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sleyvas
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Posted - 28 Sep 2020 :  01:52:14  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I suppose it's not necessary to shield the entire sphere. A small region (about the size created by a spelljammer's portal spells) would suffice if it could be interposed at the correct location when needed.

Although it could then be overwhelmed by multiple simultaneous incoming vectors. Spelljammers are likely to show up individually, perhaps days or weeks apart, perhaps a few per hour at most. But a swarm of them arriving at once (some kind of spacefaring fleet, convoy, or caravan) or a coordinated intrusion attempt (planned incursion/invasion) could overwhelm localized response capabilities.

A simpler agency might be a guard dog. To discourage trespassers, to remove trespassers (one way or another), or to simply raise an alarm.

Or instead of a guard dog patrolling the property from within ... a wolf preying on those who approach the property from without. A predatory presence not necessarily welcomed by the property's owner.



That's an interesting idea, because people might not realize it if its a "contingent" type effect that "recharges" over time. I do like the idea of a "guard dog" as well, though a guard dog doesn't need to be an attacking creature. In fact, a contingent type affect targeting arcane would work.. but then again I don't want to have it be something where anyone is ACTIVELY working to keep the arcane out. Having it be a happenstance that affects them because of their unique psychic nature probably works best.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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see
Learned Scribe

222 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  06:46:58  Show Profile Send see a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AuldDragon

Something that has been around a lot longer than Spelljamming and which doesn't lead to anywhere near as many "this would disrupt the economy!" posts is teleportation and permanency.

This is because teleportation is sufficiently rare (though I've got a specific rant about Aurora's infrastructure in particular, if you're interested).

The basic problem with mixing Spelljammer and the Realms is entirely one of whether it is reasonable for a party of (say) fifth-level characters to have, keep, and use a spelljamming helm without going to extensive lengths to conceal its existence.

If it is not, then the Realms are fine, but you can't play Spelljammer the way it was designed.

If it is, then you can play Spelljammer as designed, but you break the Realms; anything a fifth-level party can have without major complications, major trading costers (or the Zhentarim) should be able to manage multiple of.

Realmspace either can support the Realms or Spelljammer play-as-written, not both. Since Spelljammer campaigns work best in environments designed for Spelljammer anyway, my preference is to make spelljammers in Realmspace rare. To that end, in a DMs Guild project I'm working on that briefly touches on Spelljammer (and Shou Lung), I establish the following bits:

1) Most people with spelljamming helms (including the Arcane) fled the Realms early in the ten years of Spellplague chaos.
2) Most spelljamming helms that remained in the Realms melted during the latter part of the ten years of Spellplague chaos.
3) The position of Realmspace in the Flow has shifted (most dramatically during the Spellplague and then again with the Sundering), such that the Realms were cut off from established inter-sphere trade routes and are now in a backwater area where spelljammers are rare and the Arcane don't do business.
4) The 2e "create helm" spells are nerfed into the ground. (A 9th-level cleric cannot transform one ordinary chair a day into a helm that will work for nine weeks, like they could in 2e.)

Surviving helms accordingly are as rare as their "legendary" rarity in Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage implies. High level characters control most of 'em, and generally use them personally, rather than trusting other people with them; this limits their use in trade to trips that are worthwhile for a high-level character to fit in among all their other priorities. Ordinary merchants are known to have wistful "What I could do with one!" thoughts about galleons that fly tons of cargo at 10+ MPH over any terrain, but it's similar to imagining what they'd do if they were able to cast 9th-level spells; a daydream, not a business plan.

(I also make series helms "legendary", while lifejammers and furnaces are "very rare", and other types are not known to have survived.)
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Mrestos Khorvaen
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Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  13:40:33  Show Profile Send Mrestos Khorvaen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think Spelljamming could be a nice way to intermix the diferent campaign settings. Of course giving a flying vessel to the PCs it's always a risk.
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Mrestos Khorvaen
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Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  13:47:10  Show Profile Send Mrestos Khorvaen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
[quote]Originally posted by sleyvas

In another thread, I got sidetracked with some discussion about spelljammer and how to implement... and it occurred to me that I don't want to derail that entirely and maybe its worth its own topic.

What I'd like to consider is HOW we might SUDDENLY implement spelljamming to Toril without breaking the setting. To note here, I'm not adverse to discussing any options, such as making spelljamming ships that have to dock in orbit because they can't enter atmosphere, and then use "wind sailing" type flying vessels similar to Halruaan Skyships within the atmosphere. The big thing I'm seeing though is how might we do it suddenly.

My first thoughts are these and I just want to put them down first

1) Spelljamming helms possibly broke at the outset of the spellplague, and the crystal sphere "locked" not allowing anyone from outside in or out (possible problems: does any 4e lore contradict this?)

You give an amazing amount of info.
My data about Spelljamming is really short. But I think nobody at WOtC has said something about it in about 20 years, so it can be suposed the limitations no longer exist.
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sleyvas
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Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  15:04:23  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, good, I had hoped someone who was working on this already might pipe in. I like the idea of helping, and I hope anyone interested in writing rulesets is interested in alternate ideas. So, just to get some ground rules going of what we've been discussing. Some ways to reintroduce spelljamming without breaking the world's infrastructure.

1) Make existing helms rarer. Maybe this is because they were destroyed during the spellplague. Maybe they just quit functioning for several months, the crew on their vessels literally died with the personnel in wildspace transit or on a planet where they didn't have proper supplies to survive an extended length. This may mean that there are lost ships scattered throughout the sphere either in wildspace or stranded on an inhospitable environment.

2) To make it so new helms are "hard to acquire" within realmspace, we need some reason that the Arcane aren't here pushing their sale AND the Arcane are making sure that noone else comes in and performs that same duty on a large scale. Initially, I was of the mindset of locking the sphere entirely, but instead I think we've come up with a batter solution in that "Arcane who come into the crystal sphere have some kind of sudden telepathic assault that feeds back through their unique physiology to all arcane everywhere. As a result, the Arcane have ceded the realmspace market for the next .... century maybe?" Then again, I also like the idea that See just presented that "like a marble" realmspace has flowed into a backwater area of the phlogiston possibly as a result of movement generated by the spellplague. Perhaps both? Maybe the phlogiston surrounding realmspace is a much more dangerous area now as well due to environmental conditions, predators, etc...?

3) Even with helms being rare, we don't want something wherein people are zipping around the world if they manage to get ahold of say a half dozen helms somehow. Thus, perhaps "helms don't work as well as they used to when traversing to wildspace". This might be universal, and as a result, a modest amount of outsider ships have been fitted for astral travel to go between crystal spheres, which is also outside the scope of what the arcane control. One idea I proposed was that within atmosphere spelljammers may have to switch to acting like Halruaan Skyships and thus losing their motive force and relying upon actual sailing via the wind. However, Halruaan skyships are also limited on how high they can go, and spelljammers are not. Another idea was that leaving the atmosphere to wildspace might take a long time depending on the size of the air envelope of the planet. As a stab at this, maybe size C and under can be escaped within a half day (size A possibly less than an hour). Size D takes a full day. Size E takes 2 days to enter or leave (this is Toril's size, so going to wildspace and coming back in is a 4 day bit of travel). Perhaps for each size above E the number of days to leave atmosphere increases by 2 days (such that leaving a size J celestial body... which is 1000 times bigger than Toril btw... would take 12 days just to reach wildspace). Presumably the larger planets are usually like Coliar and aren't solid, so perhaps the gravity pull is typically less to explain away the "faster" travel to reach the atmosphere.

4) Many cultures may have known how to make spelljammers, but they lost the skill in the years that spelljammers didn't work. Some spelljammer ship manufacturing facilities literally died. Mind flayers in 5e are particularly noted as having lost the ability to manufacture new nautiloids per Rime of the Frostmaiden

5) Spells that generate a helm just flat out don't exist any longer or literally only work for minutes or somesuch so that they're only or strict emergencies and usually only within atmosphere. Perhaps some ships are fitted with a backup helm capability that is contingent on the primary helm failing

6) Assigning a helm to a vessel is no easy task and involves some kind of ritual spell that takes a day or more to cast. That would be for a minor helm. For a major helm, this may involve multiple casters and multiple days.

