D&D General Is Spelljammer really that bad?


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If you're willing to shell out the big bucks, you can get a complete 5E setting like Ptolus!

Ironically, as someone who DID shell out the big bucks for the Ptolus hardback (i needed something to read in lockdown!) and who has been criticising Spelljammer on here for lacking meat, Ptolus went too far the other way for me. Too dense, every corner too obsessively detailed, too prescriptive, too much 'canon', if you like.
 



Hussar

Legend
My main takeaway from the thread: yes, Spelljammer is exactly as bad, or as good, as you think it is.
Like a lot of things, it's probably not as good as some people think it is, but, also, probably not as bad as others are claiming. And, honestly, it's really hard to tell sometimes. Horde of the Dragon Queen got absolutely roasted as a module for years. Heck, I think someone in this thread mentioned how bad a module it is.

Yet, it's been rereleased again, and consistently is one of hte best selling non-core 5e books, meaning that it's probably one of the best selling modules of all time. As in somewhere in the same range as Against the Giants and other classic modules.

So, is it terrible or not? Well ... that's not a straightforward answer.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
So you've claimed.

And yet you haven't responded to a single one of them, except to point out that "2e had a different version of Luigi".

So, since you seem incapable of actually refuting my points, why should I assume my points are incorrect? Just because someone else wrote a bigger book? A Haiku is still a poem, even though the Odyssey exists. So a setting can still be a setting that is put together and useful even in the face of some previous version having more pages written about it.

No. I have not said it can't be run. I've said it isn't enough to be worthwhile as a setting and would be a crapton of work for me to run it. I would literally have to create 99.99% of the setting.

Really? 99.99%? Even if I assume monsters are only 20% of a setting, are you really trying to claim that between the Monster Manual, Boo's Menagerie, and the Monsters of the Multiverse you STILL don't have enough monsters to cover that 20%?

Even with the write up of the Astral Elves, the story of the Gith (from Volos and Multiverse), the Hadozee, the Plasmoids, the Giff, The Thri-kreen (Monster Manual and Astral and Boo's) the tieflings, aasimar... I mean I could list races forever, and you still feel like you only have a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the available races?

You have over 14 example captains, multiple locations in a single city, and multiple plots and challenges, yet you don't even have 1% of a campaign?

I'm not saying there isn't work to be done, you need to figure out a handful of extra NPCs, but other than that? This setting is good to run multiple campaigns in.

No. It's a gate. If it was a door, it would have been called a door.

Right, and a throne shares nothing in common with a chair. Stop being facetious

It does. Did you not read the book or watch the movies?

It was the pool of water Gollum was swimming in when he got caught. I'm sure adventurers from all over Middle-Earth flock to see that pool Gollum was swimming in that one time he got caught, it is practically a national monument, everyone knows about it and it is highly important. It isn't like Gollum being caught hiding in a bush wouldn't have had the exact same outcome for the story.

Oh... wait... it absolutely would have, because the pool of water at the base of the waterfall wasn't notable or special at all. What mattered was Gollum getting caught. It is like claiming the corner of the Prancing Pony is particularly notable, because that's the corner Strider was sitting in.

Lore =/= setting. For example, the descriptions of monsters is not setting, yet it's a large part of the lore. The preferred tactics of monsters is another chunk of lore that is not setting. Only a small fraction of the lore write-up is setting.

So, setting is just what you say it is? And since you claim it doesn't exist and isn't part of the setting, it isn't?

Here is a fun fact, iron exports aren't setting either. It largely doesn't matter if a country is wealthy from iron exports or wheat exports.

Stating the opposite is not demonstrating the opposite. You've made a claim and I dispute it. This is purely opinion based, so... 🤷‍♂️

And yet, I have provided evidence and examples. Meanwhile, you have just "nu'uh".

So, which of us has a stronger position I wonder?


That's not accurate. They strongly impact the quality of the setting. If you have a setting centered around one thing, ships in space, but have super crappy ships in space mechanics, the setting is going to suffer significantly.

So, if I made a Star Wars game, but uses these ship combat rules, then Star Wars is a bad setting? Bold take.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The DMG isn't a setting.

Correct. Yet it has information that can be useful for settings. Are we supposed to reprint that information in every possible setting book to be able to count that information towards a setting?

