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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 07 Aug 2022 :  16:50:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Spelljammer's Guide to Wildspace in Dungeons & Dragons

So they're keeping air envelopes and gravity planes pretty much as they were.

It looks like we're getting a new solar system; I don't recall prior mentions of "Doomspace" -- though it has, admittedly, been a long time since I perused my Spelljammer library.

Also, they're keeping the Rock of Bral in Realmspace. Originally, the location of the Rock was left unsaid, but Steven Schend, in a Dragon article, dropped it into Realmspace.

And the article confirms it: every solar system is in wildspace, and instead of crystal spheres, wildspace basically exists as pockets within the Astral.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's a more elegant solution than the crystal spheres and the Flow, but it's also a retcon, and my opinion of retcons should be widely known, in our halls. I also like the Flow just because of how different it was and the challenges it presented.

I'll observe, though, that this new arrangement further reinforces my (controversial) stance that there is not one infinite layer of the Prime, and that it is instead -- like many other planes -- a plane with multiple layers.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 07 Aug 2022 17:00:26
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 07 Aug 2022 :  16:55:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, for those unhappy with the price of the set... While the cover price for the set is $70, Amazon has it for $42.

I get supporting the FLGS and all that, but 40% off is pretty substantial.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 07 Aug 2022 16:56:12
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 15 Aug 2022 :  02:18:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This new map of Realmspace makes it look like they didn't change too much of the system, and they've kept the 100 million miles a day travel speed.


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sleyvas
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Posted - 15 Aug 2022 :  22:58:45  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

This new map of Realmspace makes it look like they didn't change too much of the system, and they've kept the 100 million miles a day travel speed.





Weird, look at that map for Karpri and Chandos and then note which "ring" each is on.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 15 Aug 2022 :  23:42:52  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

This new map of Realmspace makes it look like they didn't change too much of the system, and they've kept the 100 million miles a day travel speed.





Weird, look at that map for Karpri and Chandos and then note which "ring" each is on.




...That's not reassuring.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 18 Aug 2022 :  05:02:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've mentioned (perhaps too many times) that Spelljammer was my first love of D&D settings, to the point that my username is drawn from Spelljammer material.

So I had high hopes for this set.

I've not had a huge amount of time to go through it -- I just got this Tuesday eve, and there's simply not been time to really dig in.

I've perused the rules on spelljamming, and calling them scant is perhaps a compliment. We have a little info on it, basically focusing on flying through space and encountering other things out there. And they actually describe the sensation a spelljamming caster feels, which is a nice touch.

But there's nothing at all about taking off from or landing on planets. And though we're told wildspace is in the Astral, it seems like they didn't even consider the possibility of taking spelljamming ships into the Astral. (Also, for some reason, if it was called a catapult in prior material, it's now a mangonel.)

Additionally, there's only one kind of spelljamming helm. It is cheaper than they used to be, which is good, because in the original material, a spelljamming helm would often cost more than the ship it was mounted in. And they're easier to make, which begs the question of how the mercane and dohwars can make money selling them. (Now it's just a fifth-level spell to permanently create one).

While the Rock of Bral material is literally just a reprint of prior lore, I did like that they included a couple of references to older Spelljammer material, such as Gaspar Reclamations and the Sindiath Line.

I also flipped through the monster book. There are some familiar faces in there... And some Far Realm horror stuff, because someone at WotC loves the Cthulhu and wants to shove it in everyone's face as oft as possible. (Note: whilst I've read most of the original Cthulhu material, I've never been a fan, and I really don't want anything horror-related, especially cosmic horror, in my D&D).

And oh gods... We have evil space clowns, now. Evil space clowns with literal ray guns.

This is not a joke -- at least, it's not me making a joke.

There's a solar system of evil, flesh-eating clowns called Clownspace, and space clowns roaming around in wildspace. It's a pretty blatant rip-off of an 80's horror flick, and it's just painful to see it included here.

I've been leaning this way for a while, now, but this makes me say it openly: I wonder if these designers have any respect for their audience.

I'm also wondering if there's any kind of approval process, or if it's all just "Whatever, just give us something to print."

The first book contains info on character creation, information about spelljamming, some ships (several of which were renamed) and deck plans, and a couple pages on the Rock of Bral. (Only one ship type is new. I like the idea for it, but seriously, only one?)

In the first boxed set, back in 2E days, covering all these things took two 96-page books. More than that, really, because some of the ships in this new set came from Lost Ships.

Now, aside from the monsters, it's all in a single 64-page book. I would say that the thickness of this book is doubled by the fact it's a hardcover.

