Friday, August 26, 2022

Graveyard of the Gods

Here's a link to a Kickstarter for D&D 5E and Pathfinder 2E that I think looks interesting. One of the writers is Matthew J. Hanson, a writer from the Twin Cities area who's done good work already with Broken Earth for Savage Worlds and a game called Magical Kitties Save the Day! from Atlas Games, among other projects.  

This one's called Graveyard of the Gods, and is an anthology of scenarios exploring dead gods in the Astral Sea. It looks intriguing, and is close to reaching its funding goal. 

Graveyard of the Gods


638 backers pledged $21,236 to help bring this project to life.(!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Review for Light of Xaryxis

Finally, here are my thoughts and questions about the adventure.

  • At first I just skimmed through this book, thinking that I would run it some time in the future. My players agreed to play it during this school year, though, so I read it closely.

  • It consists of twelve chapters, intended to be played over twelve sessions. Every three sessions brings a level increase.

  • Combine that with the four levels from roughly four sessions for Spelljammer Academy, and this adventure starts at level 5 and finishes at level 9.

  • This seems to be pretty epic in scope for finishing a level 9.

  • There is a system in this adventure called Doomspace. It is not the Dark Sun campaign setting. What is more, it has the remains of a shattered crystal sphere, but not that kind of crystal sphere.

  • This seems like it will be fairly easy to run, and fun.

  • I like the way scenes are written to have cliffhanger endings. We'll be playing every other week this year, and so that should make transitions from session to session easy for the players to remember.

  • There are some cool set-piece encounters in the scenario, including space combat, a gladiator ring, and a cool Temple of Light.

  • I do wonder if the heroes might feel a little bit railroaded during the latter part of the adventure.

  • In the big finale, the heroes face a hugely important decision; I am exciting to see what my players choose when that time comes.

All in all, I think Light of Xaryxis will make for a fun campaign this year. 


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Review of Boo's Astral Menagerie

Next, here are my thoughts and questions about the monster book from this boxed set.

  • I like the layout of this book, with roughly one creature per page. There are a few pages with two creatures each, and of course a bunch that take up more than one page.

  • Along those lines, I also like to see variant stat blocks for some of the creatures. For example, there is the vampirate, with mage and captain variants.

  • This book seems to fill in some of the setting lore that was missing from the Astral Adventurers Guide. For example, we learn (I think) that creatures can't reproduce in the Astral Sea, so they enter Wildspace systems to do so.

  • The book presents some ready-made plot elements, such as b'rohg gladiators, giff gladiators and githyanki laboratories.

  • What is the Far Realm? It is home to at least two of these monsters.

  • I really like starlight apparitions as a plot device.

  • A few of these present ready-made crews for vessels, such as negoi and vampirates.

All in all, I like this book. At 64 pages, it might be a little slim, but the content that's in it is solid.


Thursday, August 18, 2022


Lots of other people have been reporting about this--I heard about it on the forums--but I'm posting it here for my own quick access. It looks like WotC has released an album of songs written around the theme of Spelljammer. Here's a link to it on Bandcamp. 



Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Review of the Astral Adventurers Guide

Like, I suspect, many other people, I went out and bought the new Spelljammer boxed set for D&D when it was released on Tuesday. Here are my thoughts and questions about the first book.

  • I should start by saying that I was really excited for this product. Back in junior high and high school two of my friends, my brother and I played in a long-term 2nd Edition campaign that went into space, traveled from world to world, and culminated in the epic adventure Under the Dark Fist. For that reason alone, Spelljammer has a special place in my heart.

  • These books, and the map and DM screen, are really pretty. It's interesting to compare modern full-color books to the old black-and-white ones.

  • Life in astral space is Long! I'm not quite sure what to think about allowing characters to be ageless there. How many of them would choose to do that?

  • The new races presented in this book seem interesting and fun. They are definitely different from the fantasy standards.

  • Characters' and creatures' air envelopes are cubes now? I guess that makes sense if they're depicted on a Battle Mat.

