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D&D’s Spelljammer reboot looks unlike any other 5th edition adventure so far

The 3-volume set includes a 64-page adventure

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Spelljammer, a setting that blends high fantasy and space travel, is coming back to Dungeons & Dragons. Wizards of the Coast announced the setting’s return Thursday during the D&D Direct streaming presentation. The three-volume set, titled Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, comes packaged in its own slipcase, and includes a double-sided map and a Dungeon Master’s Screen. Pre-orders appear to be live now on Amazon with a list price of $69.99. Release date is set for Aug. 16.

Spelljammer was first introduced in 1989, also as a boxed set titled Spelljammer: Adventures in Space written by Jeff Grubb. Published originally by TSR, it’s still in print with physical copies available via a partnership with OneBookShelf.

The setting gets its name from its eponymous starships, massive flying vessels piloted by powerful wizards. You can see one in action in the teaser trailer above. Spelljammers look like elegant, open-decked vessels with distinctive, wing-like sails used to travel through space, through the air of terrestrial planets, and even between different planes of existence. In this way they’ve been used to connect the many disparate settings of the D&D multiverse, including The Forgotten Realms, Eberron, and Dragonlance’s Krynn.

The first of the three volumes in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space is titled Astral Adventurer’s Guide. Wizards says it contains everything DMs need to run a campaign as well as six new options for playable characters — specifically all six of the races included in recently released playtest materials. That includes the industrious autognome, the bipedal hippo-like giff, the primate-like hadozee, the oozy plasmoids, astral elves, and the insectile thri-kreen.

The second book is titled Boo’s Astral Menagerie, named after the eponymous miniature giant space hamster from the original Baldur’s Gate video game. Here’s where things get particularly odd: Among the new monsters being introduced to the setting are evil space clowns, vampirates, sentient comets, and, of course, space dragons.

The final book is an adventure called Light of Xaryxis. Set in Wildspace in the Astral Sea, it includes 12 episodes, each of which end in a cliffhanger. It’s not known at this time what levels characters will start or finish the adventure at.

This isn’t the first time that Wizards has unveiled these kinds of slipcase-packed collections. Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse was released as part of a three-volume set earlier this year. The books included with Spelljammer: Adventures in Space are, however, much slimmer at just 64 pages each. Previously released hardcover materials for 5th edition D&D are generally well in excess of 250 pages each.