Ships: Spelljammer 5e Conversion


Finally what everyone has been patiently waiting for from my Spelljammer 5e conversion. It’s time to go over ships! This post contains the updated stats for nineteen ships that originally appeared in the Spelljammer campaign box set. The conversion of ships from 2nd Edition AD&D rules to 5e was fairly straight forward with only a few modifications which I will explain as we go along. Since it’s a huge amount of information I’ve broken this post down into two parts. 

Much like in the original Spelljammer rules I have broken the ships down by certain attributes that they possess such as Maneuverability Rating, Armament and Crew Size. Let’s get started with explaining what each attribute is and how I came up with it.

Cost– This is the cost to purchase a ship in gold pieces. In almost every case the cost of a ship was taken directly from the original Spelljammer rules.

Crew Min/Max- These two numbers indicate the minimum number of crew required to operate the ship and the maximum occupancy of the ship. These numbers were taken directly from the original rules.

Maneuverability Rating (MR)– I explained the updated rules for maneuverability in an earlier post. The original rules rated ships with a Maneuverability Class (MC) ranging from A to F, but there were no ships listed in the boxed set with an MC of A. For this conversion I assigned a ship with an MC of B a Maneuverability Rating of 1, an MC of C a Maneuverability Rating of 2, and so on.

Armor Class (AC)- Ships were listed in the original Spelljammer rules by Armor Rating not Armor Class. Armor Rating measured the difficulty of hitting a ship based on its construction and maneuverability. I converted to Armor Class by subtracting Armor Rating from 22.

Hit Points (HP)- Hit Points for ships are identical to Hit Points for characters and monsters. They measure the amount of damage the ship can sustain before it is destroyed. This damage number was called Hull Points in the 2nd Edition rules. Hull Points were determined by the tonnage, i.e. the displacement of the ship. For each point of tonnage the ship had one Hull Point. For this conversion I used the Airborne and Waterborne Vehicles table in the 5e DMG and some math to determine that one Hull Point is equal to 25 Hit Points in this edition.

Damage Threshold– This is a rule from the 5e DMG that I am carrying over to Spelljammer. Originally, attacks made by small weapons (such as a sword or an arrow) had to do 10 hit points of damage to the exact same area before they took off one Hull Point. For example, an arrow that did eight points of Hit Point damage did no Hull Point damage. Damage Threshold serves this same purpose. A ship with 100 or more Hit Points has a Damage Threshold of 10. This number goes up by 5 for every additional 200 Hit Points the ship has up to 500. Above 500 Hit Points the Damage Threshold goes up by 5 for every additional 500 Hit Points the ship has to a maximum of 30.

Keel Length- This is the length of the ship from fore to aft (that’s front to back for you landlubbers). This number will become important when dealing with gravity and the air pocket that surrounds a ship. These numbers were taken right from the boxed set.

Beam Length- This is the measurement of the widest part of the ship from port to starboard (left to right). This measurement will be important for gravity and air. I also took these numbers straight from the boxed set.

Standard Armaments- This is the amount and type of weaponry that can installed on a ship. I will be going over the conversion of armaments in a future post, but ship weapons range from medium weapons such as a light ballista to huge weapons like a trebuchet.

Helm Type- The final ship attribute is helm type. This indicates what type of Spelljammer Helm can be used to run the ship. Most ships can be run off either a Major or Minor Helm, but other require a Major Helm or a special type of Helm. It should be noted that a Crown of Stars is sufficient whenever a Major or Minor Helm is indicated as the helm type.

