Celene (Kule)

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Greyhawk Planet
Kule
Planetary Body Type Earth
Size
Rotational Period N/A
Orbital Period
Satellites None
Distance from Primary
Native Inhabitants Drow, illithids
This article is about one of Oerth's moons. For the elven nation, see Celene.

Celene, also called the Handmaiden, the Lesser Moon, or Kule, is the aquamarine-hued satellite of the world of Oerth. It is known as Apocatequil among the Olman and Koxanag among the Touv. From the perspective of Oerth, it is full four times a year, at the equinoxes and solstices. Its companion, Luna, is the Greater Moon, the Mistress to Celene's Handmaiden.

Celene appears the same size from Oerth as does the sun, Liga. During an eclipse, only the corona of the sun is visible.

Topography and climate

Celene has no atmosphere today, but in the distant past it was the home to an unknown, highly civilized, long since vanished race. Ruins of its civilization can still be found by those who use magic to explore the surface: awe-inspiring castles, delicate towers, and enigmatic temples. The builders must have been of roughly human shape and size, though the ruins have been divined to have been constructed several million years before the first humans walked on Oerth. The ruins of seven cities have been discovered, each large enough to hold a hundred thousand souls, but not a single corpse or skeleton has ever been seen.

Celene is tidally locked, so it shows only one side to Oerth at all times. From Oerth, Celene appears a pale aquamarine hue, but from space it is a vivid blue. The side visible from Oerth has a number of craters and ray-lines from meteoric impacts; there is also a dry sea bed in the upper right hand quadrant (known as Celene's Sea of Dust, not to be confused with Oerth's own Sea of Dust). Some of the craters have central mountain peaks or extinct volcanoes. The largest such crater on "Nearside" is in the lower right hand quadrant; it, and the rays emanating from it, take up a full fifth of the visible surface. The largest volcano, Blackcone Mountain, is some 13,000 feet high.

On the opposite side, Celene is absolutely riddled with craters, which have hammered the mountain ranges flat. Whatever ancient cataclysm destroyed the civilization of Celene, the "Farside" bore the brunt of it. Paradoxically, however, the cities on Farside are better preserved than those on Nearside.

Without an atmosphere to moderate it, temperatures on the surface of Celene vary radically from 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) at noon to -85 or less at night.

Underdark

If Celene's surface is lifeless, its Underdark is comparatively thriving, containing caverns filled with water and air. Races familiar to the caverns below Oerth contend here: drow (20,000), kuo-toa (5,000), and illithids (15,000), among other sublunar races of lesser extant. Both the drow and illithids are relative newcomers to Celene, measuring their time on this world in centuries.

Major settlements

Urq'azzt, which means "distant home" in the Drow tongue, is a city built within an extinct volcano on Nearside; the volcano is called Albest'ar or Hole in the Sky. Urq'azzt is the home of all drow on Celene. The drow practice agriculture, illuminating and irrigating their sublunar farms by magic. The ruler of Urq'azzt is the Empress-Priestess Lililth Darkmane.

Sharp Beak is the primary home of Celene's mind flayers, with a population of nearly 10,000. There are several lesser illithid settlements, ranging from more than 1,000 to fewer than 100 individuals. The mind flayers keep herds of slaves for food.

Gates in the World of Greyhawk

Roger E. Moore, in his essay "Gates in the World of Greyhawk," suggests that Celene's Underdark is the location of the "Labyrinth of Arachne" described in the Queen of the Spiders supermodule (pp. 109-110), and that its surface is the "airless world" mentioned in the same book (pp. 126). The fact that the drow of Celene worship Lolth lends support to this.

The Labyrinth of Arachne, a maze of chambers, caverns, and corridors lit by glowing purple fungi, is used by priestesses of Lolth to breed spiders of all kinds. Lolth regularly sends captives into the labyrinth as food for her pets.

Moore suggests in the same essay that "the Dark Labyrinth" from S4, The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (pp. 22-23), is also part of Celene's extensive Underdark, though other possible locations are given. The Dark Labyrinth is a square-walled maze stocked with minotaurs, perhaps by Iggwilv for enigmatic purposes of her own.

Finally, Moore suggests that the Hall of Pentacles described in S4, page 24, be placed in a ruined citadel on Celene's surface (among other possibilities). The hall is dim, seemingly endless, and lined with pillars. The Hall of Pentacles is an eerie, eldritch place in which time itself has become unnaturally stilled.

In Polyhedron #113, Moore wrote an article on Celene incorporating some of his suggestions from "Gates in the World of Greyhawk." He also suggested that Urrq'azzt should have more mutually hostile drow houses and expanded the list of native creatures to include other typical Underdark and dungeon denizens as well.

See also

Bibliography

  • Grubb, Jeff. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space Boxed Set. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1989.
  • Moore, Roger E.. "Gates in the World of Greyhawk." Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995. Originally appeared in TSR's America Online folder, later moved to its website. Available online:[1]
  • -----. Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998.
  • -----. "A World of Your Own: Dark and Alien Places, Part 1." Polyhedron #113. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.

External links