The monsters have their own book, also a 64-page hardcover. And of course this includes stat blocks and WotC's insistence on giving us a type of creature and various versions of it, but not a base version and info on how to build your own. In 2E, some monsters like dragons first listed the common traits to all of that dragon type, and then listed what they got at each age. I greatly prefer that to the approach of "We'll just stat out each version and never bother to list the common features."

I've not looked at the third book yet, which is an adventure, but I'm already prepared to be underwhelmed, there. The 5E adventures have generally failed to impress (or even interest me), and the so far disappointing nature of this set doesn't bode well for this adventure. Plus, I'd've rather had 64 pages of material to build my own adventures out of, but the current design directive at WotC seems to be "make everything pre-packaged and don't even suggest, much less encourage, coloring outside the lines."

The set retails for $70, but I got mine from Amazon for $40. I'm not sure it's worth that much.

YMMV, of course, but as it stands right now, I will not be encouraging anyone to buy this.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 18 Aug 2022 05:07:25
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HighOne
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Posted - 18 Aug 2022 :  16:47:00  Show Profile Send HighOne a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I've perused the rules on spelljamming, and calling them scant is perhaps a compliment. We have a little info on it, basically focusing on flying through space and encountering other things out there.
5E has been very rules-lite so far, sometimes to its detriment. I was very impressed with the sailing material in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, for example, until I realized there were no rules for pursuits or boarding, two of the most common experiences you can have in a sailing adventure. To run Ghosts, I had to fall back on 2E's Of Ships and the Sea for combat rules, but that book unfortunately goes in the complete opposite direction -- rules overload. Oh, for a happy medium...
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Ayrik
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Posted - 19 Aug 2022 :  01:39:13  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

And the article confirms it: every solar system is in wildspace, and instead of crystal spheres, wildspace basically exists as pockets within the Astral.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's a more elegant solution than the crystal spheres and the Flow, but it's also a retcon, and my opinion of retcons should be widely known, in our halls. I also like the Flow just because of how different it was and the challenges it presented.

I'll observe, though, that this new arrangement further reinforces my (controversial) stance that there is not one infinite layer of the Prime, and that it is instead -- like many other planes -- a plane with multiple layers.

I agree with you, Crystal Spheres drifting in the Flow (in the Phlogiston) seems more interesting and worthwhile than "pockets in the Astral".

The Astral itself is (was) commonly depicted as something of a "backstage area" of the cosmos. The "scaffolding and detritus of construction", the sealed-off mess nobody was ever meant to see. (And a wonderful interconnected "secret" way to bypass or shortcut the usual paths.)

Having had much experience with construction and renovation crews, I wholeheartedly agree that more than one sealed-off hidden mess should exist in the cosmos. There's plenty of room for an Astral and a Phlogiston to exist as different "places" or "layers" beside or between reality - alongside pantheon passage-constructs like the Yggdrasil Tree and Mount Olympus - alongside a messy handful of transitive planes or demiplanes winding through and across things, perhaps destined to one day emerge as new multiplanar constructs or perhaps remaining as half-ruined/half-unfinished remnants from those which (almost) came before. Where did the Infinite Staircase, Rivers Styx and Oceanus, or the Shadowfell or Temporal Prime come from, eh?
This messy messiness is utterly unavoidable (it absolutely must exist!) in a cosmos as neatly compartmentalized and partitioned yet as haphazardly and opportunistically overcrowded as the Great Gygaxian Wheel.

Taking unique things away or stuffing them into each other smells like unpleasant (and uncreative) retcon to me. Especially when these very distinct things were so fundamental to (and well-described within) their very different respective settings.

(I've always believed the Phlog to be a "layer" of the Astral. Implied within and consistent with 2E lore. Indeed it offers explanations for certain things (like Gith pirates, like world-travelling magics vs crystal spheres) which are otherwise puzzling. But it was never explicitly stated in canon so I accept that it's ultimately stated as fanon.)

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 19 Aug 2022 01:58:28
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sleyvas
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Posted - 24 Aug 2022 :  16:46:53  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just got my copy and literally flipping and making some notes

Ship speed in atmosphere is usually around 4 MPH. Earth's atmosphere has long been held to only extend a little over 60 miles up (some recent articles extend that by 100 times or so, but holding to that old standard). So, leaving most worlds isn't "minutes", but rather hours... but not days either. That's my own math and they never really discuss the topic that I see so far.

There is some discussion of crystal spheres....

Light of Xaryxis adventure, page 50

Doomspace in a Nutshell
Thousands of years ago, a war between gods and primordials ended with all gods being banished from Doomspace. After the war, the primordials encased the system in a crystal sphere that kept the gods at bay.

After being kept out for eons, the gods finally found a way to shatter the crystal sphere, but no one knows exactly how. The destruction of the sphere filled the outermost region of Doomspace with crystalline shards as big as asteroids.