If the setting is as bare-bones as 5e SJ is, yes, a tool falls to generate some details falls under my "minimum expectations" bar. If you aren't going to actually put details in the setting (which I think you absolutely should, as that's the whole point of having a setting), then a tool to generate details is the bare minimum that I think ought to be there.

But the things still exist. Whether or not you have a chart that allows you to roll randomly for "Ice planet ruled by Orcs but containing Giant Monsters" doesn't change the fact that an ice planet ruled by orcs but containing giant monsters absolutely exists in Spelljammer.

A massive asteroid hive of Thri-Kreen exists in Spelljammer. This fact doesn't change just because there isn't a random chart with this as an option.

I think that the bare-bones nature of the material was a conscious choice. Because whether or not something exists in an infinite space full of various planets is entirely up to the DM.

I think the gulf between what I expect from a setting and what you expect from a setting is pretty darn wide.

For a setting like Eberron, I'd have different expectations. It depends on what the goals and themes of the setting are. Spelljammer isn't about geo-politics, so a lack of geo-politics doesn't bother me.

How about actually describing some of these kinds of things and their mechanics?

Check the DMG for how to create hazards? Check Tasha's for how to create things like Supernatural Regions or Magical Phenomena.

Would like an Death Storm? Here you go

Necrotic Tempest. Storms infused with the essence of death roil with dark clouds that manifest leering skulls and bone-white lightning. Any creature exposed to the storm that isn’t a construct or an undead must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw at the end of each minute or take 3d6 necrotic damage.

A creature that dies in a necrotic tempest rises as a skeleton or zombie (your choice) 1d10 minutes later.

A necrotic tempest lasts for 1d4 hours and leaves crops withered and wells undrinkable for 1d4 days after its passing.

Sure, the DMG isn't a setting. Tasha's isn't a setting. But magical storms aren't specific to Spelljammer, so again, would you want to reprint this in every single setting because it might be useful? A meteor shower on a spelljammer isn't any different than a trap or hazard on a forest path, We don't have special rules for how a swinging log trap affects a wagon, but if you needed that to happen the DMG has given you a starting point.

Again, I'm not saying that these things wouldn't have been nice. They would have been very nice. But is the setting really non-functional because we didn't get stats for a meteor shower and how it affects a spelljammer?

Again, it seems like what you are willing to accept as sufficient for a setting is pretty minimalistic. I want more. As I've said before, SJ5e isn't terrible, but it's a long way from good, at least to me.

In this instance? Yeah, I can see the value in a minimalist approach. I'd expect more from a different setting. But, what I am challenging here is that the setting lore, the stuff that makes a setting different from a different setting, doesn't seem to be the thing people are complaining about. They are complaining about the mechanics and a lack of random generation tables. Which are nice, but not the setting.

Finding a random planet generator is far easier than fixing a broken setting.

If the meager amount of actual setting material in SJ5e is enough for you to be happy, great! But you are not going to persuade me that it's enough for me, because it really isn't. It's thin. I really expect some setting in my settings, and SJ5e gives me the equivalent of a thin broth instead of a meaty stew.

So what actual setting materials are we missing? There is setting in the SJ5e, I've gone over it a few times. But no one seems to be stepping up and saying "we don't know nearly enough about X, and that is vital to the setting functioning." It is all "we don't have write-ups for random planets" and "the ship mechanics are bad", which to me aren't setting problems.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
And yet you haven't responded to a single one of them, except to point out that "2e had a different version of Luigi".
I've responded to your claims about the Astral Adventures being setting. I've responded to your claims about the Rock being setting. And I've responded to your claims that monsters = setting. Those are your major points. What did I miss?
So, since you seem incapable of actually refuting my points, why should I assume my points are incorrect? Just because someone else wrote a bigger book? A Haiku is still a poem, even though the Odyssey exists. So a setting can still be a setting that is put together and useful even in the face of some previous version having more pages written about it.
Just like the haiku and Odyssey, a movie short and a movie are also "the same." Do you think enough people would pay $30+ to go see a 3 minute movie short to keep the movie industry going? I don't. Substandard amounts of quantity, regardless of quality(and the 10 pages of Spelljammer campaign are not high quality) just don't cut it.
Really? 99.99%? Even if I assume monsters are only 20% of a setting, are you really trying to claim that between the Monster Manual, Boo's Menagerie, and the Monsters of the Multiverse you STILL don't have enough monsters to cover that 20%?
Yes. 99.99% of the Spelljammer setting has to be literally invented by me. To run the rock of Bral I would have to come up with 10-20x more information at a minimum than is provided for me, and that's the ONLY space location given to us. That means that every asteroid, moon, planet other than the primary setting, floating city or quite literally everything I come up with is setting that I have to come up with outside of what is given to me. Same with Astral setting locations. I have to create it 100% of those. Monsters =/= setting, so the MM and MoM aren't part of setting and aren't specifically Spelljammer anyway, so the lore of those creatures is not specifically Spelljammer setting in any case.

