Ships and equipment
The Astromundi Cluster contains an odd conglomeration of old and new ideas. Below is a sampling of the various ship types found, as well as some of the more unusual pieces of equipment and weapons in use within the Cluster. All ships are described in standard SPELLJAMMER® format.
Built By: Elves
Used Primarily By: Elves
Tonnage: 5 tons
Hull Points: 8
Maneuverability Class: B
Landing — Land: Yes
Landing — Water: No
Armor Rating: 5
Saves As: Thin Wood
Power Type: Major or minor helm
Ship’s Rating: As for helmsman
Standard Armament: 1 light ballista
1 Greek fire projector
Cargo Capacity: 2 1/2 tons
Keel Length: 70’
Beam Width: 50’
Description: This strange looking craft is nearly as wide as it is long, with wings perpendicular from and curved ahead of the enclosed deck where the helm rests. The weapons are below the cockpit in two small pods that hang from the main body of the craft by short lengths of fiber. These are connected to a complicated pulley mechanism, enabling the gunners to swivel the pods about.
Crew: The doombat can be flown by a single crewman, but must have at least three in order to use the weapons to their fullest. The ship is not intended for extended journeys, so rarely will there be more than three or four crewmen on board. A typical crew consists of two weapons operators, one helmsman, and a standby helmsman who can also use the weapons pods should they be needed.
Ship Uses: The doombat is primarily an assault craft, using a good helm and powerful helmsman to fly it fast and hard through enemy ship formations. The doombat’s rotating weapons pods take advantage of the ship’s speed and maneuverability while staying trained on their target. This ability to fire at a ship while moving often spells the difference between a win and a loss in the Astromundi Cluster.
The ship can also be used for smuggling, a pastime which is becoming quite popular with many neogi-influenced elves. Other races would dearly love to get their hands on these craft, but thus far the elves have refused to sell and taking one has been impossible. When in danger of capture, the elves set the Greek fire alight, destroying the doombat.
Built By: Antilans
Used Primarily By: Antilans
Hull Points: 325
Maneuverability Class: C/E
Landing — Land: Yes
Landing — Water: Yes
Armor Rating: 0
Saves As: Metal
Power Type: Major Helm (40%),
Minor Helm (60%)
Both augmented by sunsails
Ship’s Rating: As Helmsman + 3 if sun–
Standard Armament: 1 Heavy Ballista
(mounted in an underslung turret)
2 medium ballistae
(swivel mounted on deck)
4 “spine mounted” light ballistae
Cargo Capacity: 150
Keel Length: 200’
Beam Width: 170’ (350’ or more with
Description: The Antilan crystal ship is the most feared vehicle in Astromundi space. Its distinctive appearance is known and despised by all free races.
The ship’s main body looks very much like a bisected egg, round side down. The deck is open, but various curving spines rise from the craft’s sides like great, twisted ribs. The spines are used as weapons mounts for light ballistae and can also be extended out to support the sunsails. The whole is built of translucent crystal which reflects light in dazzling shards of rainbow illumination. Anyone attacking a crystal ship when it is in the sun suffers a —1 attack modifier.
The ship also has two sunsails which can be extended from the sides of the vessel. If exposed to sunlight, they increase the Ship’s Rating as the light is converted to magical force. Unfortunately, with the sails out the ship is much less maneuverable, so these are used only for long journeys. The sails themselves seem to be made of some sort of crystal fibers, though they absorb, rather than reflect, light. Though deceptively fragile-looking, the crystal ships and their sails are among the most durable vessels in the Cluster.
Crew: Crystal ships are remarkably easy to operate, as virtually every aspect of flying the craft is tied into the helm. Unlike other ships that require sailors to steer, crystal ship crewmen are needed only to man the weapons and deploy or haul in the sunsails. This allows the crystal ships to be loaded with infantry for assault or defense purposes.
Ship uses: Crystal ships are weapons of war, and serve little other purpose. They are never used as trading vessels, as the Antilans prefer to hire out such menial tasks to other races. In times of war, the crystal ships’ large cargo area is occasionally used to haul supplies rather than troops.
