Major Changes Coming to D&D Encounters: Adventures Sold Exclusively as PDFs

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Not only will we have to pay to download the adventure but it also sounds like Wizards will begin charging to download the D&D Next rules. Read all about it and share your thoughts.

 

http://dungeonsmaster.com/2013/12/major-changes-coming-to-dd-encounters-adventures-sold-exclusively-as-pdfs

 


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I just noticed this myself on the sales solicitation flyer for Scourge, and must say I have mixed feelings.
I haven’t minded having to buy the last two modules as I would have done so anyway with them being Forgotten Realms adventures, but the terrible delays in shipping and bizarre release dates being only a day before the season’s have been due to start have led to us also running out of synch.
Hopefully as Ameron notes above, going digital will negate that problem and the powers that be will have them available early enough to give DM’s time for adequate preparation.
Speaking of preparation, this (for myself at least) will include needing to print the adventure out at my own cost as I dont have access to digital formats at our FLGS, so I too hope the price is reflective of this. £20-26 (inc P&P) for hard copy adventures (despite not being hardbound) wasnt bad but I’m hoping an official pdf version would be a little less.
The flyer says the adventure will be available for purchase, but the wording regards the playtest rules is “available for download” so maybe they’re just moving the hosting of the downloadable material.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

 

http://www.wizards.com/ContentResources/Wizards/Sales/Solicitations/2013_12_08_DDEswordcoast_Solicitation_en_US.pdf

"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/

Well this may be the end to my DMing. I'm not printing out all that stuff. That's pretty lame if this is going to be the only option.

So it looks like there is only one kit now. "The Encounters Kit" includes all of the Launch Day materials AND all of the Seasonal materials in one kit. So the Launch day materials are not part of the download. That's slightly better in that we can prepare ahead of time for the season, but the launch day comes before the season, so we will still be under the gun to get that kit before the first day of play and then to prepare for the first session. 

 

Also, I see that the kit contains materials for 20 players, 2 packs of NPC cards, but only one poster map. So which table gets the map? I hope that's wrong and there is two maps in there, although at this point, everytime I've assumed that WotC wouldn't do something so stupid, they have proved me wrong.

 

As for the price of the electronic product, Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle contains enough meterial to take players from Levels 1 through 10 and it is currently priced at $17.99 for download. These sundering adventures are designed to take characters through three levels. Also, there won't be any DM's screen or nice printed materials, with their associated press costs, so I don't see how in good conscience they could charge more than $15 for it. But as I said before, everytime I say something like that, I'm wrong.

 

One last observation. As a game store owner, I would be very angry at how WotC is treating me. The owner at my store has supported the organized play of D&D Encounters through all of the D&D Next playtest, with very little incentive from WotC for doing so. Players have almost zero products that they can purchase so participate in the program; no rules books, no miniatures, no supporting materials, etc... Just an adventure that they have no incentive to buy becuase they are going through it anyway.  And now, months before launching potential products that would bring in some revenue from the gamers they have been supporting over the last however many years, they pull rug out and send everyone to some website to get an electronic product that requires that the DM either have a tablet/laptop, or print out awesome black & white copies of all of this incredible artwork they have been saying has a budget bigger than ever before.  I agree, the art looks great, so why are you leaving it up to me print out? This is just crazy.

 

All I can hope is that this is only for this period of beta testing through when they start publishing printed materials. But then again, maybe they won't do that. Maybe we will have to download our DM screen and tape it over the top of our old one. That seems to be where this is headed.

After talking with my LGS owner we've decided to jump off the Encounters train after this season. My store owner doesn't like the lack of product to sell and I don't want to deal with the digital only approach.  I'll be running other published work/homebrew stuff.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

Yeah that looks like how it will go here as well. Seems such a bad move on WotC's part.

Guess I need to get my homebrew game going as well.

Take a break and come back for the full launch next summer.
I like Next but this PDF only garbage is turning me off on the whole game.

release date and price have been announced - Available from Feb 4th 2014 for $17.99, not as bad as expected and early enough to allow printing and prep.

 

http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Product.aspx?x=dnd/products/dndacc/sundering3

"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/

Vobeskhan wrote:

release date and price have been announced - Available from Feb 4th 2014 for $17.99, not as bad as expected and early enough to allow printing and prep.

 

http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Product.aspx?x=dnd/products/dndacc/sundering3

Agreed.

 

However, there is good and bad to this option. I'm willing to tough it out while they experiement with this distribution method.

