Spelljammer Spelljammer: Adventures in Space Review

The new Spelljammer: Adventures in Space is the latest 5E revival of a beloved old setting, and one that has intrigued new D&D fans because it promises swashbuckling fantasy adventures in space. WotC also decided to do something a bit different by releasing it as a three-book slipcase set with a DM screen. Yet Spelljammer presents some unique challenges that other revivals haven't faced, making it a complicated endeavor.
Spelljammer _Book Set_Alt Cover Official.png

What's in the Box, Err, Slipcase?​

As with other recent releases, Spelljammer: Adventures in Space is being sold in two versions: a regular edition for mass market retailers with covers by Bruce Brenneise, Justin Gerard and Ekaterina Bumak, and an alternative cover edition available through game stores featuring cover art by Hydro74. It is also being labeled a “campaign collection” because it has everything a DM needs to run a Spelljammer adventure”. That includes:
  • The Astral Adventurer’s Guide, a source book for players and DMs,
  • Boo’s Astral Menagerie, a bestiary
  • Light of Xaryxis, an adventure
  • A double-sided poster map of The Rock of Bral
  • A four-panel DM screen
Large Luigi.jpg

The Basics​

The 1989 Spelljammer was designed to bring space adventures to D&D fantasy, but Jeff Grubb and the original developers were also tasked to not contradict anything already established about other campaign worlds like Krynn (Dragonlance), Toril (Forgotten Realms), or Greyhawk (Oerth). The team decided to dream big and come up with something wild. The result has touches evocative of space opera, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Jules Verne novels, classic sailing adventures, and pulp science fiction like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Spelljammer also mixed in the Ptolemaic concept of planets being moved by spheres. So what we would call a solar system is contained in an unbreakable crystal sphere in Spelljammer and what is within those spheres is called wildspace. The Dragonlance crystal sphere was known as Krynnspace, the one containing Toril was called Realmspace, etc. The crystal spheres float in a flammable sea known as phlogiston. Portals allow passage from within a crystal sphere to phlogiston and the reverse, but portals don't have a consistent location or availability.

Spelljammer ships could look like classic sailing vessels or designs inspired by insects and sea creatures, or almost anything that can be imagined. Depending upon the design, they might be able to land on the ground or sail in an ocean as well. Spelljammer ships were controlled by a mage or cleric through a magical helm.

In essence, Spelljammer as a setting is a realm between worlds that allows a party to experience all sorts of space fantasy adventures. Yet while the original Spelljammer opened up new dimensions of adventure for D&D players, it also added a level of complication.

While Planescape involves, as the name indicates, different planes of existence, original Spelljammer looked at the D&D cosmos as a series of planets in space and the titular spelljammer ships. That sort of fits together, but not exactly.

With the new edition, project lead Chris Perkins sought to connect Spelljammer cosmology more firmly to the cosmology described in the Dungeon Master's Guide. So instead of crystal spheres bobbing in highly flammable phlogiston it works a bit differently now.

In 5E, the space you see when looking up at the sky from Toril, Krynn, etc. is still called wildspace, but it's not contained in a crystal sphere. With a spelljammer ship you can travel that wildspace and visit other worlds. Travel far enough and when you reach the edge of a wildspace system it becomes silvery and misty. Cross into it, and you're in the “sea” of the Astral Plane. From there you could also travel to other wildspace realms or just explore the astral sea.

Unlike space in our world, wildspace isn't a void. It's a bright, colorful “ocean” filled with weird creatures, like space fish, and mysterious worlds. The astral sea is silvery and more conceptual with dead gods floating in space. You don't need to breathe or eat in astral space whereas Wildspace requires both, the former facilitated by air envelopes.

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What's in It for Players?​

The Character Options chapter contains two new backgrounds and six new player races. The Astral Drifter background is for someone who has spent a significant amount of time in the astral sea. That provides longevity, making them older than they should be without penalty. They also experienced “Divine Contact” while in the astral plane, which grants the cleric version of the magic initiate feat regardless of the character's class. The Wildspacer background is for those who have been asteroid miners, explorers, etc. and grants the Toughness background. Wildspacers have also had a harrowing experience in their past with a creature like a mindflayer, beholder, etc.

The new player races are:
  • Astral Elves
  • Autognomes
  • Giff
  • Hadozee
  • Plasmoids
  • Thri-kreen
As the name indicates, Astral Elves traveled from the Feywild to the Astral Planes to be closer to the gods, spending a long time there. They have the usual abilities, such as darkvision, but Starry Step replaces the Misty Step associated with Fey Elves.

