How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoilers

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How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoilers

Post by night_druid »

MODERATOR NOTICE (by Big Mac): SPOILER WARNING: THIS THREAD CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE CLOAKMASTER CYCLE SERIES OF NOVELS.

BigMac and I were chatting and this topic came up, so I'll toss it to the community at large.

Oddball question, I know. But I never found the Cloakmaster Cycle's ending to be satisfactory. The last two books, IMHO, did not hold up to the rest of the cycle. I really did not like the last book. At best, I suppose they were going to use it as a launching point for the Wildspace line, but otherwise I found the ending very disappointing. Depressingly so. Even made worse by how it seems they released a boxed set, Legend of the Spelljammer, and then turned right around and effectively destroyed everything in that boxed set, making it a pointless waste of time (and money!). Another thing that irked me was the romance in the last novel; where exactly did THAT come from? By the end of "Beyond the Moons", Teldin and Cwelanas could tolerate one another; it didn't really strike me as "love of their lives" thing. I always considered Gaye to be the only woman who ever really had a deep emotional attachment to him, the only one who he had any real chemistry.

So how would I have ended the Cycle? Here's what I'd do:

The Fifth Book would find Teldin finally getting some leads on the Creators. Starts to track them down to their final lair or something. By the end, he finds the Creators. Not the pretenders on Nex; the REAL deal. Give the Creators some real purpose. Heck, I'd be tempted to have Teldin find a portal that leads to a strange little room, where a plain-dress man is sitting at a desk. He turns and says, "Hi! I'm Jeff Grubb! Pleasure to meet you, Teldin." Cheesy, completely shatters the fourth wall like no ones business, and still better than what we got. ;) After all, it does pay homage to the Wizard's Three. But either way, I'd make the Creators something special, not devolved Juna.

Sixth Book would pick up with Teldin having to travel to the Spelljammer itself, sent by the Creators. He takes command of the ship to use it to prevent a great disaster. Given that his chief antagonist had always been neogi, perhaps he stops a major neogi invasion fleet. Maybe they get ahold of a planet-killer and Teldin uses the Spelljammer to stop them. In the end, the neogi are defeated, and Teldin is allowed to depart alive, unharmed, with the Cloak of the First Pilot's "auto-tracking" feature turned off so he no longer has to fear being chased. In the end, he TRULY becomes master of the Cloak, instead of a frightened puppy always running from danger. Give him an uber ship as a reward; maybe a shape-shifting Smalljammer that can transform to any ship Teldin desires.

The end of the Sixth Book would find Teldin at the Rock of Bral, wondering, "what's next?" He feels a tug at his elbow, and hears "hello there, stranger." Before he knows it, Gaye is talking up a storm and has roped him into another adventure. Waiting at the dock is Gomja, Estriss, Dyffed, Aelfred & Sylvie (rumors of their deaths were greatly exaggerated), Vallus, and Hectate, all ready for their next adventure with Teldin as their captain.

And the Adventure Continues...<fade to black>

So what are your ideas? :)
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

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night_druid wrote:Oddball question, I know. But I never found the Cloakmaster Cycle's ending to be satisfactory. The last two books, IMHO, did not hold up to the rest of the cycle. I really did not like the last book. At best, I suppose they were going to use it as a launching point for the Wildspace line, but otherwise I found the ending very disappointing. Depressingly so. Even made worse by how it seems they released a boxed set, Legend of the Spelljammer, and then turned right around and effectively destroyed everything in that boxed set, making it a pointless waste of time (and money!). Another thing that irked me was the romance in the last novel; where exactly did THAT come from? By the end of "Beyond the Moons", Teldin and Cwelanas could tolerate one another; it didn't really strike me as "love of their lives" thing. I always considered Gaye to be the only woman who ever really had a deep emotional attachment to him, the only one who he had any real chemistry.
I really like the Cloakmaster Cycle. I do have issues with it too. I've heard a lot of SJ fans say they have issues with the last two books (or sometimes they say the second half of book five and all of book six).