The standard crystal ship is used as a planetary assault vehicle, to deliver troops from the massive crystal citadels to the ground. As this is their primary purpose, they most often leave the ship-to-ship fighting for the better armed and armored citadels. Despite their reluctance to engage, the crystal ships are among the most formidable to be found in the Cluster, and they rarely suffer defeat.
Often these vessels are outfitted with even more weaponry than is standard. Eschewing technology in its many forms, the Antilans will only use catapults and jettisons in addition to their many ballistae.
Crystal ships intended for use as anti-vessel ships will typically be outfitted with grappling rams to facilitate boarding actions.
Built By: Thoric
Used Primarily By: Thoric
Tonnage: 30 tons
Hull Points: 20÷20÷20
Maneuverability Class: E/F (with cargo hold)
Landing — Land: No
Landing — Water: No
Armor Rating: 8
Saves As: Metal
Power Type: Major (30%) or
Minor (70%) helms
Ship’s Rating: As Helmsmen
Standard Armament: 1 Turret mounted bombard,
1 rear firing medium jettison
Cargo Capacity: 30
Keel Length: 120’ (special)
Beam Width: 100’ (special)
Description: The tradesman is a marvel of Thoric ingenuity. Designed as a cargo vessel, it is a remarkably fast ship. From the front, the tradesman appears to be three smaller ships affixed in a triangular pattern to a single, large craft. The three smaller craft are the “engines,” where three separate spelljamming helms are kept. The central craft is actually a large cargo hold, anchored into a metal harness upon which the weapons are mounted.
The tradesman is an exception to the rule when it comes to spelljamming helms. The Thoric ship builders have invented a method which allows them to gain benefit from having more than one helm on a single vessel. The main helm grants the ship its full SR, and each of the supplementary helms add 1/2 of their normal SR (round up). Thus, a tradesman with an 8th-level helmsman in the main helm and two 4th-level helmsmen operating the supplementary helms will have an SR of 6 with Major Helms or 4 with a Minor Helm. This speed increase has allowed the Thoric to maintain trade with settlements in the Inner Ring of the Cluster, despite the great distances.
The other feature of this ship is the cargo hold. The hold is completely detachable from its harness, allowing Thoric traders to drop off and pick up cargo very quickly. The holds are slid from their harnesses and unloaded by vehicles at port that load it back up again. The neogi would dearly love to get hold of these ships, and would pay a king’s ransom for one.
Crew: The tradesman needs little in the way of crewmen, considering that it usually has no need to make sudden maneuvers or negotiate asteroid fields. A small number of crewmen can operate the ship’s sails and rudders and man the weapons.
Ship Uses: This craft is strictly a trade vessel. Its poor armament and abysmal maneuverability would make it of minimal use in a military operation. Still, its unique design makes it the premier trading vessel in the sphere, as well as one of the most advanced.
Built By: Calidians
Used Primarily By: Most races
Hull Points: 15
Maneuverability Class: B
Landing — Land: Yes
Landing — Water: No
Armor Rating: 7
Saves As: Thin Wood
Power Type: Major or Minor Helm
Ship’s Rating: As helmsman
Standard Armament: 1 Piercing ram
1 medium ballista on top-mounted turret
Cargo Capacity: 7
Keel Length: 120’
Beam Width: 20’
Description: The lanceship is a fully-enclosed Calidian design intended as a multi-purpose vehicle. It strongly resembles its namesake, especially at a distance, and even at close range the enclosed deck adds to the illusion. Maneuvering is accomplished through the use of sails that fold out from the back of the vessel and an ingeniously linked rudder. Both are manipulated from within. To land, the lanceship crew lowers twin skids from the bottom of the lance.
Crew: The lanceship is very easy to operate, and requires a minimal crew. Though only two crewmen are needed, there are often several more aboard to serve as boarding parties or ship defense.
Ship Uses: The lanceship has become infamous as a smugglers’ vessel. Its high maneuverability makes it the logical choice for threading through an asteroid field, and its low profile is difficult to detect. For this reason, lanceship crews are often closely watched by port authorities. These ships are also a common choice for scouts and other explorers for the same reasons they are favored by smugglers.
As a military vessel, the lanceship leaves something to be desired. However, the neogi developed a new method of attack in their disputes with the beholders some years back. By utilizing the piercing ram, the neogi were able to lock ships up and board them very effectively.
