Spacejammer Characters

By Lindharin
(Lindharin@Telluri.com)

Version 0.9

10/28/00

Table of Contents

Introduction

Races

Classes

Skills Points

New Skills

Feats

Equipment

Magic

Ship Crew

Notes and Bibliography

 

 

Introduction

This is the second document in a series of conversion notes and house rules. It makes references to concepts introduced in the other documents, so I recommend you read them in order. The entire series is available at my web site.

This document represents two major changes to the standard Spelljammer rules. First, it includes a number of conceptual changes to the Spelljammer setting, with house rules affecting a number of small but significant elements of the game. Second, it is a conversion of that modified setting to the new D&D "3rd edition". While I considered splitting these into two separate documents, one for changes to the setting in 2e and another to convert to 3e, I ultimately decided that was going to be too much work. For those who intend to use Spelljammer with its original 2nd edition AD&D rules, there may still be some conceptual ideas and house rules in this document that you may find interesting, but some of them will need to be backwards-converted to 2e.

This document also contains a LOT of ideas that are not my own. I've been influenced by several members of the Spelljammer-L mailing list and various web page authors, which I've listed in the Notes and Bibliography section.

Definition of Game Mechanic Terms

Term

Abbrev.

Definition

Spacejam, Spacejammer, Spacejamming

SJ

These terms refer to travel through space, and have no implication for the nature of propulsion being used. More specific terms do have specific connotations, where lifejammer vessels make use of lifejamming helms, spelljammer vessels make use of spelljamming helms, etc.

Normal Scale

NS

This is a term to differentiate between Ship Scale and Normal Scale combat. Normal Scale combat uses hit points, armor class, melee weapons, 6 second rounds, and the normal 3e rules.

Ship Scale

SS

This is a term used to differentiate between Normal Scale and Ship Scale combat. Ship Scale combat uses Structure Points, Hardness Ratings, Evasion Ratings, heavy weapons, one minute turns, and my other modified rules for ship-to-ship combat.

Round

--

A round is a standard 3e six second round.

Turn

--

A turn is one minute, or 10 rounds in 3e.

Hex

--

A hex is 500 yards, the same as a 2e SJ hex.

Tactical SJ Speed

--

A vessel moving at tactical speeds will cover one or more hexes per turn, based on its Speed Rating.

Full SJ Speed

--

A vessel moving at full SJ speed is moving at approximately 100 million miles per day in a straight line.

Speed Rating

SR

A ship's Speed Rating is the number of hexes it can travel per turn (10 rounds).

Maneuver Rating

MR

A ship's Maneuver Rating represents how quickly, easily and accurately a vessel can turn.

Evasion Rating

ER

This is the ship scale version of armor class. It represents size, design and maneuverability. Unlike AC, it does not represent armor or materials used in the vessels construction.

Hardness Rating

HR

This is my implementation of the 3e Hardness concept in the ship scale system.

Structure Points

SP

This is my equivalent of Hull Points. I changed it to Structure Points both because it is a more accurate term, and the abbreviation won't be confused with Hit Points.

Spacejammer Tonnage

Ton

An SJ Ton is a measure of size and volume, not mass or weight. An SJ ton is 100 cubic yards, or 2,700 cubic feet.

Races

Most of the standard D&D races remain the same in a Spacejammer setting. However, many worlds from both canon WotC/TSR products and homegrown campaigns will have "house rules" or modified abilities. Generally speaking, all such characters should keep their native abilities when they migrate into Wildspace. For example, an unaging elf from Birthright doesn't suddenly grow feeble with age just because he leaves his native world.

However, the DM is always allowed and encouraged to say that any given world and its inhabitants are not among the Known Spheres in his SJ setting, and that characters from those worlds are not allowed in his campaign, if the rules for that world would conflict with his interpretation of the Spacejammer setting.

Races and sub-races that are specific to the Spacejammer setting are detailed below.

Lizard Folk

???

Giff

???

Classes

Barbarian

 

Bard

To make up for the preparation spellcasters getting cantrips/orisons dynamically, bards get a bonus to the number of spells known per spell level. Use the Bonus Spells chart but base it off of Intelligence (not Charisma).

