Fortune & Glory
Costs and Services and equipment
“Problem with most groundlings is, they’ve been big fish in a small pond. Well, there ain’t no bigger pond than Wildspace, friends, and the fish out here get big. Mighty big.’
— Mordreggan Zudrik, dwarven veteran and miner
Ships require a sextant (500-1,000 gp), a set of precision navigational implements (200-600 gp), an astrolabe (1,000-2,000 gp), and a chart (100-600 gp) to successfully navigate an unknown sphere. Accurate piloting in the phlogiston requires additional charts and tables.
Damage to spelljamming ships can be repaired at a cost of 2,000 gp per hull point, or 5,000 gp per hull point if the ship has taken more than 50% damage. Five skilled shipwrights repair one hull point per day, or one per three days in the case of heavy damage.
Hiring on as a spelljamming mage with a merchant house pays
well —usually on the order of 500 to 2,000 gp per month.
Operating a spelljamming vessel requires more
than just getting in, sitting down on the helm,
and taking off. Even if the destination is clear, the
long duration of most spelljamming journeys requires
that plans be made and equipment be procured
before the ship leaves dock.
Provisioning the Crew
The most important component of any ship is its
crew and passengers. The purpose of spelljamming
is to move the people aboard from one place to another.
Without a crew, a spelljamming ship (except
perhaps the great ship Spelljammer itself) would be
inert and useless.
This section discusses the necessities of life
aboard ship, and how ships are acquired and maintained.
Food is generally the most bulky provision aboard
ship, but in many ways it is the least critical. A typical
human requires only a pound or so of food per
day, if he is willing to live on dry rations. Moreover,
people can survive on partial rations for an extended
period of time, and can even live with no food at all
for a week or more.
A character can live without food for a number of
days equal to half his Constitution score without ill
effects. Thereafter, the character must make a Constitution
check each day or lose one Strength point
and one Constitution point. (This Constitution check
is made with each day’s lowered Constitution, not
the character’s original Constitution score.) When
Strength reaches zero, the character is incapacitated
and can no longer move. When Constitution reaches
zero, the character dies unless he can make a saving
throw vs. death magic. Success indicates that the
character survives for another day.
The Strength and Constitution points lost to starvation
can be recovered at the rate of two Strength
points and one Constitution point per day, until fully
restored. However, if either Strength or Constitution
drops completely to zero as a result of starvation, the
character loses one point of the affected attribute
permanently unless he can make a System Shock
A single ton of cargo space can hold 2,400 persondays
of dry rations (this includes the space for packing
materials, shelving, etc.). That is, one “ton” of
food could feed 24 people for 100 days, or 48 people
for 50 days. Most vessels have a ship’s pantry able to
carry three months’ food for a standard crew without
taking space from the cargo. Ships on longer voyages,
such as those exploring random spheres within
the phlogiston, must sacrifice some of their cargo
space to carry food. Dry rations will keep for the
duration of a voyage without spoiling.
While dry rations will keep a crew alive, such fare
gets pretty tiresome after a few weeks. Higher quality
food (pickled fish, spiced meats, and salted vegetables)
consumes double the space and can be kept
for only a month before going bad. Preserved food is
generally used on longer voyages, at least for the
first portion of the trip.
Replenishing food stores requires access to a
source of food. Any civilized spaceport will have
ship’s provisions for sale at 150% of the normal cost.
In uncivilized areas, the ship (or some members of the crew) will
have to make landfall on an earth world, as that is the
only type of world where edible animals can be reliably
found. Such hunting forays can gather normal
rations (consuming double cargo space), but drying
and preserving these foods is impractical. Thus,
ships traveling to unexplored spheres generally
bring enough dry rations to travel there and back.
Alternatively, food can be harvested aboard ship.
Although it is rare for spelljamming ships to carry
food animals, if plants are brought along to freshen
the air supply (see the later section on “Air”), the species
selected are usually those that produce edible
fruits and vegetables. These items are a welcome relief
from the monotony of dry rations on long voyages,
and they seem beneficial to the health of the
Water presents a different set of problems. No
character can go without some form of water for
more than three days without suffering ill effects,
and under no circumstances will that character survive
for more than a week.
