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Spelljammer: Adventures in Space (2e)

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Multitudes of worlds wheel through Wildspace. The crystal shells that encase them bob and drift in a turbulent, rainbow ocean which fills all the cosmos. Sturdy merchants, bold pirates, and daring explorers venture into the great, unknown vastness of the universe, seeking wealth and adventure.

The SPELLJAMMER Game puts you in command of a fantastic ship capable of spanning the tremendous distances between planets. Graceful elven flitters, stately illithid galleys, deadly beholder tyrants, and the awesome Spelljammer itself carry trade, emissaries, and heroic action throughout all the worlds of the AD&D game.

Note on the print version: The books, maps and other elements of the box set have been combined into a single volume pint book. If you plan to use the maps at your game table it is recommended that you purchase the PDF+Print combo deal and print the maps from the PDF.

Product History

Spelljammer (1989), by Jeff Grubb, is the boxed set that introduced the Spelljammer campaign setting for AD&D 2e. It was published in October 1989.

Origins. The story of Spelljammer begins in 1988 at Augie’s, a local bar in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. TSR R&D Managers James Ward and Warren Spector took the designers there for an afternoon-long brainstorming session with the goal of planning TSR's boxed sets for the next year.

Jeff Grubb came to the meeting with an agenda: he wanted to push the boundaries of standard fantasy. He had an idea too, one that began with a single image: a knight standing on the deck of a ship in space, unprotected from the elements. In other words, Grubb proposed "D&D in Space".

Two boxed sets came out of the meeting: Time of the Dragon (1989), a boxed set exploring the continent of Taladas for Dragonlance; and Spelljammer. However, Grubb almost didn't get to write the game he'd championed. Instead, it nearly went to David "Zeb" Cook; he was ready to write a new setting after two years working on AD&D 2e (1989), but figured he couldn't write the Dragonlance box because hd didn't know much about the setting. Fortunately for Grubb, Taladas was purposefully set apart from the epic stories of Krynn, and so didn't require a lot of past knowledge about the setting. As a result, Cook wrote Time of the Dragon and Grubb wrote Spelljammer.

Beginning the AD&D 2e Worlds. In the days of AD&D 1e, TSR had published just a few gaming worlds — mainly the World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting (1980), Krynn (1984), and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (1987), plus a few licensed game settings like Lankhmar: City of Adventure (1985). This focus changed dramatically with AD&D 2e where TSR started releasing a new world every year, of which Spelljammer was the first.

Spelljammer set the bar high for future worlds, because it was so unique — unlike the most standard fantasy settings that had come before it. Later settings like Dark Sun (1991) and Planescape Campaign Setting (1994) would accept this challenge and move even further from fantasy's norm.

Unfortunately, TSR's tendency to design so many game worlds (and to continually support them) would prove a major problem for the company by the mid '90s. They were probably cannibalizing their own audience with all of these game worlds, and this might have been a factor in the company's 1997 demise.

About the Name. The name "spelljammer" comes from the windjammers — the iron or steel-hulled sailing ships of the late 19th and early 20th century. Predictably, the Marketing department liked the name (because it was self-explanatory) while the Legal department hated it (because it was too much like a real word, and so harder to trademark).

Grubb believes in getting his money's worth from a name; he used spelljammer as a noun (for a class of ships), as a proper noun (for the mythical Spelljammer itself), and as a verb (for moving through space).

Laying Out the Boxed Set. At the time, TSR was packing its boxed sets full of great material — to the point where some suggest that they were selling boxes at a loss. The standard format called for two 96-page books, four big maps, and a pile of cardboard sheets. These requirements sometimes drove the design, since it called for such specific contents. For Spelljammer, it caused Grubb to include ship stat cards and standup ships.

Expanding the Multiverse. Though the original concept of Spelljammer was "D&D in Space", the design team soon decided that the setting could also tie together TSR's existing game worlds of the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Krynn. Spelljamming thus offered an orthogonal way of traversing worlds from the traditional "Great Wheel" cosmology; this was one of the biggest expansions ever to D&D's multiverse.

Traveling between different worlds called for the creation of "crystal spheres" which enclosed each world. This allowed the different worlds to have different physical laws and also gave an explanation for the different planets and constellations found in each universe. The inspiration for this idea was the cover of Daniel Boorstin’s The Discoverers (1983). It showed someone crawling out from within a sphere to a universe beyond.

Sadly, TSR's later settings were never well-integrated into the Spelljammer universe. CGR1: The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (1992) included some notes on Dark Sun and Ravenloft, but they were fairly minimal.

Monsters of Note. One of the most interesting elements of Spelljammer was that it let Grubb reinvent traditional fantasy monsters as spacefaring races.

The mind flayers got the best attention — to the point where they became de facto mascot of the Spelljammer universe. This was in part because they had long been spacefarers, ever since one showed up in S3: "Expedition to Barrier Peaks (1980), and in part because Jim Holloway designed a beautiful chambered nautilus spaceship for them. When the designers behind the Ravenloft Campaign Setting (1990) later wanted to include mind flayers in the their setting, the Marketing department actually protested because they were so closely associated with Spelljamemr!

The beholder also got considerable expansion in Spelljammer, primarily due to the work of Holloway. He drew several different beholder ships, and this caused the Spelljammer designers to create variant groups of beholders who fought genetic wars against each other.

There were several new monsters in Spalljammer as well. The neogi were intended as a new, villainous race — required because the mind flayers were gaining more depth. The hippo-headed giff were another animalistic race of the sort that Grubb enjoys — wit others being the walrus-men/thanoi of Krynn and the yak-men of Al-Qadim.