What happened next isn't known for fact, but speculation abounds. Some say the gods appeared before the leaders of Fyreen and Malas and demanded to be worshipped. When they were rebuked, the gods vented their fury by collapsing the sun, leaving behind a spiraling vortex called the Eye of Doom. Those who deny the existence of gods refute the claims and turn to ancient myths for explanation. Perhaps the angry sun was slain by a primordial for taking the form of a comet, or perhaps the sun was the shell of a great dragon's egg that finally hatched and the so-called Eye of Doom is the hatchling's hungry maw.


So, if "Doomspace" had its crystal sphere shattered.... maybe the same has happened to Realmspace's as a result of the Second Sundering.

On what I see Ayrik saying above, I agree that we possibly might have it that "realmspace" USED to be able to access the phlogiston via the crystal sphere.... and now they can't. Meanwhile some OTHER places might still have that option. We might even find out that the Phlogiston is a creation of the primordials to rival the astral for the gods. This may be why "gods" can't enter the phlogiston. We might find out that primordials have a similar problem entering the astral/outer planes unless they "ride" some "ascended" prime being (picturing here how Bazim-Gorag is noted as a primordial but also an ascended batrachi). Perhaps even the slaad are an attempt by primordials to create something of an "army" with which to combat the gods.



Oh, and Wooly.... I feel your pain on the space clowns. I saw it and was nonplussed. Also, Vampirates.... not upset at a vampire crew (though they should have problems with sunlight in space), just the fact that they have to be "something different". Chwinga astronauts... someone has some hard on for chwinga.


One other quick thought.... detritus from a crystal sphere's destruction.... special crystals that can reset time that Netherese were looking into?.... Spellweavers?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 24 Aug 2022 16:59:50
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 24 Aug 2022 :  19:17:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just got my copy and literally flipping and making some notes

Ship speed in atmosphere is usually around 4 MPH. Earth's atmosphere has long been held to only extend a little over 60 miles up (some recent articles extend that by 100 times or so, but holding to that old standard). So, leaving most worlds isn't "minutes", but rather hours... but not days either. That's my own math and they never really discuss the topic that I see so far.



Actually, it is days -- because they make a planet's air envelope the same as the planet's diameter. With those seriously large air envelopes and a ship's speed being fixed, it means it can take a month to break atmo.

(Oh, and those ship speeds -- most of them are barely more than WALKING speed for a human. Even the faster ones are still slower than a person can run.)

So, weeks to get offworld, weeks more to get to the place where the stars used to be, and then you're in the Astral -- with no information on how ships function there. (They take the time to say an individual can move at a speed based on intelligence, but nothing about ships.)

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sleyvas
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Posted - 24 Aug 2022 :  19:54:47  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thinking on the above a little bit more... it might be like saying "The crystal sphere for Doomspace, which previously acted as a barrier between the phlogiston and the prime material, was detached from the phlogiston and pulled into the astral plane, shattering in the process".


Secondarily... and not sure if I like this idea.... do we KNOW that realmspace was surrounded by a crystal sphere PRIOR TO the activities of the Imaskari to create a Godswall and their activities separating Pandorym into its component parts (one of which was believed to be a vast sphere of annihilation)? I'd actually prefer that maybe glyphs were added to the sphere over its creation by the Imaskari, but Pandorym is some kind of odd crystalline entity with ties to a great black area that seemingly destroys things.

There's also a hint about the creation of a crystal sphere on page 41
Nine Moons of En
En was a spherical air body - a titanic gas giant. It is said that the primordials used the gases of En to help produce the crystal sphere that enclosed Doomspace, scattering En's nine moons in the process.


Reminds me of Coliar and my theories about H'Catha being some kind of "weapon of mass destruction / energy gathering platform" with its own extremely volatile gases surrounding it.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 24 Aug 2022 :  21:44:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Secondarily... and not sure if I like this idea.... do we KNOW that realmspace was surrounded by a crystal sphere PRIOR TO the activities of the Imaskari to create a Godswall and their activities separating Pandorym into its component parts (one of which was believed to be a vast sphere of annihilation)? I'd actually prefer that maybe glyphs were added to the sphere over its creation by the Imaskari, but Pandorym is some kind of odd crystalline entity with ties to a great black area that seemingly destroys things.




In 2E Spelljammer lore, all planetary systems were in crystal spheres.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 24 Aug 2022 :  23:44:27  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just got my copy and literally flipping and making some notes

Ship speed in atmosphere is usually around 4 MPH. Earth's atmosphere has long been held to only extend a little over 60 miles up (some recent articles extend that by 100 times or so, but holding to that old standard). So, leaving most worlds isn't "minutes", but rather hours... but not days either. That's my own math and they never really discuss the topic that I see so far.



