Advanced Search

CGR1 The Complete Spacefarers Handbook (2e)Click to magnify
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

CGR1 The Complete Spacefarers Handbook (2e)

Selected Option:

Out of the depths of wildspace come astonishing new ideas for SPELLJAMMER campaigns. Now you can create player characters from the nonhuman races of the giff, dracons, scro, grommams, and more. Equip you characters with kits like the Corsair, War Mage, and Aperusa. Then add some new space-oriented proficiencies and equipment, enlist your character in a spacefaring organization, and head off into the Void!


Product History

CGR1: The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook, designed by Curtis M. Scott, was the first book in a new "Campaign Guide Reference" series; it was published in November 1992.

Introducing the CGRs. The Complete Fighter's Handbook (1989) introduced a new concept to AD&D second edition (1989-2000): the character "kit." These packages of required skills and related benefits and penalties helped to introduce archetypal templates to AD&D play and were very popular throughout the second edition era. The biggest problem with kits was that they tended to be quite generic. Amazons, berserkers, cavaliers and many other classes could offer up distinct details for roleplaying, but they didn't take advantage of the histories and backstories of TSR's many campaign worlds.

Enter the "CGR" series: Each of these books tied in to a specific campaign setting and provided kits for it. The Spacefarer's Handbook of course focused on Spelljammer (1989), while later books would cover Dark Sun (1990) and Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures (1992) - before the "CGR" series came to a rather abrupt end in 1994 after just three releases.

The Leatherette Format. Given its similarity in content to the "PHBR" series, it's no surprise that the CGR" series was also released as a series of prestige paperback leatherettes. However, TSR also liked the format for another reason: it was very cost effective. The printing cost was low, but TSR could retail the books for $15, the same price they'd been charging for their final 1e hardcovers, just a few years earlier.

Unlike the rusty red PHBR books, the sea blue DMGRs, and the solid green REFs, the CGR leatherettes weren't consistently colored. The first two books were black, but The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook (1994) was cream-colored.

A Mixture of Content. Each of the books in the CGR series included some character kits, but they also covered a wider span of information, including specific rules for the setting and even GM advice. This mixture of player material and GM material is somewhat surprising given how focused the PHBR and DMGR series were on players' and GMs' content, respectively. However, this mix may have reflected a new experiment at TSR, as the company had organized the HR series similarly, beginning with HR1: Vikings Campaign Sourcebook (1992), which was published several months earlier. Like the CGR series, the HR books includes some character creation rules and some setting background.

The rules content of the Spacefarer's Handbook - which included mechanics for provisioning ships, docking ships, building strongholds, and space warfare - is also of some note. It's reminiscent of what TSR did in the latter part of the 1e period, with books like the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (1986) and the Wilderness Survival Guide (1986) - each of which was replete with rules for a specific setting.

Expanding Spelljammer. Besides providing kits for Spelljammer, Spacefarer's Handbook also expanded the Spelljammer game (and its universe) in a few notable ways.

First, it turned numerous Spelljammer races (many of them unique to that setting) into PC races, including the dracon, the giff, the grommam, the hadozee, the hurwaet, the lizard man, the rastipede, the scro, and the xixchil. At the time, this was the biggest (official) expansion ever of races for the AD&D game. Unearthed Arcana (1985) had added subclasses of dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings, but beyond that the playable races were still very similar to what they'd been when AD&D first appeared (1977-79). Mind you, Spacefarer's Handbook wouldn't hold this title for long, as PHBR10: The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993) was just around the corner. (Basic D&D had also started experimenting with this sort of material a few years earlier with their "PC" series, which ran from 1989-92.)

Second, the Spacefarer's Handbook connected Spelljammer up with some new settings... sort of. That was required because three new AD&D campaign settings had appeared since the original publication of Spelljammer: Dark Sun, Ravenloft: Realm of Terror (1990), and Al Qadim: Arabian Adventures. TSR had also begun publishing new adventures for Lankhmar: City of Adventure (1985), a line that had ben abandoned from 1987-89.

