A Look Inside Ghosts of Saltmarsh: Contents, Saltmarsh Map, & More

NewbieDM over on Twitter has a copy of Ghosts of Saltmarsh and has shared some initial glimpses inside! The book releases on May 21st.

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"First, the setting...The village of Saltmarsh is unequivocally set in Greyhawk. It says so in the book. This is not set in the Forgotten Realms, nor in some ambiguous generic world. This is Greyhawk.

So remember how in UK1, Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, the village itself was largely left for DMs to populate and create? Not now. Saltmarsh is a living breathing place with 3 factions vying for power: Traditionalists, Loyalists (to the Kingdom of Keoland), Scarlet Brotherhood.

Saltmarsh is fully fleshed out, as is the nearby region, and the political happenings are presented as a way to ground the PCs as they embark on a Saltmarsh based campaign."


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I thought this book was comparable to Tales of the Yawning Portal... and it is, but it takes its usefulness a step further. It actually helps you craft a campaign with the included adventures, using Saltmarsh’s factions as the drivers.


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There's a LOT more images and commentary over at the Twitter link. Also don't miss my summary
of all the adventures found within, which I posted a couple of days ago, or our extensive podcast coverage of all those adventures.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

I think he might be talking about Dragon Heist. Or Storm King's Thunder. In either module, you only use a tiny slice of the book in the actual play of the adventure.
Huh, I ended up using probably about 80% of SKT. Honestly, all that was missed were some areas of the Sword Coast that my group didn't end up exploring (although they did range rather widely as they decided to take out all 5 rebel giant lords) and some of the storm giant area (again, as they didn't explore it as much as the other 5).
 
It's interesting the order they've done the adventures -- the original Saltmarsh trilogy opens it, as expected, but Salvage Operation and Isle of the Abbey are inserted before The Final Enemy.
Belated reply, and hopefully I'm not just repeating what someone else already said, but...

The Final Enemy was infamously a meat grinder back in the day, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who remembers it or has read the synopsis. (Hint1: out. Hint2: numbered.)

In addition, it was possible for the PCs to come out of Danger at Dunwater with less XP than expected if they are less murderhobo-y than normal.

Combine that two and you could have an underleveled, underequipped (i.e. hasn't found as much magic lootz) party going into a really tough The Final Enemy.

So, it makes perfect sense to me to re-order the adventures to let the PCs level / gear up a bit before they tackle Final Enemy.
 

jrowland

Villager
I am interested in the factions bit. In the pre-planning stages we have a Triton Paladin of Conquest, a Lizardfolk Drunken Monk, a Water Genasi Druid, a Bronze Dragonborn Tempest Cleric, an Aasimar Divine Soul Sorcerer, and a tbd archer build.

Clearly will be opposed to Scarlet Brotherhood, but would the Traditionalists or Loyalists be cool with that menagerie of PCs?
 

Hussar

Legend
I am interested in the factions bit. In the pre-planning stages we have a Triton Paladin of Conquest, a Lizardfolk Drunken Monk, a Water Genasi Druid, a Bronze Dragonborn Tempest Cleric, an Aasimar Divine Soul Sorcerer, and a tbd archer build.

Clearly will be opposed to Scarlet Brotherhood, but would the Traditionalists or Loyalists be cool with that menagerie of PCs?
Heh. I can just imagine the sound of a thousand greyhawk purist screaming in impotent fury at this group.

Warms my heart it does.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
It's not a case of "keeping" the references. At least with the U series the only Greyhawk reference a brief mention of Keoland. They have added in lots of references that where not in the original.
Interesting. That's kind of cool then, to see something fleshed out with a setting other than the Forgotten Realms (I'm not counting Curse of Strahd, since it wasn't fleshed out to Ravenloft, its identity is Ravenloft). Well, this will be a market test for them then. If it's popular we're more likely to get more expansion into other settings.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I just hope it's not another one of those APs where any given campaign only uses 50% of the book.
Which WotC APs does that describe? My issue with many of the APs is the expectation that you play though all the content. Perhaps this is why I love Curse of Strahd. Currently, I'm running Rappan Athuk. It is a given that much if not most of the content will never be used in this campaign.