So yes, the 8 pages of setting material in the Adventures Guide and the 2(and I'm being generous) pages of monster lore that is actual setting in the Boo's Menagerie amounts to about .01 of what I would be using when it comes to Spelljammer.
You have over 14 example captains, multiple locations in a single city, and multiple plots and challenges, yet you don't even have 1% of a campaign?
Not even close. If you think I have more, your campaigns must be really, really small.

Let's take just 1 of the 14 captains. If he's that important to the campaign, I'd have to add the rest of the crew one by one, giving them names and a personality quirk. Create the officers in great detail. Modify the ship to make it unique, fleshing out each cabin, what goods the ship contains, their equipment, etc. Giving me "a captain" gives me very little of what I would need for just that one ship.

The Rock is woefully incomplete. Let's take Large Luigi's tavern. It gives me no visual, so I have to create that in great detail. It gives me no menu, so I have to create that as well. It gives me no real personality for him, so I have to create that in detail. It gives me no staff for him, so I have to create them with their personalities and quirks. What I'm given is less than 5% of what I would need.

So yes, having to create literally every space or astral location other than the Rock of Brak, detail all of the NPCs they give and that I make, plus detail out every location in the Rock of Bral since they are all substandard means that I'm doing 99.99% of the work on the setting.
Right, and a throne shares nothing in common with a chair. Stop being facetious
Stop tossing out Red Herrings. A gate is not a door. A throne is not a chair. A hill is not a mountain. A pond is not an ocean. A shrub is not a Giant Sequoia. A mackerel is not a shark. Having some similarity does not make something the same.
So, if I made a Star Wars game, but uses these ship combat rules, then Star Wars is a bad setting? Bold take.
Your Star Wars setting would suffer tremendously if you used those combat rules. I would not want to play in it. Your False Equivalence where you equate your personal Star Wars setting being bad for using horrible ship combat rules to all Star Wars settings being bad is..............................pretty bold.
 

For a setting like Eberron, I'd have different expectations. It depends on what the goals and themes of the setting are. Spelljammer isn't about geo-politics, so a lack of geo-politics doesn't bother me.
If the SJ setting book has notably lower page count, or at least setting information than another setting book, that should be an issue. If you need other books to make a setting come alive, that's another issue. If a major factor of Eberron is geo-politics and that gets 80 pages*, I expect the main "hook" of SJ to receive 80 pages in turn. New monsters, classes, races, magic items, &c. are certainly excellent details that can highlight the theme of the setting. But, I wouldn't consider that "setting"; we've had that style of setting reveal with the Scarred Lands, and that was woefully insufficient until proper setting books came out. An excellent tease, certainly, but I don't think we're getting more SJ books.

It's sounding like complaints about planar details from another thread. "The Plane of Fire is boring because all we know about is the City of Brass." When you have a page or two at most about a realm with vastly different physics, you have little space to explain themes and illustrate locales. I can only presume there was much more space available in this resource for tall ships in space.

Something I am currently musing about is how much is in the book knowing that there are the old materials available. Was there an assumption that the setting need only be introduced and given enough rules? Then, if the purchaser is sufficiently interested they can peruse the back catalog for further information and ideas?

* A number for illustrative purposes only.
 

If the SJ setting book has notably lower page count, or at least setting information than another setting book, that should be an issue. If you need other books to make a setting come alive, that's another issue.

