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SJR1 Lost Ships (2e)


Who among you who have dared to enter the starry deeps has not heard of the dark, drifting derelicts of earlier spacefarers? The silent, menacing lairs of monsters that may hide great treasures for those bold enough to explore them? And what space captain plies the spacelanes who does not dream of a bigger, sleeker, more powerful ship than his present one?

Product History

SJR1: "Lost Ships" (1990), by Ed Greenwood, is the first of the Spelljammer Reference books. It was released in April 1990.

Origins. Grubb personally asked Greenwood to design a set of fun toys for any Spelljammer campaign; "Lost Ships" was the result.

Beginning the "SJR" Series. After the release of Spelljammer (1989) in October 1989, TSR followed up with a product line initially overseen by designer Jeff Grubb. Adventures began first, with SJA1: "Wildspace" (1990), and were soon followed by the "Reference" books, beginning with SJR1: "Lost Ships" (1990).

"Lost Ships" contains a real hodgepodge of material, including new rules, new ships, new spells, new equipment … and adventures too. Most of the later "SJR" books would be somewhat different, featuring more traditional setting references, from SJR2: "Realmspace" (1991) to SJR7: "Krynnspace" (1993), so "Lost Ships" stands out within the "SJR" series.

The format of mixing adventures and source material matches what Grubb would later do for his Al-Qadim line (1992-1994).

Monsters of Note. As in the original Spelljammer box, "Lost Ships" gives old monsters new attention as spacefaring races. Most notably, the humanoids get some love with new ships for goblins, kobolds, orcs, and ogres. They were mentioned in Spelljammer, but that book noted that they'd largely been driven from space in the First Unhuman War, so their appearance in "Lost Ships" was a real expansion.

There are also several new monsters in "Lost Ships", the most important of which is the death tyrant, AD&D's first undead beholder. The idea had previously been seen in the Basic D&D's Master Set (1985).

About the Creators. Greenwood is best known for his creation of the Forgotten Realms. He and Grubb worked together extensively on that setting, which is probably why Grubb asked him to contribute to his own Spelljammer setting. "Lost Ships" was Greenwood's last non-Realms work for TSR. For that matter, he wouldn't do any non-Realms RPG work for anyone else until the '00s.

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.

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Andrew K March 11, 2014 1:23 pm UTC
If anyone from Wizards, Hasbro or Drivethru is reading these comments, please resume posting classic D&D content. I would really like to see the rest of the gazetteers published, and am eager to buy module X8 from you. Thanks.
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