• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[Let's Read] Realmspace (Spelljammer -- AD&D 2e)

Afterburner

Remarkably expressive bandages
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Religion in the Stars

I remember reading through the Spelljammer rules the first time and reading through all the rules that governed which spells and abilities were available to which worshippers of which god depending on where they were in space. Because your god was tied to the planet or the specific crystal sphere, see? And therefore the connection between them and their clergy was attenuated while the clergy was off planet or outside the sphere. If your cleric was from Oerth, she might have access to some spells but not all of them while off-planet in Greyspace. And if she was in the phlogiston, she had access to a very limited amount of spells (IIRC it was 1st and 2nd level spells only). And if she was in some other crystal sphere besides Greyspace, she might have access to spells A, B, Q, and W, but not E, J, M, or T.

To my mind, this mechanic removes the cool and fun abilities of cleric PCs, and replaces it an additional layer of tedious bookkeeping. "Hey guys, here's a great new setting that will let you explore strange new worlds and adventure across the cosmos! Unless you're a cleric, in which case you're getting hit pretty hard with the nerf bat." As a consequence, I have cheerfully ignored those rules whenever I've run Spelljammer. Clerics in space have the same access to their spells and abilities that they always have, and therefore this particular chapter of Realmspace is of very limited value for me.

However, you may be one of those folks who thinks that these restrictions make for an interesting and flavorful addition. If so, then (A) weirdo; and (B) this section is for you! It provides details on how being off-planet affects clerics of the Faerunian pantheon.

This is a long-ish and tedious-ish section, as befitting a game mechanic that is also tedious.

Auril -- Clerics in wildspace cast spells as though they were two levels lower, unless those spells are cold-based, in which case they are cast as though the cleric was two levels higher.

See? Already this doesn't make sense. Clerics cast spells two levels lower off-planet because their connection to Auril has become attenuated, right? But if their connection to Auril has become attenuated, how is she able to make their cold-based spells MORE powerful? Wouldn't they be more powerful on Toril where the connection is stronger?

Clerics of Auril who enter the phlogiston must save vs. death or pass into a comatose state that does not clear up until they leave the phlogiston. Even if they make the save, they cannot cast spells in the phlogiston at all.

Why do they pass out? How big is the pipe between Auril and her priests to make them pass out completely when it's shut off by the phlogiston?

Oy.

Azuth -- The Torillian God of Magic grants his clerics an extra spell in their highest available spell level when they're off-planet. This is a proselytizing tactic. "See, mortals? Worship ME and you get extra power!" Outside of Realmspace, clerics of Azuth do not automatically lose any spells. They retain knowledge of any spell they knew before they exited the sphere, and they can cast it as normal. Once they cast it, though, they can't get it back until they're back in Realmspace.

Bane -- By this point in the Forgotten Realms narrative, Bane was dead. So any spells and abilities still possessed by his followers (who are in deep denial) are being provided on the sly by Cyric (who killed him and assumed his portfolio).

There is apparently a coterie of Bane worshippers who believe that the Color Spray nebula is some manifestation of their god. So they hang out in the nebula to try and protect it from interlopers. You may recall that there is a cumulative 1% chance of contracting a fatal form of cancer with every exposure to the Color Spray nebula. Not surprisingly, then, this sect of Bane worshippers are all covered with tumors.

The ability of Bane priests to recover spells is unaffected in Realmspace, on-planet or off. But they are completely cut off from casting or recovering spells in the phlogiston, and only have access to 3rd level spells (or lower) in other spheres.

Beshaba -- Priests of the Maid of Misfortune have their spells and spell recovery unaffected as long as they stay within Realmspace. Outside of Realmspace (whether in the phlogiston or another crystal sphere) they can't cast or recover spells at all.

Chauntea -- Given that Chauntea is the Faerunian goddess of agriculture, her priests can only cast and recover spells if they're standing on a planet, an asteroid, or a ship which possesses some form of plant life. So if your spelljammiers want to add a cleric of Chauntea to their crew, they better make sure they've got some potted azaleas or something scattered liberally around the deck. Chauntea only grants spells and abilities to her clerics within Realmspace.