After three days without water, the character must
make a Constitution check every six hours or lose
one Strength point and one Constitution point. (This
Constitution check is made with the lowered Constitution,
not the original Constitution, and these effects
are cumulative with the characteristic loss for
starvation.) When Strength reaches zero, the character
is incapacitated and can no longer move. When
Constitution reaches zero, the character dies unless
she can make a saving throw vs. death magic. Success
indicates that the character lasts six more
The Strength and Constitution points lost to thirst
can be recovered at the rate of one Strength point
and one Constitution point per hour until fully restored.
There is no chance of permanent characteristic
loss unless the character also lacked food.
Humans require a minimum of a gallon of water
each day. A single ton of cargo space can hold 2,500
gallons of water in 50 gallon casks—far more than
any normal crew would consume on most voyages
of travel with a standard crew.
If a ship is in danger of running out of water, its
captain has two options:
• Purchase water at any spaceport for 1 gp per 50
• Journey to any water world and fill the casks for
Air is every ship’s most critical need. Spacefarers
can survive for weeks without food and for days without
water, but without air they will be dead in minutes.
The Concordance of Arcane Space, Chapter 1, lists
levels of air quality, explains how air is consumed on
a spelljamming voyage, and describes the consequences
of an inadequate air supply.
Here we will expand
on that information with various approaches
you can take to preserve and refresh your air supply
to stave off those unpleasant consequences.
• Hire hurwaeti crewmen. The hurwaeti fog cloud
ability can refresh a fairly large atmosphere (see
Chapter 2 of this book). However, you must pay the
hurwaeti, carry enough provisions for them, and
have a ship large enough to carry your entire party
and the hurwaeti.
• Refresh the air envelope in a planetary atmosphere.
Most worlds (except fire worlds and void
worlds) possess breathable planetary atmospheres.
This atmosphere is always fresh, and is so much larger
than any ship’s air envelope that the ship’s air will
be completely refreshed.
To refresh its air, a ship has to go fairly deep into a
planetary atmosphere (although it does not actually
have to land). For ships that are designed to enter an
atmosphere (ships that are able to land either on the
ground or on water), refreshing an atmosphere in
this way is not a problem. However, a ship that is not
designed for the stresses of a planetary atmosphere
must make a saving throw vs. crushing blow based on the
ship’s primary material (wood, stone, etc.). If the ship
fails its save, it suffers a single critical hit.
• Carry green plants. Many years ago, a spelljamming
captain took on a commission to carry a supply
of green plants to an elven colony. He managed to
become lost in space for many months. Although he
was out of food and on the point of starvation when
he was finally rescued, the air envelope of his vessel
was still fresh.
From this discovery came the practice of carrying
green plants on large vessels, to help preserve the
atmosphere. These plants are carried on the deck
(they will die if left in the enclosed cargo hold). Each
5′ × 5′ square of deck space covered with green
plants purifies the atmosphere for five tons of the
vessel. Thus, if the vessel has a capacity of 40 tons, it
must have 200 square feet of its deck occupied with
green plants to maintain its atmosphere indefinitely.
Extremely large ships, such as the legendary
Spelljammer, have a disproportionately small atmosphere
for their size and so do not require nearly as
many plants as this formula provides.
Any type of green plants may be used, and the
ones selected often act as a secondary food source
(see the prior section on “Food”). However, most
plants are never really “at home” in space. Even hardy
groundling species tend to wilt and die at the
slightest provocation, making them a fragile and unreliable
source of fresh air. It is up to the DM to decide
what events might cause “crop failure” on a
spelljamming ship (“1 dunno, Cap’n. They all died
when we passed that big brown star!”).
If the ship has half the required amount of green
plants, but not all of the required amount, the time it
takes for the atmosphere to be depleted is increased
by 50%. If the ship has less than half the required
amount of green plants, the plants do not appreciably
refresh the atmosphere.
