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A spelljamming helm, spelljammer helm, or simply helm, was a magical device that powered a spelljamming vessel by converting magical energy into motion.[3][4] Spelljamming helms were not the only method of moving spelljammers through space, but they were the easiest to come by and the most common.[5]

DescriptionEdit

A helm could look like any sort of chair—from basic to as ornate as a throne. If examined with a detect magic spell, the helm gave off an intense magical aura.[6] The helm had indentations for one's feet, arms, and head.[4] A spelljamming helm, like a magical artifact, was nearly impossible to destroy.[2]

PowersEdit

Any spellcaster—a user of arcane or divine magic—or creature with innate magical powers could sit in a helm. The spellcaster provided the magic that would power the vessel, like a kind of "living engine".[3][4] Rangers and paladins could only pilot a spelljammer using a helm if they were capable of casting spells.[4]

Spelljamming helms worked best if the helmsman was well-rested and had not performed any magic that day. Whether "fresh" or not, a spellcaster would immediately lose all of his or her casting ability upon sitting in the helm and would be unable to use other forms of magic until he or she had rested again.[4][2] The helm would attune itself to the brain waves of the helmsman and begin siphoning away magical power, which it could do from any distance. Oddly enough, even though this "link" remained for 24 hours and could extend over any distance, the helmsman could only utilize the benefits of the link—that is, piloting the ship—if seated in the helm.[2]

When a spellcaster sat in a spelljamming helm, it felt like being submerged in a warm bath.[2] At this point, one's senses would be expanded; the spellcaster would still be aware of his or her usual, physical senses but also would feel as if the ship itself and the bubble of air around it were a part of his or her body. Sitting in a spelljamming helm gave the spellcaster awareness of everything taking place within the limits of the spelljammer's gravity plane,[7] including vision of everything happening on the deck.[2] Most individuals could pilot a spelljammer through its helm for half a day before tiring; using the helm for a solid day would eventually cause the helmsman to pass out.[2]

If one spelljammer encountered another in wildspace, the helmsmen would sense their vessels automatically slowing down, usually with a general idea of the size of the encountered object.[6] If the hull of the spelljammer took damage, the helmsman would feel pain[8] or even be knocked unconscious.[9] If a helmsman were killed, a spelljammer would drift forward, unable to change course.[2] A helmsman could talk and act normally while seated in a helm,[2] but if he or she moved or cast spells, the link to the spelljammer would be broken.[7]

To move the ship at high speeds, the helmsman only had to mentally visualize distance and direction and will the spelljammer to move. This was said to feel like trying to move and arm or leg that has gone numb.[6] It took some practice getting used to controlling a spelljammer through its helm. One new to piloting might accidentally send a spelljammer into orbit from the surface![10] For tactical control, the helmsman could also will motion but only very slowly. It was up to other crewmembers to use the vessel's sails for tight turns and other maneuvers.[8][2]

Helms were limited by the mass of object that they could move; if the object were too large or too small, the magic of the helm could not be used.[5] The more magically powerful the spellcaster or creature sitting in the helm, the faster the spelljammer could travel at tactical speeds.[4][2] (At the extremely high speeds used to travel between planets, all spelljammers traveled at the same speed,[2] 100 million miles per day. This was a property of spelljamming magic in general and not effected by helms.[11]) Dead-magic zones did not quench the motive action of a spelljamming helm, provided it was already in operation when entering the zone.[12]

TypesEdit

Helms were generally classified as minor or major. A major helm was more efficient at converting the magical power of the helmsman into motive force, resulting in greater maximum speeds and maneuverability.[4][2][13] A minor helm could move a vessel as large as 50 tons; a major helm could power a spelljammer up to 100 tons.[2]

Ships sometimes included a major helm as the primary spelljamming power source and used minor helms as emergency back-up systems.[4][2] However, only one helm could ever power a vessel at the same time.[2]

Besides minor and major helms, there were an assortment of other kinds of helm available, including:

While not technically helms, the following were also used to power spelljammers:

AcquisitionEdit

Helms were often discovered or recycled from other vessels, or they could be purchased from the spacefaring race of merchants known as the Arcane.[5] Helms sold by the Arcane cost 100,000 gold pieces for a minor helm and 250,000 for a major helm.[2]

Installation of a new helm simply involved bolting the chair to the deck at a desired location.[2] Any chair could also be mounted on a suitable ship and enchanted to become a spelljamming helm by casting the proper create minor or major helm spell.[6][19]

HistoryEdit

As late as 1358 DR, a spelljammer from ancient Netheril, a galleon fitted with a spelljamming helm, was preserved in the ruins of Hlaungadath. The lamia living there were aware that the ship was a spelljammer and desired to use its magic, but they failed to understand that one of them simply had to sit in the helm to power the magic of the vessel.[20]

AppendixEdit

AppearancesEdit

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 297. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 34–36. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 8. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 33. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 8. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 6. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 10. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  9. Nigel Findley (September 1991). Into the Void. (TSR, Inc.), p. 110. ISBN ISBN 1-56076-154-7.
  10. Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 7. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  11. Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 52. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  12. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 8. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  13. Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 55. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), p. 30. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 15.9 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 36–39. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  16. Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), pp. 95–96. ISBN 1-56076-052-4.
  17. Steven E. Schend (July 1990). “Bazaar of the Bizarre: Magic from the stars”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #159 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 15–18.
  18. Dale "slade" Henson (March 1992). “Ship Recognition Manual”. In Jon Pickens ed. War Captain's Companion (TSR, Inc.), p. 38. ISBN 1-56076-343-4.
  19. Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 21, 24–25. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  20. Ed Greenwood (November 1991). Anauroch. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 64. ISBN 1-56076-126-1.
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