Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

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Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:52 pm

Christopher Perkins made this Twitter announcement about Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage earlier today:
@ChrisPerkinsDnD on Twitter wrote:A D&D campaign for levels 1-20. Waterdeep, Skullport, and twenty-three levels of Undermountain, each level more wild than the last. Halaster is waiting for you. #wotcstaff
Mr. Dr. Bricing Wolf said this back to him:
@DoctorBadWolf on Twitter wrote:I don’t get the appeal of Halaster and Undermountain, but I’m excited for Skullport and Waterdeep, and for the insane number of critters, traps, loot, and puzzles, that these books will surely contain!
And then Christopher Perkins said this:
@ChrisPerkinsDnD on Twitter wrote:Halaster has a spelljamming helm now. Does that float your boat? #wotcstaff
Halaster was previously taken into Realmspace, as part of the plot of Undermountain: Stardock, so he could theoretically have a spelljamming helm. But is Christopher Perkins telling the truth or winding us up?
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by night_druid » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:17 am

Given the number of adventurers who have perished in Undermountain, bringing a lot of treasure along with them, a spelljammer helm is no real surprised. Hell, who knows what he has squirreled down there. He could have the Left Foot of Vecna down there for all we know. :p
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by RobJN » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:40 am

night_druid wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:17 am
Hell, who knows what he has squirreled down there. He could have the Left Foot of Vecna down there for all we know. :p
Or any other Body Parts....

Hundreds of years, and nobody's had the guts to mention to him that no, that is NOT the Eye of Vecna he's been toting around.... :shock:
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:11 am

night_druid wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:17 am
Given the number of adventurers who have perished in Undermountain, bringing a lot of treasure along with them, a spelljammer helm is no real surprised.
Would adventurers really take a large magical chair down into Undermountain? :o

I suppose there would be spelljamming ships in Skullport, from time to time.

I guess that if someone raided a spelljamming ship, demounted the helm and fled into Undermountain in an attempt to escape, that could explain one getting there. :?
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Jaid » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:24 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:11 am
night_druid wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:17 am
Given the number of adventurers who have perished in Undermountain, bringing a lot of treasure along with them, a spelljammer helm is no real surprised.
Would adventurers really take a large magical chair down into Undermountain? :o

I suppose there would be spelljamming ships in Skullport, from time to time.

I guess that if someone raided a spelljamming ship, demounted the helm and fled into Undermountain in an attempt to escape, that could explain one getting there. :?
or it is one of the variety of things that are not strictly a helm in the same sense that a cape of protection is not strictly a ring of protection :P

(ie a crown of the stars would not necessarily be a helm, you could pretty much call it a spelljamming helm and it would be a fairly accurate description)

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by AuldDragon » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:12 am

Halaster doesn't, and hasn't, stayed in Undermountain 24/7. He's been around in a lot of places for a long time.

IIRC, the Skullport accessory mentions Spelljammers dock there, as it is a major black market port. There's even a Giff there that sells firearms and smokepowder. This is all as of early 1370s DR, though.

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by GMWestermeyer » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:31 pm

I have a vague memory of an SJ ship appearing in one of the levels. Much like a Dragonfly, IIRC, appears in Castle Greyhawk.

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by night_druid » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:08 pm

Question is, would you *trust* a spelljamming helm that's been in Halastar's possession? I kinda think I'd sell it to the dumbest buyer I could find and just run with the money ;)

That said, unless there's an instruction manual next to the helm, most PCs would probably scratch their heads at the thing. Its a magical throne that appears to do nothing except steal the spellcasters' spells if they sit in it. Obviously cursed! ;)
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Sturm » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:52 am

Here http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Spelljamming_helm it says the user feels his/her senses expanding, but what if he/she is not on a skyship?
Here http://spelljammer.wikia.com/wiki/Spelljammer_Helms say nothing about effects when sitting on it.
Does canon mention that somewhere? Has a groundling any mean to identify it? Maybe with an Identify spell?