I also see myself running groups through CoS and RA again, something I can't say about most adventure material.
 

Hussar

Legend
Which WotC APs does that describe? My issue with many of the APs is the expectation that you play though all the content. Perhaps this is why I love Curse of Strahd. Currently, I'm running Rappan Athuk. It is a given that much if not most of the content will never be used in this campaign.

I also see myself running groups through CoS and RA again, something I can't say about most adventure material.
I answered this upthread a bit, but, again, Storm King's Thunder, if played by the book where you only deal with one of the giant groups, results in much of the adventure being left behind. Dragon Heist is specifically built that you will only use about 1/3 of the book in any given campaign - you'd have to do a massive rewrite (see The Alexandrian for how) to use the whole book. And, as you say, Curse of Strahd isn't meant to be completely played through.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I answered this upthread a bit, but, again, Storm King's Thunder, if played by the book where you only deal with one of the giant groups, results in much of the adventure being left behind. Dragon Heist is specifically built that you will only use about 1/3 of the book in any given campaign - you'd have to do a massive rewrite (see The Alexandrian for how) to use the whole book. And, as you say, Curse of Strahd isn't meant to be completely played through.
Okay. To me this is a feature, not bug. But I can understand that others will have different expectations.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I answered this upthread a bit, but, again, Storm King's Thunder, if played by the book where you only deal with one of the giant groups, results in much of the adventure being left behind. Dragon Heist is specifically built that you will only use about 1/3 of the book in any given campaign - you'd have to do a massive rewrite (see The Alexandrian for how) to use the whole book. And, as you say, Curse of Strahd isn't meant to be completely played through.
I don't think it is too difficult to get all of Storm King's Thunder in one campaign: the book suggests it, even. Not *needing* to use every section is nice design, from my point of view. Also, every part of that book is pretty easy to rip out and use out of context, which is super handy.
 

Hussar

Legend
I don't think it is too difficult to get all of Storm King's Thunder in one campaign: the book suggests it, even. Not *needing* to use every section is nice design, from my point of view. Also, every part of that book is pretty easy to rip out and use out of context, which is super handy.
Oh, no, not disagreeing at all. I think that there is definitely room for different kinds of modules. Dragon Heist is as much a setting guide as it is module, for example, and, frankly, if they did that sort of thing for every setting, I'd love it. What a fantastic entry product to ground the group into a setting. It's great.

But, it does have the issue that you leave a fair chunk of the module on the cutting room floor. Which, if it's important that you use as much of a module as possible, if that's a criteria for someone, then, sure, it's not a terribly good product by that metric.

In any case, yeah, I more agree with you that being able to cut and paste from adventures is a good thing.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
I am interested in the factions bit. In the pre-planning stages we have a Triton Paladin of Conquest, a Lizardfolk Drunken Monk, a Water Genasi Druid, a Bronze Dragonborn Tempest Cleric, an Aasimar Divine Soul Sorcerer, and a tbd archer build.

Clearly will be opposed to Scarlet Brotherhood, but would the Traditionalists or Loyalists be cool with that menagerie of PCs?
In addition to genasi, dragonborn and aasimar not being traditional Greyhawk races, a lizardfolk PC has the potential to wreck the plot.
 

Tom B1

Explorer
And then there's those of us that love setting-neutral sandboxes....

Interesting. That's kind of cool then, to see something fleshed out with a setting other than the Forgotten Realms (I'm not counting Curse of Strahd, since it wasn't fleshed out to Ravenloft, its identity is Ravenloft). Well, this will be a market test for them then. If it's popular we're more likely to get more expansion into other settings.
I get that some people hate sandboxes. I and one of the groups I game with pretty much despise railroads, three-act-structure, and the lack of agency that carefully laid out encounters and pre-ordained plots and finales cause.

Maybe it's because I grew up when the original PHB and DMG were just released. You wanted setting, you created it. You wanted adventures, you took some fairly generic ones (B2, B1, N1, etc) and you dropped it into your game because few were so entirely specific as to require much filing off.