Green plants refresh the air slowly. If the ship’s
atmosphere is fouled through some external means,
such as by fire or by mixing with a fouled atmosphere,
the standard amount of green plants cannot
correct the air quality (although they can maintain a
steady state). If the ship carries double the normal
amount of green plants (two 5′ × 5′ squares per five
tons of vessel), the green plants can convert fouled
air into fresh air or convert deadly air to fouled air in
one month. Going from deadly to fresh air thus takes
Maintaining the Ship
The crew and passengers are not the only things
requiring attention during a voyage. The ship itself
may be damaged by combat, by collision with a natural
body, or by the buffeting of a planetary atmosphere.
The following section discusses the various
types of repairs that can be made to a spelljamming
vessel, and how those repairs are effected in space.
Repairing the hull of a spelljamming vessel is surprisingly
easy, if the appropriate raw materials and
tools are available. Unfortunately, in the depths of
wildspace it is hard to find spare lumber or a solid
Ships carry hull repair materials so that they will
be available if needed. A single ton of cargo space
can hold enough raw material to repair five hull
points worth of damage. These materials cost 50 gp
per hull point to be repaired (250 gp per ton), and
using these materials to repair a ship requires a crew
of five men to work for a week.
In addition to raw materials, you need tools to repair
a ship. The standard ship’s locker carries tools
suitable to make minor repairs (where 50% or fewer
of the hull points have been lost), but more extensive
repairs requires a full drydock and cannot be performed
by the crew.
Mote also that hull repairs require the attentions of
a trained shipwright (see Chapter 5) or a trained
craftsman appropriate to the material (a carpenter
for a wooden ship, etc.). Without such a craftsman,
the ship is considered poorly repaired, and the vessel’s
chance of suffering a critical hit is increased by
Most of the equipment used by groundlings can be
put to work in space. Spelljamming crews are not
substantially better equipped than their groundling
cousins, except for the ship itself. Nevertheless,
there are many pieces of equipment smaller than a
ship that are uncommon for groundlings but have
gained popularity among the peoples of space.
This section discusses equipment that is generally
considered part of a ship, rather than part of an individual’s
gear. These items are not carried by individuals
and may be purchased as part of a ship’s
outfitting at the listed prices.
Anchor. Spelljamming vessels need not always be
piloted. There are times when all you want to do is
hover in one place. In space this is easy, but in a planetary
atmosphere, the ship tends to drift with the
wind, which can move the ship an amazing distance
in just a few hours. To keep their ships from blowing
away, spelljamming captains use anchors.
A spelljammer’s anchor looks like the groundling
equivalent: a large metal hook, generally with two or
three prongs, at the end of a long rope (called a hawser).
The opposite end of the hawser is firmly attached
to the ship, and the intervening portion is
wrapped around a spindle so that it can be rolled up
or let out by turning the capstan.
When a spelljamming vessel wishes to hover over
a planet’s surface (as when a ship that can land only
on water wishes to visit a landlocked city), it lowers
its anchor, dragging it across the ground until it
catches on a rock or other fixed object. Some anchors
are simply very heavy and are allowed to fall
freely and imbed themselves in the ground when
they hit. Once the anchor is secured, the capstan is
turned to tighten the hawser, keeping the ship more
or less in place. Most ships carry 200’ hawsers.
From below, the sight of a flying ship dumping an
anchor toward the ground can be disconcerting, to
say the least. Spelljamming captains should avoid
occupied areas (villages, farmhouses, etc.) when targeting
Cargo Hoist. Even after you are anchored, getting
down from your ship requires some effort. Lowering
rope ladders, fly spells, and attaching elastic cords to
a passenger’s feet and throwing him overboard (a favorite
of gnomes) have all been found wanting for
one reason or another.
The most common solution is the cargo hoist, a
cranelike device that attaches firmly to the ship. The
hoist consists of a boom that hangs over the side of
the ship, a winch, and a drum holding a few hundred
feet of line. A bucket, sling, or platform is tied to the
end of the line hanging from the boom. The whole
affair resembles a huge fishing rod.