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by GMWestermeyer » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:47 pm

Actually, a Spelljamming helm should be pretty damn terrifying for a high level mage! Recall, if you follow the memorization rules, you need a full nights rest (8 hours) plus 10 minutes study per level per spell to rememorize spells. It takes a mere 20th level wizard 27 HOURS to rememorize all of their spells... after getting that full nights rest... they will need to sleep again immediately! That's why I always give higher level wizards apprentices on their vessels to spelljam. Since Spelljamming speed is the same regardless of level, a powerful wizard should only spelljam in dire emergencies.

A groundling mage who puts on a Crown of Stars they find in a dungeon, who are not on a ship, will likely consider it a cursed item since it will immediately drain all of their spells.

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by AuldDragon » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:12 pm

Sturm wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:52 am
Here http://spelljammer.wikia.com/wiki/Spelljammer_Helms say nothing about effects when sitting on it.
Does canon mention that somewhere? Has a groundling any mean to identify it? Maybe with an Identify spell?
In 2nd Edition, a successful Identify spell would indicate it is an item that turns magical energy into locomotive force (or something along those lines). Assuming they believe the results and they believe it is not actually cursed (cursed items return false results with Identify), PCs shouldn't mistake it for something designed to disable spellcasters.
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:47 pm
Actually, a Spelljamming helm should be pretty damn terrifying for a high level mage! Recall, if you follow the memorization rules, you need a full nights rest (8 hours) plus 10 minutes study per level per spell to rememorize spells. It takes a mere 20th level wizard 27 HOURS to rememorize all of their spells... after getting that full nights rest... they will need to sleep again immediately! That's why I always give higher level wizards apprentices on their vessels to spelljam. Since Spelljamming speed is the same regardless of level, a powerful wizard should only spelljam in dire emergencies.

A groundling mage who puts on a Crown of Stars they find in a dungeon, who are not on a ship, will likely consider it a cursed item since it will immediately drain all of their spells.
The helm doesn't drain spells, it just drains the ability to cast them. A spellcaster who hasn't cast any spells will keep them after being on a helm:
"Using a major or minor helm even for a short period removes all spellcasting ability from the spell-user until the individual rests long enough to recover spells." (Concordance of Arcane Space, p.19)

You don't need to sleep for 20+ hours as a high level wizard or priest; most of that is studying or praying.

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:24 pm

AuldDragon wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:12 pm
The helm doesn't drain spells, it just drains the ability to cast them. A spellcaster who hasn't cast any spells will keep them after being on a helm:
"Using a major or minor helm even for a short period removes all spellcasting ability from the spell-user until the individual rests long enough to recover spells." (Concordance of Arcane Space, p.19)

You don't need to sleep for 20+ hours as a high level wizard or priest; most of that is studying or praying.
I wonder if that was ever officially ruled on, it's one interpretation, I suppose. It doesn't match the way helm use was portrayed in most modules and novels, IIRC.

Personally, I prefer my take.

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Jaid » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:08 pm

hmmm... i could've swore it said somewhere explicitly that you don't have to rememorize, that the spells are not consumed, merely inaccessible.

of course, i still don't have my books, so even if it is somewhere, i'm not going to track it down any time soon... hmmm... unless it's in the encyclopedia magica...

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by AuldDragon » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:06 am

It's certainly muddled, and I think it is due to poor descriptions, but I think the *intent* is pretty clear that the casting ability is supposed to be disabled, not that spells are actually completely drained. The first paragraph here seems to indicate spells are drained, but the second paragraph only works if the spells are not drained, meaning the first part is poorly worded:

"Using a helm prohibits any spell use by the helmsman within the 24-hour period. As soon as a wizard or priest sits in the helm and becomes aware of the ship, no spells of any kind may be cast until after the wizard has had a chance to rest and regain spells. In effect, the helm "drains" the helmsman of all spells the moment it is activated.

