If by "control mechanisms" you mean "handwaves", then they'd better be damn good ones, if I'm to be impressed by them. If they just say something equivalent to "the use of Phlebotinum allows spelljammers to travel FTL without ill effect because reasons", then the real reason is "because we want ships in space, so fsck logic", and I'm never tolerant of that sort of thing. If they have a more detailed, but not more interesting, rationale, I'm still not happy. The only way this will work for me is if they come up with something really cool and impactful, which answers these questions in a really satisfying way, while making the setting better rather than worse for people who never asked those questions either. That's the standard I always strive for when creating these sorts of things - not mere technobabble, not just a lampshade which acknowledges the problem but states a desire to avoid actually addressing it, preferably not even "this universe is different" (although I end up having to resort to that a lot), but ideally the introduction of a really neat element which explains WHY things are different, and makes the reader glad of the difference, instead of impairing their suspension of disbelief.Big Mac wrote:Spelljammer has control mechanisms built into it that handles all of this. That's why I prefer it over science fiction space settings.
I would be interested in hearing a more elaborate explanation of this, if you're up to the effort of writing it. But I won't blame you if you don't want to bother.The problem is that, if you make a nod to Spelljammer, but then hobble the Spelljammer elements, it's not going to attract Spelljammer fans (well not me anyway).
And if you go the other way, and turn your world into a thriving Spelljammer economy, you are going to wipe out the people who would have otherwise been attracted by your central themes.
If you wanted to do Spelljammer "right" you would have to learn how Jeff Grubb's built in control mechanisms, and decide how to use them to build a crystal sphere around your world. But to be honest, it took me ages to figure this sort of stuff out and I enjoy it because I want to do Spelljammer. I can't see the point in doing all that stuff if you don't want to do Spelljammer. If you prefer to have "realistic star systems" and "faster than light travel" it would probably be a waste of your time to read up on Spelljammer rules.
Well, if you're going to ignore things like explosive decompression, radiation, micrometeorites, and just the general absurd vastness of the cosmos, why shouldn't space be full of air while you're at it? Hell, make it magical space air that stops the constant roar of the sun exploding from deafening everyone on the planet. I don't see any point in trying to have it both ways.I specifically like Spelljammer because it is not science fiction (although I like science fiction more than I like fantasy). I like Jeff Grubb's central theme of a dude in armour standing on the deck of a sailing ship that is in outer space and not floating away or dying. All that science fiction stuff (closed up ships, rockets, FTL drives and so on) just stops me from being able to feel that I'm playing D&D. I want to see some crazy NPC trying to fly to the moon on a flying carpet (if they can get their before running out of air)!
Then the D&D multiverse is pretty boring, and might as well not bother having any outer space in it. Just say the sun is a giant Light spell attached to a smiling gold shield nailed to the "top of the sky", and say anyone who flies too high collides with the solid dome over the world and falls back down. If you're going to use space, but not do it justice, then its very presence is just going to be insulting to everyone who's actually interested in it.There is no such thing as a "galaxy" in the D&D multiverse. There is no such thing as "billions of galaxies" in the D&D multiverse.
Again, if you lack the time and inclination, that's fine. But there are things about Spelljammer I like, or at least could conceivably like, so it's not necessarily impossible for me to "buy into" these things. To extend the metaphor a little, it'll just take some extra bargaining, to convince me that the "product's" flaws are worth tolerating in exchange for its merits.This was a topic about "fallow gamers" and the derail has been fun, but it seems like I would need to try to get you to "buy into" a ton of Spelljammer core concepts in order to explain why I like the Spelljammer universe more than the real one (as a model for D&D gaming). And as you are not a Spelljammer fan, I don't feel inclined to "evangelise" on the setting. That's not my style.
So far, what I like about Spelljammer amounts roughly to this:
* The concept of using Ptolomey's "crystal spheres" as a factual basis for reality is an interesting one.
* The name "crystal sphere" conjures a cool image of transparent, glittering bubbles full of stars and planets hanging in space.
* Likewise, recycling the word "phlogiston" is neat, even if it's being used to mean something very different. (Why they didn't go with "luminiferous ether" I'm not sure, it seems like that would have been more on-the-nose, but either way.)
* Some of the details I've heard about, most recently that thing about Realmspace having giant spells on the sphere wall, and other vague half-remembered bits I've seen around here, concerning dragons and giant glow-worms and such.
And what I don't like is this:
* Seemingly does a poor job of making space feel big, and hand-waves a lot of details about space which I consider essential. Leaving out radiation, for instance, is acceptable enough, since it doesn't really feel very fantasy. But leaving out any notion of depressurization as well, not to mention the fact that space is close to absolute zero, and doing away with gravitational effects and re-entry friction....it all starts to make the whole thing seem as unrealistic as a Care Bears cartoon.