I think that my real problem with the Cloakmaster Cycle is that it was written by six different authors, who all pushed it in slightly different directions. Teldin is there, througout, but other characters come and go without there being a satisfying reason for everything.

There is also the fact that Teldin is fairly clueless (which is great at the start of the story), but, as the story goes on, he really tries to improve his game, and the story often seems to have the same problem thrown at him and him not being able to get past it. Teldin gets suspicious (which again is great) but he kind-of remains suspicous for very long periods of time...except for when he should be suspicious (then he falls for people tricking him).

I really love the character, but I feel that he is denied the wisdom that he should have learned for too long.

I also feel that the story is dragged out way too much. I would much have preferred two Spelljammer trillogies, each written by a single author.
night_druid wrote:So how would I have ended the Cycle? Here's what I'd do:

The Fifth Book would find Teldin finally getting some leads on the Creators. Starts to track them down to their final lair or something. By the end, he finds the Creators. Not the pretenders on Nex; the REAL deal. Give the Creators some real purpose. Heck, I'd be tempted to have Teldin find a portal that leads to a strange little room, where a plain-dress man is sitting at a desk. He turns and says, "Hi! I'm Jeff Grubb! Pleasure to meet you, Teldin." Cheesy, completely shatters the fourth wall like no ones business, and still better than what we got. ;) After all, it does pay homage to the Wizard's Three. But either way, I'd make the Creators something special, not devolved Juna.
This is a flaw with the series. Novels give protagonists problems and then they have to solve those problems. It was not just Captain Hemar (the lady who gave Teldin the cloak) who beleived that the Creators were out there, it was also Estriss. So, while Teldin might have been mistaken about what the Creators were, it just does not seem right for Hemar and Estriss to have both learned about them, but have gotten it so wrong.

I don't think I would have Jeff Grubb sitting at a desk though. That seems too much like the Wizard of Oz to me. (Having said that, I think that it would be cool for people to "hide" Jeff Grubb, or other SJ designer, in their fan-fiction. :P )

There are several other creator races in D&D worlds. I really think it would have been nice to have given some sort of hint about what the universe was like, back in the past. I don't especially mind the Juna living the way they do on the planet Nex. If you think about it, Nex is a bit like a paradise for them. An afterlife, but on the Material Plane. But it was a bit sad that they seemed to be a bit clueless. The Fal was a great person for having authority and information, but they were a bit of a let down.

I think I would have preferred them to have had an elder come to see Teldin and for the elder to have told Teldin that his race was now "beyond that sort of thing". The Juna should really be one of the original races from the Broken Spherre and the various seemingly abandoned Juna projects should have been abandoned because of fighting between the groups that colonised the spheres. The Juna of Nex should be some sort of "pacifist" or "isolationist" race, who have decided to avoid trying to control anything except their own world/sphere.

And by the time that Teldin gets to meet them, they should make it clear that they didn't create those things, but that they hail from The Spelljammer. Teldin needs some clarity by that point. The symbols could (and should) be written to be understandable by the Juna, but they should be written by the first Spelljammer, in their language.
night_druid wrote:Sixth Book would pick up with Teldin having to travel to the Spelljammer itself, sent by the Creators. He takes command of the ship to use it to prevent a great disaster. Given that his chief antagonist had always been neogi, perhaps he stops a major neogi invasion fleet. Maybe they get ahold of a planet-killer and Teldin uses the Spelljammer to stop them. In the end, the neogi are defeated, and Teldin is allowed to depart alive, unharmed, with the Cloak of the First Pilot's "auto-tracking" feature turned off so he no longer has to fear being chased. In the end, he TRULY becomes master of the Cloak, instead of a frightened puppy always running from danger. Give him an uber ship as a reward; maybe a shape-shifting Smalljammer that can transform to any ship Teldin desires.
I quite like the mission of The Spelljammer. I like that it accidentally destroyed the first sphere, rescued a bunch of people from that sphere and then helped spread conflict to other spheres. I like the fact that it has some sort of guilt complex and that it has a problem of its own to solve.

