Gnomish Inventions for SPELLJAMMER ® Campaigns

I'm suspect I'm the only Dungeon Master ™ who ever actually used the gnomish invention rules from DragonLance Adventures. I'm old-fashioned like that; I think using structured rules for unusual situations helps avoid sloppy thinking and rushed decision making. Also, I just like experimenting with new rules, even if I'm never going to use them.

In fact, all the inventions listed below (execept for the Gnomish Helm, which is strictly theoretical) appeared in my Spelljammer campaign, even if they weren't all used by PCs. Some of them are pretty complex, and will only work if built by high-level tinkers and/or a commitee. In my campaign, that commitee was the crew of the gnomoi Sidewheeler Herewego.

Gizmos for Spacefarers

These first three inventions represent devices that any spacefaring tinker gnome would find useful, so they've probably been independently invented several times over.

Gnomish Helm

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Move Horiz Spelljam 18.5 - 18.5
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 18.5 18.5 18.5
Resizing -- -9.0 +9.0
Totals 18.5 9.5 27.5

A true gnomish helm (i.e. one that doesn't need a spellcaster to power it) is perhaps the most complex object ever attempted by the gnomes, which is probably why they've never gotten one to work. They keep trying, however, certain that if the Arcane can do it, they can.

(How complex is it? An 18th level tinker (the maximum level allowed in DragonLance Adventures) working alone on a gnomish helm would result in a "gnomish helm -9.5". Therefore, result on the Gnomish Invention Results Table will never be better than "Unpredictable". A lucky committee might eliminate the penalty, but it's unlikely. In my campaign, few gnomish ships have even that level of functionality.)

Gnomish helms are size 9.5, or 50 cubic feet. Because the Arcane control the helm market, gnomes must sell their helms at a loss (50,000 gpv). Once the gnomish helms are perfected (which will, of course, mean they're better than all other helms) the gnomes believe they'll be able to set their own prices.

Skypack

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Move Horiz 17 mph 3 -4 -1
Move Larger size 8 11 - 11
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 11 11 11
Additional Effect 1 -- +1
Resizing -- -6 +6
Totals 12 5 18

A gnomish replacement for the elven gadabout, this steam-powered backpack is both smaller and easier to maintain, but dangerous in the Flow. Very useful for escaping doomed ships (within crystal spheres, anyway), but a steep investment at 149,310 gpv.

Voidsuit

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Temperature +50 deg 6 -- 6
Environment Vaccuum 12 +6 12
Light Candlelight 4 -- 4
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 18 18 18
Additional Effects 2 -- +2
Resizing -- -12 +12
Totals 19 6 31

This is the improved version of the Refined Personal Heating Apparatus Mark III (which a Complexity 6 Device, and did not provide Environment or Light), pictured on page 89 of the Concordance of Arcane Space. (This version actually provides more protection than necessary -- the vaccuum of wildspace isn't as severe as real-world space.) Like most gnomish space equipment, done by committee.

Gizmos for Wizards

During my campaign, a PC wizard (and his cat) spent some time on the Herewego as acting helmsman. ("Just until we get the spare parts for the gnomish helm, you know." was what the gnomes said.) These next three inventions were invented by the crew to help the wizard out.

Mageflapper

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Protection 20d6 12 - 12
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 12 12 12
Resizing -- -10 +10
Totals 12 2 22

This 3-foot long cylinder hangs on a shoulder strap and has two handles on one side. When a falling character holds the mageflapper over his head and pushes the trigger (which is labeled "Press here in case of fall from long height" in gnomish), collapsable wings pop out the ends of the cylinder. The wings extend to 10 feet in length, and flap furiously, slowing a character's fall to non-damaging speeds.

This device was created as a gnomish replacement for the featherfall spell.

Magewriter

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Alter Object Paper to Book 1 - 1
Information Calculations 12 - 12
Light Lamplight 5 - 5
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 12 12 12
Additional Effects 1 -- +1
Resizing -- -- --
Totals 13 12 13

Currently filling most of the Herewegos's cargo hold, this device is designed to help mages write and put together their spell books faster by helping with mathemagical calculations. The tinker gnomes originally built it to help a PC wizard who lost his original spell book, but are currently perfecting it for the benefit of their illusionist cousins.

The magewriter produces the Spellbooks described below.

Spellbook, Improved

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Light Lamplight 5 - 5
Move Horiz Turn pages 1 - 1
Temperature Cools/Dries 5 - 5
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 5 5 5
Additional Effects 2 - +2
Resizing -- +1 -1
Totals 7 6 6

Produced by a wizard using a magewriter, this oversized "book" is mounted on a wheeled pedestal (about two feet high), and includes a built-in lamp, Page Progression Prosthetic (a robot arm that turns the pages), and a ventilation unit that makes sure the book is always in a cool, dry, place (which will prevent bookworm eggs from hatching, but won't stop a live bookworm). It hold the same number of spells as a standard spell book.

Gizmos for...Housecats

The tinker gnomes of Herewego developed quite an attachment for the PC Wizard's cat. These are some of the parting gifts they gave it. (The guy playing the wizard thought they were funny, but the other players seemed rather annoyed. From where I sit, that means all these gadgets worked perfectly.)

Clarioncollar

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Communication Recorded Sound 9 - 9
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 9 9 9
Resizing -- -7 +7
Totals 9 2 16

A collar for wizards' cats, to prevent them from eating other wizards' familiars. Whenever the cat comes within 10 feet of smaller animal, the oversized collar yells "Run away little birdie!" in gnomish.

Felincilities

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Odor Unstink 5 - 5
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 5 5 5
Resizing -- +1 -1
Totals 5 6 4

An odorless litter box that actually works pretty well.

Groomatic

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Alter Object Cleans 3 - 3
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 3 3 3
Resizing -- - -
Totals 3 3 3

A small machines that helps a cat groom itself. Also works well.

Automouse

Type Effect Complex. Modif. Total
Move Horiz. 15"/round 4 - 4
Sound squeaks 2 - 2
Temperature +50 degrees 6 - 6
Final Modifiers Number Size Complex.
Highest Complexity 6 6 6
Additional Effects 2 -- +2
Resizing -- -5 +5
Totals 8 1 13

A life-like wind-up mouse for cats to play with; even had body temperature. Occasionally starts fires and steals cheese, won't stop running unless caught.


http://www.bauser.com/roleplaying/Spelljammer/gnome_tech.html © 1998-1999 michael@bauser.com