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Classic D&D Setting Spelljammer Is Back To Rock A New Generation

Buckle up sailors, there’s booty in the stars! Yes, today was D&D Direct, a new way for the team at Wizards to update the world on all the new products coming soon to a tabletop near you. While there were a great many things shown (which I’ll cover in an article tomorrow, stay tuned), the…ahem…flagship announcement to kick off the whole thing was the triumphant return of Spelljammer, the classic science-fantasy setting that hasn’t been seen since 1992. Yes, it’s true, Spelljammer has been confirmed.

And confirmed in a big way to boot, with THREE books coming out this summer to help players enter the world of Spelljammer: The Astral Adventurer’s Guide, Boo’s Astral Menagerie, and the brand new adventure Light of Xaryxis. All three of these books will be released in a slipcase format, Spelljammer: Adventures In Space, alongside a double sided map AND a DM’s screen! There will also be a version using unique, matching covers by Hydro74. The slipcase was chosen to give Spelljammer a different feeling than what you’d get from a box set or regular release.

Spelljammer box
Spelljammer Slipcase with standard art

“Since 1989 the landscape has changed when it comes to sci-fi experiences,” D&D Project Lead Chris Perkins said in a press Q&A after the event, “we had to do some serious rethinking about the art and feel of the game and modernize it. We also had to make sure DM’s and players could tell their own flavor of sci-fi, with monsters and ideas to help you create something darker or something campier. Our goal was to present the full range of sc-fi, from campy space pirates to cosmic horror. The Giff are a little more whimsical than the insectoid Thri-Kreen, for instance, but that doesn’t mean they can’t share a ship. We’re tapping into nostalgia, but hoping DM’s can make something new with their players.” Perkins also noted that he himself ran a Spelljammer campaign way before he joined Wizards, and the release of the game represents a lot of passion from within the company.

Astral Adventurer’s Guide

Astral Adventurer's Guide Alt-cover by Hydro74
Astral Adventurer’s Guide Alt-cover by Hydro74

The Astral Adventurer’s Guide is meant as a supplement for DM’s and Players to enter Spelljammer, including world notes and, most importantly: character options. This book will introduce Astral Elves (elves who abandoned the Feywild for space), Mechanical Autognomes, Hadozee (Flying Monkeys), Giff (space hippos), Plasmoids (ooze), and the Thri-Kreen (telepathic insects with natural camouflage) Many of these, Perkins noted, come from or were influenced by TSR’s Star Frontiers game. The world of Spelljammer has moved forward a bit technologically, with greater emphasis on guns and the magitek/spellpunk aspects of the format. Another big change is that Phlogisten, an essential piece of phlebotinum on which the Spelljammers sailed, has been replaced by greater emphasis on the Astral Plane.

Boo’s Astral Menagerie

Boo’s Astral Menagerie cover art by Justin Gerard

Named for the famous giant space hamster from Baldur’s Gate, Boo’s Astral Menagerie will be a guide to all the beasties inhabiting the far reaches of the universe. This includes everything from Space Clowns to Murder Comets to Solar and Lunar Dragons.

Boo’s Astral Menagerie alt-cover by Hydro 74

Light of Xarayxis

Light of Xaryxis cover art by Ekaterina Burmak

Light of Xaryxis will be the core adventure for Spelljammer, helping new fans get acquainted with the world and easing older ones back in. It will take place throughout Wild Space and on the Astral Sea, and take place across 12 episodes (all of which are apparently cliffhangers. A prequel adventure will release this July.

Light of Xaryxis alt-cover by Hyrdo74

Spelljammer has been around since 1989, when it was one of the first new campaign settings from TSR, and has long had a dedicated and passionate fanbase despite it’s relatively short lifespan (the last official release was in 1992.) Perkins says that they made an effort to retain a lot of the old setting, but found that even with three 64-page books it was hard to feature everything.

The full Spelljamme:Adventures In Space set for release in August, though you can get an early glimpse with a July promo adventure and the upcoming Digital Monstrous Compendium. And stay tuned for more info on the D&D Direct releases soon!

Images via Wizards of the Coast

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  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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