I've mentioned before that I came into the hobby late (you can read more about that in the article, 30 Day Challenge, Day 1: How I Got Started with Dungeons and Dragons), so I missed a lot of the really cool publications for the game that came out with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition. These last few years I've spent slowly remedying that situation as I've expanded my collection from the few boxed sets that I had accumulated in my youth into a full fledged collection with everything from Sovereign Stone, to Red Steel, to Al Qadim, to the Iron Kingdoms; and as of Saturday, Spelljammer.
I picked up Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space for five dollars at a local used bookstore. Most of the maps were trashed and quite a few of the cardboard punch out ships were gone, but the two books, Lorebook of the Void and Concordance of Arcane Space, were in pristine condition. A little searching online has provided me with some pretty good images of the maps and I'm not missing that much with their loss - but I wish that I had the complete set of cardboard ships.
Ah well, if they bother me that badly I can just make some replacements.
Some initial thoughts on the setting:
The Ship Designs
I know that it might sound like heresy but I really am not digging the designs for the ships. I'm not saying that I can do better, but I am saying that the ships don't really seem practical for either the races in the game or for the way that they're supposed to be used.
I think that if I'm going to be using this setting in the future that I will have to come up with some different designs that make more sense to my delicate sensibilities. I love Metamorphosis Alpha, maybe I can draw some influences from there to make it conform with my internal dialog on the subject.
I think that the ships can be expanded and enhanced by looking to modern fiction and art for inspiration. After all, why have this:
When you can have this:
Bigger isn't always better, but when it comes to making something look like a threat, I say err on the side of bad-ass-mother-fucker rather than silly and vacuous comic relief.
The way that the races are presented in the book is intriguing but I want to finish reading them before I make a final decision one way or the other. The Elves in particular have my attention and that's unusual as normally I want to ignore that race completely.
The Technology and 'Science'
I'm not much of a fan of either of these right now. There's so much more that can be done then what's here. Still, it does get your attention.