I want to thank everyone for the comments on the last post. It’s always nice to know that I’m not just shouting into the void. One of the comments was a question about the use of highest available spell slot for determining Spelljamming Rating in the last post. It made me realize that I didn’t do a very good job of explaining why I made this decision. That’s kind of the point of these posts, right?
The original Spelljammer rules called for magic-users without their full complement of spells available to suffer a penalty of one SR per spell cast. I really don’t agree with this rule at all. It is kind of absurd to think that a 20th-level wizard who cast a 1st-level spell, but still had access to more than 30 additional spells suddenly couldn’t operate a spelljammer helm at maximum efficiency. And it gets exponentially more ridiculous as they cast more spells.
This idea works even less in 5e where many of the lower level 2e spells have been converted over to cantrips. Should casting cantrips come along with a penalty for operating a ship? Tracking that just seems like unnecessary extra work for the players and the DM. So my thinking going into this conversion was to lessen the penalty and shape the rule so that it made more sense within the magic system of 5e.
As I’m sure you know the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons uses spell slots. A spellcaster can sometimes choose to cast a low level spell using a higher spell slot. The use of the higher spell slot increases the effectiveness of the spell in some way be, i.e. higher damage, greater range, etc. The way I view this process is that the caster channels a greater amount of their available magical energy into the spell to make a bigger boom. I applied this same idea to the operation of a spelljammer helm. A caster with a 9th-level spell slot available can channel more energy into the helm than one with an 8th-level slot regardless of how many 1st or 2nd-level slots they have used. They are basically casting Spelljam* using a 9th-level spell slot.
An additional concern came over the magic use penalty that comes after operation of a spelljammer helm. The 24 hour restriction comes directly from the original Spelljammer rules, but I think it still makes sense in 5e with one exception. When a caster sits down on a helm or puts on a Crown of Stars they are doing more than just piloting the ship. They are becoming one with the ship itself. This is why a 24 hour restriction makes more sense to me than just a long rest. The process of bonding with a helm should be a more grueling and exhausting process than just simply casting all of your spells. However, 5e magic rules allow for the exception of casting cantrips after using a helm. These spells are not memorized or prayed for. They are just always there so there is no legitimate reason I can think of for them to not be there after using a helm.
I hope that clears my thought process up some for the conversion to this point. I originally planned to go over ship types and armaments in the next post, but I am going to delve a little deeper into ship movement. Not only did I make a math error in the last post that I have corrected, but I realized that post really only skims the surface of ship movement.
*NOT A REAL SPELL