1.Introduction to Spelljammer
2. The Geography of Space
Crystal Spheres are exactly what their name entails; they are gigantic spheres made out of magic crystal. These spheres are also sometimes referred to as Crystal Shells. A Crystal Sphere contains all of the planets, moons and suns of each fantasy campaign world.
Celestial Body Size Classification
|Size Class||Diameter in Miles||Diameter in Kilometers|
|Size A||Less than 10||Less than 16|
|Size J||10000001 and greater||16093441 and greater|
Between all of the celestial bodies in each Crystal Sphere is a void known as Wildspace. Wildspace is the equivalent of space in the real world. There is no air or gravity within Wildspace.
The Phlogiston is an endless ocean filled with a multicolored flammable element that is neither air, earth, fire or water. The Crystal Spheres actually float along within the Phlogiston. Currents also flow through the Phlogiston that act as express lanes for Spelljammer ships traveling between the spheres. Like Wildspace there is no air or gravity within the Phlogiston.
3. Peculiarities of Space
Since there is no breathable air in Wildspace or the Phlogiston suffocation may seem like a certainty for groundlings journeying into space. Space-faring races do not worry about such things though. Any celestial body larger that is more than 1 mile (1.6 km) in diameter generates its own breathable atmosphere. This atmosphere extends from the surface to the edge of Wildspace.
A functioning Spelljammer Helm also generates an atmosphere surrounding the ship with a pocket of breathable air. This pocket extends thirty feet (9.1 meters) out from all points of the ship’s structure and is enough for the maximum crew of each ship to breathe normally on deck. Should the Spelljammer Helm be disabled or destroyed the air pocket will slowly begin to dissipate, but enough breathable air will remain for the crew to survive for seven days.
Adventurers unlucky enough to find themselves outside of the air pocket of a Spelljammer ship or bold enough to explore smaller celestial bodies will want to equip themselves with a Pearl of Air. These pearls are mined from the gas giant planets by space dwarves and sold at most space ports. A Pearl of Air provides its holder with enough breathable air to survive outside of an air pocket for 24 hours.
There is no gravity in Wildspace or the Phlogiston. However all Spelljammer ships and celestial bodies larger than 25 feet (7.6 meters) in diameter generate a gravitational pull equal to that of Earth’s gravity. For a celestial body the force of gravity acts much like it does in our world. Any creature or smaller object on the surface of the body is pulled towards the center. The gravity field of a celestial body extends from its center to the edge of Wildspace.
On a Spelljammer ship this force manifests as a gravity plane along the ship’s long axis. Creatures or smaller objects above this plane are pulled down by this force; creatures or smaller objects that are below are pulled up. The gravity plane of a ship or object extends the same distance as the air envelope.
Creatures or objects that fall off of the deck of a Spelljammer ship will fall through the gravity plane and then be pulled back up towards the bottom of the ship. This makes it possible for a creature or object to bob up and down next to a ship.
The lack of gravity in Wildspace and the Phlogiston affects the travel of normal ranged weapons. Missiles fired beyond a gravity field have an extended range. The long range of the weapon listed in the Player’s Handbook is the normal range in space and the new long range is four times that number. Melee combat is also possible outside of the gravity field, but all attacks are made with Disadvantage.
Within the air envelope of a Spelljammer ship or a celestial body normal and magical fire functions exactly as it would on the ground. However, the lack of air in Wildspace has an affect on fires. Magical fire like Fireball can be cast normally outside of an air pocket, but this fire has no chance of catching anything ablaze. Normal fire will not function at all outside of an air envelope in Wildspace.
