D&D General Is Spelljammer really that bad?

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Yes. It really is that bad. But it's been bad since its inception, so how could it be good? Crystal spheres? Dumb. Phlogiston? Dumb. Ditto for giant space hamsters and anthropomorphic walruses with muskets. Nope, dumb is the wrong word. Silly? Hmmm... Nope.

Cringe; that's the word I'm looking for. Spelljammer is just cringe turned up to 11.
Mod Note:

If you’re going to threadcrap:

1) at least be accurate- the Giff are anthropomorphic hippos, not walruses.

2) don’t threadcrap.

BONUS: in general, it’s unwise to engage in behavior that will draw attention from the site’s moderation staff with a provocative profile avatar- in this case, Jesus flipping the bird. Please replace it with something less divisive ASAP.
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
Comparatively it costs more for inferior product.

Why pay more money for a watered down echo?

Did you ever buy any of the Marvel MCU movies? Why pay the money for a watered down echo of the comics?

Maybe because, for many people, they had never read the comics and therefore it wasn't a watered down echo, but actually a first time seeing the story.

And again, I can sell you a setting for millions, or you could find a setting for free. Does the price tag really indicate the quality of the setting? Do we have price guide for settings that tells us that if you are paying a dollar for every 5 pages you have spent too much money?
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
We'll see, I guess. I'm only one data point, but I pre-ordered Spelljammer and got it on release day. Given planescape is going to also use the three-book format, I've learnt from my experience with Spelljammer and I'm definitely not going to be buying that one before the reviews (and page counts...) come through.

Did you see @Zardnaar 's response? They pre-ordered and then rushed to cancel their order based on bad reviews. But... who is giving these bad reviews? Most of them are people who are saber-rattling about how it isn't as much as the entire library of material they had from 2e. I'm aware of one or two people who didn't like this who don't know 2e, but they certainly aren't the majority of detractors.

And Planescape is ALREADY getting declared as being a terrible release and mishandling of the product, not because anyone has seen it, but because OF COURSE WoTC is going to ruin it like they have ruined everything they've touched. So, how accurate are these reviews going to be?

And for the people who aren't online, who just bought this box set at Wal-Mart (saw them on the shelves last night) and enjoyed it, if they see the box set for Planescape and buy it... doesn't that prove the products were good? If they take their experience with this spelljammer material and say "I want more like this" isn't that proving the point wrong that this setting material is worthless?
 

Incenjucar

Legend
The MCU, like the X-Men movies and Spider-Man movies and the DCU, is a watered-down echo.

The fact that some people have only ever had well done cube steak with ketchup doesn't mean the medium rare filet mignon isn't the tastier treat.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Well, no. It takes a while for production style to shift. They'll likely release one or two more crappy settings before they shift gears.

Ah, so if it sells well and the next product sells well and the next product sells well, then it doesn't prove you wrong because by then they will have released OD&D and that will be why the other things are selling well, not because you are wrong.

Convenient.

I just talked to 1000 guys at the beach and they all agree with me. Now it's 1001 vs. 10. Where does that leave us now? Making up numbers I imagine. Just admit that it's something you don't need that much and leave others to speak for themselves. They don't need you to be putting words in their mouths.

Wow, you met a thousand dungeon masters at the beach, and they all put up with your questions? All in the span of a half an hour, in December!

Oh, wait, no. You are just lying, Mr. I'm always honest and say what I mean. You didn't talk to those people. Meanwhile, I was recounting and counting the other Dungeon Masters I've played with in recent years, and recently enough that I know how they prepped. And they don't waste their time on forums, so they can't speak for themselves, and I don't think it is appropriate Internet decorum to just list other people by real and user name.

It's the only version. What they gave us in 5e is 10 pages of setting stuff. That's not enough to be a Spelljammer setting.


And really, this should be the end of the discussion. You can't even acknowledge that 5e has a version of spelljammer, because the only spelljammer is 2e spelljammer. So you refuse to let your biases sit to the side.