Something I am currently musing about is how much is in the book knowing that there are the old materials available. Was there an assumption that the setting need only be introduced and given enough rules? Then, if the purchaser is sufficiently interested they can peruse the back catalog for further information and ideas?

Personally I prefer to compare the current setting books to the original box set.

The current 5E book set has 3 x 64 pgs
The original 2E box set was 2 x 96 pgs + handouts

So it has the exact same page count as the original campaign setting (not counting the handouts).

I think the expectation to use the older material as mentioned in your last point is more an understanding that the fans of the original 2E will already have their old books still anyway, but selling some old stuff to new fans would certainly be on the agenda too.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I've responded to your claims about the Astral Adventures being setting. I've responded to your claims about the Rock being setting. And I've responded to your claims that monsters = setting. Those are your major points. What did I miss?

Saying something other than "nuh uh, 2e was bigger and better!"

Why have you said the Rock isn't enough? Because 2e had more.
Why isn't the lore from monsters part of the setting... I don't have a clue, you just claim it isn't with no explanation as to why.
Why isn't Spelljammer 5e (all three books) a setting? Because according to you one of those books only has 8 pages and that isn't enough... despite the fact that I've pointed out you can have an entire setting in less than a paragraph, so why 8 pages cannot be a setting makes no sense.

Just like the haiku and Odyssey, a movie short and a movie are also "the same." Do you think enough people would pay $30+ to go see a 3 minute movie short to keep the movie industry going? I don't. Substandard amounts of quantity, regardless of quality(and the 10 pages of Spelljammer campaign are not high quality) just don't cut it.

I'm confused, do settings only exist if $30 dollars are paid? What does money have to do with the existence of a setting? I've dealt with multiple settings that I've gotten for free, are they suddenly not settings?

Also, who cares about the industry? Do settings only exist in that they perpetuate an industry? Does the setting of Ancient Mythological Japan not exist unless it is perpetuating the existence of the anime industry?

These aren't arguments about setting. This is like claiming The Titanic is a terrible movie because you hate popcorn, and can they really get away with overcharging for butter like that?

Yes. 99.99% of the Spelljammer setting has to be literally invented by me. To run the rock of Bral I would have to come up with 10-20x more information at a minimum than is provided for me, and that's the ONLY space location given to us.

Like what? I can run it with like... five NPCs. Maybe. What is the 20 times information that you absolutely need to run the Rock of Bral?

That means that every asteroid, moon, planet other than the primary setting, floating city or quite literally everything I come up with is setting that I have to come up with outside of what is given to me.

Sure, but you have to come up with a bunch of locations normally anyways, right? You don't only run the exact locations listed on a setting map, you make other locations. And it isn't hard to make locations like this. It is trivial.

Same with Astral setting locations. I have to create it 100% of those. Monsters =/= setting, so the MM and MoM aren't part of setting and aren't specifically Spelljammer anyway, so the lore of those creatures is not specifically Spelljammer setting in any case.

Please tell me more about how the Githyanki who live in the Astral Sea aren't part of Spelljammer, which takes place largely in the Astral Sea. Bet you could use that Githyankie city that is in the various books too. You know, the one that is a dead god (a thing mentioned in the spelljammer book) floating in the Astral sea? There is a reason that they included additional githyanki statblocks after all, probably has something to do with the Githyanki famously being a big part of the Astral Sea.

Also, Mind Flayers are in Spelljammer, they even specifically call one out, and Mind Flayer lore has them as interdimensional travelers which controlled multiple worlds... ya know, kind of like how Spelljammer allows the Mind Flayer ships to travel between different dimensions and different worlds. How does this not match up again?

And the Astral Dreadnaught, which is specifically in the Astral Sea, which is specifically where Spelljammer is taking place...

This isn't even looking by the way, this is just off the top of my head. I'd bet the Thri-kreen lore fits too.

So yes, the 8 pages of setting material in the Adventures Guide and the 2(and I'm being generous) pages of monster lore that is actual setting in the Boo's Menagerie amounts to about .01 of what I would be using when it comes to Spelljammer.

If you need 1,000 pages for a setting, then you are likely constantly disappointed.

Also, you are never going to be getting a single setting book that is 1,000 pages.


Not even close. If you think I have more, your campaigns must be really, really small.

