Dear lord, how could I have not thought of Spelljammer = D&D + Flash Gordon before? D&D + Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, sure. But Flash Gordon is the perfect way to describe it.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.
Sounds awesome.I spent over two glorious years as a player in the Pathfinder 1e very pirate-forward AP Skull and Shackles, and there was never a moment's doubt as to our adventures' style, tone, or themes. We were freebooting adventurers making our mark among the region's pirates, crossing swords or outsailing the competition (). It was certainly a high fantasy AP, but it was also thematically and mechanically grounded in the very reliable and familiar ocean-based, island-visiting, rum-drinking, seafaring, shanty-singing, port-a-calling, gravity-centric swashbuckling tropes of classic high seas adventures.once in a regatta!
I disagree.If someone took that AP and replaced the ocean with space, would it really make a difference? ABSOLUTELY and, in every way, it would obliterate so much of the narrative tensions that were inherent in the adventurous goals and conflicts that unfolded in our large but still limited terrestrial region.
They're not exactly the same, no. But you can swap them. Some stuff is lost, yes, but other stuff is gained. The motivations and challenges laid out in that AP aren't drastically altered by switching it to Spelljammer...at least not the non-plane-hopping original version. I'm sure adding planar travel to the mix will throw things off.Pirating and seafaring campaigns aren't simply about salty window dressing - the ocean/islands play a massive part in defining the motivations and challenges that make the genre and themes come to life for players. They can't simply be swapped out for space/planets without losing what makes them so particular.
Not at all. The PCs are still people. Often desperate people looking for a better life. That's a huge motivation. Or they're looking for adventure. That doesn't change when you swap the sea for the stars.Spelljammer goes vast and cosmic and demands substantially different character motivations on such a scale.
Not at all. "I'm broke and need money" will get people to sail hundreds of miles across the ocean in search of the unknown (just as it did in the real world), and it will still get people to sail millions of miles across the stars in search of the unknown (just as it will in the real world). You have access to grander motivations than that, certainly, but they're not required to be grand. Simple, common motivations still work just as well.And the opportunities to travel huge distances to radically different worlds demands substantially different hooks than one would find in classic seafaring stories.
Again, not really. The same motivations that get people on one kind of ship will get them on any kind of ship.Spelljammer PCs need to think very differently than their counterparts in a pirate campaign
Swapping the sea for the stars is a tonal shift, to be sure, but not a plot or character shift. The setting obviously changes, and with it a few elements change, of course, but it's not as wildly different as you're making out. It adds tension and drama, not removes it. There's more to worry about, not less. More things that can go wrong, more factions to cross, more dangerous environments to deal with, etc.because a DM embracing Spelljammer to its fullest will be presenting the challenges, themes, mechanics, and world(s) in very unpredictable and alien ways (as already noted by many others in this thread)
I've used it for 30 years or so in my homebrew, and I made some big changes. So my version is not like others. However, here are some of the ways Spelljamming originated elements are significant elements of my setting:So this is the bit I’m really interested in? What are the unique elements that make Spelljammer special.
Different locations are possible with Spelljammer. Different vibe to the campaign. I mean Kraken vs. Astral Dreadnaught and Sahuagin vs. Neogi feel very different. Plus you can still land Spelljamming craft or some of them anyway and have ocean adventures as well, and in different settings!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)
You simply are not going to get the same feel from the Sea of Fallen Stars. There are similarities in that you can pirate and board ships, and go to ports, but the similarities drop off sharply from there.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.