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D&D 5E Raiders of the Serpent Sea Is A Preview of 5E Norse Mythology For Free!

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Arcanum Worlds, a Canada-based RPG publisher formed by ex Bioware / EA videogame developers, is preparing for a new Kickstarter-funded adventure path/campaign setting. Their previous outing was the dense and successful Greek mythology-inspired Odyssey of the Dragonlords, notable for having some world-altering plot twists and being structured around gated 'open world' sections that lead to more linear and spectacular setpieces, a design philosophy seemingly carried over from videogames. They also introduced the idea of 'epic paths' which were unique story beats for players who commit to them.

Their next outing Raiders of the Serpent Sea seems to be in a similar vein, this time using Norse mythology and viking culture as an inspiration. They just released the Player's Guide for free at Modiphius and Drivethrurpg.

Raiders of the Serpent Sea is an epic fantasy campaign for fifth edition D&D. The Player's Guide introduces the world of Grimnir, its origins, and major historical events. Learn about the cursed gods known as the Stone Court, the wealthy kingdoms that threaten the raiders, and the power of sacrifice. Features:
  • New Class Archetypes. Includes ranger, bard, and wizard archetypes that help bring to life the various raider clans.
  • New Player Races. Includes rules for playing the Wicker and Tallfolk.
  • Glory! Introduces a new glory system fueling your character's ability to boast to overwhelm adversaries.
  • All Backgrounds are Epic. Includes four epic backgrounds for players to choose from. These backgrounds create additional motivations for your hero and weave their personal stories into the core campaign.
 
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I'mma gonna be quite honest: So far the Wolf Rider Ranger is my favorite Subclass. And the more and more I read the various Bonus Actions and the Reaction abilities you can do with your Wolf Companion is super neat. I'm hela tempted to legit jack these actions and use them for any other 5E Character with a special Animal Companion. Like the Primal Beasts and what not.
 

Davies

Hero
Heh. When Odyssey of the Dragonlords came out, I commented that there were a lot of ersatz-Greek mythology games in the works, but that games inspired by Norse mythology tended to just use the mythology (or an interpretation therof) directly. Apparently, someone was listening.

Don't think I can afford to support this kickstarter, but I'm looking forward to the final product all the same.
 

Heh. When Odyssey of the Dragonlords came out, I commented that there were a lot of ersatz-Greek mythology games in the works, but that games inspired by Norse mythology tended to just use the mythology directly. Apparently, someone was listening.

Don't think I can afford to support this kickstarter, but I'm looking forward to the final product all the same.
I can't wait to purchase the full version of the Player's Guide. Liking what I'm seeing that's for sure.
 

niklinna

Looking for group
I've only skimmed bits but already I like this setting. If I had my druthers I'd get my Level Up and make a character for this setting. That Wolf Rider feels like a ranger in ways most other subclasses just don't.

Noticed that old-style race descriptions are being used, and a few minor things. Wolf Rider pet attacks don't seem to act as if magical, for example. But it's a preview so I expect those things will be addressed.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Odyssey of the Dragonlords wasn't perfect, but . . . by the gods, it is amazing! I fully expect this to be equally amazing, a fun and interesting world, fun player options, and a fun adventure with amazing art.

But the world, as described so far, is somewhat grim for my tastes. Makes sense considering the source material . . . I stopped watching the Vikings TV show for the same reason. Lots of clan-on-clan raiding, murder, and slavery going on. I prefer my gaming more heroic, less brutal. This isn't really a criticism of the upcoming setting and adventure, just me being disappointed that a sure-to-be-beautiful product might not be for me.
 

niklinna

Looking for group
Aye, I just finished a proper read of the preview and it is indeed pretty grim. There's room for not-grim, but you'd have to work at it. But folks who are itching for an extra +1 to die rolls for the low low price of a finger or toe are gonna love this campaign!
 

Baba

Explorer
I’ve run Dragonlords, and liked it a lot - but I couldn’t help thinking it would have been even better with even more of a greek mythological feel and less of a standard d&d-fantasy feel. Less focus on dragons, for example. I’ll hope for the same thing with this one - that they’ll go VERY norse (-ish).
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I’ve run Dragonlords, and liked it a lot - but I couldn’t help thinking it would have been even better with even more of a greek mythological feel and less of a standard d&d-fantasy feel. Less focus on dragons, for example. I’ll hope for the same thing with this one - that they’ll go VERY norse (-ish).

It is indeed a compromise, and like with every compromise, there will be people wanting more of A and less of B, or the other way around. I absolutely love the mix, it's just that I would want more of everything (more greek gods AND more dragons), but fortunately our DM is running it to level 20 and we have a long way to go and enjoy it.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I’ve run Dragonlords, and liked it a lot - but I couldn’t help thinking it would have been even better with even more of a greek mythological feel and less of a standard d&d-fantasy feel. Less focus on dragons, for example. I’ll hope for the same thing with this one - that they’ll go VERY norse (-ish).
Something they did in Dragonlords and are also doing in Raiders is having multi-racial cultures . . . . and the execution sits oddly with me. The various raider clans are all comprised of a mix of your classic D&D races: humans, elves, dwarves, dragonborn, tieflings, and others. Some clans have certain races more heavily represented, but they are all a mix. And yet the "tallfolk" are separated out as a separate culture. For Raiders, perhaps it will make more sense when the full campaign is out, but I remember it not making a lot of sense to me in Dragonlords either.