Let's take just 1 of the 14 captains. If he's that important to the campaign, I'd have to add the rest of the crew one by one, giving them names and a personality quirk. Create the officers in great detail.

Why? The players are most likely never going to talk to them and will just kill them. If they are going to talk to any of them, you will likely only need about 3 or 4 of them, likely the officers.


Modify the ship to make it unique, fleshing out each cabin, what goods the ship contains, their equipment, etc. Giving me "a captain" gives me very little of what I would need for just that one ship.

They have the standard equipment for their statblocks, why are we assuming unique equipment for every crew member? You may want like two or three special items if you want the officers and the captain to be unique, but that's the work of 3 minutes.

Why do you need to "flesh out" the cabins? They are already all labeled, and unless you feel the need to compulsively fill each one with multiple unique items, they don't need much fleshing out. The brig is a holding cell. Don't need more than that.

The goods would be determined by the plot you came up with, so that's done in the writing of the adventure.

The Rock is woefully incomplete. Let's take Large Luigi's tavern. It gives me no visual, so I have to create that in great detail.

It is a tavern. Why do you need great detail? Also, if you really need "great detail" there is a picture of it.

It gives me no menu, so I have to create that as well.

Why? It's fun to have a menu, but not needed. Also, here's like... a dozen random tavern menu generators


It gives me no real personality for him, so I have to create that in detail.

Civic minded, encyclopedic knowledge, runs a bar called "The Happy Beholder" and is a beholder. Picture shows him as jolly and fat and says he is delighted to meet new patrons.

How much more personality detail do you need to run this guy? It even gives you your favorite short-hand tool, alignment! You know, that thing you always say gives you everything you need to run an NPC.

It gives me no staff for him, so I have to create them with their personalities and quirks.

Who says he has staff? Maybe he doesn't.

What I'm given is less than 5% of what I would need.

Hardly. Most of the stuff you claim to need is "highly detailed" NPCs and set dressing like menus.

Stop tossing out Red Herrings. A gate is not a door. A throne is not a chair. A hill is not a mountain. A pond is not an ocean. A shrub is not a Giant Sequoia. A mackerel is not a shark. Having some similarity does not make something the same.

You are right, having a similarity doesn't make it the same. But it does make it analogous. Sort of how like, a country (Gondor) isn't a city (The Rock of Bral) but that didn't stop you from agreeing to comparing the two when you thought you could pull one over on me by puffing up a list of names.

And please, tell me why a throne is not a chair, I'd love to hear this one.

I'd also love to see why you suddenly clammed up about the "Pool of Secrets" or whatever it was called when I demonstrated that, in fact, I did know what it was.

Your Star Wars setting would suffer tremendously if you used those combat rules. I would not want to play in it. Your False Equivalence where you equate your personal Star Wars setting being bad for using horrible ship combat rules to all Star Wars settings being bad is..............................pretty bold.

Huh, so... Star Wars as a setting wouldn't be bad, if I was using bad rules to run the setting. Only the version using the rules would suffer.

It is, it is almost like... the rules... don't effect the setting. They effect the rules. So if these ship combat rules can't make Star Wars a bad setting, only instead making the game I am running using those rules suffer from bad rules.... then how do these rules make this setting bad? Because, ya know, if you change the rules and nothing else... then you've fixed the problem without touching a single piece of setting information.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
If the SJ setting book has notably lower page count, or at least setting information than another setting book, that should be an issue.

Why? What about a setting book requires some minimum number of pages?

If you need other books to make a setting come alive, that's another issue.

But that isn't an issue for the other setting books. I'm not proposing using any material people haven't used for other settings. I'm just pointing out that, for example, while the SCAG didn't details desert storms or blizzards for the Forgotten Realms, everyone was willing to accept that that information was in the DMG, and so it wasn't needed in the SCAG.

But saying that for Spelljammer is wrong? Forgotten Realms didn't detail giants explicitly in the SCAG, but that wasn't a problem. But the Spelljammer book relying on the MM for Mind Flayers and Githyanki is?

If a major factor of Eberron is geo-politics and that gets 80 pages*, I expect the main "hook" of SJ to receive 80 pages in turn.

Why? If the concept doesn't require 80 pages to convey, why use 80 pages?

