Season 10 Council of Spiders Preview

42 posts / 0 new
Last post
Since we still don't have a season 10 forum I thought this was the most suitable place to post this.

D&D Encounters: Council of Spiders – Preview

The article includes a link to the season 10 Renown Tracker (PDF).

Visit Dungeon's Master.com – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
http://dungeonsmaster.com
Follow me on Twitter @ameron_dm

Thanks for this!
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
Council of Spiders was at the store today! Score! Menzoberranzan and Drow Treachery still haven't shown up...bummer.

Looking through this next season...tracking all of this stuff with players coming in and out of games is going to be... difficult, to put it lightly. The encounters are written in such a way that they're assuming you keep the same people at your table for the whole adventure.
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
Since we still don't have a season 10 forum I thought this was the most suitable place to post this.

D&D Encounters: Council of Spiders – Preview

The article includes a link to the season 10 Renown Tracker (PDF).


Thanks for posting the preview.
Did I miss something, or are the only two Themes allowed for non-drow (Menzoberranzan Outsider and Underdark Slave) not actually in Dragon 413?
“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
Maybe they're coming out in Menzoberranzan City of Intrigue instead. Wouldn't be the first time WotC had a misprint.
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
Council of Spiders was at the store today! Score! Menzoberranzan and Drow Treachery still haven't shown up...bummer.


I believe the release date for both products is August 21st, one day before the next season of Encounters starts. That's typical of WOTC, but I think it's stupid. They should come out with the new products at least a week before people have to start using them, so that they actually have a chance to read through them.

- Rico
Council of Spiders was at the store today! Score! Menzoberranzan and Drow Treachery still haven't shown up...bummer.


I believe the release date for both products is August 21st, one day before the next season of Encounters starts. That's typical of WOTC, but I think it's stupid. They should come out with the new products at least a week before people have to start using them, so that they actually have a chance to read through them.




WPN stores usually get the products a week or so early. Apparently not the case this time around.
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
I am planning to give players a character creation guide for Council of Spiders. I have linked a first draft of that guide. It would be great if I could get suggestions on how to improve it.

docs.google.com/document/d/1QNe02RsqsQsi...

*Note: Google Docs changed the layout of the list of themes. I have it in 3 columns in the original Word doc since I am trying to fit everything on one sheet of paper.
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
I am planning to give players a character creation guide for Council of Spiders. I have linked a first draft of that guide. It would be great if I could get suggestions on how to improve it.

docs.google.com/document/d/1QNe02RsqsQsi...

*Note: Google Docs changed the layout of the list of themes. I have it in 3 columns in the original Word doc since I am trying to fit everything on one sheet of paper.


I think it's really good. I'm going to use this. The only thing I changed (and this is a very minor thing) was that I split 3 into 3 and 4 (which renumbered 4 into 5, and 5 into 6) then switched the order of 5 and 6.
- Rico
I think it's really good. I'm going to use this. The only thing I changed (and this is a very minor thing) was that I split 3 into 3 and 4 (which renumbered 4 into 5, and 5 into 6) then switched the order of 5 and 6.



What did you split 3 into?
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
Thanks for posting the preview.
Did I miss something, or are the only two Themes allowed for non-drow (Menzoberranzan Outsider and Underdark Slave) not actually in Dragon 413?



Plaguescarred has posted the official reply to this over in the D&D forums:

I informed D&D Producer Greg Blisland and there's messaging going out to DMs/Organizers regarding the absence of those Themes.



Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
I think it's really good. I'm going to use this. The only thing I changed (and this is a very minor thing) was that I split 3 into 3 and 4 (which renumbered 4 into 5, and 5 into 6) then switched the order of 5 and 6.



What did you split 3 into?


Oops. I split #2 into 2 and 3. I made 2 Choose your gender (with the note) and 3 Choose your alignment (with the note).
- Rico
Aside from on the printed character sheets, where are you getting the non-drow theme limitation? I'm especially confused by this, since themes like "Escaped Thrall" and "Trapmaster" work especially well for non-drow Underdark denizens. 
Looks like we have a forum for Season 10 now.
community.wizards.com/dungeonsanddragons... 
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


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

Aside from on the printed character sheets, where are you getting the non-drow theme limitation? I'm especially confused by this, since themes like "Escaped Thrall" and "Trapmaster" work especially well for non-drow Underdark denizens. 