 

Pros:

  1. First thing's first... the price tag is waaay better than last season.
  2. Like Vobeskhan mentioned, getting the adventure early without worrying if your FLGS is going to get it in time, etc... This solves a big problem for many people.
  3. Another nice thing is that they are beginning to electronically publish many products that they want to release for everyone but doesn't justify going to press, such as all of the older Encounters adventures. This is huge because it makes all of those past seasons of maps available at very reasonable prices so that we can use them for current season encounters that do not have tactical maps.
  4. They can potentially offer much more content in this manner, such as player maps, tactical maps (that's right.. I said it), NPC and location images, letters or other items with which the player's will interact. All things that we have had to come up with on our own in the past.

Cons:

  1. Some of the materials have to be produced in hard copy format, such as certain maps, so the burden of printing those is passed on to us.
  2. It remains to be seen if the adventure will include any tactical maps, but if the first two are any indication, it will not. Hopefully the Gameday/Encounters packet will have at least the opening day tactical map.
  3. This delivery method requires a tablet or laptop to use, otherwise access to receive and then funds to print the entire adventure. This will be a turn-off to many.
  4. You don't get the printed hardcopy. There's a lot to be said for having a press product, not to mention the awesome DM screen. I don't want to see this become the standard for adventures from WotC. For this and the next two adventures, I would have liked to have had a printed copy, and not just because I'm a completionist and want all of the Sundering Adventure hard copies.
  5. One less D&D Next product for the game store owners to put on their shelves. This is a bigger deal than it might seem on the surface. 

 

So this is just an adventure correct? There's no campaign guide like with MiBG or LotCS.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

Feetz wrote:

So this is just an adventure correct? There's no campaign guide like with MiBG or LotCS.

good question. I don't think anyone know the  answer to that question. The description ofthe product just says adventure though.
Found this link on another thread about Encounters 17 http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/27522.html In it the writer states someone at WotC saidstore owners who register for the season will get a free download. A question I and my lcbs owner had was after the download can you copy or email it. He has provided the last 2 encounters packs for free to the DMs, paying for them himself.

wow this link would have been helpful, yesterday

http://www.wizards.com/wpn/News/Article.aspx?x=2014_01_06_DNDEssc_download

I was reading Ghosts of Dragonspear last night and it surprised me that back in April 2013 (4 month production time for GoDSC) they had already planned that the Scourge of the Sword Coast Encounters season would tie into the plot from Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. Time to start a GoDSC marathon to finish before SotSC. They say it takes 32 hours which jives with the 25 hour marathon plus followup session to finish on Twitch. Just over 5 weeks until the SotSC launch weekend.

GoDSC also says it takes you to lv10, but the follow up Encounters adventure is lv1-3. Odd.

JodyJohnson wrote:
. They say it takes 32 hours which jives with the 25 hour marathon plus followup session to finish on Twitch. Just over 5 weeks until the SotSC launch weekend.

 

I would hate to get a wiff of what room smells like after a 25 hour marathon of D&D.

 

One the plus side, i have been in contact with my LCBS owner and he confirmed that he will send me the email/code for the free download when he gets it.

We received our Encounters/Launch packs this week, nice artwork on the player handout maps detailing the Daggerford area, another set of nice dice - his time featuring a symbol which I can only decribe as a sword in flames, a large fold out map for the DM detailing the same as the players handout as well as the town of Daggerford itself too  - but, no Launch Event mini adventure or battle map, and the DM's NPC cards for the coming adventure.

 

I contacted Trevor at WotC and he confirmed that rather than sending a seperate mini adventure, the Launch Event is indeed the opening part of the main adventure and will be included in the PDF when it becoes available.

 

Makes sense really, as the last 2 launch events have really only been copies of the seasons opening scenes so far.

"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/

someone send me a d20 since my store stopped doing encounters!

 

So the Scourge of the Sword Coast pdf is now available over at dndclassics.com, has anybodies store received their instructions on how to get their free copy for encounters?

 

On a related note I received an email from dndclassics announcing that the Ghosts of Dragonspear pdf I purchased had been updated and was allowed to re-download the newer version, which came with a re-issue of the October playtest rules labelled for use with Scourge.

 

I'm guessing this will also be included with the Scourge pdf's too.

"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/

I bought Scourge of the Swordcoast, got the PDF and it included a zip of the play test rules.  The Readme states that they are the same rules as in the final public playtest.  The PDFs don't have the datestamp prefix to the file names and have D&DNext Interim Rules ©2014 Wizards as the footer.  They are truncated by only going as high as level 10, but seem to be the same as the October rules otherwise.  The adventure itself looks nicely detailed and being DND Next specific has clarified things slightly over the multi rule set approach of prior seasons.

