Tauster wrote:...finished. Well, almost: I went through the story, even though I missed one or two minor branches.
I've not read this yet - I was scared to read your post!
Tauster wrote:1) Cliché! If I was merciful, I could say it's a classic. But I don't think it was a good story at the time it was newly published. I don't want to spoil things, so I don't go into details. Just this: There's way too much stuff (the whole story, many of the characters, phrases,...) that is plain boring, because it has been beaten to death (...and revivified, and beaten to death again, over and over).
Thanks for not putting spoilers in.
Hmm. Well, I've read a few other "choose your own path" adventures and found some of them a bit unsatisfying. But, I wonder how much of that is down the format (where the author has to write a ton of alternative endings that eat up space that could be used for the main plot of a conventional novel).
Tauster wrote:2) Mistakes. ...ok, to be fair, I found only two glaring errors. Both are right at the starting chapters, and that doesn't exactly give the reader high expectation for the rest of the book:
To be fair, this is based on the Wildspace game (the video game) rather than Spelljammer. It is just possible that Wildspace is intentionally a Spelljammer reboot.
Tauster wrote:The author describes someone starting with a skiff (a small boat that can be crewed by a single man, with place for half a dozen people) from the Rock of Bral.
SJ rules generally nerf small boats (less than 1 ton), but I wonder if that is to the advantage of the game universe.
Tauster wrote:Error No. 1: There is no helm or any other device that powers the ship. The single pilot is clearly no spellcaster, but there is absolutely no mention what powers the ship.
Ships that don't need helmsmen (like Quintin's Libraria) exist, but I believe they are generally more expensive to buy than conventional ships.
This could be a reboot (of how ships work) for the Wildspace universe, but it makes a lot less sense for the SJ universe.
I wonder if it is a HackJamming ship!
Error No. 2: The writer describes (in what he believes are quite lively colors, I guess...) how the phlogiston winds blow in the sails.
...erm... wait a minute. We're in wildspace. That's the side of the spherewall where there is, under any circumstances, phlogiston!
Definately a continuity error from the point of view of Spelljammer.
But, was this a mistake - or a reboot?
Lets look back from 4e:
4e appears to be making spelljamming into planejamming.
Shadows of the Spider Moon omitted to mention the crystal sphere or the flow.
Wildspace seems to have phlogiston where wildspace would be.
So, yes it is wrong. But is it any less wrong than those other SJ reboots?
Was Shadows of the Spider Moon (which avoided mentioning the flow) a reversal of Wildspace changes? Or is this, as you suspect, a mistake?
Tauster wrote:So right from the start o the book I got the feeling that the author didn't bother to read the even the two core books. I guess he played once in an in-house Spelljammer game (he was one of TSR's employees at the time), liked the setting and cobbled something together. He didn't have an idea for a solid story (let a lone a creative one). He couldn't come up with original characters, so he resorted to clichéed - ahem - classic figures. Reading the rules was too much work. All that clearly shows in the book.
Perhaps you are right. But I suspect I am going to need to buy the boardgame before I can decide if I agree that this is a misake, or if Wildspace was as much of a reboot as Shadows of the Spider Moon was.
Interestingly, if you flip to the back of the book (one of the few pages I actually looked at) you will see that the name given for the author on the outside of the book is not their actual name.
Tauster wrote:If you want to find new insights into the setting, look elsewhere. The only positive about the book is that there are a few b&w-illustrations that can be recycled for the game, like a dwarven citadell and a asteroid belt-scene with broken shipwrecks. Not much more, in my opinion.
Insights I might not get.
As a "run your own adventure" book, I've actually got pretty low expectations (and as I'm prepared for Wildspace to be a SJ reboot) I might enjoy this story.
What I'm really looking for, in the long term, is a list of characters, locations, equipment and other items. These could be extracted from Wildspace and transplanted back into the Spelljammer universe.
The "wildspace skiff" might be wrong, but not
if we handwave it away as a "new discovery"*.
* = If we went with the sort of logic that Paul Westermeyer uses for his Spelljammer timeline, I believe that this book (and the boardgame that inspired it) would be set after the last SJ product. So anything in it that has not been seen before, could easily be
The sails might be wrong, but not
if we handwave them away as "hackmaster-like sails that have a surface that looks like moving phlogiston"** or maybe they are making something else look like the phlogiston***.
** = Maybe the phlogiston in these sails is an illusion. Maybe that makes a skiff (or other boat with these sails) harder to see in the flow.
*** = Maybe the sails connect to the ethereal plane inside a crystal sphere. Maybe Adam's HJ sails do that too, but these sails do it and show you what they are doing. Maybe, there is some sort of wind, that passes through the side of crystal spheres (and onto the ethereal plane) and can be used both inside and outside a sphere.
I'm quite prepared to get a tired hand, if it takes a lot
of hand-waving to get this stuff to work.