Actually, it is days -- because they make a planet's air envelope the same as the planet's diameter. With those seriously large air envelopes and a ship's speed being fixed, it means it can take a month to break atmo.

(Oh, and those ship speeds -- most of them are barely more than WALKING speed for a human. Even the faster ones are still slower than a person can run.)

So, weeks to get offworld, weeks more to get to the place where the stars used to be, and then you're in the Astral -- with no information on how ships function there. (They take the time to say an individual can move at a speed based on intelligence, but nothing about ships.)



Ah, good point of the rules for the air envelope as mentioned versus me trying to base it on earth. Then I'm actually happier about it, because that was the one thing that I felt broke the in world repercussions of having these ships was the ability to zip up and down. Granted, it is still a little better than a ship on the sea because you can move in a direct line. I would say though, one of the things I had written up in some of my stuff accounted for atmosphere getting "thinner" as you rose, so rising from the surface was slower, but as you reached the higher altitudes your ship would accelerate. That way leaving bigger worlds wouldn't take near as long. I don't have a problem with it taking say a week to leave Toril's air envelope, and I picture more "space pirates" staying near to worlds than being in deep space and hoping to run across travellers. Finding and approaching a world should be both joy and fear.

When I look up ship speeds, I see that most of them had an average speed of like 5-10 knots (or 5.5 to 11 mph). That's for the sleek longships that were noted as "fast".... and that's floating on water where the water is doing most of your work, not lifting itself in the air under its own power. So, I'm not upset at the speed. I admit, it doesn't give me the idea that I'm cruising from place to place like in a car.... but at the same time, it doesn't break the economy of the world either (at least not easily).

Now, the question becomes, did they take these things into account when they wrote up the adventures? We aren't actually given anything to tell us the size of these worlds, so we have no idea of their air envelopes. I'm actually going to bet not, because they specifically say that the adventure is trying to mimic the Flash Gordon movie and comic strips to a degree and that things that happen may not make sense.




just for discussion's sake, here's what I wrote up for ascension of a Quad of Thay on something for DM's Guild. I fully realize its more detailed than most people would ever consider using, and it definitely could be shortened. But I was tinkering.


Despite having the ability to attune sixteen individuals to the helm, no more than 4 can actively work together to use the helm to propel the ship at a given time. This requires the attuned individual to be seated in one of the seats on the grand helm deck and using their concentration to maneuver the ship. While seated, they cannot cast any spell that uses a spell slot, but they can cast cantrips or perform other actions that don't require their concentration or for them to stand up from their seat. The speed at which a ship can move revolves around how far they are from the surface of the world. While they are within 500 miles of the surface of a object, such as a planet, whose diameter exceeds 500 miles, their speed is equal to the sum of the highest unexpended spell slot of the seated individuals in miles per hour. As an example, if 4 individuals are seated, one with a 5th level spell slot and 3 with 3rd level spell slots as their highest level spells, then the ship would move at 14 miles per hour. No attuned person can work to pilot the vessel for more than 8 hours between long rests, and thus piloting a ship around the clock at full capacity would require 12 attuned individuals aboard ship. In the given example above, assuming there were 3 similar shifts to work the ship, this would mean it would still take 36 hours to reach the 500 mile limit. Most ships do not have that extensive of a crew, and thus leaving the atmosphere of the planet may typically take 2 days to even more than a week. Once a ship exceeds this 500 mile limit but before passing 2000 miles from the surface, this speed in miles per hour increases dramatically, with the previous cumulative speed being multiplied by 20 (so a ship moving at 14 miles per hour while within 500 miles of a planet's surface would instead move at 280 miles per hour once this limit is reached and prior to passing the 2000 mile limit). Once this 2000 mile limit is passed, the speed increases dramatically again, changing the multiplier from 20 to 20,000 (so a ship travelling at 280 miles per hour would instead travel at 280,000 miles per hour after passing the 2000 mile limit), and the only reason anyone needs to sit at the helm any longer is if they wish to steer the ship in a new direction, reduce or increase its speed, approach another planet, or something similar. For a comparison of distances, travelling from the surface of Toril to the surface of its moon Selune or its Tears requires traversing 183,000 miles, and thus the main factor to traversing there is the time spent ascending the first 500 miles.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 24 Aug 2022 23:55:27
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 25 Aug 2022 :  00:06:26  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the new stuff breaks more than it fixes.

Okay, yeah, so you can't make a suborbital hop to any place in the world, overnight... But that still leaves the cartological, military, and commercial impact of flying ships. Just because they're slower, it doesn't prevent direct-line travel over any terrain, and it doesn't prevent aerial mapping or reconnaissance or anything.

