If you had any doubt about where the inspiration for this campaign setting came from before, it will be dispelled by this post. At least if you are familiar with the source material, at all.
Spelljammer was my favorite of the D&D settings. It just always had a feeling of limitlessness. Whatever you wanted to do could be done because it had to be out there in the Void somewhere, right? Of course, that leads to its own problems. Its hard to focus when your canvas is literally anything and if you do end up focusing on one planet or country, the question becomes: why have the spelljamming stuff at all? Why not just use the setting your focusing on?
I hope that the journeys themselves become the story. That going to new and interesting places will trump the joy of really delving deep into a single location for the players. Sort of how the best Star Trek episodes weren’t about Klingons or Romulans but about some strange new one off world that the Enterprise happened to come across.
I know at least one of these races was something of a joke, but the Giff definitely have potential. Hippopotamuses may be funny looking but they kill more people on the Nile than crocodiles and the Romans used to match them up against gladiators in the coliseum. They’re big and mean and tough. Adding some other types of Giff based on other big, mean, tough mammals hopefully expands them out some and makes them more interesting.
I probably wouldn’t have worked the Hadozee up as a race, but one of my players specifically requested them. When he gave his character a name that was the same as the last name as a certain Strange Doctor, it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to decide to run with it. So now, other Hadozee also have very English names shared by actors like Clutterbuck and Popplewell (look ’em up…the first will probably surprise you.)
And I just always liked the plasmoids. No particular reason…unless they just reminded me of Gloop and Gleep from the Herculoids, subconsciously. Or maybe it was that they were so alien that I was fascinated by them.
Hadozee: No one knows exactly where glider apes came from. Their own legends speak of a home world full of giant trees and lush jungles. None of them know the name of this planet, have visited it or even know where it is. It is assumed that a group of their ancestors, or several groups, were captured and enslaved by some race or another and eventually escaped. Void nomads, the glider apes can be found in most of the major space going metropolises and almost all of them spend at least some portion of their life as part of the crew of a Void Runner. They are a curious, adventuresome and gregarious race. Any who are familiar with the void are familiar with the glider apes but many land bound people are fooled by their bestial appearance and are often surprised when they prove intelligent. They resemble large baboons with leathery flaps stretching from their wrists to ankles. Their fur is generally brown or grey but occasionally strange colors like blue or purple occur.
Glide: Glider apes can glide at their pace every round. They drop 1” for every 2” moved horizontally. If they make an agility check each success negates an 1” of drop and they can even rise 1” if they gain enough raises. Glider apes cannot hover and must move at least 2” per turn.
Size: -1. Glider apes are the size of children.
Curious: Glider apes are interested in everything. They find it difficult to avoid investigating anything novel.
Rigging Monkeys: Glider apes are highly agile. They start with a d8 in agility and can get a d12+2 in this stat through normal advancement. They are natural climbers and start with a free d6 in climbing.
Flingers: One of a glider ape’s natural defenses is throwing things. It is instinctual for them to throw things when threatened or angry. They start with a free d6 in throwing.
Giff: The Giff are actually 3 related races who occupy a single caste based society. The lowest, most common group are known simply as Giff and are massive humanoids with heads that resemble those of dour, fierce hippopotami. Renowned for their stupidity and aggressiveness throughout the known worlds, they are also fiercely loyal and brave. They love to fight and love the noise and chaos of black powder weapons, especially.
The next highest caste of the Giff are the Nocerans. These creatures are even larger than the common Giff and have the heads of rhinoceri. They are slightly smarter than the common Giff but just as loyal and courageous and even more aggressive. They are also more disciplined than the common Giff and have keen tactical minds. Most units of common gift have a Noceran leader.
The final class of Giff are the Nibals. The largest of the races, they have the heads of elephants. Unlike either of their smaller cousins, the Nibals are not particularly aggressive and are noticeably smarter and wiser than their kin. Calm contemplators, many of them spend much of their lives in meditation. Others are administrators, researchers and engineers and it is they who keep the Giff culture going.
All Giff are obsessed with black powder and much of their research and strategy revolves around using this material.
Giff society is highly hierarchical and largely militaristic. Almost all common gift and Nocerans are members of the military and there are over 100 ranks in this military, meaning that there is a definitive chain of command. Discipline is high and the punishments for disobeying orders or superiors are severe. Only the Nibals are commonly outside this hierarchy and even they generally serve the military in some form or another. Most of their contemplations go into creating strategies and new weapons.
Another lost race, the Giff homeworld is unknown. They possess a small world where most of the Nibal live and where a slight majority of the other two races also have their homes. Most of the rest of them live in small colonies or, more commonly on ships that wander the Void looking for contracts.
Though the Giff have a vast military, in fact most of their society revolves around it, they do not fight each other nor do they carry on campaigns of conquest. Instead, they are divided up into myriad mercenary units of assorted sizes who sell their services to other races. There are very few void ports without at least one unit of Giff offering their mercenary services.