7) There may be some helms that cannot enter atmosphere at all. In these instances, these ships might have to carry an "away ship" that they use to go from wildspace to the surface. In effect, this makes a need for an "atmospheric only Helm" as well, of which we see somewhat of an example in the form of the locust's rudder of propulsion. A rudder of propulsion can only generate lift for a balsa wood/bamboo type ultra-light single person only vessel. Perhaps another type of helm specifically for use in these instances which can effect a ship the size of a small sailing vessel like a keelboat (60 ft x 20 feet per Ghosts of Saltmarsh and able to have a crew of 3 with 4 passengers... though that seems rather big and I'd probably say 30 ft x 15 feet makes much more sense for the passenger limit since longships in the same resource are only ten feet longer). I could also see a vessel the size of a rowboat using a magical rudder if said device generates some kind of "envelope" around the ship to make it more stable, though possibly literally only capable of directly vertical ascents and descents via the equivalent of levitation (making a flying creature very dangerous near it). Perhaps another option is something which gives already flying mounts the ability to ascend to unnatural heights (i.e. able to almost reach wildspace), such that perhaps instead of an away team mounted on a special keelboat you have an away team of say Nimbraii Knights of the Flying Hunt mounted on pegasi.

Some additional ideas that just popped in my head for discussion

A) Helms must be attuned to a spellcaster if they are a standard helm. No more than 5 spellcasters can be attuned to a standard helm at a time, and only a single spellcaster can manage the helm at once. There would be exceptions to this rule with special helms (such as the quad of Thay, a ki helm that uses monks, etc...) that we'd have to develop rules for. Perhaps spellcasters DON'T give up all their spell slots when they run the helm, and we come up with some alternative. "Full" spellcasters that have cantrips might be better pilots for instance, but maybe they must temporarily make one cantrip spell unavailable. Alternative spellcasters that don't get cantrips (say paladins and rangers for instance) might have to give up all spellcasting or spells of below a certain level, etc...


I actually like the idea that terrestrial groups have resumed efforts to create helms on their own, but perhaps they're having issues resetting things back up. As an example of what I mean, let's be specific and then others can express possible changes and why to make those changes.

B) Grand Helms were developed by Thay for their Quads, and these ships require the piloting of several circle bound mages. The ships are extraordinarily fast because they also become partially ethereal or perhaps partially enter the shadowfell (essentially shadow walking) if we wanted to rewrite them a bit. These helms have a lot of problems though outside of wildspace, because they don't function at all in the phlogiston. Perhaps since the spellplague they also cannot enter the atmosphere without losing control. Thus, perhaps this is one of the types of ships that must use an "away ship" to travel to the surface. Given that Thayans did have knowledge of the construction of Halruaan Skyships, perhaps they use a somewhat modified version of these for atmospheric travel. Perhaps they make a much more lightweight/smaller version of them that can ascend higher into the atmosphere.

C) Ki helms and rudders of propulsion were created specifically by the nation of Wa and were supposed to be state secrets, revealing of which was punishable by death. These were used in the creation of tsunamis (ki helm) and locusts (rudders of propulsion). We were never told where these ships were being built though, and since they were a state secret even from its citizens, perhaps this facility was somewhere else. I propose the island of Machukara in the Kara-Tur campaign setting, and I'll post info on that separately in another reply to show why.

D) Radiant Helms are drow constructed helms that run on Faerzress or other materials that give off magical "radiation". As a result, maybe there's only a single drow city that knows how to make them within the crystal sphere and which is actively spelljamming, and where might that city be? Would we want this available specifically to Lolthite or non-Lolthite or both cultures? Perhaps even these drow are actually harvesting faerzress from some comet that their city resides within or somesuch and they aren't tied to any documented Torilian group? I kind of like the idea of a group of Kiaransalee and Malyk worshipping dark elves who might also have like night hags and other dark fey like glouras living with them, such that their culture is more arcane than divine driven. Maybe they have a bunch of warlocks with star pacts as well that might serve a being like Ghaunadar or Moander. As another possible interesting alternative/addition, perhaps some fey'ri or shadar-kai have uncovered the secrets of radiant helms as well and they might ALSO have similar asteroid or planetary colonies?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 29 Sep 2020 15:59:25
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  15:33:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mrestos Khorvaen

I think Spelljamming could be a nice way to intermix the diferent campaign settings.



That was one of the design goals.

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sleyvas
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USA
9635 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  16:13:10  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For Ki Helms and Rudders of Propulsion, if they are still in development, I think Manchukara would make a great place to put a secret factory for them. Its an island filled with giant plants and possible giant animals. It very much could be a place filled with fey. As an alternative to the story below of "hairy men" tending a garden for instance, perhaps what they saw from a distance were giant space hamsters chewing on vines, etc... Then again, perhaps they are korreds or hengeyokai or any of dozens of other types of hairy fey. Noone ever returns from this island according to the existing lore, so perhaps that's because the emperor orders that anyone that lands on the island (which is hard due to shallow reefs as well) must be killed in order to protect the secrets of spelljamming. Perhaps there's giant bamboo stalks here and they're used to create the sections of a Wa Tsunami spelljammer (they would be hollow, sturdy, etc...). Perhaps the special strong but sturdy wood used to make locusts also comes from here. Perhaps they also use things like giant lilac petals for making sails after curing them somehow. Perhaps the facility itself exploded during the spellplague and only recently have they been able to get the place back online and uncover the lost secrets that died with certain wu-jen and/or priests that were on the island. Or perhaps they're still trying to work them out, but they have been able to find and fix a few ships after sending patrols to re-explore the island.

Here's some info from the old Kara-Tur Campaign Setting

Machukara
Machukara is the northernmost island of Wa. Because of its dense jungles, it remains largely unexplored. Machukara is actually a part of the Paikai province, but it usually is thought of as one of the Outer Isles. The government has not yet decided quite what to do with Machukara. Its strategic position would seem to make it ideal for a military base, but the shallow reefs surrounding it make it impossible to dock ships. Clearing away enough of the jungle to establish a colony seems unfeasible. The trees tower hundreds of feet in the air and grow so close together that no sunlight reaches the jungle floor. Vines as thick as a tree trunk and as tough as marble grow in vast tangles. Where there is no jungle, there is treacherous swampland. Savage orange gorillas with blazing red eyes and silver-scaled serpents whose poison can fell an elephant are only a few of the dangerous creatures said to exist there.

As far as the government is concerned, Machukara is unpopulated. Yet, reports from travelers contradict this. A fishing boat sailing off the northeast coast sighted a garden of giant white lilacs growing along an inlet. A single petal, they reported, was larger than the sail of their ship. Venturing closer, they saw a group of small, hairy men tending the garden. The hairy men vanished into the jungle as the ship approached.

On another occasion, a ship blown off course by a hurricane was heading toward the northern coast of Machukara. The strong winds parted the trees and revealed a 100-foot ivory column with a face carved in the top. The face abruptly blew a gust of wind at the approaching ship, filling its sails and sending it back out to sea.

Over the years, expeditions have been sent to explore the interior of Machukara. None have returned. Desperate refugees have also sought asylum on the island. The most famous of these is Tazu-ei, the son of a noble who became disgusted with the dissension in his family and fled to Machukara seeking a life of simplicity and peace. Like all the others who have sought refuge in Machukara, he has never been heard from again.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 29 Sep 2020 16:33:21
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sleyvas
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Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  17:00:40  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Discussing other cultures that might NOW or IN THE PAST have had spelljamming related to Toril

In the above, we were discussing some helm types that might have had development on Toril, and thus landward cultures might be able to produce some helms for themselves at huge expense and slowly. I gave a good bit on the Wa island of Machukara as an option, but what about other ideas? For instance:

Nimbral is returned. Nimbral was specifically a spelljammer knowledgable place. They didn't necessarily know how to build helms, but they may have had several in dock when the spellplague happened. As a result, they may now have a small fleet of mismatched vessels, along with Halruaan skyships and their Nimbraii Knights of the Flying Hunt.

