March of the Phantom Brigade (Season 4)

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Just found an entry for next season's Encounters in the scheduling table at the end of the December mailing for organizers. The body of the mailing had no information about it, however.

Name: March of the Phantom Brigade
Scheduling Begins: December 16
Scheduling Ends: March 9
Season Runs: February 9 - May 4
 Chris Tulach confirmed this at our store tonight and stated the available sources for Characters will be all essentials materials plus the to be released Character Compendium.  

 
We also got to see some pre-production artwork of the posters and a new style pre-gen, it was a Drow ranger(hunter).  FYI you wont have to use a pre-gen he told us you can roll your own using the above sources.
I'm second from the left in the picture.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

My mail had more information:

"Journey to the ruins of Castle Inverness and help settlers establish a new town while dealing with the wild dangers and deadly legacy of the region. Get into the action quickly by creating a 1st-level D&D character using the D&D Essentials or Class Compendium rules options, or grab a pre-generated one. Get ready to uncover the mysteries of the Ghost Tower and face off against fearsome foes in the March of the Phantom Brigade."

I don't know Castle Inverness or the Ghost Tower. Google first gave me a castle in real world scotland and then something Greyhawk related. So if the KotB was also Greyhawk  in former editions, one could assume that the new season will happen in PoLand, too.
Ghost Tower of Inverness was a great AD&D module. I had alot of fun in it. If they're re-imagening it, it could be a blast.
awesome, thanks for the info, Lars!
Two more things to add.  Chris Tulach mentioned the adventure for season 4 would take place in the Nentir Vale.  He also said that season 5 (the season after next) would feature Essentials plus Heroes of Shadow.
Season Runs: February 9 - May 4



February 9th to May 4th is 13 weeks. 13 is a prime number so, will it be just one chapter or will there be uneven number of sessions per chapter?

Greyhawk! Yes!

Though if they are using the Nentir Vale ... they might have transported the Ghost Tower out of Greyhawk.
The 13 week schedule supposedly returns to a 3 chapter format. Again listen to the GenCon - Essentials Podcast.
would be nice if this 13 week, 3 chapter format were broken down such that the first two chapters each had 4 sessions, with the final chapter having 5 sessions that includes an extended rest right before the final session boss fight. :D
I am actually hoping that they end up running the 2011 encounters Seasons as the claim to be discussing them. For more information pay close attention to the Encounters Season / Game Day Tie-Ins in the podcast from GenCon. It could prove to be an Epic Year if they actually run it as disclosed that they are discussing.
I didn't see it in the download, but are we supposed to sanction all 13 events individually again?  I assume so but before they would say it explicitly.
Has anyone else gotten an error message when you try to sign up for Season 4?


I get a message: "Before you can complete your sanction request, you must resolve the issues below, Sanctioning D&D Encounters: Season 3 is only allowed starting 2010-08-09
until 2010-12-15."

I have Season 3 sanctioned/scheduled until Feb 2 so I am not sure what the problem is. Any ideas?  
Nevermind, it was a typo. Just finished signing up for each event...man I REALLY hate the DCI/RPGA system. Wizards needs to throw it out and start over!
...or at least let you sanction a series of events.  FNM must have similar issues.
Got my copy yesterday. This adventure looks GREAT. I was only able to read the first chapter completly yet, but yeah.

[sblock=some spoilers for DM's]
Abyssal Plague-Tie In, Greyhawk easter-eggs for the people who were around then - not me, but i can still imagine its nice for lomg-time players, and Hammerfast - I really like the Nentir Vale.
[\sblock]
Got my copy yesterday and skimmed through it today. I agree with LarsVolta, it looks to be a great module with lots of action and a nice story to it. I especially like that I can read the whole story as a DM and prepare ahead of time (no surprises like with the last chapter of the current season).

Confering with the other DMs at my store we are thinking of "upping the game" following some player requests. It seems many of our new gamers from the current season would like to keep their characters going. So we are going to tweak the adventure up to 3rd - 5th level to satisfy them.

Personally I think it would be a great idea for (at least some) of the DDE seasons to build on each other. I can't wait to see the characters that did so well with the Border Keep to go up against the new threats of Nentir Vale!
How about the pre-gen characters at each of the levels they could be in the adventure? 
With DDE season 3, we had about a dozen new-to-4e people come in and request pre-gen characters.  Then we had to take time to tell them all that they had to do to the level 1 characters to make them playable (without deadly consequence) for the adventure at the point we were at.  And, of course, they didn't all come in at the same time.  Some came in at 2nd level and others came in right after chapter 5 started so we needed the pre-gens to be level 3!  Save your DMs a little work and give us characters (at least in PDF) at each of the levels that the DDE season will see. 
I know that they should make their own characters but when I'm running the game am I supposed to stop, make all the other players wait, and explain how to level a character to the newbie?

