Tales from Wildspace - Spelljammer

Did I ever tell you about my old friends?

That crew'd been called adventurers, mercenaries, pirates, ne'er-do-wells, and even heroes. People whose best skills were slinging spells or swinging steel, and couldn't stand being anything but freelance. But a better group to have at your back I've never met.

Back when I met them, they'd won themselves a spelljammer - the Infinite Nostalgia - in a game of cards. The prior owner objected, but they'd won it fair and square. Not to mention they'd kicked his ass in the resulting bar fight. Of course, he had some friends in port so they had to skip out quick. Me, I just happned to be looking for work down at the docks, and they needed someone who knew how to pull a line and set a helm, and wouldn't ask any more questions than they were. So I jumped over the rail before I even knew what I was in for. Might have been a few shots fired, and a warehouse set ablaze, you'd have to ask someone else about that part. Me, I just made sure the ship was pointed the right way and sailed out into the open void.

What happened next, now, that's the real tale…

A casual 4E pickup game set in a modified Spelljammer setting.

Character Creation

  • 4th Level
  • Standard point buy for stats
  • Races: Any non-monster1
  • Classes: Any2
  • Choose a Theme and a Background3
  • One free expertise feat. Includes Versatile Expertise or Master at Arms.4
  • Starting Items
    • One 3rd level, one 4th level, one 5th level
    • 680gp for additional magical items, consumables, rituals, or ritual components
    • Whatever other mundane gear you want for free
    • Guns! You can have one. It's just a crossbow that's loud, we're just going for flavor here.
    • Once your character and background are complete, I will assign you an additional item for flavor/shits'n'giggles
  • Background
    • Give me a paragraph, it doesn't have to be deep

Dramatis Personae

iPlay4e Campaign Sheet

Quinn

A middle-aged human male who jumped aboard the ship when the party high-tailed it out of dock with the Infinite Nostalgia. Quinn is an experienced 'jammer, a jack-of-all trades, someone who knows who's who in every port in wildspace. A bit gruff and weather-worn. He has a bit of magical talent, including a penchant for fortune-telling. Quinn is a follower of Tymora, and there may be a bit more to him than meets the eye. But probably not. Quinn serves as crew for Infinite Nostalgia, cooking and repairs and basically keeping the ship up while the party is off doing their thing.

Campaign Information

This will be a pickup/episodic style game. The characters are all part of the crew of a spelljammer that go and have adventures. Sort of Cowboy Bebop style. As such the group composition can change from session to session, and don't expect any sort of grand story.

A Word About Style (Or the Lack Thereof)

As for look and feel, expect a lot of Age of Sail shenanigans, with a healthy dose of quasi-steampunk (the coefficient of which increases with the proximity of gnomes). Watch Treasure Planet (seriously, watch it, it's good), the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, that sort of thing. Expect high adventure.

Don't expect me to use the canon ships from Spelljammer. Most of them are too stupid to be retarded (though a few actually are so dumb they loop back around and become interesting again). The illithid and neogi ones are all right, and I'll be using some of the better elven designs for… someone other than elves. Otherwise, expect fewer ships that look like half-assed sharks and smilodons with the Downs (seriously), and more sailing ships, except 20% cooler.

Similar culling will be done of the goofier, Aspie-er, and unfunny nerd 'humor' -ier aspects of the setting as well. Eg - no giant space hamsters.

I'm not going for a serious game, but I want to be able to respect myself in the morning, people.

The Terrible Secret of Space

The terrible secret is I don't really give a shit about complicated magical space cosmology.

One area this game will differ from 'canon' Spelljammer is that space doesn't work quite the same way. I'm not dealing with phlogiston because it's silly and hard to spell. Also I'm not going to bother with complicated rules about air. Space doesn't have air, but there are cheap items that provide air, and spelljammers come with big versions. It's magic, I ain't gotta explain shit.

I am keeping crystal spheres, though. Inside a crystal sphere space is relatively safe from environmental hazards and the density of stuff is much higher. Usually referred to by a specific local name (Krynnspace, Realmspace, Greyspace, etc.). Spheres are not safe by any stretch, but you're not likely to get crushed by some horrendous magical storm with no warning or eaten by a giant space whale. The crystal sphere keeps that stuff out.

Outside of the spheres is Wildspace. Wildspace has lots of environmental dangers and huge horrible beasts, but the density of stuff (including huge horrible beasts) is much lower. The primary difference is that while you can go wherever you want inside a sphere with relatively little effort, barring local issues, in Wildspace there are a few known 'safe' routes and everything else is a big risk. Basically, think of being in a sphere as being in relatively calm island studded waters (like the Caribbean) and being in Wildspace as being out on the open ocean.

Oh the Interesting People You'll Meet

Spelljammer threw in some iconic new races and factions. As per standard, some of them are interesting and some of them are really dumb. I'm using two of them I like and modifying a third and ignoring the rest. Also a little info on other races that are a tad different in the setting.

Arcane
The apparent inventors of the spelljamming helm, the Arcane are a mysterious race that only appear in public completely covered by their distinctive silk clothing and magical armor. Also typically accompanied by imposing intelligent construct guards they created (warforged). Highly mercantile, usually work through factors of other races. No one knows what they look like under the armor, somehow. Lots of rumors. Not a whole lot of them. Center of a lot of conspiracy theories.5
Giff
Dapper, militaristic hippo men with guns. Mercenary leg breakers for half the goon-employers in space. Expect to see a lot of 'em.
Gnomes
There are the typical gnomes, Feywild natives with a penchant for trickery and magic. And there are the Tinker Gnomes, who fuck around with technology in a pretty haphazard way. Not as bad as their cousins on Krynn. Source of most of the steampunk-ish tech around. Mercantile, have delusions of competing with the Arcane. The Arcane are really patronizing to them.
Mindflayers
Your usual brain-eating squid faced fuckers. Also slavers, but not scumbag pirates like the neogi. An imperial power with holdings in deep Wildspace, tolerated elsewhere because they're smart enough to keep their more unsavory behavior out of public sight - and because they have some kind of sweetheart deal with the Arcane. Also have a habit of dropping the hammer on any mindflayer renegades fucking out Known Space in order to maintain good PR. How big their empire actually is, no one knows, and ships that go in there have a habit of disappearing without a trace. Evil at its most polite and banal, generally.
Neogi
Evil spider-monsters. Look like giant wolf-spiders with moray eels for heads. Hateful, xenophobic douchebags. Big time slavers and pirates. Notable for every neogi who's worth two shits having an umber hulk slave. The only people who bother to trade with them are the mindflayers. Everyone else attacks their ships on sight.