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[Let's Read] CGR1: The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
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Oerth and Greyspace
To be honest, I think that Forgotten Realms is the only setting that really fits spelljamming.

Krynn and Krynnspace
My personal theory is that nobody wants to let kender escape from Krynn. ;)

Draconians get a special note: There's a mention that about a dozen Draconian-crewed ships exist, with three times more with Draconian crewmen. They're noted as remaining evil, but "their dedication to Takhisis dwindles once they leave Krynnspace." They're better than Neogi, but more savage than Spelljammer's lizard men.
I wonder what happens when a priest of Takhisis runs into a priest of Tiamat?

For references, we're pointed to Kara-Tur (Boxed set), Oriental Adventures (This is the 1st edition book, right?), The Horde (home of the Tuigan pseudo-Mongols), Arabian Adventures (Book for Al-Qadim), Land of Fate (Box set for Al-Qadim), and of course Realmspace.
Realmspace is great. Oriental Adventures is 1e, but was never updated to 2e. Instead, OA races were described in the Kara-Tur MCA. Since OA is basically an independent book anyway and almost a PB of its own, you didn't really need to update it.
 

MacBalance

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To be honest, I think that Forgotten Realms is the only setting that really fits spelljamming.
I think once they're in Spelljammer, most refugees from the established settings potentially work. Dark Sun maybe less than others, but for the same reason Athas natives in Planescape tend to be seen as a little odd: they're dumped in a loud, confusing world of plenty.

Krynn tends to be 'inward looking' to me, which makes its inclusion in the 2nd edition 'meta settings' difficult to me. (I use 'meta settings' as a catch-all for Spelljammer, Planescape, and Ravenloft in that they don't have an independent existence, but are a plug-in to other settings.)

My personal theory is that nobody wants to let kender escape from Krynn. ;)
CGR1 kind of supports this: As I said, Palanthus warns Spelljammer captains that landing in Kendermore is going to end badly.

I wonder what happens when a priest of Takhisis runs into a priest of Tiamat?
I'm guessing it's violent.

Realmspace is great. Oriental Adventures is 1e, but was never updated to 2e. Instead, OA races were described in the Kara-Tur MCA. Since OA is basically an independent book anyway and almost a PB of its own, you didn't really need to update it.
I don't think I ever read Realmspace, but I could be wrong. I know I had Krynnspace and was not thrilled with it, but I think I wanted to get past the 'big three' and see more weird worlds like the Spelljammer core promised. My biggest personal problem with Spelljammer when I ran it was getting beyond using the ships as a tool to move from dungeon to dungeon. I'd have liked to see adventures with interesting set pieces requiring ship-scale stuff. I think I also tried to run the ship combat as a pure wargame, which the rules do say is a bad idea: They intend the tactical game to be modified by player-scale Cool Stuff like boarding an opposing ship, using magic spells and items, etc.

I didn't realize that the OA races got updated in the Kara-Tur MCA. I know they used that for the Dragonlance races in 2nd, but thought that was the only case. I'm not sure that was the best idea. While it may have been a step towards 3.0's design paradigm where everything used the same rules (moreso than 2nd) I feel like I would've been interested in more "Player's Guide" like, well, this one. (Planescape got a similar book in The Planewalker's Handbook.) I know teenage me would've definitely jumped on a true Player's Guide to Krynn, and probably a few other settigns like the Realms and Greyhawk.

OA is definitely almost a Player's Handbook. It's also essentially AD&D 1.5 with the addition of NWP and some other things. I guess it'd be more compatible than most 1st edition material. The 2nd edition Kits with asian themes weren't nearly the same, although they may have been more usable in some cases.

Wait, what? It never came up? How is that even possible? Rope is the duct tape of D&D!
I have to agree with this: Rope was the go-to for crazy schemes involving building rickety assemblies out of 10 foot poles, branches, and other miscellaneous objects in my early gaming history.
 

Lewd Beholder

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Between this book and humanoids handbook, I don't think I played a single conventional race till 3rd

How the heck can you say no to playing a swearing sailor monkey with gliding flaps! :p
 

Crowqueen

Corvus Sapiens
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I've heard this somewhere, and am somewhat curious about it. It seems unnecessary, although I'd be completely cool with a non-Ravenloft 'Horror' Sphere that has some D&D weirdness in it... Maybe tributes to 50s sci-fi horror stuff that doesn't fit as well into Ravenloft's gothic horror idiom. Think an entire sphere based around the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks kind of weirdness.

Wait, I'm being stupid: Darkspace meaning Athas's crystal sphere?
IIRC yes. From 'Dark Sun'.

@Leonaru - the third book in the Spelljammer series deals with a kender escaped from Krynn. It's quite funny, given the hero of the books is from Krynn himself and spends the entire first book on terra firma trying to get up into the wild dark yonder. I won't say much more, only that hilarity ...sort of... ensues.
 