You assumed that I wanted 100% to be included in a released setting. I said it provided .01% of what I need and that's all I said and meant. I'm not responsible for your assumptions.

Lies by omission are still lies. Presenting your information in a way to invite misunderstandings is your responsibility.

Never said or implied that. Go back and re-read.

Sure, not all of them, just some of them. But how many? Two? Five? Twenty? How many bespoke ships with bespoke quarters laid out would be enough to make it the "real" spelljammer?


Go back and re-read it.

Sure. They're going to ignore the guy who knows just about everything and go ask some other barkeep. :rolleyes:

He doesn't know just about everything. He just knows a lot.

Sure. Send them to a temple that knows less about their religion than the beholder. Makes me wonder, though, why you're sending them anywhere at all. It's their job to tell you where they go, not for you to send them places.

Who says the High Priest of Moradin knows less about Moradin's holy artifact? Oh, right, YOU are saying that. So YOU are making him more important. Like I said.

And, yes, you do send them. You send them when they ask "Hey, where can we learn more about this" or "Can I ask around and see who might know more" and I say "Well, there is the Temple of Moradin". I'm sending them in that direction, because they asked and they were able to figure out that is where the info is.

Not according to the response you gave, because that response is wrong. If you truly did understand, then you'd have known that one Beholder with one eye ray couldn't possibly do it alone.

Re-read what I said, I didn't say or imply that.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Ah, so if it sells well and the next product sells well and the next product sells well, then it doesn't prove you wrong because by then they will have released OD&D and that will be why the other things are selling well, not because you are wrong.

Convenient.
Not really. Convenience would be a good product next time.
Wow, you met a thousand dungeon masters at the beach, and they all put up with your questions? All in the span of a half an hour, in December!

Oh, wait, no. You are just lying, Mr. I'm always honest and say what I mean. You didn't talk to those people. Meanwhile, I was recounting and counting the other Dungeon Masters I've played with in recent years, and recently enough that I know how they prepped. And they don't waste their time on forums, so they can't speak for themselves, and I don't think it is appropriate Internet decorum to just list other people by real and user name.
🤦‍♂️
He doesn't know just about everything. He just knows a lot.
Like pretty much everything, including that the multiverse exists in D&D.
Who says the High Priest of Moradin knows less about Moradin's holy artifact? Oh, right, YOU are saying that. So YOU are making him more important. Like I said.
Luigi knows everything. Clerics, even high priests, don't.
And, yes, you do send them. You send them when they ask "Hey, where can we learn more about this" or "Can I ask around and see who might know more" and I say "Well, there is the Temple of Moradin". I'm sending them in that direction, because they asked and they were able to figure out that is where the info is.
I don't send them places because that's not my job. If they inquire around they will generally discover multiple possible avenues to the information. I don't railroad my players by only giving them one option.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The setting was referenced implicitly, with a 2+ page section at the end mentioning the gods and titans. While flavorful, it was inadequate to detail the setting itself. This sounds very similar to what people describe how the setting is detailed in the current Spelljammer product.

Inadequate to detail the setting itself, but were people calling them bad products?

Then I submit that is a failure of the published setting. Wherever there are collections of people there will be interrelationships and trade, hostile or otherwise. Even Traveller and Lancer, games set ostensibly in our galaxy, have worlds at great distance affecting others, chart trade routes, culture clash/shock, &c.

Would there?

Our own world had large collections of people. Yet, even though the Greeks and the Iberans lived during the same time history can only determine they were vaguely aware of each other. Greek history is taught and mostly complete without them being referenced. Even by the time the Vikings could mostly safely sail and travel, they didn't reach the Horn of Africa, or encounter the people of Mesoamerica. And none of these groups were aware of the Chinese.

Remember, Spelljamming isn't anywhere close to safe. This isn't even as safe as the Age of Sail, though the tech is closer, because the "sea monsters" are real. So, could you really establish major trade routes between Crystal Spheres? Even if you could, what would you trade? Gold, Iron, Salt? Many of the planets with advanced civilizations capable of trade have those things, otherwise they couldn't have Spelljammers.