Autognomes are constructs created by Rock Gnomes. Besides some logical abilities due to its mechanical nature, such as immunity to disease, resistance to pain, and no need to eat, it gets the cool ability, Build for Success. After rolling a d20 for an attack, ability check, or saving throw, the Autognome can choose to add a d4 after seeing the result of their roll but before learning if it was successful or not. The Autognome can do this a number of times equal to its proficiency bonus, and regains it after a long rest.

Giff are fan favorites—hippo-like humanoids with a passion for explosives, which grants Firearm Mastery. They also get Hippo Build, which gives advantage on Strength checks, and Astral Spark, which allows them to do extra Force damage. Like Build for Success, it can be used a number of times equal to their proficiency bonus and refresh after a long rest. Note that 50 percent of the Giff pronounce their name with a hard G and 50 percent use a soft G and the Giff may come to blows over that.

Hadozee are simian-like aliens with membranes attached to their wrists and ankles that can be used to glide. Their feet are dexterous and able to function almost like hands. They have a special resilience related to their magical origin that allows them to roll a d6 on a reaction roll, add their proficiency bonus to it and decrease the amount of damage they take. Usage and refresh is like Build for Success and Astral Spark.

Plasmoids are creature type ooze but sentient. They can hold themselves into a humanoid shape to match those around them. They have Amorphous shape abilities as well as Shape Self, and can go an hour without breathing.

Thri-kreen are already in the regular Monster Manual, where they're listed as creature type humanoid. As a playable race they have been switched to creature type monstrosities. Along with Sleepless, and Telepathy, and Secondary Arms, they can change the color of their carapace with Chameleon Carapace, which also includes a base Armor Class of 13 plus Dexterity modifier if they aren't wearing armor.

What we don't get in the Character Options are new classes or subclasses. At first I thought that was odd, but after thinking about, the existing classes/subclasses already have everything you need. Spelljammer is meant to be fantasy swashbuckling in space, not hard science fiction and the classes that might require.

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The Rest of the Astral Adventurer’s Guide

The remainder of the AAG, understandably, focuses on spelljamming itself. That includes rules for speed, falling, etc. and a little bit of magic. AAG only contains two new spells (2nd level Air Bubble and 5th level Create Spelljamming Helm) and three new magic items (Fish Suit, which lets you breathe and move in wildspace outside of a ship, Wildspace Osprey, a sort of galactic compass, and, of course, Spelljamming Helm).

AAG contains 16 spelljammer ships, complete with beautiful color images (by a variety of artists) of the ships in space. The spacedeck plans are by Dyson Logos, so the designs are well done—clear, logical, practical, and imaginative.

Some of the ships carryover from the original Spelljammer while others are brand new. If you're an OG Spelljammer fan and don't think 16 ships are enough, don't worry. It's super simple to grab one of your omitted old favorites and quickly convert for 5E.

Lastly, the AAG provides information on the Rock of Bral. Think of it as a sort of Port Royal or Waterdeep in space. Traditionally in Spelljammer, Bral is a location ships return to regularly for supplies or new jobs—and there you might be Large Luigi, a lawful neutral beholder who owns The Happy Beholder bar.

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Boo’s Astral Menagerie

Do we ever get enough monsters? Of course not. BAM contains 39 monsters/species, but several of them come with a number of variants, bringing the number of stat blocks up to 72. For example, the two dragons, lunar and solar, get four stat blocks each: ancient, adult, young, and wyrmling. Similarly, Giff get a Giff Shipmate, Giff Shock Trooper, and Giff Warlord, and Hadozees get Hadozee Explorer, Hadozee Shipmate, and Hadozee Warrior stat blocks. The included adventure, Light of Xaryxis, also contains one more stat block for Astral Blights.

The variety of creatures have a nice blend of NPC species/rivals, straight-up monsters, and astral creatures like space whale Kindori. The also range from utterly creepy, like the Cosmic Horror to the utterly adorable and well-known Giant Space Hamster.

Speaking of cute, the penguin-like Dohwar (art by Brynn Metheney) are an alternative to the typical merchants your players may encounter. They prefer secretive deals even when the products are completely legal. Appropriately, the collective noun for Dohwars is cartel.

