The Rock of Bral, Part Duex
Major and Minor Helms
Cost: 100,000gp (Minor), 250,000gp (Major)
Both Major and Minor helms work in the same way – by converting magical energy into movement. It allows the individual seated upon the helm to move large amounts of mass through space, by directly channeling spell energy into the helm. While this provides movement, it is primarily used to push the ship forward; maneuvering is primarly accomplished through use of the ship’s sails and oars.
Because the motive power of the ship comes from the conversion of spell energy, only mages and clerics are able to power this type of helm. Additionally, powering the helm prohibits the mage from any spell use within a 24 hour period of powering the helm.
A minor helm will provide 1 point of Ship’s Rating per three levels of experience of the mage. A major helm provides 1 point per two levels. An individual mage can power the helm for a period of up to 12 hours, after which the Ship’s Rating drops by 1 point per hour of additional use.
The use of this type of helm does not prevent the mage from speaking and acting as normal. Many helmsmen describe a feeling akin to being submerged to the neck in warm water when they are using the helm, and the ability to see things as if he were standing on the deck.
A minor helm can move a ship up to 50 tons, while a major helm can move up to 100 tons. Both helms can move a minimum of 1 ton. Only one helm can be used at a time, but smart captains are advised to keep another helm onboard as backup.
As with so many things created by the Gnomes, by all logic, Gnomish helms should not be able to function, as they defy the very laws of nature. Of course, they work anyway, generally because the design includes a minor helm hidden away somewhere within.
As with most other Gnomish creations, they include an incredibly large number of moving parts, bells and whistles, that create much commotion, but do very little.
They are the object of scorn and ridicule among the larger spacer population, and often at the epicenter of some of the void’s most legendary pranks.
Cost: 500,000gp (initially) + 100,000gp/year
Dwarves, long known for being one of the least-magical races in the void, power their ships through magical engines known as Forges. The Forge is found in a large foundry room, generally in the base of the ship, where Dwarves work around the clock, crafting and forging.
Instead of using magical energy to create motive force, the Forge uses the creative energy of the Dwarves working within it.
For every 100 dwarves working in the foundry, the ship has a Ship’s Rating of 1, so generally speaking, the faster the ship, the more space it has given up to the Forge.
The Forge can power a ship with a minimum tonnage of 100 tons, and a maximum of 700 tons, although these are exceptionally rare.
Attempts to replicate this technology on ships of other races has failed miserably thus far.
As a side effect of the crafting and forging taking place in the foundry of ships powered by this type of helm, they are home to a huge amount of trade goods, and an even larger armory.
The furnace is an early form of spelljamming helm that still sees occassional use. Instead of taking magical energy directly from living beings, the Furnace takes it from magical items that are fed into it and subsequently destroyed.
Generally, for every 1,000xp an item is worth, the furnace will function for one week at Ship’s Rating 2. This, naturally, can very quickly become an expensive way of powering a ship. Adding a second item simultaneously can increase the Ship’s Rating to 3, but risks exploding the Furnace (25% chance), causing 10-100 points of damage in a 30ft radius.
Most Furnaces are found on ghost ships and crashed hulks. As a result of the fire of the furnace, they can be used only within Crystal Spheres. Used in the Phlogiston, they will explode, catastrophically. There is rumor that they may have been developed by the Arcane.
The modern-day descendant of the Furnace, the Artifurnace is the ultimate development of the old Furnaces. These helms draw their power from a magical artifact, and each one is custom-made for the artifact it will use. Since artifacts are nearly eternal, the Artifurnace is as well.
Once installed the Artifurnace provides a Ship’s Rating of 5. They are extremely rare, and extremely sought after, and if it becomes known that a particular ship carries one, that ship will be pursued by many who want to take the Artifurnace.
Favored by the Neogi and other evil races of spacefarers, this type of spelljamming helm feeds off of the life energies of an individual within (who is, more often than not, there against his will