That's where I'm getting it from - on the scan of the printed character sheets for the season that is part of the preview, it lists the Theme restriction. Regardless of how well they might work for non-drow Underdark denizens in general, it appears that for Season 10 it was decided that they weren't appropriate for second-class (or lower) citizens of Menzoberranzan. At least, that was decided until they were cut from being publised in the Dragon article...
“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
OK. So it's only on a character sheet that nobody uses.... I wonder if it'll be built into the CB that way at the start of this season.

WotC: Demonstrating time and again why print-based products and iterative development don't work well together....
OK. So it's only on a character sheet that nobody uses.... I wonder if it'll be built into the CB that way at the start of this season.



Well, considering that there always seems to be something missing from the CB each Encounters Season (usually some background choice) we may very well see a third variation.
- Rico
OK. So it's only on a character sheet that nobody uses....


Historically, the Character Creation rules are on the season's Play Tracker, and next season's Play Tracker ends its Character Creation instructions with "See the character sheet for more character creation information." (Not that we haven't been pretty lax about following them in the past, but next season looks to be rather focused.)
“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
I am thinking the backgrounds from Book of Vile Darkness will see some use and I am encouraging them this season. Also am I the only one who wants to run this season like a Blackxploitation movie?
Also am I the only one who wants to run this season like a Blackxploitation movie?



DM:
.... So, let me get this straight, your playing a Drow Rogue (Hussla), as a racial feature you speak both Common and Jive and your using your daily "Smack a ***** Up, Down, and All 'round Town" on the spider?...
While Im not DMing this one, Im going to suggest the theme list presented here, plus some choice pics from Book of Vile Darkness.
Thanks for posting the preview.
Did I miss something, or are the only two Themes allowed for non-drow (Menzoberranzan Outsider and Underdark Slave) not actually in Dragon 413?



Plaguescarred has posted the official reply to this over in the D&D forums:

I informed D&D Producer Greg Blisland and there's messaging going out to DMs/Organizers regarding the absence of those Themes.






If any of you who are coordinators get the information from Wizards, will you please post it here?
- Rico
Last season, when they pushed an errata, it came out via the WPN News page (a page which hardly anyone not doing M:tG reads). So, yep. I'll be sure to mention if we get an update.

I find it strange (well, not really-- I kind of expected them to not think ahead) that this season still has the same renown rewards, values, and point-breaks.

I get 2 renown for surviving 8+ sessions.... of an 8-session campaign? So, if I miss even ONE session, I won't get *that* renown.

Players get fortune cards when they hit 20, 40, and 60 renown? Ok, let's look at that math: I have players who have been at my table every week, who typically get their 60-point card in Week 10. I see that the renown values are the same (2 points per item, except the 1/season and "I showed up" renown). It's common to get 20 renown by the 2nd session, because of the "create a character" renown boost. The way renown is set up, if you come every week, you'll get 3 points each week, and a 2-point boost once in the chapter (for doing the renown-earner that your role does best). Assuming that, during the 8-week season, an average player will get 45 points.

Now, let's say you're above average and you get moment of greatness once during each chapter. That's still only 51 points, and it's assuming you are a GREAT gamer, because MoG is only given out once per session, and each chapter is only 2-3 sessions long.

In short: The math for renown doesn't scale to the shorter season. 

I know a lot of stores don't bother with renown, but it makes a big difference in our store. People like to see their name on the poster, and they like the little flourish of getting their cards. They like having a goal to reach for each week ("I'm going to do 15 damage this session!") They look forward to minions. They have FUN with it. 
Last season, when they pushed an errata, it came out via the WPN News page (a page which hardly anyone not doing M:tG reads). So, yep. I'll be sure to mention if we get an update.

I find it strange (well, not really-- I kind of expected them to not think ahead) that this season still has the same renown rewards, values, and point-breaks.

I get 2 renown for surviving 8+ sessions.... of an 8-session campaign? So, if I miss even ONE session, I won't get *that* renown.

Players get fortune cards when they hit 20, 40, and 60 renown? Ok, let's look at that math: I have players who have been at my table every week, who typically get their 60-point card in Week 10. I see that the renown values are the same (2 points per item, except the 1/season and "I showed up" renown). It's common to get 20 renown by the 2nd session, because of the "create a character" renown boost. The way renown is set up, if you come every week, you'll get 3 points each week, and a 2-point boost once in the chapter (for doing the renown-earner that your role does best). Assuming that, during the 8-week season, an average player will get 45 points.

