Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

A project to support the official Spelljammer conversion to 3rd edition rules.

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Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Big Mac » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:52 am

I've been pretty bad and I've dropped the ball on the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project that I started. There are other things going on, but I want to get this restarted, as I need it to be able to play 3e Spelljammer games.

I'd be interested to know if anyone is with me.

From what I could tell, the conversation about ships (and the Monsters as Characters concept) kept eating up a lot of the time that we had before, so I'm putting down a proposal to get us back on track.

First, here is a quote from the Welcome to the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project sticky:
Big Mac wrote:The primary focus of this project is to work on the three netbooks that Beyond the Moons already has outlines for, but people are also welcome to convert things that are not listed there. (It will all need to get done eventually.)

The three netbooks that have been proposed so far are: Beyond the Moons may add additional netbooks over time. There may be a short delay between Beyond the Moons updates and corresponding updates on this page. You are advised to go directly to Beyond the Moons for the lastest updates. You may also wish to subscribe to the Spelljammer Mailing List to avoid missing any information generated by people who do not write here.

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Tags used in thread titles

The following three thread tags will be attached to all threads used for gathering finalised content:
  • [PGtS] - Player's Guide to Spelljammer
  • [SiW] - Ships in Wildspace
  • [MoW] - Monsters of Wildspace
Other threads will not use this tags.
My proposal is that we ignore the spelljamming/space rules for the time being and work exclusively on Player's Guide to Spelljammer content (in "[PGtS]" topics) to get an "Alpha Version" of PGtS finished.

We should then skip the second book and move straight onto Monsters of Wildspace (in "[MoW]" topic) to get an "Alpha Version" of the SJ "Monster Manual" finished.

And only after those two done as "Alpha Versions" should we go back and do the ships. Finally coming around with a second pass on PGtS and MoW to add in any ship-specific rules that are needed for players...and monsters.

Is anyone else up for helping me restarting this project and getting PGtS "finished"?
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by enderxenocide0 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:15 pm

So... I have only a little experience with Spelljammer, but a lot of 3.X experience, both in playing and DMing. I've designed a lot of content for 3.X and Pathfinder. If you'd like help on this project, I'd be really interested in it, with the caveat that I may need some Spelljammer explanations. (I've always been interested in Spelljammer, but never found an adequate reason to dig into it.)

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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Big Mac » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:17 pm

enderxenocide0 wrote:So... I have only a little experience with Spelljammer, but a lot of 3.X experience, both in playing and DMing. I've designed a lot of content for 3.X and Pathfinder. If you'd like help on this project, I'd be really interested in it, with the caveat that I may need some Spelljammer explanations. (I've always been interested in Spelljammer, but never found an adequate reason to dig into it.)
Sorry for the delay Ender.

If you are willing to help, that would be awesome. And you (or anyone else) can ask as many questions as you want to.

I'll try to find a time to make an outline of what is missing. We got bogged down on the ships before (and ship's are a problem) but I'd like to get the PC/NPC stuff sorted, before coming back to the ships. The vast majority of non-ship stuff should make sense to anyone who is familiar with 3e rules.
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by FaerieGodfather » Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:07 am

I am deeply, personally invested in this... but I'm afraid I don't work well with others and am generally useless.
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Morfie » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:34 am

Would a 5e forum find more support for this?

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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by FaerieGodfather » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:01 am

Quite possibly, but I personally have very, very little interest in a 5e conversion for Spelljammer, whereas I personally still have a considerable amount of interest in a 3e conversion.
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:40 am

Morfie wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:34 am
Would a 5e forum find more support for this?
...and...
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:01 am
Quite possibly, but I personally have very, very little interest in a 5e conversion for Spelljammer, whereas I personally still have a considerable amount of interest in a 3e conversion.
This is a 3rd Edition conversion project.

I am not personally interested in working on other conversions of Spelljammer, at this time.

I previously had people asking me to support a 4th Edition conversion project...and I did...and they didn't really do much. I think they were hoping to get me to work on the 4th Edition conversion for them (and moderate the project forum for them).

I'll get behind someone who actually:
  • starts work on 5th Edition conversion work,
  • makes an effort to recruit other people to the project and
  • steps up and says they will front the project
However, they need to build this business case in the main Spelljammer forum, as 5e is off-topic here.

Having said that, if someone does step up and organise a 5e conversion project (and makes a forum request and is accepted) I would be happy to "share code". I just won't be working on another project.
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by FaerieGodfather » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:40 am

What do you need people to do for the 3e conversion project?
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm

FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:07 am
I am deeply, personally invested in this... but I'm afraid I don't work well with others and am generally useless.
Hmm. OK.

So, how do we get around this and help each other?

Have you looked at the existing conversion content on Spelljammer: Beyond the Moons?

