D&D’s Spelljammer: Adventures in Space Is Exactly What’s on the Tin

D&D’s Spelljammer: Adventures in Space Is Exactly What’s on the Tin
Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Robson Michel)

Years after Spelljammer: Confirmed became a meme, we’re getting an in-depth look at what Dungeons & Dragons has in store for the revitalized science-fantasy setting. At a recent press event, Chris Perkins (D&D’s principal story designer) and Greg Tito (D&D’s senior comms manager) introduced the updated setting and gave us a bunch of art to show off.

Spelljammer has always been a bit of a weirdo,” Perkins said, while discussing the three books that are included in the revamped setting: an adventurer’s guide, a bestiary, an adventure, and a Dungeon Master’s screen alongside a massive map of the Rock of Bral. The Fifth Edition setting takes a lot of the lore from the 1989 setting, and translates it into modern stats and descriptions, but there are no really big departures from the space pirate aesthetic of the original. It has adjusted some of the world-building to suit the “cosmology” of Fifth Edition, and in doing so taken away some of the weirdness — and the uniqueness — of the original.

Still, the option to have a space-faring campaign in Fifth Edition is a fun addition, and while there are some gonzo elements (like space clowns and giant space hamsters) that feel just a little too bizarre for a book that is also attempting to balance out intergalactic political intrigue with the Light of Xaryxis adventure, the whole endeavour will appeal to people who were already interested in what Spelljammer has to offer.

The Deluxe Set

Image: Dungeons & DragonsImage: Dungeons & Dragons

Astral Adventurer’s Guide

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Bruce Brenneise)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Bruce Brenneise)

The Astral Adventurer’s Guide, a 64-page hardcover book for players and Dungeon Masters, presents the Astral Plane as a campaign setting and includes space-based character options, spells and magic items, deck plans and descriptions for spelljamming ships, and more.

Astral Adventurer’s Guide Alternative Cover

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Hydro74)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Hydro74)

Featuring a portrait of a hippopotamus-inspired race called the Gif, this version of the guide will be exclusive to local game stores.

Boo’s Astral Menagerie

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Justin Gerard)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Justin Gerard)

Boo’s Astral Menagerie, a 64-page hardcover book for Dungeon Masters, presents game statistics and descriptions for over 60 creatures found in Wildspace and the Astral Sea, including astral elves, cosmic horrors, lunar and solar dragons, murder comets, and space clowns.

Boo’s Astral Menagerie Alternate Cover

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Hydro74)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Hydro74)

A very aggressive-looking Boo graces the alternate cover of the bestiary, similarly exclusive to game stores.

Light of Xaryxis

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Ekaterina Burmak)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Ekaterina Burmak)

Rounding out the trio of Spelljammer books is Light of Xaryxis, a 64-page hardcover adventure for Dungeon Masters that is set in the Astral Plane, and designed for characters of levels 5–8.

Light of Xaryxis Alternate Cover

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Hydro74)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Hydro74)

This game store-exclusive cover — all three of which are designed by Hydro74 — has Space Elves on it. Who doesn’t love a Space Elf?

DM’s Screen

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Julian Kok Joon Wen)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Julian Kok Joon Wen)

The wrap-around artwork for the four-panel DM’s screen is suitably cosmic and trippy.

DM’s Screen

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Jedd Chevrier)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Jedd Chevrier)

An alternate version of the four-panel DM’s screen features space whales and a very large, quite literal interstellar body.

Sea Eel

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Matt Stewart)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Matt Stewart)

Also shown to press were a few of the creature designs players will encounter in Spelljammer’s setting. I see this eel and I’m turning the ship around, I don’t care where in Wildspace we are.

Space Hamster

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Zoltan Boros)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Zoltan Boros)

“No other space setting has Giant Space Hamsters,” said Chris Perkins. Fair.

Kindori

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Jessica Nguyen)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Jessica Nguyen)

This is the sort of whale watching I’ll play a whole campaign to get to.

Eyemonger

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Shawn Wood)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Shawn Wood)

I don’t know what an Eyemonger is but he looks like a friend. Sort of?

Space Clowns

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Robson Michel)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Robson Michel)

Nope nope nope. Not a ship I want to be on. Nope. Not for me. No, thank you.

Nightspider

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Jessica Nguyen)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Jessica Nguyen)

Oh look, another ship I definitely do not want to be on, ever.

The Rock of Bral

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Robin Olausson)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Robin Olausson)

A classic setting from the original Spelljammer — home to the city of Bral, one of the largest and greatest merchant spaceports in the multiverse — is being remade for Fifth Edition.

Air Bubble Spell

Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Nikki Dawes)Image: Dungeons & Dragons (Nikki Dawes)

Taking “I can show you the stars” rather literally, here’s an example of one of the new spells included in the campaign set.

The Spelljammer campaign set will release August 16.

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