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 10: Kraken Tunnels
This encounter evolved the most from conception to final execution. Originally, the PCs came to their senses after their bruising journey through the sewers to find themselves surrounded by angry guardsmen and their pet. This dire situation evolved from there to become an attack by more monstrous foes, which works much better. The first draft also originally presented a trap/hazard of sorts to reflect the kraken (ordinarily a level 10 solo monster), but we streamlined the design to the individual tentacles.
In this kind of encounter (particularly with the green slimes to make things potentially very deadly), it’s important to have an escape valve, and that is the purpose of the kraken amulets and the arrival of the Sons of Alagondar. These allow a merciful DM to be merciful for the sake of the story, ending the fight when all hope seems lost. The encounter also includes an NPC to assuage DM bloodlust: the wererat can be ruthlessly dispatched by tentacles or dissolved by slime, which can be just as scary as it happening to a PC.
The negotiation section is a bit like the talk with Lord Neverember in session 4. Generally, the PCs aren’t trying to get something out of him, but rather just gathering information. Thus, it made sense to script it as a roleplaying experience rather than a skill challenge. This also provides a good tie-in to the overall story, as Arlon can relate to the heroes what has been happening.
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.