Presented here are rules covering ship construction and ship to ship combat. Also presented is rules for equipment commonly found on ships.
The ships of wildspace must fulfill a variety of needs. They must be able to retain enough atmosphere within their air envelope to support a crew and passengers, and be able to handle both the vacuum of wildspace and the glittering rainbow ocean of the Flow. In some cases, they must be able to land on the surface of a large planet and later be able to leave the planet.
The primary restriction in ship design for all races is to make the ship large enough to support its crew, but not so large that it cannot be moved by a spelljamming mage or priest. This double restriction sets the top and bottom limits for normal ship design.
Note that the Spelljammer
is a unique craft whose very existence breaks some of the limitations as described above it is incredibly large, but it can still move itself normally.
Ships in space have a number of attributes and statistics that describe their performance and capabilities. Below is an overview of common terms.
Common name of the ship type.
The race or entity that usually constructs this ship hull.
Used Primarily By:
The race that generally uses this type of ship. This is usually (but not always) the building race.
A ship's size is defined in tonnage literally the amount of displacement the ship takes up. Since this displacement also influences the amount of breathable air surrounding the ship in space, a ship's tonnage is also a reflection of both its crew capacity and requirements. One ton is not a measure of weight; instead, it is arbitrarily set to equal 100 cubic yards (2,700 cubic feet, a cube approximately 14 feet on a side). A mass that large will allow a single man to breathe comfortably for 4 to 8 months.
The typical cost of ships is given in the gold piece standard found throughout most of space, this cost does not included standard armament. Some regions use other means of counting money, but these can be converted to the gold standard (for example, a system could bases its monetary system on steel, not gold, and a character looking for supplies in such a system will have to negotiate in steel pieces at their listed conversion rate).
The method of assessing damage to a ship, as well as damage inflicted by individuals in space combat. Initial hit points of ships are 1d10 per tonnage of ship (plus any additional hit points for reinforced hull). This tonnage is 2,700 cubic feet in volume with the limitation that the ships is limited to following thickness depending on what material is made of: Wood 3 inches, Stone 2 inches, and Metal 1 inch. Hit points for a ship functions just like they would for a monster or character (In fact some ships are living). In addition to weapon damage that cause hit points of damage, there are many attacks that can cause other effect to a ship, when a ship is attacked by magical effects it receives the helmsman's base saving throw (i.e., it will not include magical devices that the mage is wearing nor the characteristic modifiers for Constitution, Dexterity and Wisdom). The ship is considered to have no bonus or penalties to saving throw for characteristic modifiers. A ship that has lost half its hit points has many rents and holes in it, while one that has lost all its hull points has been destroyed.
Most ship exteriors are considered to be thick wood, but there are also stone and metal ships in use, along with reports of ceramic, leather, bone, and even ships of glass strengthened by the glassteel
spell. Ships construction is varied by the race that builds them; these are noted in their descriptions.
This determines when the ship moves.
A ships tactical speed (TS) is a reflection of the ship's speed and relative power, and to a lesser extent its maneuverability. A ship with high TS can move faster in a single round than one with low TS. The maximum tactical speed a ship can achieve dependents on the power of the helm. Each TS rating is equivalent to 150 feet of flight.
Tactical Maneuverability (TM):
class refers to the maneuverability of the craft in combat. This is a factor of sails, oars, fins, and other controlling devices over and above those provided by the ship's rating. In general, the hull design of a ship determines its TM, with the quickest being the graceful ships of the elves and the most sluggish being sea vessels that have been converted into spacecraft. A ship can be powered by weak helm and therefore have low TS, but a high tactical maneuverability can still function well in tactical combat.
Spaceship tactical maneuverability is similar to those of flying creatures, but do not function perfectly as a creature. They are rated as follows: perfect, good, average, poor and clumsy, with perfect being the most maneuverable. A rating of clumsy for a ship indicates that it is below minimum maneuverable standards. Such ships are usually converted sea craft modified for space travel and are outclassed by all craft built especially for space.
Armor Class for a ship is the same as the Armor Class of a character. Armor reflects the difficulty that an attacker has in causing significant damage to the ship because of its construction or maneuverability.
varies from ship to ship. In a typical ship description, the standard armament is provided. Additional armament may be provided, though this cuts down on cargo space (the room that would normally be used for cargo is instead used to provide space for large weapons and their ammunition). The initial armament number reflects the number of armaments that can be built directly into the ship-further additions can be made with each weapon taking up a certain amount of tonnage, be it ½, 1 or 1½ ton. While a ship can have as much tonnage of weapon as can be fit onto a ship, it does become impractical for do so (i.e., lack of crew space) As a general rule armament does not exceed half the ship's total tonnage, this general rule allows some room for the crew's needs and provides enough breathable air for long voyages.
Armament falls into a number of categories, along the lines of the siege machinery it developed from:
Catapult: blunt stone thrower;
Ballista: extremely large crossbow;
Ram: punches holes in ships;
Bombard: very rare, expensive, and dangerous to use;
Jettison: scatters debris;
Alchemist Fire Projector: shoots liquid flame.
Further information on each of these weapons is given under the individual entries.
