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 12: Plaguechanged Invasion
The design in this session is meant to keep the heroes from feeling strictly guided, even if they are running down a particularly straight railroad (i.e. toward the Heir). D&D has a history of small, quick battles with different settings, so the encounter takes advantage of two previously-used maps for two quick fights. Fighting again at the Bridge and the Wall respectively is also meant to give the heroes a sense of going back full circle to the beginning.
The Spellplague takes an increasing role in this chapter, as suggested by both the Heir’s fiery trail and the creatures that the PCs encounter. The design on the creatures is inspired from horror films/games like the Thing, Silent Hill, and Resident Evil. The minion-spawning mechanic for the gates is of particular note, meant to lend a sense of urgency to dealing with the creatures.
This session marks the first definitive suggestion that the Lost Heir is a woman, though the players have probably assumed she was a man all along. This has been foreshadowed in several instances throughout the campaign, and the revelation has its full impact at the beginning of session 13.
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.