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DMing Storm King's Thunder Discussion (Massive Spoilers)

Mik Holmes
Marketplace Creator
Hi, I've bought both the SKT module and hardcover, and I wanted to discuss a few things with other DMs, and open a general topic for SKT discussion for people who have purchased and read it. These might obviously be massive spoilers for the module, so players should not be reading this We're just about to finish Chapter 1 soon, and I'm a bit anxious about Chapter 2. I'm trying to decide between the three towns. I'm a bit apprehensive about the Special NPCs. It seems a bit metagamey to tell the players outright "hey keep these snowflakes alive and you'll get quests." I don't mind giving them another character, but the mapless battles and the fact that all the NPCs are spread out in places the players probably aren't at, it all seems a bit confusing. Bryn Shander is cool because I can use various city tactical maps for combat, but it takes a month for Zephyros to fly them there. Goldenfields I like because it puts most of the Special NPCs at the same location, but I wanted to reveal something more interesting than more orcs, goblins, and hill giants. The other issue with Goldenfields is that it implies the PCs shouldn't get the second event in Zephyros' tower, but I'm probably going to run it anyway. Triboar was my first choice, but the NPCs are spread everywhere. While I'm here, I'm also concerned about Chapter 3's Old Tower encounter. If it goes the way it's described, Moog can lead them to the Hill Giants, and be a catalyst to the players fighting Chief Guh and getting her conch of teleportation  way before they know what that is. It's unlikely, but possible for them. Even if they don't beat her or get the conch , they'll likely be drawn to her for Chapter 4, and there's so many cool giant dungeons that I kind of want them to pick a different one.  In that vein, how do you deal with 4 of 5 chapters being thrown away? I intend to continue the campaign past the end of the game, but it still seems disappointing that they don't need to visit at least two of the giant lords.  So, how have other DMs decided what city to send the players in Chapter 2, their experiences with the Old Tower encounter, and their thoughts on Chapters 5-9?
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