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 11: Hounds of the Usurper
This session begins the final, fourth chapter of the season, and kicks it off with a bang. The climactic chapter is specifically designed to maintain a fast pace. The mechanics are straight-forward, allowing the players to focus on the story twist: the Heir has gone insane and is now out to cause chaos in Neverwinter.
In the first draft, the encounter called for the Lost Heir’s power to turn the heroes’ escorts into the plaugechanged creatures, rather than kill them whil also summoning separate minions. This was also the original explanation as to why there were so many plaguechanged in the city, as the Heir was simply creating more with his spellscar. (It does come up in the next session, however.)
On the subject of handling significant NPCs, we considered having Arlon accompany the heroes, seeing as they might ask him to do so, but it’s better for him to make an excuse and remain out of the encounter. Otherwise, he would be horribly killed, scuttling any plans the DM might have to use him in the future.
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.