Fire in the Phlogiston is extremely deadly. The Phlogiston permeates the air envelope of a Spelljammer ship making an explosive mixture. Spelljammer crews know to extinguish all flames before exiting a Crystal Sphere, however, accidents do happen. The following table shows some examples of fire damage in the Phlogiston.
|Type of Flame||Fireball Damage||Area of Effect|
|Lit Candle||1d6||4 inches/ 10.2 cm diameter|
|Lit Lantern||3d6||1 foot/ 0.3 m diameter|
|Cooking Fire||3d6||3 feet/ 0.9 m diameter|
|Fireball||Spell damage X 3||Spell area of effect X 3|
Casting any spell that creates magical fire in the Phlogiston causes the spell to immediately trigger with the caster as the center of the area of effect.
Fire on the deck of a Spelljammer ship is also very dangerous. Shipboard fires will expand at a rate of 1 foot (0.3 m) per round. Initially a fire can be put out by one crew member in one round. Every round the fire is allowed to expand increases the number of crew members and rounds needed to extinguish the flames by one.
Magic functions exactly the same from Crystal Sphere to Crystal Sphere. Spells that can cast in the Forgotten Realms can also be cast on Krynn or any other world. However, magic in the Phlogiston is a different story altogether. The Phlogiston is cut off from any of the major powers that inhabit the Crystal Spheres. Clerics and Paladins are unable to commune with their chosen deities while traveling through the Phlogiston and Warlocks are cut off from their patrons. These classes are unable to regain exhausted spell slots while outside of a Crystal Sphere, but may continue to use Cantrips. Class features are unaffected by this restriction.
The Phlogiston is also isolated from the other planes of existence. The peculiar nature of the Phlogiston makes it impossible to cast any spell that conjures celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, or any other extraplanar beings. Devices or spells that allow for planar travel will not function in the Phlogiston nor will any device or spell that creates extradimensional space.
Spells in the Phlogiston
The following spells will not function in the Phlogiston:
Conjure Minor Elementals
Conjure Woodland Being
Contact Other Plane
Leomund’s Secret Chest
Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound
Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion
The following spells have limited effects when cast in the Phlogiston:
Banishing Smite– Reducing the target to 50 hit points or fewer does not banish it.
Imprisonment– You may not choose Hedged Prison.
See Invisibility– You are unable to see into the Ethereal Plane
Sending– Messages have no chance of reaching a target on a different plane than you.
The following magic items will not function in the Phlogiston:
Amulet of the Planes
Bag of Devouring*
Bag of Holding*
Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals
Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals
Censer of Controlling Air Elementals
Heward’s Handy Haversack*
Horn of Valhalla
Mirror of Life Trapping†
Oil of Etherealness
Plate Armor of Etherealness
Quiver of Ehlonna*
Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals
Well of Many Worlds
*The extradimensional spaces housed within these items cannot be accessed from the Phlogiston, but anything previously stored within them remains within them.
†Any creature already trapped within the mirror’s extradimensional cells remains trapped while in the Phlogiston.
Magic Items in the Phlogiston
The following magic items have limited use in the Phlogiston:
Deck of Many Things- Drawing the Donjon or Skull cards seems to have no effect while in the Phlogiston, but they will take immediate effect upon entering a Crystal Sphere.
Robe of Stars- The wearer is unable to enter the Astral Plane.
Sending Stones- Messages have no chance of reaching a target on a different plane than you.
Staff of Power- There is no chance of traveling to a random plane of existence to avoid the damage from a Retributive Strike.
Staff of the Magi- There is no chance of traveling to a random plane of existence to avoid the damage from a Retributive Strike.
4. Travel In Space
Spelljamming is the means by which a ship moves through the Phlogiston or the void of Wildspace. Although there are many varied ways to accomplish this it is most often done through the use of a spelljammer helm. The majority of ships are equipped with either a major or a minor helm, although larger ships may have both with the minor helm acting as a backup. The spelljammer helm is a large chair or throne which can be operated by any character class with access to spell slots. The helm draws magic from the character and converts it into energy to move and maneuver a ship. A spelljamming character must remain seated and in full contact with the spelljammer helm during operation.