All Thumbs: Common Giff are straightforward creatures without the capacity to truly understand complex technology.
Thick Skinned: Common Giff have 2 points of natural armor due to their thick, sturdy hides.
Slow Witted: Common Giff will never be mistaken for being incredibly bright. It costs 2 points to raise their smarts during character creation and two levellings to raise it afterwards.
Size +1: Common Giff are just over 6’ tall but are quite sturdy, weighing over 400 pounds.
Powerful Muscles: Though Common Giff look fat, they are actually very muscular. They begin play with a d8 strength instead of a d4. They may purchase their strength up to a d12+2. The Professional and Expert edges can increase this to d12+4.
Black Powder Obsession: Despite their almost complete lack of understanding of Black Powder and the weapons that use it, Common Giff are fascinated by them. They will always choose a black powder weapon over any other ranged option. Their All Thumbs hindrance applies to their use of these weapons.
Semi-Aquatic: Common Giff are not amphibious but they are more comfortable if they can keep their skin moist. They take a -4 penalty to resist heat or dehydration. On the other hand, they only gain a Fatigue level every 15 minutes that he holds his breath. On reaching incapacitated must make a vigor roll every minute or drown. Fatigue recovers one level per 15 minutes back in air.
Agility: d6, Smarts: d6, Spirit: d8, Strength: d10, Vigor: d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Notice d4, Piloting: d6 Shooting: d6
Pace: 6 Parry: 6 Toughness: 11(3)
All Thumbs: Nocerans are straightforward creatures without the capacity to truly understand complex technology.
Thick Skinned: Nocerans have 3 points of natural armor due to their thick, sturdy hides.
Size +2: Nocerans stand just over 7’ tall and are quite sturdy, weighing over 600 pounds.
Black Powder Obsession: Despite their almost complete lack of understanding of Black Powder and the weapons that use it, Nocerans are fascinated by them. They will always choose a black powder weapon over any other ranged option. Their All Thumbs hindrance applies to their use of these weapons.
Near-sighted: Nocerans have weak eyes and receive a -2 to all ranged attacks.
Charge: Nocerans can use their horns in combat if they charge at least 2 squares. The damage for this attack is Str+d6.
Agility: d6, Smarts: d8, Spirit: d10, Strength: d10, Vigor: d10
Skills: Fighting d6, Knowledge (Any 2) d8, Persuasion d6, Piloting: d4, Shooting: d6
Pace: 6 Parry: 6 Toughness: 11(3)
Thick Skinned: Nibals have 3 points of natural armor due to their thick, sturdy hides.
Size +3: Nibals are truly huge creatures who stand just over 9’ tall and are quite sturdy, weighing over 1000 pounds.
Black Powder Obsession: Nibals are fascinated by black powder weapons of all sorts. They will always choose a black powder weapon over any other ranged option.
Tusks: If a Nibal must engage in combat it will use its tusks for Str +d6 damage.
Trunk: Nibal trunks are prehensile and quite adept. They gain a bonus non-move action each round using their trunk.
Plasmoids: No one is quite sure whether plasmoids naturally evolved on some strange world, were created by some unknowable god in its own shapeless image or were created as an experiment by a mad wizard in ages past. In any case, they are some of the most unusual sentient creatures in the Void. At first glance, a plasmoid appears to be nothing more than a puddle of viscous goo with unidentifiable organs floating in it. Plasmoids have impressive control over their shapeless bodies, however and can “stand” upright, form “limbs” or slither through tight spaces. Their amorphous form makes them unusually difficult to injure but also gives them an alien mentality that often leaves more mundane species nonplussed. Plasmoids communicate with each other through a series of vibrations of their skins that are often inaudible to other species but most are able to control these vibrations enough to speak more common languages.
Alien Nature – Plasmoids have unusual bodies by almost any definition. This means that other species are often put off by their appearance and method of communication. For that matter, their own mentalities mean that they have a difficult time understanding and interacting socially with members of other species. This leads to a -2 to all charisma checks with those who are not members of their species.
Amorphous Shape – The very nature of a plasmoid’s body provides it some advantages and disadvantages. They receive a +2 to recover from being shaken. They have no discernible anatomy so called shots are not an option against them. They also do not suffer any wound penalties. Additionally, their body chemistry is so unusual that they are immune to diseases and toxins. However, because of this strange anatomy, those trying to render aid to them are at a disadvantage. Anyone other than a plasmoid trying to heal a plasmoid through either mundane or magical means suffers a -2 to all checks. Likewise, it is almost impossible to create armor that fits these creatures. Only a master armorer is capable of crafting something suitable and will require a great deal of time and expense.
Shapeshifting – All plasmoids are capable of consciously altering their amorphous forms, though sometimes in dramatically different ways. To reflect this, every plasmoid gains the Arcane Background (Shapeshifting) edge with an extra 5 power points and a starting Shapeshifting Skill of d6.