Spelljammer Why Play Spelljammer Over a Regular Pirate Campaign?

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
I feel like I am repeating myself.

A keg costs 250 GP, and weighs 20 lbs. One dozen kegs is 3000 GP. "Dozens" of kegs is getting to be tens of thousands of GP, and weighs a ton, so isn't mobile in any meaningful sense.

And, as already noted, there's no reason to expect that anyone has such a stockpile. So gathering it isn't easy.

Meanwhile, you have the Necklace of Fireballs, which weighs less than a pound, costs 2000 GP ro so to make. So, I'm not sure I see what the problem is.

For every one of these complaints, we should note: as the GM, you have complete and utter control over the supply of gunpowder the PCs can get. If you don't want them to have it, don't make large amounts available!
I didnt declare it was a problem, nor have I complained.

I noted that I "thought" the post you quoted was speaking of big explosions and not the effect of firearms.

This has become tense for some reason, so carry on.
 

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Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
To answer the original question - it's all about the feel to me.
I have never liked pirate movies, or sea ship based fiction. I do however love space, science fiction, science fantasy. So while spelljammer is wooden ships in space, you could replace those ships with some other style of ship, and I would enjoy it just as much. They are the transport and mechanism to move about in space (and fight there when needed). The important things, the variable races, the traveling to new planets with completely different biospheres, the exploration of "strange new worlds, and civilizations" - that is the draw for me for spelljammer. And a pirate campaign just doesn't have anywhere near the same feel to me. You say a bar in your major city in a planet bound cosmopolitan city in your campaign looks like the cantina in star wars, people freak. Do it in the Rock of Brall, and no one bats an eye. That really sums up the difference to me.

tl;dr - space and the trappings thereof.
 
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TheSword

Legend
I’m a bit perplexed by answers along the lines of Spelljammer is more fantastical… I’ve never felt the need to avoid the fantastic in my fantasy settings. Eberron has flying air ships, floating cities, cyclopean ruins, time-warping jungles, dead elf nations and daemon overlords.

Secondly I don’t really understand the response that that it’s because of specific monsters. I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if a giant floating hippo appeared in an Eberron campaign. Less so if a Giff appeared in a campaign with hobgoblin artisans and annis hag generals. I’m pretty sure we’ve already seen a Giff published, though it might be my imagination.

It seems that there is a nostalgic style of Spelljammer that is pretty trippy, and dialed up to 15. With a sprinkling of in-jokes and silliness for measure. Throw in space empires of monstrous and demi-human races and a sci-fI element.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I’m a bit perplexed by answers along the lines of Spelljammer is more fantastical… I’ve never felt the need to avoid the fantastic in my fantasy settings. Eberron has flying air ships, floating cities, cyclopean ruins, time-warping jungles, dead elf nations and daemon overlords.

Secondly I don’t really understand the response that that it’s because of specific monsters. I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if a giant floating hippo appeared in an Eberron campaign. Less so if a Giff appeared in a campaign with hobgoblin artisans and annis hag generals. I’m pretty sure we’ve already seen a Giff published, though it might be my imagination.

It seems that there is a nostalgic style of Spelljammer that is pretty trippy, and dialed up to 15. With a sprinkling of in-jokes and silliness for measure. Throw in space empires of monstrous and demi-human races and a sci-fI element.
I am perplexed that you don't see the difference of the scale and weirdness involved. Particularly when you provide the answer in your final paragraph: trippy and dialed up to 15, perfect way of phrasing it. The silliness and 80's Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe are part of the appeal.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
It seems that there is a nostalgic style of Spelljammer that is pretty trippy, and dialed up to 15. With a sprinkling of in-jokes and silliness for measure. Throw in space empires of monstrous and demi-human races and a sci-fI element.
With a small edit (I'd remove the word "nostalgic" before style) you could be writing the ad copy for the setting.

How is it you say you don't see the appeal when you've written it out so eloquently?
 

Prince Atom

Explorer
Most any adventure can work in any world. Maybe it'll take some rewriting to localize it.

Most any monster can work in any world. There's Spelljammer monsters that fly, you can fly in the air or swim through the water. The focoid can burn you with sunlight in atmo just as badly as out of it.

I think the big selling point is that it is adventures In Space and the scope enlarges to match. There are monsters that specifically look like asteroids to get you to come close enough to try and catch you. Gravity acts weird; you can walk around on the bottom of your ship. You could fly out and look at the sun or the moon or other planets. Only a few jamming vessels are actually adapted from what we'd recognize as a ship. You could fly out in a galleon or a cog or a drakkar, but all the spacers would decide you were a group of groundlings and didn't know what you were doing. Most space-built ships are shaped like animals. The illithids all have cephalopod ships, the neogi shape theirs like spiders, the elves' ships are all insect-shaped and grown from seedlings. Not all of them can land on water, some of them need to set down on solid ground and a few can't land at all.

