Spelljammer Why Play Spelljammer Over a Regular Pirate Campaign?

Parmandur

Book-Friend
So this is the bit I’m really interested in? What are the unique elements that make Spelljammer special.
  • Cosmic scale
  • High camp on a Baron Munchausen Gonzo tall tale level
  • Breaking out of usual high fantasy norms, with insect and ooze cremated or ships that are also living trees or turtles
  • Connecting other Settings, allowing for elements from anywhere to be incorporated
  • Greater separation of places visited, so you can have Planet of the Week adventures without explaining whybthe inhabitants of a given island haven't destroyed the world.
 

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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
What's the difference between a Pirate Campaign in Eberron and one in the Forgotten Realms?

You're still on a boat. You're still on water. You're still robbing other ships and ports and singing shanties...

The difference is in the setting and the style. In FR you have to deal with FR's threats. Their politics, their monsters, their gods. In Eberron it's a similar campaign, sure, but the threats and the politics and the people are going to be different. You don't have a Warforged Ironsides from House Cannith barreling down on you in the Sea of Stars, for example. There's also the Tone to be considered, with FR's very traditional Tolkienesque style compared to Eberron's early 2000s "Let's get DIFFERENT from the old man's game!" style.

Spelljammer is the same. Just a different setting. One, however, built from the ground up for piracy and quasi-nautical battles and Cartoonishness.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
Find me the private campaign where the ships are powered by giant space hamsters running on wheels, where British hippomen carry blunderbusses, where some of the ships are giant nautiluses and everything is powered by AWESOME instead of common sense.

Spelljammer is everything D&D should be, the highly fantastic and lavishly ludicrous applied to the Age of Sail and the Space Opera.
 

Rogerd1

Adventurer
So this is the bit I’m really interested in? What are the unique elements that make Spelljammer special.
Here you go

 

Stormonu

Legend
@TheSword, you're hunting for distictions you won't find or accept. It's different because it is different, like Star Trek to Star Wars. For Spelljammer, you can use/borrow/steal all sorts of naval and pirating tropes and use it there; its the twist of being in space, with its vast dark reaches and entire planets instead of mere continents or islands that makes a difference. Also too, the creatures you will meet and interact with. Could you turn around and throw them into a sea-based or cloud-based pirate game? Sure, you could, but it is the element of space and the implications of those differences that differs.

Spelljammer has a lot in common with the StarGate series, hopping from planet to planet and interacting with technologies far more ancient and powerful than what you would find in a standard D&D campaign. Space presents some different challenges - outside of the small air envelope of a spelljamming ship, it's cold, empty vacuum (and you'd better hope you don't stay flying so long your air gets fouled and turns poisonous). The gravity plane also comes into play in that you can build ships multisided with a deck on top and bottom of the ship (and maybe along all sides, too). Now, that's not too much different from drowning in the sea, or running out of rations at sea or even going 3D at sea when you start to account for submarines, undersea threats and the like, but it feels different enough in game.

During SJ's run, the created a boxed set, the Astromundi Cluster. It is a campaign setting they created for Spelljammer that plays on the strengths of what makes Spelljamming different from seaborne pirate adventures, with a variety of places to explore, secrets to uncover and factions to interact with - without having to even leave the Crystal Sphere to visit other worlds such as Greyspace (Greyhawk), Realmspace (Forgotten Realms) or Krynnspace (Dragonlance).
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
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.
So youre suggesting that the Sargasso Sea isnt different to an Asteroid belt?

indianna Jones exploring a south american jungle or Lara Croft in the Arctic have the same scenes too
 

What is the virtue of a Spelljammer game over a regular pirate setting?

Some people like the setting. That's all it is.

I don't particularly care for the setting. It's much too campy, and I don't care for the Aristotelian or Renaissance physics. In my experience from the 80s is that there's one person at the table who is really in to it, and most of the rest of the table isn't interested. I've described it elsewhere like this: I find the setting jarring when it's often an interstitial setting. You go from Krynn, Oerth, or Toril, and all they're pretty standard high fantasy. They feel like Lord of the Rings, or The Witcher, or Skyrim, or Dark Souls. Spelljammer, however, feels more like Flash Gordon, except only one player at the table can hear the Queen soundtrack.

However, I'm willing to give it a go as a change of pace.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Some people like the setting. That's all it is.

I don't particularly care for the setting. It's much too campy, and I don't care for the Aristotelian or Renaissance physics. In my experience from the 80s is that there's one person at the table who is really in to it, and most of the rest of the table isn't interested. I've described it elsewhere like this: I find the setting jarring when it's often an interstitial setting. You go from Krynn, Oerth, or Toril, and all they're pretty standard high fantasy. They feel like Lord of the Rings, or The Witcher, or Skyrim, or Dark Souls. Spelljammer, however, feels more like Flash Gordon, except only one player at the table can hear the Queen soundtrack.

However, I'm willing to give it a go as a change of pace.
Only if the DM is bad and not playing the Flash Gordon Queen soundtrack.
 

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