What Jammer? That Jammer!
Updated: May 16, 2022
And we return to the weird world of Spelljammer and the many things that came after it. :)
Today I want to talk to you about a game that was almost named Starfinder. The game that is today called Starjammer.
Starjammer was created by a team at d20pfsrd.com Publishing, to be a Pathfinder 1 IN SPACE(!!!!) game. It was to be more or less 100% compatible with the standard Pathfinder 1, but still had opportunities for you to build starships and the like. It succeeded in that regard quite well and saw a fair bit of success, but when Starfinder from Paizo Publishing came out, it fell into the background, and I don't think there is any real support for it anymore. Even its old site, www.starjammersrd.com, is today given over to Starfinder rather than the brief flash of magnificence that was Starjammer.
So what made it stand out? Well, it was possible for you to more or less recreate Spelljammer within the confines of Pathfinder 1. And unlike Starfinder, Starjammer doesn't use the Drift or Hyperspace, but goes closer to Star Trek's approach to space travel, with interstellar speeds instead of the Drift rating that we now know. (How Spelljammer will handle it is of course anyone's guess for the moment).
Unlike Starfinder, Starjammer also kept the focus on the "normal" fantasy races, and how they would have progressed into space, while at the same time introducing 4 new races for players to play around with, to give you a few more options. But, the main goal for Starjammer wasn't to limit you to just the core book, even if only a few books came out following that - it was to give you the option of recreating Spelljammer, and those glorious old adventure modules where your fantasy heroes ran into laser guns and flying saucers. The gonzo weirdness of Science-Fantasy or Fantasy-Fi (as mentioned in last week's blog post).
Why did Starjammer die out then? Well, that question is one that doesn't have a great answer, unfortunately. I believe that the final book was Stella Castra by Peter K. Ullmann - one of the men behind Starjammer to begin with. But as far as I know, Peter isn't in the writing game any longer. That book seems to only have come out for Starfinder though, but I happen to know that there was a copy created for Starjammer too. But what happened to that, I do not know unfortunately, as I was no longer with d20pfsrd.com Publishing at the time.
I suspect that part of it was simply that time caught up with it. With the excellent presentation in Starfinder, a smaller publishing house simply couldn't keep up, especially against a bespoke ruleset like Starfinder, where Starjammer had to shoehorn in options from elsewhere.
Part of this article is simply to show you that in spite of what people might think, there are options out there for something other than simply Starfinder or Spelljammer (D&D 5e). And next week, we're going to take a look at something that also looks into this space: Star Wars, and 3 of its incarnations: d20 Star Wars, Saga Edition, and Fantasy Flight Games / Edge Studio's version. (Sorry West End Games, but I'm counting you out, which is doing you a disservice. But you deserve an article of your own, another time).