Ships more often then not do vary from one another in that one ship will have a ram and another will be topped out in order to have excellent tactical maneuverability. All ships will have at least one ship modification.
Each ship has two crew numbers
. The first is the number of individuals needed to run the ship under normal circumstances. The second is the number of individuals that the ship can carry without dangerously overloading its atmospheric envelope. For example, a ship with a crew rating of 10/35 requires 10 men to run the ship properly but it can carry up to 35 without endangering its atmosphere. If only one number is present, this means that the ship generally cannot carry passengers, but only crew.
When talking about maximum crew numbers and the air requirements of various races, man-sized races are assumed. For races and creatures that are not medium sized use the following to determine air consumption: ¼ man-days for tiny, ½ for small individuals, 2 man days for large, 4 man days for huge, 8 man days for gargantuan, and finally 16 days for colossal sized creatures.
Crew listings are also less than those listed in the Player's Handbook and other sources for groundling campaigns. This is because the spelljamming helm frees up a lot of manpower otherwise needed (such as sailors and rowers). If a converted groundling ship is returned to earth, it will need its full crew to function normally.
The total amount of man-days worth of air that a ship carries.
Whether the ship can land on land or water without risking a crash. This feature does not affect ships using space docks.
This rating determines how much less damage the ship takes from attacks that hit the ship. For example a ship made of wood has a hardness rating of 5, if struck for 33 points of damage from a medium catapult, the hardness subtracts 5 from this total damage, so that the ship only takes 28 points of damage.
Many types of material have the same hardness rating but spells and creatures do not equally affect all materials so it is of importance to mentions what a ship is made of. For example a ship made of wood will catch fire, while metal will not.
Power type defines the type of helm, engine, or other motive force that causes the ship to go through space. Most helms are powered by magical or other mystical energy that is converted it into motive force. In other words, the ships run on magic. Different power types have different limitations and capabilities. A ship with no power is adrift, unable to control its motion. A ship can have multiple power sources. The one "on-line" is the primary power source, while the others (including any spells) are back-ups. The common power types (discussed in more detail under Power Sources) are:
Is the amount dedicated to storage of cargo. Each ton of a ship's size reflects 2,700 cubic feet of space (typically 20 feet by 15 feet, and 9 feet in height) that may be used for carrying (nonliving or non-breathing) cargo. A 30-ton frigate will typically carry 7½ tons of cargo, about ¼ its normal tonnage. The remaining interior space is needed for crew, armament, and other necessities. For each large weapon added to a ship over and above its standard ordnance, a ½ ton is subtracted from the total amount available for cargo (the weapons and their ammunition occupy that space). Some ship designs not reflect 100 cubic yards per ton space in their design, these ship often not carry their full amount of cargo due to lack of space for such.
Keel is the long dimension of the ship, usually but not always measured along the ship's keel. This is the long dimension of the gravity plane.
Beam is the width of the ship, measured at the ship's widest point but not counting any oars, poles, or sails that may widen the ship without effectively contributing to its real tonnage.
Most ships of space were captured, refitted, or inherited by their present owners. Large communities in space tend to build their own distinctive ships, which in turn are copied, stolen, or bought by others in space, accounting for both the wide variety found throughout the space lanes as well as the existence of a good group of "typical" ships.
The frame to the right has many links to various ships that will display ship description and thier deckplans in this frame. Ship description will include: power sources, armaments, and other magical and nonmagical equipment that may be helpful in space. Prices are given, but the general rule is "what the market will bear" (which often translates into "how much have you got?").
All ships and ship equipment are rare in space; there are a few "used spaceship shops" in the known spheres, but they are few and far between, and seldom do they have more than one or two ships available. Often initial adventurers hire on for some trading cartel or as emissaries for some powerful wizard or enterprising faith, and take the ship in trade of some heroic deeds. Such ships are usually bottom of the line, little more than tubs, but can be converted into suitable adventuring vehicles with sufficient time and gold.
In general, there is a 10 percent chance that an item listed here is available at any large space civilization. There is an additional 20 percent chance that there is a rumor that the needed item can be found somewhere else in the system (either as treasure or part of a hulk or belonging to someone else). This 20 percent chance increases by 5 percent for every week spent in one location, so that an individual looking for a major helm on Cooper's Rock has a 30 percent chance of coming up with a lead on it in three weeks' time. The nature and details of such items are left to the DM (DM-check out the Lorebook of the Void for ideas on what to include in such scavenger hunts).
There are a wide variety of ship hulls, ranging from converted oceangoing ships to the space borne beholder tyrant ships to the organically grown ships of the elves.
The types listed in the shipyard come from various spelljammer box sets and modules and including new ships created by many game masters who have embraced Spelljammer as their campaign of choice. Also listed here is the galleon, the most common groundling ship that is converted and taken into space (galleons are normally used by first-time adventurers, as their poor armor ratings and low MCs, make them undesirable to more experienced voyagers). Note that there is a difference between tons when describing the displacement of an ocean-going ship and tonnage in SPELLJAMMERTM
game terms, where a spatial ton equals 100 cubic yards of atmosphere.