Cyric -- Clerics of Cyric experience no change at all off-planet as long as they stay within Realmspace. Doesn't say what happens outside of Realmspace, so presumably default rules from the Spelljammer boxed set apply.

Deneir -- Deneir is the God of Glyphs, among other things. And as detailed way back at the beginning of the book (and the thread), the inner surface of the Realmspace crystal shell is gaily festooned with immensely powerful glyphs that are each literally hundreds of miles tall. So as spellamming priests of Deneir get physically closer to the inner surface of Realmspace's crystal shell, they get more powerful.

Just leaving the surface of Toril gives priests of Deneir the ability to cast all spells as if the priest was one level higher. Once they get past the orbit of H'Catha, they can cast spells as though they were a cleric two levels higher. And if the cleric is within one day's travel of the inner surface of the crystal shell, they can cast spells as though they were three levels higher. In addition to making the spells more powerful, these clerics can actually learn higher level spells that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The ability to cast these higher level spells goes away as the priest gets further away from the crystal shell.

Outside of Realmspace they can't cast or recover spells at all.

Eldath -- Worshippers of Eldath must be within the atmosphere of a planet to cast and recover spells. Once they leave the atmosphere and enter wildspace, they lose all spellcasting ability.

I note that it doesn't say the planet has to be within Realmspace. And Eldath is listed as a power of the Prime Material Plane rather than as one of the Outer or Inner Planes. So maybe she's got a long reach.

Gond -- The Wonderbringer! Always liked that name.

Priests of Gond cannot cast or recover spells outside of Realmspace. However, they get some extra juice whenever they're sitting on a spelljamming helm. When calculating the spelljamming speed of a ship with a cleric of Gond at the helm, treat the cleric as though they were two levels higher.

Helm -- Followers of Helm experience no change in spellcasting or spell recovery as long as they stay in Realmspace.

Ilmater and Lathander -- These two gods are grouped together, at least for the purposes of this list. Don't think they have much in common otherwise.

Outside of Realmspace, clerics of these two deities cannot cast or recover spells above 3rd level. Within Realmspace, they cast and recover spells normally whether on-planet or off.

Leira -- Priests of Leira cannot cast spells at all in the phlogiston and cannot cast spells above 3rd level in other spheres. They are otherwise unaffected by being in space.

Lliira, Loviatar, and Malar -- Clerics of these deities can't cast spells above 3rd level outside of Realmspace. Priest of Malar can't cast spells from Malar's minor sphere (remember when deities had Major and Minor spheres?) outside of Realmspace regardless of the spell level and can't cast spells at all in the phlogiston.

Mask -- The God of Thieves cannot renew the spells of his clergy when they are in spheres other than Realmspace. However, due to Mask's connection with the Plane of Shadow, his clergy can cast spells (but not recover them) in the phlogiston.

Mielikki -- Followers of Mielikki cannot cast or recover spells unless they are within two spelljamming days' travel of one of Realmspace's planets.

Seems to be an odd way of granting divine spellcasting, given that "two days" will vary according to spelljamming speed. "Well I could cast spells just fine when Khaseem was sitting on the helm. But now that his apprentice is doing the spelljamming, I can't cast any spells at all!" Very much the exact sort of tedium that leads me to ignore the Spelljammer divine spellcasting rules entirely.

Milil -- "Nanny Ogg knew how to start spelling 'banana', but didn't know how you stopped." --Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

Priests of Mililililil cannot recover spells above 3rd level if they leave their home planet, and cannot recover spells at all if they're outside Realmspace. (Presumably they can still cast the spells they already know since it doesn't explicitly say otherwise.)

Mystra -- I have so far throughout this post been using "cleric" and "priest" and "follower" and "worshipper" interchangeably just to keep the text from being repetitive. However, the Mystra entry actually differentiates between "clerics of Mystra" and "specialty priests of Mystra", so take note.

Clerics of Mystra cannot recover spells greater than 3rd level anywhere in space, nor anywhere within another crystal sphere.