It does not make so much sense, that the "solution" of the problem, is to absorb an entire space battle, in order to create a new sphere. And it seems to go against the boxed set, when all the NPCs on the ship decide to have a big war. But I would like to see Teldin be the first person who comes to the Spelljammer, wanting to help it solve its problem. That kind of works for me.

Teldin getting killed while merging with the ship was a let down. There was so much death at that stage, that it started to get a bit pointless.
night_druid wrote:The end of the Sixth Book would find Teldin at the Rock of Bral, wondering, "what's next?" He feels a tug at his elbow, and hears "hello there, stranger." Before he knows it, Gaye is talking up a storm and has roped him into another adventure. Waiting at the dock is Gomja, Estriss, Dyffed, Aelfred & Sylvie (rumors of their deaths were greatly exaggerated), Vallus, and Hectate, all ready for their next adventure with Teldin as their captain.
I'm not sure I would have sent Teldin to The Spelljammer, but I guess that the designers didn't think they would get more than one story, so felt forced to showcase everything.

But if he did have to go there, I do not think he would need to leave. He could have transformed into a ghost or the ship could have kept him alive.
night_druid wrote:And the Adventure Continues...<fade to black>

So what are your ideas? :)
I would have loved to have seen lots of the other mysteries of Spelljammer (and other D&D worlds connected with Spelljammer) brought into the story.
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by night_druid »

Big Mac wrote:I really like the Cloakmaster Cycle. I do have issues with it too. I've heard a lot of SJ fans say they have issues with the last two books (or sometimes they say the second half of book five and all of book six).
For me, the fifth book is pretty aimless. It sorta meanders from place to place, no real clear direction. It also lacked a villain, which didn't help matters.
I also feel that the story is dragged out way too much. I would much have preferred two Spelljammer trillogies, each written by a single author.
Problem is that four of the authors were pretty good, so its sorta tough to pick which two. ;)
This is a flaw with the series. Novels give protagonists problems and then they have to solve those problems. It was not just Captain Hemar (the lady who gave Teldin the cloak) who beleived that the Creators were out there, it was also Estriss. So, while Teldin might have been mistaken about what the Creators were, it just does not seem right for Hemar and Estriss to have both learned about them, but have gotten it so wrong.
Seemed that Captain Hemar knew who the Creators were, probably personally. That's the impression I always got, that she either knew them, or worked for them.
I don't think I would have Jeff Grubb sitting at a desk though. That seems too much like the Wizard of Oz to me. (Having said that, I think that it would be cool for people to "hide" Jeff Grubb, or other SJ designer, in their fan-fiction. :P )
I wouldn't, either, but then again, a little whimsical scene like that would harken back to the Wizard's Three and some of the more fun days of TSR & D&D. I probably might have gone with the Creators as being a group of gods who either created the Spelljammer, or created a bunch of spheres or somesuch thing.
There are several other creator races in D&D worlds. I really think it would have been nice to have given some sort of hint about what the universe was like, back in the past. I don't especially mind the Juna living the way they do on the planet Nex. If you think about it, Nex is a bit like a paradise for them. An afterlife, but on the Material Plane. But it was a bit sad that they seemed to be a bit clueless. The Fal was a great person for having authority and information, but they were a bit of a let down.
Effectively almost all of book 5 was spent chasing down a red herring. Heck, nothing got accomplished until the final couple of chapters, and only because the cycle was going to end in the next book and the author needed to get Teldin to the Spelljammer before the book ended.
I think I would have preferred them to have had an elder come to see Teldin and for the elder to have told Teldin that his race was now "beyond that sort of thing". The Juna should really be one of the original races from the Broken Spherre and the various seemingly abandoned Juna projects should have been abandoned because of fighting between the groups that colonised the spheres. The Juna of Nex should be some sort of "pacifist" or "isolationist" race, who have decided to avoid trying to control anything except their own world/sphere.
Nex is just not really usable in any fashion. Kind of a clunker of a sphere/planet.
I quite like the mission of The Spelljammer. I like that it accidentally destroyed the first sphere, rescued a bunch of people from that sphere and then helped spread conflict to other spheres. I like the fact that it has some sort of guilt complex and that it has a problem of its own to solve.
For the most part, it just didn't jell with anything else in D&D (or even Spelljammer). And...the Spelljammer is really a poor lifecraft for an entire spheres. Too small to sustain more than a small city.
It does not make so much sense, that the "solution" of the problem, is to absorb an entire space battle, in order to create a new sphere. And it seems to go against the boxed set, when all the NPCs on the ship decide to have a big war. But I would like to see Teldin be the first person who comes to the Spelljammer, wanting to help it solve its problem. That kind of works for me.
But Teldin's ONLY goal, across all six novels, was to get rid of that blasted cloak. It was, effectively, a cursed item. The whole saga was, effectively, a quest to get rid of a cursed item (which just happened to be one danged powerful artifact).
I'm not sure I would have sent Teldin to The Spelljammer, but I guess that the designers didn't think they would get more than one story, so felt forced to showcase everything.
Me neither. I might not have gone there, but given it was the Cloak of the First Pilot, it might have been necessary. I certainly wouldn't have ENDED there; like I said, I'd have Teldin join up with his buds, with a brand new ride, and head off for new adventures, free of the curse.
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by AuldDragon »

