Campaign of the Month: April 2011
The astrolabe is a large, fixed device used to display the location of celestial bodies of Class A and larger in a 5 feet radius projection. It must be used within a crystal sphere and starlight conditions (or a dark room) where no bright lights can disturb the projection, even light from candle that is brought into the projection will cause the projection to fade till the candle is removed from the area. The projection creates a to scale three-dimensional picture of the crystal sphere that shows the orbital path and the current location of every large or major celestial body in the crystal sphere.
The points of varying colors of light that starscape creates shows the motions and the colors of all planets, moons, suns, asteroids, comets, etc. (some anomalies cannot be penetrated, however). A small blue sparkling pinpoint of light that blinks once every second shows the relative position of the starscape spell with respect to its position in the crystal sphere. The item is often used in navigation rooms to check course changes and to verify headings.
The astrolabe always operates, and cannot be turned off. Merely bringing a light source into its room, however, is enough to nullify the faint picture it presents. Thus conferences and meetings can be held in a room containing an astrolabe without the attendees realizing one is present.
Caster Level: 3rd; Prerequisite: Craft Wondrous Item, starscape; Market Price: 12,000 gp; Weight: 10 lbs.
Primarily made by the Mercane, athough there are other sources. The Elven Imperial Navy makes their own, but these are normally only available to EIN and Sidiath Line ships.