Would you be happy to talk about what is currently missing from those documents? That was essentially what I was hoping to do, several years ago, when I made a request to Ashtagon to set up this project forum.

One thing, that I think has been a little bit of a blocker, is that some people interpret Spelljammer differently. (So you and I might want slightly different things...or maybe even radically different things...from a 3e conversion project.) I'm actually hoping to get people to work together on the things they agree on...and put the things they disagree on to one side, for the time being, just so that we can get forward momentum.

For things that remain blockers, I was thinking that there could be an "official conversion" based on what is closest to the canon, but there could be one or more sidebars to give GMs alternatives. (One example of this could be the way helms work. Some folks don't like helms preventing spellcasters from casting, but that's actually SJ canon. So my preferred solution would be to write the rules that were intended and then use sidebars for alternatives that people want to go with.) I honestly think that we could approach all the blockers the same way and create a way for everyone to get what they want. But we do need forward momentum, or we will never get anywhere.

I'm not sure I would agree that you are "useless". I know I really stuggled with some of the Spelljmmer rules and setting, when I first hooked up with the online community. Things are scattered around in different books. (The double-diameter rule is hidden in SJR5 Greyspace for example.)

If you are up for a discussion (or a series of discussions) where we quote specific text from specific books and try to infer what Jeff Grubb and others intended...and then talk about how 3rd Edition can accomodate that, then I think we can move forward. (And if we don't agree on everything, but keep the idea of sidebar solutions in mind, we can try to get a number of small steps done.)
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by FaerieGodfather » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
Have you looked at the existing conversion content on Spelljammer: Beyond the Moons?

Would you be happy to talk about what is currently missing from those documents? That was essentially what I was hoping to do, several years ago, when I made a request to Ashtagon to set up this project forum.
Well, my personal focus as a DM and as a fan is the player-facing material, the races and classes and the feats. It seems like almost no part of Complete Spacefarer's Handbook has been touched. I'm not overly familiar with the Kits from the book, but the practice appears to have been to convert Kits to either standalone Base Classes or Prestige Classes.

In Pathfinder, they might come out as Archetypes.
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
One thing, that I think has been a little bit of a blocker, is that some people interpret Spelljammer differently. (So you and I might want slightly different things...or maybe even radically different things...from a 3e conversion project.) I'm actually hoping to get people to work together on the things they agree on...and put the things they disagree on to one side, for the time being, just so that we can get forward momentum.
I have a severe allergic reaction to what passes for "comic relief" in fantasy roleplaying games, and despise that they decided to put as much as they thought they could get away with-- and so much more-- into Spelljammer. I am either going to push for things like Tinkers and Dohwar to be more grounded and more competent in their roles, or I'm going to have to allow someone else to work on them.

Also, the thought of an intelligent species, pursuing self-directed evolution, deliberately removing their own manipulator appendages causes me to have seizures like one of those Japanese cartoons of the same time period. Xixchil may only have two hands, but they have hands.

Other than that, I'm going to have more problems with the 3e canon than the 2e canon, in particular the transformation of certain races into psionic races because they featured prominently in Dark Sun or the seemingly random, incomprehensible changes to existing mechanics and lore they made to existing races.
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
For things that remain blockers, I was thinking that there could be an "official conversion" based on what is closest to the canon, but there could be one or more sidebars to give GMs alternatives.
I agree this is best. I actually have a number of ideas about helms, myself, but would prefer the official conversion to be based on canon.

Except for Xixchil. They. Have. Hands.
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
If you are up for a discussion (or a series of discussions) where we quote specific text from specific books and try to infer what Jeff Grubb and others intended...and then talk about how 3rd Edition can accomodate that, then I think we can move forward. (And if we don't agree on everything, but keep the idea of sidebar solutions in mind, we can try to get a number of small steps done.)
Certainly. To be clear, while I consider all three to be almost entirely intercompatible, are we aiming for 3.0-- like the original materials, 3.5, or Pathfinder?
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:36 pm

FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:40 am
What do you need people to do for the 3e conversion project?
An excellent question.

The Welcome to the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project topic shows how far the Spelljammer: Beyond the Moons website got with the outlines for their three netbooks (Player's Guide to Spelljammer, Ships in Wildspace and Monsters of Wildspace).

I think that looking through those outlines and picking things to work on is probably the best way to get forward momentum.

They sort of work as a mini PHB, DMG and MM for Spelljammer. I think the PHB-like netbook is probably the most important to do first. But if someone has the time and the mojo to work on another one, that gets that work "out of the way".

Getting anything done is more important than haggling over what needs doing, so if certain people enjoy looking at certain things, then I think it would be best for them to focus on the fun stuff first. (Then we will have to finish up the stuff everyone wants to avoid later on, but will have a partly finished conversion to be going along with.)
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:37 pm

FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
Have you looked at the existing conversion content on Spelljammer: Beyond the Moons?