I would have had the last two books mirror some of the adventure ideas in the Spelljammer Boxed Set; i.e. Teldin had to get onto the Spelljammer and then have to get off again, leaving it intact and still usable as-is. I definitely would have had a good chapter of him communing with the Spelljammer itself, which would probably have resulted in Teldin being able to help the Speljammer solve some sort of overarching problem (perhaps the cloak is needed by the Spelljammer for some reason, and it can remove it from him to "complete" itself).

I definitely would not have had a major fleet battle with every Spelljamming race versus the Spelljammer, which IMO not only makes no sense, but is out of character for almost all of them as well.

I didn't have a problem with a sphere being destroyed, but I'm not so sure about the Spelljammer being the cause, and as Adam said, it makes no sense for it to be a lifeboat for a whole sphere of creatures.

I'd have to reread the series to see what else I'd change.

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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by Big Mac »

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I really like the Cloakmaster Cycle. I do have issues with it too. I've heard a lot of SJ fans say they have issues with the last two books (or sometimes they say the second half of book five and all of book six).
For me, the fifth book is pretty aimless. It sorta meanders from place to place, no real clear direction. It also lacked a villain, which didn't help matters.
I also feel that the story is dragged out way too much. I would much have preferred two Spelljammer trillogies, each written by a single author.
Problem is that four of the authors were pretty good, so its sorta tough to pick which two. ;)
True. But I think I would have preferred six individual Spelljammer novels too. We could have had one like Beyond the Moons, where someone leaves Krynn for wildspace, one for Toril, one for Oerth and three more based in wildspace.

I think that Corsair (and the novels either side) did a good job of a crossover novel between Forgotten Realms and Spelljammer.
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:This is a flaw with the series. Novels give protagonists problems and then they have to solve those problems. It was not just Captain Hemar (the lady who gave Teldin the cloak) who beleived that the Creators were out there, it was also Estriss. So, while Teldin might have been mistaken about what the Creators were, it just does not seem right for Hemar and Estriss to have both learned about them, but have gotten it so wrong.
Seemed that Captain Hemar knew who the Creators were, probably personally. That's the impression I always got, that she either knew them, or worked for them.
I guess that is one way to see it. She certainly thought it would be possible for Teldin to take the cloak to the Creators.
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I don't think I would have Jeff Grubb sitting at a desk though. That seems too much like the Wizard of Oz to me. (Having said that, I think that it would be cool for people to "hide" Jeff Grubb, or other SJ designer, in their fan-fiction. :P )
I wouldn't, either, but then again, a little whimsical scene like that would harken back to the Wizard's Three and some of the more fun days of TSR & D&D. I probably might have gone with the Creators as being a group of gods who either created the Spelljammer, or created a bunch of spheres or somesuch thing.
I'm not sure they were supposed to be gods.

Forgotten Realm's Arcane Age, has people creating much more powerful magic items. Dragonlance also has an early era (before "Magic Defends Itself") where mortals can use too much magic. It seems only logical that there should be an early era in the SJ universe, where mortals can do all sorts of things that are impossible now.