The movement rate that a ship can attain through the operation of these helms is called the Spelljamming Rating or SR. One SR translates to a movement rate of 50 yards (45.7 m) per tactical round. This rating increases or decreases depending on the type of helm and the spell slot levels available to the operator. However, the SR can never be less than 1. A major helm allows the spellcaster to move the ship at an SR of their highest available spell slot plus 1. For example, a priest who has a 5th-Level spell slot available can achieve an SR of 6 using a major helm. A minor helm provides a movement rate equal to the caster’s highest spell slot minus two. Consequently, if a spellcaster exhausts spell slots by casting spells the maximum SR they can operate a ship at decreases.
Operating a major or a minor helm drains all remaining spell slots from the spellcaster regardless of the time spent in the helm. This spellcaster is left too exhausted to regain spells until a long rest has been completed. Cantrips are not affected by this magical drain nor do they have any impact on the determination of SR.
One additional magical item that can used to power a spelljammer ship is a Crown of Stars. This device is worn on the head of the spellcaster operating the ship. The crown provides the same SR and spell slot drain as a minor helm, but it allows the wearer to move around while spelljamming.
Alternate Rule for Spelljammer Helm Operation
Operate Spelljammer Helm
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, M (spelljammer helm)
Duration: Concentration, up to 12 hours
A magical connection is formed between you and a Spelljammer helm giving you complete control of a ship. You are able to move the ship at a base Spelljammer Rating of 1. For the duration of the spell the ship feels like an extension of your body. Maneuvering the ship requires no more effort than moving your arm or leg normally would.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you can increase the base SR by one for each slot level above 1st.
Minor and Major Helms
There is one other change that needs to accompany the addition of this spell. In my original conversion a minor helm gave the operator an SR of highest spell slot minus two and a major helm gave highest spell slot plus one. The Operate Spelljammer Helm spell allows me to simplify this more. Casting the spell with a minor helm gives the base SR. Casting it with a major helm gives a +1 bonus to SR. Simple!
Types of Movement in Space
The travel speed of a spelljammer ship changes based on where the ship is being operated. The SR granted by the spelljammer helm and operator applies when a ship is being operated in the atmosphere of a celestial body or when the ship is engaged in combat. The boundary between planetary atmosphere and Wildspace varies between different planets, but generally rests at a distance of 1/10th of the diameter of the world..
Distance To Reach Wildspace
Size Class Miles Above Surface Kilometers Above Surface
A 1 1.6
B 10 16.1
C 100 161
D 400 644
E 1000 1609
F 4000 6437
G 10000 16093
H 100000 160934
I 1000000 1609344
J 10000000 16093440
A spelljammer ship in Wildspace or the Phlogiston is not restricted by its SR. A ship traveling through Wildspace and avoiding any gravity fields will reach a speed of 4 million miles per hour (6437376 km/h) regardless of SR rating. The Phlogiston contains dense rivers of flammable ether that flow between Crystal Shells. Ships traveling in these currents can achieve speeds that are beyond measure. Generally a ship may travel between crystal spheres within 10d10 days.
However, travel is always limited by the endurance of the helm operator. A spellcaster may operate a spelljammer helm continuously for 12 hours without tiring. At the end of each hour thereafter the character must make a Constitution saving throw. The DC is 10 + 1 for each hour past 12 hours. On a failed saving throw, a character suffers one level of exhaustion (see appendix A in the PHB). Each exhaustion level gained from spelljamming reduce maximum SR by 1. This penalty persists until removed by an appropriate amount of rest. Regardless of exhaustion level after 24 hours of continuous operation of a spelljammer helm the operator will pass out and be unable to use any helm again until after a long rest.
