Spelljammer Why Play Spelljammer Over a Regular Pirate Campaign?

TheSword

Legend
3.) Spelljammer is more than ships: There are a lot of lore elements of Spelljammer that are unique and different. It feels like something unique when you really dig into it, or when you develop your own version like I have. There are major elements of my campaign that are highly influencd by the way I use Spelljamming, and they are amongst the most iconic elements of my homebrew. I have distinct factions, persaonlities, and long storylines that are based around Spelljamming and the influence it has on the setting.
So this is the bit I’m really interested in? What are the unique elements that make Spelljammer special.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Why explore a dungeon and not a palace? Why adventure in the arctic and not the jungle?
Because the jungle and the arctic are fundamentally different places. Different environment, different creatures, different experience.

Spelljammer seems to look and feel like a pirates campaign in space. I mean look at the intro video by WOC. The exact same scenes could take place on Eberron or the Forgotten Realms just on water. There is nothing apparent there that identifies with space to make it clear why Spelljammer is so unique.

If a palace is just like any other dungeon who cares which you adventure in?

I’m not trying to diss Spelljammer. I’m just genuinely interested in what it’s USP is.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I can’t imagine any possible ship to ship combat system that works for a party of PCs that does not put all but one player (the one interested in ship battles) to sleep.

The iteration in 2e SJ, and added to with War Captains Compendium, were of the time. Warts and all, certain fans enjoyed them.

Myself, I checked out until the two players that loved Star Trek battles got done taking all the time. The rest of us twiddled our thumbs until we got to the boarding.
When you have a really well told story, the genre is not really a barrier to a great time. I can think of TV shows about topics that do not intrigue me at all - yet they're so well written I think they're amongst the best TV ever.

D&D games are like any other stories. When the D&D story is told well, it is engaging, whether it is ship to ship battle, a dungeon delve, a war epic, a political thriller, or anything else.

If one or two people are enjoying the story and the rest are not, then there are ways for the DM to engage those players and increase their interest, even if ship to ship battles are not 'their thing'
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I can’t imagine any possible ship to ship combat system that works for a party of PCs that does not put all but one player (the one interested in ship battles) to sleep.
I guess I'd be that one player then, as I love that kind of stuff! :)
The iteration in 2e SJ, and added to with War Captains Compendium, were of the time. Warts and all, certain fans enjoyed them.
I'll have to keep my eye open for those.
 

Arilyn

Hero
Because the jungle and the arctic are fundamentally different places. Different environment, different creatures, different experience.

Spelljammer seems to look and feel like a pirates campaign in space. I mean look at the intro video by WOC. The exact same scenes could take place on Eberron or the Forgotten Realms just on water. There is nothing apparent there that identifies with space to make it clear why Spelljammer is so unique.

If a palace is just like any other dungeon who cares which you adventure in?

I’m not trying to diss Spelljammer. I’m just genuinely interested in what it’s USP is.
I've never actually played Spelljammer but the locales and creatures will be even more fantastical than in a typical D&D game. Cities on asteroids, weird planets, giant space hamsters. No reasons at all to be even remotely realistic. I think it'll be a fun change of pace.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
So this is a genuine question. What is the virtue of a Spelljammer game over a regular pirate setting? (Razor Coast, Skull and Shackles, Ghosts of Saltmarsh)

Does space travel/crystal spheres/phlogiston make that much difference?

What else is there that makes it worth playing - that couldn’t be done on the Sea of Fallen Stars? I use that example as the original AD&D sourcebook for SoFS featured a wrecked Neogi ship.
Well, look at the monsters from the Monstrous Compendium document or the Minis in the Ship scale line from WizKids: lots of Gargantuan, ridiculous monsters that are outsized even for the deep sea, with weird properties and goals.

Spelljammer isn't just about the sailing, it's also about scale and permission to go completely Gonzo. You can do that in a seafaring campaign, sure, but Spelljammer is a format to go even weirder. And to tie in literally anything imaginable.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Because the jungle and the arctic are fundamentally different places. Different environment, different creatures, different experience.

Spelljammer seems to look and feel like a pirates campaign in space. I mean look at the intro video by WOC. The exact same scenes could take place on Eberron or the Forgotten Realms just on water. There is nothing apparent there that identifies with space to make it clear why Spelljammer is so unique.

If a palace is just like any other dungeon who cares which you adventure in?
My guess - and having never done anything with Spelljammer it's only a guess - is that the uniqueness ties largely to two main things:

One, it's in space - a mostly-empty 3-D environment you move around in where the foes you meet are also going to mostly be transient, as in based on other ships. D&D otherwise doesn't really lean into this - sure the PCs move around a lot but their foes and adventure sites are mostly static in place. The only other campaign type that would be similar would be sea-ships on an all-water world, but space just gives way more options.

Two, because it's in space there's a limitless scope of possibilities for where you can land and-or what you might find there when you do. You can easily have all those different experiences - jungle, arctic, waterless, all-water, different physics-astronomy-etc., different inhabitants - all in the same campaign and even maybe in the same adventure. Best part: you don't even have to be high-level planeshifting or world-hopping characters to do this; you just use your ship to go from one to the next.
 


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