As its name implies, Spelljammer Academy serves as a great introduction to the Dungeons & Dragons Spelljammer setting. Over the course of the Academy, players will face off against a number of iconic Spelljammer threats, come face to face with a handful of popular Spelljamming vessels, and begin to unravel a foreboding mystery.
If you or your players have never experienced the Spelljammer setting, but are excited to dive right into Wildspace, Spelljammer Academy is the perfect place to start with four low-level adventures that each only take about two hours to run, according to D&DBeyond. Let’s take a look at the most interesting locations Spelljammer Academy has to offer. Be warned: spoilers ahead.
6 The Spindle
Jutting 1,000 miles above the distant planet of H’Catha, the Spindle is a soaring mountain that’s home to all kinds of extraterrestial terrors. In Spelljammer Academy, we’re introduced to a handful of these terrors in the forms of the beholderkin: spectators and gazers who serve a beholder named Kurzzot. The Spindle is where your PCs will venture in the final part of Spelljammer Academy, as they seek to claim an adamantite meteorite that’s landed at the base of the looming mountain.
Though they may be extraterrestrial terrors, the beholderkin introduced here are relatively friendly despite their alien countenance and will introduce some well-appreciated levity to the game should the players let them.
5 Hammerhead Ship
In previous editions of the game, the Hammerhead ship, or “Hammership” as it was known then, was built by both humans and Lizardfolk and served as a heavy war galleon vessel for primarily military purposes. The ship featured is split into eighteen separate rooms and contains all of the locations you would expect to find on a warship if it were fitted for space travel.
Notably, the Hammerhead ship is outfitted with a powerful ballista that deals 3d10 piercing damage, but takes three actions to fire. You could probably get away with letting a PC fire it in just two actions, or maybe even one if you really want to encourage its use.
4 Squid Ship
The squid ship is a medium-sized ship built by humans that’s widely regarded as one of the best space-faring vessels ever created. Rumor has it that the ship was constructed through the ingenuity of humans who were slaves to a colony of mind flayers. It’s assumed that the humans took inspiration from the illithids, as well as made use of mind flayer technology on hand, in order to construct the first squid ship. Thus, explaining its rather mind-flayer-esque shape.
One of the most ingenious facets of the squid ship is its piercing ram that’s formed from the ship’s front-facing tentacles. This attack can be used against another ship or a gargantuan-sized creature and deals an astonishing 16d10 piercing damage. However, the squid ship takes half as much damage as it deals from this attack.
3 The Tyrant Ship
A tyrant ship is the chosen spacefaring vessel of the beholders. As a result, they are built in an entirely alien manner, carved out from the inside by the eye beams of the beholders who create them. Furthermore, they do not offer stairs or other means of normal travel for anyone who comes aboard one. Instead, the innards of a tyrant ship are connected by a number of vertical and horizontal passages that beholderkin hover through.
Besides its alien shape, the other unique aspect of the tyrant ship is the fact that its gravity plane bisects the vessel. The gravity plane of a spelljamming ship is the place where the gravity of the ship points down towards. However, this plane affects gravities on both sides of itself. In other words, once you pass through the gravity plane of a ship, gravity shifts upside down. For this reason, the gravity plane of most spelljamming vessels is located below traversable decks.
2 Spelljammer Academy
Being the site that the adventure is named after, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Spelljammer Academy is one of the best locations in the introductory book. Spelljammer Academy lies on the island of Nimbral many miles southwest of the Chultan coast in the Forgotten Realms setting. Here, a spire of rock has been carved out and turned into a place where budding spacefaring adventurers can learn the finer points of Spelljamming travel.
The academy includes notable places such as the sky dock, simulations deck, and the luxurious bridge quarters where Academy administrators make their homes. Access to different levels is guarded by Spelljammer veterans, who only allow those wearing uniforms of the proper color and rank to enter. Should a stubborn cadet try to push their way through these security levels, the guards are armed with green-glowing swords, enchanted to disintegrate anyone reduced to zero hit points by them.
1 Mirt’s Quarters
For all intents and purposes, Mirt’s Quarters is just the simple room of a hungover, wealthy man. However, it’s also a great example of how even the most mundane of places can become a fantastic location with a touch of creativity. Mirt’s Quarters contain a fishbowl that knocks anyone nearby it prone if broken, a magical walk-in wardrobe that will have you dressed to the nines in six seconds, and a waterbed that also knocks anyone nearby prone if broken.
While the decorations of this room are neat and interactive on their own, it’s Mirt who steals the show. As written, the adventure has the PCs enter this room to deliver a box to the head of the Spelljammer Academy. Upon delivering it, Mirt asks the PCs to open it as he still lies in his bed, hungover. Unfortunately, the box is full of neogi hatchlings — deadly half-spider, half-eel people who believe they are destined to rule the galaxy through force.
As combat ensues, Mirt drunkenly falls out of his bed and spends the next six rounds trying to release himself from his covers, dress, and draw his sword. When he finally does manage to escape the hold of hungover sleep, Mirt draws his sword and yells “Ha!”, only to have his pants fall to his ankles one last time. For the hilarity that Mirt the Merciless will bring to your table alone, Mirt’s Quarters wins the golden star for the best location in Spelljammer Academy.