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D&D General Is Spelljammer really that bad?


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GreyLord

Legend
I checked the reviews on Amazon and it has more than 70% of reviews at 5 stars (from 2200)
So, doesn't seem that bad.

I had a look at Tasha's, and it has over 20,000 reviews and not a single review was under 3 stars.

This game has 80% or 4 stars. It has 70% at 5 stars (currently, on this listing. Ratings can change which is why I caveat currently).

Pool of Radiance

It is considered one of the worst games ever released. Unpatched (saying you can even patch it, sometimes you can't) it will UNINSTALL YOUR OS if you had WinXP on it when you try to uninstall the game.

Unless something is 5 stars, or at least 4.5 stars...I'd be pretty iffy on Amazon ratings. If it has 3.5 stars, that's when you start wondering...errrr..maybe we better be careful.

Of course, Spelljammer is currently rated 4.4 stars so a pretty safe bet overall that you won't get ripped off.

BUT...on Amazon...if you ever have something less than 4 stars I'd say that's where you get to the point of buyer beware.

Amazon ratings are weird these days. The rating is more of a 1 Star scale where you go from 4.0 to 5.0 as your rating. Anything below a 4 star rating...wow...you are taking your chances.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yeah, you disagree, but you have yet to demonstrate anything except "2e had more!!!". Which doesn't mean that this is insufficient.
8 pages of setting material for SPELLJAMMER, 6 of which is The Rock of Bral means that it's insufficient.
Then every setting is incomplete, because no setting has a complete gazeteer about EVERYTHING. It is an impossible standard. And frankly, not one that I have ever heard before.
The 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting was very good for a setting book. You can measure up the 8 pages of Spelljammer material to that book to see if Spelljammer is sufficient.
Wow... really? "Each of the walls of Minas Tirith" cover seven different locations? Did a quick google, seems each wall is not unique and special. Also, are the walls of a city really a different location than the city itself? Is the gate in the walls a different location than the walls?
Um, yes locations inside a city are different from the city as a whole. That's the point.
That'd be like the writer of the Rock of Bral information saying that they had two locations, Elmandar's Star Charts, the business, and Elmandar's Bathroom inside of Elmandar's Star charts.
No. It would be like the Rock of Bral saying it had Starhaven, Andru's palace as a separate location. Oh, wait. That's on page 60 of the 5e setting book. It's part of the 8 pages of setting material.

I'm deleting the rest of your responses regarding the Gondor locations since they amount to more of the same, "An area can't have smaller locations." when everyone knows that they can and do.
 
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The setting is very, very sparse. Too sparse. 5e gave me 6 pages on the Rock of Bral. 2e gave me 85 pages on it.

Sorry to go all the way back to your first post, but when you say 2E had 85 pgs on The Rock of Bral, are you talking about the original Campaign setting box set? I thought that only had a 3 page appendix on The Rock of Bral?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sorry to go all the way back to your first post, but when you say 2E had 85 pgs on The Rock of Bral, are you talking about the original Campaign setting box set? I thought that only had a 3 page appendix on The Rock of Bral?
2e and 3e did settings right. First they put out a decent comprehensive setting and then later more detailed sections of the settings. The section on the rock in the first setting product wasn't much to go on, either.
 

delericho

Legend
2e and 3e did settings right. First they put out a decent comprehensive setting and then later more detailed sections of the settings. The section on the rock in the first setting product wasn't much to go on, either.
Even 4e and 5e, with their much stripped-back setting support, have done good settings. 4e's "Eberron Campaign Guide" and 5e's "Rising from the Last War" are both very good one-book takes on the setting. Likewise, 4e's "Dark Sun Campaign Setting" and 5e's "Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft", despite having significant changes to the setting that are very much not to some people's tastes, are well done books.

I can't comment on the quality of 5e's Spelljammer - both the changes to the setting and the combination of the increased price point and reduced page count meant that I was never going to buy. But everything I've heard since leads me to think I dodged a bullet.
 

Ondath

Hero
Well, so far, from the very limited anecdotes in this thread, those who actually played it and used it, enjoyed it.

Has anyone run this and not enjoyed it? That, to me, would be the strongest condemnation. "It doesn't have X" is not a condemnation. If you want X, add it. It's not like it's all that hard. You can use the published 2e stuff, outside of mechanics, as is. You don't even have to do conversions.