Specialty priests of Mystra can recover spells normally in space, but are limited to 3rd level spells or lower inside other crystal spheres.

Now back to using the terms interchangeably. Will let you know if any other exceptions pop up.

Oghma -- Here's a handy deity for a PC cleric. Followers of Oghma can cast spells but not recover them inside the phlogiston, but (get this) are unrestricted in casting and recovering spells inside a crystal sphere as long as they can actually learn something new while inside it. Which effectively means they're unrestricted in casting and recovering spells.

It does mention, however, that priest of Oghma generally don't hire themselves out as spelljammers.

Selune -- Selune's clergy makes excellent navigators. They cannot get lost anywhere inside Realmspace. And if they're out in the phlogiston, they can always find the Realmspace crystal sphere. Inside other spheres, they have their full complement (if any) of spells within the sun, weather, and divination spheres (remember 2e spell spheres for clerics?), but are restricted to 3rd level spells or lower for all other spheres.

Shar -- Clergy can cast and recover spells as normal within Realmspace. The text mentions that, in the olden days, she would reject any of her followers who actually left the Realmspace crystal sphere. But the Time of Troubles caused her to reevaluate her position and make her more tolerant. It also mentions that priests of Shar really like to cloak the whole ship in a field of continual darkness if the captain will let them.

Silvanus -- The Oak Father does not grant spells to any of his followers in wildspace (nor, presumably, the phlogiston). However, once their feet touch the ground of a planet, they get their normal complement of spells.

Again, the text does not specify that it has to be a Realmspace planet, so players and DMs are free to be creative.

Sune -- Followers of Sune can cast and recover spells normally anywhere within the Realmspace crystal sphere. If they are in another sphere, they're limited to 4th level spells or lower unless there is a deity with the same portfolio in the new sphere. In which case, thanks to some sort of mutual aid pact, the other deity in the other sphere will grant the full suite of spells to Sune's followers.

Talona -- The Lady of Poison will grant spells to her followers without restriction as long as they are within Realmspace. If they enter the phlogiston, all spells are stripped from them, so not only can they not recover spells normally, they lose use of all the spells they had ready. If they enter a different crystal sphere, they can recover their spells up to 3rd level -- but only once. After that, they don't get any spells back until they return to Realmspace.

Talos -- Talosian priests can cast and recover spells normally within any crystal sphere that does not have a pre-existing deity of destruction, but cannot recover them in the phlogiston (though they can cast any they have already prepared).

If they enter a sphere that has a God of Destruction active, that deity will instead be the one to grant the spells -- with a 10% chance of granting the wrong spell because these guys are colossal assholes.

Of course, the priests themselves are also dicks, being more concerned about Destruction(tm) than anything else. While they won't necessarily start nuking their own ship for no reason, they tend to cause damage indiscriminately to friend and foe alike during combat. They're especially fond of using the granted lightning bolt power (available to specialty priests of Talos as a spell-like ability) in the phlogiston.

Tempus -- Priests of the Faerunian God of War are known for their fighting prowess. As such, having one in the crew will raise the morale of a spelljamming ship by 2.

Aside from that, Tempus can only grant his worshippers spells up to the 3rd level if they are in a crystal sphere other than Realmspace.

Torm -- In 5e, Torm is a greater power of Faerun. But in 2e, he was a demigod and thus unable to grant his followers any spells whatsoever if they were outside of Realmspace.

Tymora -- Lady Luck likes her followers to take risks. Her clergy is thus known for doing all kinds of batshit crazy stunts to gain her favor, which can be an amusing break from mundane day-to-day shipboard life, but which can be hair-raising when done in combat. Her priesthood knows, though, that million-to-one chances come up nine times out of ten.

Her followers can cast and recover spells normally anywhere within Realmspace. They receive spells up to 4th level in other crystal spheres, unless there is a deity of luck in that sphere, in which case the mutual aid pact is invoked and they can receive their full allotment. They cannot recover spells within the phlogiston.

Tyr -- Tyr can grant his followers their full allotment of spells in any crystal sphere they visit, which is pretty damned handy. However, in a particularly exacting definition of "fairness", he won't grant his followers any more spells than what may be possessed by any nearby clerics of other deities.