Halruaa is returned. Halruaa had skyships, but there was also possibly some of these ships that had been fitted with helms.

Lantan is returned. Lantan is full of inventors, what if they got ahold of a dwarven citadel and finally figured out how to make a forge helm (maybe they were helping the dwarves repair it, and maybe these same dwarves are now a part of Lantan society since they've returned). Maybe while on Abeir the Lantanese got ahold of a Xorn stoneship powered by fire elementals and they reverse engineered this bit of technomagic.

In several threads I've mentioned my ideas of Zulkir Mythrell'aa still being alive and having captured a Netherese enclave known as doubloon which was rumored to be able to turn invisible and finding it in orbit because a helm was attached. Perhaps this helm is an Artifurnace using the ship's mythallar to power it (it can be a weak artifurnace... it doesn't need to be the greatest thing in the world... and the enclave may move extremely slow due to the size of the enclave).

The Old Empires are also returning, and possibly returning with them is the volcanic island known as the "ship of the gods" which the Mulhorandi god Geb was associated with. Perhaps we find out that this island also holds an artifact level spelljammer (i.e. another artifurnace) named the Matet that was maybe dependent on having the artifact called The Beacon of Light in place. See Volo's Guide to All Things Magical for information on the artifact and how it helped guide the gods through wildspace. Perhaps even this artifact/spelljammer is how the "godkings" have returned to Mulhorand since the second Sundering (having possibly returned via spelljamming while on Abeir).

I know Shou Lung and Evermeet also had ships (and I think so did Myth Drannor). As I stated before with Shou Lung though, in order to reduce its strength, maybe a lot of its captains basically decided to turn rogue or the ships were lost.

I know also in the Malatra campaign the Nubari had come to this world LONG ago, so perhaps some long lost helms might be found there.

I've also mentioned some ideas about a former spellweaver land base for spelljammers that's hidden in the deserts of Anchorome and covered by illusion and protected by things like crevasses in the earth. Seethyr also has a few points in or near Lopango (specifically Mount Mixhuacan) that has a potential for another similar base with an unknown culture that may inhabit said area.

Is there any other places that might be "returning from Abeir" or somesuch that might fit this bill to provide a small amount of spelljammers such that the world can be a bit more mobile while not "breaking" it that I'm not thinking of?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 29 Sep 2020 17:15:39
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AuldDragon
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  00:49:54  Show Profile  Visit AuldDragon's Homepage Send AuldDragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by see

quote:
Originally posted by AuldDragon

Something that has been around a lot longer than Spelljamming and which doesn't lead to anywhere near as many "this would disrupt the economy!" posts is teleportation and permanency.

This is because teleportation is sufficiently rare (though I've got a specific rant about Aurora's infrastructure in particular, if you're interested).


We know of dozens of wizards in the Forgotten Realms who COULD do what I described, but don't. Yet this is never seen as a problem that still needs to be solved beyond saying "it just doesn't happen," whereas that is not the case with Spelljamming. Spelljamming within the gameworld is supposed to be even rarer than that.

quote:
Originally posted by see

The basic problem with mixing Spelljammer and the Realms is entirely one of whether it is reasonable for a party of (say) fifth-level characters to have, keep, and use a spelljamming helm without going to extensive lengths to conceal its existence.


Except the canon can just not include any examples of that, and let a DM do what they want. If the DM wants the PCs to be under a constant barrage of threats, fine. If they don't want that, that's fine too. This is again a "problem" that doesn't actually need to be solved except by an individual DM if they want to (for which there are plenty of ways to do so).

quote:
Originally posted by see

If it is not, then the Realms are fine, but you can't play Spelljammer the way it was designed.


Spelljammer as designed was intended to take the players into the vastness of space. If the PCs/DM are just using a helm and a ship as a fancy, powerful flying carpet for getting around Faerun, that's up to them. Same thing if the game becomes a cargo hauling simulator. They're not actually playing Spelljammer though, so much as just using stuff from the setting. That's fine, if they want, but it's not what is "intended." Just as transitioning to the planes takes you to Planescape, getting caught in the Mists takes you to Ravenloft, finding a Helm is "supposed" to get you to leave your world behind to see what adventure awaits you beyond. If the players want to return to Faerun and adventure there for the rest of their careers, a DM should contrive a way to eliminate the helm.

quote:
Originally posted by see

If it is, then you can play Spelljammer as designed, but you break the Realms; anything a fifth-level party can have without major complications, major trading costers (or the Zhentarim) should be able to manage multiple of.


Able to manage, sure, but just because a DM makes a helm available to PCs doesn't mean they have to make them available to every single faction out there, especially if the PCs *find* the helm. If the helms are just for sale in Waterdeep and other ports, sure, that's an issue.

quote:
Originally posted by see

Realmspace either can support the Realms or Spelljammer play-as-written, not both. Since Spelljammer campaigns work best in environments designed for Spelljammer anyway, my preference is to make spelljammers in Realmspace rare. To that end, in a DMs Guild project I'm working on that briefly touches on Spelljammer (and Shou Lung), I establish the following bits:


As written, spelljamming IS rare. Again, I put forth that every argument about Spelljamming on a groundling world as high-magic as Faerun applies even more to standard mid-to-high level wizards who are far more common. Except the game says it doesn't happen, so we can apply the same logic to Spelljamming.

quote:
Originally posted by see

(I also make series helms "legendary", while lifejammers and furnaces are "very rare", and other types are not known to have survived.)


Series helms would be useless to PCs and the trading costers, lifejammers should be things PCs wouldn't want to use, and furnaces would be extremely expensive to operate. They don't need to be as rare as standard major and minor helms.

Jeff

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Ayrik
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  02:48:54  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Furnace helms burn magic items as fuel. So it makes sense to find them in (for people to bring them to) magic-rich worlds like the Realms. And their use or abuse is limited by the supply of magic items.

I could understand the reluctance to use such helms, to prefer other methods. At least under earlier-edition rules where manufacturing magic items was such a costly (and complex and uncertain) process in terms of time, money, and effort.

[/Ayrik]
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see
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  06:09:05  Show Profile Send see a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AuldDragon
We know of dozens of wizards in the Forgotten Realms who COULD do what I described, but don't. Yet this is never seen as a problem that still needs to be solved beyond saying "it just doesn't happen," whereas that is not the case with Spelljamming. Spelljamming within the gameworld is supposed to be even rarer than that.


Yeah, sure, if you assume the conclusion ("spelljamming is rare"), you can avoid the work of actually making the design support the conclusion.

Spelljammer, as it was presented, assumes that spelljammers are regularly used to ship cargo in trade. A whole bunch of common-enough-to-be-standard ship designs are presented as being used primarily for trading; note especially the Tradesman. Helms are freely purchasable from the Arcane. The Realmspace supplement has multiple port cities on Toril that deal with spelljammers frequently enough to have explicit laws and polices for dealing with traders arriving in them (Waterdeep, Calimport, Chunming, Iiso), and a whole pile of groundling governments (Shou Lung, Wa, Thay, Evermeet, and Waterdeep) as having their own fleets of spelljammers.

The idea that none of the spelljamming traders or groundling governments in Realmspace would notice, "Hey, there's a fortune to be made flying galleon-loads of goods from the Moonsea (or Kara-Tur) to the Sword Coast a lot faster and more easily than anyone can send the same quantity via caravan!" under those circumstances is utterly ludicrous. It's a gaping hole in the setting logic that's only fixed by actually making spelljammers rare, rather than simply saying that if they were as rare as high-level wizards there'd be no problem.

quote:
Originally posted by AuldDragon
quote:
Originally posted by see

(I also make series helms "legendary", while lifejammers and furnaces are "very rare", and other types are not known to have survived.)


Series helms would be useless to PCs and the trading costers, lifejammers should be things PCs wouldn't want to use, and furnaces would be extremely expensive to operate. They don't need to be as rare as standard major and minor helms.

