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Month Index: November, 1994

From:     Rebecca Glenn <iridian@??????.com>
Date:     Sat, 5 Nov 1994 17:51:49 -0800 (PST)
Subject:  Re: NB: Silth in Space
Some weeks ago, I posted a request on the list for any system anyone had
come up with for bringing the silth of glen cook's Darkwar series into
spelljammer. Well, the response I got to that was Sean Reynolds
suggesting I do the writeup myself (gee, thanks sean--grin). This goes
out as a warning to anyone else out there who might post a request for
conversion rules from their favorite book series. (grin)

The following rules are written with apologies to Glen Cook for any

Meth                     Silth             Voctors       Tradermales
Climate/Terrain:          Any                Any            Any
Frequency:             Very Rare          Very Rare      Very Rare
Organization:          Pack/Ship          Pack/Ship      Pack/Ship
Activity Cycle:          Day                 Day           Day
Diet:                 Omnivore            Omnivore       Omnivore
Intelligence:        Average to Genius     Average    Average to Very
Treasure:                 S,Y                O           Y or O
Alignment:             Chaotic             Chaotic        Chaotic
Number Appearing:    4-20 (1-5 darkships)  1-4 per Silth    2-5
Armor Class:              8                  6               7
Movement:                 12                 12              9
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          by weapon or   by weapon or
            claw/claw/bite: 1-2/1-2/1-4    1-3/1-3/2-5    bite: 1-4
Special Attacks:     psionics               NA             tech
Special Defense:     psionics               NA             tech
Magic Resistance:        none                none          none
Size:                 M (5')              M (5-5.5')     M (4.5)
Morale:                  14                  15             10
xp value:              varies              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 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

Combat: Voctors are thoroughly trained warriors and will normally wield
spears or shortswords and shields. 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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

Items of Interest:

Golden Fluid: That is the name the Silth have for it. It is a potion
which, when intested, 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.

Psionic Suppressor: 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.

Silth Darkship: Traditional Wood and Tradermale Titanium

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 tehre 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
Built By:         Silth                        Tradermale/Silth
Beam Length:      12-15'                         15-20'
Keel Length:      10-12'                         12-15'
Tonnage:           1                               1
Hull Points:       3                               2
Maneuverability Class: Special (A-C)
Armor Rating:    Special (base 8)
Landing Capability: Land only
Spelljamming Helm: Special
Ship's Rating: Special (based on Mistress)
Crew: 3 bath minimum, 6 bath maximum (2 crews), 1 mistress, plus spare
Major Armament: Crew (voctors)
Save As:        Thick Wood                       Metal

Tradermale Voidship:
Built by: Tradermales
Hull Type: Metal shell
Beam Length: 20'
Keel Length: 15'
tonnage: 3
Hull Points: 3
Maneuverability Class: D
Armor Rating: 7
Landing Capability: Land only
Spelljamming Helm: Special
Ship's Rating: Special
Backup Systems: Tradermale engines (see gnomish sidereel)
Crew: Min: 2 tradermales, 1 Mistress, 2 Bath
      Max: 5 Tradermales, 1 Mistress, 4 Bath
Major Armament: Tradermale weapons (powder type things)
Save As: Metal


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 Darksun.
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
15                 5                    2
16                 9                    3
17                 13                   5
18                 17                   7

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. The Mistress draws the
same number of PSPs or HPs from all those she uses. 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.

PSP drain: The Mistress must spend the requisite PSPs for the ship rating
immediately at start, 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.

Voidship Mech:

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. 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

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.


Well, that's it. I know I've probably left holes in the description, so I
would appreciate critiques from any corner.

Once again, the source of this race is the Darkwar Trilogy by Glen Cook:


While he hasn't written anything on this world since 1986, and I don't
think he ever intends to, there is no intention here to steal anything
from him.

the reaper
iridian@??????.com and rebecca_glenn@???.com

                      "Across the Modem,
                       Around the LAN,
                       Through the Gateway,
                       Nothing but Net."

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