Catching the Currents of the Fickle Phlogiston

You’re curious about the sights and sounds of the Phlogiston, eh? A roiling, churning sea of explosive rainbow guff that’s as treacherous as the Lady of Pain on a bad hair day. Well, reckon it’s like swimmin’ through an artist’s palette gone mad. The whole place is a riot of colour, like someone gave an Abyssal maelstrom a rainbow makeover. Vibrant hues of purples, blues, reds, and greens whirl ’round you in a swirl that’d make a Sensate’s head spin. 

But don’t let those pretty colours fool ya, berk. The Phlogiston’s about as stable as a scorned erinyes, and twice as explosive. Your average spelljammin’ ship will have a special furnace, sealed tighter than the Modron hierarchy, to avoid any sorta spark that’d make the whole cosmos go boom. Y’see, yer traditional flames won’t work here; we’re talkin’ about a place where a single spark could unleash devastation to a wooden ship.

Navigatin’ through it? You think you’re steering through the Phlogiston, but really, it’s the Phlogiston that’s steerin’ you. Y’see, it’s got currents like a river—only they’re unpredictable. Ye gotta ride these currents, knowin’ full well they could change direction quicker than a dabus can rearrange its words. 

Remember, it ain’t like the Astral Plane, where ye just think ’bout where you’re goin’ and end up there. In the Phlogiston, ye need a spelljammer and a steady mind at the helm. Find the currents that’ll lead you to the crystal sphere you’re aimin’ for. But, those currents can be fickle — changeable, and not always leadin’ where they used to. Got a keen memory? Best leave it at the door, ’cause in the Phlogiston, even yesterday’s pathways can be today’s dead ends.

First, ye’ve heard that the crystal spheres bob ’round in the Phlogiston like corks in a tub, eh? Ha! That’s prime jibberish for ya. Nah, y’see, those orbs are anchored. They might rotate like a barmy spinning on his heels, but they ain’t gallivantin’ ’round the multiverse. Them spheres, they’ve got a gravity well that’ll keep ya twined ’round ’em like a lovesick petitioner.

But the flow, cutter, the flow’s a right tempestuous sort. Y’see, it ain’t stationary. The currents are always changin’, which puts the kibosh on thinkin’ ye can float from Realmspace to Greyspace like it’s a jaunt down to the Hive market. For example, once upon a time, Krynnspace and Greyspace were like close-knit neighbours, until that Cataclysm, and, well… now all bets are off. Reckon that turbulent of Krynn’s Cataclysm done threw a spanner in the works. It’s like when a fiendish typhoon rips through Pandemonium; things ain’t gonna be the same for a good long while. The spheres didn’t move; the currents between ’em did.

Ye know, this whole talk reminds me of the River Styx, always changin’ its course, sometimes even within the span of a thought. Don’t suppose the River of Souls could’ve inspired the Phlogiston? Nah, that’s puttin’ the cart before the horse, or in this case, the sphere before the flow.

Some say y’need special maps, drafted by ancient githyanki cartographers or brilliant illithid navigators, to properly traverse the flows. But take it from this old cutter: Even the best map’s just a guess wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in balderdash. It’s like tryin’ to map out Limbo; ye can give it yer best shot, but don’t be surprised when the land laughs in yer face. What you need is a seasoned navigator of the Flow, a blood who can read the currents, taste the flavour of the Phlogiston and sniff out the right course. Why like me, and yes, I am available for hire.

One last bit of advice: While you’re bobbin’ and weavin’ through the phlogiston’s temperamental tides, keep yer peepers peeled for other travellers. Y’might cross paths with eldritch horrors from beyond the spheres, spelljammin’ pirates lookin’ for a quick score, or even a githyanki raiding party seekin’ to reclaim what they reckon’s theirs. And don’t even get me started on the scro, nasty gobbos with a grudge against pretty much everyone. It’s a wild jumble out there, cutter, and Sigil’s dirty cobbles’ll look like paradise once yer through.

So there ya have it. A primer on the Phlogiston that’s as close to the dark as yer likely to get without bein’ there yerself. But why settle for me yammerin’? Go on, get yerself a spelljammer and dive into that multicoloured madness. Just remember: if ye think you’ve got the Phlogiston figured out, that’s when it’ll prove you dead wrong.

Source: Jon Winter-Holt,

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