Question regarding next Season - Murder in Baldur's Gate

35 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hi just wanted to double check something - online product information states that the new adventure packs the DM's will need to purchase dont go on release until August 20th.

The Encounters season is due to start on August 21st.

Not giving DM's a helluva lot of prep time is it. My FLGS most likely wont be stocking the adventure so I'll have to rely on Amazon of some-such and thus be at the whims of the UK postal service to boot.

Quite often in the past the UK organised play groups have been hit with late deliveries for various reasons and this has caused delays in starting some previous seasons or cancellations of arranged events (such as Lair Assaults).

Is there any way to confirm the release date, or maybe even allow organised play groups earlier access to allow for prep?

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

Placed my pre-order with Amazon UK, lets hope they do better than they did with my Last Night on Earth:Growing Hunger order - emailed me day of despatch to say out of stock even though ordered for a month Foot in Mouth

Estimated delivery date 24th-28th August - looks like I'll be stretching the games day stuff to fill in on week 1 then. Oh well, sure I'll come up with something Undecided

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

Looks like i get. a week off.

unless i get the material by the preceeding friday there is little reason to even attempt the wednesday meeting On the 20th.

yet another wotc screwup. 

They really dont want this to go well, do they?
 
Galahad67: I'm not too surprised. I mean, how much are they paying for editing? This is from the cover letter.

Encounters Typo

Note: The Game Day cover letter is no better.
Launch Weekend Typo

Not happy with the look of the new forums? Check out the Skin Your Forums thread for a solution.

D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Kalani's Homebrew and Original Content | General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

"D&D is an elf from Tolkien, a barbarian from Howard, and a mage from Vance fighting monsters from Lovecraft in a room that looks like it might have been designed by Wells and Giger." -- TiaNadiezja

Ooops

Amazon arent much better - listing it as "Storm over Baldurs Gate".

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/


For folks who have gotten their packets (we're still waiting) - does it say anything aboutdownloading the stats in the various edition formats?  

I know there was some talk about Murder being available as 3.5, 4, and Next, but so far all we've seen is the optional scenes added to the latest D&D next packet.

 When I did a poll of our usual players, there was substantial interest in playing in 3.5 (not something I'm planning to run myself, but at least one of our DMs is game).

Does it talk any about how the various editions are being handled, or even if the published adventure is going to be devided into weeks like past seasons of Encounters has been?  Seems a bit strange they would do that in a general release product, but I'm not sure how they would handle it otherwise. 
Brainiacfive - the Launch Weekend packet/adventure has the stats in it for 3.5/4e/Next, haven't received the main adventure as yet (due to release on the 20th) but the latest playtest packet has the DM's notes for Next in it.

Hope that helps

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

Hi all, I'm not anyone official, but I did get an advance peek and I have seen that the spelling is at least correct on the actual adventure! The digital version of the Launch Weekend seems to have been corrected for judges at Gen Con. I know the editor - they take great care to get things right. I'm amazed a typo slipped through, even temporarily.

I've updated the thread I maintain on EN World on organized play programs. It has the latest info I can find.

Some things which may help.
- WPN stores that qualify are allowed to provide product a bit before the normal release date. Check with your store.
- The launch event is August 17-18 and uses a separate packet that the store provides. You do not need the product to run the launch event. Everything you need (adventure, map, stats) is in the launch adventure.
- The Encounters season does start the day after the product officially releases. You or the store would need to have the product by that time to run it (or take a week off and catch up somehow). I'll try to bring this to the attention of Wizards in case they have any comments. I suspect most people should be okay. If you ran the launch weekend then the events of the first session will be fairly easy to run.
- The MiBG product page has two downloads. One is the statistics (also in the latest D&D Next packet). The other consists of optional events you can use. Neither is used in the launch event.

This is a very cool adventure. I'm really excited about this season. I think it will rank as one of the most popular Encounters seasons!

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Brainiacfive - the Launch Weekend packet/adventure has the stats in it for 3.5/4e/Next, haven't received the main adventure as yet (due to release on the 20th) but the latest playtest packet has the DM's notes for Next in it.

Hope that helps



Thanks.  

