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

Like I said, I suspect the way people used Spelljammer and Planescape varied from gaming group to gaming group. Some people saw them as means to an end, others as the destination themselves. Regardless, I think both groups can agree that they're more interesting when there are places you can go. Both had many books released in 2e. We're not going to get that with 5e, which is why I think part of whatever we get is going to have notes on moving from one 5e setting to another, whether traveling the planes or the phlogiston.

I view both Planescape and Spelljammers as metasettings, they aren't settings in their own right, they merely connect settings, the means to move between them.
 

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I reject this because Planescape had a flavor all its own, completely separate from any of the settings it was supposedly just connective tissue for. I think that I'm comfortable claiming that any setting that gets 6 box sets, 12 other source books and 12 setting specific adventures is too significant to be reduced to just a means of transportation in a way that would be satisfactory to its fans.

I never said it was just a means of transportation, it served that function of course, but a metasetting is more then just a means of transportation. Planescape was the connective tissue between Planar settings, but it was also where those Planar settings were explored developed and where story and plot points within each setting and between the settings were explored.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Question: for those who want them combined, can you explain to me why? What is gained by making such a large change, especially one that will upset some players?
I don’t view change as having an inherent dynamic of needing to have a significant justification. Like, you ask what is gained by making a large change, as if making the change is a negative that needs to be outweighed by some particular good. I just disagree with that premise.

But beyond that, I find the idea of a cosmic spaceship in the Great Wheel that can only go to places on one plane pretty boring. Very restrictive. I also find that a Sigil based game misses a dynamic of having a crew that is taking on jobs for different factions, getting caught up in proxy-conflicts, etc, and having a ship that can go throughout the cosmology (though many places might require specific upgrades to a vessel beyond the spelljamming helm) facilitates that excellently.

I also don’t view either setting as broad enough in the stories it can easily tell, nor do I see significant space between the two to begin with. Whether I’m playing in Sigil or Wildspace, I’m going to want both esoteric factions based in weird planes of cosmic ideals and a city of doors in a donut, and a crew of misfits and mercs and the occasional surprising idealist with a ship and a dream of freedom and not much else.

IME, most groups mix the two. Because of course! There is no reason not to! And in 5e especially, if Wildspace exists, it exists whether you’re playing a spelljammer game, a Planescape game, or (most common) a D&D game that grabs elements of both. They are absolutely analogous to the great coastal cities of New England and the waters and islands off that coast. They naturally fit together into a product that covers the entire cosmology and adventures that traverse it or take place in weird places within it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Replace "setting" here with "genre." Both of your Eberron examples share that same pulpy genre.
No, they don’t. They’re two different genres. They’re compatible and add to eachother. Like “cosmic intrigue between great factions of mysterious purpose and origin” and “cosmic high adventure between worlds”.
But Spelljammer is Star Trek, while Planescape is Constantine. Sure, mix them, sounds fun: but a treatise on the cold War between Heaven and Hell in a Star Trek sourcebook is not on topic.

I think what you are missing here is that both Spelljammer and Planescape are more than means to an end: Sigil and the Great Wheel is a location for Adventure in itself, as is Wildspqce. The connective issue is tertiary.
Tertiary for you, obviously not for many others. Beyond that, no, that isn’t a thing I’m missing, that’s the reason I hold the stance that I hold on this subject.
@doctorbadwolf another way of looking at it: Spelljammer and Planescape participate in the same broader cosmos, but so does Eberron and the Forgotten Realms. That doesn't mean it would be helpful to have a 30 page section on the Forgotten Realms deities in the Eberrron book, or an extended Sharn gazeteer in a Forgotten Realms book that doesn't have any other Eberron information. That's just sloppy organization.
Another comparison that is not apt. It is much more like the two Eberron games I described. Nothing about a Sigil intrigue game precludes a “crew of a spelljammer trying to make a living and find your own patch of freedom” game, nor vise versa. They exist in the same milieu, because Sigil is inherently a cosmic Tortuga or “Freeport”, or even just a fantasy old New York. It’s a city that stands alone and is for many people the center of the known “world”, and is a place where you can anything and from where you can go anywhere. That inherently belongs in a D&D cosmological space opera game.
I just don't think I agree that they have to be separate entities. I mean, if Sigil becomes a torus-shaped starport in the center of the Astral Sea, with ships sailing through color pools to various locations on the Prime and outer planes, with neogi and beholders joining the Doomguard, that's certainly an exercise with a point. I'm not saying it's the correct approach, but it is a feasible one.

