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Looks like Spelljammer and/or Planescape is back on the menu!
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

TheSword

Legend
A follow-up curiosity: are there official published settings that you really liked and regularly play in? Or do you play in homebrew settings? If you use official settings, what do you like about them?

I ask because it's entirely possible it's just that Planescape doesn't appeal to you for taste reasons.

Also because I know a lot of homebrew setting dm's who only look at published settings as things to steal ideas from, which is fine, but it affects how the judge their interest in a setting. Planescapes steal-ables are pretty narrow and won't work with a lot of other settings.
I love Planescape, it’s Spelljammer I don’t see the point of.

Also Ravenloft, Darksun, Forgotten Realms (all over), Rokugan and many others. In fact there aren’t many settings I don’t like.

Spelljammer does seem to be particularly goofy though. Not sure if it’s the science/fantasy aesthetic or the puns (Scro?). Then there’s the fact that it feels hollow.
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
As someone who has DMed a lot of Spelljammer, I would say it is precisely parallel to a nautically-themed game. In fact, I would not be surprised if Ghosts of Saltmarsh is a model for a Spelljammer anthology of adventures (but likely with an additional chapter or two of lore). The ocean is transitive, but there are destinations within and under it. The Spelljammer box set encourages people to make their own crystal spheres that are a destination and to have adventures set there, not to mention that the dwarves' most typical "ship" is actually a flying dungeon. So, executing a mission or adventure on such ship might be like Star Wars where the characters are trying to meet objectives while within the bowels of the Death Star.

But, a Spelljammer campaign can be like a series of Star Trek adventures or nautical adventures or anything one can imagine. Literally, the entire Material Plane is the playing field. And, of course, other multiplanar shenanigans can also occur, especially with ghost ships (or planets) that inhabit the Ethereal Plane or adventures that make use of the Feywild or Shadowfell. :)

A minor quibble, but I think this gets to the point they were making.

I don't need Spelljammer to have an adventure in a flying, dwarven dungeon. And yes, "no needs anything to do anything because homebrew" but my point is that if you aren't doing something different and interesting with the setting, what's the point of the new setting?

Spelljammer had many things that made it unique back in 2e, but a lot of them would be incredibly hard to do or against the current direction of the game. For example, like was said earlier, I see zero chances that the Phlogiston is going to be as insanely explosive as it was. In fact, I would surprised if it was particularly deadly at all, as 5e has pushed pretty far away from dangerous environments that aren't literally on fire.

Additionally, one of the big problems I see with the combination of Planescape and Spelljammer is sort of a.. what's the point of the ships? It actually can't be to go between the different crystal spheres. Because that is what the portals in Sigil are for. Way safer and easier to travel through some portals between safe ports than taking a ship through monster space.

Now, that isn't to say there isn't a solution, but the solution is to change the intent of Spelljammer. They would have to be about exploring NEW places. Finding lost citadels or dead realms that can no longer be reached via portal. Mining the bodies of Dead Gods. This then becomes a VERY different setting, and is where I think the Star Frontier material can be a useful bridge. It becomes more about a central port (Sigil) where these ships leave in a mix between Star Trek and the Golden Age of Piracy/Exploration.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Additionally, one of the big problems I see with the combination of Planescape and Spelljammer is sort of a.. what's the point of the ships? It actually can't be to go between the different crystal spheres. Because that is what the portals in Sigil are for. Way safer and easier to travel through some portals between safe ports than taking a ship through monster space.
There can be multiple ways to do something. Redundancy is not a big, bad evil thing. Both Sigil and Spelljammer worked just fine in 2e with providing different ways to do almost the same thing.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
A minor quibble, but I think this gets to the point they were making.

I don't need Spelljammer to have an adventure in a flying, dwarven dungeon. And yes, "no needs anything to do anything because homebrew" but my point is that if you aren't doing something different and interesting with the setting, what's the point of the new setting?

Spelljammer had many things that made it unique back in 2e, but a lot of them would be incredibly hard to do or against the current direction of the game. For example, like was said earlier, I see zero chances that the Phlogiston is going to be as insanely explosive as it was. In fact, I would surprised if it was particularly deadly at all, as 5e has pushed pretty far away from dangerous environments that aren't literally on fire.