 

The store I run for is maintaining involvement in Encounters, but the lack of any actual product is not making them enthusiastic about sticking with the program.

 

*Edit: Just noticed that the Scourge packet doesn't have rules for above level 10 play, unlike the October play test.

thugmeister wrote:

I bought Scourge of the Swordcoast, got the PDF and it included a zip of the play test rules.  The Readme states that they are the same rules as in the final public playtest.  The PDFs don't have the datestamp prefix to the file names and have D&DNext Interim Rules ©2014 Wizards as the footer.  They are truncated by only going as high as level 10, but seem to be the same as the October rules otherwise.  The adventure itself looks nicely detailed and being DND Next specific has clarified things slightly over the multi rule set approach of prior seasons.

 

The store I run for is maintaining involvement in Encounters, but the lack of any actual product is not making them enthusiastic about sticking with the program.

 

*Edit: Just noticed that the Scourge packet doesn't have rules for above level 10 play, unlike the October play test.

 

What is the level range? There was some talk about this being linked to the next Encounter seasons. Anything mentioned in the adventure?

@feetz_grande on Twitter

Feetz wrote:

 

thugmeister wrote:

I bought Scourge of the Swordcoast, got the PDF and it included a zip of the play test rules.  The Readme states that they are the same rules as in the final public playtest.  The PDFs don't have the datestamp prefix to the file names and have D&DNext Interim Rules ©2014 Wizards as the footer.  They are truncated by only going as high as level 10, but seem to be the same as the October rules otherwise.  The adventure itself looks nicely detailed and being DND Next specific has clarified things slightly over the multi rule set approach of prior seasons.

 

The store I run for is maintaining involvement in Encounters, but the lack of any actual product is not making them enthusiastic about sticking with the program.

 

*Edit: Just noticed that the Scourge packet doesn't have rules for above level 10 play, unlike the October play test.

 

 

What is the level range? There was some talk about this being linked to the next Encounter seasons. Anything mentioned in the adventure?

 

Scourge of the Sword Coast is for characters level 2-4 and the characters are supposed to reach 5th level at its conclusion.  It says that "Dead in Thay" will be part 2, which strongly implies that Season 18 will be 5-8, though I haven't seen official documentation to that effect.

Thanks!

@feetz_grande on Twitter

And now that the PDFs exist, I am disappointed that they don't have layers. Since I have to print it to have a copy at the table, I would love to disable the backgrounds so that I don't have to waste ink/toner on them... I only hope that they can do that for future PDFs if this is the new standard...

semifamous wrote:

And now that the PDFs exist, I am disappointed that they don't have layers. Since I have to print it to have a copy at the table, I would love to disable the backgrounds so that I don't have to waste ink/toner on them... I only hope that they can do that for future PDFs if this is the new standard...

+1

@feetz_grande on Twitter

semifamous wrote:

And now that the PDFs exist, I am disappointed that they don't have layers. Since I have to print it to have a copy at the table, I would love to disable the backgrounds so that I don't have to waste ink/toner on them... I only hope that they can do that for future PDFs if this is the new standard...

 

I debated sending an email to WotC asking for them to adjust it but then figured I would get either a "No" or the response would take too long so I said screw it and printed it off.

My store won't be running Encounters again until there is a physical book to purchase, even if it's overpriced and lacking important materials (like a region map).

Can anyone confirm that free copies of the pdf are available to stores? I didn't see anything in the packet material about it

I can confirm that stores have been e-mailed codes for free copies of the PDF. It's not in the packet; they're e-mailed directly to the store. If your store hasn't got one, ask them to poke their WIzards rep about it!

 

Cheers,

Merric

SamuraiLincoln wrote:

My store won't be running Encounters again until there is a physical book to purchase, even if it's overpriced and lacking important materials (like a region map).

Yup, both stores here that were running Encounters have stopped.

Actually the Store event directer get the email, I assumed the store would get it, and I did not bother to check my email. So I have a paid and free version (yes they are the same, they just have different watermarks)

Just received an email saying my download has an update - pdf's of the maps and some lvl 2 pregens.

"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/

Vobeskhan wrote:

Just received an email saying my download has an update - pdf's of the maps and some lvl 2 pregens.

And I couldn't be happier! This was really bugging me, and I'm glad the omissions and low-res quality maps were corrected. It was just common sense that DM's needed both to run Gameday, Encounters, or a Campaign style adventure. Thx again DriveThruRPG and WotC!!!

I've updated the batch of pre-gens I've been using to 2nd level. They can be found here.

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