My 2 cents

PS - Would anybody happen to know if the online character builder will build a character up to level 3 for free, like the old CB could?
Would anybody happen to know if the online character builder will build a character up to level 3 for free, like the old CB could?

There's no free demo version at present, nor any word on when one might become available AFAIK.

As for pre-gens, the official rule for Season 4 is that all new players start at level 1 no matter how far into the season it is. It would still be nice to have leveled up pregens available for the players when they do level.
All 6 pre-generated characters (Belgos, Brandis, Fargrim, Jarren, Keira, Valenae) for D&D Encounters season 4, March of the Phantom Brigade are now available on the Dungeon's Master.com website.

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Has anyone seen the Play Tracker posted for Season 4 yet? 

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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So, since no Character Compendium is actually released, what are the character generation guidelines now? (and why isn't there a link to such info on the Enc. main page?)

A first-time player can bring a 1st level character created using the rules found in the Heroes of the fallen lands rulebook, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms rulebook, or the Class Compredium: Heroes of the Sword and Spell rulebook. In addition, players can use rules presented in Dragon Magazine in support of those products. If a player doesn't have a character or doesn;t want to create one from scratch, several pregenerated adventurers are provided.

(Source: March of the Phantom Brigade under creating a Character)

(The following are from the kit)

Belgos - Drow Ranger (Hunter)
Brandis - Human Paladin (Cavalier)
Fargrim - Dwarf Fighter (Slayer)
Jarren - Human Wizard (Evocation Mage)
Keira - Elven Rogue (Thief)
Valenae - Eladrin Cleric (War Priest)





this may be a bit off topic, are group finnish up season 3, personal the ending felt a bit unwhelming.but had fun.

been told that for season 4 we have to pay £15 or $25 doller give or take. did i miss samething.  becouse i thogth the hull encounter idea was to bring back or get new player to came and play. this could be a turn off for same seeing. seeing £15 is a fare bit for same peaple.

this is just my view

this may be a bit off topic, are group finnish up season 3, personal the ending felt a bit unwhelming.but had fun.

been told that for season 4 we have to pay £15 or $25 doller give or take. did i miss samething.  becouse i thogth the hull encounter idea was to bring back or get new player to came and play. this could be a turn off for same seeing. seeing £15 is a fare bit for same peaple.

this is just my view



I don't know anything about having to pay to play next season. Unless, the group is collecting money so everyone can have fortune cards? You definitely need to find out what it is you are expected to pay for before you toss any money in.
RS: 60/60 CS: 60/60 RotS: 60/60 U:60/60 CotF: 60/60 BH: 60/60 A&E: 51/60 TFU: 53/60 LotF: 37/60 KotOR: 37/60 CW: 26/40 IE: 31/40 JA: 17/40 G@W: 7/40 DT: 7/40 Good trades with: Lily_Wan, creme_brule, suki_jedi_apprentice, Ephant_Mon

this may be a bit off topic, are group finnish up season 3, personal the ending felt a bit unwhelming.but had fun.

been told that for season 4 we have to pay £15 or $25 doller give or take. did i miss samething.  becouse i thogth the hull encounter idea was to bring back or get new player to came and play. this could be a turn off for same seeing. seeing £15 is a fare bit for same peaple.

this is just my view



I don't know anything about having to pay to play next season. Unless, the group is collecting money so everyone can have fortune cards? You definitely need to find out what it is you are expected to pay for before you toss any money in.



Looking at my organizer materials, first page, bullet #4:

*Remember, you set the ground rules for entry each week.
"Setting a nominal fee for play, providing purchase incentives, and adding additional perks with a buy-in are all ways in which you can show players that the D&D Encounters experience is valuable and worthwile - certainly worth a bit of investment on their part."

Reading this it would allow a store to charge a fee to play D&D Encounters without a benefit back to the players (or DMs). My guess would be any store charging a fee would either a) find a way to get something for the DMs or discounts for players or b) just cannot accomodate all the demand for Encounters and has to have some way to limit the number of players. Although if B was the situation I would hope that at least the DMs are getting some benefit from the fee - at least free drinks while DMing.

this may be a bit off topic, are group finnish up season 3, personal the ending felt a bit unwhelming.but had fun.

been told that for season 4 we have to pay £15 or $25 doller give or take. did i miss samething.  becouse i thogth the hull encounter idea was to bring back or get new player to came and play. this could be a turn off for same seeing. seeing £15 is a fare bit for same peaple.

this is just my view



I don't know anything about having to pay to play next season. Unless, the group is collecting money so everyone can have fortune cards? You definitely need to find out what it is you are expected to pay for before you toss any money in.



Looking at my organizer materials, first page, bullet #4:

*Remember, you set the ground rules for entry each week.
"Setting a nominal fee for play, providing purchase incentives, and adding additional perks with a buy-in are all ways in which you can show players that the D&D Encounters experience is valuable and worthwile - certainly worth a bit of investment on their part."