If 72 stat blocks aren't enough for your Spelljammer campaign, and you don't want to use Mordenkainen's Monsters of the Universe, BAM explains how to adapt any terrestrial 5E creature for Spelljammer. Simply add the trait “Unusual Nature”, which means they don't have to breathe, and you're all set.

Flying Fish Ship.jpg

Light of Xaryxis

Not surprisingly the set's adventure is designed to make the players travel through wildspace to Bral, Doomspace, and more, giving them an overview of what Spelljammer as a setting can do. LoX contains four section of three chapters each. The chapters are designed to be to take about 2-3 hours to play, depending upon how much your group sidetracks, of course.

LoX is for characters of 5th-8th level so it fits easily as a follow-up to the original D&D Starter Set, the D&D Essentials Kit, the new D&D Starter Set: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, or any other adventure that gets the players to 5th level. It doesn't really matter what type of campaign you run or what world you use, including homebrew, because LoX starts with Astral Elves from the Xaryxis Empire attacking your starting world to steal its vital energy to prolong the life of their dying sun.

LoX feels like a Flash Gordon or similar space adventure movie serial. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger and the full-page artwork that begins each chapter has its title in big block letter, which is not the usual D&D style or design. There's even a fight in a warlord's arena while trying to build a coalition and an epic fight with an armada.

While it's designed to let players travel, meet people, and build alliances, LoX is not a sandbox adventure. The plot has a definite order to it, though it does branch a bit depending upon choices characters make. Still, those plot branches usually have opportunities to come back together at a later point or there are options for “if the players win” and “if the players lose”.

Astral Sea.jpg

Changes for the Better​

This may ruffle some fan feathers, but I always liked the idea of Spelljammer far more than the way it was executed in 2nd Edition. The crystal spheres bothered me, especially since portals through them could be difficult to find and inconsistent. I know I wasn't the only one who hated that the mage or cleric helming the ship couldn't do anything else while controlling the ship. Add in how flammable phlogiston was and instead of feeling like a challenge, it just felt frustrating—or required home rules to compensate.

So I like the changes 5E made to Spelljammer, switching from crystal spheres to wildspace realms separated by the astral sea and getting rid of phlogiston. The person attuned to the helm can transfer the attunement to a willing person with a touch. But you do still have to maintain concentration, as if casting a spell, to maintain control of the ship. Mages can know what's going on around them while in the helm, which is an improvement, but I question if it's enough. If there's a solution to that in the set, I keep missing it because I looked.

Air Bubble Spell.jpg

What I Liked​

The slipcase format has some advantages. A DM can hand the AAG to players to check a rule or the new species and not worry about them seeing adventure material. A GM can also have a page of BAM open to the creature they need and do the same with LoX instead of flipping back and forth. And getting a custom DM screen with the set, complete with encounter tables, is very handy.

I love the art. Perkins said they bought more art for Spelljammer than usual, and it shows. Some pieces are reused from earlier books, like a piece of Giff artwork, but the new art clearly establishes the scope of a Spelljammer adventure. The regular covers are very good and the alternative covers by Hydro74 are stunning. Dyson Logos' map for the butterfly-shaped Xaryxis Imperial Citadal is fantastic and clever.

I really like that the LoX adventure can start anywhere, including on a homebrew world. Depending upon how LoX ends and what the players want to do next, they could also return home for new terrestrial adventures. It's a nice flexibility as is the fact that the Rock of Bral can be placed anywhere in wildspace (in 2nd Edition it was near Toril).

And LoX does have the feel of pulp space adventure or a comic book with its swashbuckling feel and cliffhangers. LoX also does a great job of teaching characters about wildspace adventures.

Flying Fish Plans.jpg

Stumbling Blocks​

Most of my complaints have one of two causes—length and objectivity.

S:AiS is a setting, an adventure, and a bestiary, but it's the smallest product in terms of written content of anything similar. Each book is only 64 pages whereas Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frost Maiden was 320 pages, and Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus is 256 pages. S:AiS's total of 192 pages isn't just a smaller page count, but when you factor in full- and half-page art, it's even less written content.

That wouldn't be so bad if it didn't feel like they left things out. BAM fairs the best in that regard. While only 72 stat blocks and limited lore/background content to go with it would be skimpy for the average dedicated bestiary, it's typical or better than usual for the monster appendices in a lot of the books.