The moral of this story: If you want your priest of Tyr to have his maximum available spells when you're out exploring some other crystal sphere, make sure you don't have any clerics of other deities in the party.

Umberlee -- Followers of Umberlee cannot recover any spells once they enter wildspace. They can cast any spells they have already prepared, but they will not be granted new spells until they have returned to a planet within Realmspace.

Waukeen -- Despite being a lesser power, Waukeen can grant her clergy their full allotment of spells anywhere on the Prime Material except for the phlogiston.

Ptah -- While not strictly a Realmspace deity, he is the most widely-worshipped Spelljammer deity. Technically his priests and clerics cannot recover spells above 3rd level unless they're in a sphere where Ptah is worshipped. However, in practice there are damned few spheres where he is not worshipped somewhere. No details are provided for what qualifies as "worship" in this context.

(Like, if the priest enters a sphere where Ptah is unknown, well, the priest still worships Ptah, right? So now <AdjustsDorkGlasses>TECHNICALLY</AdjustsDorkGlasses> Ptah IS worshipped in the sphere, and so the priest can gain his full allotment of spells. Right?)

Spoiler: Show


The Non-Human Deities -- Demipowers of non-human pantheons (the dwarven, elven, halfling, and gnomish pantheons are listed) cannot grant their followers spells at all outside of Realmspace. Lesser (and presumably greater) powers can grant spells up to 3rd level to their clergy inside other spheres.


Final analysis: Woo, that sure is a lot of detail. But is it fun? Does anybody actually use the RAW for divine spellcasting in Spelljammer?
 
Last edited:

Davies

Registered User
Validated User
The Non-Human Deities -- Demipowers of non-human pantheons (the dwarven, elven, halfling, and gnomish pantheons are listed) cannot grant their followers spells at all outside of Realmspace. Lesser (and presumably greater) powers can grant spells up to 3rd level to their clergy inside other spheres.
... which makes no friggin' sense with the way said deities are portrayed in Demihuman Deities, where it's stated that barring unusual circumstances (looking at you, Krynn) these are the deities that are worshiped by all examples of these peoples across all possible Material Plane worlds. The Torilian dwarven, elven, gnomish and halfling pantheons are exactly the same as the Oerth dwarven, elven, gnomish and halfling pantheons.
 

CaliberX

Registered User
Validated User
Spelljammer and Planescape's Cleric restrictions (along with PS's goofy magic item rules) are things that I thought quite thematic as a kid reading these books, but could even then tell would be pretty pants when brought to the table. In a story I'd totally buy into the idea that a Cleric grows weaker as he travels beyond his diety's reach, but it's A) too fiddly and 2) too unfairly restrictive to be fun in play. Feel free to lump other common story tropes you see used to make the stronger characters unable to actually use their abilities in here as well.
 

MacBalance

Registered User
Validated User
Spelljammer and Planescape's Cleric restrictions (along with PS's goofy magic item rules) are things that I thought quite thematic as a kid reading these books, but could even then tell would be pretty pants when brought to the table.
I tend to agree. I think in 5e terms I would really try to represent this rule if at all by a simpler system. Maybe a small change to spell DCs or Spell Attack numbers, but even that is iffy as it falls into the "Why would we ever go there?" schtick.

I forgot that this book added extra details to the generic rules for clerics. They seem unnecessary, and almost like an attempt to make Forgotten Realms more dominant.
 

Afterburner

Remarkably expressive bandages
RPGnet Member
Validated User
And now we come to the monster portion of the supplement, in which various critters unique to Realmspace are detailed. First up, the Anadjinn:



Looks like someone stuck a Predator mouth on a giant bug and crammed it in a Samus suit. The armor lookin' stuff on its upper body is, in fact, "tough reptillian hide", whatever that means. Something like an alligator, I guess? The tail is like a kangaroo tail and is used exclusively for balance. Apparently it is very difficult to push an anadjiin over.