Right, the latter two don't need to be as rare as standard helms, which is exactly why I designated 'em very rare rather than legendary. (Note "very rare" is the rarity level for a 5th-to-10th level party to have one item of the given rarity, by the default 5e assumptions, while "legendary" is the one-for-a-party-of-11th-to-16th-level rarity. So if something is supposed to be as rare as an 11th-or-higher-level wizard, "legendary" is exactly the right rarity level.)

The series helm, on the other hand, is treated as a PC-accessible device, because in 5e, all sorts of standard PC races have innate magical powers (high elves, drow, forest gnomes, and tieflings in the PHB, plus aasimar, firbolgs, tritons, gensai, and gith in other material). In principle, "locking" them to one species (as was done in 2e) would do much the same thing, but between eliminating the Arcane as being able to supply them in Realmspace, and then explaining why (say) elves wouldn't use a species-locked series helms in 5e to eliminate the ability of rivals to seize and use their helms, I felt it was better to make them generic-and-legendary-rarity. A "series helm" in this context has five seats anyway, so on a per-seat basis they're effectively "very rare".

Edited by - see on 30 Sep 2020 06:21:44
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see
Learned Scribe

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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  07:00:59  Show Profile Send see a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
One idea I proposed was that within atmosphere spelljammers may have to switch to acting like Halruaan Skyships and thus losing their motive force and relying upon actual sailing via the wind. However, Halruaan skyships are also limited on how high they can go, and spelljammers are not. Another idea was that leaving the atmosphere to wildspace might take a long time depending on the size of the air envelope of the planet.

Yeah, see, I'm assuming the the Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage writeup is 5e canon, and that's explicit about the helm's speed in air.

I mean, it would be potentially a useful idea otherwise, but, well. 10 MPH per level of the helmsman's highest-level unexpended spell slot is how fast a 5e spelljamming helm goes in air or space.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
A) Helms must be attuned to a spellcaster if they are a standard helm. No more than 5 spellcasters can be attuned to a standard helm at a time, and only a single spellcaster can manage the helm at once. There would be exceptions to this rule with special helms (such as the quad of Thay, a ki helm that uses monks, etc...) that we'd have to develop rules for. Perhaps spellcasters DON'T give up all their spell slots when they run the helm, and we come up with some alternative. "Full" spellcasters that have cantrips might be better pilots for instance, but maybe they must temporarily make one cantrip spell unavailable. Alternative spellcasters that don't get cantrips (say paladins and rangers for instance) might have to give up all spellcasting or spells of below a certain level, etc...

Yeah, this is all pretty much decided by the 5e writeup. Spellcasters have to attune the helm like an ordinary magic item, the speed is based on their highest-level unexpended spell slot whatever their class, and you can't cast spells while attuned to the helm.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
C) Ki helms and rudders of propulsion were created specifically by the nation of Wa and were supposed to be state secrets, revealing of which was punishable by death.

With 5e classes and subclasses instead of the original OA classes, I feel "ki helms" don't particularly work well (especially in the face of the recent controversy over WotC even selling OA PDFs, which prompted WotC to put sensitivity disclaimers at the tops of the 1e and 3e OA PDF pages).

Since rudders of propulsion can only affect small craft and can't move craft against gravity, they're okay to have in numbers, except for the fact that the 2e SR 6 is a tad over 100 MPH. Using the 5e rule on movement for ordinary helms (one-tenth the speed when pushing a vessel through water as through air/space) helps some; having them unable to make a craft hover in a planetary atmosphere then wipes out the remaining insane uses.
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sleyvas
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  13:20:03  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by see

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
One idea I proposed was that within atmosphere spelljammers may have to switch to acting like Halruaan Skyships and thus losing their motive force and relying upon actual sailing via the wind. However, Halruaan skyships are also limited on how high they can go, and spelljammers are not. Another idea was that leaving the atmosphere to wildspace might take a long time depending on the size of the air envelope of the planet.

Yeah, see, I'm assuming the the Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage writeup is 5e canon, and that's explicit about the helm's speed in air.

I mean, it would be potentially a useful idea otherwise, but, well. 10 MPH per level of the helmsman's highest-level unexpended spell slot is how fast a 5e spelljamming helm goes in air or space.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
A) Helms must be attuned to a spellcaster if they are a standard helm. No more than 5 spellcasters can be attuned to a standard helm at a time, and only a single spellcaster can manage the helm at once. There would be exceptions to this rule with special helms (such as the quad of Thay, a ki helm that uses monks, etc...) that we'd have to develop rules for. Perhaps spellcasters DON'T give up all their spell slots when they run the helm, and we come up with some alternative. "Full" spellcasters that have cantrips might be better pilots for instance, but maybe they must temporarily make one cantrip spell unavailable. Alternative spellcasters that don't get cantrips (say paladins and rangers for instance) might have to give up all spellcasting or spells of below a certain level, etc...

Yeah, this is all pretty much decided by the 5e writeup. Spellcasters have to attune the helm like an ordinary magic item, the speed is based on their highest-level unexpended spell slot whatever their class, and you can't cast spells while attuned to the helm.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
C) Ki helms and rudders of propulsion were created specifically by the nation of Wa and were supposed to be state secrets, revealing of which was punishable by death.

With 5e classes and subclasses instead of the original OA classes, I feel "ki helms" don't particularly work well (especially in the face of the recent controversy over WotC even selling OA PDFs, which prompted WotC to put sensitivity disclaimers at the tops of the 1e and 3e OA PDF pages).

Since rudders of propulsion can only affect small craft and can't move craft against gravity, they're okay to have in numbers, except for the fact that the 2e SR 6 is a tad over 100 MPH. Using the 5e rule on movement for ordinary helms (one-tenth the speed when pushing a vessel through water as through air/space) helps some; having them unable to make a craft hover in a planetary atmosphere then wipes out the remaining insane uses.



In THIS thread, I understand people's always wanting to stay canon, but the premise here is to discuss what we think would need to be done to make them work on a somewhat common level without breaking the world (and by somewhat common, I mean "the world knows about them"). So, don't worry about what the rules were in 2e unless you just want us to regard "don't change that, it makes sense". Don't worry about what the rules in some 5e adventures are, because its easy enough to retcon a single instance and say "that one was a SPECIAL ship". I mean, let's face it, they didn't present it as "and here's the rules for all spelljammers". Nor did they say "and this ship has a minor helm", so we don't know what's on that ship. It's presented as "The helm of the scavenger", and thus can be an illithid made helm for all we know (because illithids made helms), and perhaps an experimental one at that. It's all about food for thought, and sometimes doing this due diligence after the fact can help fix things either in a non-canon product or even make its way into something published by WotC. Don't get me wrong however, I do want to look at what they're doing for 5e... because they may make improvements that we don't think of that we want to keep. They may make simplifications of rules that are better than the ones in 2e.

So, the reason why I say things like "5 people can attune to a helm but only one activate it at a time" is so that you don't have the instance of "kill the helmsman and the ship will crash". There should be a way that that person isn't always the target or that the ship can be run around the clock in shifts, etc.... I feel like this is a flaw in the 5e design, and we should fix it. To note, this isn't a problem as much in 2e, as someone else can take over quickly.

The speed is a minor bit problematic with what they did, because that means most parties are cruising along at 50 or 60 mph or up to 90 MPH no matter what the surroundings are like. That being said, what is presented is with a nautiloid and it may work differently because "its attuned to the astral where thought equals movement" or some other BS. Perhaps Halaster even captured this one because it was different and he wanted to study it. There might be a "hidden secret" as to why most spelljamming ships have some kind of sails besides "we can't let grounders know about us", or this could just be an instance of "things work that way now". Wording and rulesets for this would need to be worked through, because honestly I don't think we have 5e rules for a Halruaan Skyship either (do we have eberron rules for similar?). They should be the same for both though within atmosphere with the exception of spelljammers being able to reach a higher altitude. If we use the generic rules of it taking a long time (days) to reach wildspace, I'm thinking we don't need to develop some per round elevation change rules beyond what we might need for skyships as well.

