In the space between worlds you can breathe the air. Ships sail on currents of ether through the warm, bright and brilliantly-colored reaches. Navies, pirates and privateers battle with cannons, swords and spells. These are worlds based on magic, not science.

Among these myriad fantastic worlds sails one small ship and her crew – the SS Terrapin, an old gnomish steamer.


In the original material, Spelljammer tried too hard to stick to realistic notions of how “space” works. They had a cold, airless space with semi-realistic gravity, and then tacked on complicated rules to allow for their open-decked space galleons. I’m starting from the opposite end: Space is a mostly hospitable place. There is air, heat and light. Large worlds and a myriad of smaller objects ‘float’ in the ether. Most stars are big masses of flame, as hot as a huge bonfire. Others may be chariots of flame pulled by magical creatures, or something stranger. Huge animals swim through the void. Light usually comes from the stars, from glowing moons, and from colorful luminescent nebulas of floating gas.

The original Spelljammer also suffered from some other baggage: the setting was obligated to include and connect incompatable worlds from other product lines. They also minimized the power of magic and avoided gunpowder like the plague. I don’t do any of that. I’ve got several different kinds of magic in mind, and technology allows not only cannons and flintlocks, but even some clockpunk or steampunk elements. There are many spacefaring cultures, some stretched out over many worlds.


Against the Flow