Even absent a complete merge, I think the idea of using the Astral as the method of travelling between spots both intra-plane (as in Spelljammer) and inter-plane (as in Planescape) works well within the 5e cosmology as currently defined, and would suggest at least a loose connection between the two settings.
This.
. For me, the fun of Spelljammer was being out there, not hopping between Kyrnn and Greyhawk...doing the things you could only do in Spelljammer.
Yeah I agree with this. I just think the setting is dramatically improved in you can fly that ship to the City of Brass, and Sigil, and Avernus, and Gloomwraught, etc, and sometimes have to deal with agents of esoteric factions based in planes you don’t even really understand the purpose of because your an elf mercenary or a jello person mechanic.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Another comparison that is not apt. It is much more like the two Eberron games I described. Nothing about a Sigil intrigue game precludes a “crew of a spelljammer trying to make a living and find your own patch of freedom” game, nor vise versa. They exist in the same milieu, because Sigil is inherently a cosmic Tortuga or “Freeport”, or even just a fantasy old New York. It’s a city that stands alone and is for many people the center of the known “world”, and is a place where you can anything and from where you can go anywhere. That inherently belongs in a D&D cosmological space opera game.
No, the comparison is pretty exact: they exist in the same milieu in he same sense that they are both part of the D&D universe, sure, but that's the same as Birthright or Eberron. Mixing them is great, but for product design purposes they don't cover the same ground: an esoteric cold war between Heaven and Hell is something the Guardians of the Galaxy don't normally deal with, that's Doctor Strange's territory, but they can cross over in the Avengers just fine. Crossing the steams is easier if both separate elements are adequately treated.
 

Planescape very much has it's own themes and tone as a setting in it's own right. It's can be a bunch of things, but mostly remains connected to post-modernist themes that were popular in a bunch of other RPGs that existed in the 90s.

Spelljammer also has it's own themes and tone as a setting in it's own right. It may have stumbled at the beginning, but later came into it's own. It generally got better when it was less about Greyspace, Realmspace and Krynnspace. It didn't do SJ any good when it got too mixed up in the solar systems of those campaign worlds.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Planescape very much has it's own themes and tone as a setting in it's own right. It's can be a bunch of things, but mostly remains connected to post-modernist themes that were popular in a bunch of other RPGs that existed in the 90s.

Spelljammer also has it's own themes and tone as a setting in it's own right. It may have stumbled at the beginning, but later came into it's own. It generally got better when it was less about Greyspace, Realmspace and Krynnspace. It didn't do SJ any good when it got too mixed up in the solar systems of those campaign worlds.
Each easily has enough completely non-repeating material for a book the size of Rising from the Last War, for sure.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
A few reasons.

1) Even if the settings are published as two separate products, they're still going to be somewhat intertwined. (Assuming both eventually get published, of course.) They're the two products that would define the "5e as unified multiversal setting" conceit that's been implemented in recent products; they're both conceptually much less usable as standalone settings than anything else that has been published for 5e.

2) Even going back to 2E, I've always thought they were a little weird as standalone products. Functionally, it's going to be the elite of each setting that has the means and the desire to travel to other worlds; it's silly to think those same elite wouldn't be aware of both methods of long-distance travel.

3) A lot of the recent settings lean more towards "magical demiplane" in feel rather than "M-class planet orbiting a class G star" (Ravnica, Theros, Strixhaven, for example). Not an impossible thing to get around, of course, but to my mind more recent settings seem to be not a great fit for a pure Spelljammer approach.