So we've got one minor thing fixed, and the fix is that a magically-propelled flying ship is now the slowest form of transportation.

It would be faster to simply let the ship fall out of the sky and then power it up in the last few minutes, rather than have it under power from the time you enter atmosphere until you land -- you'd literally save weeks, that way.

I get that those speeds are normal (actually, on the slow side) for sailing ships -- but these are ships propelled by magic. Every other form of magical transport is faster -- why was this one nerfed so badly?

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sleyvas
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Posted - 25 Aug 2022 :  00:24:54  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I won't say one way or the other on breaks more than it fixes, and that is because I'm still reading. I will say there's damned little information.

On letting the ship fall.... rules could probably be written up for that. It should be dangerous and have a chance of hurling things off the ship, but I like the idea. Doesn't really help leaving a world, but I like the idea. In fact, having rules that allow DESCENT faster than ASCENT make sense in my mind now that you mention it. That might make for some interesting chases in atmosphere with pirates as well.

One other thing I see that needs to get fixed. A spell lets you make a helm... a permanent one. There needs to be a duration on that spell, even if its months. Minor tweak. Something to make it so that there's actual groups like the mercane who sell the products or make it hard to make these ships besides "you need 5k coins". There was such a temporary spell in the original SJ... and temporary makes sense. If you are desperate and NEED to make a ship to get out of a quandary (i.e. you crashed and your helm got stolen, broken, or went into a deep lake, etc...)

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 25 Aug 2022 :  03:57:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I won't say one way or the other on breaks more than it fixes, and that is because I'm still reading. I will say there's damned little information.


There is very little info. I saw a comment that this was a campaign setting without the setting.

(It was also pointed out that one of the many, many things left out was THE Spelljammer itself. There's no mention of it that I can see)

(Also, I've not read the adventure yet, but I've seen multiple people say it's railroad-y and forces the PCs to choose between killing a lot of innocent people or killing a lot more innocent people. Again, this is secondhand info; I've not even cracked that third book)

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

On letting the ship fall.... rules could probably be written up for that. It should be dangerous and have a chance of hurling things off the ship, but I like the idea. Doesn't really help leaving a world, but I like the idea. In fact, having rules that allow DESCENT faster than ASCENT make sense in my mind now that you mention it. That might make for some interesting chases in atmosphere with pirates as well.


I'm not saying it's a good idea, I'm just pointing out that, rules as written, it makes more sense than a powered descent at walking speeds.

Personally, I'm inclined to just chuck the whole thing and keep the 2E rules. A flying ship that uses magic for motive force should not be that slow.

And while treating planetary air envelopes the same as those for any other object seems like a simpler approach, it kinda breaks down when you realize you're treating a 100 foot long wooden ship with its gravity in a plane as being exactly the same as a 5000 mile diameter spherical hunk of rock with its gravity being a single fixed point.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

One other thing I see that needs to get fixed. A spell lets you make a helm... a permanent one. There needs to be a duration on that spell, even if its months. Minor tweak. Something to make it so that there's actual groups like the mercane who sell the products or make it hard to make these ships besides "you need 5k coins". There was such a temporary spell in the original SJ... and temporary makes sense. If you are desperate and NEED to make a ship to get out of a quandary (i.e. you crashed and your helm got stolen, broken, or went into a deep lake, etc...)



Yeah, this new version is easier than before and permanent -- which makes one wonder how the mercane have any kind of mercantile empire.

The original material had two spells for temporary helms -- three if you count the priest one as different. Priests could temporarily create a minor helm, and wizards could temporarily create minor or major ones.

For the wizard versions, a minor helm was a 6th-level spell and lasted for a week per level; a major helm was a 7th-level spell and lasted 1 day per level.

I don't mind them getting rid of the major/minor distinction, or making helms cheaper -- it did bug me, in the original stuff, that the helm was often pricier than the ship it was bolted to.

In my opinion, the biggest issue with the original Spelljammer material (other than ignoring the impact of flying ships) was the mechanic of "your butt touches the seat, you've lost all spellcasting for the day." I came up with my own workaround for that -- basically, making spells more difficult to cast the longer you were on the helm.

This new version simplifies the whole thing, making the helm just another magic item. While making things simpler has its merits in most cases, I don't really like the idea of spelljamming being without a cost to the person in the helm. I never liked killing their major class ability like the original version did, but I don't think making it free was the way to fix it.

While it's obviously just my opinion, I feel that this new version of Spelljammer does the same thing that the magic spell/magic item revision of 3E did: it takes all the magic out of it.