The launch weekend Packets has the stats for the entire season, or just the Launch adventure?  I read somewhere that the adventure was being released early to some stores (I'm sure none in my area) so I hoped the stats would be available early as well.  

Does it talk any about how the various editions are being handled, or even if the published adventure is going to be divided into weeks like past seasons of Encounters has been?  Seems a bit strange they would do that in a general release product, but I'm not sure how they would handle it otherwise. 


In general, the encounters/events have been written to be more open. Because of that, the adventure itself works equally well with any of the rules editions. If you are using 4E you might add terrain components, given how well that works for that edition. But, you really have that freedom to make adjustments if you think some are needed. During our playtest we really didn't make adjustments (we switched the rules version we used between 4E and Next across sessions and didn't find issues).

There are divisions across weeks, though player actions could change what is done during a particular week. I think it strikes a nice balance between providing structure (great for a new DM) and freedom to improvise or alter based on what PCs do.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

The launch weekend Packets has the stats for the entire season, or just the Launch adventure? 


The launch weekend is self-contained. (See post above). You get everything you need in the packet.

The statistics for the Encounters season are provided inside the D&D Next playtest packet and also are found on the Sundering product page for each adventure. You will need the statistics packet and the adventure (a store product) to run the season.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

The launch weekend Packets has the stats for the entire season, or just the Launch adventure? 


The launch weekend is self-contained. (See post above). You get everything you need in the packet.

The statistics for the Encounters season are provided inside the D&D Next playtest packet and also are found on the Sundering product page for each adventure. You will need the statistics packet and the adventure (a store product) to run the season.



So we have to pay to run this season is what your saying??
Yes, either the store or an individual needs to pay for the module.

The thread discussing it was here.

community.wizards.com/dungeonsanddragons...



 
That sucks.. I doubt my store will eat the costs for me and the other 2 dms.. I will see if we can at least get it at a reduced cost, but I think it will be a hard sell seeing there is no reason for DM's to run WOTC Encounters..
During our playtest we really didn't make adjustments (we switched the rules version we used between 4E and Next across sessions and didn't find issues).

There are divisions across weeks, though player actions could change what is done during a particular week. I think it strikes a nice balance between providing structure (great for a new DM) and freedom to improvise or alter based on what PCs do.


Thanks, that's what I needed! (That the stats are on the product page.)


Also, I'm glad you mentioned it worked without changes.  I already run 3 games a week, so having to do a lot of additional work is a bit of a burdon.
That sucks.. I doubt my store will eat the costs for me and the other 2 dms.. I will see if we can at least get it at a reduced cost, but I think it will be a hard sell seeing there is no reason for DM's to run WOTC Encounters..


 

To quote Liz Schuh, Head of Publishing and Licensing for Dungeons & Dragons, “The Encounters program has always been about providing a great play experience for players and that is still the emphasis and, in fact, what we’ve been able to do by shifting the adventure content out of the kit, is to beef up the contents of those kits and make the in-store experience a very unique and premium experience.  People who play through the adventures at their local Encounters store will get access to augmented items, posters, maps of Baldur’s Gate, some special limited edition dice, all things that really beef up the experience and make it truly the best place to experience the adventure.”


 


Simply put you and the players still get the free stuff.

Remember, no matter where ever you go, there you are. --Shaundakul
That sucks.. I doubt my store will eat the costs for me and the other 2 dms.. I will see if we can at least get it at a reduced cost, but I think it will be a hard sell seeing there is no reason for DM's to run WOTC Encounters..


I don't know if that's totally true. There are still a few "benes" to running a game in the store. It seems to depend on the store owner. We were able to get ours to discount the price of the adventure to below Amazon cost, which I think is his actual cost. He also buys us pizza for night each season, which doesn't sound like much, but goes a long way with the players. The only thing that has really changed is that we now have to spend a little bit to buy a book we would have bought for our home games anyway and we don't get to have some exclusive adventure in on our shelf gathering dust.

I think the situation with store owners may get better when the Next products begin to roll out and your players start spending more money in the store. Right now we actually spend very little because all of the materials are downloaded. When an entire group of players buys new manuals, maybe their attitude regarding buying or discounting adventures for DMs will change. A good reason to explain to your players the benefits of buying from the store instead of Amazon. I think it's worth it to explain how a book may cost a few dollars more at the shop, but those dollars are supporting a place to gather and everything else that comes along with your local game shop, such as a constant pool of new players coming in.

