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.


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