We do know that the Illithids (somehow) created Penumbra. So it is (or was) possible to build planets. We also know that illithids think they can "turn off" suns, even today.

I'm not sure it was ever possible to create crystal spheres. But if they work anything like pearls, maybe someone can put something like "cosmic grit" into the flow and come back a few hundred millennia later. ;)
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:There are several other creator races in D&D worlds. I really think it would have been nice to have given some sort of hint about what the universe was like, back in the past. I don't especially mind the Juna living the way they do on the planet Nex. If you think about it, Nex is a bit like a paradise for them. An afterlife, but on the Material Plane. But it was a bit sad that they seemed to be a bit clueless. The Fal was a great person for having authority and information, but they were a bit of a let down.
Effectively almost all of book 5 was spent chasing down a red herring. Heck, nothing got accomplished until the final couple of chapters, and only because the cycle was going to end in the next book and the author needed to get Teldin to the Spelljammer before the book ended.
The entire cloak plot arc is a red herring. Because it isn't really the Cloak of the First Pilot, it is just an ultimate helm. It wasn't created by anyone. It is some sort of sperm-like thing that is part of the lifecycle of The Spelljammer. It just needs to "stick" to a high level character and trick them into landing on the big ship, so that the Gardens build a new generation of smalljammers and ultimate helms. :P
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I think I would have preferred them to have had an elder come to see Teldin and for the elder to have told Teldin that his race was now "beyond that sort of thing". The Juna should really be one of the original races from the Broken Spherre and the various seemingly abandoned Juna projects should have been abandoned because of fighting between the groups that colonised the spheres. The Juna of Nex should be some sort of "pacifist" or "isolationist" race, who have decided to avoid trying to control anything except their own world/sphere.
Nex is just not really usable in any fashion. Kind of a clunker of a sphere/planet.
It isn't very usable in a tabletop game. The entire sphere is a TPK machine. And if the PCs can actually navigate past the "killer suns" and land on the planet, they can not communicate with the natives unless they have special items to allow them to do that. And if they do get past all of that lot, there is nothing useful on the planet for them.

Now if some Juna were willing to leave the world, and could do something with Juna devices elsewhere, it might be worth visiting Nex.
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I quite like the mission of The Spelljammer. I like that it accidentally destroyed the first sphere, rescued a bunch of people from that sphere and then helped spread conflict to other spheres. I like the fact that it has some sort of guilt complex and that it has a problem of its own to solve.
For the most part, it just didn't jell with anything else in D&D (or even Spelljammer). And...the Spelljammer is really a poor lifecraft for an entire spheres. Too small to sustain more than a small city.
I didn't have an issue with The Broken Sphere being older than any other D&D campaign setting.

As for Spelljammer saving entire races, it does not need to save everyone to save the race. It just needs to save enough people to be able to seed a colony. Don't forget that the Ship's Library has miniaturised ships in it. If it can do that to ships, perhaps it can do that to people too. Perhaps the current Spelljammer chooses to be the size of a city, because it has the population of a city on it. Maybe a Spelljammer can grow to the size of a starbeast when it wants/needs to.
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:It does not make so much sense, that the "solution" of the problem, is to absorb an entire space battle, in order to create a new sphere. And it seems to go against the boxed set, when all the NPCs on the ship decide to have a big war. But I would like to see Teldin be the first person who comes to the Spelljammer, wanting to help it solve its problem. That kind of works for me.
But Teldin's ONLY goal, across all six novels, was to get rid of that blasted cloak. It was, effectively, a cursed item. The whole saga was, effectively, a quest to get rid of a cursed item (which just happened to be one danged powerful artifact).
Yep. That is why I would have liked to have seen him finish that story in three novels (or less) and have a new Spelljammer story to follow that up.
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I'm not sure I would have sent Teldin to The Spelljammer, but I guess that the designers didn't think they would get more than one story, so felt forced to showcase everything.
Me neither. I might not have gone there, but given it was the Cloak of the First Pilot, it might have been necessary. I certainly wouldn't have ENDED there; like I said, I'd have Teldin join up with his buds, with a brand new ride, and head off for new adventures, free of the curse.
I suppose that an ultimate helm could be used on Spelljammer, without it needing to be absorbed. But it did seem to me that Teldin couldn't actually "do" much without the cloak. His skill was all about learning how to make it do things.

