I'm a law student, comic book reader, inhabitant of the District of Columbia, Californian by birth, multiethnic in background, game theory enthusiast, videogame player, and avid viewer of British television. I also use the Oxford comma, no matter what The Economist says.
So I received a package in the mail today, and it was a package of SpellJammer books I nicked off eBay. SpellJammer is an old 2nd Edition Advanced D&D module published by TSR (in 1989!) which takes the standard fantasy tropes of AD&D and puts them…IN SPACE! Well, sort of.
The idea was to unify the disparate campaign settings of AD&D (such as Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, or Ravenloft settings). In essence the universe of Spelljammer was a massive Ptolemaic expanse where other campaign settings were set inside their own “crystal spheres.” Inside the spheres were the solar system within which the campaign took place. These systems could be flat worlds, toruses, or regular old spheres. They could be heliocentric, geocentric or whatever you wanted to think up (I believe there’s a fan-made version of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld running around the internet somewhere but I lost track of it).
Ships could sail between worlds upon something akin to the “luminous aether.” If you remember Disney’s Treasure Planet movie (another forgotten gem) then you know what kind of space transportation we’re talking about. This was also the campaign setting that expanded on the Mind Flayer/Illithid species greatly and invented the Neogi which have appeared in later editions.
Spelljammer, sadly, hasn’t really been in a Wizards of the Coast edition of D&D and has all but been abandoned. However, these sourcebooks are still pretty great and if you know your 2nd Ed. stuff are really worth a read.
What I got:
The Spelljammer box set, which includes two books: Concordance of Arcane Space and Lorebook of the Void. Concordance lays out the rules of the setting and Lorebook — as its name implies — sets out the history of the Spelljammer universe. There’s also four maps and a host of info sheets about pre-built ships from various races (the Illithid Nautilus has been my favorite since I first laid eyes on it when I was six or seven in the 90s).