Cleric

Clerics can cast orisons dynamically, without preparation, as per a sorcerer.

Druid

Druids can cast orisons dynamically, without preparation, as per a sorcerer.

Fighter

 

Monk

 

Paladin

 

Ranger

Rangers do not automatically get the Ambidexterity and Two Weapon Fighting feats. Instead, rangers get one bonus feat at level 1, and another bonus feat at level 2. The bonus feats must be taken from the following list: Alertness, Ambidexterity, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Toughness, or Two Weapon Fighting.

Rogue

 

Sorcerer

To make up for the preparation spellcasters getting cantrips/orisons dynamically, sorcerers get a bonus to the number of spells known per spell level. Use the Bonus Spells chart but base it off of Intelligence (not Charisma).

Wizard

Wizards can cast cantrips dynamically, without preparation, as per a sorcerer. The number of cantrips a wizard gets is increased to be in line with the Cleric/Druid:

Level

0 Level Spells Per Day

1

3

2

4

3

4

4

5

5

5

6

5

7+

6

 

Skills Points

Childhood Bonus Skills

Every character at 1st level gets 4 extra bonus skill points that must be spent buying skills that are appropriate to his childhood (pre-apprenticeship age). Regardless of class skill lists, these points always buy 1 rank of a skill per 1 point spent.

Universal Class Skills

All characters can include the following skills as Class Skills, regardless of their class:

Climb, Craft, Jump, Profession, Spot, Swim

New Skills

Craft [SJ Shipwright] (Int; Trained Only)

This skill is used to design, build, modify and repair spacejammer vessels. For rules regarding designing and/or building a ship, see my Ship Construction system/conversion (available at my web site).

Check: As per the normal Craft rules.

Retry: As per the normal Craft rules.

Special: As per the normal Craft rules.

 

Knowledge [Planetology] (Int; Trained Only)

This skill provides a detailed knowledge of celestial bodies, celestial phenomena, elemental environments, crystal spheres, etc.

 

Knowledge [Wildspace] (Int; Trained Only)

This skill provides the character with an in-depth, if academic, knowledge of Wildspace, the creatures, plants, and general cosmology. It is the space-faring equivalent of Knowledge [Nature].

 

Profession [SJ Navigator] (Int; Trained Only)

The ship's navigator is responsible for plotting courses through Wildspace and the Phlogiston, identifying and tracking the ship's location, and identifying celestial bodies and wildspace phenomena. The navigator's many responsibilities make him one of the most important members of the crew.

This skill includes the use of a wide range of mundane and magical navigation instruments and charts. It also includes the ability to develop your own charts, although it is a slow and difficult process.

Check: A Navigation check is made whenever setting a course in wildspace or the Phlogiston.

Task

DC

Plot a course to a major celestial body

12*

Plot a course to a minor celestial body

15*

Determine your exact location in wildspace

15*

Plot a course to a specific spot in wildspace

20*

Create accurate charts

25

Plot a course to a known sphere through the Phlogiston

20

Plot a course to an unfamiliar sphere through the Phlogiston

30

* Tasks with an asterisk next to the DC assume you have both navigation instruments and accurate charts for the Sphere. If not, add +5 to the DC if either one is missing, or +10 if both are unavailable.

Navigation rolls should be made by the DM; a character should not know whether he failed or succeeded.

Plotting a course assumes you correctly know your current location. If you do not know your location, determining it must be completed first. If that location roll is failed, the amount it is failed by is the best result possible for the course check. For example, if you fail your roll to locate your current position by 4 points, you cannot do any better than failing by four points on the course check. And if the course check is failed, lengthen the journey by 10% per point the skill check is below the DC.

Note that simple deviations from your course at tactical speeds are relatively negligible on the scale of a Crystal Sphere and can be safely ignored. However, the rapid and extensive course changes that are required in combat situations mean you always need to redetermine your location after the fight in order to get back on the correct heading. You don't need to actually reroll the course though, since the original course is still valid, but you do need to find your exact bearings again. On the other hand, if the vessel ever accelerates to full spacejamming speed on the wrong course (eg, when retreating from battle without making sure you are on the right heading first), then both position and course will need to be recomputed.