Attributes of Ships
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 toSpelljammer. 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 (Modified)
|Ship Type||Cost||Crew Min/Max||MR||AC||HP||Damage Threshold||Keel Length||Beam Length||Standard Armament||Helm Type|
|Flitter||10,000 gp||1/1||1||14||40||N/A||20 ft/ 6.1 m||5 ft/ 1.5 m||None||Major or Minor Helm|
|Mosquito||15,000 gp||1/6||2||17||75||10||100 ft/ 30.5 m||15 ft/ 4.6 m||None||Major or Minor Helm|
|Caravel||10,000 gp||8/10||5||13||75||10||70 ft/ 21.3 m||20 ft/ 6.1 m||1 large weapon||Major or Minor Helm|
|Dragonfly||40,000 gp||3/10||2||14||100||10||100 ft/ 30.5 m||20 ft/ 6.1 m||1 medium weapon||Major or Minor Helm|
|Damselfly||50,000 gp||2/10||3||18||100||10||100 ft/ 30.5 m||20 ft/ 6.1 m||1 huge weapon||Major or Minor Helm|
|Wasp||20,000 gp||8/18||3||16||150||15||80 ft/ 24.4 m||20 ft/ 6.1 m||1 huge weapon||Major or Minor Helm|
|Tyrant Ship||100,000 gp||15/23||2||22||200||20||100 ft/ 30.5 m||100 ft/ 30.5 m||Special||Orbus|
|Tradesman||15,000 gp||10/25||3||17||200||20||120 ft/ 36.6 m||30 ft/ 9.1 m||1 medium weapon and 1 large weapon||Major or Minor Helm|
|Gnomish Sidewheeler||40,000 gp||20/30||4||15||250||20||120 ft/ 36.6 m||25 ft/ 7.6 m||None||Gnomish|
|Nautiloid||40,000 gp||10/35||3||18||300||20||180 ft/ 54.9 m||30 ft/ 9.1 m||5 large weapons||Series Helm or Pool Helm|
|Mindspider||60,000 gp||3/40||2||18||400||25||40 ft/ 12.2 m||15 ft/ 4.6 m||3 large weapons||Lifejammer|
|Galleon||50,000 gp||20/40||4||15||400||25||130 ft/ 39.6 m||30 ft/ 9.1 m||1 medium weapon and 2 large weapons||Major or Minor Helm|
|Squid Ship||45,000 gp||12/45||3||17||450||25||250 ft/ 76.2 m||25 ft/ 7.6 m||2 large weapons and 1 huge weapon||Major or Minor Helm|
|Dragonship||60,000 gp||20/45||3||17||450||25||150 ft/ 45.7 m||20 ft/ 6.1 m||2 large weapons||Major or Minor Helm|
|Hammership||50,000 gp||24/60||3||16||550||30||250 ft/ 76.2 m||25 ft/ 7.6 m||3 huge weapons||Major or Minor Helm|
|Man-o-War||100,000 gp||10/60||2||15||550||30||200 ft/ 61 m||20 ft/ 6.1 m||4 large weapons||Major or Minor Helm|
|Deathspider||100,000 gp||30/100||4||17||1000||30||175 ft/ 53.3 m||50 ft/ 15.2 m||6 huge weapons||Major Helm|
|Armada||125,000 gp||40/100||3||17||1000||30||300 ft/ 91.4 m||30 ft/ 9.1 m||14 huge weapons||Major Helm|
|Citadel||1,000,000 gp||100/300||4||22||2000||30||250 ft/ 76.2 m||200 ft/ 61 m||7 huge weapons, 8 large weapons and 12 medium weapons||Forge|
Types of 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 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.
The Mindspider is built and operated by the Neogi, a race of evil beings that terrorize all of known space. These vessels are powered by Lifejammers, Spelljammer Helms that drain a victim’s life force and convert it into motive force. The Lifejammer helm drains 1d8 hit points per day from creatures trapped within. It allows the ship to operate at an SR of 1/3 the level or HD of the creature being drained. At the end of each day the imprisoned operator must pass a death save or perish.
Mindspider ships are used by the Neogi to attack other space-faring vessels without provocation or mercy.
Although the Galleon is the best attempt at transforming an ocean going vessel into a Spelljammer ship it still pales in comparison to ships that were purpose built for space. No self respecting space adventurer sails the stars on a Galleon for very long.