It's sounding like complaints about planar details from another thread. "The Plane of Fire is boring because all we know about is the City of Brass." When you have a page or two at most about a realm with vastly different physics, you have little space to explain themes and illustrate locales. I can only presume there was much more space available in this resource for tall ships in space.

The question isn't "could there have been more?" That is obvious, of course there could have been more. The question is, "Is more neccessary, or is what was provided enough?"

And I find it very telling that @Older Beholder points out that these three books are almost the exact same amount of material as the original 2e boxed set. Plus there was the freely released material online. Sure, we might not get more material (in fact, with all the negative chatter, it is more likely we won't, because they will see it as a failed product) but the lack of future releases shouldn't change what is currently in front of us.

Something I am currently musing about is how much is in the book knowing that there are the old materials available. Was there an assumption that the setting need only be introduced and given enough rules? Then, if the purchaser is sufficiently interested they can peruse the back catalog for further information and ideas?

Very likely.

Also, again, the book explicitly calls out referencing an adventure around Moby Dick and side-eyes running a Robinson Crusoe. The idea that people are going to have no idea what to run in a setting that is a mix of sci-fi and age of sail stories is nearly laughable. Dune, Riddick, The Expanse, Star Trek, Treasure Island, Dead Space, Treasure Planet, Gulliver's Travels, Peter Pan, Blackbeard, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars. These are all possible inspirations for campaigns that fit the vibe of the setting.

There are massive amounts of resources to be mined for planets and locations
 

Also, again, the book explicitly calls out referencing an adventure around Moby Dick and side-eyes running a Robinson Crusoe. The idea that people are going to have no idea what to run in a setting that is a mix of sci-fi and age of sail stories is nearly laughable. Dune, Riddick, The Expanse, Star Trek, Treasure Island, Dead Space, Treasure Planet, Gulliver's Travels, Peter Pan, Blackbeard, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars. These are all possible inspirations for campaigns that fit the vibe of the setting.

There are massive amounts of resources to be mined for planets and locations
Conversely, the Ravenloft book does quite the exploration of different horror genres and ideas about how to run them, and describes domains and the sort of horror stories they can tell. By your argument, all of that was unnecessary. There's literally tens of thousands of horror movies out there that could be used for inspiration, a body of horror literature reaching back at least a century and a half, and a body of horror myth and legend going way back further than that. You could make the same argument with any conventional campaign setting too, there's entire libraries of fantasy novels out there, quite aside from movies and TV. Does the mere existence and availability of reference or inspirational material in other media make old-style campaign settings largely obsolete to you?
 

Hussar

Legend
Conversely, the Ravenloft book does quite the exploration of different horror genres and ideas about how to run them, and describes domains and the sort of horror stories they can tell. By your argument, all of that was unnecessary. There's literally tens of thousands of horror movies out there that could be used for inspiration, a body of horror literature reaching back at least a century and a half, and a body of horror myth and legend going way back further than that. You could make the same argument with any conventional campaign setting too, there's entire libraries of fantasy novels out there, quite aside from movies and TV. Does the mere existence and availability of reference or inspirational material in other media make old-style campaign settings largely obsolete to you?
But, is that comparing apples to apples?

The Ravenloft book is the second 5e dip into the setting. Wouldn't a better comparison be Curse of Strahd? After all, the Van Richten's Guide only comes with a single adventure. They gave us a free adventure for Spelljammer that's of equal length. Van Richten's means that I have to do 100% of the work prepping my campaign on my own. OTOH, with Spelljammer I have an entire campaign ready to go.

Someone running a Ravenloft campaign, pre-Van Richten's would have even less information about running a Ravenloft game (unless you were only going to run Curse of Strahd) than I have to run a Spelljammer game. At least, without dipping into previously published material of course, but, that applies to Spelljammer as well.

I imagine that if Spelljammer does catch on and sells really well, a few years down the line, they'll bang out some sort of Van Richten's style guide for Spelljammer.

Is there less information for Spelljammer than Curse of Strahd plus Van Richten's guide? Well, yes, of course. Half the page count obviously.

Spelljammer is better compared to Dragon Heist, or Curse of Strahd than as a setting guide.
 