LoX suffers the most from its tight page count. Many chapters are just three pages long. While Perkins said LoX is more of an example adventure and introduction because DMs like to make their own adventures I still wanted a bit more meat on the bones than we got. The writers for the adventure—Justice Ramin Arman, Sadie Lowry, and Jeffrey Ludwig—did the best they could with what is obviously a tight word count, and they were working from adventure developed by Perkins and Dan Dillon. I've definitely enjoyed Arman, Perkins and Dillon's work in the past so the book length seems to be the culprit. The writers needed more space to flesh things out.

Spoilers below for those playing the adventure:

The limited page count is felt most at the ending. The characters are put in a difficult situation in which at least one seems likely to die—but wait, there's a deus ex machina plot point to save them. I hate that. The ending does have a legitimate emotional dilemma that will allow the players to argue among themselves and with NPCs in their alliance about what to do, and someone is going to lose in the scenario.

I think the ending bothers me because not only does it feel rushed, but it's also unsatisfying. Save your homeworld (and several others) and another world will die (and vice versa). That's rather heavy for a setting that loves playing up the swashbuckling aspect (there are Vampirates, for example).

AAG falls in the middle in terms of how badly the short page count affected it. The Character Option chapter is fine, though more info on the new player races wouldn't have hurt. A little more info on running a spelljammer might have been appreciated. But the Rock of Bral really suffered with most locations on Bral only getting a couple of sentences. I wasn't expecting anything as extensive as the original Rock of Bral supplement, but only five pages of written content (when you deduct the portion of the pages taken up by art) isn't enough. AAG would have benefited from at least another eight pages.

I suspect the short page counts were for financial reasons. Three 64-page hardcovers are more expensive to produce than one hardcover of 192 pages, and the price goes up when the slipcase and durable DM screen are added. Switching to softcover books wouldn't be a solution. Fans like the more durable hardcovers, it's part of the 5E branding, and the hardcovers allow for metallic ink alternate cover editions for game stores. So I understand it but dislike it.

So if most of my problems with S:AiS are related to its limited word count, my other complaint is that it needed a final look by an editor who could represent the newcomer's perspective because a few sections fell into the category of “can't see the forest for the trees.”

For example, the sequencing problem in AAG. The first chapter, which is only two pages long, has a column of “terminology” to introduce Spelljammer's “Vast Oceans of Adventure.” Chapter 2 is Character Options. Chapter 3 is “Astral Adventuring” with the subhead, “How Spelljamming Works.” The problem is it doesn't actually start with how spelljamming works but begins with speed and other technical details like air envelopes, falling, and gravity planes before more firmly explaining the astral plane and moving through it. Starting with helms instead, how they work and control a ship would have made much more sense than speed. And while it seems the person at the helm isn't quite as limited as they were in 2nd edition a bit more clarification would be nice.

Dohwar-Brynn Metheney.jpg

Summing Up Spelljammer for 5E​

If you loved the original Spelljammer you'll probably like this one. I don't think getting rid of the crystal spheres and similar changes will be a deal breaker for anyone and the easier attunement switching will be appreciated. BAM has a good creature selection with an option to convert more. IoX needed more space to breathe, but if Perkins is right and people like customizing adventures then that's not necessarily a drawback even though it bothered me.

For me, while I like a lot of S:AiS, the stumbling blocks keep me from giving it top marks even though I'd love to. That said, I hope it does really well so we can get more Spelljammer products.

If you like Spelljammer (or are more forgiving than I am), it's likely an A- or better. For me, the short page count led to too many problems, from IoX feeling rushed at the end to the skimpy treatment the Rock of Bral got (it didn't need exhaustive coverage but more than five pages is reasonable), and more meant that it only gets a B from me, B+ if I'm feeling generous.

Do I recommend it if you want something different or like space adventure? Absolutely. Just be prepared to flesh more things out that you would in the typical D&D adventure. At the minimum it would be a fun change of pace from the typical D&D campaign, and that can be well worth it.
 
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Beth Rimmels

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DaffCon1

Professional Lurker
What information are you looking for here? The ship slows down to tactical speed when it reaches the planet's air envelope (equal to the diameter of the planet). Each ship has a small section about whether it can land (most can't stop on dry land, and "fall on their side" if not in water). Reentry isn't covered because you're never going fast enough to burn up, and if it's uncontrolled, it's just a fall (from reeeeeally high up). As for Astral Spelljamming, I assume the ship just uses the same spelljamming speeds since it doesn't indicate anything different and Wildspace/Astral overlap.