The idea that the ships are extremely maneuverable should be one that should be addressed (i.e. having them tossed about by high winds like a skyship). That being said, what they wrote up doesn't state that you have anywhere near good control, so I think we're on a similar page as 5e canon for that piece.

From Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Provided you have at least one unexpended spell slot, you can steer the vessel, albeit in a somewhat clumsy fashion, in much the same way that oars or a rudder can maneuver a seafaring ship.


BTW, I would need to check, but one thing I noted about the nautiloid as presented in rime of the frostmaiden is that the twisted tentacles that are presented out in front of the ship are splayed out and not cohesive. Were the ones on a standard nautiloid able to unwrap themselves for grasping other ships or something? I always just pictured them as carved in that shape, but it could easily be different.

On Ki helms and some need for "sensitivity disclaimers", honestly I don't think that real world politics and its insanity should impact us having some fun in our game. Ki helms can make a lot of sense. That being said, I think we COULD modify them and probably should. I view "Ki" and "Psionic Meditation" as somewhat similar, as a projection of the mind and/or mental powers. I believe they've only presented Unearthed Arcana type rules for psionics in 5e (i.e. mystics), but still, perhaps Ki helms allow monks AND the 5e equivalent of psions both to use a helm. Maybe we "find out" Wa has a lot of mystics as part of this exploration? Another alternative and/or addition if one wanted to introduce some alternate rules might also be that "air benders" can also interact with these helms (there is a DM's guild product that tries to adapt avatar bending rules to 5e).

On rudders of propulsion... I agree that they shouldn't zip everywhere. I honestly picture them a lot like "brooms of flying that can carry a small craft". So, let's maybe consider them always under load (moving 30 feet per sec / 20 MPH), but able to carry maybe 1000 pounds (first stab). That extra weight though is taken up with a reloading ballistae and a pair of reloading catapults. Let's face it, in 5e brooms of flying are cheap (they are "uncommon"), so a rudder is only special because it surrounds you with a ship that you can load a little bit of stuff in. I agree on the no hovering, it should require you to constantly move forward. Within atmosphere though, I can see ships that have a multitude of brooms of flying and people using them to move between ships in the same way that tsunamis are used. In fact, one thought I had been having was of a captured tsunami taken by red wizards that has more people on brooms of flying than they do locusts.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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bloodtide_the_red
Learned Scribe

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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  17:23:57  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, if you are trying to make some "logical" sense of a shared fictional game world, really the first thing you have to do is start from scratch. You simply can't make sense of the random words typed, typed by random people over years and years. And this goes double for any random 'game rule scribble'. And even worse nearly ALL 'game rule scribble' is made with no thought other then 'fill this blank space'. It's nearly literately a writer simply falls out of a chair and hits the keyboard and the words 'movement speed 100 miles' is typed and then they hit 'save' and it's Officially Published to stand Forevermore.

And this was just as true back in the '90's during 2E. The Spelljammer rules are written with a very basic premise: make a easy fun "swashbuckling" space adventure game. With that in mind, Spelljammers "are just there and they work", so don't think about it and just play the game. Sure, er, oh this new race makes helms, and their are other, er odd helms....but look the ships just fly in space, so now just go 'pew pew' and roll.

So if you take a "13th century kinda like Earth setting" of Toril, even just a couple flying ships will UTTERLY CHANGE THE WHOLE SETTING. Even just say five cargo skyships, not even spelljammers, would do that. Though, if you could have massive flying cargo ships, you could also just have massive flying cities. And if you can have massive flying cities...well, you could just have massive mass teleport too(like the ENTIRE city of Waterdeep teleports right next to the city of Orvyltar (in Ulgarth) and trades for an hour.

So unless you want a setting totally unlike the one presented in any book, you have to fix everything to make it just right.
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sleyvas
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  21:24:08  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

Well, if you are trying to make some "logical" sense of a shared fictional game world, really the first thing you have to do is start from scratch. You simply can't make sense of the random words typed, typed by random people over years and years. And this goes double for any random 'game rule scribble'. And even worse nearly ALL 'game rule scribble' is made with no thought other then 'fill this blank space'. It's nearly literately a writer simply falls out of a chair and hits the keyboard and the words 'movement speed 100 miles' is typed and then they hit 'save' and it's Officially Published to stand Forevermore.

And this was just as true back in the '90's during 2E. The Spelljammer rules are written with a very basic premise: make a easy fun "swashbuckling" space adventure game. With that in mind, Spelljammers "are just there and they work", so don't think about it and just play the game. Sure, er, oh this new race makes helms, and their are other, er odd helms....but look the ships just fly in space, so now just go 'pew pew' and roll.

So if you take a "13th century kinda like Earth setting" of Toril, even just a couple flying ships will UTTERLY CHANGE THE WHOLE SETTING. Even just say five cargo skyships, not even spelljammers, would do that. Though, if you could have massive flying cargo ships, you could also just have massive flying cities. And if you can have massive flying cities...well, you could just have massive mass teleport too(like the ENTIRE city of Waterdeep teleports right next to the city of Orvyltar (in Ulgarth) and trades for an hour.

So unless you want a setting totally unlike the one presented in any book, you have to fix everything to make it just right.



Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I think we can fix a lot of the bigger problems and then we could bring them in such that they fill their main role (i.e. space exploration) without breaking the in world markets. Will it change things? Yes, but it will be more of a slow "rush"... very slow due to lack of ships... to discover the other planets. If they're effectively no or marginally better in world than skyships then their main purpose becomes what they were designed for, space exploration. They effectively become something like what the space shuttle was to America, minus the satellite and computer technology that was the real improvement for modern life. It might start a small "space race" to start colonies on other world's though, which could prove interesting. Without the resources to mass produce ships though, that "space race" would have hindering factors in it, mostly how to keep a remote colony loyal. You also would need to send only people strong enough to withstand threats (so adventurers), who also tend to not be the most patriotic either.

Just to do a guesstimate for number of the ships we'd be talking about based on some of what I threw out:
moon base - say 10 ships
Nimbral - say 3 ships
Shou Lung - say 10 ships
Wa - say 5 ships
Thay - say 5 ships
Evermeet and other elven nations - say 10 ships
Waterdeep - say 1 ship
Halruaa - say 2 ships
Lantan - say 1 ship
Mulhorand - say the 1 or 2 ships that the gods own

Then a roughly equal amout of "random" ships found throughout the rest of the world. Puts us actually right around 100. If this all came about suddenly like I proposed (i.e. a lot of them are coming back from Abeir or the Feywild... which is where Nimbral, Halruaa, Evermeet, Lantan, Mulhorand, etc.... were... and places like Wa are just getting their facilities rebuilt). Perhaps the Shou had quit using their ships due to their captains going rogue and not coming home.

So, in essence all of these groups show up on Toril. They've been stuck somewhere else for a century. They don't know what the hell is in the stars HERE. Suddenly they're gathering crews to be the "national heros" who will get sent to discover and setup a colony on some remote colony like karpri and try to harvest resources. Meanwhile they have to keep this one ship going back and forth from this world to that colony to bring raw materials, supplies, etc..

But then, this is a magical world, so how would magic help with that exact idea of setting up a remote colony? For instance, they could supply them with something like a murlynd's spoon, cauldron of plenty, decanter of endless water, etc... to keep them fed. The creation of constructs to help with heavy lifting might help the colonies, and things like a Daern's instant fortress or Mord's Mansion can provide them living quarters.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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AuldDragon
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  21:24:57  Show Profile  Visit AuldDragon's Homepage Send AuldDragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by see

Yeah, sure, if you assume the conclusion ("spelljamming is rare"), you can avoid the work of actually making the design support the conclusion.