Giving him what he wants (and taking the cloak away) kind of removes the need for him to travel around in wildspace. It is a story with a built in end.
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by Big Mac »

AuldDragon wrote:I would have had the last two books mirror some of the adventure ideas in the Spelljammer Boxed Set; i.e. Teldin had to get onto the Spelljammer and then have to get off again, leaving it intact and still usable as-is. I definitely would have had a good chapter of him communing with the Spelljammer itself, which would probably have resulted in Teldin being able to help the Speljammer solve some sort of overarching problem (perhaps the cloak is needed by the Spelljammer for some reason, and it can remove it from him to "complete" itself).
The chapter of communing with the Spelljammer sounds good. Given all of the flashbacks that were shoehorned into the story, I wonder if it could have been possible for the ship to have had an internal room (or rooms) that allowed Spelljammer to play out some of those old events to the entire group.

But I've never been able to see ultimate helms as anything other than "sperms", because you bring one onboard the Spelljammer and it has babies. :lol:
AuldDragon wrote:I definitely would not have had a major fleet battle with every Spelljamming race versus the Spelljammer, which IMO not only makes no sense, but is out of character for almost all of them as well.
I thought that the various fleets were each supposed to be attempting to hijack the Spelljammer, for use by their own faction.

It made sense for the original neogi ships to be chasing Teldin Moore, as they wanted the cloak. And it made sense for the scro and the elves to each want to use Spelljammer as "the ultimate battleship". But there was no logic to some of the other factions being there. We got told that most spacefarers knew very little about Spelljammer, so there should really have only been a small number of people that were trying to get there.

Now if the Cloak of the First Pilot was just one of many ultimate helms in play, it could have been a different story. They could have created some sort of Highlander-like plot, with various powerful NPCs leading factions (or being chased by factions) and those factions could have had a fight around Spelljammer.

We got to see quite a few races across the six books, so there was an opportunity to create one faction per novel, during the first five books and then have Teldin have to take on all five factions in the last novel.
AuldDragon wrote:I didn't have a problem with a sphere being destroyed, but I'm not so sure about the Spelljammer being the cause, and as Adam said, it makes no sense for it to be a lifeboat for a whole sphere of creatures.
Spelljammer itself didn't destroy the sphere. The spaarkil did that, from what I recall. And they did that accidentally, while trying to escape from magic designed to dominate and control them. I believe that they converted their entire race into a lifeboat in order to make amends.

This background detail is all stuff that really should have been put into The Legend of Spelljammer boxed set. :roll:
AuldDragon wrote:I'd have to reread the series to see what else I'd change.
Perhaps we need a "[Lets Read] The Cloakmaster Cycle" thread. :twisted:
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by Lord Torath »

Nuts. Neither of the library systems in my area have these books. Have to find them somewhere else. :?
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by GMWestermeyer »

The series had a lot of flaws. I liked them alot, read them all several times (and really wish they were available as audiobooks on Audible), but it is not a good series. But it does have good books within it.

The multiple author thing worked fine for the first four books, then collapsed. The problem wasn't multiple authors, it was not picking good authors.

The big problem is, they forgot the purpose of Spelljammer. It was a connecting campaign, allowing PCs to easily cross from Greyhawk to Forgotten Realms to Dragonlance, and so forth. All of these campaign settings already had their own creation stories and myths. The 'creators' of the Cloakmaster series worked fine when they were 'creators of the cloak and spelljammer.' But once they were the inhabitants of the 'first sphere' and some sort of universal progenitor race it all became silly and irrelevant and inconsistent with all the other AD&D lore.