Rock of Braal gets some additional color in the adventure, but the old 2E supplement Rock of Braal has everything you need on it if you really want any detail. And the old 2E info in the main book was about as threadbare as the 5E's set.

I will say, the books aren't perfect. I could have done with a 1-2 page spread on "Advanced Movement", more example systems (if nothing else, like the sidebars in the 2E books) and any more pages they could have squeezed in if they hadn't gone hardcover.

But for me, it was a must-have.

I prolly shouldn't have mentioned re-entry, though the 2E material did cover the hazards of uncontrolled re-entry (and it did include burning).

The original 2E material covered how long taking off and landing would take, and at what point the ship would transition from tactical speed to cruising speed. All this book says is "some ships can land on land but not water and some can land on water but not land." (Also, they kept repeating "if this ship lands on land it'll fall over because of the keel" -- they could have used that line once, as a general thing, instead of repeating it).

After they make a point of saying that an individual's speed in Astral space is determined by their Intelligence, it's odd not to say what a ship's speed is in the Astral. Does it still go at wildspace speeds? Is it tactical speed? Is it souped-up tactical speed? Why even bother to mention individual movement if the expectation is that they're on a ship?

Also, the transition between wildspace and the Astral -- is there overlap between the two, a gradual fading of one into the other? Or is it one second you're in space, the next you're in the Astral?

(I also want to note: the OP said that some of the ships were new. Only one type of ship is new; the rest are from either the first boxed set or Lost Ships. No ships from any other Spelljammer material. And they renamed a lot of the ships.)
 

One thing I've been reading here and there is that the dnd design team is basically not large enough for the number of projects they are putting out. That, if they are trying to get all this playtest material out, they don't necessarily also have time to dive deep on content like spell jammer. I also wonder if the "spell jammer confirmed" meme as well as the constant calls for 5e versions of 2e settings kind of 'forces' the designers to work on those, as opposed to things they might actually want to put out.
 

Stormonu

Legend
That's odd, I thought I had read in the book there was a curtain-like effect between Wildspace and the Astral Sea (akin to the shell of Crystal Sphere or the old Border Ethereal/Deep Ethereal of editions past), but I can't seem to find it. Maybe it's the map of the Astral Sea (which they depict as Wildspace "bubbles" floating in the Astral Sea soup) that led me to think that. The text seems to (contrarily) infer that the transition is akin to a ship losing sight of land - when it reaches the edge of a system's Wildspace, you simply translate into the Astral Sea.

Anyways, seems like something to leave up to the DM. Don't want the PCs leaving the Wildspace sector? Then there's a hard barrier akin to a Crystal Sphere to prevent leaving short of spells. Want to romp across different planes of existence without much care? Then make it similar to the process of sailing out of sight of land - when you reach the edge, into the Astral you go.

Personally, I don't miss the phologiston (it always seemed to be just a "screw you" plot device to keep players from easily hopping from one campaign setting to another and further punching anyone with cannons or spellcasters in the gut), and I kinda hated Crystal Spheres. For me, the players will end up wherever their story needs them to go without having to "snowglobe" them and give them mcguffins to "get out of jail" and go elsewhere.
 

DaffCon1

Professional Lurker
One thing I've been reading here and there is that the dnd design team is basically not large enough for the number of projects they are putting out. That, if they are trying to get all this playtest material out, they don't necessarily also have time to dive deep on content like spell jammer. I also wonder if the "spell jammer confirmed" meme as well as the constant calls for 5e versions of 2e settings kind of 'forces' the designers to work on those, as opposed to things they might actually want to put out.
It would explain a lot. I've noticed that a lot of what they've done lately is either reprint existing material, perhaps with minor alterations (Eberron, Ravenloft, this book...) or they publish something someone else has written (Exandria, Theros, Ravnica...).
 

DaffCon1

Professional Lurker
That's odd, I thought I had read in the book there was a curtain-like effect between Wildspace and the Astral Sea (akin to the shell of Crystal Sphere or the old Border Ethereal/Deep Ethereal of editions past), but I can't seem to find it. Maybe it's the map of the Astral Sea (which they depict as Wildspace "bubbles" floating in the Astral Sea soup) that led me to think that. The text seems to (contrarily) infer that the transition is akin to a ship losing sight of land - when it reaches the edge of a system's Wildspace, you simply translate into the Astral Sea.

