Review Raiders of the Serpent Sea - Third Party 5E Review

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
Man, despite all the snark and the factual errors in this review, it’s actually making me want to run this adventure.

Sigh …
Please do! Let me know how it goes; I'm considering a remix on the whole campaign that makes it more open-ended, so your input would be helpful there. :)
 

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pukunui

Legend
To be totally honest, while I’ve given OP a bit of a hard time, how many of these things would I have fallen afoul of had I been reading in the first instance rather than having Sparky point them out 🙄. Probably quite a few. It’s a big book with a hel of a lot going on.

Ironically just more proof that it’s a lot easier to review what someone else has worked on and find the flaws than it is to do the work yourself. I certainly haven’t got the time to do a review of this scale. Reasons for everyone to be humble - particularly me.
Well said.

Since I know that you’re a fan of Dragonlords, how do you think this one compares?

I appreciated your comment upthread about its stronger focus on the little people.
 

TheSword

Legend
The idiosyncratic approach pointed out by @Sparky McDibben and @pukunui gives me the biggest headache with the idea of the campaign.

Do I keep it exactly as written and let it be Norse flavoured gaming without the secret Aesir/Vanir Ben and Jerry’s recipe.

Do I change the characters - Mirgul is clearly Loki. Boda is clearly Angahboda. The various gods clearly have direct equivalents - Freya etc.

Or Do I let the players chose names for their mortal characters from those of the Norse gods and let them be the epic figures over who legends will one day be told. I’m very tempted by this option.
 

pukunui

Legend
Please do! Let me know how it goes; I'm considering a remix on the whole campaign that makes it more open-ended, so your input would be helpful there. :)
If I do end up getting it and running it, it wouldn’t be for at least another six months or so. The group I would run this for still has 5 floors of Undermountain to get through, and unfortunately we’ve only been able to play about once a month recently. And I’m not sure they’d want to do this next. We’ve got a plethora of options!

At the very least, I think I will buy it and read it.
 

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
The idiosyncratic approach pointed out by @Sparky McDibben and @pukunui gives me the biggest headache with the idea of the campaign.

Do I keep it exactly as written and let it be Norse flavoured gaming without the secret Aesir/Vanir Ben and Jerry’s recipe.

Do I change the characters - Mirgul is clearly Loki. Boda is clearly Angahboda. The various gods clearly have direct equivalents - Freya etc.

Or Do I let the players chose names for their mortal characters from those of the Norse gods and let them be the epic figures over who legends will one day be told. I’m very tempted by this option.
Option 2 works especially well if you make Grimnir into our world, and the PCs are some of the last evacuees from the last world Muspell devoured (at level 1). Make the Baendur the original inhabitants, and you've got like three different major fault lines to exploit for conflicts.
 

TheSword

Legend
Well said.

Since I know that you’re a fan of Dragonlords, how do you think this one compares?

I appreciated your comment upthread about its stronger focus on the little people.
Difficult because I’ve DM’d Odyssey and haven’t DM’d this one. I got bogged down in high level combat without the context of a vibrant world In OOTD but still fundamentally enjoyed it. Even if I didn’t run past 15 and so the stretch goal high even stuff.

From what I’ve read it seems much stronger. The non epic (not titans and kings) parts are far more engaging, detailed and I can honestly see myself being able to bring to life Nowhere for instance in a way that was quite difficult for say for the starter settlement Estoria - which seemed to be all about Pythor and Volkan and Pythors daughter - and not much else. Kind of what I was talking about with gaming-from-below.

It feels like meaningful conversations will be far more important and impactful than some of the harder battle lines drawn in OOTD. Convincing the raid chiefs to wager their boats for instance.

I felt the islands of OOTD had potential but ultimately the 3 challenges were probably the best parts of the book. Whereas the Sagas seem more detailed and operate at a higher level.

Ultimately I think the world building is just plain better in this. The Iron Witches sound hel-a-creepy and extremely flavorful. I’m getting vibes of the witches from Golden Compass with a grim tales kind of vibe. I think Scandi RPG does that very well - take vaesen for instance. While I wouldn’t necessarily run that system I like the feel and would pinch some of the mood.

@GuyBoy ran the Northlands Saga for us by necromancer Games and while there are lots of differences we had a blast with that one. I’d like to give it a good go trying to bring it to life - so don’t read this spoileriffic thread @GuyBoy.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Option 2 works especially well if you make Grimnir into our world, and the PCs are some of the last evacuees from the last world Muspell devoured (at level 1). Make the Baendur the original inhabitants, and you've got like three different major fault lines to exploit for conflicts.
6121A0B2-90F2-4189-ADAA-9EADD9E1D105.jpeg


Unfortunately I can’t find it on any Google searches again so can‘t provide a provenance. Please add in if anyone knows it.

Only downside to real world places is that it brings a bit of baggage with it when you go to describe a scene. Good if you know your Scandi history and can place things in context - tough if you don’t and risk being anachronistic and providing false clues with a place name.

What substitutions would there be… and importantly, which god is Odin? Aldhyn I presume. what about the others?

it would be much easier to have a lot of the Norse Myths be of the time in the first world consumed by Mus. Stories passed from Skald to Skald since the days the Vanir walked the earth.
 
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pukunui

Legend
Unfortunately I can’t find it on any Google searches again so can‘t provide a provenance. Please add in if anyone knows it.
I did a Google image search and got this hit: https://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=46018

Looks like it might be the source.

Difficult because I’ve DM’d Odyssey and haven’t DM’d this one.
Fair enough. It was more of an impressions thing. I mean, I loved Dragonlords after reading through it and couldn't wait to run it. It wasn't until I was a good chunk of the way through it that it wasn't giving me (or my group) what we wanted.

I like the idea that there is more opportunity for meaningful conversations and bottom-up gameplay. I'm pretty much sold on purchasing this now - at least as a PDF - and reading it if nothing else. Happy to share my own thoughts once I've done so but that may not be till the new year.
 

TheSword

Legend
I did a Google image search and got this hit: https://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=46018

Looks like it might be the source.


Fair enough. It was more of an impressions thing. I mean, I loved Dragonlords after reading through it and couldn't wait to run it. It wasn't until I was a good chunk of the way through it that it wasn't giving me (or my group) what we wanted.

I like the idea that there is more opportunity for meaningful conversations and bottom-up gameplay. I'm pretty much sold on purchasing this now - at least as a PDF - and reading it if nothing else. Happy to share my own thoughts once I've done so but that may not be till the new year.
Thanks for sourcing.

Enjoy it
 

Nice review! I sent you, via DM, a link to my content, as requested earlier. I look forward to seeing what you think, though its a lot different from this product.

That being said, I do hope that this studio ups its game in the future. I like their ideas, but the execution seems to need a stronger vision behind it mechanically.
 

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