Beadle & Grimm's Platinum Edition of Spelljammer: Adventures in Space

Beadle & Grimm's has made another luxury edition of a D&D adventure set, this time Spelljammer: Adventures in Space.

BG Spelljammer Platinum Box.PNG

Mixing Things Up a Bit​

Because of things WotC did with S:AiS, B&G had to also mix things up a little bit from their standard choices. For example, B&G typically takes the D&D hardcover books and produces “exploded” editions that divide the book into individual segments that are easier to handle behind a DM screen and lay flat. Typically, B&G will separate the adventure from the setting information so players can't stumble into plot material.

But for S:AiS, instead of the usual single hardcover book, WotC released a slipcase edition of three thinner hardcover books: The Astral Adventurer’s Guide, a bestiary called Boo’s Astral Menagerie, and the adventure book, Light of Xaryxis. For its Platinum and Silver Editions, B&G again converted them to softcover versions that lay flat, but splitting the bestiary and adventure into smaller versions isn't necessary. B&G did, however, divide The Astral Adventurer’s Guide into a Player's Guide and a main DM's Guide, which is great.

And that small-but-significant choice is a prime example of what makes B&G's editions so good. Yes, they are luxury and that gets a lot of attention, but they're also produced by people who love to play and DM games so they think about and implement choices that make playing easier for everyone at the table and improve the experience.

Another example of that are the Encounter Cards B&G produces for each set. Full color and folded in half so they can be hung on a DM screen, one side shows art for the players and the other side has the creature stats the DM needs. The Platinum Edition comes with 60 Encounter Cards, and the Silver Edition has 40.

DM Screen Inner.JPG

Speaking of DM screens, the official S:AiS box set (you can read my review of that here) also came with a four-panel DM screen in the horizontal format WotC has been favoring. The B&G DM's screen has original artwork on the outside in a four-panel vertical format I much prefer. It provides more room for DMs to attach notes to their side of the screen and makes it harder for players to accidentally see behind the screen if they're tall or standing up.

The inside of both screens have mostly the same content – tables for ship, astral space, and wildspace encounters, etc. Thanks to the extra space the vertical format provides, B&G was able to add a few other useful pieces of info, such as a chart of Who's Who at the Rock of Bral. That's a good option, but I would have preferred a slightly larger font. It would make life easier for DMs with aging eyes or visual impairments.

Dead Hand Dice.jpg

Platinum Edition = A Big Box​

Those buying the Platinum Edition will receive a shipping box taller than most small children. Everything is wrapped to maintain integrity during shipping without wasting any space. Inside is the heavy official Platinum Edition box, a separate box with Spelljammer Icons of the Realms miniatures made by Wiz Kids, a “map vault” (a.k.a. a hefty cardboard tube for rolled maps), and the Dead Hand's Dice Set.

That's right – you actually get two games in the Platinum Edition, both Spelljammer and a dice game. Dead Hand's Dice goes with one of the bonus adventures B&G added, Make Your Own Luck. The wooden dice cup is nicely made with a skull embossed on the outside. Seven wooden dice come with it, a skull replacing the number one on each die.

The map tube contains 6 original battle maps, a double-sided arena map, 3 ship battle maps, and poster-sized Rock of Bral map. A separate folder includes 8.5” x 11” maps of Realmspace, 16 ship deck maps, and 5 area maps.

Solar Dragon Official.PNG

The miniatures are all pre-painted and have nice detail. The set features minis for:
  • Prince Xeleth
  • Princess Xedalli
  • Warwyck Blastimoff
  • Ssurran Rogue
  • Thri-kreen
  • Mister Flinch
  • Captain Fel
  • Neogi Master
  • Autognome
  • Commodore Krux
  • Plasmoid
  • Zodar
  • Aartuk Elder
  • Braxat
  • Neh-thalggu
  • Void Scavver
  • Hastain
  • Grimzod Gargenhale
  • Young Solar Dragon
  • B'rohg
Cards.jpg

What's in Beadle & Grimm's Spelljammer: Adventures in Space?​

In addition to what I listed above, the Platinum Edition also includes 4 pre-gen characters, made to showcase Spelljammer player options, so your group can start immediately if they wish. The pre-gens are an Astral Elf Wizard, a Plasmoid Sorcerer, an Autognome Barbrian, and a Giff Cleric.

