The following rules are written with apologies to Glen Cook for any inaccuracies.
|Frequency:||Very Rare||Very Rare||Very Rare/>|
|Intelligence:||Average to Genius||Average||Average to Very/>|
|Treasure:||S,Y||O||Y or O/>|
|Number Appearing:||4-20 (1-5 darkships)||1-4 per Silth||2-5/>|
|Hit Dice:||4 & up||2 & up||1/>|
|THAC0:||19 & up (as psionic)||19 & up (as fighter)||20/>|
|Number of Attacks:||1 or 3||1 or 3||1/>|
|Damage:||by weapon or/> claw/claw/bite: 1-2/1-2/1-4||by weapon or/> 1-3/1-3/2-5||by weapon or/> bite: 1-4/>|
|Size:||M (5')||M (5-5.5')||M (4.5)/>|
|XP value:||420 (& up)||65 (& up)||35/>|
The meth appear as bipedal canid lifeforms, with opposable thumbs, upright carriage, and forward facing eyes and large frontal lobes. Their mouths and noses are somewhat elongated into muzzles, but not fully formed. They have thick, short body hair that grows longer near the head. They still possess prominent teeth and claws, usable as weapons but only as a last resort. Meth in space are divided into three classes: Silth, Voctors and Tradermales. On planets, there are also bond meth but space aboard the jamming ships is too valuable to waste on menial laborers. The Silth are the female aristocracy and the power, having the psionic abilities necessary to power the silth darkfaring ships—the darkships. Voctors are female meth who don't have the silth abilities and have been trained in fighting to be suitable guards for the silth. Tradermales are male meth who have joined one of the bond brotherhoods and learned their technical skills.
Combat: Voctors are thoroughly trained warriors and will normally wield spears or shortswords and shields. For missile weapons, Voctors use Bows and sometimes poisoned arrows (onset time 1r, save or die) Some few favored Voctor leaders will also have a wheel lock pistol or possibly a rifle, but these kinds of weapons are normally only found in the hands of Tradermales. Voctors will seek to keep physical attackers from approaching the Silth in their protection, while the Silth use their psionic abilities to slay any they can reach. Silth are considered to be at least 4th level psionicists, and concentrate in psychokinetic, psychometabolic and clairsentient abilities. They are inveterate psionic combatants and will ruthlessly take out any psionicist who attacks them.
I have considered what the result would be in a confrontation between Silth and Mindflayers. A Mistress of the Ship must be at least 7th level, and is normally even higher. In days of old, back on their home planet, Mistresses often engaged in duels to the death, so they are used to psionic duels and, in my considered opinion, are a match for the average Mind Flayer.
Tradermales are the technicians of the meth race and normally have no psionic abilities. They rely totally on technology to defeat their foes. They will always have firearms of the most advanced design and have even designed their own darkships—called Voidships—that don't require the golden fluid of the Silth but still require Silth aid to go up and over. Tradermales will also use missile weapons ranging from primitive arrows to more advanced and complex designs, including designs that explode on impact.
Habitat/Society: The meth homeworld is unknown and why these few bands found have left it is also unknown. They refuse unilaterally to speak of their homeworld except in the most general terms—they never speak of why they left. These meth appear to have no permanent bases of operation, moving from one jammer base to another as it suits them. They are organized into packs, based on the base unit of a ship—the darkship. One thing is clear—the basic society was matriarchal in nature—considering males to be too flighty to be trusted with weapons and Silth skills. Males are also considered to be emotionally unstable and cowardly, on the whole. Of course, there are exceptions. Tradermales are the rebels of the homeworld and resent the Silth organization deeply. There is hatred there going back for generation.
The Silth Darkship will be described under another heading, but a brief description is needed here to explain their organization. There are three types of meth darkships: the traditional wood Darkship, the more modern tradermale titanium Darkship, and the tradermale Voidship. All are relatively small vehicles, compared to the deepfaring ships known to most spelljamming races—certainly not large enough to hold atmosphere for long passages. The Darkships range from 8 to 12 feet long and are shaped like crosses, open to the void. The more elaborate wooden darkships have thronelike chairs at the three bath-occupied tips and the Crosspoint of the Mistress. The Voidship is about 15 feet long, 10 feet wide, and is surrounded by a titanium frame that is totally airtight, keeping the void outside.
The Darkship crew consists of 3 Bath and 1 Mistress of the Ship, plus any voctors, spare bath and maybe a junior Mistress to spell the senior on long trips. A Voidship carries from 2-5 Tradermales and 1-4 Silth.
