Helms

Category:
transport/conveyance
Description:

Helm – Minor Artifact
Aura strong (all schools);; CL 20th
Slot none; Price see below; Weight see below

The Helm is what powers Spelljamming ships, or rather the pilot in it does. When a spellcaster sits in the helm it takes 1d4 rounds to synch with the ship. After that time the pilot is able to maneuver the ship as a standard action simply by concentrating.

From the time the pilot synchs with the Helm onwards he or she is unable to cast spells- although domain, bloodline, and school special abilities are still available. This inability to cast spells continues until 1d10 rounds minus the pilots pertinent ability modifier, minimum 1 round, after leaving physical contact with the helm.

Helms are minor artifacts, none know the secret of their construction other than the Merchants Arcane, or Mercane. There are rumors that high level mages of the Elven Imperial Fleet have recently started crafting helms of thier own, but at this point that is still rumor.

The list below includes the "standard cost" for helms in an active space-faring port like the Rock of Bral or Refuge. Note that in other places the price quickly becomes what the market will bear and thus can drop or rise considerably.

Helm	              		Base Cost			    Max Tonnage		TR
Sailjamming	      		2,000	 			    None	 	1 
Minor Helm                	80,000	 			    50	                1/3 levels
Major Helm       	        160,000	 			    100	 		1/2 levels
Great Helm                      600,000                             250                 1/3 levels
Epic Helm                       Priceless                           ???                 1/2 levels

In ages past, the enigmatic blue giants known as the arcane came forward and offered a seafaring tribe of elves an odd item: a large metal throne to be bolted onto a ship. The arcane claimed it would allow them to make the ship fly. More than that, though, they claimed it would allow them to fly their ship through the heavens, from their own world to the other worlds in the night sky. The called it a helm, and they called using it to fly through the stars “spelljamming.”

Since that fateful day the arcane have been selling their spelljamming helms to most any buyer, and they seem to have a limitless supply of these powerful items. Perhaps more surprising is the strangely low prices they charge. While not affordable to the common man, a helm is cheap enough that an entire society of spacefaring people has arisen.

A spelljamming helm is typically a chair that is bolted onto the ship it is to propel. They are quite sturdily built, and while they are not adorned with gems or rare metals, they look quite
throne-like. They are typically well cushioned and comfortable. A standard helm is designed to fit any medium-size humanoid, and anything smaller can sit in it as well. The arcane build helms to suit other races, though, including up to huge size humanoids. They also build helms for non-humanoid races, such as the dracon or rastipede. Such helms look like low, wide couches.

Bio:

Helm Modifications

All helms have cruising speed. If the helm has more than one modification there is a 75% chance that one of these modifications is Dweomer Boost. Only the Mercane can create helms or modify them, although there are rumors that the Elven Imperial Navy has mastered the technique. A few other races have created alternative means of spelljamming over the millennia: the Illithid pool helm and Beholder orbus are the most common examples.

Artifurnace: 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 soughtafter, and if it becomes known that a particular ship carries one, that ship will be pursued by many who want to take the Artifurnace.
Requirements: An Artifact
Cost: Priceless

Dweomer Boost: This is one of the most common properties found in spelljamming helms. The helmsman when sitting in the helm is able to augment the ship’s speed by casting spells into the helm itself. This is the only instance in which spells can be cast from the helm. For every three spell levels channeled into the helm the ship gains +1 Maximum Speed for one round (Maximum of +3). (Transmutation)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 5% of base helm cost

Chameleon: This helm modification allows a ship and crew to be disguised by an illusion which is identical to a change self spell on a larger scale. The maximum dimensions of the disguised ship is 140 feet length, width and height. All portions of the ship and it crew must be within 70 feet of the helm to be affected by this effect. (Illusion)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 20% of base helm cost

Cloaking: Ships with cloaking ability can become completely invisible along with its crew/passengers. The helmsman can invoke this ability five times a day, and each instance lasts for a number of rounds equal to the pilot’s caster level. The helm placement is very important for all of the ship must be within 90 feet of helm; this limits the size of ship that makes use of the cloaking helm. (Illusion)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 25% of base helm cost

