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Month Index: January, 1996

From:     lewis pulsipher <lewis_pulsipher@?????.????????.?????.????.mil>
Date:     Thu, 18 Jan 96 12:40:09 EST
Subject:  Re: Tactical Helms for Small Ships
                         Tactical Helms
                         Lewis Pulsipher

     The Spelljammer rules refer to many small vessels, such as flitters,
     powered by unspecified means, often stationed on much larger vessels.
     It must be obvious that not even the Imperial Navy can afford to spend
     100,000 gold pieces a shot to power one-ton flitters, but no rules are
     suggested.  Here's my "solution".

     Magical helms may be created (or purchased from the Arcane) that
     enable movement on a tactical and intra-system scale, but not through
     the phlogiston.  Moreover, these helms work only with very small
     ships, and not over large heavenly bodies.

     The speed of a tactically-helmed ship in combat depends on the type of
     helm.  One type (the "drain" tactical) gives a SR as does a minor
     helm, and similarly drains a spell-caster's ability to cast spells.
     The "furnace" tactical helm takes its power from magic items, and
     gives an SR of 2, just as the full-scale furnace helm.

     The furnace tactical helm functions one day per 100 [?] gp value of
     magical items "burned" in it.  There is no advantage to burning two at

     For both types, the speed at a strategic scale is only ten thousand
     miles per hour, or a quarter million miles per day.  Hence, such a
     helm would get you from Earth orbit to Luna orbit in one day (note
     that none will function on Earth or Luna, see below).  Interplanetary
     travel is not very practical with these helms.  They do not function
     at all in the phlogiston.

     These helms also fail when they come into the gravity well of a body
     above a certain size.  This is listed in the following table.  When
     the helm fails, gravity takes over, so beware!

     These helms have a maximum ship size varying according to cost.

                 Maximum Planet
     Cost       (largest crossection)   "Drain" Helm    "Furnace" Helm
                                        Max Ship Size   Max Ship Size
     5,000      1 mile                  1 ton                   2 tons
     10,000     10 miles                2 tons                  4 tons
     15,000     100 miles               3 tons                  6 tons
     20,000     500 miles               4 tons                  8 tons
     25,000     1,000 miles             5 tons                  10 tons

     [max heavenly body very much open to change (smaller)]

     These helms are identified as T (for tactical) followed by D for drain
     or F for furnace, followed by a number 1 through 10 for maximum ship
     size.  For example, a TD3 costs 15,000 gp.  Yes, the TF10 can be used
     in a Dragonfly or Damselfly, for example.

     Both helms still suffer the affects of The Barrier, even if the
     heavenly body isn't too large altogether (see above).  These are helms
     for tactical activity in space, not near planets.  They are normally
     used for flitters and similar ships that are carried on much larger



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