One thing is apparent from the encounters with these creatures—they don't get along. The Silth who work with the Tradermales are hated by all the other Silth, and are actively hunted. The Tradermale/Silth partnership often enjoin alien allies to enter into battle on their behalf, as they are outnumbered by the other Silth. It is difficult for an outside observer to gage which group is good and which evil, if any. One would, at first glance, sympathise with the male/female partnership, as they seem to be more accommodating of each other. However, the members of such partnerships have been found to be untrustworthy, unstable, and ruthless in their use of outsiders to get what they want. The Silth-only groups are often as bad, but are sometimes more considerate in their partnerships and can usually be relied upon.
There is a definite code of honor among the Silth—a code dating back far into their history. Apparently, the Silth in collusion with the Tradermales have broken this code and so no longer really adhere to it.
This appears to be the end of a long, bitter dispute that drove these creatures from their homeworld. The only way it will end is when one side or the other is elminated. Other than killing each other off, the Silth rarely show interest in anything else. Some few have the vision to see all the different races and magic around them. Though they can't seem to grasp spellcasting, they can learn to operate magic items. Tradermales especially will pay anything, do anything, to gain magic items once they are made aware of what these things can do. Here are things that will do what the Silth can do, without the Silth Talent, as they call it.
Ecology: As stated before, the meth have no homeworld to return to, and no other place to call their own. They travel from space station to space station, either in pursuit of each other or to escape pursuit. They often have gold or magic items, which they will trade for magic items. The Silth are great potion brewers and have concocted a potion which keeps off the void on their long travels—something of inestimable value to jammers who fear a loss of atmosphere.
That is the name the Silth have for it. It is a potion which, when ingested, protects the drinker from the effects of the void (lack of air, pressure, whatever) for 8 hours per dose. This dose can be renewed before it expires without fear of potion miscibility. Only trained Silth know the secret of manufacturing this potion, and it apparently requires a special bowl, possessed by the crew of each ship. While active in a person's system, the potion causes the person to glow with a faint golden sheen, visible only against a black backdrop.
This is a device manufactured by the Tradermales which jams the psionic talents of the Silth (or any other psionicist). Developed in their long battle with the Silth, this device prevents all but the most determined and talented Silth from using their abilities (game terms: -6 to all power rolls while this suppressor is targeted on the psionicist). The operator has to aim its beam (requiring a roll to hit), and the victim gets a save vs rod, staff or wand to reduce the effects by half (-3 to power score rolls). These suppressors are tech items and will be completely incomprehensible to anyone (except maybe a tinker gnome) who dismantles it. When used on a Mistress operating a Darkship, these devices force the Mistress to immediately make a power score roll (as described later) or lose control of the ship.
An explanatory note: For ages without number, as far back in Silth history as the survivors can remember, Silth built their darkships out of a wood sensitive to their talent, called Golden Fleetwood. It was a long, intricate, loving process, with each part of the ship being lovingly crafted by a Silth crafter. Each ship was unique and took years to make. Then the Tradermales introduced their titanium darkships, which were larger, lighter and rolled off an assemblyline. These ships were far less elaborate, but the appeal of a fast fleet of such ships was impossible to resist, and so soon every sisterhood of Silth had all Titanium ships. During the last years on the meth homeworld, however, a wave of oldfashioned sentiment hit the sisterhoods, led by one sister in particular (a legend you'll hear about later), and there was a return to the wooden darkships of old. The remnants of these sisterhoods are evenly mixed between the two types of darkships.
|Traditional Wood||Tradermale Titanium/>|
|Hull Type:||Thick Wood||Metal/>|
|Crew:||3 bath minimum, 6 bath maximum (2 crews), 1 mistress, plus spare/>|
|Maneuverablity Class:||Special (A-C)||/>|
|Armor Rating:||Special (base 8)||(base 7)/>|
|Save As:||Thick Wood||Metal/>|
|Ship's Rating:||Special (based on Mistress)||/>|
|Major Armament:||Crew (voctors)||/>|
These Darkships should be considered as psionic magic items, as they take psionic energies and focus for jamming. To coin a new term here, call it Psijamming.
I don't know if psionic jammers have already been designed anywhere, but I've designed a system which will be explained later.
Ok, this is the tough part. First off, Darkships *are* helms and ships all in one. The way they are manufactured, with the mysticism and process that goes into each one (even the metal ships made by the Tradermales), imbues them with the jamming secret. As such, the Arcane are wary of these newcomers to wildspace. They fear that the Silth or the Tradermales will set up shop and sell relatively cheap jammrs to the psionicist of the world. This system, by the way, also allows spelljamming to Dark Sun. Perhaps it is best to call this Psijamming?
Ok, the system, I'll stop delaying.