Retry: Navigation rolls can be retried as often as desired. However, since you cannot know which rolls are successes and which are failures, it has limited benefit. Nonetheless, most navigators will take readings on their position many times per day throughout a journey. The DM is encouraged to treat this as a wimpy version of Take 20: instead of giving an automatic 20, because they won't know which "one" of the rolls was the 20 and might instead settle on a less-good course, just treat it as a single roll of 1d10+10. After all, the frequent double checking should find any stupid errors, and multiple readings of your location are likely to at least narrow in on the correct location, so the overall result is unlikely to be really bad, but you might accidentally ignore the 20 and go for the roll that was 12 or 15. The 1d10+10 shortcut also gives some benefit to someone who might otherwise just Take 10 and do the calculations once. Let them keep busy on the trip and in exchange give them some extra successes over the normal take 10.

Special: Most uses of this skill take 5 minutes (50 rounds, or 5 ship turns). For each -1 you accept on your check, you may reduce that by 3 rounds. Naturally, creating charts is a long-term endeavor that takes much longer.

Magical navigation instruments, such as Planetary Locators, provide a +5 bonus when they are applicable. For example, a Planetary Locator will help when locating your current position and plotting a course to major celestial bodies, as well as plotting courses to any minor celestial bodies that have a beacon or that have been manually entered, but do not help in other navigation tasks.

Profession [SJ Pilot] (Wis; Trained Only)

While anyone can use a helm for basic maneuvering of a ship, a trained pilot has access to a variety of special maneuvers that can enhance a ship's performance and fighting capability.

Check: A check is made each round or whenever the helmsman wishes to perform a special maneuver. Only one maneuver can be attempted per round, and the helmsman cannot have performed any personal actions that round.

Maneuver

Type

DC

Result if Failed

Result if Successful

Standard

None

--

--

--

Steady Attack

Attack

10

-2 ER

+2 Missile Attacks, -2 ER

Partial Evasive

Defend

10

-2 Missile Attacks

+2 ER, -2 Missile Attacks

Full Evasive

Defend

15

+2 ER, -4 Missile Attacks

+4 ER, -4 Missile Attacks

Ram

Ram

varies

-2 Missile Attacks, -2 ER

-2 Missile Attacks, -2 ER

Evade Ram

Defend

10

-2 Missile Attacks

Add Pilot skill to ER for avoiding a ram,
-2 Missile Attacks

Retry: A failed skill check results in the penalties specified above. The same maneuver, or a different maneuver, can be attempted next round.

Special: The helmsman's skill is penalized by the vessel's MR modifier (0 for MR A through -5 for MR F). The helmsman can get a bonus to his skill if he is working in cooperation with his sailors. If he selects a maneuver of the same type that the sailors are prepared for this turn, he may get a +2. If he chooses a different type of maneuver, he might get a -2.

Profession [SJ Sailor] (Wis; Trained Only)

This skill is one of the most important for a well-run ship. Its primary impact is on the vessel's maneuverability and the helmsman's piloting.

Check: Each turn the Captain (or Sailmaster) orders the sailors to position the rigging for a specific type of maneuver: Attack, Ram, or Defend. That stance lasts for the entire turn.

A check can be made each round. Take the average skill bonus for all of the sailors, and roll against a DC 10 (you cannot take 10). If successful, the helmsman gets a +2 on his maneuver this round, otherwise the helmsman gets a +0.

However, this only applies if the helmsman is using the same type of maneuver (see above). If the helmsman is using a different type of maneuver (an attack maneuver when the sailor's are set for defense), then the helmsman suffers a -2 on top of the result of this skill, so either a -2 if this skill failed or a 0 if it succeeded.

Retry: This check is retried each round.

Special: For every two ranks in this skill (round down), you have a minimum effective bonus of +1 in Balance, Climb and Use Rope. However, this bonus does not stack with any ranks you have in those skills, so you just use the better. It does stack with the attribute bonus or other bonuses, though.