Future History. Spelljammer was supported through 1993 with four boxed sets, two Monstrous Compendiums, fourteen modules, six novels, and fifteen comics. Grubb stayed on to manage the line through the first year.

After its cancelation (amidst many cancellations in 1993), TSR introduced a new universe-spanning setting: Planescape.

Paizo Publishing returned to the idea of spelljamming with Dungeon #92 / Polyhedron #151 (May/June 2002), which included "Spelljammer: Shadow of the Spider Moon", a reimagined Spelljammer universe.

About the Creators. Besides managing the Spelljammer line for the first year, Grubb also wrote The Legend of Spelljammer (1991). After that, his next major project was Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures (1992).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (22)
Discussions (31)
Customer avatar
Kenneth A March 05, 2023 11:24 pm UTC
I had the original hard copies back in the day. And I'm glad to have the original Spelljammer (in PDF form at least), again.

Yes, yes, I know, Wizards of the Coast suggests it is evil racist and sexist material, and I'm a sinful American for having enjoyed Spelljammer back in the day. And yes, there's even a woman's cleavage and bare side-boob on the cover (such sinful, shameful things are omitted in the new WotC Spelljammer set). But I'm still glad to have original Spelljammer, again, with phlogiston included.

My only regret is having to pay dollars to people who are so eager to spit on the original creators of these wonderful imaginative works---I know *that* part of WotC's work will never end. They'll keep at it, when they aren't trying to switch of up their license conditions to rob modern creators of their own content.
Customer avatar
skol J November 30, 2022 12:28 pm UTC
Hello, I'd like to share my experience with this. I ordered the hardback + pdf bundle.
The book is of good quality. Being a scan, the colors and definition are lower than an original print, but that's not too annoying.
What I find inconvenient is that the whole box is actually printed in a single book, meaning that the maps and ship cards will be difficult to hand over if you didn't get the digital files.
Last but not least, I was a bit lost when beginning to read the book until I realized that the first booklet (i.e. : the one meant to be read first) had been printed second in the hardback... a bit silly.
Customer avatar
Bob D October 14, 2022 2:20 am UTC
does this have a planet generator
Customer avatar
Gary A September 09, 2022 4:00 pm UTC
What happened to the POD option. I add it to my cart, and it only shows the PDF.
Customer avatar
Gregory F August 30, 2022 2:03 am UTC
I don’t know if it is just my pdf, but some of the pages have weird text and arrangement. I don’t think it is intentional, for example my tactile movement page looks like it has white bars running through it. Is this how it is for everyone else?
Customer avatar
Perry P May 23, 2022 11:03 am UTC
I ordered PoD of this book, and got an email in 29.4. saying it was shipped that day. It still hasn't arrived by now, 23.5, and while I understand that shipping might take time, especially now, I did order another PoD book from dtrpg inbetween now and then, and that arrived in 10 days after the provided shipping date, so now I'm unsure if I should take some action, where to contact, or just keep waiting. Both books were shipped to the same address with standard shipping via Lettermail Priority Packet, and I didn't receive any tracking codes in any of the emails with either of the products.
Customer avatar
Nick J August 09, 2022 10:54 pm UTC
You aren't going to get support from DTRPG by leaving a comment here, you have to contact them through their support page.
Customer avatar
Perry P August 10, 2022 6:55 am UTC
Yes, that I did. Everything turned out to be okay, and eventually, like couple of weeks later, it did show up. It was just stuck in customs for a really long time for some reason, and now I can't edit or delete this comment so my needless worries are eternally stuck here. I was going to update this by replying here but forgot
Customer avatar
Ricardo M November 17, 2021 2:36 am UTC
Lo and Behold, PoD is back! Any new buyer can fill us in the quality of this print (and/or if the print order has been corrected)?
Customer avatar
David L November 15, 2021 5:34 am UTC
Apparently the politics of today is causing them to no longer print some of the older products like this and the Complete book of Necromancers for example;
Customer avatar
Hugues D October 23, 2021 8:51 pm UTC
Clearly no one bother to answer. Never got any answer to messages that i sent.
I think we can kiss goodbye Spelljammer in print!
Customer avatar
Hugues D October 18, 2021 10:39 pm UTC
I sent an Email asking if it could back on print eventually and it is still... dead silent!
Customer avatar
Jorge P October 18, 2021 8:57 am UTC
The print on demand option disappeared quite suddenly, a week ago or so; so suddenly, the description still has a "Note on the print version". Just before I was ready to buy it, too. Hopefully it'll come back again soon.
Customer avatar
Jorge P November 20, 2021 1:20 am UTC
... And it's back! Yay!
Customer avatar
Pieter-Jan D October 14, 2021 9:42 am UTC
Where is the print on demand (pod) option gone to?
It was there a day or so ago and it's now "multiple file formats"
Customer avatar
David P October 07, 2021 7:40 am UTC
I spent so long umming and erring about buying this, and now it's only available in digital. If you see this and POD is back, make fun of me... at least I'll be alerted.
Customer avatar
Jorge P November 20, 2021 1:20 am UTC
I'm not making fun of you -- just making sure you know the Print On Demand option is back. :)
Customer avatar
Zach F August 30, 2021 12:48 am UTC
Do they frequently swap out PoD content? Makes sense I suppose, big bummer for me though.
Customer avatar
brian M August 29, 2021 4:06 am UTC
I want print on demand back.
Customer avatar
Blake R August 22, 2021 8:35 am UTC
Just wondering whether the print on demand options for this book will be making a comeback in the future?
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Product Information
Adamantine seller
Publisher Stock #
TSR 1049
File Size:
185.42 MB
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File Last Updated:
January 07, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on March 04, 2014.