Picking Through Spelljammer Like A Content Vulture

Just as I was getting to the point in my Science-Fantasy D&D campaign that might include fantasy-flavored space stuff, the long-awaited Spelljammer expansion to Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition came out. For the entire time I’ve been playing fifth edition, I’ve seen people posting comments on every Wizards of the Coast announcement that amount to “Spelljammer when?” and, frankly, I’m pretty happy for that to finally be done. I bet it’ll continue in some capacity, of course, because that’s how people are, but I’m glad to finally have this out so I can inject some fun space-themed fantasy bullshit into my science-fantasy game and so people will finally shut up about it. I am a complex, multi-faceted being and I can enjoy things for multiple reasons.

I’ve been making homebrew content for this game for well over a year now, casually for several months prior to the start of this game and then in earnest as my players and I designed the world. I didn’t start making the content I’m using in this world at first, it was mostly just practice creating content for a more sci-fi flavored Dungeons and Dragons game, since that was something I wanted to do, but a lot of it wound up being useful (or easily adapted) to the world my players and I wound up making. While I think I’ve hit my stride and I’m comfortable enough with D&D 5e to create or modify things on the fly, prior to a session or even during it, it helps to have models. I might wind up injecting some stuff straight into the world, given that it takes place in a space at the center of the multi-verse and has always been a hidden location in the Astral Sea, but I’m planning to do a lot of heavy adaption to fit the particular setting my players and I built.

After all, what’s the point of having all of this cool custom world stuff if I wind up setting it aside to take stuff right out of a rulebook? Better to review it all, take what could be useful, and abandon anything that would hold me back. It works great for creating stories, writing advice, and most editing advice related to story content, so it of course would work great for worldbuiling and tabletop roleplaying games. The book only came out today (as of writing this) and I’ve already reviewed most of the rules the book creates for spacefaring adventures. It, like most of fifth edition, adopts a system of basic rules, has a heavy-reliance on systems created previously, and includes the now-explicit rule that some things just work whatever way is most convenient. This isn’t supposed to be a comprehensive guide to the ways anything could ever work in a spacefaring adventure, but a solid baseline to allow you to adapt existing rules to a astral adventure that does its best to avoid any of the messy details that might bog down the fun.

As a result of today’s research, I know exactly how to use it in my existing systems without coming anywhere near breaking continuity and in a way that would make it seem like I’ve planned it that way since the get-go. Which is my favorite way to incorporate things. It doesn’t need to be seamless, but if I can get that for cheap, I will always take the extra step. I want to rant and rave about all of my ideas here and I’m incredibly tempted to do so since none of the players in this game read my blog (so far as I can tell, anyway. They might have happened upon it in a strange twist of fate). That said, I do have players in other games that might eventually include some of this stuff that definitely see my blog, so I’m going to hold off for now. Suffice it to say that I’ve long considered needing to use a separate RPG to do certain portions of the content, depending on how the players advance the plot, but now I’ve figured out how to stay within Dungeons and Dragons. Which is only really important for this main group since asking them to learn a new game system for occasional use is more than I can really expect. The other games that have some crossover potential will probably just use the other RPG for those moments and the newly adapated content for things that are adjacent to those moments.

Regardless, I’m excited to keep this game going and to see where my players wind up now that I’ve finally figured out a few different ways to proceed without needing to sacrifice any of my lofty ideas. To quote one of my favorite Disney characters: “Oh, yeah. It’s all coming together.”

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