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Month Index: January, 1995

From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@?????.?????.com>
Date:     Thu, 19 Jan 95 18:55 PST
Subject:  Re: Port defenses, uses for magical beasties...
A little while ago I asked about how Spelljammer ports defended themselves.
The really important thing seemed to be range.  So, for those who like
Line of Sight range, I give you the Medusa Tower, (a.k.a Basilisk Tower)

Chain a basilisk on a tower with a huge Glassteel dome over it.  Like a
goldfish bowl the basilisk will appear larger than it is.  Intensely
illuminate the interior of the dome whenever enemy ship are overhead.
"Hey!  What is that flashing light?  <Sound of Petrified observer falling>"

The tower could be shaped so that the basilisk or Medusa is only visible
from above or to the sides, forcing a low level approach that conventional
artillery and missile fire can deal with.

What magical beasties have been at least semi-domesticated in your campaigns,
or would be interesting to domesticate?

Instead of high technology or powerful magical items the keys to
military and economic security and dominance could center around the control
and training of fantastical beasts.  Trainers, controllers, subduers and
capturers of magical beasts could be an exciting if dangerous occupation
for Spelljammers.  Of course, the PC's could face comptetion from the
Neogi Slaver with a kindoori Lifejammer ship...  (SR 40?!!!!)

A tame or more likely charmed Bulette, kept under stasis on ship would be
great for mining asteroids and digging hideouts or raiding them.

Giant Spiders build the super strong lines used to grapple other ships, or
build great spinning space ports.  Spider silk could be an extremely
valuable and useful commodity in saving precious space and weight for
cargo.  It would also be useful in cargo hoists and anchors, gnomish flingers,
harpoons, rigging and salvage towing.

Giant insect carapaces could substitute for ceramics and even metal tools
in areas where such would be difficult to obtain.

Just like early Earth empires transplanted useful fruit and nut trees and
other food crops, so too in a Spelljammer universe would a varied diet
be a product of trade.

With the aid of the spell Plant Growth, quick transplantation and cultivation
can be acheived.  Avoiding the infinity vine, there are a number of nasty
plants which would make excellant aids to defenses, combinations of barbed
wire and minefields...  Some only grow in particular enviroments, but
imagine having to chop through waist high thornbushes for a hundred yards
through missile fire prior to storming a castle, while carrying ladders.

The various puddings also make an interesting miliary option for those
interested in biowarfare.  Drop some of those on your enemies supply train
and they will have to burn their own train to stop them from growing.
There was a story in Dragon once about a pass that was held by a man with
a ?brown? pudding in a stone casket, which was uncovered and then pounded
with lightning from a storm some druids summoned.  Whichever pudding
that splits when hit by lightning, anyway.

Having a few thought eaters on board when visiting illithid space might
be amusing.  Feeding them and containing the astral or etherial beasties,
whichever they are, may be a problem, but...

Tips for fighting Beholders in large numbers:
Use illusion spells to make them some of them look like a different race of
Beholders.  Only really useful if you've met and survived an encounter with
a different race of beholders, or had some _really_ good descriptions...
Put a Gaze Reflection spell on your kender and send it forward, worst comes
to worst the kender dies.  *aw shucks*.  (Why a kender?  The Taunt ability)

Problem, some Beholders are suprageniuses, which means they are immune to
1st level illusions.  Does that mean they are immune to have their attacks
Gaze Reflected???

The more useful the beastie, the more likely _somebody_ out there has learned
to exploit it, and the more they are likely to charge for their skill, and
the more vigorously they will keep their techniques _secret_!

But space is vast, and guild's secrets slip out, and there are always more
fantastic beasties to be discovered...

Michael Sandy

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