(In fact, this is not precisely what happens. The helm attunes itself to the brain patterns of the wizard who activated it. Once in synch, the helm siphons away any magical energy the moment it begins taking shape, not all at once. But until the character can rest, thereby breaking the link, the energy invested in any spell he or she tries to cast is immediately drawn away by the spelljamming helm. This effect occurs regardless of range. Oddly, the helm can use the energy only if the character is seated in the helm. Why the helm can draw power from any range, yet gains benefit only from a helmsman actually in contact with it, is one of the foremost unsolved mysteries of spelljamming magic.)"

(From Encyclopedia Magica Vol.2, p.581.)

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by night_druid » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:37 am

I used the whole "touch the part of the mind that casts spells" as the basis of the One True Helm :)
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by GMWestermeyer » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:47 pm

AuldDragon wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:06 am
It's certainly muddled, and I think it is due to poor descriptions, but I think the *intent* is pretty clear that the casting ability is supposed to be disabled, not that spells are actually completely drained. The first paragraph here seems to indicate spells are drained, but the second paragraph only works if the spells are not drained, meaning the first part is poorly worded:

"Using a helm prohibits any spell use by the helmsman within the 24-hour period. As soon as a wizard or priest sits in the helm and becomes aware of the ship, no spells of any kind may be cast until after the wizard has had a chance to rest and regain spells. In effect, the helm "drains" the helmsman of all spells the moment it is activated.

(In fact, this is not precisely what happens. The helm attunes itself to the brain patterns of the wizard who activated it. Once in synch, the helm siphons away any magical energy the moment it begins taking shape, not all at once. But until the character can rest, thereby breaking the link, the energy invested in any spell he or she tries to cast is immediately drawn away by the spelljamming helm. This effect occurs regardless of range. Oddly, the helm can use the energy only if the character is seated in the helm. Why the helm can draw power from any range, yet gains benefit only from a helmsman actually in contact with it, is one of the foremost unsolved mysteries of spelljamming magic.)"

(From Encyclopedia Magica Vol.2, p.581.)

Jeff
I think Dragon is the most likely place for an answer, in Sage Advice... let me check...

I was wrong, dammit. Sage Advice specifically states the spells are not lost. Dragon #171 page 92.

Bummer. I feel like that was a real game balance opportunity missed...

I always played the other way, because most of the published adventures don't give the helmsman of opponent ships any memorized spells because they were jamming.

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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:09 pm

Jaid wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:24 am
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:11 am
night_druid wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:17 am
Given the number of adventurers who have perished in Undermountain, bringing a lot of treasure along with them, a spelljammer helm is no real surprised.
Would adventurers really take a large magical chair down into Undermountain? :o

I suppose there would be spelljamming ships in Skullport, from time to time.

I guess that if someone raided a spelljamming ship, demounted the helm and fled into Undermountain in an attempt to escape, that could explain one getting there. :?
or it is one of the variety of things that are not strictly a helm in the same sense that a cape of protection is not strictly a ring of protection :P

(ie a crown of the stars would not necessarily be a helm, you could pretty much call it a spelljamming helm and it would be a fairly accurate description)
A Crown of the Stars would be a great fit.

They are supposed to be super-rare, but Hallister is high enough level to have gotten one in the past. And he has been around for long enough for it to feel realistic for him to have obtained one.

A PC with a Crown of the Stars...that they don't know is a Crown of the Stars could be a lot of fun. If they walked around wearing it, it would appear to not do anything...

...until they had a ride on a ship or a large boat. :twisted:
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:39 pm

AuldDragon wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:12 am
Halaster doesn't, and hasn't, stayed in Undermountain 24/7. He's been around in a lot of places for a long time.
True. Hopefully there is some new history there that I can use. :)
AuldDragon wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:12 am
IIRC, the Skullport accessory mentions Spelljammers dock there, as it is a major black market port. There's even a Giff there that sells firearms and smokepowder. This is all as of early 1370s DR, though.
I'll have to look into that. :)

I know that Balder's Gate 2 features an underground spelljamming dock.

