D&D 5E Storm King's Thunder Post-Mortem (Spoilers)

pukunui

Legend
Whereas, for us, there were large sandboxes created on purpose at various points in the game, in Mytros in particular and now in the islands, and it's actually great and not railroady at all. We need to find allies for the end of the oath, we need to solve problems for our allies, we need to progress our various heroic quests in line with our background, we try to understand hundreds of years shrouded in mystery, and we decide exactly the path that we need to take, and discovering new lands at every opportunity. Really great, honestly.
Half-baked sandboxes that are frequently devoid of anything meaningful. The writers had a story they wanted to tell and the sandboxes are just there as a “See, look, it is an open world! We swear it!”

In other areas, the campaign is full of heavy-handed nonsense and clunky encounter locations.

Some areas and NPCs get more than enough detail while others don’t get anywhere near enough. The maps of the islands are pretty to look at but are fairly useless in actual play, with nothing much on them and no scale with which to judge distance or travel time.

It’s also full of errors and a number of the monsters and magic items have mechanical problems. Some of the races are trash while others are OP. Same goes for the subclasses and spells. I asked the authors if they would be issuing any errata but they said no. Odyssey was a “one and done” thing for them.

It seemed obvious to me that the writers were still in CRPG mode. I don’t think they fully understood how to make a TTRPG campaign work properly.

I think I would rather attempt to run Dragon Heist again than have another go at Odyssey, and I am not going anywhere near their Viking-themed follow-up.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
Half-baked sandboxes that are frequently devoid of anything meaningful. The writers had a story they wanted to tell and the sandboxes are just there as a “See, look, it is an open world! We swear it!”

And in our case, they are not half-baked. The possibility is there and it works for us.

In other areas, the campaign is full of heavy-handed nonsense and clunky encounter locations.

Yeah, right. You are of course entitled to your opinion, it's just that in general, opinions are quite good about the campaign.

Some areas and NPCs get more than enough detail while others don’t get anywhere near enough. The maps of the islands are pretty to look at but are fairly useless in actual play, with nothing much on them and no scale with which to judge distance or travel time.

There are many styles of play, some ignore details like this to focus on the story.

It’s also full of errors and a number of the monsters and magic items have mechanical problems. Some of the races are trash while others are OP. Same goes for the subclasses and spells.

Yeah, right, and of course 5e was designed to be perfectly balanced and all publications have been that way.

It seemed obvious to me that the writers were still in CRPG mode. I don’t think they fully understood how to make a TTRPG campaign work properly.

I think I would rather attempt to run Dragon Heist again than have another go at Odyssey, and I am not going anywhere near their Viking-themed follow-up.

To each his own...
 


Retreater

Legend
If you were going to run this in a pastiche of viking-era europe with D&D trappings, how might you run this?
I'm not overly familiar with Viking-era history, since most of my history is focused on the U.S., but I'll give it a go.

First, you're starting in a good place. It seems that the Savage Frontier of the North is already flavored like Northern Europe. Giants, dragons, elves, dwarves, etc., are all from that mythology.

Likely you can get a lot of mileage from sprinkling in some concepts from the culture. For instance, the inciting event could be that the adventurers are sent by their thane to investigate the giant attacks as wergild (they owed payment of their lives for others they've killed?)

I think a potential stumbling block is some of the proper names have that Forgotten Realms feel. Search some historical and mythological texts to get proper names from that part of the world, and switch them out as necessary. Or refer to them as titles with alliteration (something used a lot in the poetry from that era): "Bone Breaker," "Sinew Snapper," etc.
 

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