D&D 5E Spelljammer in D&D 5e Speculation: How Will the Setting Be Changed?

Yeah, I think that it's a lot easier and less damaging to integrate the two than one would think.

One other thing that comes up in Planescape is that the Ethereal plane is the connective tissue between all matter, whereas the Astral plane is the connective tissue between all mind.
Speaking for myself, I've never had a problem with integrating Planescape and Spelljammer - they work just fine together, and there's plenty of room for overlap - but the main issue I have with the calls for a "Planejammer" combined setting is that it would inevitably be imbalanced and heavily skew toward one or the other.

As someone who is admittedly far more of a Planescape fan than a Spelljammer one, I'm of the mindset to treat Spelljammer as a subset of Planescape - Spelljammer deals with the prime material plane, which is one small facet of the broader cosmology dealt with by Planescape. I have no issues with letting Spelljammers sail the Astral and Ethereal Planes in addition to the Phlogiston, or possibly even jump between planes directly, but even that only makes them one viable means of traversing the planes out of many - I would expect Yggdrasil the World Ash, the Infinite Staircase, the Gate-Towns, the Rivers Styx and Oceanus, etc. to get just as much focus and support.

That is how I look at it and what I would want out of a combined "Planejammer" setting, but I feel safe in assuming that pretty much all Spelljammer fans would consider that too heavily weighted toward Planescape.

By contrast, most of the proposals put forward by Spelljammer fans seem to my eyes as a push to break up the Great Wheel into a rehashed version of 4e's "Astral Sea" and drop Sigil in to serve as a kind of "space port". To put it a less flattering way, it's pillaging Sigil and a bunch of planar locations from Planescape, reworking them to fit a Spelljammer-centric model, and then leaving whatever is left of Planescape's unique identity to rot.

You'll have to forgive me if I, as a Planescape fan, don't find that a particularly compelling argument for the future of a setting that I love - it feels like someone arguing that everything interesting about the Forgotten Realms setting should be moved to the area around the Sea of Fallen Stars, because that's the only region they think matters.

Fundamentally, I don't think a combined "Planejammer" can be done in a way that satisfies fans of both Spelljammer and Planescape, and so I think they should be separate books.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm pro-Planejammer... but also anti-Planejammer.

Pro in that I do want to the two settings to connect, and not really contradict each other. A cohesive cosmology can have both, and have both make sense.

I'm anti in that I don't really need both smooshed into one book. For adventures, they kind of meet different niches, and I don't want to see the two competing for page space.
That where I'm coming from, too.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
By contrast, most of the proposals put forward by Spelljammer fans seem to my eyes as a push to break up the Great Wheel into a rehashed version of 4e's "Astral Sea" and drop Sigil in to serve as a kind of "space port". To put it a less flattering way, it's pillaging Sigil and a bunch of planar locations from Planescape, reworking them to fit a Spelljammer-centric model, and then leaving whatever is left of Planescape's unique identity to rot.
As more of a Spelljammer fan than Planescape fan, I gotta say that’s exactly how I read proposals to make Spelljammer a subservient setting to Planescape. WotC should either present them both as standalone settings or not at all. Fans of both will lose no matter what combo WotC goes with.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I could have sworn phlogiston was mentioned a few times, maybe 2-3, but I have nothing to point to as evidence. So shrug.

There's one big interview with Jeremy Crawford talking about cosmology, which I've listened to a few times (it's a good listen). It definitely mentions crystal spheres, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't mention phlogiston.
 

Maybe after the spheres war a new solar system was discovered, and here there was special planar portals toward the Planegates next to Sigil in the concordat domain of the Outlands. Maybe the crystal spheres were created by the deities to avoid potential alien invaders, for example the Vodoni empire, or the creatures from the Far Realm, for example the ethergaunts, of the Thoon cult.

Maybe now Sigil is officially neutral zone about the factions war, but the Lady of the Pain didn't said anything about the Gatetowns, and maybe this conflict could get involved in different crystal spheres with planar portals to the Outlands.

Maybe demiplanes start to appear in the astral sea, and the origin is accidental, created by a higher-than-light hipertech by an alien advanced civilitation (Starfinder).

Is really the phlogiston an interesting place for adventures?

* Vecna, god of the secrets, can resurrect fallen villains, and these would accept the return to the life to work for him if this means to escape from the eternal pain in the infernal planes.
 

As more of a Spelljammer fan than Planescape fan, I gotta say that’s exactly how I read proposals to make Spelljammer a subservient setting to Planescape. WotC should either present them both as standalone settings or not at all. Fans of both will lose no matter what combo WotC goes with.
Agreed. They should be done separately.
 
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I like them as two separate things. But I also get why having the planes and outer space would be messy with the current edition and the comparatively spartan release schedule. And ultimately, I'll be excited to see whatever they do with it/them.