The maneuverability and ship's rating of a Darkship and the Voidships depend greatly on the strength of the Mistress of the Ship and the Bath she draws on. First, a description of how the crew interacts:
The Mistress of the Ship activates the jamming abilities of the ship itself. She is in direct contact with the ship and all energies from the others flow through her. It takes a certain amount of psionic activity to activate the Darkship (or Voidship) and get it going. Silth burn the most PSPs while either taking off or landing. Once in space, they can coast. The more PSPs burned during a particular period, the faster the Darkship moves, and the more agile the Darkship can be (up to MC A).
Much of the statistics of the ship are determined by calculating the number of PSPs the Mistress can spend each period towards propelling the ship. This is determined solely by the Wisdom score of the Mistress: I have derived this table from the PSP/L table in the Psionicist book, dividing the base number of 10 in half so better coincide with the ship's rating table in the Spelljammer rules:
Min score for psionicist (Silth) 15
Wisdom #PSPs can spend at once SR MC AR 15 5 2 (wood) C (Tit.) C 0 16 9 3 B C +1 17 13 5 A B +2 18 17 7 A A +3
The PSP number, and therefore the SR, can be temporarily increased if additional Bath are drawn from, or other crewmembers, though this can be dangerous. The additional points cound three for one in increasing the ship's rating. The Mistress of the ship can, in emergencies, draw PSPs from any other Silth on the ship, and even on non psionic passengers. In the case of non-psionics, the Mistress draws upon their life energies, draining away their hit points in place of PSPs (which can be healed normally). The Mistress draws the same number of PSPs or HPs from all those she uses (i.e., she can't draw 3 from one and 2 from another). An example is written below to illustrate:
Marika the Rogue is a 9th level psionicist (although level has nothing to do with this, unlike normal spelljammers). She has a Wisdom of 18, and currently has a crew of 6 bath (two teams, switching off), 1 junior Mistress, and 6 voctors (non-psionic).
Marika has an SR of 7 normally (her and three bath). If in an emergency situation (like, say, battle), she wants her SR as high as possible. In order to activate this new SR, she is going to have to spend the PSPs, but she is limited to 8 from herself, and 3 each from her bath (total 17). If she draws on the other three bath, for 9 more, this will add three to her SR, for an SR of 10. The SR will only remain at 10 while the points are being spent. Marika could also drain three hit points each from her Voctors, if she chose to include them, adding another 6 to her SR, but it probably won't be necessary.
PSP drain: The Mistress must spend the requisite PSPs for the ship rating immediately at start, simply to get out of the planet's gravity well. Once she has attained orbital status, she must set the ship's rating by spending immediately the requisite PSPs and each hour thereafter during travel. If SR needs to be changed, the requisite PSPs must be spent immediately for the change to occur.
Power Score: A Mistress of the Ship must have Telekinesis in her repetoire, although the ability is never actually used during Psijamming. She rolls her score whenever she lifts off, lands, or changes SR during travel. If the roll is failed, the ship either doesn't move (if taking off), continues at current SR (if in midtravel), or doesn't slow down on approach (if landing). On landing rolls, if the Mistress fails in her roll, she has the option of turning the ship (at her current MC) and returning to space for another attempt.
The basic difference between the Traditional Wooden Darkship and the Tradermale Titanium Darkship is in the power score roll. Titanium is not as receptive to the psionic abilities of the Silth as their golden fleetwood, and there is no adjustment to the power score rolls. On wooden Darkships (manufactured from golden fleetwood only), the Mistress gains a bonus of +1 to her power score rolls.
A voidship is basically like a Darkship, only larger. Its MC will always be the same, but speed is still dependent on the Mistress of the Ship and her Bath (rated as for a titanium darkship). If, for whatever reason, the Mistress is unable to run the ship, the Tradermales can take over with their engines, which are similar to those of the Gnomish Sidereel, except it is powered by Tradermales on bicycles and is a little more maneuverable. Also, all power score rolls by the Mistress are at a penalty of 2, due to the technical nature of the Voidship.
Jamming (Going Up and Over): In order to do the super fast jamming used to travel long distances, Silth again make a power score roll and spend the required PSPs for their SR. Unlike other helms, however, Silth have a chance of arriving at destination sooner than the normal calculations. The stronger the Mistress, the faster the transport. If the Mistress of the Ship rolls her power score on the jump roll, transport time is reduced by a factor of 1/2 per wisdom bonus (example: 16 reduces by 1/2, 17 reduces by 3/4, 18 reduces by 7/8, etc.). Also, the Silth have the ability to travel all together, though their speed of crossover is reduced to the speed of the slowest Mistress. This assures their arrival all at once instead of a scattered one at a time.
The big question: Can a non-Silth Psionicist operate one of their Darkships?
I think so, as long as that Psionicist has Telekinesis and is trained in the use. An untrained Mistress (using the term just as its title) draws far too much PSPs from herself and her bath, and can kill in this way.