Kickstarter alert: D&D players can answer the call of adventure in “Songs of the Spellbound Sea”

As a Dungeons As a player and DM, I have a certain fondness for a lot of third-party content created under the OGL, and I firmly believe that it simply exists to make the game more fun. After all, Wizards of the Coast can only put out so many major releases per year, and as a company they need to focus on what they think will be most in demand. However, there are some great homebrewers who have created campaign worlds and games that deserve just as much recognition, and Kickstarter is a great way for them to get their material out there. As I also have a soft spot for all things pirate and seafaring, I was definitely intrigued when I heard about it Songs of the Enchanted Seaan upcoming campaign book being funded by So Many Robots via Kickstarter. Luckily, I was given access to a sample of the contents before release.

Songs of the Enchanted Sea is a Dungeons and Dragons 5e compatible setting created by So Many Robots. Like many campaign settings, it includes character class options, a new species, spells, new locations, magic items, monsters, some game rules, etc. It will be launched via Kickstarter, where backers can choose between buying copies of the book and add-ons such as dice, DM screens, and spell cards. The book will also include Spell That Don’t Suck, a project by So Many Robots that will include some of the 5e Magic in a way that felt far more balanced.

Since I only had access to a sample, I’ll describe some of what I saw, but also mention the other things listed as being included in the full version. So Many Robots aimed for over 200 pages of content, with about 3/4 of that being player options and the rest being fun extras for the DM. Here’s a look at some of what I got to see:

New species

Have you ever wanted to play as an axolotl? Now you can, and this species has some cool new regenerative abilities.

New character options

The finished product will have three new character classes and dozens of subclasses. I got to check out the Troubadour, which sounds like a bard to most, but is built a little differently and has different abilities than the bards you’re used to. But fear not, there’s also the College of Bravura for those bards who are a little more fleshed out. I also liked the seafaring options for barbarians and rangers, as it can be really nice to have just the right subclass to make your character fit into a campaign setting. I definitely saw options that I think my players would have chosen in the campaign I run, as well as things that my fellow players would have chosen in the campaign I play in. When I see players I know having these options, it makes me feel like I should definitely have this book.

New spells

I was able to check out a small selection of new spells and as usual I wonder if the players I know would want to cast these spells. The answer is a resounding yes. The sheer chaos of Infectious Jig would delight the kids I DM, but the more experienced adult players would know the strategy of when to use this spell. Wizards, especially those with Wild Magic, will love the unpredictable madness of Chaotic Vortex and Acid Jet is absolutely vicious when I, as the DM, fail a saving throw (the dice hate me, the odds are in the players’ favor). I definitely want to see more of these spell selections as I think they will be a lot of fun for people who play wizards.

New ship rules

There is a set of rules for ships that uses more of a hexagonal grid style map. It includes some more realistic guidance on ship situations, including where a ship should be positioned to fire, what things would and would not damage a ship, and a ship’s tendency not to fight until it sinks, as that would be a death sentence for everyone on board.

Other things

The full version will also include some drop-in islands, monsters, and magic items. These were not included in the sample I saw, but will be included in the full version.

If you love maritime adventures and adventurous spirit, then Songs of the Enchanted Sea is a great third-party addition to your game. Players will absolutely love the wealth of new options, including new character classes or plenty of subclasses for their favorite traditional character classes. Axolotls will be fun for players who want to play something different. The spells look so fun and make me a little jealous that I don’t traditionally play wizards. Luckily, the part of my heart that loves rogues feels like there should be plenty of things I would particularly enjoy, so no one will be left out here.

From what I can see in the sample, these are veterans of homebrew who have worked really hard to create a complete package of options for players and DMs. As someone who has always been fascinated by naval history (my honeymoon to England included stops in The Golden Deer replica as well as the National Maritime Museum), I really like the detail of the ship’s rules, which feel as though they are underpinned by a certain historical accuracy, and I can’t shake the feeling that they were created by someone who shares that interest with me.

I really look forward to the drop-in islands because I want to expand a game or add some new, fun things, and these are absolutely perfect for that.

One of the biggest challenges for a multi-group DM like me is that it can be difficult to find things that no one has played before, especially if they were created in the early days of 5e. Add to that the fact that not every campaign setting will appeal to you or your players, and it can quickly feel like the list of what Wizards of the Coast has to offer alone isn’t quite enough. I really like supporting these third-party homebrewers because they’re fresh and new, and there are still surprises for experienced players while new players can still have a fun adventure. I feel like So Many Robots has worked really hard to put something together that gives me fun options for something I can run, unless the other DMs in my house beat me to it, in which case I win regardless because this looks like something I’d like to play.

The Kickstarter campaign can be found here. Pledges range from a digital copy of the book for $25, a digital and physical book bundle for $55 ($5 off on day one), to a complete set with all the add-ons for $100. If that’s not enough for you, a $300 pledge will allow you to work with So Many Robots to add some custom content to the book.

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