That Predator mouth is something else, btw. According to the text, once it latches on with a bite, it cannot be removed from the victim without killing it and breaking its jaw. No info is provided on what happens if you break its jaw first. Presumably you can pull the anadjiin off without doing any of these things as long as you're willing to sacrifice a hunk of flesh large enough to fit in an anadjiin mouth. Of course, the anadjiin is sapient, so perhaps you can simply talk it into releasing its victim and avoid these histrionics altogether.

The anadjiin can't see in the dark, so it does all its hunting by day. Its claws are like scapels and cause 1 point of bleeding damage per round per wound. It gets two claw attacks per round so those wounds (and the per-round DOT) can stack up pretty quickly.

The text mentions that the anadjiin always leads off with a bite attack first and, if successful, does not release its victim until the victim is dead. The text also mentions that this is true only when the anadjiin is hunting a lone victim. The text then mentions "If there are multiple targets, the anadjiin still uses its bite attack, but it does not hold on. Its genius intelligence knows that stupid fighting like that is the sure way to die." And it may be just me, but I detect a wee bit of exasperation in that second sentence. Like "If I DON'T mention this EXPLICITLY, I'm gonna get nitpicky pedantmail."

The anadjiin is apparently a very caring and devoted parent, as long as food isn't scarce. If there's a food shortage, welp, the kids are the first to go. The text says that this is done because the anadjiin are so very caring that they couldn't bear to witness their children suffering from starvation. Sounds like a post-hoc rationalization to me.

They are not necessarily cooperative hunters, but can be if necessary. They all intuitively know and understand exactly much effort each hunter put into killing a particular prey, and the spoils are divided accordingly. Bob ran up and actually attacked the charging beast first, which is probably worth 40% of the effort right there. Meanwhile Laura didn't do anything but calculate the most likely place to find the prey, so she gets a partially-eaten chicken leg. Thanks, Laura. More hustle next time, eh?

Finally, the anadjiin are ecologically-minded hunters. The prey they hunt is whatever is most abundant in the area and therefore in least danger of being rendered extinct by their predation. So if you put them in an area with a high human population, well... Since they live on Anadia, though, their preferred nosh is halfling. Mind you, since they live in the superheated deserty portions of the planet while the halflings live at the poles, they probably don't get much opportunity for halfling hors d'ouevres.
 

Afterburner

Remarkably expressive bandages
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Spelljammer and Planescape's Cleric restrictions (along with PS's goofy magic item rules) are things that I thought quite thematic as a kid reading these books, but could even then tell would be pretty pants when brought to the table. In a story I'd totally buy into the idea that a Cleric grows weaker as he travels beyond his diety's reach, but it's A) too fiddly and 2) too unfairly restrictive to be fun in play. Feel free to lump other common story tropes you see used to make the stronger characters unable to actually use their abilities in here as well.
Yeah, I ditched the Cleric and magic item rules in Planescape immediately. They did not seem to provide any benefit to anybody.

I mean, if you're a low-level character, magical items are cool! You have a +1 sword! It's neat magical gear! Just as long as you don't leave your home plane, mind. If you choose to go gallivanting around the multiverse, then you no longer have a neat magical sword. You just have a sword.

It always seemed silly to me that the setting itself included such a strong disincentive to actually use the setting.

DM: "Here's a glowing portal that leads off of Toril and out into the multiverse! New planes await! What do you do?"
Player: *looks at +2 sword, suit of +1 armor, other magical stuff*
Player: "Hark, is that a woman being mugged in an alley that I hear? I should probably stay RIGHT HERE on Toril to help her!"
DM: "There is no woman being mugged. The portal will only be open a few more seconds."
Player: "Oh no, I'm certain I hear a woman being mugged. I walk directly away from the portal to investigate."

Removes fun, adds tedium, for no obvious benefit. No reason to use it, so I never did.


I forgot that this book added extra details to the generic rules for clerics. They seem unnecessary, and almost like an attempt to make Forgotten Realms more dominant.
Nah, Greyspace did the exact same thing with the Greyhawk pantheon. (Krynnspace, curiously, did not.)
 