Additionally, one of the big problems I see with the combination of Planescape and Spelljammer is sort of a.. what's the point of the ships? It actually can't be to go between the different crystal spheres. Because that is what the portals in Sigil are for. Way safer and easier to travel through some portals between safe ports than taking a ship through monster space.

Now, that isn't to say there isn't a solution, but the solution is to change the intent of Spelljammer. They would have to be about exploring NEW places. Finding lost citadels or dead realms that can no longer be reached via portal. Mining the bodies of Dead Gods. This then becomes a VERY different setting, and is where I think the Star Frontier material can be a useful bridge. It becomes more about a central port (Sigil) where these ships leave in a mix between Star Trek and the Golden Age of Piracy/Exploration.
I recall Mike Mearls once said that if they did Spelljammer, they would focus on the Rock of Braal and Wildspace as their own integral Setting, more than just a way to get from world to world. This still seems reasonable.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
There can be multiple ways to do something. Redundancy is not a big, bad evil thing. Both Sigil and Spelljammer worked just fine in 2e with providing different ways to do almost the same thing.

Which is exactly why the United states still sees a large trade in horse-drawn carriages, because market pressures don't push for speed and safety over whatever we did first.

Oh, wait... well, we still see a lot of people arriving by boat from Europe right?

Oh wait...
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Which is exactly why the United states still sees a large trade in horse-drawn carriages, because market pressures don't push for speed and safety over whatever we did first.
Planar travel is much more dangerous than flying in a spelljamming vessel, and doesn't get you to the same places. Sigil does not have a door to very little place in the multiverse, so there are a lot of places a spelljamming ship can go that planar travelers cannot. Therefore, spelljamming isn't redundant or even lesser to planar travel. Planar travel goes places no spelljamming vessel can go, therefore planar travel is not redundant or lesser to spelljamming.
 

Scribe

Hero
Which is exactly why the United states still sees a large trade in horse-drawn carriages, because market pressures don't push for speed and safety over whatever we did first.

Oh, wait... well, we still see a lot of people arriving by boat from Europe right?

Oh wait...
Do we ship things...

By Plane?
By Boat?
By Truck?
By Van?

Why not 1 method?
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Not familiar with either, but it does sound similar to what I was saying.
Wildspace is the term for the parts of the Spelljammer Settign that were distinctly Space-y, like ASteroid cities or Beholder space stations, that sort of thing, the gonzo Flash Gordon stuff that isn't in other Settings. The Rock of Bral is a city, basically Waterdeep...in...Spaaaace!!!!

Basically Treasure Planet, with D&D.

"Welcome to the city of twilight, the city of thieves, the city among the stars. Founded by pirates, Bral is now a prosperous city of rogues and merchants, adrift in the vast realms of Wildspace. Its docks are crowded with graceful ships, its streets are teeming with intrigue and adventure, and its population includes shining heroes and dark villains. The Rock of Bral is a haven for any adventurer with a quick wit and a dash of greed - oppurtunity only awaits the hand bold enough to seize it!"

"Rock of Bral is an accessory to the SPELLJAMMER campaign setting and is intended to provide a ready guide to this most fascinating of cities. Your character will find the Rock to be the perfect base from which to explore the magical reaches of Wildspace."

 
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In regards to the Planescape/Spelljammer discussion, on whether you need both...

Yes, in the end, both can do the same thing when travelling between worlds in the Material Plane. But it's similar to the situation where your adventuring group needs to go to a different continent on the same world. Sure, they can use that portal/teleport circle network to go from one city to a central hub and then across to another continent. But they can also get on a ship and go there directly. The first might be secret, or too expensive, or the nearest city connected to the network might be very far, or be in dangerous territory (all of which are opportunity for adventure on their own), so the ship might be the most viable option. And travel on the ship has plenty of opportunity for fun adventure if everyone wanys it to be. In fact, you could make a whole campaign just on a ship on the seas! But in the end, adventure can be had through either method. Is one better than the other? No, both are equally valid, just different. The same could be said for Planescape and Spelljammer as settings...
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
In regards to the Planescape/Spelljammer discussion, on whether you need both...