Anyways, seems like something to leave up to the DM. Don't want the PCs leaving the Wildspace sector? Then there's a hard barrier akin to a Crystal Sphere to prevent leaving short of spells. Want to romp across different planes of existence without much care? Then make it similar to the process of sailing out of sight of land - when you reach the edge, into the Astral you go.

Personally, I don't miss the phologiston (it always seemed to be just a "screw you" plot device to keep players from easily hopping from one campaign setting to another and further punching anyone with cannons or spellcasters in the gut), and I kinda hated Crystal Spheres. For me, the players will end up wherever their story needs them to go without having to "snowglobe" them and give them mcguffins to "get out of jail" and go elsewhere.
The purpose of crystal spheres was explained in the first boxed set. They needed a way to accommodate Krynn's having constellations disappear and reappear, without it impacting other systems.

I never thought of the phlogiston as being there to impact casters or cannons. The latter weren't that common, and casters have a lot of options other than fire.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Then there's a hard barrier akin to a Crystal Sphere to prevent leaving short of spells.
They even included a (shattered) Crystal Sphere in the adventure, so at least one has been confirmed to exist in 5e. And they even tied it into the 4e Dawn War, which I thought was neat (though I understand some people don't like 4e lore).
 

Stormonu

Legend
The purpose of crystal spheres was explained in the first boxed set. They needed a way to accommodate Krynn's having constellations disappear and reappear, without it impacting other systems.
Really? I don't ever remember reading that. The only thing I can find in the boxed set is that "some systems" have the stars mounted on the crystal spheres (such as in Greyspace, whose stars are gems affixed to the sphere, as accounted in its supplement).

Looking in the supplement Krynnspace, I'm actually finding information that contradicts that:

The star portals form constellations which clerics in ages past determined represented the major deities. [...]
As in Realmspace, the flickering of "stars" inside the sphere are actually small portals that open to the quasi-elemental plane of Radiance. These openings cannot be seen from the outside of the shell, or be used by spelljamming vessels to enter Krynnspace. However, the stars are more than mere portals: For every truly good soul who dies while giving his or her life for others, a star appears.

It's difficult for me, from the reading, to discern if the portals are affixed to the shell or not. Realmspace has similar portals, as noted in the quote.
 

Yeah. I'm not going to defend the limited pages (it could have been a product on expenses with having so much amazing art and 3 hardcovers), the page count sucks and the book suffers because of it. However, I tried to run 5e Spelljammer a few years back using a homebrew system, and it was an absolute nightmare. It was kind of a relief that the campaign ended in a TPK. I haven't fully read the book yet, but I've looked through a lot of it, and it looks like it would be a real help. Definitely a "must have" if you want to run Spelljammer without having a ton of other 5e books, 3rd party products printed off, and homebrewed answers to common space questions.

The books are very far from perfect (largely because of their small page counts), and it's upsetting that the 5e Spelljammer release was this unfinished. But I still bought the book and am going to take another shot at 5e Spelljammer because of it. The art is amazing, the poster map is great, the monster stat blocks and 6 new races are extremely worth getting the book for, and there are cool bits of the adventure I can raid for my homebrew Spelljammer campaign.

The book set has got problems. Big problems. But I'm not boycotting future WotC releases or anything that drastic because of it, and would definitely recommend it to people that want to run 5e Spelljammer.
I'll echo this. Am I a bit annoyed that the setting book is a bit too small and should have had a bit more info? Sure - A dozen or so more pages on creating your own Wildspace systems and a few other things would really have rounded it out nicely. Is it stopping me from buying it, or future products? Nope.
 

Weiley31

Legend
I think one of my smallest complaints about the book set are the ABSOLUTE -Rooster- tease about two possible Spelljammer ship options that AREN'T given stats within the list of Spelljammer ships in the Astral Adventurer's Guide but are mentioned as "potentially" being "options" in Boo's Astral Menagerie: The Esthetics and Skeletal Kindori Spelljammer ships.

Like, I know there are some strings attached to even getting either of em as a Spelljammer ship, but still. However, an Eldritch Lich commanding a Skeletal Whale ship crewed by its undead minions does sound like a hella awesome idea. Although, it does make me wonder what the AC number of "Bones" would be. So far in this book Metal(19)-Stone(17)-Wood(15)-Ceramic(13) is the order from highest AC to lowest AC for 5E Spelljammer ships*
 

DaffCon1

Professional Lurker
Really? I don't ever remember reading that. The only thing I can find in the boxed set is that "some systems" have the stars mounted on the crystal spheres (such as in Greyspace, whose stars are gems affixed to the sphere, as accounted in its supplement).

