Will Dungeons & Dragons 5E Ever Confirm Spelljammer?
There are dozens of us who want Dungeons & Dragons to bring back Spelljammer, also known as D&D… IN SPACE! Yes, once upon a time, the official D&D designers thought it would be a good idea to introduce the idea that sword & sorcery characters could board magic spaceships and travel the stars. And they were right. Spelljammer has a passionate fanbase that loves the weird mashup of traditional D&D and space-faring swashbuckling. Despite that, Wizards of the Coast doesn’t seem to have any plans for re-introducing Spelljammer in D&D’s latest edition.
Spelljammer was first introduced in 1989, and looking back, it was ahead of its time. The selling points of the Spelljammer setting saw then-D&D publisher TSR push the novelty of the mashup and how it would serve as a big crossover. The idea is that all the traditional fantasy D&D worlds were planets that could be visited by those who had Spelljammer spaceships. This is the kind of stuff that modern audiences eat up. Marvel movies have created a love of huge crossovers with a shared story, and today’s D&D players are always looking to break away from the tropes and issues presented by typical medieval fantasy. Spelljammer was a way to create a huge shared D&D universe that a group could play in for years and years.
Yet for some reason, there hasn’t been a Spelljammer release since Wizards of the Coast took over the D&D brand. All of the Spelljammer campaign books are a part of D&D’s second edition, with only the occasional crashed ship or lost alien popping up in later versions. Instead, Wizards gravitates towards the gothic horror of Ravenloft and crossovers with established brands like Critical Role and Magic: The Gathering. What gives?
This is by no means a complaint against more popular D&D settings. The latest Critical Role book is one of my favorite releases. I’m more wondering why Spelljammer isn’t considered a more viable product. D&D is at its most profitable point in history. It feels like there’s room (and budget) to do the mainstream stuff AND get weird with Spelljammer.
There’s definitely a demand for it. “Spelljammer confirmed” is a meme that crops up every time a new D&D setting book is teased. And sure, many people might tweet it for meme’s sake, but there is a genuine desire to see Spelljammer updated. Just ask Paizo, who created a whole other game about space-faring magic users called Starfinder. And even if Spelljammer is mostly a meme, it’s not like memes don’t create actual demand. Just look at the “Waluigi for Smash” fans or the Snyder Cut.
Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition has been around for almost seven years, and Spelljammer still isn’t confirmed. It seems like all hope is lost, but really the chance is higher now than ever. The steampunk-style Eberron was brought back two years ago, and last year saw the release of a Greek myth setting. This year, Wizards is letting people play as zombies, fairies, and owlfolk. At this point, aliens and fish-shaped spaceships don’t seem so farfetched.
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Sergio is the Lead News Editor for TheGamer. But usually he asks people to call him “Serg” because he wants to sound cool like the guy from System of a Down. He began as a convention reporter for FLiP Magazine and Albany Radio’s The Shaw Report to get free badges to Comic-Con. Eventually he realized he liked talking to game developers and discovering weird new indie games. Now he brings that love of weird games to TheGamer, where he tries to talk about them in clickable ways so you grow to love them too. When he’s not stressing over how to do that, he’s a DM, Cleric of Bahamut, cosplay boyfriend, and occasional actor.
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