Given practically no information to interest newcomers, the painful slowness of taking off and landing, and the sheer meh-ness of it all, I don't see new people being interested in spelljamming, except perhaps as an alternative for those too low in level to have another way to get to the planes.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 25 Aug 2022 :  23:57:07  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually, it makes the helm even EASIER to make than a magic item. It's JUST a spell, requiring "An Action"..... and only a 9th level caster. You can create a spelljamming helm in less time than it takes to make a potion, that is if you have the crystal rod component (which a non-magical person can make). That spell is the one thing I look at in this set and without a doubt go "that needs to change and I can't believe they didn't do it".

Now we can vary on "how fast to leave a world", and I've obviously noted my take (I really hated the idea that you could get to the moon in minutes and zip anywhere in the world), but I do feel it might be worthwhile to mention some EASY things that might improve things. For instance, instead of having pirates waiting in deep space for someone to randomly come by.... instead there are pirates and other threats surrounding the world that harry ships as they are trying to leave at that groaningly slow speed. There's that dragon over there that sees that ship and decides... hey, I could loot that. Meanwhile, the encounters you have in deep space are likely to be more things like space whales, asteroids that are inhabited by elementals, spatial anomalies, etc....

Now, why don't those space pirates come closer to the world? Because THEY hate that it takes several days to escape the lower atmosphere... so they stay in the outer atmosphere for the most part where they can spot a ship leaving the world and ZIP get there in little time and try to board them before they can get up to "wildspace speeds".

I agree with the "taking over the helm should have implications". The way I was handling it was this (replace "one of the seats on the grand helm deck" with in the spelljamming helm)

This requires the attuned individual to be seated in one of the seats on the grand helm deck and using their concentration to maneuver the ship. While seated, they cannot cast any spell that uses a spell slot, but they can cast cantrips or perform other actions that don't require their concentration or for them to stand up from their seat.

So, let the person seated be able to do cantrips. If they lose concentration they can't maneuver the ship. If they're pulled from the seat, they can't maneuver the ship. But no sitting in the chair on the open deck and hurling fireballs at enemy vessels.

I can see the interest in it. From my perspective, each "wildspace system" is kind of like a "galaxy" with vast stretches of nothing between them and the next "galaxy". It's basically opening up D&D to a star trek game as someone else mentioned (or for the younger crowd.... The Orville, which even has a Plasmoid). The DM can have the realms as their home base and start opening up exploration within realmspace. Then periodically he can send them to another wildspace system to do whatever. Meanwhile, they can use their spelljamming ship to traverse Toril and most people don't have to know that they can use it to go into space (I know I'd personally keep that a secret for as long as possible). Keeping some brooms of flying or flying mounts on board gives a relatively cheap method to have people that can "leave the ship" if they don't want to land it. Also, unlike using portals to travel to other planes.... you have a whole cargo ship which can hold food, supplies, a whole room full of potions and scrolls, twenty wands, your backup armor, several bags of holding that have a god awful number of things so that your ship isn't cluttered, etc.... So, it creates a different feel than planar travel where you are using just whatever you can carry with you and maybe have in a bag of holding.

Since the spelljamming helm is just a simple magic item and does NOT produce your air envelope, it also occurs to me that if you added a duration to the spell that creates a helm, then dispel magic under "rules as written" would work on it in 5e. That even more makes me say that it needs a duration so that "its not as good as a bought one". I know I'd hate to be up in the air and someone dispel my helm. Also, it opens up "buyer beware" about buying ships from folks that you don't know/can't trust.... because it might be a "temporary" ship.

One thing I do note, they do KIND OF introduce some other helms. For instance, instead of an orbus subspecies of beholder being needed for a beholder ship, they have a special helm listed for the tyrant ship. Only beholders can attune to it. Not sure if I like or dislike this idea. I definitely see beholders being great pirates to use though since their antimagic eye can effectively disable another ship. If they catch a ship in ascension out of the atmosphere and disable their helm, they could in theory start trying to quickly loot it while the ship is falling using their telekinesis eye. If they had a vulnerable orbus that they had to protect, it might make them less effective.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 26 Aug 2022 :  01:22:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I can see the interest in it. From my perspective, each "wildspace system" is kind of like a "galaxy" with vast stretches of nothing between them and the next "galaxy". It's basically opening up D&D to a star trek game as someone else mentioned (or for the younger crowd.... The Orville, which even has a Plasmoid). The DM can have the realms as their home base and start opening up exploration within realmspace. Then periodically he can send them to another wildspace system to do whatever. Meanwhile, they can use their spelljamming ship to traverse Toril and most people don't have to know that they can use it to go into space (I know I'd personally keep that a secret for as long as possible). Keeping some brooms of flying or flying mounts on board gives a relatively cheap method to have people that can "leave the ship" if they don't want to land it. Also, unlike using portals to travel to other planes.... you have a whole cargo ship which can hold food, supplies, a whole room full of potions and scrolls, twenty wands, your backup armor, several bags of holding that have a god awful number of things so that your ship isn't cluttered, etc.... So, it creates a different feel than planar travel where you are using just whatever you can carry with you and maybe have in a bag of holding.



