This series of articles offers some of the design concepts that went into each of the Encounters Season 6 sessions. From weaving a story to sculpting an attack by a creature 8-9 levels higher than the PCs, the plan is to give you a sneak peek into the making of The Lost Crown of Neverwinter. If you're an Encounters DM, this information might be a helpful guide to running the encounters. If you're a player, you're certainly welcome to read these articles, but it might be best if you wait until the day after the week's Encounters session.
You can also catch up with Erik and ask him questions directly on the Wizards Community boards, where he hosts a thread specifically on The Lost Crown of Neverwinter.
Session 7: Blacklake
The beginning of chapter 3 brings a good amount of exposition and (like session 3 was meant to do for chapter 2), allows the players to get a sense of events happening outside their quest. Things in the city are getting worse, with tensions increasing. The encounter intentionally provides enough material for the DM to customize the interaction to his or her players, preferably without seeming too talky. Seldra’s role is particularly important in keeping the story fresh for the players, as they will not be directly interacting with surface Neverwinter during the entire chapter.
Even as the story is emphasized in the roleplaying, the combat in this session is placed in order to relieve the players a little bit from feeling like everything they do is directly related to the fight for Neverwinter. The enemies in this battle represent a native force that the heroes happen to stumble across. Without these sort of “random” encounters, the weight of a story can quickly grow too burdensome for even the most determined PC.
(One last note: The design on this encounter called for use of the previously-unannounced Witchlight Fens tileset, which was pretty cool!)
About the Author:
Erik Scott de Bie is a fantasy author and game designer in the Seattle area. In addition to his five Forgotten Realms novels, he worked on Neverwinter Campaign Setting and its related adventures, including The Lost Crown of Neverwinter. Find him on his website (erikscottdebie.com), facebook/twitter (@erikscottdebie), or ask him questions about Encounters Season 6 in the D&D forum.