With the release of Spelljammer for D&D 5th Edition, I decided to break out the second AD&D Spelljammer module Skulls & Crossbows. I'm looking at it particularly with quick conversion in mind, but also for story and general usefulness. The ninth adventure in the book is called "Sojourn among the stars," and it start out so similar to the previous two adventures that I was compelled to investigate. It didn't take long to clear away my confusion. The adventures "Violent death," "Forgotten but not gone," and "Sojourn among the stars" are all in Chapter 2, which is very clearly titled "Relics & hulks." So yes, there is a theme here, and I take most of the blame for not understanding the structure of the book until page 30!
Well, being in a chapter about relics and hulks, this adventure starts with the player characters discovering an apparently abandoned ship. Should they investigate, they'll detect some small indications of life aboard the vessel.
They can board the ship, of course, and investigate. What they find there is so clever, I'm not going to spoil it here. It's just too good for me to reveal here. Go read it or play it yourself. It's worth it.
There's no problem with this encounter, but if I had to say there was a problem, I'd say it was that there's no encounter here. There's a super clever kernel of an idea, with a ship around it. I think the best you could do with this, maybe, is to make this ship a homebase away from Bral for the player characters. They could get quests from the inhabitants of the ship, they could go out and do some stuff, then come back for a reward, maybe. Or the inhabitants of the ship could be useful NPCs for sagely advice and lore dumps.
Otherwise, this is a quirky and flavourful encounter, but there's almost nothing to work with, here. It's essentially an NPC with some player characters sprinkled around on top.
But that's not really a complaint. Sure, it's something that I'd expect more from a setting book than an adventure, but this is exactly why I buy RPG books. I buy these books for adventure content, but also for world building. And this one delivers.
Now that I've realised this book actually has chapters in it, I see that the next adventure is Chapter 3, "Starfaring races." I don't know what to expect, but probably lots of "aliens" (whatever that means in a world where there are hundreds of different species.) (Then again, the first adventure in Chapter 3 is called "Brain trade," so I definitely have some expectation.)
Skulls & Crossbows cover copyright by Wizards of the Coast, used under the fan content policy.