I’m Jamming, Spelljamming the Night Away.
I love playing fantasy role-playing games. Dungeons and Dragons was the first I played, but in my time as a gamer I have played dozens of campaign settings and systems. My favorite of all settings was and is the fantasy space worlds of D&D expansion, Spelljammer. Spelljammer is a unique fantasy universe, where the main premise is that magic allows ships to sail through space. It was created by TSR and is now owned by Wizards of the Coast. It was used as one of the campaign settings of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd edition) game and also featured in a series of novels, comics, and a 1992 computer game.
For me, I never Spelljammed as a player, I did add to an existing AD&D I had been running for years. We played for several years. Many players had their own ships and players had reached epic levels. And just like that, the group broke up and I never had another opportunity to Spelljam! I was lucky enough to read the Spelljammer novels and I enjoyed them immensely. The best part was the journey of the main character as planet-bound human to a space-faring man.
The magic ships travel on an amazing interstellar river called The Phlogiston. The Phlogiston is essentially a big ocean of a unique element that is neither air, fire, water, nor earth. The Phlogiston, also known as "the Flow," is a bright, extremely combustible gas-like medium that exists between the crystal spheres. A signature property of the substance is that it does not exist within the boundaries of a crystal sphere, to the degree that it cannot be brought into a crystal sphere by any known means up to and including the direct will of deities. Every crystal sphere floats in The Phlogiston, very slowly bobbing up and down over time. Travel between crystal spheres is facilitated by the formation of "Flow rivers" — sections of The Phlogiston which have a current and greatly reduce travel time. Travel through the "slow flow" (i.e. off the Flow rivers) is possible, but very dangerous.
The reason I’m rethinking and revisiting Spelljammer is that I’m getting ready for a virtual game played on Roll20 and Discord. This time I get to play! I created a Swashbuckler for the Oceans of Krynn. His back story is that he was offered an opportunity to plunder a sea bigger than his imagination. On the pirate Spelljamming vessel “The Revenger,” Rathbone the Shadow made his fortunes. My PC quickly moved up in the ranks and, in an act of bravado and incredible stupidity, he challenged the captain for the leadership of the boat. Rathbone was defeated and put in the brig. He planned for this possibility and prepared an escape plan, he switched the ships astrolabe with a non-functioning fake.
The shadow was not shadowy enough and got caught trying to escape the ship.In a desperate act, Rathbone leaped off the deck into the void of space, trusting in the luck of his Interstellar deity.In his final moments before the air ran out in his air envelope (all objects in Spelljammer carry an envelope of air, depending how large they are), Rathbone crash landed on a defunct Dwarven citadel. Saved from death, only to be blinded by the crash, Rathbone was stranded on a big rock in space. This is where his Spelljammer adventure will begin and I can’t wait!