Is there less information for Spelljammer than Curse of Strahd plus Van Richten's guide? Well, yes, of course. Half the page count obviously.
Well, it's a bit more than that. 224pp for CoS, 256 for VRGtR vs 192 for Spelljammer all up, so two and a half times more, though I suppose you could add the online level 1-4 spelljammer adventures and DNDBeyond monster document to that, and it comes out roughly twice. But that's not the question, as far as i'm concerned. Spelljammer is trying to be both VRGtR and CoS in the same book, with a significantly smaller page count than either . And fundamentally, that is my problem with Spelljammer. @Chaosmancer and i will probably never agree with each other on this, but that's ok. They're entitled to their opinion.

WotC COULD have done a full-sized product. The precedents are out there. They've already done the Eberron setting with 320-odd pages. Even Strixhaven, which like Spelljammer is really a setting in name only, and is really just a vehicle for a single enclosed adventure, got 30 more pages than Spelljammer did, and that's without the burden of having to spend a chunk of its pagecount on ship deck plans, air envelope and space navigation rules and the like. I honestly don't know why they chose to release something so comparatively small - and probably we'll never know until Ben Riggs is writing his third volume in the D&D history series in 30 years time.

Strixhaven's 224 pages for a setting book is still a bit anaemic for my taste, particularly when a bunch of it is adventure. I still think the chunkier Eberron book is the WotC 5e gold standard. But still, an extra 30 pages of setting material in Spelljammer would have made a VAST difference to the better. Even 20.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Well, it's a bit more than that. 224pp for CoS, 256 for VRGtR vs 192 for Spelljammer all up, so two and a half times more, though I suppose you could add the online level 1-4 spelljammer adventures and DNDBeyond monster document to that, and it comes out roughly twice. But that's not the question, as far as i'm concerned. Spelljammer is trying to be both VRGtR and CoS in the same book, with a significantly smaller page count than either . And fundamentally, that is my problem with Spelljammer. @Chaosmancer and i will probably never agree with each other on this, but that's ok. They're entitled to their opinion.

WotC COULD have done a full-sized product. The precedents are out there. They've already done the Eberron setting with 320-odd pages. Even Strixhaven, which like Spelljammer is really a setting in name only, and is really just a vehicle for a single enclosed adventure, got 30 more pages than Spelljammer did, and that's without the burden of having to spend a chunk of its pagecount on ship deck plans, air envelope and space navigation rules and the like. I honestly don't know why they chose to release something so comparatively small - and probably we'll never know until Ben Riggs is writing his third volume in the D&D history series in 30 years time.

Strixhaven's 224 pages for a setting book is still a bit anaemic for my taste, particularly when a bunch of it is adventure. I still think the chunkier Eberron book is the WotC 5e gold standard. But still, an extra 30 pages of setting material in Spelljammer would have made a VAST difference to the better. Even 20.

Thoughts on Theros/Ravnica?
 

Hussar

Legend
@humble minion. Yes. I largely agree. Spelljammer is a bit thin and could probably really use an extra 50-100 pages. That would have made it an outstanding set. As it is, I give it a passing grade but I’d probably not recommend it to other people. It’s okay for what it is. It’s not the terrible waste that people are calling it but it’s also certainly nothing to write home about.
 



Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Saying something other than "nuh uh, 2e was bigger and better!"

Why have you said the Rock isn't enough? Because 2e had more.
Why isn't the lore from monsters part of the setting... I don't have a clue, you just claim it isn't with no explanation as to why.
Why isn't Spelljammer 5e (all three books) a setting? Because according to you one of those books only has 8 pages and that isn't enough... despite the fact that I've pointed out you can have an entire setting in less than a paragraph, so why 8 pages cannot be a setting makes no sense.
I've given valid responses. Ignoring them and claiming they weren't is pretty hokey.
I'm confused, do settings only exist if $30 dollars are paid? What does money have to do with the existence of a setting? I've dealt with multiple settings that I've gotten for free, are they suddenly not settings?

Also, who cares about the industry? Do settings only exist in that they perpetuate an industry? Does the setting of Ancient Mythological Japan not exist unless it is perpetuating the existence of the anime industry?

