'Dungeons & Dragons' returns to space with not one but three Spelljammer books

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'Dungeons & Dragons' returns to space with not one but three Spelljammer books

Another long-requested campaign setting, Dragonlance, is also coming later this year. 

Dungeons & Dragon: Boos Astral Menagerie

On April Fools' Day, the official Dungeons & Dragons Twitter account peeved some fans when it tweeted “Spelljammer confirmed” — teasing fans that the long-awaited, long-requested revival of the popular spacefaring campaign setting was perhaps just a cruel prank. Luckily, 20 days later, during the tabletop game’s big D&D Direct presentation, it was revealed that Spelljammer is coming back for real, and in a big way. This August will mark the release of not one but three Spelljammer books. And, later in the year, another popular campaign setting from past editions, Dragonlance, will get the Fifth Edition treatment as well. 

Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, a campaign setting featuring three 64-page hardcover books — including a new bestiary and a new adventure —  in a slipcase along with a DM’s screen and poster, will blast off on Aug. 16. Spelljammer, which can perhaps be most succinctly described as “science fiction, but fantasy,” originated in D&D’s second edition back in 1989. Players could travel on bizarre galleon-like spaceships through the stars, encountering all sorts of strange worlds.

Chris Perkins, project lead on the new Spelljammer, promises that new players will encounter sights like “cities built on asteroids, monster lairs carved out of asteroids, and dead gods floating in the ether.”

Dungeons & Dragons: Astral Adventurers Guide Art

The first book in the set is the ​​Astral Adventurer’s Guide, which is aimed at both players and DMs. In addition to laying out how the world (or rather, worlds) of Spelljammer and the various space-faring ships work, the book introduces six new playable races to Fifth Edition, all of which recently appeared as playtesting material. There are Astral Elves, described as elves who left the Feywild to travel space; Autognomes, mechanical gnomes; Hadozee, flying monkey-like creatures; Giff, space hippos who traditionally have a penchant for military wear and firearms; Plasmoids, the first ooze player race; and Thri-Kreen, insectoids with telepathy and the ability to change the color of their carapace. 

Dungeons & Dragons Light Of Xaryxis

The second book, Boo’s Astral Menagerie, is a Spelljamer-specific bestiary. Among the new monsters inside the book include “space clowns, vampirates, murder-comets, giant space hamsters, solar dragons, and lunar dragons.”

Finally, Light of Xaryxis is an all-new adventure in 12 chapters that all end in cliffhangers. The adventure is geared for players levels 5 through 8. Prior to the release of the books, though, Wizards of the Coast will make a prequel adventure, Spelljammer Academy, available for free online in July. 

Spelljammer Book Set

Fewer details were shared about the return of Dragonlance, a setting that takes place on the world of Krynn and the subject of close to 200 fantasy novels, starting with 1984’s Dragons of Autumn Twilight. While always popular, the setting was complicated by disagreement between the authors and the company that originally owned D&D, and more recently there were some legal rights issues that put the future of Dragonlance in doubt. However, that’s all settled, and a trailer premiered during D&D Direct promises an “adventure book and battle game” coming in late 2022. Last month, D&D released Dragonlance-related playtest material, including the Kender race and Lunar Magic sorcerer subclass, so it’s likely that some version of that material will be in the as-yet-unnamed book. 

At a press-only Q&A event after D&D Direct, D&D's Ray Winninger explained that the campaign was a new story that would feature some cameos of characters from the book and shed some light on what the "battle game" would entail. 

“Dragonlance is a story about war," Winninger explained. The "battle game," a Euro-style cooperative board game, will "deliver an experience that would allow you to play a traditional roleplaying game, but from time to time your characters can participate in epic battles you see in the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, for instance.” The game can slot into a traditional roleplaying game, as characters can transfer over, but it can also stand alone. 

Among the other tabletop products revealed during the presentation were a new starter set, Dragons of Stormwreck Isle, which is specifically geared towards new players and DMs. At the press Q&A, Wizards of the Coast said the new starter set was built years on 8 years of feedback about the first Fifth Edition starter, set, Lost Mines of Phandelver, and it's "more streamlined and less intimidating so really it’s as easy as possible to start playing." Dragons of Stormwreck Isle will retail for $19.99. Wizards of the Coast is also releasing two new boxed kits containing resources DMs can use to create terrain or place creatures when playing an in-person game. Campaign Case Creatures and Terrains will each be available on July 19. 

Additionally, D&D Direct also revealed the full title of the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie starring Chris Pine. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, hits theaters on March 3, 2023. 

 
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