Now, let's say you're above average and you get moment of greatness once during each chapter. That's still only 51 points, and it's assuming you are a GREAT gamer, because MoG is only given out once per session, and each chapter is only 2-3 sessions long.

In short: The math for renown doesn't scale to the shorter season. 

I know a lot of stores don't bother with renown, but it makes a big difference in our store. People like to see their name on the poster, and they like the little flourish of getting their cards. They like having a goal to reach for each week ("I'm going to do 15 damage this session!") They look forward to minions. They have FUN with it. 


I don't have the text in front of me right now, but there's also renown for the Worth points you earn throughout the adventure. It still may not add up - I'm not sure.

My typical practice is to award each card by the end of each chapter. I may accelerate that a bit so that the players actually get a chance to play their cards. I'll probably hand out the first card after the first session, since as you said, most players usually will have earned it by then, the second card at the end of the first chapter, and the third card at the end of the second chapter. There's also another special treasure card (like last season). I don't recall what the perameters are (if the module even discusses it) for handing that one out, but I'll figure out something.
- Rico
In the module itself, the Renown numbers have changed slightly to account.

The "Survive # sessions" reward is at 5+ for this season, and it's 5 points.
Revive a dying adventurer ally is out this season.
Tracking Worth is in - the player at each table with the highest Worth at the end of each session gets an extra 1 point of Renown, and the player (at each table?) with the highest Worth at the end of the season gets an extra 5 points.

So, I guess that a dedicated pursuit of Worth will give players a way to hit 60 (but choices made at character creation will give players a definite head start on Worth, i.e. female and priestess). Given that the Treachery cards don't quite mix seamlessly with the normal Fortune Cards (the Worth effects, and that they're generally not helpful, I don't know that it's worth worrying about unless you (or they) are planning on a continuation with a drow-focused campaign.

Edit to add the entire Renown Point awards for this season:
Each Session: Complete the encounter (3), Bring a new player (2), End with the highest Worth (1)
Each Chapter (2 each): Moment of greatness, 15+ damage, Kill 3 minions, Take 50 enemy damage
Once/season (5 each): Create your own PC, Create with Character Builder, End with the highest Worth, Survive 5+ sessions without dying.
“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
Good to know. The poster and play trackers are incorrect.

However, they took out "revive an ally" (worth 2 points) and added in "highest worth" (worth 1 point)? That's a deficit of 1 renown available.

Ugh. I'll do the math, but it still sounds like it would be hard for most of the players to reach 60 renown. They should have reduced the points needed for the rewards.
Good to know. The poster and play trackers are incorrect.

However, they took out "revive an ally" (worth 2 points) and added in "highest worth" (worth 1 point)? That's a deficit of 1 renown available.

Ugh. I'll do the math, but it still sounds like it would be hard for most of the players to reach 60 renown. They should have reduced the points needed for the rewards.


Highest Worth (+1 RP) is once/session and again for the season (+5 RP), Revive an ally (+2 RP) was once/chapter - so a dedicated pursuit of Worth could net extra Renown (13 RP from Worth vs. 6 RP for Revive an ally), and playing a female (+5) priestess (+5) puts you at 10 Worth from the start, a large lead over almost anyone else since 'male' is a -5 penalty to starting Worth (and males can't be priestesses). However, reducing the Renown Award levels from 20/40/60 to 15/30/45 (or 15/30/40?) would probably work fine for the shorter season, and seems reasonable to me under the circumstances.
“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier

playing a female (+5) priestess (+5) puts you at 10 Worth from the start.



So, if you create your own character (+5 Renown) and use the Character Builder to do so (+5 Renown) you'll start the season with 10 Renown, and you'll gain 3 for completing the first encounter (and likely 1 more for having the highest renown at the end of the session). So you'll finish the 1st session with 13 or 14 Renown -- at least a third of the way to the second Renown award point. 

Though, I think it will still be tough to reach 60, so, as I said above, I'll probably hand out the cards at set points in the season either way. I don't see any point to the DM hanging on to a bunch of them (maybe one of each if there are any left over, but other than that, no).
- Rico
By following the renown/reward guidelines, we ended up with something like 170 extra cards by the start of Season 9.  That's over 5 seasons of Encounters, regularly having 3-4 tables each week (we're currently up to 5 tables).
By following the renown/reward guidelines, we ended up with something like 170 extra cards by the start of Season 9.  That's over 5 seasons of Encounters, regularly having 3-4 tables each week (we're currently up to 5 tables).