 

Wildspace Lore (Wis; Trained Only*)

This is equivalent to Wilderness Lore but applies to Wildspace and the Phlogiston. It is used to understand the practical (rather than academic) aspects of how wildspace physics work, what creatures live there, how to check for fouled air, etc. It can be used to hunt for game, recognize environmental dangers and natural hazards, and avoid known trouble spots.

Check:

DC

Task

15

Spend 2d6 days (-1 per extra success, minimum of 1) to locate enough water to refill your ship stores (enough for a few months with max crew?). This assumes you are in deep space and not near an obvious, large water body. If you know (or guess) where water is, don't bother rolling.

15

Recognize potentially dangerous natural hazards. The DM can increase or decrease the DC depending on how rare or common this type of hazard is (15 is for uncommon but occasionally discussed, 25 for unique, 10 for common, etc.).

20

Spend 12 hours (-1 per extra success) to locate game, enough to feed up to (3 men times your skill check's total) for one day, or as many for 2 days, etc.

Varies

Identify creatures native to wildspace: DC 10 for common, 12 for uncommon, 15 for rare-but-talked-about, 20 for rare-and-not-talked-about, 25 for very rare.

Retry: When foraging for food you get one roll per day. For water, yet can retry after spending the 2d6 days. To avoid natural hazards, you get one check per situation.

Special: This skill cannot be used untrained by groundlings. However, any character who has spent at least 5 years (minus one year per point of Wisdom bonus, minimum of one) in Wildspace can use it untrained.

Feats

Exotic Weapon Proficiency [General]

You may choose one exotic SJ weapon to be proficient with. Sample exotic weapons in SJ typically include: Firearms, Bombards, and Greek Fire Projectors.

Prerequisite: Base attack bonus of +1 or higher.

Benefit: You make attack rolls with the weapon normally, and are able to maintain the weapon in good working order.

Normal: A character who uses a weapon without being proficient suffers a -4 on attack rolls. Only one member of a ship scale weapon's crew needs to be proficient to avoid this penalty.

Special: You can gain this feat multiple times, each time choosing a different weapon. Some DMs may decide that either or both of the Bombard and the Greek Fire Projectors are common enough in their game to count as standard Shipboard Weapons instead of exotic weapons.

 

Fast Loader [General]

You can speed up the process of reloading a siege weapon.

Prerequisite: Shipboard Weapon Proficiency

Benefit: If you are supervising the loading of a siege weapon, you can reduce the reload time by one round. Only one weapon crew member needs to have this feat, and there is no additional benefit if more than one crew member has it. The minimum reload time is still 1 full action.

 

Shipboard Weapon Proficiency [General]

You are proficient at using the standard Ship Scale weapons, which includes the Ballista, Catapult, Jettison, and Gnomish Sweeper.

Note: Bombards and Greek Fire Projectors count as exotic weapons and require their own proficiency feat. However, some DMs may decide that either or both of these weapons are common enough in his game that they can be included in the general Shipboard Weapon Proficiency.

Benefit: You make attack rolls with the weapon normally, and are able to maintain these weapons in good working order.

Normal: A ship scale weapon used by a crew that does not have at least one proficient character suffers a -4 on attack rolls. It only takes one proficient user in that weapon's crew to negate this penalty.

 

Wildspace Familiarity [General]

You are very familiar with travel through Wildspace and the Phlogiston. You know how to handle yourself in zero-gravity, and are something of a jack-of-all-trades in space. You can puzzle out a basic course to reach a destination, act as an emergency helmsman, adjust the rigging, and generally contribute to any ship's crew.

Benefit: You can use the following skills untrained: Profession [SJ Navigator], Profession [SJ Pilot], Profession [SJ Sailor] and Wildspace Lore. However, you still have zero ranks until you acquire the skills normally, and still count as being untrained if that distinction is relevant.

In addition, you suffer no attack, skill check or initiative penalties when fighting in zero-gravity. You still lose your dexterity bonus to Reflex saves and your dodge bonus to AC unless you have the ability to fly.

