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Storm King's Thunder (Dungeons & Dragons) Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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Top Customer Reviews
Better DM material in the front of the book, including a flowchart of events, NPC description, an overview of the forces at play in the adventure. Basically everything that was asked for after Out of the Abyss hit the shelves. I'd rate this section a SOLID 10/10. Hope to see the same sort of thing in future prewritten adventures.
The adventure itself is a 9/10. I absolutely love this thing. It's about the same level as Curse of Strahd, if not better. Very very pleased. Well organized - probably the best organized book dropped for 5e besides Lost Mines. And speaking of Lost Mines, there are adventure ties in one of the appendices that let you go nearly seamlessly from the end of one adventure to the other (does not include Curse of Strahd, as one would expect, but most other official 5e adventures are supported). The best of these in my opinion is the link from Lost Mines. Feels like the two books were literally made for each other.
The expanded setting of north Sword Coast is pretty sick, and offers quite a bit of material that I will use for homebrew after the campaign I'm running comes to an end.
The adventure is well written, with fewer glaring typos than other official 5e adventures. However, there are problems with this adventure.
First, it used the milestone XP system. I hate this system and so do my players. Basically, you level up after each set piece which means by the time you just get used to using your new abilities, you have levelled up and have more to get used to. It is too fast. I'd rather see adventures that are written for a smaller range of PC levels so that the PCs can advance more organically.
Second, the scenario features one giant lair for each giant type, but the PCs are really only expected to go through two of those lairs at most. That leaves a large portion of the adventure unused. Yes, the PCs can go back and explore those other areas, but it is still a heck of a lot of pages, maps, and good ideas that will likely never be seen by the PCs. Obviously, this is always a risk in sandbox type adventures, but this is not a case of 1 or 2 areas not being used. It is literally 4 out of 6 areas that won't be used.
Third, this adventure has a huge section that is, effectively, a tour guide for the Sword Coast. I have several issues with this. First, much of this information is better included in a book like Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. But second, while it is fine and usable for this scenario, I already note that some locations that are featured in other scenarios refer to that scenario, meaning if the DM does not have access to those scenarios, he is out of luck. Even more so, what happens in future scenarios on the Sword Coast? Does the next scenario repeat the descriptions in this book, thereby wasting pages and money if you have Storm King's Thunder, or does it merely refer the DM back to Storm King's Thunder, forcing DMs to buy this book? In short, generic location descriptions of the Sword Coast do not belong in a scenario book like this.
Finally, this scenario really ratchets up the magic items to be found...I mean way beyond anything in any previous official adventure. And since it only takes PCs to level 10, DMs are going to be left with a bunch of PCs with a crap load of magic items, something that 5e is supposed to tamp down. Even worse, most of the magic items are randomly generated by the DM! While this may give the DM flexibility, I feel it is lazy on the part of WOTC not to set magic items.
The book itself makes the campaign very easy and is a great resource. There is background info on cities in the North like Icewind Dale and Waterdeep, various factions in play such as the Zhentarim and the Giants' Ordning, and an engaging political story. It also gives detailed maps, step-by-step progression of the story (including what to do if players don't necessarily take Path A...or B...or C...), and tons of beautiful illustrations.
Being so self-contained makes the campaign easy to run. There's not as much flipping from the book to the Player Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual, which is nice.
There are a handful of negatives, keeping it from 5 Stars: it's easy to skip huge portions of the story (in particular, something that occurs in the middle). There is also an entire chapter that amounts to, "eh, do what you want" (though it does give 10-20 encounter options). There are some other encounters that seem shoe-horned in and don't make much sense. Finally, it would have been nice to get some new, North-specific PC options (race, class, whatever).
Overall, this is a great campaign to run.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To me, the book provides plenty of good bases build an adventure upon, but...Read more