Review: Wizards of the Coast – Astral Adventurer’s Guide (Dungeons & Dragons)

Astral Adventurer’s Guide

Astral Adventurer’s Guide is one book from the Spelljammer: Adventures in Space boxed set. This review is part one of a series of 4 reviews. See all associated reviews under the tag spelljammer.

Astral Adventurer’s Guide is an epic fantasy supplement for Dungeons & Dragons, written by Christopher Perkins, Jeremy Crawford, and Ari Levitch and published by Wizards of the Coast.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Pirate fantasy amongst the Astral Plane!

It’s funny to me that they call it spacefaring because it’s really pirate-themed within a plane that follows its own rules. There are areas where you can live and not really live at the same time – you don’t need to worry about breathing, you never age, and you never get hungry. Yeah… that’s the Astral Plane for you.

Astral Adventurer’s Guide is the first of three books (four products total including the DM’s Screen) within the boxed set for the reincarnation of Spelljammer. It is not a standalone book; it is a core supplement that focuses on life aboard a ship that traverses the Astral Plane. These ships are powered by spelljammers, spellcasters utilizing a spelljamming helm to pilot the spelljamming ship. The ships are fantasy-themed (as opposed to sci-fi) and really just launch your careers from planet-side to wildspace! As such, there’s no adjustment necessary. You can take all your characters from the core games and propel them beyond the limitations of your planet! Of course, it doesn’t stop there; it wouldn’t be a core supplement if all you got was a bunch of ships floating amongst wildspace. It includes a collection of character races that dwell within the Astral Plane or regularly traverse the Astral Plane as a defining characteristic of the race. They are unique and interesting, but ultimately can be placed either planetside or within wildspace.

The majority of Astral Adventurer’s Guide is given over to the life of adventuring in the Astral Plane – how planets work within wildspace, where the envelopes of breathable air are, how gravity works, how traveling throughout works, lots and lots of ships, and fun stuff to go with it all like magic. It is a fun combination of fluff and crunchy bits, although the majority is mechanical. It is all wrapped-up with this awesome new location called The Rock of Bral. Literally a launching location for all your Astral Plane adventures and campaigns! It’s not only a city with lots of opportunities, it blends into the rest of the boxed set (obviously).

I’m not really a fan of vanilla fantasy. One thing I love about Spelljammer is that it’s not vanilla fantasy and it’s not space fantasy. It is such a unique blend of themes with such cool possibilities due to defining its own laws for space. Although I’ll get into it more in the next review, Spelljammer also provides the opportunity to quickly and easily bring in other non-vanilla fantasy types of themes (such as dark and horror themes).

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