Four or five stout deckhands can turn the winch,
reeling up the line to raise as much as 1,000 pounds.
Hoists are slow, requiring 15 minutes to raise a load
to the deck (although only five minutes is required to
lower a similar load).
When not being used, the hoist can be stowed
along the gunwales of the ship. Larger ships (30 tons
or more) carry multiple hoists; in general, a ship can
use one hoist per 25 tons or less. Ships of 10 tons or
less must use smaller hoists that can lift or lower only
500 pounds on a single trip, although only two
men are required to operate this hoist.
If there is a rush to move cargo, the travel time can
be cut in half. However, cargo hoists are temperamental.
If the handlers are forced to hurry, a successful
Seamanship roll is required to avoid snarling the
line on the spool, which leaves the cargo hanging in
midair and requires two hours to untangle.
Cargo hoists are much less expensive than a ship’s
launch with a spelljamming helm, and hoists allow
captains whose ships can land only on water to trade
with landlocked cities. Some landlocked cities with
established spelljamming trade have anchorages
outside the city where visiting ships can drop anchor
in safety and use cargo winches to move themselves
and their cargo up and down.
Anchor Hoists. Another solution that has some
popularity (primarily among new groundling crews
and gnomes) is the anchor hoist. A typical anchor
hoist is a wooden platform about 20’ across, with a
hole in the center through which the anchor hawser
passes. Gears fasten around the anchor hawser, allowing turning a windlass on the top of the platform. Some
anchor hoists have dew-filled spheres or other nonmagical
lifting devices that they use to go up the
line, using the windlass and ballast to pull them
down. Metal braces reach below and above the platform,
holding cylindrical guides that encircle the
hawser and keep the platform steady.
The biggest advantage of an anchor hoist is that
no one need be left aboard to reraise the platform.
With a standard cargo hoist, four men must be available
to raise the hoist. On small vessels, this may be
half the crew.
While anchor hoists are convenient, they have a
• Anchor hoists are slow, traveling not more than
two yards per round (unless the people on the platform
are willing to fall faster by disengaging the
chain—but stopping then becomes a problem). They
are so slow that the spelljamming vessel must come
within 100 yards of the ground for the trip to take
less than an hour each way.
• The chain occasionally jams (on a roll of 1 on
ldlO each trip), requiring 1-4 hours to repair.
• Their capacity is limited. They can carry only a
dozen normal-sized beings or their equivalent in cargo
(about one ton), and so are unsatisfactory for
large cargo shipments.
• The anchor hoist can go only where the anchor
goes, so it is not possible to use an anchor hoist as
part of a stealth approach.
Sleeping Compartments. All spelljamming vessels
have places for the crew to sleep, even if only a
hammock on deck. However, more sophisticated devices
(first invented by the gnomes) have become
popular with troop ships and other vessels that carry
large numbers of people through the phlogiston.
In any long voyage, air supply is a critical problem.
In order to move as few as 100 men, a ship of over
100 tons is required, primarily to support their air requirements.
Even then, the air is often fouled before
the ship arrives at its destination, if it travels from
one sphere to another. A ship of the same size
packed with men (ignoring for a moment their air
needs) could hold perhaps five times the number it
can feed and keep breathing.
The gnomish sleeping chamber (or, as the gnomes
call it, The Wondrous Device for the Preservation of
Life Indefinitely While Traveling Through the Flow
With Trusted Friends Through the Natural Properties
of Phlogiston) is an airtight, coffin-shaped compartment.
When it is used properly, the traveler enters
this compartment after the ship has left a crystal
sphere and has entered the Flow. The compartment
is sealed, trapping phlogiston and air inside. Within
a short time (generally an hour or so), all the air in
the compartment has become deadly, and the occupant
lapses into the suspended animation caused by
the phlogiston. When the destination is reached, the
compartment is opened and the character is revived.
There are several obvious disadvantages to the
• Generally speaking, humans (or members of any
other nonsubterranean race) get very uncomfortable
trapped in a small chamber while their air runs out.
