Proficiencies in Space
The way I see it, several of the non-weapon proficiencies listed in the Player's Handbook ™ need some modifications for use in an Spelljammer ™ campaign. None of these modifications change the proficiency slot cost of a proficiency, or the basic function. They instead provide guidelines for using vague proficiencies in Spelljammer-specific situations, and environment-specific proficiencies in spelljamming environments. The modfied proficiencies are:
- Ancient History
- Languages, Modern
- Local History
Ancient History: This proficiency requires that the character choose some "ancient period" to specialize in. Fantasy space is a big place, however, and their are few historical events or phase that were widespread enough to be useful. Four possible specializations (with a quick summary for players) are:
- Ancient History/Unhuman War (1,000 years Before Present): Beginning with the Battle of Kuleand ending with Leafbower's Armistice, the Elven Imperial Navies atempted to hunt down and exterminate all the goblinoid races. Although they suceeded in destroying many of the powerful goblinoid space fleets, humanoids still threaten many out-of-the-way spheres.
- Ancient History/Crusade of the Celestial Mantis (4,000 BP): Led by a religious sect, the People of the Celestial Mantis, the Thri-kreen attempted to conquer the known universe. The Crusade obviously failed, but the Thri-kreen still have a reputation as unpredictable religious fanatics.
- Ancient History/Early Space Ages (10,000-5,000 BP): Although few were brave enough to attempt space travel before the development of spelljamming helms, alternate propulsion sources (such as furnaces) allowed limited exploration of the planets. Historical details of this era are almost nonexistant, but some information has been collected on methods and materials. (This version of proficiency will be more useful for identifying old ships and magic than actual events.)
- Ancient History/Time of the Zookeepers (Before 10,000 BP): According to some legends (Lorebook of the Void, page 65), a lost race of "Keepers" travelled the spheres before humans, elves, or even the Arcane. There is no factual evidence of the existance of the (Zoo)Keepers; characters with this version of the proficiency have collected legends and myths of the lost race, not facts.
Astrology: Groundling astrologers who leave their homeworlds quickly discover a disturbing fact -- every world has a different sky! (For example, an astrologer who moved from Earth to Mars would see the same stars, but would be missing one planet (Mars itself), see a new planet in the sky (Earth), possibly see planets in the "wrong" constellations (because the location of a planet in the sky is a function of the planet's location and the observer's location). All this would be worse if the astrologer moved to another star system.) Astrological charts and tables designed for any one planet are useless on another.
There is a way to compensate, however. For game purposes, there are three important facets of Astrology: Correspondence, Position, and Theory. Correspondence is the assignment of a trait to a planet, star, or constellation (i.e. Mars=War or Mishakal=Healing). Position is the location of a planet in the sky with respect to the constellations of its home sphere (i.e. "Mars is in Leo"). Theory is how two correspondences with interact (for instance, a planet of war in a constellation of healing might mean a good war is going to happen).
In my Spelljammer campaign, the theory of Astrology is the same in every sphere (i.e. a planet of War in a constellation of Healing means the same everywhere). Therefore, an astrologer on a strange world who has access to a complete, up to date astrological reference work for that world or sphere (listing the Correspondences and Positions necessary to do Astrology on that planet or sphere) can use the theory he knows, and look up the Correspondences and Positions he doesn't. It will take a little longer to make a horoscope, however, because he has to spend extra time looking everything up.
The AD&D Player's Handbook doesn't say how long it takes to make a horoscope, but judging fromt he call-in astrology shows I've seen, I'll set 1d4 minutes as the normal time. Looking everything up in a book increases the time to 3d4 minutes.
Players taking the Astrology proficiency should remember to record the world the character learned Astrology on, whether the character is spaceborn or groundling, using a format identical to the Ancient History proficiency:, i.e. Astrology/Toril or Astrology/Rock of Bral. Characters raised on an Armada or Citadel have an interesting problem: no home planet. Such characters always take 3d4 minutes to do a horoscope.
Langauges, Modern: The geographically homogeneous and socially cosmopolitan nature of space civilization complicates the demihuman approach of learning their neighbors' languages. In space, everyone is living next to everyone else. On the other hand, several major races of space either don't teach their language (dracon, arcane), don't have a language (mind flayers), or have a language incompatible with humanoid voice boxes (beholders).
Spaceborn demihuman characters, regardless of race, should pick their initial languages from the following: Common, Dwarvish, Elvish, Giff, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Kobold, Lizard Man, Orcish, and Ogrish.
Local History: This proficiency requires that the character designate a homeland whose history he has learned. Characters who live on an asteroid colony should designate the colony they grew up on (i.e. Local History/Dragon Rock, Local History/Icarus Platform, etc.). For elves who grew up on Armadas and dwarves raised on citadels, this proficiency is the history of the ship (i.e. Local History/Loyalty, Local History/Citadel of Balrin, etc.).
Navigation: Because it's based on the positions of the stars, this proficiency works the same in space or on a planet, if the character using it has an accurate star chart for the crystal sphere he's in.
Characters with the Astrology proficiency do not receive a +1 bonus to Navigation checks unless on their home planet.
Religion: As with the Local History proficiency, the player must designate the "homeland" of his character, which will determine the religions covered by this proficiency. For armada- or citadel-raised characters, the only religion covered is the appropriate racial polygot.
The religions included in asteroid homeland proficiencies will vary, but almost always include the Path and the Way, Ptah, and the demihuman polygots. Various human polygots will be included as well. Check with the DM about the common religions of the various asteroid colonies.
Seamanship: Although characters with this proficiency are better suited to working on spacefaring vessels than characters without it, they do not increase the ship's speed.
Survival: "Asteroids" may be taken by spaceborn characters as a "specific environment".
Tracking: The modifier for "Every 12 hours since trail was made" will not apply in areas that are exposed to the vaccuum of wildspace (which lacks most mechanisms of erosion).