Introduction

The two new systems here, plus the ship construction spreadsheet, are the end results of a lot of time, effort, research and thought. In truth, more of the same could be put into them, and they could be edited more thoroughly, but I am now at the point where I need to stop tinkering and put them out for public scrutiny. I am making these available so people can read them, comment on them, criticize them, and hopefully playtest them.

It should be stressed that these items have received no editing or feedback from anyone but myself. These are beta- test versions. They have not been playtested yet, but I am hoping to do some playtesting with them and a few friends over the next month or so.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. Even better, post your comments and questions to the Spelljammer Mailing List (subscribing if you have to).

The three items here are:

The Ship Construction System. This has relatively complete rules and extensive options for constructing spelljamming vessels. It is based on my previous system for D&D 2e. There are a number of tweaks and alterations to make it suitable for 3e, as well as many new option, but anyone familiar with the old system will have a leg up on this one. Included at the end of the system are a few conversions of previous ships to the new system.

The Ship Combat System. This is a complete set of rules for running ship-to-ship combat in D&D 3e. It is designed to be an amalgamation of the standard 3e combat system and the tone and feel of the old 2e combat system. It has more options and more detail than the 2e system, while theoretically retaining the overall feel of ship combat that Spelljammer has always had. It includes new feats and new skills.

The Ship Yard Excel Spreadsheet. (Instructions) This spreadsheet was designed to aid in creating ships. While it is an Excel spreadsheet, it was set up to work much like a program. There are buttons and check boxes and so on. And once you have designed your ship it creates a summary that you can paste into a word processor. This summary needs some cleanup to look good, but it is much faster than writing everything up yourself. It even has two options for summaries: a vertical listing of stats, much like monsters in the Monster Manual, or as a stat block. There is a file of basic instructions that comes with it as well.

The Ship Yard does not have all options available in the ship construction system, though it has most of them.

Note that the Ship Yard is not protected, so it is possible to mess it up if you tinker with it. I recommend making a backup, especially if you have little Excel experience. Little actual Excel knowledge is required, but those that know absolutely nothing about Excel may have some problems with it. One each sheet you may have to adjust the zoom level or scroll around to see everything, depending on the size and resolution of your monitor.

How You Can Help

These systems are being made available in the hopes that people will offer feedback. Here is how you can help.

  • Read everything and offer your feedback. Anything can help, except for possibly insults. Even if you never use it for anything, offering up criticism might spark ideas.

  • Use the ship construction system, possibly aided by The Ship Yard, to create new ships or convert old ships to the new system. Look for anything that seems odd. Try to work or break the system. Imagine an amount of gold you might have as a character and build the best ship you can with that gold. Try different amounts, say: 15,000 gp, 15,000 gp, 50,000 gp, 100,000 gp and 250,000 gp.

  • Use the sample stats for crew and ships and run a few combats. There are no helm rules, so either use the old rules or simply give each ship a speed, which should work fine (ranges from 2 to 6 should work best). Try and look for stuff out of the ordinary. Generally speaking, when all things are equal, ships that cost more should win more often. If not, there is a flaw in the system. Offer any feedback on how your combats went.

  • Create new ships and try them in combat. If you have someone who can help, each of you take a given amount of money to build a ship and see who wins with their design. Try it with each person having two or more of their designed ships. Offer any feedback on how your combats went.

  • Use The Ship Yard to build a number of ships and check the results for accuracy. Perhaps build three ships with paper, pencil and calculator, then build the exact same ships with The Ship Yard, and see if there are any discrepancies.

A Few Notes

Here are a few things to keep in mind when reading all of this.

  • There is no system for helms. The systems here were written to be essentially independent from how helms work (perhaps with the exception of hit points and an assumed stress on the ship). I will write up my helm rules and make them available, but you should be able to make whatever you currently use work with these systems, unless you have something in mind far and away from the old 2e version.

  • The two new skills in here are not fully written out yet. Hey, it's a beta! Really, everything you use the skills for is detailed in the combat system.

  • The two new skills are not assigned as class skills to any class. The men who operate the rigging—thus using the Operate Rigging skill—are written up as experts, the NPC class in the DMG. These systems do not assume helmsman are spellcasters; such details are unimportant to these systems. They are independent of such rules, and you should be able to do things how you want.

  • There are many references to "Table XXX" or "Section XXX" throughout the rules. This is because it is a beta test, and giving these things proper numbers and labels will wait until more things are finalized. All tables have names, though, and I don't think you will have problems finding the tables or sections you need.

  • Ultimately there will be other file formats available. PDF was chosen because it was the quickest way to make stuff available. The time spent on HTMLizing it or converting it to text or RTF would be too much. I want to wait until everything is more finalized, so I don't have to do the work a second time.

  • Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. Even better, post your comments and questions to the Spelljammer Mailing List (subscribing if you have to).

Thanks!

Updates

These rules and the spreadsheet will be updated from time to time. The initial version was 1.b.

July 16, 2002 (1.b.1)

  • Fixed rigging costs in spreadsheet to match documents.

  • Fixed armour and AC example in construction document.

  • Gave rigging hit points and removed abstract rigging damage system.

  • Added rigging hit points and AC to the sample ships.

  • Added guidelines for larger, multihex ships.

  • Added diagram showing the different ramming angles, including raming angles for multihex ships.

  • Added notes on fire damage to rigging in the fire section.

  • Spreadsheet calculates rigging hit points and puts them in the summary. It does not yet calculate rigging AC.

  • Spreadsheet no longer allows you to have solid terrestrial rigging. Includes a warning.

July 23, 2002 (1.b.11)

  • Added descriptions of the materials to the construction document, which includes enhancement bonuses for adamantine hull and plating.

  • Collected all tables at the back of each document for easy reference during construction and play.

October 28, 2002 (1.b.13)

  • Added weapon tables and information to the end of the construction system for ease of reference.

  • Clarified how free turrets work.

  • Added rules for weapon arcs on multi-hex ships.

  • Did some minor clean up text hear and there. Nothing major.