Did pick up a really cool random world generator from Reddit. Will have to go poke around my hard drive when I get home and I'll post it here.
My 2 cents:

I wasn't born when the original Spelljammer came out, but I read the 2E books a few years ago. My current campaign has a heavily-homebrewed version of the Spelljammer cosmology, where I combined it with Magic the Gathering-type planeswalkers.

I was very interested in the book before the came out. Then I read it. There are some useful rules stuff, but most of them give very vague ideas (how big air envelopes are etc.) that 1) already existed in the 2E books, sometimes with the same wording, 2) I could've come up with them using common sense. They completely axed any complex rules about space travel, and ships have a warp speed that is the same for all ships (so ship quality never affects travel times) and a regular speed - about which there are no rules.

Seriously, the ship stat blocks are so barebones, and more importantly, the ships in Spelljammer are not compatible with previous ship rules. I expected them to use the seafaring rules in Ghosts of Saltmarsh as a base, but ideas in GoS are abandoned. No other ship combat rules are used. It was so bad that I needed to get my hands on homebrew ship combat rules to have any use of the ship combat side of a setting about spaceships (I got the Captains & Cannons supplement, in case anyone else would be interested in such rules).

Worldbuilding-wise, I didn't use anything from the book since the ideas in Xaryxis or the 5E Rock of Bral did not interest me, but that's on me. Nevertheless, there is clearly far less lore than earlier books and even similar 5E books. We have very few wildspace system descriptions, while the 2E book had rules on designing an entire solar system from scratch. As others said, there's no mention of how religion works between different wildspaces, even though that could be an interesting conceptual space.

As for the monsters, I think the list is SHOCKINGLY small. More importantly, WotC's decision to stop making content for high-level games really hurt the book's usefulness to me. My party was level 13-14 around the time they went to space, with a lot of powerful magic items and NPC sidekicks with them. As a result, I need a lot of high CR monsters to challenge them. Most of the monsters are in CR 3-9 range, so they weren't that useful to me, and the ones that I did use actually came from the D&D Beyond Web Supplement and not the book itself.

All in all, I ended up not using the book as much as I wanted. I needed to homebrew 90% of the Spelljammer content for my game, and the remaining 10% I probably could've gotten from delving deeper into the 2E books.
 

WotC's decision to stop making content for high-level games really hurt the book's usefulness to me. My party was level 13-14 around the time they went to space, with a lot of powerful magic items and NPC sidekicks with them. As a result, I need a lot of high CR monsters to challenge them. Most of the monsters are in CR 3-9 range, so they weren't that useful to me, (snip)
Yeah, our tables PCS are around the same level range as yours and I plan on doing a Spelljammer stint. Given this and other comments I will not be purchasing 5e's Spelljammer. I'd rather convert 2e material to be honest.
 

M_Natas

Hero
So, the Spelljammer Boxed set is a mixed bag.
1. The adventure is good. The format they picked is very easy to run with minimal prep. I like that.

2. The Monster book is fine and usable.

3. The Astral Adventurer’s Guide is lacking from a DMs perspective. For Players the ships and new species are fine.
For DMs?
There is not a lot to use. How do I build my own spelljammer systems? How do I build adventures in spelljammer? Is ship combat really so dull and boring (if you start at 1000 feet distance, you need at least 10 rounds before people can use anything else than the shipboard weapons, which don't do enough damage to change anything).
My expectations were something similiar to Van Richtens Guide to Ravenloft. A freaking book that gives me a lot of examples on what to build. With Ravenloft I know now how to build a freaking domain of dread and have dozens of ideas.
With the 5e boxed set? Nothing. Two example systems without any details that sre not even jn the DM book but in the adventure.
I had to go to 2e to actually get an Idea on how to use spelljammer as DM. How to create systems and adventures in Spelljammer.
Very simple things are missing, like how long are traveltimes in the Astral Sea? How long does it take to start from a planet? What planet types are there?

When spelljammer came out, I wanted to write a short intro adventure for the DMs Guild in German (my native language). What I ended up with was a 50 page supplement with all the rules that were missing in my opinion from the 5e set - like system and planet creation rules, adventure creation tables and guidelines, more advanced ship combat and travel rules, hazards in space, magic items (like a low grade Spelljamming helm) and spells. And additionally an intro adventure that starts in space.
And what is crazy ... it is now not only the only German product for Spelljammer on the DMs Guild, it seems to be the only German spelljammer product ever (until they translate the boxes, which will probably again take forever).
 

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