Spelljammer Why Play Spelljammer Over a Regular Pirate Campaign?


A suffusion of yellow
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.

the Flash Gordon soundtrack is exactly what makes Spelljammer awesome

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Aside from the particular flavor of the setting itself, Spelljammer is also sort of the D&D equivalent of RIFTS... You can have a party with any combination of races and classes no matter how diverse without having to come up with bizarre reasons why there's one single warforged artificer wandering around Krynn, or a Mul necromancer (from Athas) hanging out in Eberron. You can fight dinosaurs on an ice planet on the way to pulling a heist in a city built on a flying whale.
The Spelljammer concept of bopping round space in a flying ship shaped like a swan or a nautilus is the string that ties together whatever elements from any and all other settings you choose to incorporate into your game...
(Even aside from actually being able to bop from one setting world to the next on a whim.)


Lets turn the question around. Why play sea pirates when you could play space pirates?

I would say, the main reason would be because you prefer your D&D more serious and grounded.

Oh, and did I tell you how I defeated a fleet of eight Orion Pirate vessels (including two with cloaking devices) in the Star Trek RPG?
I do think that, say, a Ghoats of Daltmarsh campaign does offer a distinct flavor different from Spelljammer, for sure.

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