Spelljammer Ships

Ship TypeCostCrew Min/MaxMRACHPDamage ThresholdKeel LengthBeam LengthStandard ArmamentHelm Type
Flitter10,000 gp1/111425N/A20 ft/ 6.1 m5 ft/ 1.5 mNoneMajor or Minor Helm
Mosquito15,000 gp1/621715010100 ft/ 30.5 m15 ft/ 4.6 mNoneMajor or Minor Helm
Caravel10,000 gp8/105132501070 ft/ 21.3 m20 ft/ 6.1 m1 large weaponMajor or Minor Helm
Dragonfly40,000 gp3/1021425010100 ft/ 30.5 m20 ft/ 6.1 m1 medium weaponMajor or Minor Helm
Damselfly50,000 gp2/1031825010100 ft/ 30.5 m20 ft/ 6.1 m1 huge weaponMajor or Minor Helm
Wasp20,000 gp8/183164501580 ft/ 24.4 m20 ft/ 6.1 m1 huge weaponMajor or Minor Helm
Tyrant Ship100,000 gp15/2322257520100 ft/ 30.5 m100 ft/ 30.5 mSpecialOrbus
Tradesman15,000 gp10/2531762520120 ft/ 36.6 m30 ft/ 9.1 m1 medium weapon and 1 large weaponMajor or Minor Helm
Gnomish Sidewheeler40,000 gp20/3041575020120 ft/ 36.6 m25 ft/ 7.6 mNone Gnomish
Nautiloid40,000 gp10/3531887520180 ft/ 54.9 m30 ft/ 9.1 m5 large weaponsSeries Helm or Pool Helm
Mindspider60,000 gp3/4021810002540 ft/ 12.2 m15 ft/ 4.6 m3 large weaponsLifejammer
Galleon50,000 gp20/40415100025130 ft/ 39.6 m30 ft/ 9.1 m1 medium weapon and 2 large weaponsMajor or Minor Helm
Squid Ship45,000 gp12/453171,12525250 ft/ 76.2 m25 ft/ 7.6 m2 large weapons and 1 huge weaponMajor or Minor Helm
Dragonship60,000 gp20/45 3171,12525150 ft/ 45.7 m20 ft/ 6.1 m2 large weaponsMajor or Minor Helm
Hammership50,000 gp24/603161,50030250 ft/ 76.2 m25 ft/ 7.6 m3 huge weaponsMajor or Minor Helm
Man-o-War100,000 gp10/602151,50030200 ft/ 61 m20 ft/ 6.1 m4 large weaponsMajor or Minor Helm
Deathspider100,000 gp30/1004172,50030175 ft/ 53.3 m50 ft/ 15.2 m6 huge weaponsMajor Helm
Armada125,000 gp40/100 3172,50030300 ft/ 91.4 m30 ft/ 9.1 m14 huge weapons Major Helm
Citadel1,000,000 gp100/3004227,50030250 ft/ 76.2 m200 ft/ 61 m7 huge weapons, 8 large weapons and 12 medium weaponsForge

Spelljammer Ships



The Flitter is the smallest of all the Spelljammer ships. Built and used by elves this vessel is usually found aboard a larger ship where it can be used as a messenger ship, scout craft, landing ship or a fighter.



Mosquitoes are human built ships that are used by all races in space. The Mosquito fills many of the same functions as the Flitter, but it can also carry up to six people.


Caravels are ocean going vessels that have been modified for space travel simply by sticking a Spelljammer Helm on them. Because of this they are not very maneuverable and are often quickly replaced by adventures arriving in space.



The Dragonfly is a very popular ship among space-faring humans and elves. This relatively inexpensive ship is built by humans for use in smuggling, exploring, or adventuring.


The Damselfly is nothing more than an upgraded Dragonfly that adds more durability and the capacity for larger weapons. These upgrades do come at the cost of a slight decrease in maneuverability.



The Wasp is purpose built by Lizard Men to suit their needs, but is also frequently used by humans. This vessel is not as armored as a Damselfly, but can absorb a higher amount of damage.

Tyrant Ship

Tyrant Ships are used by beholders. These ships have no common form instead individually reflecting the style of the particular clan of beholders that operate them. Tyrant Ships do not use Spelljammer helms. They are powered by an Orbus, a type of beholder that exists only to pilot these ships.  Each Orbus aboard the vessel provides an SR of 1 up to a maximum SR of 5.  A Tyrant Ship does carry traditional ship weapons, but it is capable of firing a beam that is one hex long by 100 ft (30.5 m) wide. This beam is powered by a circuit of at least three beholders including one common beholder, one Orbus and one Hive Mother. Its effects are identical to those of the common beholder eye beam but one additional creature may be targeted for each common beholder in the circuit. In addition the following increases can be made:

Telekinetic Ray- Add 250 lbs. to the normal capacity for each common beholder if the target is not a creature

Disintegration Ray-Add an additional 10-foot cube of disintegration for each common beholder for Huge or larger objects



The Tradesman is one of the workhorses of space. They are built by humans, but used by all of the space-faring races. Tradesman ships are ideal for trading, adventuring, or even a little piracy.



A Sidewheeler is the product of gnomish “ingenuity”. They are over-engineered and lacking any grace or beauty. These vessels are powered by Gnomish Helms. These are complicated bits of machinery full of unnecessary gears and levers and only work 60% of the time. Those that do function do so because they are built around actual Spelljammer Helms. Space gnomes use their Sidewheelers to do all of the things that gnomes normally do.



These are standard ship for the Illithid nations of space. The mind flayers power these vessels with either Series Helms which provide an SR of 1 for every Helm in the series or a Pool Helm which grants an SR of 5. Nautiloid ships are used for military purposes, piracy and trading.

Like I said this is a huge amount of information. I will be posting the descriptions of the final nine ships tomorrow.


All ship images by Jim Holloway.



4 thoughts on “Ships: Spelljammer 5e Conversion”

    1. Crystal Spheres was one of the modules that I considered converting over to 5e before we settled on doing a homebrew campaign. That adventure does a really great job of bringing in all of the elements that make Spelljammer unique.

  1. storm king thunder gives the stats of a squid ship as the sailings ship from the DMG. think you will have to redo your math.

    1. Obviously the WotC folks are the experts, but the inclusion of a squid ship in this module seems more like a fun Easter egg than anything. I’m gonna stick with my conversion.

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