DnD: Spelljammer return hinted at by ex-Paizo designer

Jason Tondro, a new senior designer for D&D who recently left Paizo, hints at the possible return of classic Dungeons and Dragons setting Spelljammer

Dnd Spelljammer relaunch hinted at: An image of a beholder looking at a fish in a bowl.

Ex-Pathfinder writer and designer Jason Tondro, who this week leaves Paizo to work as a senior designer on DnD for Wizards of the Coast, held a Twitter AMA on Monday, in which he hinted at a possible return of the classic DnD setting Spelljammer.

“If I were looking for someone to bring back Spelljammer, hiring a guy who made adventures and wrote for both Pathfinder and Starfinder would seem like a smart play,” Tondro said, when asked what part of his experience on Pathfinder would be most influential in working for Wizards. Starfinder is Paizo’s science fiction tabletop built on the Pathfinder rules system and released in 2017.

It must be stressed, this is by no means a confirmation that a Spelljammer revival is imminent, as Tondro also said: “I don’t know what my first project at WotC will be”. However, since we already know that Wizards plans to bring back two classic D&D settings, in releases scheduled for 2022, and there was a Spelljammer Unearthed Arcana last year, we’re setting our patented rumour dial, the hint-o-meter, to ‘quite likely’. Watch this space.

Spelljammer is a beloved classic D&D setting which first appeared in a supplement for AD&D (D&D 2nd edition) in 1989. It’s a spacefaring setting that eschews the classic sci-fi tropes for ‘space fantasy’. Astronauts fly wood and sail galleons instead of gleaming spaceships, fight with cannons instead of lasers, and the laws of physics are based on the cosmology of the Ancient Greeks. 

Much like Planescape, another classic, much-loved D&D setting, Spelljammer provided an in-game excuse to transfer D&D characters from one game to another – they could simply have travelled from another world.

Spelljammer content appeared throughout D&D 2nd edition, but the setting was discontinued by TSR before its acquisition by Wizards of the Coast in 1997. A couple of scattered references showed up in 4th and 5th edition content, but on the whole, little has been seen of Spelljammer for decades.

Previously an english professor, Jason Tondro has worked for Paizo for four years, writing numerous Pathfinder adventures, and developing Starfinder from 2019. He announced he was leaving Paizo for Wizards on February 23.

We may be looking at old settings, but D&D is on the move towards its next iteration. Here’s what we know about D&D 6E. And check out our D&D class guide for more info on how to build a D&D character.