Chapter 3 of the Dungeons & Dragons adventure Storm King’s Thunder encourages characters to roam the Savage Frontier, completing quests and facing warring giants. As written, the section could to become a grind, with long marches interrupted by routine encounters. However, the content leads dungeon masters to enliven the journeys with their own ideas.
Lately, I’ve embellished my own sessions by building on the characters, monsters, and treasure featured in the book to create side treks.
This post shares one of my mini-adventures, The Giant Ship. Although this side trek expands on the suggested encounter for Helms Hold (p.91), you can also plant a hook at any time the characters travel the coast. This episode aims to bring problem solving, roleplaying, and more flavor to what might otherwise be a routine battle.
Characters at levels 5-10 gain access to abilities like flight and invisibility. The giant ship in this trek poses a rescue problem that such PCs can now solve. I tried to contrive a scenario that invites several strategies. I love when players face a dilemma that lets me sit back while they scheme.
As a battle, this final encounter should challenge a party of 7th-level characters. But because they characters probably won’t face another battle on the same day, they can win against the foes.
The scenario’s format shows my effort to make details easy to spot at a glance. I did not create this trek to be read and set aside; I created it to be played at the table.
Please tell me how the trek played at your table.
Download: Side Trek for Storm King’s Thunder.
I dig it! I always worry about the damage output giants can provide, but I suspect PCs will approach carefully, and often the plans are the most rewarding/fun part!
I may be guilty of pushing the difficulty. Giants inflict so much damage that a few hits can send a battle in the wrong direction.
At level 7 and up, when players expect just one encounter per day, I expect one or more foes to wind up hypnotized, banished, or stunned throughout the battle.
That said, this is a deadly matchup for a party of martial characters. Such groups should face at least one less giant.
I should also recommend having the giants deal non-lethal damage and taking captives.
Thanks for your support!
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