Home Games are great sure, but that's apples and oranges. Nothing can reproduce sanctioned events. It's a unique atmosphere. Yes, it sucks that it's not free anymore, but to say that there's no reason to run Encounters anymore is certainly not true for me.
Wizards does need to try new things from time to time. For various reasons, Encounters is both an incredibly successful program and needs tweaks. For a long time many fans have asked for the Encounters adventures to be available for sale. And, many stores find that Encounters doesn't properly encourage sales.

This change is likely not the end of the line (no change ever has been before). The program will continue to be tweaked based on feedback.

I personally think the benefits could be stronger to continue to have a strong incentive for DMs to run at a store.

But, I also think the adventure (which I've seen) is well worth the money. This is a superior offering to previous seasons on various levels. It feels a bit like a combination of the excellent Neverwinter campaign set and a really good adventure that showcases the setting. (Though, obviously, in Baldur's Gate).

If the cost is a big impediment, try talking to your store. Maybe they could provide a refund of part of the cost to DMs that run more than x sessions. Or, perhaps the store covers the cost for DMs, charges a table fee, but provides that back as a discount to DMs. Stores may be amenable if they can make their money back.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

There are no encounter maps. None.

the books are very nice and the screen is exceptional.

But there are no encounter maps. 

Not even in the books.

i have been running D&D since the late 70's - this product feels like those -  sparse of DM content and high on prose. I will grant that the prose seems well done and reads like a novel but its mostly supplimentary to the actual adventure.

it might work very well as a base for a home campaign but it's of limited utility in an encounters setting. The additional dm requirements of time and materials (in addition to buying the books) will adversely impact DM requitment & retention. 

I am having some difficulty in expressing how disappointed I am.  This is a very nice product with 2 major holes. 

No maps. not even small ones. I understand that this is a city campaign but something should have been provided for the initial encounter locations. 3-d cutaways of major buildings are useful for estabilshing thefeel of a location but of limited utility in actual play. How could this product have come though development without maps?

The lack of a section of monster stats (even a simple list)  eliminates the campaign from drop and play consideration and makes users dependent on wotc to provide this material. I find this annoying and am totally unimpressed with the implication that in addition to buying a 32 page book of adventure concepts with limited DM material and a 64 page paper bound book of fluff (a hatdcover was out of the budget?); I am required to download a document with the stays for the city inhabitants.

From what I have read, this appears to be the format for the sundering. i am not impressed.
 
No maps. not even small ones. I understand that this is a city campaign but something should have been provided for the initial encounter locations. 3-d cutaways of major buildings are useful for establishing the feel of a location but of limited utility in actual play. How could this product have come though development without maps?


Speaking as a playtester, in our group we didn't need maps, so our feedback didn't call it as an issue. The launch weekend provides a map, but for the rest of the encounters I spent about 10 minutes each session looking over my map gallery, selecting a poster map or pulling out some tiles, or just deciding to draw a map on a battlemap. It was, for me as DM, fun to do so. While I dig the Encounters maps from previous seasons, I often want more space or to adjust the encounter area a bit anyway (I've been adjusting the maps since season 1, adventure 1).

I also felt the adventure was open enough that I felt free to move encounters around a bit. PCs might fight foe xyz in the tavern, but they might instead decide to track them to their home. Having just something like the city master set of tiles or a few poster maps with city stuff and choosing what made sense was more fun for me than feeling like I had to use a certain map/room size/etc.

If enough people want to set up maps, I'm pretty sure we could work together to come up with some options (either tile sets or older poster maps or just things to draw on a battlemap).


For monster stats, I can see it both ways. I sort of do like them included, but it is also hard to figure out how to do so well with three different sets. And, the D&D Next set could change mid-season. Because of that, I'm generally okay with seeing it as a separate download. I do like that the download is nice-looking (with the same adventure format).

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

What is included in the package s extremely nice. Kudos. 

