Spherical, 2000 mile diameter
Rotational Period: 24 hours
Arabelle orbits inside of Bral, completing its orbit in almost exactly half the time that Bral does. This means that during any given year, Arabelle will pass through both its closest and furthest approaches to Bral. When discussing Arabelle, locals talk about the “close” and “far” seasons, where the word “season” refers to the distance between the two bodies, and not about the actual climatic seasons of Arabelle.
Arabelle is a world of salty marshes and lagoons. It does not have mountains, but does have hills. The entire surface is covered in a blanket of mist which badly restricts visibility, both from space and on the ground. Arabelle has no proper oceans, or even seas. Instead the entire planet is wet and muddy.
Visitors to Arabelle quickly discover just how dangerous the mists can be. They restrict visibility anywhere from 10 to 300 feet, changing from day to day, and sometimes hour to hour. People who explore too far from their ship may not be able to find it again. Some nights the stars are visible, especially if you are up in the hills, but on many nights they are not, badly complicating attempts at navigation. Sudden changes in visibility conditions have probably led to more fatalities on Arabelle than any other cause.
A longer term hazard is the salt. Salt defines the entire ecosystem. The water is salty, the plants are salty, and fresh water bodies simply don’t exist. Even the mists themselves carry a surprising amount of salt. The salinity has defeated all attempts at agriculture.
Due to the difficulties posed by the salt and the fog, no serious attempt to map Arabelle has been made. This lends the planet a certain air of mystery and romance, being so close to Bral but still effectively unexplored. That being said, hundreds of ships have landed at Arabelle, and none of them have reported anything but more swamps. Still, this doesn’t stop the occasional explorer from taking a trip into the mists, hoping to be the person that makes the Big Find, whatever that may be.
Flora and Fauna:
Much of Arabelle’s biomass consists of fleshy seaweed-like plants that float in the lagoons and shallow marshes. Arabelle also has several types of grass, a few dozen flowering plants, and a few stunted, willow-like trees. Arabelle does not have any animal life to speak of, but has many grubs, flies, worms, and other bugs.
Emperor Wing: A common butterfly that sports gold wings, flecked with red green and purple, and bordered in jet black. They travel in flocks, draining the local flowers of their nectar and then moving on.
Nine-Toes: A fist-sized arthropod that looks like a crab, but with a scorpion’s tail attached at the back. This territorial creature is the largest fauna on Arabelle. It spends most of its time burrowing into the mud and searching for grubs and worms to eat. If you accidentally step on a buried nine-toes, you may quickly learn where it gets its name from.
The nine-toes is something of mystery. Its armor and stinging tail are useless against the small, harmless creatures that it hunts. They only ever seem to be employed against other nine-toes to settle territorial disputes. Some sages are incredulous that the creature evolved these weapons just to fight each other, and insist that the nine-toes must have been created or introduced by an outside agency. The problem with this theory is that the nine-toes have been present on Arabelle since the planet was first discovered, meaning that its existence predates the discovery of Spelljamming.
Tama Root: Sometimes called “sweet root” or even “tama sweet root,” this plant has a tiny, leafy stem that protrudes from the surface, and a large fleshy root buried in the ground. The root contains fresh water that has been carefully filtered and hoarded by the plant. Tama root is the only semi-reliable source of drinkable water on the entire planet.
The water itself is thick and sweet, and can be made into a syrup. The root, even when squeezed dry, retains a sweet flavor and can be made into a chewy candy.
Pema Leaf: This short stalk plant boasts large, thick leaves. The leaves can be snapped open, and the sap inside is a very effective disinfectant. Pema sap keeps well if bottled and kept away from strong light, and vials of the stuff are in demand from healers and apothecaries. The leaves themselves can be eaten, but they offer minimal nutrition and have a displeasing chemical taste.
Agriculture on Arabelle:
Most of the plants on Arabelle are briny and inedible. The few freshwater plants compete viciously with each other for resources and seek to maximize their distance from each other. Gathered from the wild, one can typically find 2-3 days worth of food and fresh water per square mile. The crop plants of Arabelle do not do well when placed into dense farm plots, requiring any farm to span a very large area to be useful. No one has found a way to run a long term, sustainable farming operation on Arabelle. The farmers always need large amounts of food and fresh water imported to keep up with demand, and as a result, permanent farms are not profitable.
Many people hope to be the first person to solve the problem. Such a person could literally become a king. Hopeful farmers have tried various planting and irrigation schemes, and have tried importing all manner of plants, including exotic extra-planar species. The newest trend is challo, a recently discovered food crop originating from Greatspace that is said to be so hardy that it can grow anywhere. So far, challo hasn’t lived up to this reputation, and Arabelle has defeated the challo farmers with the same calm indifference with which it has defeated all previous invaders.
There are no permanent residents of Arabelle. If a prospective farmer stays for longer than a year, it’s because he got lost in the mists and died.
Kalmar Kay is the owner of Bralspace Confectionary Supplies, more commonly known as The Confectionary. Candied tama root has always been a big seller in Bral during the close seasons, but Kay was the first person to make it into an industry. Every year he sends several dozen ships loaded with workers. Each ship lands in a different location on Arabelle and the laborers fan out and clear an area several miles across. The scale of his operation made him the single largest dealer of tama root overnight, and he has since expanded his business horizontally to include flour, sugar, chocolate, dried fruits, and other supplies that his customers are likely to want.
As a side effect, he also harvests a significant amount of pema leaf. While known for its sweets, The Confectionary is also a competent supplier of medical herbs. You will get a better selection at a real apothecary, but no one has better deals on pema leaf sap than Kalmar Kay.
There is a dark side to the business. The key to Kalmar’s success is cheap labor. Except for the managers, his work crews mostly consist of transients, debtors, and prisoners. These are people who have very few prospects and are willing to work under almost any condition. Exploring the surface of Arabelle is extremely dangerous. The workers are given horns to help them locate each other, but not a single year goes by in which The Confectionary leaves several laborers behind on Arabelle. People who have done the work before describe horrible, slave-like conditions. Very few people sign up to do a second harvest if they have a choice.
Kay regularly purchases the debts of prisoners and uses them as indentured labor. Critics have suggested that his relationship with the Magistrate is a little too cozy, and that the two might have engineered a deliberate human pipeline that flows from the streets to the prisons to Confectionary ships. Supporters point out that these people would likely have just languished in prison. They dismiss accusations that the Magistrate’s arrest policies might be shaped in part by the revenue stream coming from Kay’s business.
Arabelle is a magnet for conspiracy theories. The unexplored mists and the tantalizing promise of untold wealth if a habitable region can found is a heady combination. The most recent rumor is that Arabelle used to be the home of a great civilization, and that its ruins are still there, waiting to be found. These kinds of stories have been spread before, with people pointing to the existence of the nine-toes as evidence of something other than nature being at work on the misty planet.
However, this time around, the rumors are much more intense. A popular adventure novel details a band of adventurers that become trapped on a world that bears more than passing resemblance to Arabelle. The heroes eventually discover the ruins of a previous civilization. Within the ruins, they discover several powerful artifacts that they use to defeat the villainous pirates that were pursuing them. It sounds like hogwash, but the strange thing is that most of the novel refers to events that are true and are a matter of public record. A small band of adventurers really did get attacked by pirates, really did crash land on Arabelle, and really did defeat the pirates against seemingly impossible odds. The adventurers claim it was just tactics and cunning, but maybe they’re just trying to keep their discovery a secret so they can come back and claim the rest of the treasures for themselves.