caves, which was later identified as magically altered coal. It is extremely useful as a fuel, since it produces magical fire and has other interesting properties. The heat engines we are now employing in applications were other means are prone to interference from the background eldritch emissions are designed for this type of fuel. E-chemical rockets were tested as means of propulsion but were deemed useless.
An unfortunate side effect of the substance is its hallucinogenic and mind altering nature. There is no safe dosage and the lasting consequences of abuse are rather dire. This doesn't stop unsavory elements from using it for such purpose. Naturally, the supply of E-Koks is tightly controlled.
A force flow sail
A common project between few arcane traditions to harness the naturally occurring eldritch emissions as the means of propulsion lead to creation of the force flow sails. While ultimately useless to produce enough lift, they are still very convenient for naval and aerial vessels. However, their reliance on the natural flows limits their utility to a few well-established stationary streams.
An evolution of the force flow sail is a flow repulsor that can actively propel itself by screening the eldritch emissions in one direction. it is and extremely useful tool, as an aerial vehicle prototype equipped with it has shown. However, the experiments have shown that the amount of emissions is rapidly decreasing with the distance to the surface (with some exceptions: flow seems to be higher in mountain ranges) and thus this type of propulsion is not usable for traversing the void between celestial bodies.
E. Task's Abjurant Resonator
The latest development in propulsion methods, Task's Abjurant Resonator repels the space itself thus accelerating in the opposite direction. Despite initial shortcomings, the most recent devices allow to regulate the acceleration and don't cause the fluttering of the vessels equipped with them. Unmanned vehicles based on this technology were successfully launched from the surface and were tracked beyond the moon system until scrying links were effectively lost.
Stepping stones program
Before E. Task, A.D., overtook the project, it was hardly funded and the only achievement of the program was a force flow sail, a random discovery. Dr. Task, who, in addition to being highly successful wizard, made a fortune by creating a process to manufacture protective equipment highly sought after by adventuring parties, used his own fund to expand the program, reaching new heights (both figuratively and literally).
Employing the brightest from each of the arcane traditions, his program provided us with new means of transport as well as expansion of teleportation circle network.
The Perch facility
The Perch, an unusual island found near the western coast of Shiny Sea, exists within a powerful vertical stream of eldritch flow. This provides very good conditions for various flow propulsion experiments as well as significantly increases the reach of the typical means of teleportation. A research facility is built upon the top, mostly funded by E. Task, but officially it is under Arcane Council direct supervision.