D&D Encounters: Against the Cult of Chaos - Ideas and Suggestions

So, the next season of the popular D&D Encounters in-store campaign will kick off next Wednesday. And this season, they are giving the players the option of choosing to play in either D&D 4E or D&D Next Playtest.

Every single one of the regular Encounters crowd at our game store chose D&D Next. I even had about a dozen people who I'd never seen at the store before show up to ask about D&D Next and the next season of Encounters.

So, I received the adventure last week and they released the module conversion packet in the regular update a few days ago. The conversion document does exactly what's stated, converting the monsters, items, situations, etc. into D&D Next terms. Admittedly, I was hoping for more meat. But that's what the forums are for! So, I thought I'd start a thread where we can talk about how to add more meat to this thing without spoiling the module for those who wish to play it.

One thing I noticed is that there are two religions in the town you start in: the Lawbringer and the Old Faith. Neither of those religions is given in the D&D Next Cleric section. Has anybody thought about what Clerics of those religions might look like and what kind of powers they might get?

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D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Grifford's Protection cleric domain, gojirra's (Un)Death cleric domain.

General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

Great question! Personally I would divide them up thusly:

Old Faith - Arcanist, Lifegiver, Reaper, Stormcaller

Lawbringer - Lightbringer, Protector, Trickster, Warbringer

Basically this concept goes back to the original Village of Hommlet adventure, where there were two religious factions that weren't quite competing but weren't quite sympatico either. The Old Faith was druidical, while the church of St. Cuthbert was representative of the new ways of looking at the world.

Obviously in the new Encounters season this is an artificial dichotomy, and it doesn't have to play a great role in the adventure unless the DM wants it to. It does provide another roleplaying angle for the players and a tool for the DM to use to guide the story.
Yeah, I remember the Village of Hommlet religious struggle and was amused to see thinly-veiled analogs of the NPCs from that module in the current one.

I thought that the Lawbringer and the Old Faith might also represent a couple of new options for cleric PCs. I've posted them to my occasional gaming blog. In short, I came up with three new Channel Divinity options: Channel Law, Channel Skill, and Entangle; and wrote up the religions in the module as two new deities: the Lawbringer and the Old Faith.

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D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Grifford's Protection cleric domain, gojirra's (Un)Death cleric domain.

General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

I like it. If you are looking for feedback, here are a few thoughts:

--Channel Law sounds good mechanically speaking. I don't like alignment used as a part of mechanics, but that is a personal preference.

--Channel Skill needs a new name, but the mechanics are solid. I would get rid of the extra d20 at level 11+. Advantage is advantage, and that should be enough at all levels.

--Entangle is something that I like the idea of, but I would need to see it in use a bit. I would simplify it by scaling it back to make it affect creatures rather than areas. Limit it to three or less creatures, and they get a Reflex save. Success they are slowed until the end of their next turn, failure they are restrained until the end of their next turn. This is quick to resolve and doesn't risk bogging down battle. Web, as a level 3 spell is bad enough, and that is even quicker to resolve that this would be. And again, there is no need to change things are higher levels.

I love the ideas and how they tie in to current worlds.
Mechanically, Channel Law is based on the "Turn Undead" portion of Channel Positive Energy; as such, it's weaker than the original in that it doesn't do damage. I also don't really like alignment used as a mechanic (since I'm not a fan of alignment in the first place) but it seems to me to fit fairly well as something channeled from a "god" -- deities would likely be less ambivalent than I when it comes to these things. The fear effect seemed appropriate, though, and it only lasts one round.

Channel Skill is based on Channel Strength. The 11+ effect was from scaling in comparison to what's already in there.

Entangle came from my noticing that several of the Channel powers duplicate spells, but with a little more specificity. From that idea, I took the Web spell and tinkered to get something appropriately woodland. Instead of a cloud, you get a spread with a 5-foot depth. I'll have to try it out in game to see if it's better as a "cloud" or as a 3-target effect.

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D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Grifford's Protection cleric domain, gojirra's (Un)Death cleric domain.

General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

Now you know what my feedback on the playtest rules are going to be . . .  :-)
Incidentally, on page 37, it says "Preferring to remain at a distance, Devi moves to the south to use venomous words while she hides behind the advancing bullywugs. If she is forced into melee, she uses dark dagger to slide an opponent into a cell, then slams the door shut to lock it (see "Features of the Area")." Her description on page 36 has a "Dagger" as her melee basic attack, but there is no dark dagger power; in fact, the only power she has to move people, her toxic order power, only moves her own allies.

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D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Grifford's Protection cleric domain, gojirra's (Un)Death cleric domain.

General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

The stat block I used had her dagger attack allowing her to slide creatures. The stat block in the published adventure removed that. If I end up running the adventure using 4e rules, she will be able to slide creatures using that attack. And she might even be able to if I run the adventure using D&D Next rules. :-) 
Please share what you end up using!

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D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Grifford's Protection cleric domain, gojirra's (Un)Death cleric domain.

General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

Great question! Personally I would divide them up thusly:

Old Faith - Arcanist, Lifegiver, Reaper, Stormcaller

Lawbringer - Lightbringer, Protector, Trickster, Warbringer

Basically this concept goes back to the original Village of Hommlet adventure, where there were two religious factions that weren't quite competing but weren't quite sympatico either. The Old Faith was druidical, while the church of St. Cuthbert was representative of the new ways of looking at the world.

Obviously in the new Encounters season this is an artificial dichotomy, and it doesn't have to play a great role in the adventure unless the DM wants it to. It does provide another roleplaying angle for the players and a tool for the DM to use to guide the story.



My intent was to make it more up to the characters.  Since the 'deity' class feature is open-ended and can apply to more than one deity I was going to give them a brief synopsis of the cultural clash and ask them to choose (before starting play) whether their deity was an 'old faith' deity or a 'lawbringer' deity.    If I had time, maybe I woud have come up with some quick deities for each.  Right now I'm busy making characters....


Looking at the list above, I'd probably move The Trickster into Old Faith however - and probably bring Lifegiver into the Lawbring faction.


Carl
Looking at the list above, I'd probably move The Trickster into Old Faith however - and probably bring Lifegiver into the Lawbring faction.

I thought the same, which is why I put them in the blog post I linked to, above! Cool


I would love feedback on them if you have time to check them out, sir.

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D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Grifford's Protection cleric domain, gojirra's (Un)Death cleric domain.

General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

Looking at the list above, I'd probably move The Trickster into Old Faith however - and probably bring Lifegiver into the Lawbring faction.

I thought the same, which is why I put them in the blog post I linked to, above! Cool


I would love feedback on them if you have time to check them out, sir.



At a quick glance, the new options look good.  Unfortunately, I doubt I'll end up playtesting them since for Encounters I want to use 'by the book' PCs and my home group already has two (or three - I have one player who has a character but just never seems to make it) clerics and I don't want any more in the group (one of them used to be a rogue but was so annoyed with the weak rogue they gave us a couple of packets back he changed characters).


But I'll definately be adding them to my Evernote collection for possible future use.   And I might use parts of it for NPCs now.


Aside - blog seems interesting.  Sporadic.  But interesting.  


Carl      
Aside - blog seems interesting.  Sporadic.  But interesting.

Ah, well, you know how it is (day job, etc.) Embarassed

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D&D Next: VALOREIGN Home Game Development, Grifford's Protection cleric domain, gojirra's (Un)Death cleric domain.

General Campaign Stuff: Bawylie's Budget Dungeons