Again, my point is that this is ALREADY the conclusion for teleportation magic and there is no fuss made about that. There is frequently a fuss made about Spelljammer, even though that is easier to solve IMO (weather, pirates, flying monsters, rogue wizards, etc.). Yes, it is admittedly handwavy, but there's *tons* of handwaving already in the game. I'm saying that handwaving is fine.

quote:
Originally posted by see

Spelljammer, as it was presented, assumes that spelljammers are regularly used to ship cargo in trade. A whole bunch of common-enough-to-be-standard ship designs are presented as being used primarily for trading; note especially the Tradesman. Helms are freely purchasable from the Arcane. The Realmspace supplement has multiple port cities on Toril that deal with spelljammers frequently enough to have explicit laws and polices for dealing with traders arriving in them (Waterdeep, Calimport, Chunming, Iiso), and a whole pile of groundling governments (Shou Lung, Wa, Thay, Evermeet, and Waterdeep) as having their own fleets of spelljammers.


Helms are purchasable from the arcane, but whether they are *freely* purchasable is up to a DM. Do the arcane have a stock of dozens on hand, or do you order one and wait? That isn't stated, because it is left up to the DM and how they to run their campaign. The Arcane are also mysterious and have unknown motives, so it can easily be said that for their own reasons they don't make them available in typical groundling cities like Waterdeep. None of this would "break" Spelljammer OR the Forgotten Realms, and would preserve the Groundling nature of the Realms.

It's also important to remember that a lot of trading needs to be basic commodities; most asteroid ports can't produce enough food on their own. Further, there are plenty of helms (such as nonmagical engines, etc.) that can allow high trade volume in places like the Tears of Selune without ever once getting down to Toril or even Selune. This easily explains heavy ship traffic in that area and the well-known ship types. Also don't forget that a high volume of helms are used for other purposes (the elven navies, neogi fleets, etc.) and intersphere trade, so this can also be used to reduce the number of people going to and from Toril. We don't need to work out the math to say that these would be more profitable or anything, and just handwave it like literally all trade details in D&D are handwaved.

Regarding the groundling fleets, I agree that most of them are problematic in various ways, and I've said that before. The Quad of Thay is IMO *very* out of character for Thay, while also having little actual purpose. The extremely powerful Wa fleet makes little sense as well. Evermeet makes sense simply because they would be aware of Spelljamming, and they are only used for defense. For the Shou, my main issue is that they are essentially the only canon source for eastern people in the wider Wildspace community. They should just be one of many, just as there are elves "western" humans, etc. from a variety of sources.

quote:
Originally posted by see

The idea that none of the spelljamming traders or groundling governments in Realmspace would notice, "Hey, there's a fortune to be made flying galleon-loads of goods from the Moonsea (or Kara-Tur) to the Sword Coast a lot faster and more easily than anyone can send the same quantity via caravan!" under those circumstances is utterly ludicrous. It's a gaping hole in the setting logic that's only fixed by actually making spelljammers rare, rather than simply saying that if they were as rare as high-level wizards there'd be no problem.


The easiest way to explain it is that *they don't know* about it. How many of these organizations are aggressively going after the more well-known Halruaa Skyships, to the exclusion of all else? They may not be as good as a Spelljammer, but they would still do much the same job of getting rare goods from place to place fast.

Fear of attack would keep the Spelljamming ships in typically standard types like Caravels and Galleons, landing offshore and sailing into any given harbor in order to pretend they're normal traders. Further, bringing in exotic materials from other spheres, such as Silversteel from Wayspace or Bronzewood from Greyspace would probably be more profitable than silk or spices from Shou Lung. There would be no competition for that material from normal traders at all. Adventurers might land, sure, but they already have a variety of strange objects, and Spelljamming adventurers generally observe the same precautions as the traders, lest their ship be impounded or something by the local authorities who might want to take their magic for themselves.

Now, yes, if you *want* the setting to be fully Spelljammer aware, this presents problems. But that's a significant change to the setting (and not necessary IMO).

quote:
Originally posted by see

Right, the latter two don't need to be as rare as standard helms, which is exactly why I designated 'em very rare rather than legendary. (Note "very rare" is the rarity level for a 5th-to-10th level party to have one item of the given rarity, by the default 5e assumptions, while "legendary" is the one-for-a-party-of-11th-to-16th-level rarity. So if something is supposed to be as rare as an 11th-or-higher-level wizard, "legendary" is exactly the right rarity level.)


Ah, I didn't realize that had a mechanical element to it. I would treat them all as artifacts in that case, or whatever category would require a DM to manually place them in adventures. I've never liked these categories being used to dictate what PCs should or shouldn't have. That's best left up to a DM IMO.

quote:
Originally posted by see

The series helm, on the other hand, is treated as a PC-accessible device, because in 5e, all sorts of standard PC races have innate magical powers (high elves, drow, forest gnomes, and tieflings in the PHB, plus aasimar, firbolgs, tritons, gensai, and gith in other material). In principle, "locking" them to one species (as was done in 2e) would do much the same thing, but between eliminating the Arcane as being able to supply them in Realmspace, and then explaining why (say) elves wouldn't use a species-locked series helms in 5e to eliminate the ability of rivals to seize and use their helms, I felt it was better to make them generic-and-legendary-rarity. A "series helm" in this context has five seats anyway, so on a per-seat basis they're effectively "very rare".


It seems to me that if you're making substantial changes to items that make them more useful to players, that causes serious problems with your goal, especially when series helms are the primary mode of transport by relatively common Spelljammers, such as illithids and hurwaeti. Mind you, I also prefer to stay as close to the canon as possible.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

BTW, I would need to check, but one thing I noted about the nautiloid as presented in rime of the frostmaiden is that the twisted tentacles that are presented out in front of the ship are splayed out and not cohesive. Were the ones on a standard nautiloid able to unwrap themselves for grasping other ships or something? I always just pictured them as carved in that shape, but it could easily be different.


No, the original Nautiloid tentacles couldn't do that. They were fixed in place and made of wood, and used as a ram. This new feature is simply a case of "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if this thing made to look like an animal were actually ALIVE?!" I am not a fan of it. :P

Most of the actual living ships like elven man-o-war aren't that flexible; they're rigid and woody/crystaline. I think the only one that might be able to do anything like that would be the Reigar's esthetics.

Jeff

My 2nd Edition blog: http://blog.aulddragon.com/
My streamed AD&D Spelljamer sessions: https://www.youtube.com/user/aulddragon/playlists?flow=grid&shelf_id=18&view=50
"That sums it up in a nutshell, AuldDragon. You make a more convincing argument. But he's right and you're not."
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sleyvas
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Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  21:42:06  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By the way... in talking in the above about a "space race" with the people of Faerun.... I so just hit on an idea that I hadn't really realized before until I started noting who had what where.

So, MOST of the places that I'm talking about disappeared after the spellplague OR like in the case of Shou Lung they already in canon were bleeding ships. That really only left 2 groups still on Toril after the Spellplague (if the Arcane here died mind you) with knowledge for building spelljammers. Wa and Thay. Wa we're creating a "destruction of their facilities" to shut them down too. Thay ... well, they had a civil war... and presumably the people building spelljammers were with the Guild of Foreign Trade... who were the ones that FLED Thay. Tam likely didn't have anyone to make spelljammers, and the facilities was probably destroyed in the civil war. But with numerous refugees with no home to live in.... might it be interesting if the Thayan refugees still on Toril had actually secretly setup a colony elsewhere and only the leaders of the Guild of Foreign Trade knew about it?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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USA
9635 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2020 :  22:35:19  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AuldDragon


Regarding the groundling fleets, I agree that most of them are problematic in various ways, and I've said that before. The Quad of Thay is IMO *very* out of character for Thay, while also having little actual purpose. The extremely powerful Wa fleet makes little sense as well. Evermeet makes sense simply because they would be aware of Spelljamming, and they are only used for defense. For the Shou, my main issue is that they are essentially the only canon source for eastern people in the wider Wildspace community. They should just be one of many, just as there are elves "western" humans, etc. from a variety of sources.

quote:
Originally posted by see

The idea that none of the spelljamming traders or groundling governments in Realmspace would notice, "Hey, there's a fortune to be made flying galleon-loads of goods from the Moonsea (or Kara-Tur) to the Sword Coast a lot faster and more easily than anyone can send the same quantity via caravan!" under those circumstances is utterly ludicrous. It's a gaping hole in the setting logic that's only fixed by actually making spelljammers rare, rather than simply saying that if they were as rare as high-level wizards there'd be no problem.