MacBalance

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IIRC, there's a section in one the Al-Quadim sets saying that the non-pantheon cities are friendly to spelljammers and are annoyed that out of date space guidebooks portray them as otherwise.
That's a pretty cool reference, I think! One of the good results of TSR's interconnectedness. I know little about Al-Qadim, but the 'Arabian Nights-inspired' elevator pitch I've seen makes it sound like merchants in flying ships offering a trickle of weird, foreign goods would fit, as would the cosmopolitan environment I've heard was part of the setting.

I thought Jeff Grubb was at least involved with both Spelljammer and Al-Qadim, but I'm guessing he had moved from one to the other by the time these books were written.
 

DocShoveller

Godwin's Lawman
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IIRC yes. From 'Dark Sun'.

@Leonaru - the third book in the Spelljammer series deals with a kender escaped from Krynn. It's quite funny, given the hero of the books is from Krynn himself and spends the entire first book on terra firma trying to get up into the wild dark yonder. I won't say much more, only that hilarity ...sort of... ensues.
Wasn't she quoted in post #1?
 

MacBalance

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Chapter 2: New Spacefaring Races

This book adds 9 new races as player character options. Several may have been described (as monsters) and covered in leonaru's Spelljammer MCA let's Reads: Volume 1, Volume 2, Aliens Unleashed.

There's a note that these are most definitely option or DM's permission. However, as with many 2nd edition non-core races, they really don't seem overly powerful, and will lose out long-term due to level limits. We get a unified table of ability scores, which is not that interesting, although several have high requirements in one or two physical stats. Dracon, Giff, and Gromman all ened an 11 Strength (pre-bonuses) to take the class!

There's also a harsh note (that I'm guessing was mostly ignored, as I feel it's kind of stupid) that exception Charisma for these non-humans is only used among their own race. With other races, the maximum they can have is a 12. There's bonuses to stats, which I'll cover with each race, and of course the dreaded level limits.

In general, expect lots of Fighters and Thieves. Everyone can take Fighter, everyone but the Dracons can take Thief. Even if they have a Wizard or Cleric option, Fighter tends to be the highest, followed by Thief. None of these races can be a wizard higher than 5th level, which could be limiting in a Spelljammer campaign where the wizard makes the ship go. Cleric isn't much better, with races allowed clerics topping out at levels 5-12 depending on the race.

Dracons

The first race we'll discuss is the Dracon, a dragon-centaur. They're herd-based (noted, without rules, as eventually dying if they can't find some substitute for a herd to join, even an adventuring party) and seen as somewhat formal, weak, and snobbish. The 'weak and snobbish' part is noted as based on the race's "willingness to flee or discuss a situation rather than fight." This paints the baseline Spelljammer humans in a bad light, I think.

Dracons use "thin-bladed long swords" (again, no rules, just flavor) but also wrestle (which is probably interesting considering the whole 'centaur-like' thing). They think us four-limbers are deformed and pity us, as well as having trouble telling the humanoid races apart. They dislike the negoi and the beholders. (I vaguely remember a Spelljammer note that Dracons think Beholders remind them of kick-balls.)

As is common with the new races in this book, the Dracon homeworld is unknown. They do get Dragon as a language!

Their special abilities include 'long thumb-claws' that do 1d4 damage and can be used for two attacks if the Dracon isn't carrying a weapon.They're faster, and get a +1 to Strength and a -1 to Dexterity. They can also use some 'draft animal' rules to represent carrying heavy loads on their dragon back: it's an extra 150 pounds of cargo without impeding speed. They can also sue their bulk and strength to get a bonus to body-slam a stuck door.

Note that they count as Large creatures for taking damage, which is a definite drawback as I remember.

Unlike most races in this book, there's no natural armor or note about armor prices. They do get a list of spheres for their clerics, which are not in the standard format from L&L or similar. Still, as they're limited by a level cap (albeit at 12, the highest in the book) I think giving them all the listed spheres with full access seems reasonable. They don't have any as minor spheres, but also don't have any special abilities. Their god isn't really defined.

Not a bad race, really. Fighter and Cleric are OK options and the level cap doesn't kick in until the mid teens, so you're pretty safe. Not too much here about their personality, but, wait, there's a quote:


'Oh, that's right. You're the ones who live in caves and hoard gold. I remember. Did you shave your beard?"

Dracon diplomat to elven diplomat,
just before the fighting started
And another poor, young race is fast-tracked for Elven genocide. Will it ever end?
 

Lewd Beholder

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I enjoyed the pair of dracons in the cloakmaster cycle a lot.

they were just well meaning goofballs whom decided that the main character was descended from the ...gods or heroes, I can't remember which.
 
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