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On a busy day in the marketplace, something hurtles down out of a clear sky. When the dust clears, you can see that it’s a ship’s anchor, attached to a rope that stretches up as far as you can see. What do you do?
Pull you AD&D game players up the rope and into the astounding universe of fantasy space! Send their spacegoing galleon, the Skyrunner, across the vast reaches of Wildspace. Drop them in the Hive, the largest dungeon ever created. Then pit them against the Ravager, a monster that threatens the characters’ entire homeworld!
Wildspace is the fist adventure for the AD&D Spelljammer Campaign Set. The Spelljammer boxed set is required to play. This 64-page adventure fits easily into your existing campaign, as either a change of pace from groundling adventures or the beginning of a new career in space.
SJA1: “Wildspace” (1990), by Allen Varney, is the first Spelljammer Adventure. It was released in February 1990.
Origins. Author Varney was provided with the basic premise for this adventure: that the players should travel into Wildspace and explore a dungeon in a hollowed-out asteroid. Varney decided to think big and in doing so create something that would evoke a spirit discovery and wonder, so he imagined an enormous asteroid where each dungeon room is a cube that’s a mile on a side. The result is essentially a beholder-created Death Star for D&D. It was also the single biggest dungeon ever created by TSR (in surface area), highlighting the cosmic scale of Spelljammer.
Beginning the “SJA” Series. “Wildspace” was the first supplement for Spelljammer (1989), TSR’s first new setting since the Forgotten Realms (1987). It began the series of “SJA” Spelljammer Adventures, which ran through 1991, after which they were replaced by the “SJS” and “SJQ” module codes.
Introductory Adventuring. Appropriately, “Wildspace” was also explicitly an introductory adventure. Players are brought aboard a spelljamming ship in chapter 1, get to explore it in chapter 2, and engage in some shipboard combat in chapter 3. At the end, players might return home or they might pick up a spelljamming ship of their own, depending on the GM’s preferences.
What Got Left Out. Varney’s draft was running long before he submitted it to TSR, so he was forced to cut an entire chapter set on the Rock of Bral.
Adventuring Tropes. As was common in the 2e era, “Wildspace” is a plot-driven adventure with some important NPCs who will be engaging in their own machinations in the background. With that said, “Wildspace” contains a large (and unique) dungeon as the centerpiece of the adventure.
Expanding Wildspace. “Wildspace” expands its eponymous setting mainly through its focus on beholders. It provides them with some of their best characterization in the entire Spelljammer line. This expansion includes a new beholder ship and a new beholder monster type.
Future History. Wildspace is of course the name of the Spelljammer setting. Around 1994, TSR was planning to rerelease Spelljammer under the same name. The new “Wildspace” game was going to be a VCR-driven RPG, like Dragonstrike (1993), but it was canceled in 1994.
About the Creators. Varney was at the time freelancing for TSR, with the “HWA” Hollow World Adventure series (1990-1991) being his biggest contribution at the time. Rick Swan contributed some of the rooms to “Wildspace”, to help Varney hit his deadline, though he isn’t credited in the published book.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons – a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to email@example.com.