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Storm King’s Thunder Review and Giant Miniatures Giveaway

When the DM for my D&D 5th game, Mark Middleton, asked if we had read any official WOTC books, I told him I had gotten a review copy of Storm King’s Thunder that I hadn’t yet dove into, but was planning to review. He asked me not to, since this was the next arc of our campaign. Seeing an opportunity to get a DM’s perspective of the book in play, I asked for 3 extra levels and a review for the site in return for not reading the product. I still haven’t gotten those 3 free levels… but here’s the review Mark wrote of Storm King’s Thunder, with a bit of player commentary on what the game has been like so far. – John

dnd_trpg_stormkingsthunder_cover [1]Storm King’s Thunder is the latest D&D 5e hardbound book from WOTC. This mega-adventure has an interesting plot, a great wealth of material, and lots of villains as well as potential allies. Storm King’s Thunder works as a Dungeon Masters reference, similar to the other hardbound mega adventures WOTC has published thus far. It is definitely their best effort to date. As with the other adventures, it is set in Ed Greenwood’s Forgotten Realms and this one delivers many epic battles against Giants of all types. The chapters are structured to take a party from 1st to 10th level. An introductory chapter advances a party from 1st to 5th level while the rest of the book takes them from 5th to 10th level. The first half of this article will be a traditional review; the second focuses on how I am implementing it as Dungeon Master in a campaign.

Storm King’s Thunder is organized much better than previous material. As the PCs gain levels, you’ll be progressing straight through the book, not jumping around. I like Curse of Strahd, except that the scattered adventure organization required jumping between chapters in the front of the book to the back and all around. Many useful structures established in previous D&D 5e books, such as encounter charts, are used in Storm King’s Thunder as well, while gaining levels is often pushed by milestones – more about this later. Storm King’s Thunder is the same size as Curse of Strahd, while lacking the nice pullout maps found in the Strahd book. There is also a lack of character-building material in Storm King’s Thunder , such as new spells or classes.

Overall Structure By Chapter (Mild Spoilers Possible)

Likes

skt-1 [3]

Storm King’s Thunder calls for many fights against different types of giants.

Dislikes

skt-2 [4]

A picture of the map at the beginning of a fight against fire giants and their minions.

Wishes

Comments on the Appendices

dnd_skt_hekaton [5]Appendix A: Linked Adventures

There are great ideas here. However, it seems odd to use some of them as written, such as the Cloud Giant that is transporting a white dragon and cult of the dragon allies.

Appendix B: Magic Items

The magic items and their abilities are fine. I expected, and I suspect many readers will as well, “rune” magic to be a rules expansion. Use of the term rune to describe some magic items was a big disappointment. The extra ability to make a permanent magic item or area is nice, but still underwhelming.

Appendix C: Creatures

I liked the monsters described. Bringing in old favorites such as Tressym and Yak folk was a good idea. The extra giant combat options offer nice flair and improve the combat abilities of each kind of giant.

Appendix D: Special NPCs

The NPCs are fleshed out well and the concept to use them is fine. However, it would have been much better to have additionally published the group of temporary party member NPCs as a downloadable PDF to make using them easier for the players to run, rather than requiring the use of a copier or manually rewriting.

 

Use in a campaign

A Player’s Perspective

Wherein we are about to get our [6]From John: Being a player in this campaign, and a long time Game Master, creates an interesting perspective on how the module runs. From a player’s perspective, the adventure provides an incredible opportunity to face off against incredible challenges and fearsome enemies. Though the challenges are huge, the rewards are as big and the adventures are fun. The structure of the adventure (from what I can see of it as we play) has many built in elements and it is somewhat necessary to follow along with the plot, though there are more than enough reasons to pursue what is going on within the world. The theme and story is interesting to uncover, and it isn’t a hard sell as a player when you hear you are going to be fighting giants. Storm King’s Thunder provides what feels like a quintessential D&D experience, full of epic battles and great rewards. As a player, there is plenty of opportunity to pursue your own goals and options within the framework, and the backdrop of the story keeps you engaged with interesting elements.

Have you played or run Storm King’s Thunder? What are your impressions of it? What questions do you have about the product and how it works?


We provided the review copy of Storm King’s Thunder to our reviewer, but the battle we had against fire giants was so epic, we wanted to help you recreate it. So, instead of giving away a copy of the book, we are giving away two unpainted Bones fire giant miniatures from Reaper Miniatures. We purchased these to give to you, and no compensation from Reaper was provided. WOTC provided us the review copy of the book which went to the reviewer. The two miniatures we are giving away are Skorg Ironskull, Fire Giant and Vanja Fire Giant Queen. Whoever wins these, go make an awesome and epic battle for your players! To be entered, all you have to do is leave a comment here before November 3rd. We’ll reach out then and get shipping details.