Yes, in the end, both can do the same thing when travelling between worlds in the Material Plane. But it's similar to the situation where your adventuring group needs to go to a different continent on the same world. Sure, they can use that portal/teleport circle network to go from one city to a central hub and then across to another continent. But they can also get on a ship and go there directly. The first might be secret, or too expensive, or the nearest city connected to the network might be very far, or be in dangerous territory (all of which are opportunity for adventure on their own), so the ship might be the most viable option. And travel on the ship has plenty of opportunity for fun adventure if everyone wanys it to be. In fact, you could make a whole campaign just on a ship on the seas! But in the end, adventure can be had through either method. Is one better than the other? No, both are equally valid, just different. The same could be said for Planescape and Spelljammer as settings...
Yeah, I see no need to put Spelljammer and Planescape into conflict, any more than Ghosts of Saltmarsh is in competition with Out of the Abyss. Different Settings, with different adventure opportunities.

Even beyond how to get between different material worlds, you can't Spelljam to Hell or Arcadia. That's what Gates are better at. And you can't fight space pirates in Sigil (unless you feel like it). Different stories.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
That’s cool. I amend my sentiment to say… the setting is superfluous not obsolete then. If that was from the outset because planar travel and portals already existed then so be it.

Don’t get me wrong. Magic airships are cool. Magic airships should be a thing. I just don’t get how the setting is anything more than an interlude 🤷🏻‍♂️ I’ve yet to see anything to change my mind on that.
Here are things that you can do in Spelljammer that you can't do in any other setting:
  • Commandeer a spaceship and fly it to the Dark Side of the moon, where a secret civilization of Moon Elves lives.
  • Have an epic space-battle between a Steampunk ship of Gnomes, Clockworks, and Autognomes and a Deathspider Neogi ship filled with the mind-controlling Eelspiders and their slaves. (Or between Githyanki and Illithids.)
  • Set up a trade-route between the different planets and asteroids within a Crystal Sphere and start an "Intergalactic" trading empire.
  • Hire a group of gunpowder-loving hippo-headed British-mercenaries to fly on your Spelljamming ship with you to attack a group of Beholders.
  • Be a Gnome Beastmaster Ranger with a Giant Space Hamster animal companion (or Autognome and Steel Defender that looks like a Giant Space Hamster as a Battlesmith Artificer).
  • Rescue the members of a Spelljamming Ship that was hi-jacked (or had its spellcaster pilot die) while floating in the void of space.
  • Have your ship shut down by a living asteroid that's a cousin to the Beholders (but without eyestalks) and have to battle it in order to survive.
  • Set up home base on an Asteroid that you conquered and claimed as your own.
I've ran a Spelljammer campaign in D&D 5e. You can absolutely run an adventure in Spelljammer, even if the campaign setting is mainly transitory in nature. It's fine if you don't like it, but it works as a setting. It's just as valid of a setting as Planescape, Eberron, the Forgotten Realms, or any other campaign setting.
 

thundershot

Explorer
What I loved about Spelljammer wasn’t the ship rules or traveling… it was the FEEL. There was a Star Wars feeling mixed with Starjammers for us. We did the Goblins Return/Heart of the Enemy adventures and it just had this great feel to it. Our group ended up trying to stop the brewing war and ended up taking the sides of the goblinoids. The space elves were just arrogant bastards and my group just didn‘t like their attitudes. They also frequented the Rock of Bral and made friends with the beholder bartender. It had a Star Wars cantina vibe and went over so well.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Planar travel is much more dangerous than flying in a spelljamming vessel, and doesn't get you to the same places. Sigil does not have a door to very little place in the multiverse, so there are a lot of places a spelljamming ship can go that planar travelers cannot. Therefore, spelljamming isn't redundant or even lesser to planar travel. Planar travel goes places no spelljamming vessel can go, therefore planar travel is not redundant or lesser to spelljamming.

So... literally what I said before. You won't take a Spelljammer to other settings, or major planes, because there are portals and spells to get to those places that are far far safer and far far far far faster.

You MIGHT take a spelljammer to places that have no portals. Unknown places, lost places, the bodies of dead gods, ect ect. Places that you can't take a portal to.

HOWEVER, the original design intent of Spelljammer WAS to take the ship from places like Oerth to Faerun. Which is what we are saying you likely won't do, because it is dangerous and takes longer, so the intent of Spelljamming would have to change if you combine the two into a coherent package.

