Spelljammer Spell Jammer speed

So I want to run a spell jammer game. I had to ask, "How fast can these things go?"
and I have some issues with the answer.

The slowest is 25ft per round the fastest is 70ft per round... this seams slow, BUT then you get a 'hyper jump' as long as you are not "close to something with gravity and air pocket"

WAIT... what is close? I mean is a vehicle going 70ft per round being chased by one that goes 25ft per round going to force that 70ft one not be able to 'jump to hyper speed'? and if so for how long? every round the faster gains 40ft so over a minute that will give (assuming same starting point) a 400ft distance... over an hour that is 24,000ft. is being within 24,000ft count as 'close'?

over a day of running (assuming they had same starting point) that 70ft spell jammer will have 576,000ft distance.

to put this in perspective to get from earth to the moon is about 1 1/4 BILLION feet.


so lets say that you have to be a billion feet (most of the distance from earth to moon) in order to make that jump, lets see how long it would take to get a billion ft from each other... 1,736 days!!

okay, so lets also remember that if that 70ft spell jammer takes off and go to separate from the planet to get to that speed... lets see what happens, how far can 70ft move get you in a day? 70ft per 6 seconds means 700ft per minute that means 42,000ft per hour or 1,008,000ft per day... 5280ft in a mile so about 190 miles... lets call that 200 miles. 238,900 miles to the moon so that is about 1,194.5 days to get to the moon.

but we have air issues... you have 120 days of good air, and 120 days of foul air before you get to deadly air. So I assume the game is SUPPOSED to assume that most trips will be 120 days or less.

so at 70ft how far can you make it in 120days? 24,000 miles.... so you HAVE to be able to go faster inside the earth to the moon because at 24,000 miles it take 12 days (remember I rounded up to 200 for fastest spell jammer) so at least if that is 'close' you end up with 24 days just to get to and that far past moon. now if we say the moon and planet are in such a way that you can head 'Away from moon' and that cuts the distance in 1/2 that would be 12 days (on the fastestest ship)


now I know it says 'DMs call' but my players and I are going to have to figure this out. So how are YOU handling speed?
 

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FitzTheRuke

Legend
I went through a bit of this in another thread. Under the "Spelljamming Helm" (as a magic item), it lists the distance you need to be away as 1 mile and the size of the object as 1 ton or more. (I know. Weird place to put that info and not under "how spelljamming works/speed".)

I first started thinking about it when I wanted to know how long it took between leaving the surface of a planet and being able to "warp out". Effectively, "1 mile" is NOT off the planet, but if you're stuck at 3 miles an hour, it ought to take 2 days or so to leave a planet.

They like to keep it simple, but I have chosen to assume that speeds "between" 3 miles an hour and 4 million miles an hour exist (so that you can fly from a planet to its moon while being able to see both, and without it taking days and days or firing at it like a bullet.

Just think of it like this: At maneuvering speed (for tactical combat or negotiating a debris field) the ships "sail" at roughly sailing speeds. For "warp drive" travel, they go 100 million miles a day. In between is whatever you like (I'd say something like the ship's speed x10 thousand miles an hour. Or about 5 hours for a trip from the "earth" to the "moon" for a ship with a 50 ft. speed.)

Or whatever you prefer.
 

I went through a bit of this in another thread. Under the "Spelljamming Helm" (as a magic item), it lists the distance you need to be away as 1 mile and the size of the object as 1 ton or more. (I know. Weird place to put that info and not under "how spelljamming works/speed".)

I first started thinking about it when I wanted to know how long it took between leaving the surface of a planet and being able to "warp out". Effectively, "1 mile" is NOT off the planet, but if you're stuck at 3 miles an hour, it ought to take 2 days or so to leave a planet.

They like to keep it simple, but I have chosen to assume that speeds "between" 3 miles an hour and 4 million miles an hour exist (so that you can fly from a planet to its moon while being able to see both, and without it taking days and days or firing at it like a bullet.

Just think of it like this: At maneuvering speed (for tactical combat or negotiating a debris field) the ships "sail" at roughly sailing speeds. For "warp drive" travel, they go 100 million miles a day. In between is whatever you like (I'd say something like the ship's speed x10 thousand miles an hour. Or about 5 hours for a trip from the "earth" to the "moon" for a ship with a 50 ft. speed.)

Or whatever you prefer.
great answer (and good catch about it being hidden in the helm)

I am going to put together a list of ideas to bring to the table for us to vote on and discus so the insight helps
 

MarkB

Legend
great answer (and good catch about it being hidden in the helm)

I am going to put together a list of ideas to bring to the table for us to vote on and discus so the insight helps
Maybe, just for the sake of convenience, tie it in to the maximum ranges for ship-to-ship weapons (not on an individual basis, but whatever's the maximum that could be equipped), and make it that plus, say, another 25%.

Once one ship is out of another's firing range, having to then keep outrunning them for another hour before you can break away is generally not going to add anything to the narrative, and likewise when approaching another ship having to drop in so far away that it takes ages before anyone's close enough to actually do anything to each other is more likely to kill the tension than build it.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Maybe, just for the sake of convenience, tie it in to the maximum ranges for ship-to-ship weapons (not on an individual basis, but whatever's the maximum that could be equipped), and make it that plus, say, another 25%.

Once one ship is out of another's firing range, having to then keep outrunning them for another hour before you can break away is generally not going to add anything to the narrative, and likewise when approaching another ship having to drop in so far away that it takes ages before anyone's close enough to actually do anything to each other is more likely to kill the tension than build it.

