Review – Saltmarsh Encounters
Saltmarsh Encounters seeks to provide a range of encounters for lower levels D&D 5th edition. It certainly delivers. However, the encounters could easily be used in Pathfinder or Dungeon World with little conversion.
- Authors – Ashley Warren, James Haeck, James Introcaso, M.T. Black, Rich Lescouflair.
Available here – https://www.dmsguild.com/product/280324/Saltmarsh-Encounters
Tone and Style
The encounters are described briefly and though there is no descriptive box text to read out, there are enough details to cover the basics of Who is doing What and where.
Some of the encounters lack mention of motivation for the creatures, but this leaves room for the Gamemaster to link the creature’s actions to existing plots or factions.
Catchy names help guide the tone of the encounters, for example Eye Hard, Grim Raven, Mysterious Melody, Off to see the Lizard, Spectre Days and You’ve got Whale.
- Sixty encounters are presented in an easy to read fashion. Rules for raising the encounters from tier 1 to tier 2 are clear and concise.
- Seven new creatures are offered, one of them an old favourite, Xvarts!
- Over 50 creatures are used throughout the encounters, including some underused icons like Cyclopse, Hags, Jackalwere, Lizardfolk, Mephits and Sahuagin.
- Seven new items are described, all interesting objects but nothing over powered.
- Aquatic encounters – Some are near, or on the ocean, so if you are seeking some unusual situations to throw at your party then you should enjoy these.
- Statistics for existing monsters mentioned are not provided in the book, but easily obtained from the Monster Manual.
The text for this nifty tome is in two columns, with regular color art every other page to break up flow. The encounter table could have been hyperlinked to the individual encounters however.
Each art piece is well drawn and will provide inspiration for a character, scene or monster. Two shining examples are a Deep Scion on page 7 that makes a Mind Flayer look cuddly, meanwhile two Lizardfolk on page 16 look rather keen to beat the tar out of a meddling surface dweller.
Most of the encounters have 4 to 6 options for what creatures you encounter, thus expanding the variety of encounters from 60 out to over 160. This feature alone makes this tome rise above many others in value.
Avoid this book if…
- You are looking for something after Ghosts of Saltmarsh, this book is directed at use before or during that adventure series.
- You are seeking some fresh Greyhawk lore, there is no new lore (but the encounters can easily be linked to existing Greyhawk locations and factions).
Buy this book if…
- You want a great range of forest-coastal encounters for tier 1, whether it be linked to Ghost of Saltmarsh, homebrew adventures or Princes of the Apocalypse.
- Need a side trek encounter or two because half your group cancelled at the last minute? Look no further.
What else have the Authors worked on?
- Encounters of the Savage seas – https://www.dmsguild.com/product/270757/Encounters-on-the-Savage-Seas
- Tactical maps-Adventure atlas – https://www.dmsguild.com/product/269311/Tactical-Maps-Adventure-Atlas
- Xanathars lost notes – https://www.dmsguild.com/product/228484/Xanathars-Lost-Notes-to-Everything-Else
Saltmarsh is set in the world of Greyhawk, if you want to know more –