Grinder

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Greyhawk Planet
The Grinder
Planetary Body Type Earth
Size Various (asteroid field)
Rotational Period
Orbital Period
Satellites
Distance from Primary 200,000,000 miles
Native Inhabitants

The Grinder is a dense asteroid field that orbits the Oerth between the path of the Sun and the gas giant Edill, about 200 million miles from Oerth. Oerth's planetary system is known as Greyspace.

Physical features

The millions of chunks of rock that make up the Grinder form the shape of an enormous hollow sphere that completely shields the inner planets from every direction, though the stars and planets beyond are still very visible from within. The average Grinder object is less than 100 yards across. There are about 100,000 asteroids more than a mile across, and no more than 200 that are between 10 and 200 miles in diameter. The asteroids of the Grinder do not get bigger than this.

Most of the rocks in the Grinder slam into one another constantly; the 200 largest ones happen to have orbits that prevent them from hitting each other.

Named asteroids

None of the settlements of the Grinder are self-sufficient; all depend on the Oerth and other inhabited worlds for food.

  • Ceres, also called "the Pup," is the largest asteroid in the Grinder. It is shaped roughly like a kidney, with a ten-mile wide circular lake in the "saddle." The settlement of Ceres Freeport is built along the shores of this lake, encompassing about 50 buildings and 250 people, including two of the enigmatic, androgynous reigar. Most are human, with about a quarter of them various kinds of demihumans and about two dozen of the hippopotamus-like giff, who run a hall for hiring mercenaries. The ruler of Ceres is known as the Harbormaster. The Harbormaster is selected in a general election by every permanent resident over the age of majority every three years. His job is to ensure that business runs smoothly, but he is generally very hands-off. The current Harbormaster of Ceres is Carryl Landis.
  • Khadazah, also called "Motherlode," is another large asteroid colonized by dwarven miners whose citadel orbits around the asteroid proper. Khadazah is a major source of zinc, copper, and lead, and there are rumors about gold and mithril. Motherlode is ruled by the chief executive of its mining operation, Master Miner Bron Stoneheart.
  • Lassh'tz Zst'q, a Lizardfolk term meaning "We are here," is more commonly known simply as Swamp by the people of Oerth. It is an unusually warm asteroid with a thick, humid atmosphere, covered in shallow, stagnant lakes and ponds. Its inhabitants are all lizardfolk.
  • Skullbringer is an illithid colony. The mind flayers of Skullbringer have shown no overt hostile intent, seeming content to trade with other asteroid settlements.
  • Reaper, also called "the Graveyard" and "Charnelhouse," is inhabited entirely by the undead. The human inhabitants of Reaper died some time ago when the asteroid hit another rock, but for some reason they still exist in a terrible half-alive state. The reason for this is unclear.
  • The Rock of Bral is said to be located in the Grinder, if it is placed in Greyspace (which is considered optional). The Rock of Bral was a pirate haven only 100 years ago, but it is now a thriving trade city.

Inhabitants

Virtually every race in the known spheres has some presence in the Grinder. Some trade with or work for other races, while others have settlements of their own.

Horgs

The horgs are a mysterious race that seem to be perfectly adapted to the Grinder. They are seven-foot-tall humanoids with a twelve-foot span of membranous wings. Each wing is tipped with a sharp, scimitar-like claw. A horg has seven eyes arranged in a ring around its head, and a circular mouth on the top. They are a dusty black color, their hides revealing no overt gender. Except for the dry rustling of their wings, they are completely silent. They can survive and fly in a vacuum, flapping their wings even where the lack of air makes this unnecessary. Their teeth and talons are deadly poison, and they have the ability to phase in and out of the Ethereal Plane. When they die, their bodies vanish into an unknown plane of existence.

History

Some sages believe the Grinder was once a planet destroyed in some cosmic catastrophe, or a planet that formed improperly. The sage Marzaria of Chendyl in Furyondy has calculated, however, that such a hypothetical planet would have had to be 500,000 miles in diameter, far larger by an order of magnitude than even the sun. She has concluded that therefore it is more likely that the Grinder was created in its present state. Following her work, other sages have speculated that the gods made the Grinder in order to help defend the Oerth against invasion from outside.

Bibliography

  • Grubb, Jeff. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space Boxed Set. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1989.