* Also, it has a lot of specific creatures which are even sillier than the standard for D&D, such as a race of hippopotamus-men, and "space" versions of things like the Mimic and the Giant Hamster. The Neogi are almost cool, but not quite done justice enough; they look a bit silly, especially when they're described as often dyeing their fur in bright colors, and their association with a creature so random as to still have the description "umber hulk" in place of an actual name, not to mention the idea that their ships are shaped like giant spiders for no particular reason (if the legs were articulate, and they traveled FTL by crawling along some sort of invisible hyperspace grid created by some spider-like Great Old One which the neogi worship, that'd be a neat concept, but as far as I know none of that is canon - I'll probably use this for Whiteleaf's version of the creatures)....all of this keeps them from counting into the column above.
That's four small advantages and two big disadvantages...pretty balanced. I could be convinced that it's worth the trade-off, especially since my objections are pretty vague and could be debunked with more info. But I'd need to hear about these "control mechanisms" and "thriving economies" and such
That principle could be used to good effect for my purposes, but it doesn't seem as though it is being used so.But if you ever do want to know about Spelljammer (and there is a forum for that, at The Piazza) you need to embrace Jeff Grubb's primary principle: "Everything you know about space is wrong." If you don't embrace that principle, if you can't let go of the "real world" and "real science" you are not going to enjoy Spelljammer, as you are going to keep coming up against the fact that Spelljammer takes old philosophy about space and does weird but awesome things with it. Those weird things are either "awesomely cool" or "really stupid" based on how well you "buy into" the concept.
The only reason that I am considering using anything other than my own understanding of realistic astrophysics, is for the sake of crossover accessibility to Spelljammer fans. Your argument is doing a fairly good job of convincing me that this is a bad idea. I have no interest in making Whiteleaf accessible to certain fandoms - NFL Football watchers, for example - which are clearly not ever going to be "into" what I'm doing there, and would probably ruin it completely if I tried to meet them halfway (or even a tenth of the way); I'd rather just keep them out. I haven't completely come to the conclusion that Spelljammer is in that group, but it's starting to look that way a little.You might like Dragonstar, or Space 1889, or Stargate or "just not using space" more than using Spelljammer. Go look at some alternatives, and see if one of them feels better.
You asserted that the crystal spheres were big, but I didn't see anything that resembled convincing proof to that effect.This is weird. I just said that crystal spheres were not "tiny bubbles" and you seemed to disagree with me, but then said that a single planet is "big". I'm not sure if you are projecting a counter-opinion about Spelljammer onto me, so that you can disagree with something I didn't say, or arguing with yourself.
If this "catching up" business is about post count, you still have eight-and-a-half times as many posts as I do....(And I won't be getting that done, if I burn up time not telling people to add Spelljammer to every homebrew D&D world. I need to get back on focus, or I'll never catch you up! )
Okay, add the word "unhumans" to my list above, of things that might be awesome about this setting, depending on what exactly they actually are.Cthulhu or the Marvel Zombies plague or the Chaos Warp of 40K do not exist in the Spelljammer universe. You can add them to your personal campaign, if you want, but Spelljammer is based around Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms. The main threats are beholders (which are already in D&D), illithids (which are already in D&D) and neogi (which are new) along with the possible return of the Unhumans (defeated by the elves in the First Unhuman War).
See, the problem with any declaration such as this one, to me, is that if you have anything of the real world in D&D, then you have to have everything else of the real world, or else have some reasonably cogent explanation of why it doesn't exist. Humans are in D&D, and IRL humans and Ebola are both products of the same evolutionary process. If we can just hand-wave that there's no ebola, then we might as well hand-wave and say that there are no homosexuals, or that there's no such thing as iron, or that gravity doesn't exist and people stay on planets because of invisible angels pushing down on their feet. And if we do those things, then they lead to a bunch of other questions - why does homosexuality not occur, what's different about the human psyche or libido that it behaves differently here; if there's no iron, then there's no magnetism to protect the planet from cosmic rays, so there must not be any cosmic rays, but then what if there's no infrared and the sun doesn't actually radiate heat; absent actual gravity, does the Wile E. Coyote Effect really work, because the angels won't realize they need to make you fall until you signal them with your conscious awareness that you're not touching the ground? It all just starts to unravel, unless you can come up with good answers to all those questions you've raised. Whereas, the more closely you mirror reality, the more often you don't have to generate those answers, just know what they are and be able to reference them.There is also no Ebola in D&D (again, unless you choose to add it).