Looking in the supplement Krynnspace, I'm actually finding information that contradicts that:



It's difficult for me, from the reading, to discern if the portals are affixed to the shell or not. Realmspace has similar portals, as noted in the quote.

Page three of the Lorebook of the Void, in the original set: "But if space functions normally, how (for example) do the constellations of Krynn move around without messing up other planets?"

The Krynnspace supplement is not a good example of anything, other than a bad product. It had gods using planets as crystal balls, a six inch tall super-strong flying gnome called Little Biggnome, and the information on the placement of Krynn's moons directly contradicts almost everything ever said about the moons in Dragonlance material. (And the novels made it very clear: if one of the deities was on Krynn or had otherwise left the heavens, their constellation was no longer in the sky)

This was actually one of the biggest failings of the original Spelljammer setting: they were connecting all of the published settings, but ignoring what was written about those settings. There was no coordination between Spelljammer writers/designers and those working on the other settings, and I'm not sure there was much coordination among the Spelljammer writers/designers.

Still, even with its issues, it's a lot better than what we were given with this new set. It's easier to fix the problems in the original than it is to make this new version workable.
 

Weiley31

Legend
Also, interesting observation. The Psurlon monster stat block seems to give a "good preview" on the possible traits an Aberration race would offer as a PC type which would be the following: an Aberration PC would be immune to sleep, has resistance to Psychic Damage, and Magic can't read their thoughts. I base this on the fact that the Psurlon monster in its stat block has the following traits:

-Aberrant Mind: Magic can't read the psurlon's thoughts or put the psurlon to sleep.
-Damage Resistances: Psychic.

Now why do I say/think that this is what an Aberration race typed PC would get for traits?

Astral Elf monster stat block: Unusual Nature covers no need to sleep(Astral Trance) and has Fey Ancestry.

Autognome monster stat block: Unusual Nature covers pc versions' Mechanical Nature in resistances/advantages/no need to eat, drink or breath.

Hadozee monster stat block: Safe Glide reaction covers Glide of the PC version's Reaction to reduce the fall's damage to 0.
Giff monster stat block: Firearms Mastery. Ignores loading for both the npc and pc versions.

Plasmoid monster stat block: Both NPC and PC versions' Amorphus trait is pretty much a word for word copy of each other.

Thri-Kreen monster stat block: Chameleon Carapace makes both NPC and PC versions the best Monks ever in term of AC......................okay seriously just kidding. pretty much the advantage on Dexterity(Stealth) checks made to hid in those surroundings and changing color.
 

Weiley31

Legend
Also, for case review of my post before that mentions Aberration pcs, Psurlon and how its statblock shows the possibility of what traits/racial features an Aberration PC would have: the 5E Kalashtar.


I bring this up because, the Quori that inhabit the Kalashtar/Inspired are classified as Aberrations in the 5E version of Eberron. Now, because of the bond with the Quori, the Kalashtar have a lot of features that fit in with the ideas that are presented with the Psurlon aberration. Namely Immune to sleep (Severed From Dreams), Resistance to Psychic Damage (Mental Discipline), and the Psurlon having their highest saving throw being a +3 Wisdom (Not quite Dual Mind levels of Power with Advantage on all Wis Saving Throws, but still something).

Huh.....never did I ever think that if you wanted to play as a Psurlon pc, refluffing the Kalashtar race would do it in some ways.
 



see

Pedantic Grognard
the 2E material did cover the hazards of uncontrolled re-entry (and it did include burning).
Which was utterly silly. The reason things entering Earth's atmosphere burn (whether meteors or spacecraft) is because they are moving at many multiples of the speed of sound, which means massive friction heating with the air that can't get out of the way. Spelljammers at tactical speed (2e)/flying speed (5e) don't move faster than the speed of sound in atmosphere, and acceleration from falling ends at the speed of the object's terminal velocity, also well short of burning.

The original 2E material covered how long taking off and landing would take,
With extremely weird numbers that were completely unrelated to the speed at which a ship moved or the depth of the atmosphere, and which consequently was easily exploited to break settings (launch from an Earth-sized world in 40 minutes, travel a short distance out and back at 4 million mph, land on the other side of the world -- around the world in 90 minutes).