Right. As long as they're two separate and self-contained but overlapping ideas, it can absolutely work. Spelljammers that can travel between crystal spheres and into the phlogiston and also hop planes. That absolutely works. Tearing out all the unique things about Spelljammer to shoehorn it into the Planescape model..."Nah just kidding, Spelljammer ships have always just traveled the astral sea, lol...what's a crystal sphere"...not so much. Add, don't subtract.

Speaking for myself, I've never had a problem with integrating Planescape and Spelljammer - they work just fine together, and there's plenty of room for overlap - but the main issue I have with the calls for a "Planejammer" combined setting is that it would inevitably be imbalanced and heavily skew toward one or the other.

As someone who is admittedly far more of a Planescape fan than a Spelljammer one, I'm of the mindset to treat Spelljammer as a subset of Planescape - Spelljammer deals with the prime material plane, which is one small facet of the broader cosmology dealt with by Planescape. I have no issues with letting Spelljammers sail the Astral and Ethereal Planes in addition to the Phlogiston, or possibly even jump between planes directly, but even that only makes them one viable means of traversing the planes out of many - I would expect Yggdrasil the World Ash, the Infinite Staircase, the Gate-Towns, the Rivers Styx and Oceanus, etc. to get just as much focus and support.

That is how I look at it and what I would want out of a combined "Planejammer" setting, but I feel safe in assuming that pretty much all Spelljammer fans would consider that too heavily weighted toward Planescape.

By contrast, most of the proposals put forward by Spelljammer fans seem to my eyes as a push to break up the Great Wheel into a rehashed version of 4e's "Astral Sea" and drop Sigil in to serve as a kind of "space port". To put it a less flattering way, it's pillaging Sigil and a bunch of planar locations from Planescape, reworking them to fit a Spelljammer-centric model, and then leaving whatever is left of Planescape's unique identity to rot.

You'll have to forgive me if I, as a Planescape fan, don't find that a particularly compelling argument for the future of a setting that I love - it feels like someone arguing that everything interesting about the Forgotten Realms setting should be moved to the area around the Sea of Fallen Stars, because that's the only region they think matters.

Fundamentally, I don't think a combined "Planejammer" can be done in a way that satisfies fans of both Spelljammer and Planescape, and so I think they should be separate books.
 

Right. As long as they're two separate and self-contained but overlapping ideas, it can absolutely work. Spelljammers that can travel between crystal spheres and into the phlogiston and also hop planes. That absolutely works. Tearing out all the unique things about Spelljammer to shoehorn it into the Planescape model..."Nah just kidding, Spelljammer ships have always just traveled the astral sea, lol...what's a crystal sphere"...not so much. Add, don't subtract.
People seem really fond of subtracting though. And then carefully wording their explanations so that isn't what it sounds like.
 

My personal suspicion is that if crystal spheres are maintained the mechanics of them will be changed. I suspect that not every setting will be in a crystal sphere because it's way too limiting. Just like every setting can have its own cosmology, different settings can have their own fantasy physics as well. Mystara, for example, was never in a crystal sphere - and is by canon in a galaxy where space travelers with advanced technology have visited it in the past. While that can be justified with crystal spheres, it shouldn't have to be. So some might be floating in crystal spheres, some might be in a universe much like ours, and some might have some other structure entirely.

(The crystal sphere cosmology was a hack to allow Krynn into the Spelljammer model. It was the answer to "how can Krynn's constellations disappear when the gods are walking on Krynn". I remember an interview with Jeff Grub IIRC where he talked about the origins of the crystal spheres and that was his big rationale for them. And it was a way to make it so that the fantasy worlds weren't tied to each other in the same galaxy or something like that - you don't have to worry about explaining how they relate to each other in space if they're all just floating in crystal balls in some kind of explosive ether substance. Personally I would have preferred portals between alternate Prime Material Planes as the answer to that question but I wasn't on the design team.)
Spelljammer was never about planar travel; that's a whole different thing. It was about D&D in space, with a side order of meta setting so your tinker gnomes can visit Toril and screw up the economy.
 

My personal suspicion is that if crystal spheres are maintained the mechanics of them will be changed. I suspect that not every setting will be in a crystal sphere because it's way too limiting. Just like every setting can have its own cosmology, different settings can have their own fantasy physics as well. Mystara, for example, was never in a crystal sphere - and is by canon in a galaxy where space travelers with advanced technology have visited it in the past. While that can be justified with crystal spheres, it shouldn't have to be. So some might be floating in crystal spheres, some might be in a universe much like ours, and some might have some other structure entirely.

(The crystal sphere cosmology was a hack to allow Krynn into the Spelljammer model. It was the answer to "how can Krynn's constellations disappear when the gods are walking on Krynn". I remember an interview with Jeff Grub IIRC where he talked about the origins of the crystal spheres and that was his big rationale for them. And it was a way to make it so that the fantasy worlds weren't tied to each other in the same galaxy or something like that - you don't have to worry about explaining how they relate to each other in space if they're all just floating in crystal balls in some kind of explosive ether substance. Personally I would have preferred portals between alternate Prime Material Planes as the answer to that question but I wasn't on the design team.)

