The FormatI know some folks are upset at the three book slipcase and claim that it’s a price increase without being officially called a price increase. I’ll leave that discussion for the comments, but I really like the split between player material, monsters and the adventure. It’s the first time in years I’ve felt that sense of discovery of opening up a Dungeons & Dragons boxed set and deciding what parts I want to digest first. I think there’s still space for the one book setup that’s carried this edition through the past few years, but I wouldn’t mind this approach for future settings.
I Am Immortal, I Have Inside Me Blood Of StarsThere are a lot of player options in this set, from autognomes to the firearm-centric giff, but my favorite one is a background. The astral drifter background makes your character effectively immortal, having spent centuries on the Astral Sea which slows aging to a crawl. There’s a lot of fun to be had playing a character like this, from surprising enemies and allies to having trouble adjusting to “modern” technologies. Both backgrounds also continue a trend that might show one of the revisions in the upcoming core set: they each give out a free feat tied to the background.
The ShipsThe best part of the original boxed set were the cards that detailed the various ships that cruised Wildspace. The Astral Adventurer's Guide details 16 ships of various sizes, giving each a big two-page spread. The first page includes art depicting the ship, its stats and a little bit about any special feature or what crews prefer to sail it. The second page offers the layout in the ship and where the gravity planes are. I know there are going to be a ton of ships out once Spelljammer comes to Dungeon Master’s Guild, but I wouldn’t mind a card collection featuring the art on one side and the deck on the other.
Sail ho!Boo’s Astral Menagerie contains a lot of weird creatures, from murder comets to space clowns. You can see those previewed elsewhere but what caught my eye was the entry in the Astral encounters for ships. Each small crew feels like a story waiting to be told by encountering your players. Why does that ship of vampirates have a priest on board? How did that human captain get a cambion daughter? What is a renegade mind flayer arcanist doing with a ship? All of these are tight little story hooks that might get overlooked otherwise.
A Death StarThis is technically a spoiler for Light of Xaryxis so if you want to stay fresh for your read through, stop reading now.
I mean, technically, it’s a vampire star, but it’s a plot device right out of the Flash Gordon serials that inspired this setting. Not to mention, the players are helping a princess battle an evil empire run by a relative. The adventure wears its inspirations on its sleeve but that’s okay. It makes for a solid selection of movies to watch the night everybody makes characters.
Spelljammer: Adventures In Space released on August 16th in regular and limited edition versions. I highly recommend the limited editions if you can afford them. Hydro74’s art style is the perfect fit for Spelljammer.