These aren't arguments about setting. This is like claiming The Titanic is a terrible movie because you hate popcorn, and can they really get away with overcharging for butter like that?
Holy hell. Are you really that clueless about what I wrote, or is this deliberate?
Sure, but you have to come up with a bunch of locations normally anyways, right? You don't only run the exact locations listed on a setting map, you make other locations. And it isn't hard to make locations like this. It is trivial.
Wait. This is fantastic. You're actually arguing that since I have to make up a few additional locations, that's the same as making up the tons of locations a real setting gives me plus a few additional ones. You're arguing that 5=305.
Please tell me more about how the Githyanki who live in the Astral Sea aren't part of Spelljammer, which takes place largely in the Astral Sea. Bet you could use that Githyankie city that is in the various books too. You know, the one that is a dead god (a thing mentioned in the spelljammer book) floating in the Astral sea? There is a reason that they included additional githyanki statblocks after all, probably has something to do with the Githyanki famously being a big part of the Astral Sea.
Both githyanki and dead gods are part of the default setting, not Spelljammer. The Forgotten Realms doesn't cease to exist just because Spelljammer mentions it(Page 7 of the Light of Xaryxis) and turn into the Spelljammer setting. Similarly the astral plane and those things already known to be in it don't suddenly turn into the Spelljammer setting.
If you need 1,000 pages for a setting, then you are likely constantly disappointed.

Also, you are never going to be getting a single setting book that is 1,000 pages.
Literally nobody said that they needed 1000 pages. :rolleyes:
Why? The players are most likely never going to talk to them and will just kill them. If they are going to talk to any of them, you will likely only need about 3 or 4 of them, likely the officers.
I guess you have players who don't bother to look past the few things you point them at. My players and quite literally every group I've played with in the last 30 years actually talks to normal crew and gets to know them. So I need more than 20 crew members that are all clones of one another.

It's no wonder you think that you don't need more than the 5e Spelljammer setting gives you. You're players aren't going to look for anything outside the tidbits you give.
Why do you need to "flesh out" the cabins? They are already all labeled, and unless you feel the need to compulsively fill each one with multiple unique items, they don't need much fleshing out. The brig is a holding cell. Don't need more than that.
Player: "I go into the cabin on the left. What do I see?"
DM: "Cabin #1"
Player: "What else?"
DM: "Nothing. According to Chaosmancer the label is all you need."
It is a tavern. Why do you need great detail? Also, if you really need "great detail" there is a picture of it.
Sooooo, the picture is just the beginning of what I need. I already told you a large part of the rest, but you conveniently cut it out of your response. Funny that.
Why? It's fun to have a menu, but not needed. Also, here's like... a dozen random tavern menu generators
I've tried random generators. They suck. 🤷‍♂️
Civic minded, encyclopedic knowledge, runs a bar called "The Happy Beholder" and is a beholder. Picture shows him as jolly and fat and says he is delighted to meet new patrons.

How much more personality detail do you need to run this guy? It even gives you your favorite short-hand tool, alignment! You know, that thing you always say gives you everything you need to run an NPC.
So if you know what I always say, then you know that you've just twisted my words to try and score points, failing badly. I've said that alignment is great for monsters. And I've said alignment is great for random minor NPCs that the players suddenly decide to go visit, like a town baker. You also know that I've said that important NPCs like Large Luigi get a lot more treatment from me on their personality and details.
Who says he has staff? Maybe he doesn't.
Right. A large, busy bar(you looked at the picture) only has one guy to cook, clean and serve everyone. :rolleyes:
You are right, having a similarity doesn't make it the same. But it does make it analogous. Sort of how like, a country (Gondor) isn't a city (The Rock of Bral) but that didn't stop you from agreeing to comparing the two when you thought you could pull one over on me by puffing up a list of names.

And please, tell me why a throne is not a chair, I'd love to hear this one.
Because it's a throne. Just because you sit on it doesn't make it a simple chair. When you sit on a rock, does it also become a chair?
I'd also love to see why you suddenly clammed up about the "Pool of Secrets" or whatever it was called when I demonstrated that, in fact, I did know what it was.
Because the entire Gondor Red Herring was just that, a Red Herring. I decided to stop fishing.
Huh, so... Star Wars as a setting wouldn't be bad, if I was using bad rules to run the setting. Only the version using the rules would suffer.
You need to re-read what I said if that's what you got.
 

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