Unfortunately, the Spacefarer's Handbook only touched upon two of the four new-ish settings, and only in a fairly perfunctory way. As a demiplane, Ravenloft clearly didn't lie within a crystal sphere, and thus wasn't accessible to spelljamming; Spacefarer's Handbook noted, however, that Ravenloft's mists might appear in wildspace and drag spelljamming ships away. Somewhat more disappointingly, the Spacefarer's Handbook says that Athas "is not on the spacelanes where Realmspace, Krynnspace, and Qreyspace can be found" - maintaining Dark Sun as a unique and probably unreachable world.

Score One for the Lizard Men! It was about time the lizard men got some attention as player characters, because by 1992 they were one of the oldest and best-known D&D races. They dated all the way back to Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975) and had since appeared in the Monster Manual (1977); in the Fiend Folio (1981) under "lizard kings"; and in Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989). They'd also featured prominently in adventures like U1: "The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh" (1981), U2: "Danger at Dunwater" (1982), I2: "Tomb of the Lizard King" (1982), and N5: "Under Illefarn" (1987).

Now players could finally take on the roles of lizard men, too. It's worth noting that "lizard man" was the one race from the Spacefarer's Handbook who also appeared in the Complete Book of Humanoids - though the rules in the two books are somewhat different.

Making Spelljammer Inconsistent. TSR was quite big at the time that Spacefarer's Handbook was released, and the Spelljammer publication schedule shows that - to the deficit of some of its books. Because of the company's size, two different books were being worked on simultaneously: Curtis M. Scott's freelance-driven Spacefarer's Handbook and the TSR-driven War Captain's Companion (1992). When the two books were released, they had some inconsistencies between them, particularly in the non-weapon proficiencies that each suggested for use in the Spelljammer game.

The "Sage Advice" column in Dragon #197 (September 1997) tried to lay out how the skills in each book were unique and they could be melded together meaningfully, but in reality a GM would probably be better to use the skills from one book or the other, but not both.

Future History. Spelljammer ended its production run at TSR in 1993, but the races featured in this book have occasionally appeared in other releases. The scro were moved to prime material campaigns in "The Scro" in Dragon Annual #1 (1996), while the giff and the scro both appeared as 3.5e races in "Races of Spelljammer" in Dragon #339 (January 2006).

About the Creators. Curtis M. Scott was a freelancer working in the RPG industry, with his main publications being for TSR and Steve Jackson Games. On August 19, 1992, while driving to Gen Con/Origins 92, he was killed in a tragic automobile accident. The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook was one of his final published works.

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.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (5)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Noel B May 02, 2022 9:59 pm UTC
I am also having an issue opening this in mobile. Bought this as a Patreon reward for a server member and would love to deliver as HQ of a product as I can for their money and effort…
Customer avatar
Mario L February 06, 2022 5:14 pm UTC
It's not only the preview. With Preview in the newest MacOS and the books app in iOS, the same happens. It did work in previous versions so I assume that the pdf has some problem that was ignored by earlier versions of both apps.
Customer avatar
Matthew C December 21, 2021 6:52 pm UTC
The preview is completely screwed up. The pages in the document are split off into sections that are compressed vertically, at first I throughly they were multiple pages mistakenly compressed into one, but they're actually just sections of one page not rendered properly and incorrectly shown as vertically compressed sections of itself.
Narrow Results
$ to $
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Platinum seller
Rules Edition(s)
Publisher Stock #
TSR 2130
File Size:
146.29 MB
Scanned image Click for more information
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Information
Watermarked PDF Click for more information
Watermarked PDF

These PDF files are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the PDF containing your name and the order number of your purchase.

Warning: If any files bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

Here is a sample of a page from a watermarked title:

File Last Updated:
July 23, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on July 23, 2013.