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Spelljammer is a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. The first new campaign setting for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, Spelljammer allowed players to adventure in "arcane space."

Features[]

Spelljammer sees player characters sail through space in vessels known as spelljamming ships, which are capable of traveling between worlds of the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse. Each world and its entire solar system is contained within a massive crystal sphere. Between crystal spheres lies a gaseous expanse termed "phlogiston", a multicolored sea upon which ships sail.

In Spelljammer, the laws of astrophysics differ from those of the real world. Spelljamming ships commonly resemble seagoing ships, with gravity naturally keeping sailors on their decks and retaining a bubble of breathable air around the vessel. Most stars in the night sky are in fact merely portholes at the outside of a crystal sphere.

Development[]

As described by Jeff Grubb in the August 1989 foreword to the original Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (1989) boxed set, Spelljammer began in a brainstorming session at a restaurant among TSR writers and editors in Lake Geneva. Jim Ward was in charge, with Warren Spector his second. Jeff Grubb pitched the idea of D&D in space, with the concept of a warrior standing on the deck of his ship, but the ship is in space. From this came the product's design goal of an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game set in space, pushing the boundaries of what had traditionally been a generic fantasy game.[1][2]

The designers wished to create a product which would allow travel between the existing AD&D campaign settings (the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and World of Greyhawk). However, they found it difficult to integrate all three into a single solar system without contradicting established lore, and Zeb Cook's solution of placing each in its own solar system would necessitate unreasnably lengthy voyages, given realistic physics. Their solution was to create the magical fantasy system of physics which would come to characterize the Spelljammer setting.[1]

Dave LaForce designed the Spelljammer ship itself and the Rock of Bral. Jim Holloway presented five possible drawings for ships, and to his surprise all five were accepted for use in the product, establishing a bizarre diversity in spaceships. Primary editor Steve Winter and design manager James Ward were also credited in design for their innovative contributions to the original sourcebook. Jeff Grubb characterized the setting's design as "the gaming equivalent of running through a mansion, flinging open the doors, and discovering what lies beyond them."[1]

Publication history[]

AD&D 2nd edition[]

The Spelljammer setting was first released in Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (1989), a boxed set containing two 96-page sourcebooks: The Concordance of Arcane Space, explaining the rules for spelljamming ships and adventuring in space; Lorebook of the Void, detailing the various ships, peoples, solar systems, and the experience of a spelljamming campaign; and various maps and tokens.

Further sourcebooks for the setting were released between 1990 and 1993.

Three boxed sets were released: The Legend of Spelljammer (1991), exploring the legendary ship; the War Captain's Companion (1992), offering tactical ship-to-ship combat rules and new ship design rules; and The Astromundi Cluster (1993), detailinga planetless crystal sphere filled with asteroids.

The SJR product line featured seven sourcebooks expanding the setting: Ed Greenwood's adventure compendium SJR1 Lost Ships (1990); the SJR2 Realmspace (1991), SJR6 Greyspace (2e) (1992), and SJR7 Krynnspace (2e) (1993) books, each detailing the solar system of the three major D&D settings; the SJR5 Rock of Bral (1992), and the planet compendium SJR4 Practical Planetology (1991), and encounter compendium SJR8 Space Lairs (1993); as well as the SJR3 Spelljammer Dungeon Master's Screen (1991).

The SJA product line comprised the four adventure modules SJA1 Wildspace (2e) (1990), SJA2 Skull & Crossbows (1990), SJA3 Crystal Spheres (1990), and SJA4 Under the Dark Fist (1991). Two other adventure modules were produced: SJQ1 Heart of the Enemy (1992) and SJS1 Goblins' Return (1991).

Two Monstrous Compendium products were released for the setting: MC7 Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix (1990) and Monstrous Compendium: Spelljammer Appendix 2{{UnknownBook}}.

The campaign reference book CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (1992) provided additional information for the setting.

D&D 3rd edition[]

Beyond the Moons[]

With the release of Dungeons & Dragons third edition, Wizards of the Coast limited the number of campaign settings in publication, opting instead to nominate certain fan websites as official custodians and empowering them to maintain the legacy of those settings. These sites were granted official sanction to fan-created works and D&D 3e conversions of earlier editions' content.

In January 2000, Spelljammer Mailing List members nominated Beyond the Moons as the official Spelljammer site. The author of that site instead created a new site for that purpose, Compendium: The Seekers' Archive, which merged back into Beyond the Moons in February 2002.[3][4]

Shadow of the Spider Moon[]

A d20 System re-imagning of the Spelljammer setting featured in Polyhedron #151 (May 2002), p.15-64 (Dungeon #92 (May/Jun 2002)), titled Spelljammer: Shadow of the Spider Moon. It was described both as an original d20 System Mini-Game and as a campaign setting for D&D 3rd edition.

Shadow of the Spider Moon describes a single solar system, with several planets: the dust world Ashen, the jungle planet Verdura, the aquatic Quelya, the forested elf-ruled Perianth and its Spider Moon to which the drow were banished, the Chain of Tears asteroid belt, and the cold Moradin's Forge; all orbiting a star named Pyre.

In the editorial to the previous issue, Polyhedron #150 (Mar 2002), Erik Mona described Shadow of the Spider Moon as intentionally diverging from some of the quirkier aspects of Spelljammer:

"Gone are the goofy hippo men. Gone is the wonky cosmology. And best of all, there's nary a giant space hamster in sight."

According the editorial in Polyhedron 151, this statement proved to be controversial among Spelljammer fans, many of whom felt Spelljammer's quirks were a critical part of the setting.

D&D 5th edition[]

On April 1, 2022, Wizards of the Coast made a tweet declaring "Spelljammer confirmed", featuring a giant space hamster. Although taken as a joke, on April 21, the company announced a genuine box set titled Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, available August 16. The trailer featured such iconic Spelljammer features as a giff crewman, the Rock of Bral, and a miniature giant space hamster.

Spelljammer: Adventures in Space will include the 64-page setting guide The Astral Adventurer’s Guide, the 64-page monster sourcebook Boo’s Astral Menagerie, a 64-page adventure module Light of Xaryxis, and a double-sided poster of the Rock of Bral.[5]

Reception and influence[]

This section is incomplete. Please complete this section and remove this {{secstub}} notice.

External links[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space, Lorebook of the Void (1989), p.3.
  2. The NewbieDM Show: Ed greenwood and Jeff Grubb. July 8, 2021. NewbieDM, Youtube. 39m.
  3. Other Worlds. Wizards.com. Archived April 7, 2001.
  4. About Beyond the Moons. Aug 25, 2004.
  5. Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
Campaign settings
Major
BirthrightDark SunDragonlanceEberronForgotten Realms (Al-QadimKara-TurMazticaArcane Age) • Nentir ValeGreyhawkMystara (Hollow WorldRed Steel) • PlanescapeRavenloft (Masque of the Red Death) • Spelljammer
Other
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Third-party and licensed
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