Cruising Speed: This property is found on 75% of all helms. Helms without it are commonly referred to as tactical helms. This property makes it possible to propel the ship to a cruising speed of 100 million miles per day as long it is not within an empyrean bubble of a planet or another object of huge size or larger. This is commonly refered to as Spelljamming Speed. (Transmutation)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 0% of base helm cost, -35% of base helm cost to create a tactical helm

Furnace: 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. 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. 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.
Requirements: Dwarf
Cost: -10% of base helm cost

Helm of Command: When seated in this helm the pilot exudes an aura of command that has the following effects. You gain a +2 enhancement bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate skill checks. This bonus increases by +1 for every five spellcaster levels you possess, up to a maximum of +6 at 20th level. (Enchantment)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 20% of base helm cost

Lifejammer: Lifejammers are helms that enhanced further by feeding off the life energies of its victims. A helm with this modifier is fueled by it’s victim’s life force. The victim has no choice and there is no Save. A lifejammer drains 1d4 constitution drain per day and provides a flat TR of 3. The Neogi and Illithids are known to commonly employ these twisted helms and power them with slaves.(Necromancy)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: -30% of base helm cost

One with the Ship: This helm does more then just moves the ship; it allows the helmsman to see and hear into all rooms of the ship and onto the deck while just sitting in the spelljamming helm. (Divination).
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 25% of base helm cost

Orbus: The Orbus is a living being that functions in a fashion similar to the Series Helms. For each Orbus onboard the Beholder ship, the Ship’s Rating is 1, to a maximum of 5 Orbi at any one time. A single Orbus can power a ship of up to 20 tons, two can power up to 40 tons and three or more can power a maximum of 60 tons. There is some discussion that the Orbus could also be used by ships crewed by races other than the Beholders, but the Beholders would rather destroy their own Orbus than see them in the hands of other races.
Requirements: Beholder
Cost: Unknown

Pool Helm: The pool helm uses the natural life-pool of the mindflayers to power the ship, rather than the individual mindflayers themselves. These helms have an automatic Ship’s Rating of 5. It is not known, currently, what the maximum tonnage of ship that can be moved by this helm is, but rumors hold it to be 200 tons. (Psionic)
Requirements: Illithid
Cost: unknown

Series Helm: These helms resemble major and minor helms, but their primary difference is that they can be linked together, increasing their overall power, and can be used by psionic entities. For each helm in the series that is currently being manned by a psionic creature the ship has a Ship’s Rating of 1. Generally, series helms contain between three and five active helms at any one time and can move a ship between 5 and 50 tons.(Psionic)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: +25% of base helm cost for each helm in the series

Warded Helm: As a standard action, you can create a 10-foot-radius field of protective magic centered on the helm that lasts for a number of rounds equal to your Intelligence modifier. All allies in this area (including you) receive a +2 deflection bonus to their Armor Class. This bonus increases by +1 for every five spellcaster levels you possess. You can use this ability 3 times per day. (Abjuration)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 25% of base helm cost

Epic Spelljamming Helm Special Ability Descriptions
While most standard helms have the cruising speed trait plus some of the more common abilities such as dweomer boost, epic helms have some truly amazing abilities! Some of those abilities include cloaking and the ability to phase thru an asteroid. These abilities are detailed below.

Ultra Cruising Speed: Most spelljamming helm are not equipped with this property and those that are become legends very quickly as being known as the fastest ships in the sphere where it does business. The ship can cruise at a speed of 200 million miles per day as long the ship is not within an empyrean bubble of a planet or another object of huge size or larger. (Transmutation)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 700% of base helm cost

Major Cloaking: Ship with ability of major cloaking can become completely invisible along with its crew/passengers much like the standard cloaking helm ability except that it can affect a much larger ship. The helmsman can invoke this ability five times a day. The helm placement is very important for all of the ship must be within 135 feet of helm; this limits the size of ship that makes use of the cloaking helm.(Illusion)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 700% of base helm cost

Phasing: A spelljamming helm with this ability is able to allow ship and crew to phase through solid objects (such as asteroids). The helm placement is very important for all of the ship must be within 135 feet of helm, least some section of the ship will not be able to phase. Only those crew that are in contact of the ships hull or in room on board the ship that is full encased. (Transmutation)
Requirements: Mercane
Cost: 700% of base helm cost

Inspired by the works of Mark Doolan on The Shattered Fractine

Helms

Planejammer Campaign Setting DungeonMasterLoki DungeonMasterLoki