D&D Encounters: A Dark Sun Preview

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 2, 2010

Tonight we play the final session of D&D Encounters season one. We’ll finally get the payoff of our 12-week commitment. But rather than look back on the previous 11 weeks, we’re looking forward to the next 15. Without any delay or interruption, beginning next Wednesday, June 9, we jump right into the second season of D&D Encounters. You can wait until next week to find out all about it you can read on as we share a high level overview of the next season of D&D Encounters.

Athas

Season two of D&D Encounters is set in the desert world of Athas from the forthcoming Dark Sun campaign setting. (I really hope that this isn’t news to anyone!) Here’s the adventure description that Wizards provided last month.

Dark Sun: Fury of the Wastewalker

On a trade road to the city-state of Tyr, a caravan is assaulted by a deadly obsidian shardstorm, forcing the survivors to band together and navigate the wastes to safety. But the force of nature that destroyed the caravan is under the malevolent control of the being known as the Wastewalker, who will stop at nothing to see the end of those that escaped his initial wrath. Can the heroes reach the Ringing Mountains before it’s too late? This season of D&D Encounters uses pregenerated 1st-level characters specifically designed for the adventure play experience!

Pre-generated characters

As we posted earlier this week, six pre-generated characters were provided by Wizards of the Coast for season two of D&D Encounters. Players are not permitted to create their own character, they must use one of the PCs provided. There is nothing stopping two players at your table from running the same pre-generated character. However, the party has been optimized to work together and the encounters are designed with this in mind.

15 Encounters

D&D Encounters season two is broken into three chapters, each made up of five encounters. Players are allowed to take short rests between encounters, but they can only take an extended rest between chapters.

Leveling Up

Although XP is awarded after each encounter, PCs level automatically at the end of each chapter. Regardless of which pre-generated characters are used week to week, they’ll all be level 2 for encounters 6-10 and level 3 for encounters 11-15.

Delver Reward

Players who earn 10 renown points will receive the Curious Knack delver reward.

Benefit: Once per session before you roll a skill check, select an untrained skill and discard this card. You may make a skill check in the skill selected as though you were trained in the skill, but you gain +2 bonus to the roll instead of a +5 bonus.

Don’t forget that you can use any one of the delver reward cards you earned from D&D Encounters season one or two. The real trick is picking the one you think will be most useful for each encounter. I know that in the 11 sessions I’ve played in season one I have yet to use the delver reward Another Chance.

At the beginning of each session during any D&D Encounters season, choose any one of your D&D Encounters cards. That card is usable during the session. All other cards are inactive for the session.

Skill Challenges

In season one of D&D Encounters, week 3 was a complexity 5 skill challenge. DMs were given guidelines for how to thrown in some combat, but many DMs just ran the encounter as written without any fighting. Some players loved the opportunity to role-play while others were disappointed by the lack of combat.

Each of the encounters in chapter one of Fury of the Wastewalker has a solid combat encounter. There are opportunities for role-playing and there is a chapter-long skill challenge, but rest assured that there will be combat every week. There is an interesting side bar in the adventure that provides direction for DMs on how to run encounters that the PCs may choose to handle without combat. So for those who complained that season one played out like a dungeon delve you’ll be happy to know that the adventurer doesn’t have to be a hack and slash affair.

Broken Weapons

One of the more interesting new rules is the possible of weapons breaking during combat. In a world where metal is rare, weapons are made of inferior materials and can’t take the beating or punishment typically dished out by PCs. See our post on Dark Sun: New Rules for the complete write up on Reckless Breakage rules.

Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.

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