I’m reviving my website for 2021, so let’s jump back in to Storm King’s Thunder, a Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons Adventure for level 1-10. My group varied in size between 3 and 7 characters, finally settling on a core group of five players. We played all the way to the grand finale, with all 31 sessions played virtually (before it was “cool”). This session count included several home-brew scenarios that focused on character backstories.
Please note: this is information for Dungeon Masters: there will be spoilers for Storm King’s Thunder after this point!
Chapter 2: Rumblings : Goldenfields Route
I was nervous to run this chapter. All of the DM tips and streams I could locate online focused on the Bryn Shander or Triboar scenarios, but I had my heart sent on sending my adventurers to the temple-farm, Goldenfields. I have never seen a setting like this in D&D and the NPC’s were bursting with personality, including a living tree, a yeti-man, and a secret agent.
I had the party meet each of the NPC’s as they explored Goldenfields; Zi at the front gate, Shalvus watching sheep, Lifferlas playing with kids, and Oren, Naxene and Miros at the inn. With everyone already friendly, the party was ready to join forces with the citizens of Goldenfields when chaos broke out that night!
The multi-stage Battle of Goldenfields was daunting and took two sessions to resolve. I also had a session in the middle where only three players could join – instead of reducing the scale of the battle, I had them relive some moments from their past to begin weaving their backstories into the campaign.
Most players in my group were excited to run an NPC, and since we play in Fantasy Grounds, it was not difficult to show them how to use the additional characters. I encouraged everyone to play an NPC, but this isn’t necessary, and if I had it to do again, I would not push it so hard! The battle can be won without the extra help, or of course, the DM could run the NPC’s just as easily if the party needs more muscle. They could even be left out until things started looking dicey – and then come to the rescue as needed!
I made notes for myself to ease the transition from one group of monsters to the next:
Wave 1: 3 Gangs of Enemies, the party will have the chance to clear two gangs while the third will flee when the alarm bell sounds.
Wave 2: Players will (ideally) follow the warning bell to face Giants in the interior of the farm.
Wave 3: The final encounter with a large army from the outer wall of the farm. They enjoyed trying different battle strategies on the riffraff below!
My players kept all of the NPC’s alive during the encounters, and I tweaked their reward quests to build our path through the sandbox portion of the game; Chapter Three. After all of that combat, I made sure each player had the opportunity to chat with the grateful NPC’s for a festive roleplay finale to Goldenfields.
Thank you for reading! Please comment if you have any questions on running this massive battle! Or chime in with any tips for DM’s who also want to take their players down to the farm!