The easiest way to explain it is that *they don't know* about it. How many of these organizations are aggressively going after the more well-known Halruaa Skyships, to the exclusion of all else? They may not be as good as a Spelljammer, but they would still do much the same job of getting rare goods from place to place fast.

Fear of attack would keep the Spelljamming ships in typically standard types like Caravels and Galleons, landing offshore and sailing into any given harbor in order to pretend they're normal traders. Further, bringing in exotic materials from other spheres, such as Silversteel from Wayspace or Bronzewood from Greyspace would probably be more profitable than silk or spices from Shou Lung. There would be no competition for that material from normal traders at all. Adventurers might land, sure, but they already have a variety of strange objects, and Spelljamming adventurers generally observe the same precautions as the traders, lest their ship be impounded or something by the local authorities who might want to take their magic for themselves.

Now, yes, if you *want* the setting to be fully Spelljammer aware, this presents problems. But that's a significant change to the setting (and not necessary IMO).


quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

BTW, I would need to check, but one thing I noted about the nautiloid as presented in rime of the frostmaiden is that the twisted tentacles that are presented out in front of the ship are splayed out and not cohesive. Were the ones on a standard nautiloid able to unwrap themselves for grasping other ships or something? I always just pictured them as carved in that shape, but it could easily be different.


No, the original Nautiloid tentacles couldn't do that. They were fixed in place and made of wood, and used as a ram. This new feature is simply a case of "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if this thing made to look like an animal were actually ALIVE?!" I am not a fan of it. :P

Most of the actual living ships like elven man-o-war aren't that flexible; they're rigid and woody/crystaline. I think the only one that might be able to do anything like that would be the Reigar's esthetics.

Jeff



Jeff/Aulddragon,

First, let me say, thank you very much for joining this conversation, because I get the idea that you were possibly involved in the design and you definitely played it. Though I was around for spelljammer, I didn't have the money for it back then, nor the time. I've never played it, but as you can see in this thread, I've seen the discussions and thought about it. Its probably only the past 10 years that I've actually picked up more and more knowledge of it enough to appreciate it. Given the idea of the "race to mars" that's being launched at us by today's media, I actually think that roleplaying in this environment where it would be "new" information to nearly everyone in the world that you can go to "places in the sky" could be very enlightening for ourselves. Also, as we've seen with star trek, if you dream it, it will happen in some form in reality.

That's partly why when I started this thread I specified on the word SUDDENLY. The people of Toril adapt amazingly well, probably because they're used to magic. However, this idea of travelling to other worlds without a lot of the dangers of planar travel (because despite everything, I view wildspace travel within the sphere as a lot less dangerous) might appeal to many. It would probably also open up exploration within the world as well, but most of that IS probably populated. Still, this idea would somewhat mimic what's happening with US.

I will agree that the Quad of Thay seems extremely out of character and I was really surprised when I found out they existed a few years ago. But, then as with many "canon" things, I tried to find a way to "fit it in", and after I did it started making other ideas work. For instance, the idea of the remote enclaves everywhere became much easier to explain if they were landing a ship in the forest to pickup and deliver goods (and yes, portals also help with the same ideas, though the problem with portals is setting up the network of them... so spelljamming becomes much more suitable to less long term trading in high risk markets). In the end, it was weird, but I think I found a way to make it make sense.

On keeping the ships secret. I think it can be done, but only for a while. At some point, the cat is going to get out of the bag. To use a star trek reference, I view what was happening in the 1300's as "first contact". The world had at one point found out about spelljamming, but that society failed (Netheril). Probably a few more people knew about things over the years, but they kept it quiet, as slowly more and more ships started coming to realmspace. They were probably on the verge of people finding out... then spellplague.

With so much upheaval in the world after the second sundering, if the returning people were literally finding out about spelljammers like we're starting to see, I don't see this "secret" being secret much longer. Quite frankly, in a lot of people's eyes "The world ain't stable enough to be keeping all these secrets, so let's share what we know, and maybe we can get our hands around it together". That's kind of why I figured "hell, let's embrace it and see if there's a way we can add it quickly and see where it might lead". I think even as I write in this thread, its making me think more about how it might affect the world, but I appreciate insight from someone who has actually played with it.

For instance, as I think about remote colonies, my thoughts turn to portals being setup between Toril and these remote colonies... and suddenly I'm seeing a need to make construction of such much more expensive than a portal that jumps goods from say Waterdeep to Aglarond (which itself should be expensive). However, with magic, I think setting up these remote colonies would be a heck of a lot faster than what we can do in our real world.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 30 Sep 2020 22:40:34
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Wooly Rupert
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quote:
Originally posted by AuldDragon

No, the original Nautiloid tentacles couldn't do that. They were fixed in place and made of wood, and used as a ram. This new feature is simply a case of "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if this thing made to look like an animal were actually ALIVE?!" I am not a fan of it. :P

Most of the actual living ships like elven man-o-war aren't that flexible; they're rigid and woody/crystaline. I think the only one that might be able to do anything like that would be the Reigar's esthetics.

Jeff



The Octopus Ship and the Cuttle Command had some movement to their tentacles, as I recall, but it was purely a mechanical thing and was more of a "reposition so this weapon has a different firing arc" thing than anything else. I do seem to recall, though, mention of some individual Octopus Ships having magically animated tentacles.

While I'm not a fan of the current design team's shtick of "Who cares if X was this way before, we're doing this other thing now!" I gotta admit that having a grappling Nautiloid is thematically appropriate. I'd not make it a standard feature on all Nautiloids, obviously, but if it was stated that this was a one-off, I'd not complain.

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bloodtide_the_red
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The problem is that Spelljammers have been officially around in Realmslore for roughly 2000 years. So even if you have a "dark age" of like 1,000 years, you still have like a 1,000 'empty' years. A Flight of Dragons attacks the Elven island of Evermeet on Toril and are fought off by their spelljammer fleet in 889 DR. Stardock in the Tears of Selune is built in 1069, and The Dock in the Wu Pi Te Shao mountains is founded by the Arcane a couple of years before that. And by at least 1200 DR Toril is well known as a planet throughout the Known Spheres.

So, assuming you use 5E, the Offical Timeline is almost up to 1500 DR. So even if you do the "we ruined the Realms with the spellplauge thingy" that does not happen until 1385 DR. So, if you feel you "must" follow whatever random scribble is put out, your game world would be set in about 1490 DR.

So guess the 'space race' could have started in 1380 DR, but then got...sigh, put on hold by wacky goofy 4E AND that EVERYONE in Known Space NEVER went to Toril for 100 years or more....er, for no reason. Then you can say that "when the Realms was sorta fixed back to undo the 4E nightmare " in 1484 DR that "everyone" suddenly remembered Spelljamming or they 'popped' back from 4E limbo, and re started the space race......
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Posted - 01 Oct 2020 :  05:14:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

The problem is that Spelljammers have been officially around in Realmslore for roughly 2000 years. So even if you have a "dark age" of like 1,000 years, you still have like a 1,000 'empty' years. A Flight of Dragons attacks the Elven island of Evermeet on Toril and are fought off by their spelljammer fleet in 889 DR. Stardock in the Tears of Selune is built in 1069, and The Dock in the Wu Pi Te Shao mountains is founded by the Arcane a couple of years before that. And by at least 1200 DR Toril is well known as a planet throughout the Known Spheres.

So, assuming you use 5E, the Offical Timeline is almost up to 1500 DR. So even if you do the "we ruined the Realms with the spellplauge thingy" that does not happen until 1385 DR. So, if you feel you "must" follow whatever random scribble is put out, your game world would be set in about 1490 DR.

So guess the 'space race' could have started in 1380 DR, but then got...sigh, put on hold by wacky goofy 4E AND that EVERYONE in Known Space NEVER went to Toril for 100 years or more....er, for no reason. Then you can say that "when the Realms was sorta fixed back to undo the 4E nightmare " in 1484 DR that "everyone" suddenly remembered Spelljamming or they 'popped' back from 4E limbo, and re started the space race......



