Bral is a fairly busy port, something all sources on the asteroid city agree on. But what exactly does this meam in real terms? How many vessle arrive or depart Bral on any given day, what sort of vessels are they, and where are they going? These are the sorts of questions which a short campaign can easily avoid, but in a longer campaign, it can become an issue. This article attempts to answer the questions in a fashion which is useful for gamemasters and informative for players.
One of the first questions concerning the traffic in any port is where is it, and how does the location affect shipping. In this case of Bral, this is a tricky question, because the city is designed to be placed whereever the GM wishes. There will be obvious differences in traffic if Bral is in the Grinder of Greyspace, Selune's Tears of Realmspace, or in some home-grown campaign sphere.
Basically, Bral is the busiest port within the sphere, a central hub of internal sphere spelljammer traffic, and the primary docking point for Flow traffic as well. Because the sphere rests at the junction of several important Flow rivers, Bral sees a great deal of traffic from outside the sphere as well.
Each day 1d10 vessels will arrive at the Rock, and 1d10 vessels depart. The GM is encouraged to come up with the names and backgrounds of these vessels when needed, but the following charts can be used when a random determination is needed, and as a general guide to which vessels are most frequent.
Chart 1: Type of vessel Roll 1d12 1-3 Free Merchant 2-6 Company Merchant Vessel 7-8 Adventuring Ship 9-10 Military vessel 11 Diplomatic Ship 12 Unique vessel/Other
A ship owned by its crew or captain, who ply the void carrying cargoes (both speculative and hired) to various spelljammer ports. These range from tramp freighters to luxurious passenger vessels.
Chart II Type of Free Merchant Roll 2d12 2-5 Tradesman 6-8 Wasp 9 Dragonfly 10-12 Galleon 13 Cog 14 Caravel 16 Coaster 18 Dolphin 19 Hammership 20 Junk 21 Shrikeship 22 Swanship 23 Vagabond [Aperusa ship] 24 Whaleship
Chart III Race of Free Merchent Roll 1d12 1-2 Human 3 Gnome 4 Halfling 5 Elf 6 Dwarf 7 Goblinoid 8-11 Mixed 12 Other
A ship owned by a merchant company, a noble house, or some other group outside of the ship's complement. Often these owners have other ships as well, extensive resources, and power. These vessels will usually fly the flag of their owner to identify their alleigience and warn off potential foes. The type of vessel is dependent upon the specific group, as most companies own only a few ship types. Groups like the Dohwar or Arcane are included here as well.
Chart IV Company Merchant Vessel Roll 3d10 3-4 House Kullek [1d8: 1-3 Whaleship 4-6 Tradesman 7-8 Hammership] 5-6 House Lianin [Tradesmen] 7-8 House Murawa [1d6: 1-2 Junk 3-5 Tradesman 6 Dragonship] 9-10 House Daxault [1d10: 1-6 Tradesman 7-8 Shrikeship 9-10 Hammership] 11-12 House Zudrik [1d6: 1-4 Whaleship 5-6 Wasp] 13-14 House Moune [Tradesmen] 15-16 House Eirenfezt [1d6: 1-2 Galleon 3-6 Tradesmen] 17-18 Smith's Coster [1d10: 1-4 Tradesman 5-9 Hammership 10 Whaleship] 19-20 Sindiath Line [1d8: 1-4 Swanship, 5-6 Radiant Ship 7-8 Man-o-war] 21-22 House Cartan [1-3 Tradesman 4-7 Wasp 8 Octopus] 23-24 House Mosantas [1-3 Tradesman 4-6 Galleon] 25 Diamondhammer [1 Tradesman + 2 Wasps] 26 Deepdelve Clan [Hammership] 27 Powderpuff Emporium [1d6: 1-4 Swanship 5-6 Shrikeship] 28 Crispyleaf Coster [1d6: 1-4 Swanship 5-6 Shrikeship] 29 Dohwar [Uspo] 30 Arcane [Any]
Adventuring vessels are extremely varied, they can be literally anything. Their crews are made up of a multitude of individuals and they often use odd or ancient ship tyes. They resemble free merchants but are oriented towards exploration, pirate hunting, or general mischief more then trade. Any vessel which doesn't quite fit the other catagories is essentially an adventuring craft.
These types are best handled as unique encounters, and the DM is encouraged to look at some of the Spelljammer websites when a group is quickly needed. If the DM hasn't the time, or none of the groups on those sites fit the bill fit the bill, then roll up a group using the DMG charts, and roll on the following table for their vessel.
Chart V Adventuring Ship Roll 1d8 1 Mosquito 2 Dragonfly 3 Wasp 4 Eelship 5 Lamprey 6 Tradesman 7 Shrikeship 8 Swanship
Several different military groups occasionally dock at Bral, and a few others dock there often. Royal Bralian and Imperial Elven Navy vessels dock at the military docks, others dock at the normal docks.
Chart VI Military Vessels Roll 1d8 1-4 Royal Navy of Bral [1d6: 1-2 Hammership 4-6 Squidship] 5 Elven Imperial Fleet [Man-o-War] 6 Greatspace Fleet [1d6: 1-2 Hammership 3-4 Shrikeship 5-6 Battledolphin] 7 Company of the Chalice [Squidship] 8 Gnomish Imperial Fleet [1d6: 1 Deathglory 2-5 Sidewheeler 6 Bolaship]
These ships arrive from the various Spelljamming powers to conduct negotiations, whether with the Rock itself or with another power using the Rock as neutral ground. Bral has become the center of diplomacy in this portion of Wildpsce because of its central location and general neutraility.
Chart VII Diplomatic Ship Roll 1d20 1 North Anadia [Swanship] 2 Imperial Elven Fleet [Man-o-War] 3 Elf [Swanship] 4 Beholder [Tyrantship] 5 Ironpiece [Sidewheeler] 6 Shou Lung [Dragonship] 7 Wa [Tsunami] 8 Colian Lizardman [Turtleship] 9 Colian Aarakocra [Eagleship] 10 Illithids [Nautiloid] 11 Talagran Empire [Galleon] 12 Tauran Empire [Hammership] 13 Thri-kreen [Leaf-ship] 14 Scro [Mantis] 15 Human Nation, Toril [Galleon] 16 Human Nation, Gensil [Galleon] 17 Human Nation, Oerth [Galleon] 18 Dwarf [Hammership] 19 Pirtel [Galleon] 20 Church of Ptah [Barge of Ptah]
An undead invasion fleet, Vodoni Nightwolf, or any thing else the DM wants to inflict upon Bral. If the DM wants something simple, it can be a simple Neogi vessel arriving to negotiate with the Prince, or a Giff mercenary squadron.
The articles below can be found at Static's Beyond the Moons website http://www.spelljammer.org/