With the thrilling conclusion to March of the Phantom Brigade only days away, we’re looking ahead to the next season of D&D Encounters. The next adventure, Dark Legacy of Evard sets the bar even higher as D&D Encounters continues into its fifth season.
This article is spoiler free, even though I am sharing some exciting tidbits. I want to begin by thanking Wizards of the Coast for listening to feedback. Every season they’ve improved the quality of the adventure, often based on feedback from the field. This adventure is no exception.
The players are given a lot more choice. Last season there was one encounter that had three possible scenarios depending on what the player did the week before. This time around, there are a lot more encounters that play out that way. In one case your actions in chapter 1 significantly affect an encounter in chapter 3.
The encounters themselves are a lot more robust. I guess that if you’re only going to play one encounter a week then they want to make it great. Many encounters involve waves of monsters or combat in multiple rooms during the same encounter. There are a lot of skill challenges and success or failure has serious repercussions on the combat that follows. So for all of you power gamers, be forewarned: make sure your PC is built for combat and skill challenges or else you’ll be sorry.
The random treasure table and varying XP is gone. Now all participants get the same amount of XP at the end of an encounter. So it doesn’t matter how much you participate in the role-playing or how much more difficult the DM makes the encounter, everyone who plays a particular encounter, no matter where they play or who the DM was, they all earn the same XP at the end of the night. For example, week 1 nets PCs 250 XP. This should ensure that all tables are advancing at the same pace.
And while we’re on the topic of advancing, there is a new blurb at the beginning of the adventure that very clearly states that PCs can level up at the end of an encounter if they have enough XP to do so. I know that in March of the Phantom Brigade many PCs hit that magic number the first week of chapter 2 and then had to go three more weeks before the took and extended rest and leveled up. That particular rule has been waived for D&D Encounters (good call Wizards).
As we pointed out in our article D&D Encounters: Dark Legacy of Evard – Pre-Generated Characters the pre-gens that Wizards of the Coast provided with this adventure are the same six from March of the Phantom Brigade. These characters are pretty solid, but I think a lot of us were looking forward to getting new pre-gens. I know at my FLGS about half of the players prefer to use the pre-gens.
By reusing the same pre-gens I suspect we’ll see a lot more players building their own characters this time around. However, if you’d like to use the pre-gens and don’t feel like using the ones from last season, then you’re in luck. Dungeon’s Master has created three new pre-generated characters using the new rules from Player’s Option: Heroes of Shadow. Now you’ve got three more characters to choose from.
High Quality Maps
One of the biggest reasons I choose to keep DMing D&D Encounters is because I get to keep the adventure and the maps afterwards. Admittedly some maps have been better than others, but for the most party they’re pretty good. After all they are in full colour and they look great. I use a map from D&D Encounters at least once every week in my home game.
The maps that accompany Dark Legacy of Evard are simply phenomenal. Both sides of all three poster maps are utilized. No more harsh black empty space around each encounter’s location – 100% of the map is used. Knowing you get to keep these maps afterwards should be motive enough for anyone still on the fence about being the DM for a season.
D&D Encounters Card Box
Free stuff is always nice. Each season 5 kit comes with card boxes for the players. The exterior artwork is the same image on the cover of the new DM’s Screen. And of course it’s branded with the D&D Encounters logo. The box easily hold over 100 cards, perfect if you’ve managed to get a full collection of D&D Fortune Cards.
Initiative Tracker Cards
This freebie is for the DM. A deck of 20 Initiative Tracker cards will make tracking initiative a lot easier. Just write each character’s name and vital statistics on each card and then put them in order based on what people roll. The cards are laminated, making them easy to use over and over again if you’re using a wet erase marker. In previous seasons the DMs have received condition cards, which I never really found all that useful. This giveaway is something I can definitely see myself using every week.
New Fortune Cards
The regular players will be happy to learn that there are three new Fortune Cards available. As soon as they earn the requisite Renown Points they will receive the following cards.
|When a player earns 20 Renown Points, they earn the Cunning Plan (promo 7) Fortune Card.|
|When a player earns 40 Renown Points, they earn the Lack of Scruples (promo 8.) Fortune Card.|
|When a player earns 60 Renown Points, they earn the Countering Fate (promo 6) Fortune Card.|
Let the Games Begin
Hopefully this preview of what’s in store has only served to get you more excited to play D&D Encounters: Dark Legacy of Evard. Remember that D&D Encounters is designed to make new players feel welcome, no matter what point in the adventure the characters happen to be. So whether you’re an experienced gamer who hasn’t checked out D&D Encounters yet or you’re brand new to D&D, I strongly encourage you to visit you Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) Wednesday nights. Season 5 begins on May 11.
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.