There was also the Monarch Mordent, an elven Man-O-War that was involved in the Weeping War (the fall of Myth Drannor). That ship is now partially a wild, tangled area, partially a part of the green dracolich Dretchroyaster, and in my version of the Realms, part of the dozen elfbane golems (variant warforged) that can be found in Cormanthyr.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 01 Oct 2020 :  13:31:48  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

The problem is that Spelljammers have been officially around in Realmslore for roughly 2000 years. So even if you have a "dark age" of like 1,000 years, you still have like a 1,000 'empty' years. A Flight of Dragons attacks the Elven island of Evermeet on Toril and are fought off by their spelljammer fleet in 889 DR. Stardock in the Tears of Selune is built in 1069, and The Dock in the Wu Pi Te Shao mountains is founded by the Arcane a couple of years before that. And by at least 1200 DR Toril is well known as a planet throughout the Known Spheres.

So, assuming you use 5E, the Offical Timeline is almost up to 1500 DR. So even if you do the "we ruined the Realms with the spellplauge thingy" that does not happen until 1385 DR. So, if you feel you "must" follow whatever random scribble is put out, your game world would be set in about 1490 DR.

So guess the 'space race' could have started in 1380 DR, but then got...sigh, put on hold by wacky goofy 4E AND that EVERYONE in Known Space NEVER went to Toril for 100 years or more....er, for no reason. Then you can say that "when the Realms was sorta fixed back to undo the 4E nightmare " in 1484 DR that "everyone" suddenly remembered Spelljamming or they 'popped' back from 4E limbo, and re started the space race......



There was also the Monarch Mordent, an elven Man-O-War that was involved in the Weeping War (the fall of Myth Drannor). That ship is now partially a wild, tangled area, partially a part of the green dracolich Dretchroyaster, and in my version of the Realms, part of the dozen elfbane golems (variant warforged) that can be found in Cormanthyr.



So, possibly the elven communities were "in the know" and were specifically keeping the information hidden as to the extent of what the ships were from groundling communities. Hell, it may have only been known to the elven leadership at that? People may have known that they had flying ships, but not that they could leave the world with them. In that way, they may have thought of them as similar to Halruaan Skyships.

Thank you for the dates on stardock and when the arcane arrived here. I actually didn't know those. If the people were more outsiders coming to Toril as a market that didn't know about wildspace travel, they very much may have wanted to keep the groundlings out of the know, quite simply so that they could get good deals. Maybe they successfully hid this information from a lot of folks (and even those who "knew" didn't know the EXTENT of how much trade was going on... i.e. they might have thought there was only a ship or two visiting the world even into the 1300's)?

This kind of makes me want to think about the cultures that knew about this space travel and how the information got spread. I don't know that we have any canon information on such, so maybe I'll throw out some ideas and we can work it from there?

So, the Netherese knew, but they gave up on spelljamming because it was dangerous as hell for them. Then they fell from power. Their people went down to Halruaa for the most part, and perhaps some of this travel used some spelljammers (some of my homebrew history does indeed involve this and the "cloaking" enclave of Doubloon). Presumably though, Halruaa knew of spelljamming, but as isolationistic as they were their experimentation with exploring was shushed such that space exploration was minimalized.

173 DR. Then comes the exodus of the Leirans to found Nimbral. In this, I believe this is how Nimbral became more of a point of contact between spelljamming cultures and Toril. In my homebrew, the Leirans stole the enclave of Doubloon and flew it invisibly to Nimbral in addition to skyships being used.

Time passes. Nimbral trades with the rest of the world via secret agents (illusionists being great at such, Leirans even better). They then trade with the spelljamming cultures what they've gathered. Nimbral is secretly getting rich and its lords extremely powerful. Some Nimbraii go to the moon and discover cultures there (got my own views of who is there), and they share the idea that secrecy is the best way to keep safe, and they spread the worship of Leira. Perhaps even Nimbral is actively venturing out to other worlds and even spelljamming cultures don't know where they're from
Perhaps they always stop off at the moon to trade cargoes in case they are followed, and they secretly transport the cargoes to the surface (maybe even via a secret portal). Maybe this eventually is what gets trade going with people coming to the moon to trade. In my homebrew, the mythallar of the enclave of Doubloon is fitted with a homemade artifurnace of some sort that's slow and pathetic, but its able to reach orbit, and under cloak of invisibility it is put in orbit as a new place for the Nimbraii to return to, since the moon is being watched so much. Eventually Nimbral starts allowing ships to land on their surface ports, but only people they especially trust, and they don't allow them to leave their ships and roam the island. This is probably after the arcane arrive.

Time passes. Some Halruaans who are fed up with the secrecy of their own country and the lack of freedom flee to "the Priador" where they meet up with discontent Mulan citizens. 922 DR - Thayan rebellion. These people don't know about spelljamming, but perhaps hidden in the history books that they bring with them are some hints. Perhaps in time, they study the Halruaan histories, the netherese histories..... they spy on Halruaa... they spy on Nimbral... and they come to realize that space travel is possible. So, like any good Thayan, they realize this secret is powerful, and they don't know how to get a ship, but they start trying to design a ship that eventually becomes the Quad of Thay. To note, this ship's helm perhaps doesn't work in the Phlogiston, because they didn't KNOW about the Phlogiston yet. In my homebrew, its Zulkir of Illusion, Mythrell'aa, that uncovers this secret by looking into all these histories and being especially interested in both the wizards of Halruaa and the illusionists of Nimbral, and she shared this information with the guild of foreign trade along with millions of gold pieces to begin researching building a helm. Neither of them shares this information with their fellow zulkirs. In my homebrew, other stuff ensues.

But, prior to the Thayans getting a clue, the arcane decide that this world needed to be negotiated with. Around the same time, mind flayers from Glyth setup stardock because of the activities of spelljammers around the moon coming to their world. The arcane think to introduce themselves to the world by finding the most powerful leader and having a secret meeting with them. So, Shou Lung's emperor is contacted, because he controls the biggest territory. The arcane give him an idea of expanding to other worlds and colonizing if he'll just buy helms from him. Initially this works, and the emperor buys a LOT of helms, and he decorates them with his own dragonship theme.

Problems creep in... spies in the court of Shou Lung report to the emperor of Wa that space travel is possible. They discover the link to the arcane, and perhaps they even contact them and get a few helms. However, the ever suspicious Wa emperor decides that he needs his country to not be dependent on these foreigners like "the foolish Shou emperor", and so he orders his spellcasters to develop a helm of their own. In my homebrew, they would setup this secret facility on the island of Machukara.

Eventually, the mind flayers of Glyth decide to setup a portal to Toril, and they do so beneath undermountain where they can trade with skullport. Eventually, some spelljamming cultures learn of this link, and they decide it's a safer way to trade with mind flayers than landing on Glyth, plus they decide to try to trade with the cultures of skullport and Waterdeep as well, since both are large trade gatherings.

Would the above give a feasible history for spelljamming as an overview with Toril? I know its not all encompassing, just trying to come up with something that makes some sort of sense while maintaining the secrecy that it held for so long while also having these active ports, etc....


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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For reasons that I don't think were ever described, Khelben once spent most of a century going around, destroying crashed spelljammers.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 01 Oct 2020 :  16:34:08  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

For reasons that I don't think were ever described, Khelben once spent most of a century going around, destroying crashed spelljammers.



Really? Where's that from? I can see it from his paranoid viewpoint mind you, but I'm just curious. Was it that short story (forget its name, but one o the realms of anthologies)?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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George Krashos
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Posted - 01 Oct 2020 :  17:35:08  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

For reasons that I don't think were ever described, Khelben once spent most of a century going around, destroying crashed spelljammers.



Really? Where's that from? I can see it from his paranoid viewpoint mind you, but I'm just curious. Was it that short story (forget its name, but one o the realms of anthologies)?



Sea of Fallen Stars (pgs.138-139).

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