So we've been doing a Let's Read of Storm King's Thunder.


We've gotten up to Phase 4 of the campaign (where the PCs are sent on a quest by an oracle).

Today, though, I think, is going to be a grab bag of miscellaneous observations.
If you want to start reading the Let's Read from the beginning, you'll want to pop over here.

When I was first reading through Phase 3 (the gazetteer of the Savage Frontier), I was bemused by the campaign's obsession with desecrating holy sites.
There are a half dozen or so holy sites belonging to the Uthgardt tribes, and everyone delves into (what seemed like) really odd amounts of detail about how you destroy the altars and loot them.

Like... is this a campaign about fighting giants or about looting native cultures?
It turns out that the Uthgardt actually stole these relics from the giants, and the giant oracle that kicks off Phase 4 of the campaign says, "I'll trade you 1 lead for every artifact you recover."
Another thing that's going on in the campaign is that Duke Zalto, a fire giant, is seeking the pieces of dragon-slaying colossi that were called the Vonindod. He's hoping to collect enough to rebuild a functioning Vonindod.
My immediate thought is that you could unify these two aspects of the campaign by having some or all of the Uthgardt relics could be Vonindod parts.

And/or one of them could be a rod of the Vonindod (magic items Zalto's giants are using to track Vonindod parts).
The idea of frozen magical potions that you can either thaw or eat is really cool.

Feels like something to incorporate into my #IcewindDale campaign, too.
For handouts like this map (p. 132), remove the English.

1. If one of the PCs speaks Giant, give them the guide to giant runes on p. 7. When they get handouts like this, it's a fun reward for their character's expertise for them "translate" the runes.
2. If none of the PCs speak Giant, then you'll want an untranslated handout and they'll need to seek someone out to get a translation.
3. This particular map is actually detailed enough that you could puzzle it out even if you can't read the labels. (And even figuring out one or two locations would probably give enough info for them to decode most of the runes.)
I've already mentioned the airship that randomly shows up with a crew that says, "Hello! The DM sent us!"

But since we've now reached this part of the campaign, I just want to say that literally the only thing I can think of when reading this section is Cid from Final Fantasy.
GORGON MUD (p. 149) - quicksand that also petrifies someone who falls into it - is a cool hazard.

I immediately want to figure out some sort of alchemical use for the stuff.

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More from @hexcrawl

28 Oct
@MTBlack2567 There's other stuff you can do, too.

For example, Special Interest XP (which partially tied PCs gaining XP to them spending GP on civic projects) had the incredible result of having 1st level characters founding a meadery, building shrines, etc.…

@MTBlack2567 Colville did "run realm to get cool abilities you can use during adventures." The results tended to be dissociated, but were an interesting carrot.

I think you might want to go the other way: Add realm-oriented abilities that characters get automatically when leveling up.

@MTBlack2567 OD&D and 1E did this to some degree, with characters automatically attracting followers, etc. But if you give players cool toys, they WILL go poke at the thing that lets them use them.

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27 Oct
Let's get this straight: The original Buzz Lightyear is from the animated series in Universe T1 and was voiced by Patrick Warburton.

In Universe T1 the series was a huge hit and they made Buzz toys, one of which was bought by Andy's mom (she's got it going on).
We can film events in Universe T1, but only through Pixar's proprietary transdimensional LIDAR sensors. That's how the documentaries Toy Story 1, 2, 3, and 4 were filmed.
Pixar could also record audio, but not 2D images. So they recorded the audio from the original animated series and then re-animated it for UPN & ABC.
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26 Oct
I'll be streaming Thousand Year Vampire & Descent Into Avernus design work tonight @ 6:30pm CDT!

(I usually stream Wednesday nights, but we're shifting to tonight this week due to a scheduling conflict.) Image
Thousand Year Vampire is an incredibly cool solo storytelling game chronicling the life of an immortal vampire. Image
You can catch up on our first session of Thousand Year Vampire here!…
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15 Apr
I think someone saying that any beer that isn't Budweiser is a homebrew is weird.

I also think someone saying that Budweiser IS a homebrew is weird.

But when it comes to D&D, the term "homebrew" is in a really weird place right now.
First: "Homebrew" inherently carries the meaning of an amateur effort made for private enjoyment.

Its meaning when applied to the RPG or video game communities has evolved over time, but it's not a term that originated with those communities. It has a dictionary definition.
Arneson creating the first roleplaying game in his basement? Probably homebrew.

Gygax buying the rights to that game, revamping it with Arneson, professionally publishing it, and turning it into a multi-million dollar brand? Definitely not homebrew.

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22 Mar
Today we're looking at "Mazfroth's Might Digressions" by Alison Huang.

This is a really nice, very tight scenario that demonstrates Huang's trademark style of layering complexity into her antagonists: The PCs are sent to investigate some criminals...

#CandlekeepMysteries Image
...who are indirectly defrauding Candlekeep and putting people in danger.

But it turns out the criminals aren't aware of the true dangers of their actions & their motivations are closer to desperate altruism.

... until you take a still closer look and all the ethics turn murky.
This continues the #CandlekeepMysteries reaction thread that started over here.

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20 Mar
My copy of #CandlekeepMysteries finally arrived, so I'm diving in.

Beautiful cover art by Clint Cearley.

This is more or less live-tweeting. So expect to see a lot of raw thoughts. Image
So my honest first question with this book was: Will it render the excellent DM's Guild book Elminster's Candlekeep Companion by @justicearman and @Thrawn589 obsolete?

The answer: Not at all. I would say it actually super-charges it. Image
As a visual example of this, consider the incredible poster map that Marco Bernardini did for the Companion. When I heard there was a going to be a poster map in Candlekeep Mysteries, I thought it was a shame that Bernardini's work was going to be rendered superfluous.

But no!
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