In case someone recalls, I once mentioned working on DMing a AD&D 2nd ed. Spelljammer campaign. Well, it took a while, with real life, as usual, interfering with important stuff like pretending to be on a wooden sailship in space.
But now we have been able to play a couple of sessions, and I think it is now safe to post some of the stuff I have done spelljammer-wise, without giving away spoilers to my players.
The first session was going to be plain and simple about the players, sailing their space ship, getting attacked by space pirates and having to fight them off.
What happened is described in detail in this pdf. It's in finnish because it's here first and foremost for the benefit of my players. But go ahead and run it through a translator or embrace this wonderful opportunity to start studying the veritable lingua franca that is the finnish language..
But in short:
We had rolled up the characters earlier, and my players came up with background for their characters on the premise that they would be commanding a small merchant vessel.
The stuff they came up with was pure gold, and with just little bit of elaboration on my part, it was established that one of the characters had inhereted the ship that her grandfather had used for piracy, and then her father had to turned to peaceful commerce when law and order had made piracy a less popular option in their corner of space.
The other characters had either inherited shares from the aforementioned grandfather's crew members or had bought a share after the first characters family had run into financial trouble when the father lost a valuable cargo, his crew and his health to starvation when the ship was trapped in a sargasso, an area of space void of magic, where faster-than-light travel (at the speed of magic, naturally) was impossible.
Now returning from their first mercantile voyage of acquiring goods to sell on, they were returning to their home city on one of the asteroids in the asteroid field trailing the moon of their solar system's main planet. As the game opened, their ship was fired upon by a pirate ship and struck by a D.E.M.* -class magical shot, setting their cargo hold on fire.
*Deus Ex Machina
After an intense dogfight the players drove off the pirates. Being PCs, they used tactics I could never have anticipated. In this case, dropping their burning cargo on the pirates through a dimension door and augmenting the effect with an illusion spell of even more flames, shattering the spacehighwaymen's morale.
A bit of a cheap shot, destroying their cargo arbitrarily, but it established the set-up I was going for: A group of low-level characters, slightly more likely to barter with people instead of just robbing everyone, in possession of a exceedingly valuable, magical transport but still in urgent need of cash.
But enough about the story and on with the minis, this being primarily a miniature blog. The PCs were going to meet a groundling cog, outfitted for magical space travel and out of the choice of suitably sized ships I had presented, my players had opted for the wasp (which they named Blackie Lawless):
From The Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures In Space Boxed Set, TSR 1989
From The War Captain's Companion, TSR 1992
The colours are blank, still waiting for a design.
A battle among the asteroids (just bits of gravel slightly shaded).
The biggest regular ships in the game have a keel lenght of 300', and the hex map from the boxed set has hexes of 25mm, edge to edge. To fit even the bigger ships on the map, I originally aimed for a scale of 10':1 mm. The wasp has a keel lenght of 80' so it would have been 8 mm long. Needless to say, that is way too tiny for my sculpting skills, and it is now 16 mm long. I reckon my boats aren't going to be to scale. Especially when the smallest ship in the canon, the elven flitter, has a keel length of 20', translating to a 2 mm speck. Here is a comparison shot with a 28 mm scale human:
Bartolomeu had managed to stay sober for two whole days. But when the little ships came, he decided it was time to jump off the wagon again.
It was a fun night of gaming, giving me a feel for the personalities of the PCs and a chance to try out the changes I've made to the ship rules, on which I shall elaborate in future posts.