The issue is, though, that this set covers nothing but the travel. If all you get is the set, there's nothing about where you're going -- just how you're getting there and what critters you might encounter en route. Aside from what's in the canned adventure, there is nothing about any specific solar system (other than the fact that Clownspace has three planets covered with clowns). There's nothing about making your own solar system. There's nothing about any celestial bodies outside of the Astral, aside from the Rock of Bral.

Trying to make an adventure with this set would be like trying to take a cross-country trip without a map, without knowing the starting point, and without knowing where you're going.

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TBeholder
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Posted - 26 Aug 2022 :  13:55:28  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


Actually, it is days -- because they make a planet's air envelope the same as the planet's diameter.

Spelljammer has 2 general cases treated differently: relatively small bodies with gravity plane and larger celestial bodies with either point-oriented or normal-to-surface gravity.
This 3x envelope rule is for the small bodies. It does not necessarily apply to anything that has class assigned.
Of course, in Spelljammer even those are but general rules, there are weird cases like Herdspace or Borka.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 26 Aug 2022 :  16:02:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


Actually, it is days -- because they make a planet's air envelope the same as the planet's diameter.

Spelljammer has 2 general cases treated differently: relatively small bodies with gravity plane and larger celestial bodies with either point-oriented or normal-to-surface gravity.
This 3x envelope rule is for the small bodies. It does not necessarily apply to anything that has class assigned.
Of course, in Spelljammer even those are but general rules, there are weird cases like Herdspace or Borka.



You're referring to the original material. The new material changes that, with a one-size-fits-all approach. Page 18 of the Astral Adventurer's Guide makes no distinctions between types of objects and explicitly states that a spherical planet 5000 miles in diameter has an air envelope 15000 miles in diameter.

So according to 5E Spelljammer, Earth should have 8000 miles of atmosphere, instead of the 60ish miles we actually have.

That's why I find this material close to useless... While I'd admit that the original material could have used some cleaning up and streamlining, for the new version, they went for the approach of "keep it simple, stupid -- even if it's so simplified it becomes stupid."

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 26 Aug 2022 16:03:20
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Ayrik
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Posted - 26 Aug 2022 :  16:15:34  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

(Also, for some reason, if it was called a catapult in prior material, it's now a mangonel.)

Somebody at WotC evidently has a preference.

Mangonels - according to wikipedia - are an early and primitive siege weapon.
While catapults are far more powerful and destructive. So effective and commonplace that the word "catapult" itself is essentially synonymous with all siege weapons in common vocabulary.

Mangonels don't seem like a good choice for spelljamming vessels. They'd require a lot of deck space and a team of 5-10 (or more) men to operate. It seems to me like a weapon with a 30-foot swing, a very slow rate of fire, terrible accuracy vs nonstationary targets, and a range of "300 paces" wouldn't be terribly practical for fast-moving fast-changing wibbly-wobbling ship-to-ship space combat which tends to occur at very-very-long distances or at very-crowded-boarding-action distances. A narrow window of usefulness when the ships are invariably trying to run away, to snipe targets at maximum range, or to close in and grapple at point blank range as fast as possible. Compare a mangonel vs a team of 5-10 archers.

Mangonels are also some 1000-2000 years obsolete in comparison to the pseudo-Medieval-era galleons they'd be mounted onto. And historically they've (almost) never been used on ships for very good reasons. Completely useless vs the sorts of siege weapons (including actual catapults and even gunpowder cannons) that should be found on ships of the era. It seems impossible that Spelljammers would never have invented true catapults - especially onboard ships which have all the right ingredients to devise catapults (wooden frames and masts, twisted ropes, carpenters, marines, a low budget, and an enemy to shoot at) - especially after seeing any of the siege weaponry used by groundlings.

It's a technical triviality, an oversight, not a big deal. We shouldn't expect these writers to actually know what they're writing about or to do even the most cursory background research on wikipedia these days.

But I do think it's a symptom of the low-skill, low-standard, low-quality workmanship which went into the rest of the product.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 26 Aug 2022 18:05:24
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AuldDragon
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Posted - 27 Aug 2022 :  06:50:08  Show Profile  Visit AuldDragon's Homepage Send AuldDragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

That's why I find this material close to useless... While I'd admit that the original material could have used some cleaning up and streamlining, for the new version, they went for the approach of "keep it simple, stupid -- even if it's so simplified it becomes stupid."



