Storm King’s Thunder Review on Fantasy Grounds

Gameplay Screenshot

It has been one year and 3 months but my group has finally finished Storm King’s Thunder on Fantasy Grounds. My party of adventurers started at Level 1 meeting outside of the small town of Nightstone and finished the campaign at Level 11. Along the way, the group learned about the breaking of the Giant Ordning and progressed through the Sword Coast following clues and investigating why Giantkind is attacking the “small folk” of the Realms.


Fantasy Grounds Scale
The scope of the campaign is ENORMOUS. Look at my screenshot below. The two maps contain pins that are story entries for the adventure.

Actual pinned location with story entries

The sandbox and open feel of the campaign was new to me. Storm King’s Thunder had a hard opening for level 1 characters but it was up to the DM to fill in some low-level adventures before the story really began. I ended up using The Sunless Citadel to get my players up to Level 3. It is one of my all-time favorite intro adventures and we were shouting ‘Ticklecorn’ the rest of the campaign (RIP Meepo).

Once the characters were at level 3 then the story arc really picks up. Giants are roving the lands, orc tribes are running rampant, and barbarian tribes seem to get pulled into the fray. Tons of sidequests allowed for an open game feel that was very manageable thanks to Fantasy Grounds. I never knew where my players were going to be session to session as there are no significant dungeon crawls as most dungeons were completed in 2 sessions or less.

Not so much a spoiler alert but if you are a DM and are interested in running this adventure do a pre-read skim looking for the different mechanisms to move the party from scene to scene. There are several options that open up over time but it is not clear where and when they should all be made available as they are sprinkled in at random parts of the book.

Extensions/Modules Used:
I want to state that I run my games pretty lean. I was very reluctant to add some of these extensions/modules as Fantasy Grounds does a tremendous job with its built-in automation. I did end up with some of these after encouragement from my players and testing to ensure there were no conflicts.

Critically Awesome Essentials Extension w/One Click Druid
Super useful for my table’s Druid wild shape and polymorph spells. Comes with a token library that temporarily changes the token to the morphed creature.
Rob2e Effects Coding
I admit I have it all. Big upfront cost but the increased automation really makes Fantasy Grounds sing.
NPC flavors
Honestly the least functional but most fun extension I run. NPCs are renamed to fun unique names instead of the normal ‘Monster 1’, ‘Monster 2’, etc. naming convention of Fantasy Grounds.
Friend Zone
This adds a Cohorts tab to the PC sheets. Dropping an NPC to the player’s Cohorts tab and then from the Cohorts tab to the Combat Tracker gives players full agency of their familiars, raised undead minions, henchmen, etc.
StealthTracker
With 2 rogues in my party I was losing my mind tracking stealth checks vs passive perception. This did all the work for me.
Syrinscape Sounds and Chat Triggers
I can’t recommend this enough. The chat triggers bring my sessions to life. The extension reads for keywords and then triggers a library of sound sets to play in Syrinscape. A little complicated to set up and requires a full Syrinscape sub to take advantage of but this brings my games to the next level.

Final Thoughts
This was a super fun campaign to run. It challenged me as an experienced DM (in a good way) and helped re-shape my play style. I would encourage any DM with some 5e experience on Fantasy Grounds to consider running this adventure.

DM Greg at April’s VDDW

DM Greg will be running Call of the Netherdeep: Part 1 at this month’s Virtual Dungeons and Dragons Weekend on April 23rd. This is an Adventurers League format run right out of the new Critical Role supplement. To sign up follow this link:
https://yawningportal.dnd.wizards.com/events/details/wizards-of-the-coast-virtual-dd-weekends-april-2022-presents-table-50-con-part-1-fantasy-grounds-unity/

Lost Mine of Phandelver – Paid Game

DM Greg will be running the Lost Mine of Phandelver on Fantasy Grounds early this summer! If you are interested in learning to play D&D or experiencing an introductory campaign on the VTT Fantasy Grounds then check out DM Greg’s StartPlaying adventure!

StartPlayin
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