Kakita Kojiro

IL-series Cylon
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I mean, if you're a low-level character, magical items are cool! You have a +1 sword! It's neat magical gear! Just as long as you don't leave your home plane, mind. If you choose to go gallivanting around the multiverse, then you no longer have a neat magical sword. You just have a sword.
The idea probably was to get rid of all that neat magical gear you accumulated from low levels. By the time you got up to the levels that TSR expected you to be having planar adventures, the average character would have accumulated a lot of +1 swords. (and it was mostly swords; the DMG random magic item tables were sword-happy.) Things like rust monsters were around to keep some of the magic hoard accumulation down, but it still got out of hand. So, planar adventures encourage trading up on your magic weapons.

And then they created Planescape, where it was suddenly feasible for lower-level characters to go on planar adventures. But they kept the rules that originally restricted the appeal of planar adventures to higher-level characters.

The Spelljammer clerical spell rules seem to have been intended to channel players into choosing from only a specific subset of deities. Choose Ptah, and you essentially ignore the cleric spell limitations.
 

Afterburner

Remarkably expressive bandages
RPGnet Member
Validated User
And then they created Planescape, where it was suddenly feasible for lower-level characters to go on planar adventures. But they kept the rules that originally restricted the appeal of planar adventures to higher-level characters.
Oh yeah, that's right. The rule for enchanted weapons and stuff losing plusses was created in 1e in the Manual of the Planes. Forgot about that.
 

Afterburner

Remarkably expressive bandages
RPGnet Member
Validated User


If you recall, the Coliar entry earlier in the thread mentioned that the dragons on Coliar have a unique final stage of life, and this is it. No picture, but there's the stat block. I always liked that "any Lawful and any non-Evil". Soooo Lawful Good and Lawful Neutral, then? Why not just say that instead of playing it cagey?

So BASICALLY any true dragon (i.e. no dragonnes or wyverns or pseudo-dragons or whatever) can transform into an Air Dragon on Coliar once they become too old to sustain their mortal body. They reach the end of the Great Wyrm stage and simply lay down and close their eyes. And then the Air Dragon form emerges.

The Air Dragon form is essentially a mental construct of air and wind, and looks like a CGI Dragon made transparent but not invisible. The Air Dragon retains all of the breath weapons and magical spells and spell-like abilities that it had as a Great Wyrm, and also gets control winds. The text says it can use it once per turn, but then also says it can use it in consecutive rounds, so I dunno.

What makes this transformation possible on Coliar and nowhere else in the heavens? LOVE(tm). That's right, boys and girls and respected guests of non-binary gender, LOVE makes the Air Dragon go round.

Quoth the text: "Since the rarity of the Air Dragon far exceeds that of other dragons on Coliar, they are often looked after and cared for. This deep caring and affection is what keeps them alive. This symbiotic feeding is why an Air Dragon cannot be evil. The emotional emanations they feed on come only from affection, adoration or love. This also explains why the dragons of other worlds cannot become an Air Dragon. All those non-Coliar dragons are solitary, and have no emotions to feed upon."

("They do give us something, Mr. Spock! They give us love!")

Due to their thousands of years of amassed wisdom and experience, they are often leaders of family clans. Neutral (as in "uninvolved" rather than "neutral alignment") Air Dragons are often used to broker peace between rival dragon factions on Coliar.

Air Dragons also have a choice when they turn into Air Dragon form. They can either sustain their physical body with their incredible mental powah, thus tying them to their corporeal form. Or they can let their old body wither away into dust.

If they choose to remain tied to a physical form, their Air Dragon form cannot be killed. Any time it is reduced to 0HP, it will reform 1d4 turns later. This is pretty handy. However, the downside is that they can't travel farther than 15,000 miles (24,100 km) from their corporeal body. And they also have to keep pretty close watch on the corporeal body itself, though plopping it down with the rest of the (living) dragon family probably serves that purpose adequately.

If they let their physical form perish, they become an Air Dragon through-and-through. They are not limited to where they can go in the multiverse. However, the downside is that they can be killed in this form.

Finally, we have this handy chart:



Moral of this story: Stage 24 Air Dragons are not to be messed with.
 
Top Bottom