A set of 20 cards for magic items and new spells is very handy. Just pass one to the players when relevant.

Nine hand-outs for in-world situations help create an immersive experience. They include a menu for The Happy Beholder, a flyer promoting a performance of The Bloody Pirate, law on the Rock of Bral, and a Bral Shipyard catalog, complete with ads.

As with prior B&G editions, both the Platinum and Silver Editions of S:AiS come with four bonus adventures, all of these set on the Rock of Bral. Written by Jon Ciccolini and Sadie Lowry, Beneath the Illithid Embassy, Jailbreak, Make Your Own Luck, and Undead Cargo are all good, but I'm still a touch disappointed.

One of my complaints about the official WotC version of S:AiS is that with the Light of Xaryxis book confined to 64 pages and much of that taken up by gorgeous artwork, the adventure felt skimpy, and the ending especially felt rushed. While B&G can't make any changes to LoX, I was hoping that their edition would include either a couple more short adventures or would make their usual four bonus encounters a bit longer and more fleshed out than usual. The disappointment is my own. B&G never hinted at doing anything differently. I had just hoped that they would.

Ring.PNG
Artifacts.jpg

Show Me the Shinies!​

When B&G first began, it caused a splash through the “artifacts” it creates for each set. The ones made for Spelljammer don't disappoint. The Ring of Shooting Stars is very cool. A Giff military award is a whimsical choice and very appropriate.

To navigate wildspace, players use a Wildspace Orrery. B&G made a metal version of what such an item may look like, and it's heavy like very old sailor navigation tools.

The Dead Hand Dice cup and dice set are also artifacts for the Platinum Edition. It also includes a Completion Coin, which can double as an inspiration token.

DM Screen Outer.JPG

Final Thoughts​

Beadle & Grimm's continues to maintain its high standard for quality as well as all of the touches that improve the game experience for players and DMs. That's fantastic.

However, WotC fumbled its newest version of Spelljammer. As I said above, the original's three-book format was an interesting idea I'd like to see them continue to experiment with, but for S:AiS it resulted in lower page counts. Since S:AiS also contained more art than usual to set the tone, a decision I approve of, and combined with some writing choices, it made S:AiS feel skimpy.

Then there was the entirely avoidable problem of how WotC initially rewrote the origins of the Hadozee. WotC issued an errata correcting that, among other things, and new printings of S:AiS incorporate those corrections. The B&G version includes the errata corrections.

B&G did a fantastic job, better than WotC did, in my opinion. I really wish the B&G sets came with a bit more adventure content to compensate for WotC's stinginess, but that's just my preference.

Unfortunately, luxury editions aren't for everyone's budget, especially with the Platinum Edition costing $499. If a group splits the cost, it's more affordable. The other option is the Silver Edition, which costs $195. It omits the miniatures, the dice set, the Wildspace Orrey, and the Giff medal. It also only has 40 Encounter Cards and four battle maps. The B&G website has further details.

If you love Spelljammer and the B&G Platinum or Silver Editions are feasible for you or as a group purchase, Beadle & Grimm's versions don't disappoint.
 

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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

I’ve bought 1 box, the Silver one for Saltmarsh and thought it was nice and top notch quality. I have the various GF9 monster card deck and have a tv to display monsters but I wish B&G sold the cards as a separate item like the jewelry as I’d be pick all those up so I could hang it on my DM screen with the stats on the back facing. The players would alway be seeing the monster with the initial tents we slide top so it’s a good visual for them compare to the GF 9 card I can pass around but if I’m looking at the back for the stats they can’t see the monster.

I’m on fence for buying the Dragonlance box set…need someone to pull me off or push me over :)
 


AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
I bought this and have loved it. I really have gotten a lot of use of the monster cards I can hang on the DM screen showing the art to the players with the stats on my side.

The Platinum edition I received mistakenly included a psurlon mini instead of a plasmoid mini. They later sent the plasmoid for free.

I’ve gotten a huge amount of use from our Spelljammer campaign that is wrapping up. A few more ship posters that we can sit next to each other for ship boardings would have been my only ask from Beedle and Grimm’s platinum box.
 







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