Spelljamer Adventure Changes

I’ve been really enjoying running Dragonlance. Despite trying to run it unaltered, I created a lot of changes and released them on dmsguild. I’ve been craving to do a similar treatment to Spelljammer. The adventure had a few things I wanted to change to bring back old lore and tie it together better. Unfortunately there is far too much material I would love to convert.

Dulsi’s Spelljammer Addendum

Has anyone else run the adventure? Have you looked at the errata including the really lame “fix” to the ending?

Other than the original was a hot mess of “we didn’t think this trough.”? No not recently. Spelljammer does not need an Addendum. It needs a total rewrite, from the most basic concepts forward. I would spend less time in listing things they got right.

Yes, there is a lot of spelljammer material on my shelves, and I have read it, even tried running it. You smack your face into unworkable rules all the time.

I.E. The ton. What a “ton” means in the game is not defined, ever. Traveller does that right at the start. Ships are listed by tonnage, arbitrarily. It really has no relation to the physical size of the ship. They have ship designs with huge voids in them.

It is only the start. They present NPC ships that break the rules, but only for the NPCs. NOTHING will get my ire faster than different rules for NPCs and PCs. If someone did that at a table I was playing at, I would walk.

Hot mess. Nearly anything would be an improvement.

If you want more consistent design on ships, you might want to get Hackjammer. It is the Spelljammer book for HackMaster. The designers on it (or at least one of them) specifically wanted to fix the ship designs. While I would like a fixed ship design I don’t worry about it. For the new version they don’t even mention ship tons.

I also have no problems with NPCs running with different rules so we have different tastes in that regard.

Thank you no I will not be playing at your table. The same rules for everyone is the one thing I’m truly hard nosed about. In game, no one has a banner over their head announcing that status as a PC or NPC.

There is no difference in the world between PC and NPC. I simply find a difference a mechanics make the game easier to run. Despite running 5e for a while, I know very little about how the classes work because I don’t need to.

I’m curious. You mentioned NPC ships that break the rules but only for NPCs in Spelljammer. What ships do that? I don’t remember any being that way. Sure you can’t use the mind flayer helms without being a mind flayer but I don’t see that as breaking the rules.

Here is one of them the Batship The second was a chi powered monster (The name of which I do not remember to look up) that was way past the tonnage limits. In the notes in the modules it specifically states to never let PCs gain control of either ship. And well the Spelljammer itself.

Mind Flayers was two things. Their big ship, arbitrarily set at 100 tons, had that larval pool drive. The smaller ones tend to use life helms that while you could use them, do you want to?

My general impression of Spelljamer was a nice idea with not very consistent execution. Some of the concepts get a side eye for sheer ludicrousness, like ship gravity and air holding. Others for the deliberate effort to cripple the PCs, mainly magicians. The whole helm system, the flammability of the phlogiston as two.

I made several changes right off the bat.
1: Newtonian physics, no “flow”. Interstellar travel is by gate from specific points in a system, more like Traveller.
2: Ship helms do not require the sacrifices of anything, magic, spells or babies. They are magical devices that pull ambient magic and produce consistent gravity fields and there is an air generator. To travel outside a system you need the stargate spell or a generator.
3: Technological star travel exists as well. Intersection of a subspace an a jammer field was BAD. Both ships get rearranged. So jammer/warpfinders are common in systems where the two technologies mix.

My observation was the mechanics of travel became the focus as written, not the adventure. So I simplified the ships to the point of working technology that you don’t worry about.

Pour one out for the clerics trying to prepare spells.

Right, with the locality of gods and all.

The more I think about it, the environment was made as stupid hostile as possible. Sargassos that shut down your drive. Oooh do you have enough momentum to get through them? You are in SPACE! Nothing to slow you down. If you stop the helm you do not simply stop.

Absolutely numbskull stuff like this.

Hey, maybe the flat earthers got a hold of Spelljammer and think it’s a science book. No, it still has space.

You should keep in mind Spelljammer was written to fix with existing D&D rules. Traveling to other words already cut off clerics from their magic. Stars disappeared or changed in Krynn but was not visible to other words. (WotC doesn’t care about earlier lore which has it advantages.)

They did introduce a few fixes for clerics. There is contact home plane spell to get access to your god. You could be granted powers by an existing god which does so for some reason. (I think that one should be leaned on heavily.) You can worship a pantheon. You can worship Ptah. (Those two I dislike.) Granted you are still in trouble in the phlogiston.

As for the environment being hostile, D&D was very hostile at that time. Dark Sun said make 3 level 3 characters I believe because it was expected one or two might die.

I loved Darksun!

Darksun was deliberately hostile. I’ve never liked the dying world idea, so I avoided it. It is very easy to simply make things so hard that PCs die. There is nothing creative in that. A good challenging adventure is what I’m after. I don’t think simply living should be more challenging that it normally is. “Everything sucks” is not a great world IMHO unless the goal is to have the PCs make it better. Darksun does not get “better”. Even if you defeat all the tyrannical governments, the place is still falling apart.

I can’;t blame Lizards for ditching the Spelljammer lore. It was pretty twisted.

Really big ships and the Spelljammer itself don’t seem like a big deal to me. I don’t complain about the Empire having the Death Star or Star Destroyers. In fact even controlling a Mon Calamari Cruiser would be beyond the scope I would expect for a Star Wars game. The Spelljammer is a campaign goal. What would you do if you reached it I don’t know.

The batship doesn’t say the players can’t get it. Only that it isn’t intended for that. I will say I hate the charm effect of the batship and the Spelljammer.

But the Star Wars universe does not have rules saying nothing bigger than a Collerian frigate. Then turning around and introducing the one super special Star Destroyer that gets to break the rules.

The issue has never been with any given size, but with “Rules for thee but not for me.”

The “charm” effect on the spelljammer is the first thing I ditched. We will make a game ending scenario box set. Should be called the Roachtrap not the Spelljammer.