  • The minimum complement for a spelljammer ship is now two—the captain and the character on the helm. It makes me a little sad that we don't need to send other characters aloft to handle the rigging, but I still think there should be other characters on watch.

  • It seems like ships just keep flying until they've lost all their hit points, at which point they break apart. I assume that the spelljamming helm is still functional, though.

  • A little more explanation of the stats used in the ships' stat blocks would be nice.

  • I am pleased to see some familiar ship types depicted, albeit with updated deck plans and names.

  • The deathspider is a neogi ship again! I never cared for having it be a drow vessel, as was the case in 3rd Edition.

  • There are seven pages dedicated to the Rock of Bral, one of which is a full-page picture. Of course, there's also a whole supplement dedicated to it from 2nd Edition, and one could easily harvest bits and pieces of that.

  • I miss the quotations that they used in the 2nd Edition books. There are some empty spaces in this book where those would fit nicely.

  • It looks like catapults have been replaced with mangonels. That seems to make sense. Also, jettisons have been, well, jettisoned.

All in all, this book provides a lot of exciting content. It could certainly have gone into greater detail in some different areas, but I think it provides a solid framework on which to start building adventures and campaigns in Wildspace.


Monday, August 15, 2022

Review of Spelljammer Academy

A month ago now, Wizards of the Coast released this four-part scenario on their D&D Beyond platform. Here are my thoughts after reading through it.

  • First off, I cut and pasted the content into an Open Office document, exported it into a PDF, printed it, and then read it. I imagine the hyperlinks in it are quite handy.

  • This whole scenario reminds me a lot of Star Trek, with cadets being trained for service at the Academy. I wonder if the adventure that comes with the boxed set, Light of Xaryxis, will have the same kind of feel to it.

  • Advancement in this scenario is quick. Really quick. Each of the first three parts “takes approximately two hours to play” and advances the characters by a level. That's four levels that could be earned in a long day of gaming!

  • I appreciate that, while the scenario takes place in the Forgotten Realms, the island Nimbral is isolated from the rest of it. That is such a big campaign setting, with so much history behind it, that I would find it intimidating to run a scenario in the Realms.

  • These scenarios are approved for use with the D&D Adventurers League. I think it would be fun to run them for various groups and see how they play out in different ways for each.

  • On the one hand, it feels like this scenario is written for new DMs; the text talks the DM through encounters. It is written for “three to seven 1st-level characters,” however, and does not provide suggestions for modifying the number of opponents that the characters face in combat situations.

  • Part 3 of the adventure sends the heroes, as 3rd-level characters, to the planet H'Catha in Realmspace. That seems like a perilous assignment for a group of cadets.

  • That voyage includes a level increase in the middle of the journey, since it is divided between parts 3 and 4 of the scenario.

  • Finally, I wonder how the Academy leaders even know to send the heroes on that assignment, which involves recovering a meteorite from that planet. How do they know that it is there?

  • All in all, this seems like a fun scenario; I wonder if the published adventure, Light of Xaryxis, will have the same kind of tone.

I am really looking forward to the release of the new books tomorrow. 


Sunday, August 14, 2022

More Developments for the National Treasure TV Series

 I missed this featurette until today; it has me even more excited for the new series. 


More Developments for the National Treasure TV Series

Disney released a new featurette that provides a longer look at the forthcoming series National Treasure: Edge of History. I have a few thoughts about it.

  • Early in the featurette we see the glasses with multiple lenses from National Treasure; later we see the carved pipe from that movie, and the engraved wooden plank from the sequel. Could this be some kind of museum where relics from those discoveries are put on display?

  • We also see that Agent Peter Sadusky will be around for some of this action! His character was an intriguing element of the first film, a person who definitely wasn't telling everything that he knows. I'm curious to see how he fits into this new story.

  • We also have our first look at the villain, Billie Pearce, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. She brings some serious chops to that role, which should make for an interesting character.

  • In an interview, Justin Bartha says that “exploring American history was a lot different twenty years ago. It'll be interesting to see how this series brings such a different lens to the story.