Ooh. That's a good point. If you come out of "warp" because you are intercepted by another ship (how that ship has any way of knowing you're there is another story) by RAW you'd start a mile away from each other. That's some seriously boring ambush!

The book does encourage DMs to "choose" a starting distance for encounters. Again, I say that there must be speeds between "warp" and "sail". You might come out of "warp" about a mile away, but do some maneuvering at high speeds before settling into "sail" speed for actual ship-to-ship combat.

I agree with the above post - tactical maneuvering (sailing) speeds should occur somewhere around long-range for weapons.

In our heads, I think we can imagine that, if nearby objects "ruin the warp-field" (slow you down), and the rules are designed to be simple, but imply that there could be more complex things going on (speeds between sail and jammer), then it's possible that even things like the rocks flung by mangonels slow the ship.

Planets might slow the ship at distances greater than a mile, but might not slow the ship down to sailing speed (unless you are on the surface, y'know, sailing). So you can fly much faster while "orbiting" a planet (or flying between it and its moons) but once the cannon balls fly, it's sailing speed all the way, baby.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
It occurs to me that by RAW, if you only come out of warp at a distance of 1 mile, then approaching a planet, you'd be almost touched down on the surface when you come out of warp (1 mile away is not that high up in the sky, after all). Your field of vision would be ALL PLANET.

Alternately, if you come out of "warp" further away (like say, around "satellite orbit" of 12,000 miles), but can only go 4 miles an hour (slower ships) it would take 125 days to touch down.

Clearly, some speeds between "sail" and "warp" just plain HAVE to exist for the game to work as everyone imagines it. (Either that, or none of our real-world distances have any relevance, which works too, I guess!)
 

MarkB

Legend
Ooh. That's a good point. If you come out of "warp" because you are intercepted by another ship (how that ship has any way of knowing you're there is another story) by RAW you'd start a mile away from each other. That's some seriously boring ambush!

The book does encourage DMs to "choose" a starting distance for encounters. Again, I say that there must be speeds between "warp" and "sail". You might come out of "warp" about a mile away, but do some maneuvering at high speeds before settling into "sail" speed for actual ship-to-ship combat.

I agree with the above post - tactical maneuvering (sailing) speeds should occur somewhere around long-range for weapons.

In our heads, I think we can imagine that, if nearby objects "ruin the warp-field" (slow you down), and the rules are designed to be simple, but imply that there could be more complex things going on (speeds between sail and jammer), then it's possible that even things like the rocks flung by mangonels slow the ship.

Planets might slow the ship at distances greater than a mile, but might not slow the ship down to sailing speed (unless you are on the surface, y'know, sailing). So you can fly much faster while "orbiting" a planet (or flying between it and its moons) but once the cannon balls fly, it's sailing speed all the way, baby.
I haven't currently bought Spelljammer so this may already be covered, but ideally there should also be some form of useful system for long-range detection available. After all, most planets are barely a visible dot when seen from any other planet, and individual ships would be impossible to discern, which would put a downer on any space-piracy shenanigans.

Requiring ships to slow down as they approach a planet to avoid being precipitously dropped into sailing speed would allow some nice cinematic planetary approaches where the planet looms larger over the course of a few minutes rather than the blink of an eye.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I haven't currently bought Spelljammer so this may already be covered, but ideally there should also be some form of useful system for long-range detection available. After all, most planets are barely a visible dot when seen from any other planet, and individual ships would be impossible to discern, which would put a downer on any space-piracy shenanigans.

Requiring ships to slow down as they approach a planet to avoid being precipitously dropped into sailing speed would allow some nice cinematic planetary approaches where the planet looms larger over the course of a few minutes rather than the blink of an eye.

AFAIK beyond a vague explanation that the Spelljammer (pilot) can sense stuff around the ship (it's alluded that they usually have a pretty good idea what is causing them to drop out of "warp" when it happens).

There are star charts mentioned, so navigation has got to be a thing in Wildspace (unlike in the Astral Sea, which they handwaved to you just think of a place, or even name a place, and "POOF!" you are there.)

There's also got to be (IMO) more things for the other crew to do than to stand around while the Spelljammer(s) fly the ship (presumably animating the sails, or there would be no need for sails). In the very least, I would say that it takes effort on the part of the spelljammer to do these things, and therefore having the crew "tack" and otherwise "help" with the "sailing" of the ship will help the spelljammer to not get exhausted.

Speaking of which, the top speed of "100 miles per day" is for 24 hours of flying. BUT the Spelljammer (pilot) needs to power the spelljamming helm. So each ship ought to have 2 or 3 of them (but they usually have one listed), or the spelljammer will never get to sleep. (Perhaps they doze in their chair while the helm makes it's own "adjustments" but that is ambiguous in the books).
 

It occurs to me that by RAW, if you only come out of warp at a distance of 1 mile, then approaching a planet, you'd be almost touched down on the surface when you come out of warp (1 mile away is not that high up in the sky, after all). Your field of vision would be ALL PLANET.

Alternately, if you come out of "warp" further away (like say, around "satellite orbit" of 12,000 miles), but can only go 4 miles an hour (slower ships) it would take 125 days to touch down.

Clearly, some speeds between "sail" and "warp" just plain HAVE to exist for the game to work as everyone imagines it. (Either that, or none of our real-world distances have any relevance, which works too, I guess!)
this is helpful to add to my notes too. thank you
 


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