I understand the rationale for not giving stats but honestly even 3.5 stats would be better than nothing. But, again I understand.  My concern is that tjis omission make the package incomplete - its probably not as critical as i am making it out to be but I work in a 'avoid the worst case scenario & do your best to avoid that' World. I simply do not have much trust that the stats for these sundering modules will always be available. Companies change. Priorities change. Paper is incredibly more permanent.I will print out the stats and put them with the package.

the major problem I have is the lack of any encounter maps. This is a show stopper for me. This campaign is already going to require more prep to keep the myriad of elements straight and coherent. At least double te prep time that the previous encounters demanded (I will admit the prev encounters were not very complicated). Having nice maps already done meant I could come to the store after work and be ready to pay very quickly.

i would probably be ok w pdfs of standard locations or the special rooms but even though I do own about 50-75% of the released tile sets and 50 dwarven forge sets these things take time to plan and set up. 

I did replicate the centre part of vault of the dracolich but that took 1 evening to plan and 30 minutes to build onsite at the store. Not really feasible for encounters.

i would happily pay for a map pack.
 
i would happily pay for a map pack.
 




Perhaps, if enough people bring it up, they'll be willing to produce a separate map pack for the adventure.  If people what the maps, they can buy them separately.  I know I would if the maps were mostly new and not reprints.  At least some generic areas would be nice.

Encounters is an enironment where a packetof maps is really, really nessecary. We always have 1-2 tables for encounters but sometimes, especially in the late summer/early fall season, we have 3 or 4 tables.

sometimes we have to pull our spare GMs from plauying and have them GM on a busy night. In those cases we need complete setups available.

Depending on the promotion of the encounters seaon and word of mouth among gamers our fall crowd getslarge. It appears to be dependent on school student schedules and university students coming to the city. 

baldur's gate maybe a topic that draws extra players. 

Pulling a dm out of the play group will be more of a challenge given the nessecity to buy the module (but I would pay for it if required),but the availability, or lack thereof, of maps would preclude  such flexibility.

 
I would like to second my voice of disapointment. Got my copy of MiBG tonight. I agree with the notion that the story content seems great. However, I don't like being forced down the road of "theatre of the mind". I don't like it because I don't think it works for serious combat. Opportunity attacks become impossible to keep track of. AoE spells... good luck. Calculating movement... again not fun.

I don't mind if people don't want to use them, but maps have always been a staple of the D&D game. If you look at feedback from all of the past Encounters season, more than anything else, the maps were praised as being one of the best parts of the adventure. Almost every DM I know has an erasable battle map for a reason. Tons of DM's spend huge amounts of money trying to rig up elaborate gaming tables and map displays for their home games. These maps matter to us.. a lot. The lack of maps:

  1. increases the workload for most of the DMs that now will create their own maps

  2. slows down the game play while the DM draws out the map on a battle mat.

  3. decreases game quality-of-life by using a drawn map instead of quallity custom produced maps.

Battle Maps should be part of the Encounters Packet. That is the perfect extra that they could provide that would set the store game apart and show the DMs that WotC still values them.

Also, I don't like having monster stats somewhere else that I have to hunt down. 
 
I think that packet-only maps as a DM or in-store incentive are a great idea that could help differentiate the experience from just buying the book and leaving the store. I am worried about being able to pick up the game and DM on the fly. We 've been having new players come in recently and the group is getting too big for one table. The next time people show up they will either have to squeeze in to a crowded table or be asked to shell out for another copy of the book. This is not the play experience you want new player to have.

I have to say the content has been good but it feels like community support has been abandoned for cross-platform apps and crowd sourcing, words that sound better in meetings. But people do not come back because they can use tie it to their facebook, they come for the in person experience. The d20 is a nice trinket but isn't keeping people involved. They want to feel like part of something. I suppose that this is why they are doing social network and mobile app integration but neither of these can replace a consistent quality experience.

I understand that they are in a transition between systems and that the playtest and lack of material may be hurting book sales but the lack of support is frustrating to my long time players. They were interested in Vault of the Dracolich but we could not find a store near Philadelphia running it. Those listed on WPN had no idea what we were talking about when we called and my store owner said he only briefly heard about it before it was closed.

On top of this I am having to use more of my time and resources to print up characters and monster stats, determine and aquire maps or tiles, and prep for the session. I don't like it. We don't need a mobile phone app as much as we need support and supplies.
But people do not come back because they can tie it to their facebook, they come for the in person experience. The d20 is a nice trinket but isn't keeping people involved. They want to feel like part of something.



