D&D 5E Unearthed Arcana: Travelers of the Multiverse

New free content from WotC - the latest 4-page Unearthed Arcana introduces six new races: astral elf, autognome, giff, hadozee, plasmoid, and thri-kreen.


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

Russ Morrissey


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Magister Ludorum

Adventurer
Chris Perkins actually talked about why we haven't seen a mind flayer centric adventure in a seminar. He was working on a horror-themed adventure that was based on mind flayers in space controlling people on Faerun. The problem he kept running into is that with a mind flayer you are pretty much two unlucky rolls away from instant death at any time, and that can make running an enjoyable long-term campaign difficult. The proposal was eventually shelved for that reason.
For my group this is the biggest problem with 5e. My kids read 3e and 2e, then talked me into writing save or die effects back into 5e.
 

vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
Chris Perkins actually talked about why we haven't seen a mind flayer centric adventure in a seminar. He was working on a horror-themed adventure that was based on mind flayers in space controlling people on Faerun. The problem he kept running into is that with a mind flayer you are pretty much two unlucky rolls away from instant death at any time, and that can make running an enjoyable long-term campaign difficult. The proposal was eventually shelved for that reason.
This makes a lot of sense.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Chris Perkins actually talked about why we haven't seen a mind flayer centric adventure in a seminar. He was working on a horror-themed adventure that was based on mind flayers in space controlling people on Faerun. The problem he kept running into is that with a mind flayer you are pretty much two unlucky rolls away from instant death at any time, and that can make running an enjoyable long-term campaign difficult. The proposal was eventually shelved for that reason.
I guess for a published adventure this makes sense.

But doesn't anybody's PC research the foes they plan on fighting (especially long term)?

"Buy a metal full face helm yah silly adventurer's" :D

/shakes cane
 


vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
It does, though given they're thinking along those lines I'm honestly surprised they didn't take the opportunity to stick a few less-lethally-swingy mind flayer variants in the spelljammer monster book given their prominence in the setting.
I think, and this may just be me, that a party can fight against a lot of illithid ships and not have to fight against many illithids in person. So that means they don't have to worry about every PC being two rolls away from death.
 

Now that the 5th Edition Spelljammer: Adventures in Space has been out for four days and I spent the weekend reading all three books, I thought I would revisit my thoughts from above (and elsewhere over the years in these forums): I was wrong: the Astral Sea works brilliantly. As someone who purchased the 1989 box set the day it came out and ran adventures using Spelljammer for three years or so back in the day and who has occasionally gone back to it, I will say I really like the new set. I think the emphasis is in the right place, the use of the Astral Plane works much better than I thought it would, and any DM who was using the crystal sphere/Phlogiston cosmology could continue to use it with nary an interruption (e.g. that system is bounded by a Crystal sphere and has a Phlogiston barrier between it and other systems and, eventually, the Astral Sea).

I really appreciated how consistent Perkins and the other editors and writers were with the original set (examples: using the same speeds and layouts as the original ships with hardly a change, using the same history of the Rock of Bral with minor changes, keeping the spirit of the set, but streamlining some of the original mechanics all in the name of a better play experience, even using some of the same text as the original set in some places).

A few items I am missing from the new set are the alternative helms/power sources like the dwarven forges powering the Citadels and the orbus powering the beholder ships. I thought those were cool. I also miss the elvish Armada ships...they reminded me of huge star destroyers. Also, I am not sure why they did not offer the Crown of Stars as a magic item. I do not miss the Lizardmen in space. I do not understand why mind flayers are not part of the random encounter table in Boo's Astral Menagerie (and the DM's screen). But, really the set is great. I like the Astral Sea revision. I am happy to have been proven wrong and I am delighted that the new set is available as I always loved Jeff Grubb's approach to space fantasy (which is why I quote him from Concordance of Arcane Space in the quote under my avatar).
So looking into this, while mind flayers aren't on the Wildspace or Astral Sea encounter charts, they do appear on the Ship Encounter chart in Boo's and the DM screen with the nautiloid. So they aren't missing from Spelljammer encounter tables altogether.
 

I think that the shift from shorter adventures to longer, full-length campaign adventures changes adventure design theory. If you're going to keep a campaign going long-term, it becomes difficult to maintain investment when you're carrying that sort of risk for a significant portion of the adventure.

But I agree, they could've kept them in as a behind-the-scenes threat. Or now that we have Spelljammer, have most of the conflicts with them be in ship-to-ship combat.

Ugh, "balanced combat" strikes again. Maybe the mindflayers could be a far off threat like the Borg.

Fascinating. Even back in the day, I rarely used mind flayers and the other monsters with save-or-die mechanics. Every once in a while, sure, but if characters were going to die, I wanted it to not hinge on a single roll of the dice. Except for that time I sent a kobold with a Nine Lives Stealer against them....

For my group this is the biggest problem with 5e. My kids read 3e and 2e, then talked me into writing save or die effects back into 5e.

I get it, though you could see Chris Perkins was bummed that some of the ideas he had in it never made it to print.

This makes a lot of sense.

Okay, so then it's three unlucky dice rolls when the mind flayer has to use Dominate Monster just to tell them to stop being rude and take their helm off! ;)

I guess for a published adventure this makes sense.

But doesn't anybody's PC research the foes they plan on fighting (especially long term)?

"Buy a metal full face helm yah silly adventurer's" :D

/shakes cane

I agree, it'd be cool to have some lesser and variant mind flayers to throw in the mix. When I ran Out of the Abyss, I really wanted to work in some vampire mind flayers that replaced extract brain with the vampire's energy drain, but it never worked out.

It does, though given they're thinking along those lines I'm honestly surprised they didn't take the opportunity to stick a few less-lethally-swingy mind flayer variants in the spelljammer monster book given their prominence in the setting.
 

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