03168_g [7] 03519_w_1 [8]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 Comments (Open | Close)

19 Comments To "Storm King’s Thunder Review and Giant Miniatures Giveaway"

#1 Comment By Seannachie On October 27, 2016 @ 4:57 am

I have yet to purchase or even look at this book. I’d be very interested to personally see how it compares to the old Against the Giants modules, G1 – G3 I believe it was, and how it would play out in comparison. I still have those old modules and they were of course the first thing I thought of when I heard about this book. Great review and write-up!

#2 Comment By Matt Wheeler On October 27, 2016 @ 6:34 am

I’m really curious how the organization of the book changes with the virtual modules for Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. Supposedly all the content is there, but there’s no PDF of the content to read cover to cover.

#3 Comment By Matt_TGF On October 27, 2016 @ 6:42 am

Great and helpful review! We actually purchased this with my group in Roll20. I didn’t review it yet though. My plan is to have it ready before finishing Lost Mine (we are half-through so far). If this adaptation is anything like Lost Mine is going to be great!

#4 Comment By Knight of Roses On October 27, 2016 @ 7:19 am

It certainly looks like an interesting module and giants are a challenging foe. But it does not really have a place in my current campaign.

I am disappointed to hear that rune magic is not more developed.

Still would be fun to have a copy.

#5 Comment By Lordomatic On October 27, 2016 @ 7:47 am

I have to agree with KoR, it does look interesting but I’m disappointed by milestone level gains and the rune magic.

I like to use giants as the big bads for lower levels. I would be interested in seeing how a 5e giant lair looks. I’ve never done Against the Giants so I’m a newbie to giant modules.

#6 Comment By John Arcadian On November 3, 2016 @ 10:28 am

And the winner of the giants giveaway is Lordomatic with a lucky roll of 5! I’ll ping you privately to get shipping details!

#7 Comment By Lordomatic On November 3, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

Thank you very much!

Those miniatures look sweet!

😀

#8 Comment By Lordomatic On December 5, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

I meant to respond earlier but, the Fall is the busy time of year for me. I received the miniatures and they look great!

Thank you so much! I can’t wait to get them painted up and then throw them at my PCs!

😀

#9 Comment By jhilahd On October 27, 2016 @ 8:34 am

Great review, thanks! I’m on the fence about the book, and alot of what you expressed is something I’ve been seeing online.
I was curious about the transition between Princes of the Apocalypse and this.
Seems like they are about the same level by comparison. Could anyone elaborate more on this? Do you run them parallel or do PotA then SKT and scale it? I wasn’t very clear on the statement in the review.

Thanks!

#10 Comment By Charles Moore On October 27, 2016 @ 8:52 am

Hey Mark Middleton!

Thanks for the great review.

Mad props for use of the word ‘plethora ‘!

Long time ago I used to play in your AD&D 2e playtest group. Good to see you’re still in the hobby!

#11 Comment By Courtney13 On October 27, 2016 @ 11:00 am

I owned, but never had a chance to run, ‘Against the Giants”. That was way back when and I am interested in the current take on the giants. My game of choice is actually Pathfinder and I am currently running a giant based adventure path named “Giantslayer” that gets into many types of giants. It seems giants are all the rage with me now!

#12 Comment By Michael Zhang On October 27, 2016 @ 11:37 am

I like how clear the structure of the adventure is from the very beginning. Curse of Strahd and (especially) Princes of the Apocalypse have issues where the DM is not actually told clearly how the adventure flows and how the chapters are used. The chart at the beginning of Storm King’s Thunder helps a lot in showing the overall plot structure to the DM.

#13 Comment By Ned Leffingwell On October 27, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

I’m curious as to how this adventure prepares the PCs to fight giants. Do they get special powers, weapons, etc? Looks like a cool product. I don’t think I’ve used giants in my games before.

#14 Comment By Bruno Baere On October 28, 2016 @ 2:36 pm

I still haven’t read the adventure. Since my players are currently at Lost Mines of Phandelver and I intent them to move to the Dragon Queen modules, Giants module will be for their next characters.

#15 Comment By John Arcadian On October 30, 2016 @ 6:19 pm

That’s exactly what Mark ran us through. Lost Mines and this as a continuation. It worked well.

#16 Comment By Tanliel On October 30, 2016 @ 12:20 pm

Great product review. I would want to use this, but not sure how it would integrate into a campaign for anyone I’d be playing with. Love to have giants and their high-handed machinations involved, just unconvinced that pre-packaged campaigns work for us.

#17 Comment By Andrew.huffaker On October 31, 2016 @ 11:01 am

Great review. I appreciate your honest take on the pro’s and con’s. Also….GIVE ME THOSE MINI’S!!!

#18 Comment By ProjectThanatos On October 31, 2016 @ 1:25 pm

Great review. Detailing the pros and cons is a great way to customize the campaign accordingly. Those mini though… an even better way to spice up the campaign. Especially after I paint them!

#19 Comment By Andrew MacPherson On October 31, 2016 @ 9:21 pm

This was a really good review, thanks. I am looking to DM for the first time and it has given me some really good ideas.