Spelljammer What is important to you about Spelljammer

Staffan

Legend
I mean, the Helm itself is kind of fragile, a direct hit with a bombard, catapult, or ballista might take it out anyways.
In the OG Spelljammer, helms were nigh indestructible, and usually cost more than the ship to which they were attached. A minor spelljamming helm cost 100,000 gp and could propel a ship of up to 50 tons. Such a ship would cost 5k-60k gp.
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
The Helm, yes. The deck of the ship the Helm was bolted onto, no*. Unless you got one of those portable ones. Star Helm? Crown Helm? It's been awhile.

*and as for the pilot after suffering such a hit? Well...
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
I want guidance for different styles of adventuring on a ship, how to get a ship, costs of a crew if you are the owner of the ship.

Very light weight abstracted ship combat, nothing that is complex but still makes characters want to fight a boarding action instead.

A focus on adventures and campaigns between the planet landings, up in the stars.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Ships are probably the most interesting and exciting aspect of a Spelljammer campaign. Otherwise, it doesn't really add anything new to the game. In fact, it barely changes any setting that can be imposed with interplanetary travel and themes. Just a different way to travel, really.

But as with most games where ships and travel are a major feature, Spelljammer campaigns tend to suffer the same pitfalls as a scifi game, or even a mundane nautical-based one. Specifically, how do you get each individual player an active role when there are only a limited number of actions to take aboard a single vehicle? Ship battles sound like fun, if everyone had their own ship to control. But there is usually only one person at the helm and one pilot to drive it. Everybody else takes secondary (or tertiary) roles either assisting someone else in their primary roles, damage control, or operating a single artillery weapon. That is at least until a boarding action is executed and then it turns into a regular D&D skirmish where normal battlefield roles are resumed.

I'd say give Starfinder a look to see how its handled (its pretty good, but not great). But that leans more towards scifi with actual tech involved, something Spelljammer doesn't include. So a lot of systems and roles, like science officer and sensor operations wouldn't quite work.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, when I ran Spelljammer, parties wanted to get onto the enemy ship super fast, and didn't care much for the ship battles. Which is why, as much as I love the setting, I gave up on running it.

I had a Dwarf Fighter who wanted to be catapulted to the enemy ship, and the players kept talking about getting a Hammership with an adamantine ram so they could just plow into enemy ships and start fighting the crews.

EDIT: I should also mention what I think the primary reason to deplete spellcasters magic was as well. Most Wizard spells were devastating to other ships!
 

Staffan

Legend
I'd say give Starfinder a look to see how its handled (its pretty good, but not great). But that leans more towards scifi with actual tech involved, something Spelljammer doesn't include. So a lot of systems and roles, like science officer and sensor operations wouldn't quite work.
Starfinder is very much a science fiction game with some magic in it – sort of like Shadowrun in that way, except space opera instead of cyberpunk.

That said, it follows the traditional RPG space combat method of having various battle stations crewed by PCs (or NPCs) that do different stuff in a space battle. Someone's driving, someone's handling the shields, someone's shooting, someone's handling the engine, and someone's barking orders. Since most of these things are handled via skills which are sort of orthogonal to a class's main power (fighting/casting), they can be distributed among PCs as needed.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
But as with most games where ships and travel are a major feature, Spelljammer campaigns tend to suffer the same pitfalls as a scifi game, or even a mundane nautical-based one. Specifically, how do you get each individual player an active role when there are only a limited number of actions to take aboard a single vehicle? Ship battles sound like fun, if everyone had their own ship to control. But there is usually only one person at the helm and one pilot to drive it. Everybody else takes secondary (or tertiary) roles either assisting someone else in their primary roles, damage control, or operating a single artillery weapon. That is at least until a boarding action is executed and then it turns into a regular D&D skirmish where normal battlefield roles are resumed.
Spelljammer has one benefit over most space RPGs - boarding a ship is usually a lot easier and gives you a wide open space to run skirmish battles because the ship usually isn't an enclosed series of hallways where everyone is trying to skirmish fight in narrow places and is worried about creating an oxygen leak, but a wide open ship deck that you can make exciting swashbuckling battles on.

IMO - a Spelljammer ship to ship battle for players should usually be at most a few shots before one ship closes close enough to board or one ship gets away. It shouldn't ususally be Battlestar Galactica style ship to ship combat unless you have a scenario where every player has some kind of ship to fly individually.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Well, no, but it is HUGE. Way bigger than I need or want it to be to run adventures. A second consideration is to what extent a whole series of random journey encounters is what you're looking for. Personally, not so much, but that just my preference. Other players and tables might want exactly that.
Most game settings are bigger than any DM needs. Just equip each spelljamming ship with a drive from Babylon 5 and say it travels at the speed of plot.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
What is important to me is that Spelljammer should deliver "[D&D] adventures in space", per the original tagline. It's important to me that it faithfully execute the original design directive, "Take the [D&D] game into outer space." It is important to me that it be the swords & sorcery version of the Traveller RPG, the D&D setting for playing campaigns inspired by Star Trek or Firefly.

All else is secondary.
 

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