This product was clearly intended for one specific subset of the D&D audience: The type that handwaves details, goes for "rule of cool" all the time, and just wants this as a pretty-picture-highway from place to place in the multiverse with carefully designed setpieces. It's not aimed at people who like to simulate an alternate reality in their gameplay.

If they had catered to the latter audience, the former would have been fine and just ignored the rules (although some may have complained there were too many rules, but whatever). I think WotC figure those details will be provided by the customers themselves since their product lacked these details, and WotC can still gain profit by the commissions on DM's Guild.

On a side note, here's an interesting bit of WTF-ness on the ships: Ship cargo space was changed to weight tonnage, which I understand the reason for. But they didn't recalculate most of the ships. the Hammer(head)ship still has cargo capacity listed as 30 tons. But the (Great) Bombard, since it needs to hold 14 10-ton bombard shots, has a new cargo capacity of *150 tons.* This smaller ship with a much smaller cargo hold can carry five times the cargo of a Hammer(head)ship if it just gets rid of the ammo for the bombard. Any PC who wants to carry cargo is going to get one of these ships instead of *anything else.*

Jeff

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"That sums it up in a nutshell, AuldDragon. You make a more convincing argument. But he's right and you're not."
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TBeholder
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2244 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2022 :  12:28:10  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


The new material changes that, with a one-size-fits-all approach. Page 18 of the Astral Adventurer's Guide makes no distinctions between types of objects and explicitly states that a spherical planet 5000 miles in diameter has an air envelope 15000 miles in diameter.
So according to 5E Spelljammer, Earth should have 8000 miles of atmosphere, instead of the 60ish miles we actually have.
[...] While I'd admit that the original material could have used some cleaning up and streamlining, for the new version, they went for the approach of "keep it simple, stupid -- even if it's so simplified it becomes stupid."

Ah.
But at least now we see the root of the problem, increasingly present from d20 on.
It's annexation by Kingdom of Dunning-Kruger. The C- to C+ students have neither intellect to figure out nor even patience to find out why the developers before them did something this or that way, when it was not spoon-fed to them beforehand. So they just drop elements because "too difficluck" or "one, two... uh, too many".

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Oct 2022 :  18:36:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Moving back to the Dragonlance side of the discussion...

Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen (Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Book) is now on Amazon.

quote:
In a world ravaged by war, the actions of heroes can have world-altering stakes.

Defend the people of Kalaman against seemingly insurmountable odds as Krynn prepares for war. The Dragon Armies are on the march, their ranks swelled by ogres, minotaurs, and humans who seek a share of the spoils, while rumors of the return of the Dark Queen’s dragons swirl among the people.

Experience the Dragon Army’s initial invasion of the land of Solamnia, witness the creation of the infamous flying citadels, and face off against the death knight, Lord Soth.


  • Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen adventure for characters levels 1–11

  • Introduces the Dragonlance setting to 5th edition D&D with a focus on the legendary War of the Lance

  • Experience mass battlefield play with the option to enhance 6 encounters by playing connected scenarios in the Warriors of Krynn board game that alter the course of your adventure (board game sold in the Deluxe Edition)

  • Face off against the infamous death knight Lord Soth and his army of draconians

  • Includes character options at home in the Dragonlance setting, including the kender race, feats, backgrounds, and a subclass focused on Tower of High Sorcery magic-users

  • Book comes with a poster map of the continent of Ansalon and the Kalaman theater of war



So... We have WotC continuing to follow their trend of "we'll just revamp something that's already been done, rather than actually create something new," and they're doing it with a series of adventures set during an event we already know the outcome of and that has already been covered in both adventures and modules.

I'm disappointed, but not surprised.

I will likely buy it -- after all, it's because of Dragonlance that I got into the Realms, and I will forever remain a fan of the Chronicles and Legends trilogies. However, I'm going to buy it on eBay or something, so I can pay a price closer to what I think this reprint is worth, and so I'm not handing my money to WotC.

I think part of the problem with Dragonlance is that it was a setting built around a single story -- and that makes it really difficult to get away from that story. Even Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, who told that single story in the novels, can't seem to get away from it when returning to the setting, and though they've branched off with related stuff, the one story is still their best work in the setting.

It's not too much of a stretch to say the setting was built around the Heroes of the Lance, and that's why the best stories in the setting are those that focus on those characters.

I've read pretty much everything by Weis and Hickman; they're on the very small list of authors who can sell me a book by putting their name on it. But with Dragonlance, I think even they are a victim of the success of the Chronicles and Legends trilogies.

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