One of the largest ships built by humans, the Squid Ship is prized for military applications. However, these vessels have also been adapted by crews for use in piracy and adventuring.
The Dragonship is another attempt by humans to convert a sea vessel into a Spelljammer ship. These ships are mainly used by ground based human empires to expand their territory in the local planetary systems.
Like the Squid Ship the Hammership was built by space-faring humans to serve in naval armadas. The Hammership is slightly more durable and more heavily armed than its sister ship. Like all the ships of known space Hammerships are often retrofitted for use by pirates.
The Man-o-War is the most prominent ship in the navies of the space-faring elf nations. It is heavily armed and can withstand large amounts of damage before breaking apart.
The Deathspider is another ship utilized by the evil Neogi. They are larger than a Mindspider and are operated by a Major Helm not a Lifejammer. The crew of these ships is mostly made up of umber hulk slaves, but the helm operator is a Neogi mage. These ships have military uses, but are also used to carry cargo or umber hulk slaves.
The Armada is one of the largest ships in known space. These massive vessels are used by elves, and only elves, as mobile military bases. They are so large that in addition to a huge arsenal of weapons they also carry 40 Flitters on board.
The Citadel is actually an asteroid carved and converted by dwarves into a Spelljammer ship. The Citadel acts as a home for space-faring dwarves who mine nearby moons or planets. A Citadel is powered by a Forge not a Spelljammer Helm. The Forge is a room that takes up a good portion of the Citadel. Here the dwarves forge metal and craft items. The energy created by their work powers the ship. For every 100 dwarves working in the Forge, the ship gains an SR of 1.
Ship armaments are mostly modified from the siege equipment used by ground-based peoples, but the ingenuity of space-faring races has led to new weapons as well. Most ships employ a combination of ranged weapons as well as having a ram installed on the prow of the ship. The armaments on a Spelljammer ship are usually fixed in place restricting their attacks to the three hexes directly in front of them. However, they enjoy a greater range due to the lack of air resistance when firing through the void of space.
Name Size AC Hit Points Attack Modifier Range Damage Ideal Crew Cost Notes
Light Catapult Medium 15 90 +5 2,500 yds/2,286 m 22 (4d10) bludgeoning 3 1,000 gp Can't hit targets within 120 ft. (37 m) of it
Medium Catapult Large 15 120 +5 2,000 yds/1,829 m 33 (6d10) bludgeoning 4 2,500 gp Can't hit targets within 90 ft. (27 m) of it
Trebuchet Huge 15 150 +5 1,500 yds/1,372 m 44 (8d10) bludgeoning 5 5,000 gp Counts as two large weapon installations, can't hit targets within 60 ft. (18 m) of it
Light Ballista Medium 15 30 +6 3,000 yds/2,743 m 5 (1d10) piercing 2 500 gp Medium Ballista Large 15 50 +6 2,000 yds/1,829 m 16 (3d10) piercing 3 1,000 gp Heavy Ballista Huge 15 70 +6 1,000 yds/914 m 27 (5d10) piercing 4 1,500 gp Counts as two large weapon installations
Cannon Large 19 75 +6 1,000 yds/914 m 44 (8d10) bludgeoing 3 20,000 gp Light Jettison Medium 15 90 +5 1,500 yds/ 1,372 m 3 (1d6) bludgeoning to all creatures in a 5 ft. (1.5m) radius 2 1,000 gp Medium Jettison Large 15 120 +5 1,000 yds/ 914 m 7 (2d6) bludgeoning to all creatures in a 10ft (3 m) radius 3 2, 500 gp Heavy Jettison Huge 15 150 +5 500 yds/ 457 m 10 (3d6) blugeoning to all creatures in a 15 ft (4.5 m) radius 4 5, 000 gp Counts as two large weapon installations
Greek Fire Projector Large 19 80 +6 500 yds/ 457 m 27 (5d10) fire 4 10,000 gp Starts fires
This is the number of trained crew members required to operate the weapon at a rate of one attack per round. Each crew member must use their turn during that round to perform their weapon crew task, e.g. loading, aiming, etc. Operating the weapon with less than the ideal crew decreases the rate of fire. For example, a trebuchet with a crew of only four can only fire once every two rounds.
