Welcome to the Spelljammer® Fanzine!
Spelljammer® is a Dungeons & Dragons® fantasy setting that combines high seas swashbuckling adventure with Star Trek® style space travel, “seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before.” Flying ships sail into the stars with their own laws of magical physics (such as the magical helms that power the ships through the spellcasting power of the helmsmen, which also create their own “gravity planes”; also, any body in space is said to carry its own “air envelope;” how much air, and how long it lasts, depends on the size of the body, so you don’t need airlocks and decompression is not a concern unless someone casts a disintegrate spell.) If you have seen the animated film “Treasure Planet” (Disney 2002, or the recent re-release on Blu-ray with updated graphics that’ll blow your mind) then you have some idea of how this works.
A wide variety of races can be found. Some are the more familiar fantasy races of humans, elves, dwarves, halflings and so forth, and some are very alien, from the fantasy villain staples of beholders and mind flayers, to the unique giff, dracons, xixchil, and malevolent neogi. The feel is very much like the Age of Sail and Golden Age of Piracy, just with aliens and the hazards of space instead of the high seas.
One basic principle of the Spelljammer® universe is based on the old Ptolemaic view of the cosmos. Mini-universes (such as the Forgotten Realms® campaign world and surrounding planets) float in “crystal spheres” which bob along through a flammable, colourful and magical substance called “phlogiston,” which nobody really understands. This allows for limitless possibilities in creating worlds, even ones that do not conform to any of the laws of physics that we know.
For more information, you may wish to check out Beyond the Moons, the official Spelljammer® website. Or if you’d like a good laugh, combined with an excellent explanation of the setting, read this blog. Also of interest is Jeff Grubb’s (the developer’s) secret history of Spelljammer.
As one sourcebook put it, “It’s magic, and it knows it’s magic.” So if you can’t put aside your firm belief that “air go out like WHOOSH” on spaceships if you don’t have everything sealed on the other side of an airlock, you’re not going to enjoy the setting. I invite you to embrace infinite possibilities and take a voyage of imagination!
If you would like to contribute, see our Submissions Guidelines.
Logo by Cliff Wolters. Copyright (c) 2014; used by permission.
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