Now, on the other hand, the 5e implicit numbers based on atmosphere thickness, while very good at avoiding world-breaking shenanigans, also make it very slow to visit planets. After all, if a planet has an atmosphere thickness equal to its diameter, then taking off from an approximately Earth-sized world (c. 8,000 miles in diameter) to out of the atmosphere at the speed of a Damselfly (8 mph) takes roughly 40 days.

This means in 5e you need the DM to either handwave launch/landing times (if only by not actually calculating them like I just did), or largely confine your travel to small bodies.
 


Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Page three of the Lorebook of the Void, in the original set: "But if space functions normally, how (for example) do the constellations of Krynn move around without messing up other planets?"
It's said in this book that the Wildspace pockets drift throughout the Astral Sea, so that could be it (though I'm not exactly familiar with how Krynn's constellations move). And there are the realms of the gods that float in the Astral Sea, so the "constellations" that peak through the barrier between Wildspace and the Astral Sea could be their celestial domains moving to Krynn.
The Krynnspace supplement is not a good example of anything, other than a bad product. It had gods using planets as crystal balls, a six inch tall super-strong flying gnome called Little Biggnome, and the information on the placement of Krynn's moons directly contradicts almost everything ever said about the moons in Dragonlance material. (And the novels made it very clear: if one of the deities was on Krynn or had otherwise left the heavens, their constellation was no longer in the sky)

This was actually one of the biggest failings of the original Spelljammer setting: they were connecting all of the published settings, but ignoring what was written about those settings. There was no coordination between Spelljammer writers/designers and those working on the other settings, and I'm not sure there was much coordination among the Spelljammer writers/designers.
 

DaffCon1

Professional Lurker
Which was utterly silly. The reason things entering Earth's atmosphere burn (whether meteors or spacecraft) is because they are moving at many multiples of the speed of sound, which means massive friction heating with the air that can't get out of the way. Spelljammers at tactical speed (2e)/flying speed (5e) don't move faster than the speed of sound in atmosphere, and acceleration from falling ends at the speed of the object's terminal velocity, also well short of burning.


With extremely weird numbers that were completely unrelated to the speed at which a ship moved or the depth of the atmosphere, and which consequently was easily exploited to break settings (launch from an Earth-sized world in 40 minutes, travel a short distance out and back at 4 million mph, land on the other side of the world -- around the world in 90 minutes).

Now, on the other hand, the 5e implicit numbers based on atmosphere thickness, while very good at avoiding world-breaking shenanigans, also make it very slow to visit planets. After all, if a planet has an atmosphere thickness equal to its diameter, then taking off from an approximately Earth-sized world (c. 8,000 miles in diameter) to out of the atmosphere at the speed of a Damselfly (8 mph) takes roughly 40 days.

This means in 5e you need the DM to either handwave launch/landing times (if only by not actually calculating them like I just did), or largely confine your travel to small bodies.

Those numbers are utterly ridiculous. A flying ship that goes slower than a human can run? A magically-propelled ship that is only slightly faster than a wind-powered one? Spelljamming ships can now fall faster than they can fly.

They removed one potential issue with flying ships by making them useless for trading anything perishable, while leaving other potential setting breaking issues fully intact.

And planetary air envelopes that dramatically dwarf real ones? Earth's atmosphere is 60 miles, not 8000.

There is nothing here that is an improvement.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
Those numbers are utterly ridiculous. A flying ship that goes slower than a human can run? A magically-propelled ship that is only slightly faster than a wind-powered one? Spelljamming ships can now fall faster than they can fly.
So, what exactly makes the speeds ridiculous? Why should large magically-propelled flying ships be much faster than sailing ships? What's the actual model that says magic flying ships are only believable if they fly faster than dragons?

And if 8 mph is so ridiculous, what made a 2e's ship's 17 mph tactical speed (at SR 1, like if you had a 5th-level character powering a minor helm) not ridiculous?

They removed one potential issue with flying ships by making them useless for trading anything perishable,
Oh, no, just like all other transportation technology prior to the Industrial Revolution. How can we possibly game about trade that's limited to goods as durable as those that made up all long-distance trade in the Age of Sail?

And planetary air envelopes that dramatically dwarf real ones? Earth's atmosphere is 60 miles, not 8000.
Yeah, they were so ridiculous as to apply the 2e Spelljammer standard of objects having an air envelope three times larger than the object consistently!

Look, I'm not a great fan of the decisions here, but there's nothing here that's worse than the huge gaps in 2e Spelljammer's logic.
 

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