I guess that with factions like the drow in Wildspace, you would have to have some spelljamming ports in the Underdark.
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:38 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:31 pm
I have a vague memory of an SJ ship appearing in one of the levels. Much like a Dragonfly, IIRC, appears in Castle Greyhawk.
Really? There is an existing Spelljammer connection aside from Stardock?

I need to know more about this. :D
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:45 pm

AuldDragon wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:12 pm
Sturm wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:52 am
Here http://spelljammer.wikia.com/wiki/Spelljammer_Helms say nothing about effects when sitting on it.
Does canon mention that somewhere? Has a groundling any mean to identify it? Maybe with an Identify spell?
In 2nd Edition, a successful Identify spell would indicate it is an item that turns magical energy into locomotive force (or something along those lines). Assuming they believe the results and they believe it is not actually cursed (cursed items return false results with Identify), PCs shouldn't mistake it for something designed to disable spellcasters.
I'm not even sure a spelljamming helm can work without being attached to a ship. :?

If you screwed it down on the floor in a detached building, like a pub, I can see how it would "power up the pub" and allow a spellcaster to (attempt to) fly that pub into space, but if it was just sat on the floor, I don't think that it would be able to connect the spellcaster to the building.
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:09 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:24 pm
AuldDragon wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:12 pm
The helm doesn't drain spells, it just drains the ability to cast them. A spellcaster who hasn't cast any spells will keep them after being on a helm:
"Using a major or minor helm even for a short period removes all spellcasting ability from the spell-user until the individual rests long enough to recover spells." (Concordance of Arcane Space, p.19)

You don't need to sleep for 20+ hours as a high level wizard or priest; most of that is studying or praying.
I wonder if that was ever officially ruled on, it's one interpretation, I suppose. It doesn't match the way helm use was portrayed in most modules and novels, IIRC.
It's a standard rule in the original SJ boxed set, Paul.

Didn't you say that you originally skipped that boxed set and preferred the War Captain's Companion boxed set? (Or was that someone else?) If that's the case, that might explain how you missed this standard rule. I don't think that the other books go out of the way to restate how helms work.

I've seen other people who missed what Jeff Grubb was trying to get across. But they are usually the people who come to conversion discussions with a "I like Spelljammer but helms that nerf spellcasters have to go" position*.

* = I'm OK with anyone wanting to do their own house rules, but when they say they have to make house rules because "Spelljammer is broken" and they say something about the rules that isn't actually correct, I try to give them the right information, so that they can reassess the situation. (Spelljammer can be very confusing at times. I'm still finding obscure bits of canon from time to time.)
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:24 pm
Personally, I prefer my take.
I'll stick with Jeff Grubb's take on this. Your take would be far too disruptive to divine spellcasters who are in the phlogiston, IMO.

With Jeff Grubb's rule for spelljamming, a Priest/Cleric can still access the high level spells that they prepared before leaving their home sphere in the phlogiston and foreign crystal spheres. They only run into problems after they cast the spell and are unable to get their deity to give them a replacement.

Your house rule would work too, but it seems overly brutal to me. Jeff Grubb's rule gives back the spells and makes a Priest/Cleric think very very carefully about casting individual spells that they won't be able to get back for weeks or longer.

With Jeff's rule, as Priest/Cleric can ration out their high level spells, rely on the lower level ones that they can even get back in the Phlogiston and try to use the Contact Home Power spell to break through the barriers between them and their god/goddess. That just feels like better storytelling to me than being totally nerfed from sitting on the helm once.
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:17 pm

AuldDragon wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:06 am
It's certainly muddled, and I think it is due to poor descriptions, but I think the *intent* is pretty clear that the casting ability is supposed to be disabled, not that spells are actually completely drained. The first paragraph here seems to indicate spells are drained, but the second paragraph only works if the spells are not drained, meaning the first part is poorly worded:

"Using a helm prohibits any spell use by the helmsman within the 24-hour period. As soon as a wizard or priest sits in the helm and becomes aware of the ship, no spells of any kind may be cast until after the wizard has had a chance to rest and regain spells. In effect, the helm "drains" the helmsman of all spells the moment it is activated.