Which is why I think it's better to just give them out at set points.

- Rico
I think its better to hand em out 1 week before they become useful. I love the metagame of tracking points, but it shouldn't take too long.
I think its better to hand em out 1 week before they become useful. I love the metagame of tracking points, but it shouldn't take too long.



Well, they're useful right from the very beginning of the campaign.
- Rico

"Treachery" cards useful??  One of the things I regularly tell newbies to the game is how important it is for a party to act co-operatively ... and no we're rewarding Treachery !!??

If I had seen the play package before I had agreed to judge this season, I would have declined immediately, and I would not be playing this season.

I think that this seaon does little or nothing to encourage new players to play 4E ... but maybe that's what WOTC wants.

"Treachery" cards useful??  One of the things I regularly tell newbies to the game is how important it is for a party to act co-operatively ... and no we're rewarding Treachery !!??

If I had seen the play package before I had agreed to judge this season, I would have declined immediately, and I would not be playing this season.

I think that this seaon does little or nothing to encourage new players to play 4E ... but maybe that's what WOTC wants.


The context of my comment was not about the treachery cards in particular (or on the concept of treachery as a mechanic in the game) but about the usefulness (to the players who use them) of fortune cards in general. The discussion was about whether the players would be able to earn enough renown in such a short season to be able to earn all the cards. I stated that I usually hand out the fortune cards at certain points in the season regardless of how much renown the players have earned. NinjaDog stated in that "it's better to hand them out 1 week before they become useful." To which I responded, trying to point out that there is no particular point in the story where a particular fortune card suddenly becomes useful and should be handed out. They are useful from the beginning of the adventure.
- Rico
You have a good point, Stir. I bought some Treachery cards at the store where we play and we had a few laughs and even more winces at their effects.
At this week's character creation session, we'll all need to sit down and have a talk abiut these cards, alignment and group cohesion. The cards aren't so much about hurting the other player; they're more about one-upsmanship. That being said, they could still derail a combat.
I plan on playing a chaotic evil character. While the character will be ruthless toward enemies and treacherous toward allies, you don't outwardly or overtly harm your adventuring allies; that's just stupid.
Since we still don't have a season 10 forum I thought this was the most suitable place to post this.

D&D Encounters: Council of Spiders – Preview

The article includes a link to the season 10 Renown Tracker (PDF).


Thanks for posting the preview.
Did I miss something, or are the only two Themes allowed for non-drow (Menzoberranzan Outsider and Underdark Slave) not actually in Dragon 413?



The campaign has been loaded in the character builder, and it appears that the only theme option for non drow is Underdark Outcast.

Edit: None of the themes from Dragon 413 are in the Character Builder anywhere. 

Edit: And this has got to be the most colossally idiotic omission yet -- in a campaign where (nearly) everyone is drow, you cannot choose Lolth as your deity.
- Rico
Anybody know if Invokers are going to be a legal character class for this season?  I have a player who's expressed an interest in playing one.
Invokers are from PHB2, which is not a legal source.

That said, a lot of shops permit other source options. Talk to your coordinator/organizer. 
Anybody know if Invokers are going to be a legal character class for this season?  I have a player who's expressed an interest in playing one.


It's not an Essentials build. So, officially, no. But it's up to you if you want to allow it.
- Rico
Thanks for posting the preview.
Did I miss something, or are the only two Themes allowed for non-drow (Menzoberranzan Outsider and Underdark Slave) not actually in Dragon 413?



Plaguescarred has posted the official reply to this over in the D&D forums:

I informed D&D Producer Greg Blisland and there's messaging going out to DMs/Organizers regarding the absence of those Themes.






I just sent an urgent email to Greg Blisland letting him know that 1) we still don't have the information on the two missing themes 2) none of the themes from Dragon 413 have been included in the Character Builder 3) drow clerics cannot choose Lolth as their Deity, and drow paladins cannot choose an evil alignment in the Council of Spiders campaign setting in the Character Builder. I'll post here if I get any response.
- Rico
When was last day to order the current 9 week Season?