There's an opportunity to be creative with celestial mechanics once you get out to a scale beyond what most groundlings are accustomed to. Your planet doesn't have to be round. It could be cylindrical, donut shaped, coin shaped, or polyhedral. Greyspace is geocentric around Oerth. Realmspace is heliocentric. I'm sure there's more than one system out there that's basically Discworld.

From a player's perspective, there's lots of things to fly out and see. Less now, perhaps, that they've done away with crystal spheres. The crystal sphere around Realmspace, for instance, used to have gigantic glyphs carved into the inside of it. They could only be seen in whole from a jamming vessel a couple thousand miles from the surface of the sphere. If a mage managed to read them, they would invoke a random spell. There are also the marching ranks of humanoids endlessly circling the inside of the sphere. Should they ever stop walking, chanting and gesticulating, then no jamming vessel could pass through the crystal sphere again.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
With a small edit (I'd remove the word "nostalgic" before style) you could be writing the ad copy for the setting.
Yeah. I'm a DM that has never played an edition before D&D 5e. I only joined the hobby 6ish years ago, and I have no nostalgia for the late 80s/early 90s because I wasn't alive back then. The same applies to most of my players.

When I ran Spelljammer in D&D 5e, all of my players loved it. They loved the wacky and zany nature of it and they didn't even know that the setting was older than anyone at the table was.

I'm reasonably sure that a lot of other newer players like me and my table would feel the same way about Spelljammer if properly introduced to it and its theme in an official book.
 

I’m a bit perplexed by answers along the lines of Spelljammer is more fantastical… I’ve never felt the need to avoid the fantastic in my fantasy settings. Eberron has flying air ships, floating cities, cyclopean ruins, time-warping jungles, dead elf nations and daemon overlords.
me either. SOmetimes I have super fantasy and sometimes I go lower fantasy.

however you can't not see that spelljammer can have a built in feel, and that feel CAN be duplicated with other settings, but it comes backed into spelljammer.

having said that, I will again say I can take all the planets in the original starwars movies, make them 'sections' of a world, even add in some from the prequals... have an evil empire that has outlawed magic, have the main servant of the new emperor be a death knight... and have the PCs start out as a paladin, rogue, and sorcerer and pretty much run star wars... depending on how on the nose I name things I bet I could even pull it off without most people figureing it out right away. Maybe when they find the weakness to the city destroying flying fortress it would give it away... that doesn'tmean that there is no reason to have a star wars game.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
To give this another go...

The sense of wonder. That's it. Nautical stories are awesome. But they don't generally have the same sense of wonder you find in sci-fi stories. Spelljammer takes the nautical and adds that sense of wonder...by putting it out there. Both literally and figuratively. Anyone read Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama? Niven's Ringworld? Pohl's Gateway? Banks' Culture series? Perry Rhodan? You can't do any of that with a planet-bound pirate game.

Why not just run a planet-bound pirate game? Because doing it in space and/or the Astral Sea opens up all the myriad possibilities you can't do with a planet-bound pirate game. Sure, you could mangle and kludge some of those elements into a pirate game, reduce them, make them smaller to fit the smaller sandbox, but what you lose in that process is exactly why you'd not do so. What you lose is the point. What you gain by going out there is the point.

At a certain point this feels like explaining why you love chocolate to someone who doesn't like chocolate.

For those who might not know the term:

 

I am perplexed that you don't see the difference of the scale and weirdness involved. Particularly when you provide the answer in your final paragraph: trippy and dialed up to 15, perfect way of phrasing it. The silliness and 80's Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe are part of the appeal.
Well, maybe there isn't. Maybe @TheSword plays in a game that is so full of trippy high magic gonzo weirdness that they are already in Spelljammer-land without knowing it, and their idea of a "regular" pirate campaign is very different to what the rest of us think of.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
me either. SOmetimes I have super fantasy and sometimes I go lower fantasy.

however you can't not see that spelljammer can have a built in feel, and that feel CAN be duplicated with other settings, but it comes backed into spelljammer.

having said that, I will again say I can take all the planets in the original starwars movies, make them 'sections' of a world, even add in some from the prequals... have an evil empire that has outlawed magic, have the main servant of the new emperor be a death knight... and have the PCs start out as a paladin, rogue, and sorcerer and pretty much run star wars... depending on how on the nose I name things I bet I could even pull it off without most people figureing it out right away. Maybe when they find the weakness to the city destroying flying fortress it would give it away... that doesn'tmean that there is no reason to have a star wars game.
As I stated before, your singular planet with hundreds of world emulating kingdoms still is a singular planet which a spelljamming campaign explicitly allows for leaving and never returning to.
 