Reading this it would allow a store to charge a fee to play D&D Encounters without a benefit back to the players (or DMs). My guess would be any store charging a fee would either a) find a way to get something for the DMs or discounts for players or b) just cannot accomodate all the demand for Encounters and has to have some way to limit the number of players. Although if B was the situation I would hope that at least the DMs are getting some benefit from the fee - at least free drinks while DMing.


And a $25 fee would be more than just nominal (in my opinion) if any stores are in fact charging that much.
- Rico
There is a blog post or something on the WPN site somewhere which highlights one particular store where people are able to buy into a game season as a "VIP" member.  This guarantees them access to a table no matter how many people have arrived and the money is  used for a pizza party towards the end of the season.

You should check with your store to see what the fee is used for.  If they don't have a good reason, I would be wary in paying it.

My local store has a $5 per night policy which I find perfectly reasonable.  It gives them assured income from everyone who participates.  Maybe that store is just doing something like this all in advance.
My local store has a $5 per night policy which I find perfectly reasonable. 


$100 for a 20 session season? Surprised
- Rico
Well, you're not just giving away $100 -  you're buying $5 worth of items from their store.  It might be Fortune Cards ($4 per pack), it might be Magic Cards (lots of people do this one) or it might just be the snacks you're enjoying while playing. 

It's more of a guarantee that's you're supporting the store than a fee for the right to be there.
A first-time player can bring a 1st level character created using the rules found in the Heroes of the fallen lands rulebook, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms rulebook, or the Class Compredium: Heroes of the Sword and Spell rulebook. In addition, players can use rules presented in Dragon Magazine in support of those products. If a player doesn't have a character or doesn;t want to create one from scratch, several pregenerated adventurers are provided.

Belgos - Drow Ranger (Hunter)
Brandis - Human Paladin (Cavalier)
Fargrim - Dwarf Fighter (Slayer)
Jarren - Human Wizard (Evocation Mage)
Keira - Elven Rogue (Thief)
Valenae - Eladrin Cleric (War Priest)



Did you find this information somewhere? I've seen a lot similar but the only thing on the official Encounters page says, "Create a character of your own." It doesn't mention only Essentials. What about non-first-time players?
A first-time player can bring a 1st level character created using the rules found in the Heroes of the fallen lands rulebook, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms rulebook, or the Class Compredium: Heroes of the Sword and Spell rulebook. In addition, players can use rules presented in Dragon Magazine in support of those products. If a player doesn't have a character or doesn;t want to create one from scratch, several pregenerated adventurers are provided.

Belgos - Drow Ranger (Hunter)
Brandis - Human Paladin (Cavalier)
Fargrim - Dwarf Fighter (Slayer)
Jarren - Human Wizard (Evocation Mage)
Keira - Elven Rogue (Thief)
Valenae - Eladrin Cleric (War Priest)



Did you find this information somewhere? I've seen a lot similar but the only thing on the official Encounters page says, "Create a character of your own." It doesn't mention only Essentials. What about non-first-time players?


Dragon #394 www.wizards.com/dnd/article.aspx?x=dnd/d...


D&D Encounters Marches On—New Season February 9th!


The March of the Phantom Brigade is an exciting 13-week season that finds the characters facing off against an ancient evil in an effort to save a newly-founded frontier community from its depredations! If you’re into D&D’s storied legacy, you’ll note the nods to classic locales such as the Ghost Tower and Castle Inverness. If you’re just starting your 4th Edition experience, D&D Encounters is a great place for you to get your weekly D&D fix as you learn the game. Characters begin at 1st level and advance normally, so you can jump in anytime with a 1st-level character and you won’t be overwhelmed.


Character creation is once again a breeze this season, with a focused set of rules options available for you to reference. You can use Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms to create your character. In addition, D&D Insider subscribers can use the Character Builder to generate a character that uses only the above rulebooks with the D&D Encounters campaign setting option, and get additional access to rules options presented in Dragon magazine articles affiliated with those books.




- Rico
A first-time player can bring a 1st level character created using the rules found in the Heroes of the fallen lands rulebook, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms rulebook, or the Class Compredium: Heroes of the Sword and Spell rulebook. In addition, players can use rules presented in Dragon Magazine in support of those products. If a player doesn't have a character or doesn;t want to create one from scratch, several pregenerated adventurers are provided.

(Source: March of the Phantom Brigade under creating a Character)

(The following are from the kit)

Belgos - Drow Ranger (Hunter)
Brandis - Human Paladin (Cavalier)
Fargrim - Dwarf Fighter (Slayer)
Jarren - Human Wizard (Evocation Mage)
Keira - Elven Rogue (Thief)
Valenae - Eladrin Cleric (War Priest)







I try to remember to show my sources in the future.