Exactly. And if they get the same experience at the store that they get at home, it doesn't feel special. Players expect that a sactioned event is going to provide something extra from WotC. If they sit down and the DM starts to draw out some lame map that he had to invent, it doesn't instill to the players that the sanctioned event is anything beyond what they would get if they played in their home. And in fact, aside from a d20 and a small player map, it is not. Before they would get a unique adventure they knew could only be experienced by going to an Encounters session. Now that is gone. At least let us keep the great table top experience of the maps.

 

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

That sucks.. I doubt my store will eat the costs for me and the other 2 dms.. I will see if we can at least get it at a reduced cost, but I think it will be a hard sell seeing there is no reason for DM's to run WOTC Encounters..


 

To quote Liz Schuh, Head of Publishing and Licensing for Dungeons & Dragons, “The Encounters program has always been about providing a great play experience for players and that is still the emphasis and, in fact, what we’ve been able to do by shifting the adventure content out of the kit, is to beef up the contents of those kits and make the in-store experience a very unique and premium experience.  People who play through the adventures at their local Encounters store will get access to augmented items, posters, maps of Baldur’s Gate, some special limited edition dice, all things that really beef up the experience and make it truly the best place to experience the adventure.”


 


Simply put you and the players still get the free stuff.




Yes we still get free stuff to offset what feels like WOTC dropping the ball on a subpar adventure that the DM's have to prep more time for.. Granted if you have been DM'ing for all the season you should be fine with maps.. I came in 4 seasons ago and don't have half the maps I need to run this.. So I have to resort to drawing out the the encounter the best I can.. Which is fine I will do it, but what I have issues with is paying for something that is incompete at best.. 
I'm starting to hear talk that the Launch Weekend adventure is actually "just" the first week's session from the Encounters season. Is there anyone who can confirm/deny this?

If it is, where do things go from here? On the first Wednesday do we play week two? Week one again? If the latter people who were there on the Saturday may as well not show up, if the former people will show up for their regular session to discover that they have missed the start of the story without knowing it was the start of the story.

And if there's a Week Zero this time, does that effectively mean a week off?
@darrell_uk: The launch weekend module is a fleshed-out version of the initial events in the scenario book. Since there are no set "encounters" in the scenario book, the exact number of adventures and their composition is up to the DM.

Not happy with the look of the new forums? Check out the Skin Your Forums thread for a solution.

D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Kalani's Homebrew and Original Content | General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

"D&D is an elf from Tolkien, a barbarian from Howard, and a mage from Vance fighting monsters from Lovecraft in a room that looks like it might have been designed by Wells and Giger." -- TiaNadiezja

Thanks for the info'. That really sounds screwed up for an adventure that's part of the Encounters program, but I suppose things evolve.

There's not even a set number of sessions in this season?
I havent seen the full adventure as yet but I would guess they would include some sort of suggested guide on how to pace it and "split" it into sessions.

From what I've been told so far its a more open format that allows the DM and Players to dictate their route through the story but with other "off-stage" event also keeping the storyline moving.

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

Having had the good fortune to be associated with a store that got an advance copy of the full adventure, I can tell you that the module has action divided into Stages, according to the plots and schemes of the movers and shakers. However, there is no real "recommendation section" for how to split it into adventures; in fact, some Stages have no "action" at all, being off-screen events that impact the overall plot. Some adventures are suggested by the events, but a lot of the build-up is going to be up-in-the-air and dependent on DM work to get it organized.

I will say, this format is going to make it difficult for people to jump groups from week to week. Since the player group will dictate their own path through the events, it could be wildly different from the path another group takes.

Not happy with the look of the new forums? Check out the Skin Your Forums thread for a solution.

D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Kalani's Homebrew and Original Content | General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

"D&D is an elf from Tolkien, a barbarian from Howard, and a mage from Vance fighting monsters from Lovecraft in a room that looks like it might have been designed by Wells and Giger." -- TiaNadiezja

Two days to the fisrt session for Murder in Baldur's Gate.

anyword from the powers that be on providing some sort of encounter maps For those of us running 4e?