Ghosts Of Saltmarsh, by Wizards Of The Coast
When I read a book like this one, my goal is to see some worthwhile scenarios that one can play and some insight as to the world that D&D is set in, and this book certainly does that. For a variety of reasons, I have been big on playing lizardman characters recently and it’s a trend I think I am going to continue doing, not least because lizardmen are pretty awesome characters whose love of food and social distance from other races tends to match my own frequent moments of social awkwardness. At any rate, this book is one that has some compelling and interesting aspects and that allows players to enjoy a scenario that involves a small town, a community of obscure lizardmen, and efforts at preventing massive evil, suitable for a variety of levels no less. The attention to place and scope makes this a good book and the scenario is one that I could definitely see myself enjoying as either a player or a GM. Altogether that makes this book an easy one to appreciate as well as to recommend for others to enjoy as well. And the scenario is familiar enough that even one of my coworkers had heard of it before.
This book is a bit more than 200 pages and is divided into 8 chapters and other supplementary material. The book begins with a brief introduction. After that the author discusses Saltmarsh, a small town with politics and factions, downtime activities, an interesting region to explore, as well as adventures and backgrounds for players (1). After that the author discusses an initial mission that discusses the sinister secret of Saltmarsh as well as some adventure hooks (2) and then a continuing danger at Dunwater, which provides advice on how to play lizardfolk (3), something I deeply enjoy. This leads to a discussion of a salvage operation (4) that provides some challenging gameplay and then a discussion of an isle of the abbey (5) that involves some dark doings that are worth exploring for mid-level characters. After that the author provides a compelling scenario where an advanced party fights a final enemy (6), after which the author discusses the fate of Tammeraut (7), an even more advanced scenario that has some ways to extend the scenario, and then moves on to another adventure involving dark forces in the area (8). Finally, the book ends with an appendix that discusses ships and the sea as well as some notes on magic items that can be given as prizes and some monsters and npcs for the various adventures.
Is this scenario worthwhile to read about? Well, if you want to add some intrigue to your playing and your characters are okay at learning how to build complex alliances with a small coastal town as well as with a lizardmen community, this scenario is definitely one that can be appreciated easily. Not only does it provide some compelling action but it can also be a good ticket to allow characters the chance to build up reputation and even gather some property and hooks to future adventures. The book does a good job at connecting this particular series of quests with various possible worlds, allowing it to be more than just a one-off mission but also something that can be used to connect the larger gameplay of characters and get them to engage in undersea adventures with the possibility of new friends (and enemies) as well as the acquiring of ships, which could be of interest to some. Whether one is more interested in the trade angles or the darkness of the seas or the complex diplomacy involved, there are a lot of ways that this scenario can be a fun and useful one and that is to be celebrated.