Normal: The skills listed above normally cannot be used untrained. There is a -2 circumstance penalty to all attack and skill checks when weightless, a -10 penalty to initiative, and you lose any dodge bonus to AC or Dexterity bonus to Reflex saves unless you have the ability to move (eg, flight).

Equipment

Exotic Weapons

 

Cost

Damage

Critical

Range Inc.

Weight

Type

Firearms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pistol, Wheel Lock

700 gp

1d10

20 / x2

50'

3 lb.

P

Arquebus, Matchlock

500 gp

1d12

20 / x2

75'

10 lb.

P

Smokepowder, per charge

30 gp ea.

 

 

 

 

 

Firearms:

These weapons make use of magical smokepowder. In addition to be rare, and expensive, smokepowder is known to be inert in some Spheres while working fine in others. However, there are a number of reasons why firearms still are slowly becoming popular.

Within 30', firearms count as ranged touch attacks that ignore armor, shield, and natural armor bonuses.

Any time a firearm rolls an 8, 10, or 12 for damage, another damage die is added (keep going until another number is rolled).

However, if the attack die roll is a natural 1, it misfires. Roll a 1d20, and on another natural 1, the weapon backfires and the user takes the damage, otherwise the weapon just fails to fire. Either way, the weapon is fouled and cannot be used until it is cleaned, which takes 2d10 rounds.

Magic

Cantrips and Orisons

Cantrips and Orisons do not need to be prepared by any spellcasting character. Every class can cast them dynamically, as per a Sorcerer or Bard.

Cantrips and Orisons are not drained by spelljamming helms.

 

Ship Crew

Ships crews are rated according to their relative experience: Green, Average, Trained, and Crack. The crew's rating is determined by the number of folks handling the rigging and weapons who have the appropriate proficiencies, and how long they have worked together.

A. Green: The majority of crew members have no experience at all. The average of the riggers' Sailor skill (rounded down) is 0. There is not at least one weaponeer per weapon who is proficient. The ship counts as having one level less of rigging (so Minimal behaves as None, Standard as Minimal, and Topped-Out as Standard). The weapons all suffer a -4 on attack rolls due to nonproficiency. The ship's initiative roll has a -6 penalty.

B. Average: The majority of crew members have some experience. The average of the rigger's Sailor skill (rounded down) is 1-3. There is at least one weaponeer per weapon who is proficient. The ship can make full use of its rigging and weapons. The ship's initiative still suffers a -4 penalty though.

C. Trained: As per Average, except the average Sailor skill is 4+, there are at least two proficient weaponeers per weapon. The ship's initiative is at a -2.

D. Crack: As per Trained, plus the crew has sailed together aboard the same vessel for at least 3 months. The ship's initiative is unmodified.

Notes and Bibliography

The above document contains WotC/TSR trademarked material, as well as paraphrased copyrighted material. This use should not be construed as a challenge to that status.

Bibliography

TSR / Wizards of the Coast

The core rules and setting for the Spelljammer game were produced by TSR in the early 1990s. TSR was subsequently bought by Wizards of the Coast. All Spelljammer intellectual properties are copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast.

Similarly, AD&D 2nd Edition (which is referred to as 2e) and D&D (referred to as 3rd edition or 3e) are also copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast.

Spelljammer-L Mailing List (SJML)

The Spelljammer-L mailing list is one major source for ideas and online community within the Spelljammer game. A number of ideas in this document are based on discussions from the mailing list. For more information, check out the Official Spelljammer web page.

URL: http://www.darkwood.cx/rpg/compendium/

Eric Thornber

Some of the ship combat rules and descriptive text, and a few skill ideas, were taken from Eric's conversion rules for D&D, which are available at his web site.

URL: http://www.pave-france.org/~didymus/sj/

Leroy Van Camp

The ship design ideas are strongly based upon Leroy's "Spelljammer Ship System", which is available at his web page, the Tarkas Brain Lab IV. Other miscellaneous ideas from Leroy include some of the skills and ship combat modifications, but they came from his posts on the SJML and private emails.

URL: http://www.users.qwest.net/~malacoda/TarkasBrainLabIV.html