Would you be happy to talk about what is currently missing from those documents? That was essentially what I was hoping to do, several years ago, when I made a request to Ashtagon to set up this project forum.
Well, my personal focus as a DM and as a fan is the player-facing material, the races and classes and the feats. It seems like almost no part of Complete Spacefarer's Handbook has been touched. I'm not overly familiar with the Kits from the book, but the practice appears to have been to convert Kits to either standalone Base Classes or Prestige Classes.

In Pathfinder, they might come out as Archetypes.
WotC seem to have moved the focus to player-facing material too. I think it sells better.

I did have a separate 3e project (also stalled) called Monsters As Characters, where I was trying to take the SRD write-ups for various monsters and do all the mathematics needed to turn them into fully playable monsters. AuldDragon has been working on write-ups for various monster religions for several years, and I thought that borrowing from him (if he is OK with it) and updating his articles to 3e monster deity information could be a way to create playable monsters that a GM could allow for certain SJ crystal spheres. However, that is outside of the SJ 3e Conversion Project.

I do have a topic for Converting CGR1 Kits to PrCs so I think we are roughly on the same page here.

The Creature Catalogue Team at EN World were converting monsters one at a time, by quoting the pre-3e text and then discussing how to adapt that.

I think we could discuss each Kit in turn, decide if a PrC, Class or something else would be the best way to deal with it (and even discuss if something might be best ignored).

The Aperusa has already been converted into a race, by other people at BtM and I agree with that decision.

The Imposter is a bit weird. I think it needs to be converted, but I'm not so sure there are thousands of imposters floating around.
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
One thing, that I think has been a little bit of a blocker, is that some people interpret Spelljammer differently. (So you and I might want slightly different things...or maybe even radically different things...from a 3e conversion project.) I'm actually hoping to get people to work together on the things they agree on...and put the things they disagree on to one side, for the time being, just so that we can get forward momentum.
I have a severe allergic reaction to what passes for "comic relief" in fantasy roleplaying games, and despise that they decided to put as much as they thought they could get away with-- and so much more-- into Spelljammer. I am either going to push for things like Tinkers and Dohwar to be more grounded and more competent in their roles, or I'm going to have to allow someone else to work on them.
If you ask ten Spelljammer fans about what they like and dislike, you will get ten different answers. :lol:

I've had more conversations where someone has said to me "I really like Spelljammer but..." than I can remember.

I'm not entirely in love with all the comedy stuff myself. However, it is part of Spelljammer and there are plenty of other people who really like that stuff.

I'd say this is an area where the "sidebar with alternative rules" approach can really help make things work for everyone (or at least for more people). It might even take more than a small sidebar to handle Tinker Gnomes acting differently, as they are a major spacefaring race. I'm not so up on the pros and cons of changing the Dohwar, but I don't think they are a major presence in Spelljammer, so I think that GMs could easily choose between a 2e style version, a toned down version and dropping them entirely.
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Also, the thought of an intelligent species, pursuing self-directed evolution, deliberately removing their own manipulator appendages causes me to have seizures like one of those Japanese cartoons of the same time period. Xixchil may only have two hands, but they have hands.
Huh? I'm not quite sure I remember Xixchil amputating their own hands. :o

I'll have to look that up. It does seem pretty bizarre. It might even be worth having a chat about that in the main Spelljammer forum.
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Other than that, I'm going to have more problems with the 3e canon than the 2e canon, in particular the transformation of certain races into psionic races because they featured prominently in Dark Sun or the seemingly random, incomprehensible changes to existing mechanics and lore they made to existing races.
I personally want to play in the Known Spheres, from the original AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set. (Otherwise I could just use Shadow of the Spider Moon instead.) But you have touched on something that is a bit of a dilemma.

On the one hand I like the 2nd Edition Spelljammer universe (and would probably want to stick with the 2e timeline, as it connects to Greyspace, Realmspace and Krynnspace. On the other hand, I'm not sure it is desirable to emulate every part of 2nd Edition with 3rd Edition rules and have a massive appendix of house rules that overide things in the 3e core rules.

I kind of see this as an area where the GM can make adustments (doing stuff like ignoring psionics...or even adding more psionics to other monsters). If we expand beyond the scope of the 3 Beyond the Moons netbook proposals and end up doing netbooks for Greyspace, Realmspace and Krynnspace I think it would be much more appropriate to alter monsters and stat those up as local versions of those monsters that live in that specific crystal sphere.

And, if stuff like that didn't fit there, I would say that your adjusted rules for monsters would make for a great "Fan Enhancement" article to go into Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine.
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
For things that remain blockers, I was thinking that there could be an "official conversion" based on what is closest to the canon, but there could be one or more sidebars to give GMs alternatives.
I agree this is best. I actually have a number of ideas about helms, myself, but would prefer the official conversion to be based on canon.
I'd actually be interested in seeing new types of Spelljamming Helms. Hackjammer had some rules for a couple of types of alternative propulsion systems (magical oars and sails) but there are a number of other devices that are hinted at, but never written up.

