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Monday, April 28, 2014

The Very Best Spelljammer Magic Items

X is for.. XTERMINATION.. yeah, I know..
On Friday, Wizards of the Coast posted a Q&A video about the new edition, featuring Mike Mearls, Rodney Thompson and the great Chris Perkins. Stuff that caught my attention:

- There are downtime "mini-games". As in, when your heroes stop in town to make magic items, there's a few rolls to make, stuff like that. There's also little rules for building a keep or "going on a crime spree".
- Rodney is a big fan of Al Qadim. That is cool.
- There is a magic wild surge random table where you could end up accidentally summoning a bunch of angry flumphs! That sounds great, I loved the wild magic table from the Tome of Magic.
- There is going to be art for a lot of the classic magic items

This got me thinking that it was time to look at the Spelljammer magic items. In order for us to become authorities on all thing Spelljammer-related, we're going to have to dig deep. We've gotten a grip on the monsters... well... most of them...

I was reading a blog by Spelljammer designer Jeff Grub. He pointed out that clockwork horrors are just re-skinned Daleks from Dr. Who. I had no idea. And I also realized I didn't include the clockwork horrors in any of my Spelljammer monster blog posts! They deserved to be in there. They are awesome. So here they are:

Clockwork Horrors

They are "viruses" meant to destroy the crystal spheres. They are made of different types of metal. They are immune to all sorts of stuff, especially electricity.

They were made by a foolish race of "Lost Ones". The horrors mission i simple: To survive. All living things are a threat to them.

When they land on a world, over the course of 250 years they strip the world of all resources.

Copper Horrors: The weakest version. They do menial labor.
Silver Horrors: The warriors. They have buzzsaws and can shoot darts.
Electrum Horrors: Commanders. Has a bigger buzzsaw and can shoot steam-jetted darts.
Gold Horrors: There's only one of these per planet. Has a sharp razor and can shoot lightning every other round.
Platinum Horrors: There are one of these per crystal sphere. It shoots bigger lightning.
The Adamantite Horror: There is only one. It is cold and calculating. It has a razor and "the nightmare stick" (no penis wart jokes, people, come on now) - it shoots a disintegrate beam every round. Every round!

Before we begin our thorough examination of SPACE MAGIC ITEMS~ I'd just like to point out that I can't wait to sarcastically read the boxed text to my players from the adventure anthology Skull & Crossbows. The late, great Nigel Findley had a penchant for going a bit overboard with his intro flavor text, complete with blatantly telling the PCs how they feel and what they say. Here's an example:

"You’re starting to think that this adventuring in space isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Whatever happened to meeting interesting new people for informative and stimulating conversation? It seems that everyone you’ve met lately, every ship you’ve encountered, has wanted to attack you. No “Pleased to meet you, where are you from?” Just “Fire the catapults and board them!”


“Battle stations!” you yell. “Again . . . ” you sigh.


Space turtle in an asteroid field? "Battle Stations... again! Sigh."
We're gonna list these mothers by sourcebook. I had heard that there were two spelljammer artifacts - yep! - in a Dragon magazine article, so those will be the main event of this blog post. Wow.. in the tradition of the rod of seven parts, the eye of Vecna and the deck of many things, I wonder what crazy crap they made for Spelljammer. Take a look with me, won't you, pal?

War Captain's Companion:

Neverending Barrel of Grog: Mmmm. Grog. Watered-down rot-gut rum. The barrel remains empty until tapped, at which time it dispenses grog until you stop the tap. "After the fifth glass in an hour's time, an imbiber must roll a Constitution check with each glass or pass out". You fall asleep for 2d8 hours and can't be wakened.

Neverending Barrel of Salt Pork: You can take 100 pounds of salted pork per day (feeding 50 crewmen). Snap into a Slim Jim!

Basket of Devouring: It's basically a garbage can, except that the stuff you throw in it eventually disappears (5% chance every ten minutes). Rumor has it these items are shifted to the astral plane, where the Arcane sift through it for valuables and information.

The HOLD OF HOLDING: Yeah!! A magic door knocker that is placed on a door inside a ship. Do a special knock and say a secret word and poof, the door opens into an interdimensional space to store your crap in. If you steal the knocker and put it on a door in your ship, you can access all that stuff. Crazy. Players could do all sorts of zany stuff with it.
Guys.. I think they're doing it.
Lantern of Spying: Allows you to hear the voices of everyone on the ship. It even has a volume knob. Good for paranoid captains!