Other types of spelljamming ship exist in the Cluster, including those which have appeared in previous SPELLJAMMER® supplements. Particularly common are ships of the illithid and human races.
Weapons of the Cluster
The space faring races of the Astromundi Cluster have invented numerous weapons specifically for use in space. Each weapon described below contains information for use by both proficient and specialized wielders. Only natives may begin the game with proficiencies in these weapons; outlanders may learn the proficiencies when they can. Each proficiency requires two months of training under a character or NPC who specializes in that weapon’s use.
Cost: 5 sp Weight: 3
Size: M Type: S
Speed Factor: 10 Damage S-M/L: 1d8/1d6-1
The crescent whip is an extra-long (15′-20’) rawhide whip with a crescent blade affixed to the tip (curving edge outward). Made popular by Antilan ship-to-ship fighters, the whip is spun above the head, with line being played out gradually. Then the weapon is lashed toward an opponent who may not only become entangled but also suffer a significant slashing attack from the blade. The major drawback of the weapon is the large amount of room needed to use it effectively (at least a 10’ radius). This is not a problem on the tip of a crystal ship spire, but is very much an obstacle to its use on crowded decks.
Proficient Use: Users proficient with the crescent blade can attack with it as normal, entangling on a roll of 19 or 20. Entangling attacks do only half normal damage, but tangled opponents must take 1d6 rounds to free themselves before they can perform any other action.
Specialized Use: Specialized users can choose to entangle an opponent on any successful attack roll. In addition, their skill allows them to wrap the end of the crescent whip around any sort of protrusion. The whip can support up to 300 lbs of weight making the weapon an excellent boarding tool as well.
Cost: 10 gp Weight: 2
Size: S Type: S
Speed Factor: 3 Damage S-M/L: 1d6/1d3
ROF: 2/1 Range S/M/L: 1÷2÷3
The slashdisk is a steel plate with a slit in the center and sharpened edges. It is held with the hand through the disk, with the weight of the weapon resting on the back of the hand. Originally intended for use as a melee weapon, most are balanced well enough to be thrown by skilled users.
Proficient Use: The slashdisk is a handy weapon, because those proficient with it can also use it in a defensive capacity. Proficient users are allowed an AC bonus of 1 when using this weapon. Pairs of these weapons may be used (see the rules on p. 96 of the PHB), doubling this AC bonus.
Specialized Use: In the hands of a specialist, the slashdisk becomes a deadly missile weapon as well as a melee weapon. Specialists can hurl these weapons at the ROF and ranges listed above. Varan pirates are infamous for using these disks to cut through ships’ riggings at a distance. Anyone attempting to slice through a rope or similar target must hit an AC 6, with a hit indicating the rope has been severed.
Cost: 15 gp Weight: 3
Size: M Type: P/S
Speed Factor: 5 Damage S-M/L: 1d6/1d4 (piercing) or 1d8/1d6 (slashing)
Arm blades gained a reputation shortly after the Thoric began using them. Constructed of a metal harness and a heavy, curved blade, the weapon is strapped onto the arm. The blade runs down the outside of the arm from just above the elbow to several inches beyond the fingertips, and can be used as a stabbing or slashing weapon. It is virtually impossible to drop, and the heavy blade can sever boarding lines with a single swipe.
Proficient Use: Proficient users can opt to attack with either the piercing point of the blade, or its slashing edge. Non-proficient users have a very difficult time using the weapon, both because of its unwieldy shape and its unusual design. Such novices add 2 to the speed factor and may only use the piercing point. In addition, any roll that misses the target by more than 4 also injures the user as the back of the blade can easily slash across exposed flesh. Such failures do 1d4 damage.
Specialized Use: Masters of these weapons can use both piercing and slashing attacks in the same action. Two targets may be engaged, as long as both are within reach of the attacker; a separate attack roll is made for both opponents. If both attacks are used on one foe, only one attack roll is made.
Cost: 7 gp Weight: 2
Size: S Type: P
Speed Factor: 4 Damage S-M/L: 1d4/1d3
Boot knives are exactly what they sound like: blades affixed to the sides of boots or other foot gear. Normally the blades are kept retracted alongside the side of the ankle, but they can quickly be snapped down so that they protrude well beyond the heel of the shoe they are worn on. Mostly useless in a gravity field, boot knives can be used to deadly effectiveness in the weightlessness of space, where characters can lash out with kicks in any direction.