Now, please tell me I'm wrong and then put forth my own point against me... again.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So... literally what I said before. You won't take a Spelljammer to other settings, or major planes, because there are portals and spells to get to those places that are far far safer and far far far far faster.
What's with you and constantly trying to have me say the complete opposite of what I said?

YOU WILL TAKE IT TO OTHER SETTTINGS AND OTEN ARRIVE WHERE PLANAR PORTALS ARE NOT PRESENT.
You MIGHT take a spelljammer to places that have no portals. Unknown places, lost places, the bodies of dead gods, ect ect. Places that you can't take a portal to.
Or the 99.99% of the various universes where no portal from Sigil exists. Sigil is finite in size. It does not have infinite portals to all places in all settings. It doesn't even have portals to more than a very small percentage of places.
HOWEVER, the original design intent of Spelljammer WAS to take the ship from places like Oerth to Faerun. Which is what we are saying you likely won't do, because it is dangerous and takes longer, so the intent of Spelljamming would have to change if you combine the two into a coherent package.
First, it's only you, not we. Second, I said planar travel is far more dangerous, so again you're attributing to me the literal opposite of what I said in the post you quoted. Stop it.
Now, please tell me I'm wrong and then put forth my own point against me... again.
Nope. Just going to point out the umpteenth million Strawman by you. Stop twisting my words and then arguing against your created fiction please.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Do we ship things...

By Plane?
By Boat?
By Truck?
By Van?

Why not 1 method?

We ship certain things certain ways, because they are more efficient certain ways. Almost no one delivers by "van" except for "last mile delivery" which is the most expensive and prohibitive part of the entire shipping process (yes, even more than the boat). But you can't ship cargo containers by plane, however somethings can't wait the month or two at sea.

However, here is the issue. Portals are a superior way to get from "plane" to "plane" over spelljammers. A large enough gate can allow for a wagon or even a wagon train to instantly and safely pass from Oerth to Kyrnn with none of the threats of taking a Spelljammer through monster and pirate infested space.

The portals are permanent in many instances as well, far cheaper to access than it costs to buy a ship and load it with mercenaries and fighters who can protect the ship on a potentially multi-month journey just to the other plane of existence, instead of the... two hour walk? It would otherwise be.

From an economic standpoint NOTHING beats portals at getting from Point A to Point B, and Sigil has laws against violence, so your caravan san safely travel from a gate portal, through the city, to a gate portal far faster, cheaper and safer than loading a Spelljammer.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
So... literally what I said before. You won't take a Spelljammer to other settings, or major planes, because there are portals and spells to get to those places that are far far safer and far far far far faster.

You MIGHT take a spelljammer to places that have no portals. Unknown places, lost places, the bodies of dead gods, ect ect. Places that you can't take a portal to.

HOWEVER, the original design intent of Spelljammer WAS to take the ship from places like Oerth to Faerun. Which is what we are saying you likely won't do, because it is dangerous and takes longer, so the intent of Spelljamming would have to change if you combine the two into a coherent package.

Now, please tell me I'm wrong and then put forth my own point against me... again.

I mean, the simplest answer is probably trade. Like, it'd be fairly expensive to constantly be using spell slots to transfer large amounts of goods through teleporting them. So it may be more economical to transport large amounts of goods via Spelljamming.

So as an individual, teleporting should always make more sense. But transporting large amounts of goods, or invasion armies, or mobile laboratories... feel like Spelljamming is a better fit.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
However, here is the issue. Portals are a superior way to get from "plane" to "plane" over spelljammers. A large enough gate can allow for a wagon or even a wagon train to instantly and safely pass from Oerth to Kyrnn with none of the threats of taking a Spelljammer through monster and pirate infested space.
It's not like there's an Office of Portal use that shows everyone a convenient portal to wherever they want to go. You have to get lucky to find a portal to exactly where you want to go. Or hell, even a portal anywhere. That portal to Krynn you want? Well it's on the 17th level of Undermountain and you have to have a severed green dragon head to trigger it.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I had previously liked the idea of fusing Planescape and Spelljammer (while I have played in both settings, it would have been back when they were first introduced so I barely remember either. I'm not a "fan" in that I know little about them, but I like both settings)...

... but I have been convinced by this thread that we need both of them. And in separate products.
 

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