The Plank: When you walk this plank, it extends all the way out of your ship's air bubble. Each step you take magically sends you four steps closer to he edge - where you will end up floating in space until your air runs out.

Statue of Power (Old Salt): These are statues that can become people when a magic word is spoken. Here's two of my favorites:

- Swabbie with Bucket: I imagine him as a paunchy smelly pirate with a big belly. He cleans the ship, 5 feet per round, and doesn't stop until he's done or he DIES.

This will serve me well on those lonely nights at sea.
- Pirate with Peg Leg: ..."When this statue is activated, all enemies aboard the ship must roll a save vs spell or be forced to dance the pirate's jig for d6 rounds." Nuff said, true believer! Excelsior!

This reminds me of an Al Qadim NPC I had named Shipboard Pete (he was basically a ripoff of the sailor guy from the Simpsons). His gimmick was that every adventure he'd lose another body part. So by the end he had two peg legs and two peg-arms with hooks on the end. He had this secret story where his brother was cursed to become a shark, and endlessly followed Pete and bit him whenever he went overboard.

Lost Ships: (By our good buddy Ed Greenwood!)

Anti-Magic Egg: Jeez. This is a bit much. It's a one-use magic egg that forces all magic with 30 feet to save or be drained. It drains ship helms (which are the thrones that power spelljamming ships) for about an hour. Spellcasters lose a random spell. You're looking at a player riot if you drop one of these on them.

Crown of the Void: A magic crown that replenishes your personal air, so you could drift alone in space indefinitely without losing oxygen. You can expand this bubble up to a 90 foot radius.. So basically, your ship will never lose air or get fouled air. Powerful!

Gemsword: These were made by ancient space elves. They are +4 (!) weapons made of electric-blue metal. They gather light energy and once per day (Ed actually did the "144 turns" thing again!) can make a POWER STRIKE - it can do one hull point of damage to a ship or do 3d4 damage to a person plus magically confuse them.. for 12 rounds.

It also has 2 or 3 powerstones which have powers like, oh I don't know, shoot lightning bolts, teleport without error and give you regeneration.

Did he actually give these out in his campaign? These things are ridiculously powerful.

The Astromundi Cluster:

Always a full parking lot at make-out spacedock
- It's made from shadowstone that flickers with cold white flames.. It's a +2 weapon that can destroy clothes (!) or non-magic armor when it hits (magic stuff gets a save..!). Save or be nude.
- If exposed to sunlight, its' flames go red and five times per day the wielder can fire a 30 foot long beam of energy for d10 fire. This bypasses all resistances.

See now, this is how you do a magic sword. Ed Greenwood went way overboard with the gemswords, although they are very cool. The soulblade has really cool flavor without being a game-breaker.

Heart of the Enemy:

Dragon Flag: Check this out. When this flag is raised, it causes the ship to appear as an immense three-headed multi-colored dragon! It's an illusion, lasts one hour per day.

And now we get to the artifacts! Let's see what they made for us...

Dragon Magazine #159:

Blackjammer's Cutlass:

- The hilt is carved to look like a sailor being keelhauled
- The blade is made of a non-reflective black substance
- Gives +2 to AC(!) and +2 to hit/damage
- The sword is intelligent and can speak Common and Elvish. The sword demands piracy be undertaken, and is known to be "singing bawdy sea chanties and telling ribald jokes that make even a sailor blush". Wow... must use this sword in my next campaign!!
- Over time the wielder may talk like the sword "...repeatedly saying 'Arg!' to himself'". I guess they mean "Arrrrr"
- The sword is said to be adrift in the Phlogiston between OerthSpace (Greyhawk) and KrynnSpace (Dragonlance).

Gauntlet of Tamus:

- Can create an explosion three times per day like a fireball without flames, doing 5-40 damage to all adjacent opponents. ..the wearer takes half damage. Well.. ok then.

Final verdict: One is awesome, one is kind of half-finished. Blackjammer's Cutlass, get in my campaign! See you tomorrow, my trusty compadre.

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