The Legend of the Spelljammer boxed set was a huge mistake, turning the legendary vessel into a silly bottle episode inescapable dungeon. To fix the series, dump that boxed set and recreate the Spelljammer from the ground up. Connect the 'Creators' or Juna to the Arcane and the Reigar (perhaps connected to the ancient Windlords of Aqaa -reconnecting SJ with older AD&D lore is always good) and leave out the metaphysical crystal sphere creation nonsense.
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by night_druid »

Big Mac wrote:True. But I think I would have preferred six individual Spelljammer novels too. We could have had one like Beyond the Moons, where someone leaves Krynn for wildspace, one for Toril, one for Oerth and three more based in wildspace.
I'd prefer to have a long line of books, myself...;)
Forgotten Realm's Arcane Age, has people creating much more powerful magic items. Dragonlance also has an early era (before "Magic Defends Itself") where mortals can use too much magic. It seems only logical that there should be an early era in the SJ universe, where mortals can do all sorts of things that are impossible now.
Certainly a possibility; anything would have been better. Perhaps something not unlike the Smiths that helped Reorx create Krynnspace.
We do know that the Illithids (somehow) created Penumbra. So it is (or was) possible to build planets. We also know that illithids think they can "turn off" suns, even today.
So did an average vampire with no special abilities...;) Turning off suns in SJ is no great accomplishment ;)
I'm not sure it was ever possible to create crystal spheres. But if they work anything like pearls, maybe someone can put something like "cosmic grit" into the flow and come back a few hundred millennia later. ;)
A group of demi-gods did it, so it shouldn't be too hard. Its not like there's a lack of raw material to build from (Elemental Planes).
The entire cloak plot arc is a red herring. Because it isn't really the Cloak of the First Pilot, it is just an ultimate helm. It wasn't created by anyone. It is some sort of sperm-like thing that is part of the lifecycle of The Spelljammer. It just needs to "stick" to a high level character and trick them into landing on the big ship, so that the Gardens build a new generation of smalljammers and ultimate helms. :P
Only because the Legend of the SJ boxed set came out. Prior to that, it was pretty clear the Cloak was an artifact. Hell, most of the powers of the Cloak don't appear on the "Ultimate Helm powers" table. I consider turning the Cloak of the First Pilot into an (LotSJ) Ultimate Helm to be a retcon. And not a good one :(
It isn't very usable in a tabletop game. The entire sphere is a TPK machine. And if the PCs can actually navigate past the "killer suns" and land on the planet, they can not communicate with the natives unless they have special items to allow them to do that. And if they do get past all of that lot, there is nothing useful on the planet for them.
Killer suns is actually not too much of a obstacle when you could teleport around them. Its the lack of anything interesting on the planet that makes the sphere boring.
I didn't have an issue with The Broken Sphere being older than any other D&D campaign setting.
I didn't even see evidence that it predated other settings; it certainly wasn't a "cosmic egg" that created other spheres.
As for Spelljammer saving entire races, it does not need to save everyone to save the race. It just needs to save enough people to be able to seed a colony. Don't forget that the Ship's Library has miniaturised ships in it. If it can do that to ships, perhaps it can do that to people too. Perhaps the current Spelljammer chooses to be the size of a city, because it has the population of a city on it. Maybe a Spelljammer can grow to the size of a starbeast when it wants/needs to.
Easier to just build Gates and go to other planes/spheres. :p
Yep. That is why I would have liked to have seen him finish that story in three novels (or less) and have a new Spelljammer story to follow that up.
The only reason I disagree is simply because Maelstrom's Eye & Radiant Dragon were very good. Otherwise I'd agree.
I suppose that an ultimate helm could be used on Spelljammer, without it needing to be absorbed. But it did seem to me that Teldin couldn't actually "do" much without the cloak. His skill was all about learning how to make it do things.
Teldin was an everyman; he wasn't a great hero, he was an ordinary guy thrust into a truly horrible and yet fantastic situation. That made him one of the more relatable heroes.
Giving him what he wants (and taking the cloak away) kind of removes the need for him to travel around in wildspace. It is a story with a built in end.
True. But sometimes its hard to go back home once your eyes have been opened and you've been exposed to adventure in a truly fantastic place. He may return to Krynn, eventually, to settle down and raise a family with his wife Gaye. ;)
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by HobbitFan »

I was really disappointed in the last book too. It's been years since I read it thoough and I've kinda forgotten what my problems with it were at the time....sad to say.
I do remember I liked some of the earlier books enough to have reread them.

