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Review: Dragons of Stromwreck Isle (2022 D&D Starter Set)

Back in Oct 2022 Wizards of the Coast launched a new Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set - Dragons of Stormwreck Isle(*). As I was such a fan of the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign(*) from the 2014 Starter Set, I really wanted to give this new campaign a go and see how it fared. I finished the campaign a few days ago, so thought I'd give you my thoughts on it, and whether it's a good place for new DMs to start (or indeed a worthwhile campaign for more experienced DMs to try out). Let's give it a look.

*N.B. The Amazon links on this page (marked with an *) are affiliate links. This doesn't cost you any extra, but I make a small commission from any sales - which helps support the site :)


First of all, what's in the box? Well, pretty much what you'd expect. You get the adventure book (48 pages including monster stat blocks etc) which will enable you, as DM, to guide your players through the entire story - taking them from level 1 to level 3 in the process.

You get an abridged set of the rules (32 pages) so you can get a good grasp of the mechanics of D&D without being overwhelmed by all the minutiae in the Player's Handbook(*).

You get 5 pre-made character sheets (a Human Paladin, a Wood Elf Fighter, a High Elf Wizard, a Halfling Rogue and a Hill Dwarf Cleric) so your players can hit the ground running without having to learn how to make a character (half of my party used these, and half preferred to make their own).

Finally, you get a set of 6 polyhedral dice - with a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20. As a minor gripe, I think it would be better to include a second d10 so that you can use them in conjunction as a d100 (which most dice sets do) - but I can see the logic of not wanting to overly confuse new players with loads of dice. Fair enough.


Ok, lets get onto what you actually care about, the adventure itself (spoilers ahead).

So, how was it? Well, pretty good, actually. It's difficult to follow Lost Mine of Phandelver(*) which has a special place in my heart as my first D&D experience), but Stormwreck Isle(*) stands up well, to be honest.

The adventure begins with your party arriving at Stormwreck Isle, a place that both Chromatic and Metallic Dragons have fought and died over for centuries. Upon arrival, you are beset by a group of undead sailors - so you have to best them, before stumbling up the clifftop and arriving at Dragon's Rest: a temple/ retreat run by an elderly woman, Runara, which serves to promote peace and reconciliation on the Isle.

After spending a little time in Dragon's Rest, meeting a few NPCs and hearing a little about the Island's history, the party can embark on a couple of sidequests (it doesn't matter which order these are done in). One will take you to the South of the island, to the SeaGrow Caves, where you will battle a reanimated octopus, and try and re-establish contact with a group of Myconids (mushroom people) who live there, who had until recently traded with a herbalist who lives at Dragon's Rest. The second sidequest will take you to a shipwreck just off the North of the island. There you will need to battle more undead, a ghoul, and a harpy, in order to unlock the secret of why so many ships keep running aground at the island, and why those who perish in the wrecks are turning undead.

Both of these sidequests are interesting, varied, and pretty well balanced (though I did find the combat encounters a little easy so bolstered them for my party). My group had all played D&D before though, so for an inexperienced group, the encounters as written should be challenging enough, without risking wiping out your whole party.

Once those two sidequests are complete, the final part of the story is to travel to an observatory on the east of the island, where a Blue Dragon Wyrmling is performing a ritual to try to unleash the spirits of all the previous dragons who have died on the isle, and bind their power to his will. The party will have to battle and defeat this Wyrmling, stop the ritual, and all in all just save the day. Good times.

MY thoughts

There's a lot to like about this adventure, and a few things that I did differently to change up the adventure when I ran it for my party. I'll take you through what I think works, and what needs a little tweaking.


  • The adventure is easy to follow, and pretty linear - which really helps a first time DM to keep things on track and know where the story is headed.

  • The different sidequest elements provide good variety to keep your party entertained.

  • The adventure is relatively short (we spent about 10 hours on it, but I included another couple of sidequests of my own invention, and we had a reasonable amount of roleplay - so it could be completed in less time). This means it's not an overwhelming proposition for first time DMs or players.


  • I found it a little harder for beginners to get into than Lost Mine of Phandelver - mainly because LMoP relied more on creatures that are easily understood by those with no experience of D&D (goblins, elves etc) whereas this adventure introduced the Myconids pretty early, which might be more difficult to understand. But this really is just personal preference.

  • Some of the sidequests and character backstories could have been better tied into the overall campaign.

  • There weren't enough opportunities for characters to spend the money they acquire on the adventure.

  • If you follow the story of having Runara as an adult Dragon in disguise, it really undermines the story (because why would she send out level 1 adventurers to battle something she could easily handle herself...?)

None of these downsides are particularly problematic, to be honest - and a beginner player likely wouldn't pick up on most (if any) of them. That said, with a few tweaks to the story here and there (and, after all, you're the DM - you can change whatever you want!) you can pretty easily elevate this story from something which is already very good, to something incredible and unforgettable. I'll be writing another post on the changes that I made when I ran it soon, so keep a look out for that.

Final thoughts

I definitely recommend playing Stormwreck Isle(*) - it's a really good short module, which is perfect for beginners, but that more experienced players can get a lot out of as well. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars as is, but with a few easy tweaks, you can make it even better for both you as DM and for your players. For around £20/$20, you get a lot of enjoyment for your money!


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