4) Novelty for novelty's sake. I've already read the 2e Spelljammer and Planescape material, I don't need the same thing reprinted with new mechanics. Forgotten Realms at least updates the timeline with each new edition book. The Eberron books I could accept because a) it's my favorite setting, so I'll support it anyway, and b) they at least put new spins on a lot of old material with each new edition book.

"Novelty for novelty's sake" might not be a market winner, but I'm under no impetus to advocate for positions purely for being beneficial to WotC's bottom line.
Please note that the below is, of course, IMO:

1) I think both work fine as stand alone settings. In fact, considerable effort over multiple products was expended to help players and DMs do so.

2) again, considerable effort was made in both core boxed sets to show that neither setting is designed exclusively for high level characters.

3) While I would agree that this trend seems to be happening, I don't consider it a good reason to combine two perfectly good, unique and interesting settings.

4) Novelty for novelty's sake is a terrible reason to re-launch a legacy product with major changes. The people who liked the old settings will be upset, and the new players WotC is currently chasing probably won't know the difference, likely not having encountered the originals.

To those shiny new gamers, anything they haven't seen before is new. They'll likely need to mod some of the old rules of course, but the settings are both fine as is.

Of course, I too don't trust WotC with any of their own IP, so I expect a fluff disaster in any case. I'll just be checking in to see if the new mechanics have anything to add to the 3rd party Spelljammer and Planescape rules I already have.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I don’t view change as having an inherent dynamic of needing to have a significant justification. Like, you ask what is gained by making a large change, as if making the change is a negative that needs to be outweighed by some particular good. I just disagree with that premise.

But beyond that, I find the idea of a cosmic spaceship in the Great Wheel that can only go to places on one plane pretty boring. Very restrictive. I also find that a Sigil based game misses a dynamic of having a crew that is taking on jobs for different factions, getting caught up in proxy-conflicts, etc, and having a ship that can go throughout the cosmology (though many places might require specific upgrades to a vessel beyond the spelljamming helm) facilitates that excellently.

I also don’t view either setting as broad enough in the stories it can easily tell, nor do I see significant space between the two to begin with. Whether I’m playing in Sigil or Wildspace, I’m going to want both esoteric factions based in weird planes of cosmic ideals and a city of doors in a donut, and a crew of misfits and mercs and the occasional surprising idealist with a ship and a dream of freedom and not much else.

IME, most groups mix the two. Because of course! There is no reason not to! And in 5e especially, if Wildspace exists, it exists whether you’re playing a spelljammer game, a Planescape game, or (most common) a D&D game that grabs elements of both. They are absolutely analogous to the great coastal cities of New England and the waters and islands off that coast. They naturally fit together into a product that covers the entire cosmology and adventures that traverse it or take place in weird places within it.
So are you saying major changes to either setting wouldn't upset some players, or that it doesn't matter if they are?
 

HaroldTheHobbit

Adventurer
Most of the books TSR published are still available as PDFs from Drivethru. You don't need to wait for WotC. Most of Planescape is the factions and personalities more than any feats, subclasses, etc. And unless your players are going to swap characters to a Planescape-only race, you don't need race info either. So all the old books are still just as useful as they ever were.
Thanks, I know :) Much of my old D&D stuff got lost in a flooded cellar long ago, but I've gotten a bunch of old books as PDFs from Drivethru, together with some workable 5e Spelljammer material/conversions from DM's guild.

It's not that I can't play in my favorite settings without new WotC books. But I would like to see official 5e SJ and PS settings for several reasons. One is readable layout and low wordcout in a non-bloated edition - condensed rules and info is a blessing when one is an old geezer with job and family. Another is that I'm actually curious what spin they put on these great settings. And a third reason is that for me 5e would be complete with PS and SJ - it would be a nice ending to my favorite edition.
 

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