Catapults are devices that hurl stones or other heavy ammunition in a high arc. This allows them to hit targets that are behind cover. Unfortunately, the need to arc their shots makes catapults ineffective against targets that are close to them. There are three types of catapults available to equip on a Spelljammer ship.
The light catapult is the least powerful of the catapults, but is able to hurl stones the farthest. This armament is crewed by a team of three. It takes one action to load the catapult, one to aim it and one to fire it.
The medium catapult does more damage than the light catapult, but has a shorter range. A crew of four is required to operate this weapon at peak efficiency. Two actions are required to load the catapult, one to aim it and one to fire it.
The largest of the catapults also does the most damage, but has the shortest range. It takes two actions to load the trebuchet, two to aim it and one to fire it.
Ballistae are large crossbows that fire huge bolts, javelins or spears with exceptional force. These armaments do less damage than catapults, but they have greater range and are able to directly attack any target in front of them. They also require smaller crews than catapults.
The smallest of the ballistae the light ballista has the farthest range, but does the least amount of damage. It takes one action to load and aim the light ballista and one action to fire it.
The medium ballista does more damage than the light ballista, but has a reduced range. It takes one action to load this armament, one to aim it and one to fire it.
The largest of the ballistae has the shortest range, but does the most damage. It requires two actions to load the heavy ballista, one to aim it and one to fire it.
Cannons are one of the most powerful weapons in the known spheres. They do the same amount of damage as a trebuchet, but require a much smaller weapons crew to operate. It takes one action to load a cannon, one to aim it and one to fire it. Cannons require gunpowder to operate. A critical hit against a ship has a 10% chance of igniting gunpowder stores. This makes the storage of large amounts of gunpowder an extremely risky proposition for a Spelljamming crew.
Jettisons are a series of small catapults that hurl large amounts of trash, stones, wood, etc. at enemy ships to clear their decks of personnel. Jettisons do not do any damage against ships.
The light jettison hurls a barrage of ammunition that impacts in a 5 ft. (1.5 m) radius area. One action is required to load the light jettison, and one action to aim it and fire it.
The medium jettison is able to hurl larger size ammunition and a larger amount of ammunition. It does damage to any creature within a 10ft. (3 m) radius area. It takes two actions to load the medium jettison, and one to aim it and fire it.
The heavy jettison is able to clear a 15 ft. (4.5m) radius area of deck with a barrage of ammunition. It takes three actions to load the heavy jettison, and one to aim and fire it.
Greek Fire Projector
Greek fire projectors are useful when two ships come into close contact with each other. The weapons spews forth a stream of liquid that bursts into flame when it hits an object. The liquid lands in a 5 ft. (1.5 m) radius area, but the fire will continue to spread and do damage after the initial attack. Greek fire projectors are extremely dangerous to use in the Phlogiston and only the most desperate of crews would attempt it.
Rams are installed on Spelljammer ships to be utilized in ramming attacks. The cost for the installation of a ram varies depending on the amount of Hit Points a ship has and the type of ram installed. Installation of a piercing ram or a blunt ram costs 5 gold pieces per 25 Hit Points of the ship. Installation of a grappling ram costs 10 gold pieces per 25 Hit Points of the ship. A ram inflicts 1 Hit Point of damage for every 25 Hit Points the ramming ship multiplied by the ship’s SR at the time of ramming. For example, a Galleon traveling at an SR of 5 does 200 points of damage with a ramming attack.
The piercing ram is a sharp pointed ram that is designed to break up an enemy ship. In addition to damage from the ramming a successful attack with a piercing ram has a chance to lock the two ships together. This chance is 1% for every 25 Hit Points the target ship has.