|W is for those WILLING TO RECEIVE THE DAGGER~!|
Let me warn you, this post has dirty stuff in it. That is correct my trusty companion, we explored Ed Greenwood's "Bedwarmers and Willing-arms". Explored them thoroughly!
She runs a male dragonborn fighter named "Mu Yung" who wields a soul-sucking sword called diamond death. She is a veteran of Skull & Shackles, as well as the early 4e adventures and of course she was the player who seduced the bad guy to create a certain Sperm Blade. As is the custom, we both wore pajama pants for the occasion.
I dropped the side quest hook on her full force and in seconds Mu Yung had paid a spelljamming ship captain to take him to an asteroid which was a few days away. The galleon was crewed by grommams (kimono-wearing ape men who spoke in sign language), as well as a SPACE SAGE, a space pirate and a space babe with big hair and face paint.
|It's like a go-bot|
|Those clear dice are SPECIAL DICE~|
I did very simple conversions, basically reversing the armor classes and keeping the to-hits the same. A galleon has 40 "hull points" (hit points) and the scro mantis has 60, so this was not a fair fight. But it was just a test and I would have an elven ship jump in to help Mu if things got scary.
She agreed that the scro ship looked sort of stupid. She also added that she didn't like the name "scro". I asked why."Scrotum." Oh. Now they're ruined.
The elves are sort of the police of space in spelljammer. They are known as the Elven Imperial Fleet, and they hate the scro. My findings:
The ships are too slow: With an SR of 2, the ships move 2 hexes (if you want to turn your ship, that costs 1 hex). Encounters start with the ships 11-20 hexes away from each other. The range on the ballistas is about 4 hexes. So yeah, it's a little slow and awkward.
Too little damage: Ballistas do d3 damage and fire once every 3 rounds! The scro ship has 60 hull points. That's an awful lot of back and forth. It seemed pointless not to just board, as it seems like the fights would get dull. I am thinking of bumping it up to d8 damage, though she thinks that is too high. It was also quickly apparent that book-keeping was necessary to know when you could fire your weapons again. It was trickier than expected. Maybe it would be easier to just get rid of re-load times.
The critical hit chart is awesome: The expanded threat range and the crit effects really add a lot of realism and excitement. A critical hit in ship-to-ship is a big deal. The galleon was hit with a critical, and one of the ballistas was destroyed.
Facing confusion: I couldn't tell if a ship could only move in the direction it is facing. What made me wonder were the rules on moving backwards (up to 2 hexes). I guess that means you can't "shift" sideways in a spelljammer?
Overall, it was OK. She seemed to like it. It was so different that it felt pretty fun, even in "test" mode. It has a slower "Star Trek" ship fight feel.
The galleon stopped off at an asteroid settlement for repairs. Oh hey look, there just happens to be a "festhall" over there! What are the chances?! Utilizing all that I've learned from Ed Greenwood's extensive efforts, Mu Yung was soon over-whelmed by the wide variety of supple companions.
I realize now that I should have portrayed the crew getting rid of the bodies of the scavvers and spaceworms, as that could be a real problem on a ship.
The Galleon at last reached its' destination - an asteroid with a weird magic garden. The asteroid was being colonized by gnomes who had built lots of tubes for their giant space hamsters.
She wanted a space hamster as a pet. She also met a SPACE OWL who became an ally.
Overall: We both liked it and feel we could definitely jump in to a whole Spelljammer campaign. I really look forward to handing the players a ship full of fun NPCs and let them cut loose, but there will definitely be some tweaking involved. I would like to have at least one ship battle per session, but as it is right now it seems like it would get tedious.