(In fact, this is not precisely what happens. The helm attunes itself to the brain patterns of the wizard who activated it. Once in synch, the helm siphons away any magical energy the moment it begins taking shape, not all at once. But until the character can rest, thereby breaking the link, the energy invested in any spell he or she tries to cast is immediately drawn away by the spelljamming helm. This effect occurs regardless of range. Oddly, the helm can use the energy only if the character is seated in the helm. Why the helm can draw power from any range, yet gains benefit only from a helmsman actually in contact with it, is one of the foremost unsolved mysteries of spelljamming magic.)"

(From Encyclopedia Magica Vol.2, p.581.)
I figured that sitting on a helm and not resting (to break the link) would cause a 100 percent chance of spell failure, without reading Encyclopedia Magica.

I do think there should be some ways to break the link though.

If a divine spellcaster can not contact a deity from the Phlogiston, then surely the crystal spheres should be enough of a barrier that if you put the helmsman in the phlogiton and the helm inside a crystal sphere they can cast spells again.

Destroying the helm should probably work too. :twisted:

Moving the helmsman to a different plane from the helm might also work.
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:22 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:47 pm
I always played the other way, because most of the published adventures don't give the helmsman of opponent ships any memorized spells because they were jamming.
Well they only don't have them because they have not had a chance to go to sleep yet.

That's not those products disagreeing with what Jeff Grubb said the rule was. That's the designer showing that rule in action.

I suppose where it is wrong is that a GM might end up in a situation where an NPC helmsman is not killed by the PCs within 24 hours and then has to make up their own spells. So it would have probably have been better to say "If the helmsman goes to sleep for long enough to regain spells, he gets the following spells back" and then list the spells they had prepared before they sat on the helm.
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AuldDragon
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Re: Christopher Perkins says Halaster has a spelljamming helm

Post by AuldDragon » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:27 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:45 pm
AuldDragon wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:12 pm
In 2nd Edition, a successful Identify spell would indicate it is an item that turns magical energy into locomotive force (or something along those lines). Assuming they believe the results and they believe it is not actually cursed (cursed items return false results with Identify), PCs shouldn't mistake it for something designed to disable spellcasters.
I'm not even sure a spelljamming helm can work without being attached to a ship. :?

If you screwed it down on the floor in a detached building, like a pub, I can see how it would "power up the pub" and allow a spellcaster to (attempt to) fly that pub into space, but if it was just sat on the floor, I don't think that it would be able to connect the spellcaster to the building.
That's quite true; if it isn't connected to anything, it wouldn't drain spells, and thus still shouldn't be mistaken for an anti-spellcaster device.

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:38 pm
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:31 pm
I have a vague memory of an SJ ship appearing in one of the levels. Much like a Dragonfly, IIRC, appears in Castle Greyhawk.
Really? There is an existing Spelljammer connection aside from Stardock?

I need to know more about this. :D
Multiple connections, but no ships in either boxed set as far as I can tell. The first box (by Greenwood himself) was published around the time of Lost Ships, has a reference to that, and a number of monster references, including a silver clockwork horror, possible Spelljammer teleportation locations (no details, just ideas), and the like. Stardock and The Lost Level are both mentioned in the original boxed set and expanded in later products by other people.

Get the PDF and do a keyword search for Spelljammer to find the references.

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:22 pm
That's not those products disagreeing with what Jeff Grubb said the rule was. That's the designer showing that rule in action.
Most likely that falls into "cut for space," because there's no need to list spells on casters who can't use them.

Jeff
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