Interrelationships and Trade require more than the possibility of some explorers to reach out and find another culture, but for trade routes and established connections. And even if they do, what do we say? What planets and spheres are so important that we must talk about their relationships? And, as I said before, in Spelljamer, planets are the equivalent of towns. You go, you visit, and then you leave. Do we expect settings to detail "wars" between town militias? Sure, these conflicts are bigger than that, but in the context of the infinite space of the Astral Sea... they are minor. They aren't going to reshape how the players interact with the setting, they aren't going to risk the destruction of the Astral Sea.

I'm not saying such details wouldn't be nice, they would, but they aren't vital for the functioning of the setting like they would be in other settings.

Not necessarily. For this point I was thinking of the Bajau, a nomadic sea people. Also, if I was tracking the expansion of the Polynesian peoples, that would cover many tiny to moderately sized islands dispersed in the South Pacific.

Even so, I understand your point of focusing where the people and points of interest are. Those should be presented with an appropriate amount of detail, including interrelationships. My understanding is that this wasn't done, and was present in the previous presentation.

But this is where the point is. There are infinite places where people are, and infinite points of interest. So which ones do you detail?

Like, it isn't even a matter that they didn't detail the Astral Elven Empire of Xaryxis, but that the sidebar in the other book makes it clear that this is just one Astral Elven Empire of many Astral Elven Empires. Which ones do you detail? Do you detail the Dwarven Empires or the Giff Empires? Both exist, which one do you detail?

Do you talk about the floating body of a dead god? Which one? There are hundreds at a minimum. An asteroid containing a demonic artifact? There are a lot of those.

Detailing these places and interelating them would do one of two things. It would either be mostly random, because none of them are more important than the other, or it would constrain the setting. Now, there could be an argument that an infinite setting is hard to use, just like a blank canvass, but many of the people complaining are doing exactly what you said. They wanted the book to give them the same info they had in 2e. They want to know that this race controls this planet and is at war with this other race who controls this other planet. But that conflict doesn't really matter for the setting. It'd be a fun little place to go if you want to participate in a space war, but the more important part is wanting to participate in a space war, and the setting provides enough to make your own.

You are missing part of the point of a purchased setting. When you are buying a setting you are looking for inspiration and time savings. If you are presented with "a setting in less than a paragraph that would be plenty for people to run a game in that setting" you don't have a lot of time savings, do you? There is no reason why Spelljammer should or is better by having a paucity of detail when compared to other settings.

All that said, for those who purchased the product and are happy with it, then it's all good. I don't believe that Spelljammer sales are particularly supportive for the format. The community judgement comes with the next supplement that uses the same format, which I believe is going to be Planescape. We'll see how that does. Personally, I love planar adventuring so I am planning on picking that one up. (The only 5e purchase I'll make beyond the core three.) I'll present my feedback then on my purchase.

Where I disagree with that is that I don't believe that spending money on a setting changes the quality of the setting. That is like saying that just because I sell you a Porsche for a dollar it is a cheap junker. Or that if I sell you a rusted frame for a million and a half, that it is a formula-one car.

Now, maybe this isn't saving people enough time. That is potentially a fair argument. But it is saving a lot of time. And there is plenty of inspiration here. I just feel like people need to be open to the inspiration that is here, instead of pining for 2e.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The MCU, like the X-Men movies and Spider-Man movies and the DCU, is a watered-down echo.

The fact that some people have only ever had well done cube steak with ketchup doesn't mean the medium rare filet mignon isn't the tastier treat.

It also doesn't mean that a good cube steak with a good ketchup isn't good food.
 


Inadequate to detail the setting itself, but were people calling them bad products?
Not at all, it was an excellent monster book and an excellent magic book.

They were not, nor were claimed to be, setting books. That came later.

But this is where the point is. There are infinite places where people are, and infinite points of interest. So which ones do you detail?
You amaze me.

I'm glad you enjoy it. Be well.
 

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