TheSword

Legend
To give this another go...

The sense of wonder. That's it. Nautical stories are awesome. But they don't generally have the same sense of wonder you find in sci-fi stories. Spelljammer takes the nautical and adds that sense of wonder...by putting it out there. Both literally and figuratively. Anyone read Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama? Niven's Ringworld? Pohl's Gateway? Banks' Culture series? Perry Rhodan? You can't do any of that with a planet-bound pirate game.

Why not just run a planet-bound pirate game? Because doing it in space and/or the Astral Sea opens up all the myriad possibilities you can't do with a planet-bound pirate game. Sure, you could mangle and kludge some of those elements into a pirate game, reduce them, make them smaller to fit the smaller sandbox, but what you lose in that process is exactly why you'd not do so. What you lose is the point. What you gain by going out there is the point.

At a certain point this feels like explaining why you love chocolate to someone who doesn't like chocolate.

For those who might not know the term:

I totally get what you mention about the sense of wonder, and I agree with you. There are fundamental differences between sci-fi and fantasy. The best sci-fi is exceptional stuff. The lazy stuff is worse than magic… sonic disrupters in space, sub-atomic bacteria, and thinking that individual creatures can evolve. To name some Star Trek wonder destroyers.

Spelljammer just seems to be Fantasy in space though. The the sci-fi elements are pretty low grade. Laser beams is probably the most exciting, and not much at that. I refer you to the the DMs screen thread. It all could apply to a normal sea vessel. You could read it, and without the name drop monsters you’d think it was.

Now give me 5eModern or 5eFuture, I’m sold. Simply transplanting sailing ships into space and putting a bubble round them though? A sense of wonder does not make.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Well, maybe there isn't. Maybe @TheSword plays in a game that is so full of trippy high magic gonzo weirdness that they are already in Spelljammer-land without knowing it, and their idea of a "regular" pirate campaign is very different to what the rest of us think of.
Well it’s all relative. I’m saying, “D&D but weirder and sillier” isn’t really a compelling USP for a setting, those dials are generally controlled by the DM anyway.

I’m all for a bit of silliness in games, usually juxtaposed to serious, grimdark elements. Like how comedy naming conventions are used in WFRP next to some pretty dark things.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I totally get what you mention about the sense of wonder, and I agree with you. There are fundamental differences between sci-fi and fantasy. The best sci-fi is exceptional stuff. The lazy stuff is worse than magic… sonic disrupters in space, sub-atomic bacteria, and thinking that individual creatures can evolve. To name some Star Trek wonder destroyers.

Spelljammer just seems to be Fantasy in space though. The the sci-fi elements are pretty low grade. Laser beams is probably the most exciting, and not much at that. I refer you to the the DMs screen thread. It all could apply to a normal sea vessel. You could read it, and without the name drop monsters you’d think it was.

Now give me 5eModern or 5eFuture, I’m sold. Simply transplanting sailing ships into space and putting a bubble round them though? A sense of wonder does not make.
Chocolate is awesome. Sorry you hate chocolate.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Spelljammer just seems to be Fantasy in space though.

I’m saying, “D&D but weirder and sillier” isn’t really a compelling USP for a setting, those dials are generally controlled by the DM anyway.
So, you keep saying thwt you don't get the appeal, but then you state what the appeal is...?

Spelljammer are tools for DMs to crank up the weird and silly dials, and be fantasy IIIIIIIIN SPAAAAAAAAAAAACEEEEE
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
And why would they not ? The necklace has special rules because it's magic, and note that these rules are specific because if you have two casters cast fireballs at the same instant (but still in sequence because that's the way the system works) using readied actions, the damage cumulates.
There's still no reason to assume that the explosions add the way you are arguing. The necklace addition of only 1 extra die of damage per extra 7d8 fireball thrown might have nothing to do with magic. That specific rule could apply for all explosives. We don't know.

The DM is creating the problem by ruling that barrels of black powder add all damage together, rather than using the necklace of fireball rules or coming up with another ruling.
Well, the rules, for once, there are rules about magic items, and there are no rules in the DMG about buying smoke powder when it's available.
So if DMs have to make up the rules, why make them problematic?
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
Mostly? For the LOLs
the muppets have you seen my childhood GIF
 



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