The sensation is usually referred to as being “buried
alive,” despite the fact that the compartment is not
actually interred. Panic can set in, so the occupants
of these devices are either drugged or locked in to
keep them from bursting out.
• It is essential that the compartments be opened
and their occupants revived before entering a crystal
sphere. As is well known, all phlogiston vanishes
when the boundary of a sphere is crossed. Any being
still trapped in deadly air will die. Thus, at least some
of the crew must remain awake throughout the journey
to open the compartments when the destination
• Not everyone survives the transformation of the
phlogiston. A character who is shipped in one of
these devices must make a System Shock roll (see
Table 3 in the Player’s Handbook) or die when the
chamber is opened. Only one such roll need be made
when the character is revived. For NPCs who do not
have a Constitution score, there is a base 80%
chance of survival.
Poor passengers (those who do not have enough
money for a normal passage aboard a spelljamming
vessel) will sometimes risk traveling by sleeping
compartment if their need is great. Traveling this
way is much cheaper, as the passenger does not require
food or water for the duration of the journey
through the Flow. However, the risk of dying is sufficiently
high that most people couldn’t be paid to ride
in one of these. Only the desperate or the fanatical
will use them, and only the fanatical will risk it more
“As you can see, this man elected to travel In our newly Installed Wondrous Device for the Preservation of Life Indefinitely While Traveling—Well, anyway, as you’ll see in a moment, he’s quite alive and still fresh as a . . . oopsl”
Zephrambo Smudge, gnome engineer
Stow-Nets and Stow-Pods. The danger of freeflying
gear aboard a ship in combat is lessened by
lashing gear down with nets or pods, or by securing
all loose objects in closed, barred, or latched lockers.
Nets are cocoon-shaped bags of close-meshed
hemp netting, clamped or even tied permanently to
bars attached to the bulkheads of a ship. They open
along a central seam by means of drawstrings.
Pods are large natural containers of plant material
that can be collected in large jungles on many
worlds. They are more fragile than nets (but much
cheaper to obtain: free for the cutting to a crew in the
right place) but soon dry out and split unless kept
oiled or damp.Pods vary in size and shape, but all hold their
shapes by their own strength, tightening as they dry
out rather than loosening to spill their contents.
They are typically slit open lengthwise to clean out
the seed and fruit innards, and to insert and remove
cargo. Most are lashed around the middle against se-vere shocks, but under normal conditions stay
closed by their own strength.
Docking and Berthing Fees.
Berthing a ship at a station is expensive. As a rule, docking and berthing costs are 1-4 gp per ton of ship per standard day (or
fraction thereof), although some species use keel
length or beam length to set the rates. This fee covers
berthing space and inspection charges.
Many stations also charge a head tax of 5-10 gp
per person who comes aboard the station. This is especially
common where dracons are frequent visitors,
as without such a tax herds of 40-50 dracons
would be traipsing around the station together. The
tax serves to keep the majority of the herd aboard
their own vessel.
There is an additional air tax for all persons in the
station’s air envelope, whether or not they enter the
station. Typically, air taxes are 1-2 gp per person and
are designed to recover the cost of periodically refreshing
the station’s air envelope.
Ships that come in with fouled air are charged an
additional 5-8 gp per ton in air taxes. This is because
the fouled atmosphere of a ship greatly decreases
the time between atmosphere refreshments.
Note that none of these charges covers food, water,
or any services while in the spaceport. Daily food
and lodging are generally available at 150% of the
regular prices and repair services are available at the prices listed in Chapter 4 of the Concordance of Arcane Space.
Getting Underway. Once you have paid all docking
fees, berthing fees, and air taxes, you schedule
your departure with the harbormaster. By ancient
tradition, departing vessels have precedence over incoming
vessels—except in emergencies—so you
can schedule your departure with exactness.
All kender must be accompanied by at least two responsible
nonkender guardians. Any legal penalties assessed against the
kender as a result of his/her actions will also be visited
upon those guardians.
Port Regulation 2784/C/22