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.
It appears that we missed last week's installment, so we're catching up this week.
Session 13: Where It All Began
Story-wise, this session is all about revelations: the true identity of the Lost Heir, the mad curse motivating her actions, and the real threat to Neverwinter.
The non-combat section is written specifically to evoke the players’ memory of the Gates of Neverdeath adventure, session 1 (the merchants) and session 3 (Sabine and the guards), as well as play on the relationship they have developed with Seldra over the course of the campaign. (It even has a tie to the classic Neverwinter Nights computer game!) Everything gets pulled together, giving the DM the opportunity to highlight those things that have been important to the players and downplay those things they’ve glossed over.
Mechanically, Seldra as the False Heir was incredibly fun to design. Her powers are most similar to those of a bladesinger, the new class presented in the Neverwinter Campaign Guide. The development team came up with the blue fire elementals as her combat/healing support, which is fabulous. It’s an instance where her story and her mechanics work in great synch to make this a cool and memorable encounter.
Session 14: False Heir of Neverwinter
As an author, I know the importance of ending with a big boom, and that’s the design I brought to this session. The order of 13 and 14 was originally reversed, but it makes complete sense to face the dragon at the very end.
The heroes have an option of sparing Seldra, which is intended to be a tough moral choice. Despite the scope of the havoc her actions have caused, none of them were truly Seldra’s fault, and she shows deep remorse for the damage she’s caused. This decision is the ultimate conclusion of the moral ambiguity that has run through the adventure so far.
Mechanically, this encounter should be fun for both players and the DM. The altered white dragon should be a great challenge, and the mechanic Seldra’s Sacrifice can really add to the drama of the situation. (From a story perspective, this is her best possible end, particularly if the character saved is the Neverwinter Noble or one with whom she developed a friendship or even a rivalry.) The dominating mechanic of the False Crown adds an extra complication, but one that should increase the feeling of danger in the combat. In this encounter, the heroes take the center stage, really coming into their own as the champions of Neverwinter.
One last note from the author: Thank you for playing through the Lost Crown of Neverwinter season of Encounters! Happy dice rolling, and I’ll see you next time Neverwinter needs saving. J
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.