Cadets, last time I shared with you some of the foes and allies you might come across during your first voyages through Wildspace and the Astral Sea. In this dispatch I will share some of the greatest dangers you might come across, as well as powerful allies who may aid your cause.
Seasoned Explorers (Tier 2 – CRs up to 12)
Astral elves (CRs 3 to 8) typically live in the astral, which means they have an eternity to hone their battle skills. They come to Wildspace to harness the power of sunlight, raise children in a place where time flows normally, craft wondrous crystalline ships, and even summon solar dragons. You can’t always count on them being allies, but they will seldom attack unprovoked.
Similarly, as much as the giff (CRs 3 to 10) love battle, they will generally stop and lend a hand when hailed. Giff love smokepowder weapons and bombs, and are often keen to hear news regarding any threats in the area.
Far less dependable are the psionically powerful githyanki (CRs 3 to 9). They are more likely to raid a ship than talk, but if you think you have valuable information or can prove yourself to them, they may listen.
One or more kindori (CR 7) make for an incredible sight. The gargantuan space whales don’t mind it when someone lands on them, which means you could find dwellings, ships, and any manner of creatures on them.
Many of the Spelljammer creatures can be combined for interesting encounters. A kindori could carry anything from a crashed ship to a trading outpost. And why not have one or more creatures swallowed by the whale as well?
The mercane (CR 5) are towering merchants capable of psionics. Fortunately, their goal is trade and their rates are reasonable. Just be careful not to offend them, as their ability to hold a grudge is never-ending.
Trading with the reigar (CR 8) is less reliable. These humanoids with skin similar to that of an octopus are interested in art and war. In fact, they often combine the two, seeking battles that they consider beautiful. They are formidable warriors who can summon a golem duplicate, and they create living ships called esthetics (CR 12). Stay on their good side, and don’t become their next art project!
That warning I gave you about desert planets? There are even worse dangers you may come across. Maybe some evil wizard crossed a rhinoceros with a giant to create the evil braxat (CR 9), which can breathe acid, compel you with psionics, erect a psionic shield to protect itself, and still beat you to death with its huge greatclub!
And beware a ship that includes b’rohg (CR 6) on its crew. These four-armed desert giants can act as their own catapults, hurling rocks with hull-crushing force. Getting close to them is even more dangerous, as their four arms can grab you and deliver a hideous rend.
We can also thank desert planets for carnivorous insects. Now, the carapace-enclosed bipedal Thri-kreen (CR 2 to 7) aren’t necessarily foes, but it can take some work to establish that you aren’t prey. They communicate telepathically, which is far easier than the clacking language they create with their mandibles. If you end up on the wrong side of negotiations, beware their multiple arms, the sharp crystalline wedges they hurl (called chatkcha), their two-bladed polearm (called gythka), and their ability to leap great distances. A far more dangerous insect is the gargantuan megapede (CR 11), which can both drain your life essence and deliver incapacitating psionic assaults. I almost forgot to mention the massive bite from its poison-dripping mandibles. How could I forget!
Is space trying to kill you? The existence of sentient murder comets (CR 5), which are elemental spirits bound into comet form, says yes. They move incredibly fast, deal tremendous damage to both crew and ships, release showers of sparks, and explode when finally defeated!
Always keep a keen eye when in an asteroid field, especially due to the eye monger (CR 10). It looks like any asteroid when it has its eye and mouth closed. Similar to a beholder, but lacking the eye rays, it can swallow you whole into its antimagic gullet.
Both murder comets and eye mongers make for interesting asteroid field encounters! They can also work as a warm-up encounter, engaging the players before you reveal an enemy ship or other true threat.
I should mention that pirates come in many forms, and of course this includes vampire pirates, known as vampirates (CRs 2, 5, and 6). Bad as they were when they drew breath, these undead pirates now drain your life essence. They can climb any surface, making it very hard to run away. A vampirate captain has the unusual capability to render their entire ship invisible, which means they may not reveal their presence until the moment they ram into you. Did I mention that when you kill them they explode in clouds of necrotic ash? I should mention that.
Vampirates on scavvers? Absolutely! And an invisible ship with a deadly air envelope (see our previous dispatch) will create quite the surprise when the characters try to figure out why their air envelope quality just changed…
Deep Space Threats (Tier 3 and 4 – CRs up to 20+)
Yeah, about that. I’m afraid the most powerful creatures aren’t reliable allies. Solar dragons (see below) won’t usually attack a spelljamming vessel, though counting one as an ally takes serious negotiation or a common goal.
The most dangerous creatures in Wildspace are dragons. Solar dragons (CRs 3, 8, 14, and 20) are nimble fliers, capable of exhaling a forty-foot-wide sphere of radiant energy. You don’t want to be in that sphere, trust me. They can blind creatures near them with their brilliance, and of course their bite is formidable. Oh, and watch for that tail when it swings around to smash into you. Solar dragons usually lair in a star or a celestial body near it, which tends to be hot enough to make it nearly impossible to attack its lair.
Lunar dragons (CRs 2, 7, 13, 19) earn their name because their preferred lair is within a moon. Their endless desire to build up their hoard means they will generally attack any spelljamming vessel on site. Lunar dragons breathe the cold of the void, and can become partially incorporeal to resist damage.
A lunar dragon should be a clever foe. Burrowing allows it to launch ambushes from inside a moon or large asteroid, and it should have plenty of ways to escape as well if the fight turns against it.
Because of their unfathomable malevolence, cosmic horrors (CR 18) may be even more dangerous. These Far Realm abominations can be found in the Astral, but will venture into Wildspace as well. Looking somewhat like a squid that has gone wrong, it has terrible tentacles and far too many eyes and teeth. Even being near it is dangerous, as it whispers terrible mind-breaking thoughts. Did I mention the tentacles can grapple and crush? And it can squirt foul poison gas? And jump through space so you can’t run away from it?
Well, look at me ruining your lunch. I apologize, but this dispatch could save your life! Knowing what is out there can give you the edge you need to survive another day in Wildspace. Speaking of survival, I need to calm down some githyanki “visitors” that just dropped by unannounced. Perhaps next week I’ll look more closely at the wondrous locations and colorful personages you may wish to visit in Wildspace!
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