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 8: Blacklake Sewers
This is the first session to feature an actual skill challenge, though the mechanics are smoothed out to keep it from being an overall success/failure. How well the individual PCs do on their skill checks determines how they start the next battle. The consequences for failed checks are not dire, but do make a small mechanical difference in the combat. The disease mechanic here adds to the icky feeling of the sewers, though it shouldn’t last long enough for it to be a real concern in the adventure.
A deleted scene from this session: In the original, first-draft design, the statue the heroes encounter on the battlefield was haunted by a specter, one that would only attack the heroes if/when its treasure (a weapon held by the statue) was disturbed. Since this would probably result in significant damage to the party early in the chapter (particularly if the specter joined the other enemies), we moved away from this aspect of the session, but it was still a fun idea. If you’re DMing the session and want to do something similar anyway, you should go for it. It is suggested you do no more than 15-25 damage to the party (they’ll need their resources to survive the rest of the chapter) and give them a magic item in reward.
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.