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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by night_druid »

GMWestermeyer wrote:The series had a lot of flaws. I liked them alot, read them all several times (and really wish they were available as audiobooks on Audible), but it is not a good series. But it does have good books within it.
I can agree with that. The first two books seemed to jell pretty well together, and the third and fourth books go well together, but there is a bit of a disconnect between those two pairs of books. The last two...don't jell with anything.
The multiple author thing worked fine for the first four books, then collapsed. The problem wasn't multiple authors, it was not picking good authors.
I get the feeling they (TSR) didn't have the thing laid out from the beginning and it was sorta done haphazard. Thus the weird disconnect regarding the Creators.
They big problem is, they forgot the purpose of Spelljammer. It was a connecting campaign, allowing PCs to easily cross from Greyhawk to Forgotten Realms to Dragonlance, and so forth. All of these campaign settings already had their own creation stories and myths. The 'creators' of the Cloakmaster series worked fine when they were 'creators of the cloak and spelljammer.' But once they were the inhabitants of the 'first sphere' and some sort of universal progenitor race it all became silly and irrelevant and inconsistent with all the other AD&D lore.
I got the impression Ultimate Helm (especially) and Broken Sphere (to a lesser extent) were almost generic sci-fi that got shoe-horned into Spelljammer.
The Legend of the Spelljammer boxed set was a huge mistake, turning the legendary vessel into a silly bottle episode inescapable dungeon. It fix the series, dump that boxed set and recreate the Spelljammer from the ground up. Connect the 'Creators' or Juna to the Arcane and the Reigar (perhaps connected to the ancient Windlords of Aqaa -reconnecting SJ with older AD&D lore is always good) and leave out the metaphysical crystal sphere creation nonsense.
I'm more of the opinion the Spelljammer should have been a megadungeon ala Tomb of Horrors. :) But agreed that the Legend boxed set wasn't the best. It could have been great, just got a mediocre mobile town instead :(
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by night_druid »

One more thing that sorta bothers me: the resolution of the neogi angle. I never got a sense that the neogi hunting Teldin thing ever really wrapped up, but rather was just dropped. I kinda got the sense we never did get to see the 'big spider' who was the ultimate owner of the neogi who were chasing Teldin. Seems like there was always someone just behind the scenes who was the mastermind neogi, but I don't think he ever showed up. :(
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by Big Mac »

night_druid wrote:One more thing that sorta bothers me: the resolution of the neogi angle. I never got a sense that the neogi hunting Teldin thing ever really wrapped up, but rather was just dropped. I kinda got the sense we never did get to see the 'big spider' who was the ultimate owner of the neogi who were chasing Teldin. Seems like there was always someone just behind the scenes who was the mastermind neogi, but I don't think he ever showed up. :(
Well there was that neogi grand old master, who turned himself into an undead to escape. He seemed pretty high up the chain.

But you are right. I'm not sure the other neogi ships, that he left behind, were dealt with.
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Re: How would you have ended the Cloakmaster Cycle? - spoile

Post by TBeholder »

To answer the question... Heh.

Code: Select all

From:     David Shepheard <david_shepheard@???????.com>
Date:     Sun, 4 Jan 2009 04:12:10 -0000
[...]
There is a lot of 
interesting stuff that happens to Teldin Moore in space, but it all boils 
down to three basic facts:
1) He is stuck with an Ultimate Helm,
2) Anyone who has come into contact with the Ultimate Helm wants to get hold 
of it and
3) The Ultimate Helm wants to get onto The Spelljammer.
The cloak is the ultimate railroading device. You could give the Cloakmaster 
Cycle one book, three books, six books or nine books, but you would still 
end up with the end of the adventure being set on The Spelljammer and 
Teldin's cloak trying to turn him into its next Captain.
:D
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