Dungeons & Dragons is a name that, in the minds of fans of every generation, is accompanied by an overwhelming avalanche of memories related to nights spent around a table. We let ourselves be overwhelmed by the memory that brings us back to the first scribbled sheets, to the scattered snacks and the always adverse dice, to the epic deeds narrated by the incomparable acting performances of a talented Master friend. In short, the most famous paper role-playing game in the world (we don’t want others!) has been a granite certainty for decades for all lovers of this playful dimension.
Fortunately, Wizards understood this (recover our interview with Marco Caputo of Wizards of the Coast Italy) and from 2021 decided to relaunch the brand, to lead it to regain the place it deserves. Among the most interesting releases stands out the Introductory Set Dragons of the Isle of Storms that allows anyone to start having fun with D&D. Don’t believe it? We’ll tell you about it, but first don’t forget to read our review of Dungeons & Dragons Honor among Thieves.
The content and the rules
Within the Introductory Set Dragons of the Isle of Storms we find quite a bit of material (according to past releases, however, it does not seem to us that Wizards has exaggerated in terms of quantity). In the box there is an adventure of about fifty pages, beautiful and ready to be tackled, a manual of about 30 pages that allows you to familiarize yourself with the creation and use of the protagonists (whose level will go from first to third with the progress of events). Then there are 5 character sheets, which are decidedly varied in terms of Classes, races and related backstories.
The pre-compiled cards are very convenient, especially if you have to deal with novice players who have never seen, touched or tested an experience of this type firsthand. In this sense we too have tried, like what Francesco Lancia of Radio Deejay attempted (with the podcast Dungeons&Deejay, listen to it now if you haven’t done it!), to involve some who had never touched a paper role-playing game. The intent was, clearly, twofold. On the one hand it was necessary to test an “introductory” product in the most genuine way possible. On the other hand, we wanted to bring down some atavistic resistance that has always accompanied role-playing experience seen from the outside.
In relation to the five characters already designed (don’t worry, however, it doesn’t necessarily need to be five to play, you can also be two) you will find a warrior, a paladin, a magician, a thief, a cleric. As we anticipated, in the cards you will find everything you need to familiarize yourself with your alter ego. The statistics are already set, while the part relating to the characteristics (Skills, indications of attacks, class or race traits) is clear and understandable.
To top it all off a set of dice: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20. If you are passionate about the game, you will probably begin to feel a strong attraction for these little objects, so much so that you will want to own personal and personalized ones.
The Players, the DM and the adventure
Of course, you won’t be able to enjoy the Player’s Handbook in its fullest form. The Dragons of Storm Isle Starter Set tries to reduce the role-playing experience to its basic traits, so that it is as simple as possible for everyone. Essentials like stats, combat, gear, spells, and world interaction are laid out in understandable terms.
Furthermore, within the rules there will be a handy QR code which will send you, as an additional resource, directly to the official website page where you can find a good amount of introductory videos (like the one shown above), very clear and fast. Through these contributions you will be able to learn how to fill out the character sheet, learn the rules, advice for the DM (or Dungeon Master, for the less accustomed), and learn more about the resources for participating in a game, even remotely. Alongside the mini manual, as we said, this Set also offers a finished adventure. In this way the task – always difficult and burdensome – of the Master will be a little less heavy and, indeed, can even be called “training”.
In short: the adventure transports the group to the Island of Dragons; a small piece of land marked by an eternal conflict between the two bloodlines present in the Forgotten Realms: Bahamut, family of metallic dragons and Tiamat, family of chromatic dragons. In the first part of the journey, Runara , the peaceful but mysterious guide of the Cloister of Rest of the Dragon, will introduce you to the island and its many mysteries. This new package was refreshingly complex and layered without overwhelming the attendees. The NPCs and the settings are quite varied and endowed with particular and appreciable narrative precautions which, we are sure, will allow the DM and the group to have fun, mitigating the obligation to strictly observe the rules. The Dragons of Storm Isle Introductory Set exposes Dungeon Masters to a fundamental aspect of the role-playing experience: flexibility.
Players can tackle the chapters of the adventure in the order they prefer and the Set takes care of providing the DM with useful advice to scale the difficulty of the challenges that inexperienced heroes will have to face. Participants will need to be of a certain level to complete the final dungeon and solve the story, but until then, it’s up to them to shape their path. And, of course, the Masters.
Furthermore, the Set also assigns each character a personal goal to pursue beyond group dynamics, which the DM can integrate into the plot to make the experience even more complete and interesting. All in all, the adventure is short enough for those who are already a little familiar, yet it proved to be nothing short of engaging. Key characters have rich backgrounds and clear motivations, not to mention the renewed weight of player actions in the travel economy.
In short, Wizards’ will to work constantly to make the game current and attractive is also evident in this Set. If we add to this a streamlined and simplified rulebook enough, Dragons of the Isle of Storms is an excellent starting point for those who want to start their D&D journey.
The many dimensions of D&D
As we have already mentioned at the beginning, D&D is a constantly evolving brand. In addition to the new series of manuals, we must also expect the arrival – in the future – of the sixth version of the regulation and more. We are talking about a cross-media universe, which also includes the many novels reprinted on the occasion of the debut of the D&D film: honor among thieves (which seems to be finally inspired). Then there are the video games: the most recent are Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance (in this regard, we invite you to read our review of D & D Dark Alliance) and Baldur’s Gate III, highly anticipated title soon to be released.
Furthermore, we strongly recommend that you listen to the two seasons of the Dungeons&Deejay podcast, in which a company of novice players is led by DM Francesco Lancia on an unforgettable adventure. For the sake of completeness, we bring up the many online platforms that allow you to enter this magical world, in addition to the forums and companies that never fail to stage their adventures on Twitch. In short, we are talking about an excellent moment to become (or rediscover) D&D enthusiasts.