Proficient Use: Proficient users can extend and retract these weapons at will, and use them to attack in a weightless environment with no penalty. In a gravity plane, proficient users can also make an attack with the weapon, but do so with a —2 attack penalty. These weapons can be extended and used in the same action.
Specialized Use: Specialized users can use them just as proficient users, but suffer no penalty for using them in a gravity plane. In a weightless environment, a specialist can make an extra boot knife attack every round, in addition to attacks made with other weapons.
Long conversant with spelljamming, the people of the Shattered Sphere have invented a number of items to aid them. These are listed below, along with pertinent game information and descriptions.
Cost: 1,500 gp Weight: 100 lbs.
The Beacon is a device used to attract spelljamming ships to ports, emitting a fiery blue glow that can be seen for thousands of miles. Typically, these beacons are used only on the largest of ports because they can attract unwelcome visitors.
Beacons are fueled by gold, which they burn at a rate of 1 gp an hour. This makes a Beacon very expensive to keep running, but most trading ports believe them to be worthwhile investments as they keep potential clients from flying past. Some ships also carry a Beacon Arcane in case they are stranded and require rescue, but such use is rare.
The Beacons resemble squat-legged stoves with clear, crystal globes on top. Gold is fed into the body and flames appear within the globe. Beacons Arcane are sometimes mounted in towers on a rotating platform like a groundling lighthouse.
Cost: 10 gp Weight: 1 lb.
These are merely spiked gloves and boots, used to pull oneself along a stationary spelljammer in space. Repair crews use them to good effect, as do pirates and saboteurs. Movement is slow, though, equal to 1/3 a character’s Dexterity in feet per round. This piece of equipment is similar to the thief’s harness (described in the Arms and Equipment Guide).
Cost: 50 gp Weight: 1/2 lb.
Signaling crystals are flat, reflective crystals mounted on a swivel. They (and a special coded language) were designed by the Antilans to facilitate inter-ship communication.
Ships within Clusterspace still use the original Antilan coded language for communicating between ships. Characters can take the code as a normal language, or as a nonweapon proficiency should they so desire. Signaling Crystals can be seen out to ten miles in the deeps of space, half that in an asteroid field or nebula. Larger versions visible out to fifty miles have been seen aboard Antilan crystal ships, but no other race uses them.
Cost: 20 gp Weight: 2 lbs.
Line casters are small crossbows modified to fire adhesive bolts (see below). The caster can fire up to 50’ with no penalty, as long as it is firing at something relatively large (such as a ship) and the location of the hit is not important. The line caster is used by sailors who fall overboard, and sometimes sees use in boarding actions. The line can be climbed at normal climbing rates.
If fired at a man-sized or smaller target, or if location of the hit counts, the ranges are: 15÷30÷45. Line casters can fire normal crossbow bolts at these ranges, but damage is reduced by half as the caster is not designed to drive the bolts with lethal force.
Cost: 1 sp Weight: 12/1 lb.
Adhesive bolts are used in conjunction with line casters. They are essentially crossbow bolts with an eye for threading a tether through in the back. The adhesive comes in a small oiled leather back, and the bolt is dipped into it before firing. The adhesive will hold its grip on a successful hit, and can hold up to 300 lbs without coming loose. A solvent is sold with the adhesive, and can dissolve the glue in two rounds. Because of the gooey adhesive tip, adhesive bolts inflict only a single point of damage to creatures they hit. Even this point of damage is negated if the character is wearing metal armor.
Cost: 10 gp Weight: 2 lbs.
These are metal spools within a wooden handle. The spools swing freely from one side of the handle and have an inch or so of clearance beneath them. The spool is closed over a cable strung from a high point to a low point. Used by Calidian pirates during boarding actions, these have proven to be lethally effective when combined with line casters. Characters using cableslides can cross the distance of the cable within a single round (unless it is an extremely long cable), but can make no attacks during their slide. Because of their great speed, they receive +1 to their AC during the round they are sliding. Cablesliding characters must make a successful save vs. petrification or suffer 1 – 4 points of damage on impact with the target surface.
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