You can have an entire galaxy or even a galaxtic cluster in a Crystal Sphere, hell Eberron shoved like over a dozens planes into theirs.
 

Spelljammer was never about planar travel; that's a whole different thing. It was about D&D in space, with a side order of meta setting so your tinker gnomes can visit Toril and screw up the economy.

It will still mostly be that, but enough flexiblity to connect it to the Planes. I mean a Spelljammer in Eberron should already be able to visit the internal Planes of Eberron.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Yeah, I think that it's a lot easier and less damaging to integrate the two than one would think.

One other thing that comes up in Planescape is that the Ethereal plane is the connective tissue between all matter, whereas the Astral plane is the connective tissue between all mind.

For me,

ether=force

Natural forces like gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear forces are all made out of the "fifth element", called ether. These forces hold matter together.

The ethereal plane is the fifth elemental plane.

Where the four elements - earth, water, air, and fire - are physical states of matter, the fifth element ether is mysterious, because force is physical but has no matter.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
How can something entirely within the material plane have "like over a dozen planes" within it?

_
glass.
raw
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
I'll say what I always say, "Spelljamming in space, asteroids, planets, star systems. Then use the Atral as Hyperspace, with 'rivers', 'currents', etc for plane to plane (substitute world for plane) travel.

Done.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It is even more different than, as has been suggested, every spelljammer having to engage in interplanar travel to go between systems.
I certainly never suggested that, nor anything like that. If I had, I’d understand the reaction to my posts.
Without the crystal spheres you have to come up with reasons why settings with different cosmologies can exist in the same prime material plane. You have to explain why different settings have different patterns of stars. You have to explain how some settings are heliocentric whilst others are geocentric.
Why? The stars look different on different ends of the planet, much less across vast inter-world distances. The material plane isn’t strictly scientific, it needn’t have the same exact physics in every world.
And, well, this goes back to my post on the key defect of 2nd edition Spelljammer being when the "AD&D in space" project explicitly became an AD&D meta-setting. Adding extensive planar travel to Spelljammer is the exact opposite of fixing that; it makes Spelljammer less D&D set in space, and more meta-setting.
I mean, you’re free to think what you want, but that (star)ship sailed a long time ago.

While I’d prefer a setting that is actually D&D in space, Spelljammer has never been that. I make the suggestions I do specifically to avoid changing the basic nature of the setting.
 


I never had much to do with Spelljammer when it was originally around, but a while ago i bought a few bits and pieces from drivethru and I've finally been reading some of it and WOW it's a lot weirder than i thought it would be.

After the first readthrough I decided that if i played in the setting I'd play a goblinoid, living hand-to-mouth in a galaxy largely dominated by the people who actually genocided your species and wiped out their civilisation so effectively that your people can't even build ships any more and you're left as scavengers and hangers-on. And then i read a couple of the modules and PCs are STILL assumed to side with the genocide elves, simply because they're elves and the goblinoids are worse. Yeah, THAT'S gonna change, I bet.

The prominence of aberrations - mind flayers, beholders, neogi - is kinda ahead of its time, thematically. And while they're still overwhelmingly evil (and braineating), there's a lot of variation in personalities, and they're quite often portrayed as perfectly amenable to negotiation, bargaining etc.

It may be grognard-heresy, but I wish more of the ships were more functional-looking and shiplike, and not just lazy copies of sea creatures or bugs, with huge unnecessary and inefficient head and claw appendatges etc and a few masts and the like stuck on as afterthoughts. Or at least abstract it a bit more?

And there's the adventure when, after running a grim & gritty infiltration of a orc/goblinoid space startion to investigate their new planet killer weapon - you immediately follow it up with a trip to a triangular planet where you have to convince the local rainbow pegasus ponies that the purple fruits are ok to eat after all, and then steal a tentacle planet's favourite toy to give it back to the fish-constellation whose eye it is. Holy thematic whiplash, Batman!

(An important NPC in this adventure is an elf so fat he is descibed as almost spherical. Regrettably, there is no art - non-skinny elf art is more than a bit (ahem) thin on the ground. A bit more predictably, he turns out to be a traitor, cos isn't it always the fat ugly ones amirite?)

It's deeply strange that the line keeps referring back to Krynnspace, Realmspace, and Grey(hawk)space even though spelljamming is very rare on those worlds (with the interesting exception of Faerun's not-China). A side-effect of 2e obsessive cross-promotion i guess, but it really doesn't work. The line needs planets of its own, which aren't hangers-on of existing settings, where spelljamming is common and a routine thing, and where large numbers of the spacefaring races originate, trade, wage war. No point being a swashbuckling space dog if there's no landlubbers to feel superior too! There's all sorts of talk of trading going on here, but it's weird that there's not really anywhere detailed to trade stuff to or from. Also, can Elminster please go away?
 


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