I'm disappointed they didn't go the way they said they were going to (setting neutral). That lack of setting neutrality and the absence of much in the way of sandboxing in most of the hardcover adventure paths for 5E have resulted in me not buying them. I was hoping this one was different.

And Greyhawk... that was excellent in the first folio set before everyone filled in every detail and revamped it in Greyhawk Wars, Living Greyhawk and all manner of follow up modules. That's the same sad death of fun that happened to the Forgotten Realms; The original boxed set was a great place to see hundreds of great stories and adventures, but then region module after module, adventure after adventure (some terrible like the one that had a high level wizard running a circus ride...) and then so much of the open, developable, discoverable potential of the original boxed set was buried and burnt.

You know, there are probably a lot of us that like sandboxing and would buy setting neutral product but WOTC just has not been putting that out for 5E. They are even weaving in more references to the Greyhawk setting... even though it isn't supported at the moment... <rolls eyes>

Then people wonder why OSR has so many variations and so many devotees. It isn't the rules that are great (5E has some great rules), but the spirit is more sandboxy and adaptable in many cases than anything WOTC is putting out.

My group befriended the sea elf, smashed the shahuagin, and took one of the brothers who worked in custom's and excise as an NPC member of the party after U3 (the other died in the fighting). This series of three adventures brought the party from about L2 to L5. It had some great tales attached. The older module was pretty setting agnostic. Hopefully the new one isn't too hard to knock the branding off of.....

There's a reason B2, U1-3, N1, and T1 were such huge successes historically. They gave good starting locales and they some viable and interesting threats and setting adaptability was pretty easy in most cases.

Most of what they've done in 5E (Tiamat, SKT, others) seems much less easy to make setting agnostic and adapt into existing campaigns.

Now, I'm going to go shoo a bunch of Tieflings off my lawn.... where did those come from? I remember when.... blah blah old grognard blah blah....
 

Parmandur

Legend
I get that some people hate sandboxes. I and one of the groups I game with pretty much despise railroads, three-act-structure, and the lack of agency that carefully laid out encounters and pre-ordained plots and finales cause.

Maybe it's because I grew up when the original PHB and DMG were just released. You wanted setting, you created it. You wanted adventures, you took some fairly generic ones (B2, B1, N1, etc) and you dropped it into your game because few were so entirely specific as to require much filing off.

I'm disappointed they didn't go the way they said they were going to (setting neutral). That lack of setting neutrality and the absence of much in the way of sandboxing in most of the hardcover adventure paths for 5E have resulted in me not buying them. I was hoping this one was different.

And Greyhawk... that was excellent in the first folio set before everyone filled in every detail and revamped it in Greyhawk Wars, Living Greyhawk and all manner of follow up modules. That's the same sad death of fun that happened to the Forgotten Realms; The original boxed set was a great place to see hundreds of great stories and adventures, but then region module after module, adventure after adventure (some terrible like the one that had a high level wizard running a circus ride...) and then so much of the open, developable, discoverable potential of the original boxed set was buried and burnt.

You know, there are probably a lot of us that like sandboxing and would buy setting neutral product but WOTC just has not been putting that out for 5E. They are even weaving in more references to the Greyhawk setting... even though it isn't supported at the moment... <rolls eyes>

Then people wonder why OSR has so many variations and so many devotees. It isn't the rules that are great (5E has some great rules), but the spirit is more sandboxy and adaptable in many cases than anything WOTC is putting out.

My group befriended the sea elf, smashed the shahuagin, and took one of the brothers who worked in custom's and excise as an NPC member of the party after U3 (the other died in the fighting). This series of three adventures brought the party from about L2 to L5. It had some great tales attached. The older module was pretty setting agnostic. Hopefully the new one isn't too hard to knock the branding off of.....

There's a reason B2, U1-3, N1, and T1 were such huge successes historically. They gave good starting locales and they some viable and interesting threats and setting adaptability was pretty easy in most cases.

Most of what they've done in 5E (Tiamat, SKT, others) seems much less easy to make setting agnostic and adapt into existing campaigns.

Now, I'm going to go shoo a bunch of Tieflings off my lawn.... where did those come from? I remember when.... blah blah old grognard blah blah....
This is pretty setting agnostic.
 

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