I think they are trying to, 1) avoid some of the issues with race D&D has, and 2) allow for players to play their favorite D&D races when the setting isn't really designed for them.

I wish they'd either designed distinct cultures for the various races, or just ditched them all together and stuck with humans and tallfolk.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Something they did in Dragonlords and are also doing in Raiders is having multi-racial cultures . . . . and the execution sits oddly with me. The various raider clans are all comprised of a mix of your classic D&D races: humans, elves, dwarves, dragonborn, tieflings, and others. Some clans have certain races more heavily represented, but they are all a mix. And yet the "tallfolk" are separated out as a separate culture. For Raiders, perhaps it will make more sense when the full campaign is out, but I remember it not making a lot of sense to me in Dragonlords either.

I think they are trying to, 1) avoid some of the issues with race D&D has, and 2) allow for players to play their favorite D&D races when the setting isn't really designed for them.

I wish they'd either designed distinct cultures for the various races, or just ditched them all together and stuck with humans and tallfolk.

I'm not sure how it works in Raiders, but in Odyssey, there was a good explanation for it, between the original inhabitants and the settlers, which come from another multi-racial world. It is an interesting compromise in allowing players to play standard options but also to explore new local things. I play a half-siren demigoddess in Odyssey for example.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I'm not sure how it works in Raiders, but in Odyssey, there was a good explanation for it, between the original inhabitants and the settlers, which come from another multi-racial world. It is an interesting compromise in allowing players to play standard options but also to explore new local things. I play a half-siren demigoddess in Odyssey for example.
Yes . . . in Dragonlords, the world of Thylea mysteriously attracts visitors from other worlds, who become stranded there and eventually must join Thylean society (or perish on their own). It was explained . . . but it seemed contrived and odd to me.

The explanation for Raiders is actually in the released preview, and it's pretty much exactly the same. You might be a visitor from another world, washed up on the shores of Grimnir lost and alone . . . and you are either adopted (or enslaved) by a raider clan, or perish on your own.

In Raiders, the relationship between the Vanir and the current inhabitants of Grimnir is unclear (to me), but the Vanir do seem to be the ancestors of Grimnir's current residents, minus the extra-planar orphans. And I think some of the Vanir were described as being of various races, human, elven, dwarven . . . if godlike in their powers and abilities.

It still sits oddly with me. An elf from a given clan doesn't seem much different than a dwarf or human from the same clan, other than perhaps with a longer expected life span.

In classic fantasy, like the Realms or Eberron, I do enjoy the cosmopolitan nature of some nations and cities that host residents of all sorts, races, and cultures . . . . but the various fantasy races do have distinct cultures, perhaps excepting the planetouched (tieflings, aasimar, genasi).

This is just a preview, and perhaps once the full book is out it will make more sense to me . . . . but I doubt it, as this was how Dragonlords handled it. I'm still going to be backing the eventual Kickstarter, and probably (hopefully) running a campaign at some point . . . the book is likely to be amazing, even if aspects don't match my personal preferences.

When (if) I run Dragonlords . . . . I'll be modifying cultures and races. Cities will still be cosmopolitan, but each race will have at least one distinct culture. I'm thinking of merging classic fantasy elves with Greek-inspired nymphs and satyrs . . . .
 


Baba

Explorer
I think they are trying to, 1) avoid some of the issues with race D&D has, and 2) allow for players to play their favorite D&D races when the setting isn't really designed for them.

I’ve been thinking that too: They decided not to limit player choice, and let that decision inform the world building.

Also, I guess they wanted to make it easy to pop Thylea into existing worlds.

My players decided to play three humans and a dryad, and I changed some of the npc’s a bit, so in the the end there wasn’t a single elf, dwarf, halfling, gnome, half-orc, tiefling or dragonborn in our campaign. Plenty of centaurs and gygans and satyrs and dryads, though.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I’ve been thinking that too: They decided not to limit player choice, and let that decision inform the world building.

Also, I guess they wanted to make it easy to pop Thylea into existing worlds.
Oh, it's explicitly stated in Dragonlords and Raiders. Thylea and Grimnir are designed to easily slot into your existing campaign.

Which, I suppose, is the issue for me. I'd rather each setting be separate and distinct. But I'm sure they are catering to player's who enjoy that feature.
 

Might as well say Thylea and Grimnir exist in the same world. Imagine crossing over Odyssey of Dragonlord pc/subclasses in Raiders of The Serpent Sea campaigns or vice versa?

I'd allow it!
 

TheSword

Legend
Oh, it's explicitly stated in Dragonlords and Raiders. Thylea and Grimnir are designed to easily slot into your existing campaign.

Which, I suppose, is the issue for me. I'd rather each setting be separate and distinct. But I'm sure they are catering to player's who enjoy that feature.
I think they just didn’t want space to be taken up detailing existing races instead of being able to focus on the new races… sirens, satyr etc.
 

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