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Next Message: Re: It has been quiet lately, lets revive old
Month Index: July, 1995

From:     Gary Dickey <Phineas@?????.net>
Date:     Sun, 9 Jul 1995 11:32:37 -1000
Subject:  Re: It has been quiet lately, lets revive old topics:
>What sorts of fantastic beasts have been domesticated or utilized in
>ingenious ways in your campagins?
>Is there a general understanding that using green slime, jellies or puddings
>is against the rules of war or are those things too finicky to maintain
>alive in a shipboard setting?  I can see necromancers and liches using
>the exclusively flesh eating ones, or having skeletons and other expendable
>undead use them, or set traps in their ships with them.

I borrowed an idea from the Dark Queen of Krynn computer game and came up
with a recipe for black pudding -the delicacy.  I adapted the recipe to
Spelljamming by using a star to cook the pudding instead of molten lava or
magma.  I have allowed players to use animate dead spells to create zombies
out of their dead crew members after a battle so they could have enough
hands to man their ship.

>For a port defense:  A large glassee'd steel dome, illuminating a chained
>Greater Basilisk, that petrifies by gaze.  Perhaps the dome can also
>magnify the image of the Basilisk, like a giant goldfish bowl, enabling
>its image to be fatally spotted further away.  This could be placed on a
high toh
>tower, invisible to the defenders, and only illuminated or uncovered
>for major threats.  It becomes less useful against a forewarned foe.

Basilisks, Medusae, Gorgons, Hell Hounds, Ice Hounds, Cockatrices,
Nightmares, and even Dragons are great for defensive as well as offensive
capabilities.  I have allowed them all if the players could find them.  It
was quite interesting when I had the Neogi attack and board them.  I had to
figure out what would happen if an Umber Hulk and a Medusae looked at each
other at the same time.  Various Giants are also useful as I believe it
mentioned in the source materials.  You can use them as boulder throwers
(catapults), or as spear hurlers (ballistas).

>What sorts of ranges do the various campaigns have out there for ship
>Detection, Identification, and Orientation (where they are going).

Detection and Identification can be done with either magic or psionics and
as always varies on the amount of interference out there.  DM determines
effects of both.

>Can the different helm types be identified?

Quite simply, yes.  Magical helms can be identified through a detect magic
spell and likewise a psionic helm can be detected through a detect psionics
spell.  Psionics can also be used to identify whether magic or psionics is
present.  DM detemines if the identity check is successful.

>Is it an enhancement of vision or purely magical, and thus harder to spoof
detection gear?
>Does it function better or worse near planets?

I usually make it worse near planets because 1) gravity does affect energy,
thus magic, and 2) the greater the population density (which is normally on
planetary objects) the more mages = the more spells being cast at the same
time = more interference with your magic.

I'm in favor of simply
>waving my hands and saying a mysterious property of wildspace enables
>distant objects to seem a _lot_ closer or obvious, especially if moving
>at spelljamming speeds.

That is also a perfectly acceptable solution.  As the rules go, the DM decides.

>How many of your encounters, campaign time, is set around the hazards of
>travelling and how much is on planets?

I usually let the party decide.  If they like to travel then naturally I
will challenge them while they travel.  If they like to spend a lot of time
on the planets then I challenge them there.  Occasionally, they want to put
in to port after sustaining enough damage or maybe they just get tired of
hacking and slashing.  If I as the DM ever get bored with the space battles
then I will send them up against a couple of Death Spiders and damage them
enough where they are forced to go to port.  I only have to do this during
"free play" as I call it.  Most of the time I start the party at a spaceport
and post jobs for hire at a local establishment.  They can either pick a job
to "track down a vicious pirate who was last seen in the Butari Nebula"
where they will be in space the whole adventure.  Or they can "recover the
lost amulet of a great archmage who had strongholds on various planets" and
make them search the various planets until they find the stronghold where
the amulet is.

>Are their high level magics that fleets use that enable fleet battles to
>even take place?  And if so, isn't this like the early social effect of
>gunpowder, where only the richest kingdoms could afford a siege train,
>with the attendant political fall out as well?

I do use high level magics for my fleets.  What I have done is used the old
BATTLESYSTEM miniature game rules and adapted them to SPELLJAMMER.  First of
all, I assume that the characters are of high enough level that they can
amass an army or followers as it says in the players handbook or that they
are rich enough to hire good help and continue to pay them.  You could use a
good cause to rally a fleet to help you but you need to do something to
justify that your players are the "admirals" of the fleet if they are to
lead it.
        What I have also done is created some of my own artifacts to help
even the odds.  I call it Phillippe's Fire Shot, after the mage who created
it.  It is basically a cannonball (or catapultball for the flow) with a
fireball rune magically inscribed on it, designed to go off on impact or
seconds after impact.  This allows the use of a fireball spell in the flow
or a longer range fireball spell in wildspace.  When the fireball goes off
in the flow it has the power to completely envelop and usually destroy or at
least incapacitate a ship the size of Death Spider.  Phillippe also
developed a Super Fire Shot, but when he gave it to Captain Phineas, a
pirate, rogue, mercenary,..etc., to test he gave it to a group of Tinker
Gnomes to test for him in the flow.  Needless to say, the gnomes didn't
survive and Phineas decided that such a weapon wouldn't be profitable.  (He
lives by the rule "Always pillage BEFORE you burn!")
        Phillippe has patented his invention and has made quite a profit
(with the aide of Phineas) selliing his Fire Shot for cannons an catapults,
and Mini-Fire Shot for jettisons, pistols, and muskets.  He has also began
creating Fire Heads and Mini-Fire Heads for ballistas, cross-bows, hand
crossbows, and arrows.

Jareth the Bard

Previous Message: Magic items in Spelljammer...
Next Message: Re: It has been quiet lately, lets revive old
Month Index: July, 1995

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
It has been quiet lately, lets revive old topics:    Michael Sandy    09 Jul 1995 01:29:06
Re: It has been quiet lately, lets revive old topics:    Gary Dickey    09 Jul 1995 21:32:37

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