Perhaps some of your ideas might work as additional helms, rather than alternative helms. :)

I've also had thoughts about Feats that might alter the way that spelljamming works. Plus something called "Helmcasting" where spellcasters can learn to cast some personal spells on themselves, while in the helm.

But, I think the rules need to work for the majority of people. So I might want to start off with the vanilla stuff and then see what you or I might want to add on top of that as an option.
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Except for Xixchil. They. Have. Hands.
LOL You seem to have a bugbear about this. I'll really have to have a chat with you (and others) about these guys. :D
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:56 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:19 pm
If you are up for a discussion (or a series of discussions) where we quote specific text from specific books and try to infer what Jeff Grubb and others intended...and then talk about how 3rd Edition can accomodate that, then I think we can move forward. (And if we don't agree on everything, but keep the idea of sidebar solutions in mind, we can try to get a number of small steps done.)
Certainly. To be clear, while I consider all three to be almost entirely intercompatible, are we aiming for 3.0-- like the original materials, 3.5, or Pathfinder?
I'm pretty sure that the Beyond the Moons conversions started out at 3.0 conversions (as there is no mention of "Revised 3rd Edition"). If it was possible to make as much of the conversion 3.0 and 3.5 compatible I'd want to go for that.

I don't play Pathfinder and I look at it as another system. (And I've lost count of the people who have tried to get me to give up on the idea of converting Spelljammer to 3rd Edition and convert to Pathfinder instead. They probably don't realise how frustrating it is to be told to give up on your plan.) However, I am aware that Pathfinder is based on 3rd Edition, and have previously offered to "code share" with people who wanted to make Pathfinder RPG conversions of Spelljammer. So if stuff worked for Pathfinder too, that would be great. But, I don't know enough about Pathfinder RPG to be confident that anything would be compatible. For me, it's not a priority, but I might be happy to make a second-pass and help Pathfinder fans tweak things.
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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Morfie » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:00 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:40 am
Morfie wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:34 am
Would a 5e forum find more support for this?
...and...
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:01 am
Quite possibly, but I personally have very, very little interest in a 5e conversion for Spelljammer, whereas I personally still have a considerable amount of interest in a 3e conversion.
This is a 3rd Edition conversion project.

I am not personally interested in working on other conversions of Spelljammer, at this time.

I previously had people asking me to support a 4th Edition conversion project...and I did...and they didn't really do much. I think they were hoping to get me to work on the 4th Edition conversion for them (and moderate the project forum for them).

I'll get behind someone who actually:
  • starts work on 5th Edition conversion work,
  • makes an effort to recruit other people to the project and
  • steps up and says they will front the project
However, they need to build this business case in the main Spelljammer forum, as 5e is off-topic here.

Having said that, if someone does step up and organise a 5e conversion project (and makes a forum request and is accepted) I would be happy to "share code". I just won't be working on another project.
Sorry, wasn't trying to derail the thread or the project. I was thinking a different approach might help get it going again, as 5e seems to be all the rage with the kids these days.
I wish you good luck with the 3e project!

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Re: Restarting the Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:05 am

Morfie wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:00 am
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:40 am
Morfie wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:34 am
Would a 5e forum find more support for this?
...and...
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:01 am
Quite possibly, but I personally have very, very little interest in a 5e conversion for Spelljammer, whereas I personally still have a considerable amount of interest in a 3e conversion.
This is a 3rd Edition conversion project.

I am not personally interested in working on other conversions of Spelljammer, at this time.

I previously had people asking me to support a 4th Edition conversion project...and I did...and they didn't really do much. I think they were hoping to get me to work on the 4th Edition conversion for them (and moderate the project forum for them).

I'll get behind someone who actually:
  • starts work on 5th Edition conversion work,
  • makes an effort to recruit other people to the project and
  • steps up and says they will front the project
However, they need to build this business case in the main Spelljammer forum, as 5e is off-topic here.

Having said that, if someone does step up and organise a 5e conversion project (and makes a forum request and is accepted) I would be happy to "share code". I just won't be working on another project.
Sorry, wasn't trying to derail the thread or the project. I was thinking a different approach might help get it going again, as 5e seems to be all the rage with the kids these days.
I wish you good luck with the 3e project!
No problem. You were trying to help. It's always good when someone is trying to help. :mrgreen:

5e does have a lot of traction and I already see people talking about using Spelljammer with 5th Edition. I think you are right in that some 5e fans would help out with a discussion about converting Spelljammer. But I am pretty sure they would all want to convert it to 5e. And a 5e Spelljammer conversion would be great for that part of the community. :)
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