D&D Encounters: Storm Over Neverwinter – Preview

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on March 29, 2013

storm-over-neverwinter-coverD&D Encounters season 13, the spring 2013 season, begins on April 10 with week 0. The adventure itself – Storm Over Neverwinter – runs 8 weeks from April 17-June 5.

This is an adventure for characters level 3-6. It says levels 4-6 on the cover, but the text inside clearly trumps that and expects new PCs to begin at level 3. This is a first for D&D Encounters. It may make things a bit tougher for brand new players to just jump in with a character above level 1, but those of us who have played since season 1 will certainly appreciate an adventure with a bit more teeth.

The Adventure

Storm Over Neverwinter  takes place in Neverwinter (obviously) and can be run as a sequel to Lost Crown of Neverwinter adventure from D&D Encounters season 6. Players who bring back their PCs from the other Neverwinter adventure will actually have some additional benefits and bonuses (which we’ll cover below).

The adventure itself begins with the PCs facing off against a cult (yes, another cult) called the Ashmadai, worshipers of Asmodeus. Innocent inhabitants of Neverwinter are being abducted only to be returned to their homes a few days later. The symbol of Asmodeus is branded onto their skin and they bear physical and mental scars. As the PCs investigate they tangle with numerous evil-doers and eventually are led to Helm’s Hold, a cathedral once dedicated to Helm.

Through the adventure there is a literal storm brewing which threatens Neverwinter’s fragile stability and rebuilding efforts. The thrilling climax of the adventure takes place during the worst of the storm and the PCs have to face monsters and the elements of the storm.

The adventure is broken into two chapters, four encounters each. This means that the PCs will only get an extended rest between weeks 4 and 5. However, they will level up at an accelerated rate.

  • Weeks 1-3, characters level 3
  • Weeks 4-5, characters level 4
  • Weeks 6-7, characters level 5
  • Week 8, characters level 6

This season’s adventure returns to the familiar linear story-telling common to previous seasons of D&D Encounters  This will make it easier for DMs to run the session cold if need be. With this familiar formula we also go back to random treasure being rewarded almost every week. This will make a lot of players very happy.

Character Creation

New characters begin at level 3. Use the guidelines from the DMG to equip your PCs with level-appropriate equipment. That means one magic item level 4 or lower, one magic item level 3 or lower and one magic item level 2 or lower. You also have 680 gp to spend on anything you want but are limited to two consumables.

Players can choose any race or class for this adventure  They are STRONGLY encouraged to choose a Neverwinter theme. Since these themes are pretty powerful it shouldn’t take too much convincing. Download a PDF of all the Neverwinter themes.

If players still have their character from Lost Crown of Neverwinter they can use him this season. PCs who participated in the entire Lost Crown of Neverwinter adventurer would have reached level 4 by the end. Only these PCs are allowed to begin the season at level 4, everyone else must begin at level 3. Additionally, returning characters are dubbed “Heroes of Neverwinter” and receive a +2 bonus to all Charisma based checks when trying to influence the locals. These are a lot of opportunities to interact with NPCs so this bonus will be put to good use almost every week.

The only down side I can see to bringing in your old character is that they are unlikely to have three or more magic items. In order to keep the balance I’d allow any returning PC to take magic items as if they were creating a level 3 PC, assuming that they do not already have these or better. Of course, that’s just me.

Higher Level

Many D&D Encounter regulars at my FLGS do not play in home games, this is their only D&D outlet. As such they have very little experience playing above level 3. DMs should remind players (experienced and newbies) that the monsters will have higher defenses  more hit points and will do a lot more damage when they hit. This combined with four sessions between extended rests means that some PCs may not make it through without dying.

With the higher level adventure also comes higher DCs for skill checks. Many of the checks are going to be over 20. Balanced characters who don’t just max out their combat scores will have a much easier time of things than characters who are great fighters yet terrible at everything else. Encourage players to choose at least one item or feat that will help their PCs with skill checks, believe me they’ll thank you.

Advice for DMs

Last season’s adventurer Against the Cult of Chaos provided DMs with a complete picture of Hommel Lane. Every location was detailed, and fleshed out NPC descriptions accompanied each location on the map. This made role-playing a lot better and it made the DMs job considerably easier. This season only the bare bones are provided for DMs. After all, Neverwinter is a pretty large city and it’s full of interesting people. Those DMs who have a copy of the Neverwinter Campaign Setting hardcover will find it an invaluable tool this season. If you don’t have it consider picking it up. In almost every encounter it says that more detail is available in the Neverwinter Campaign Setting.

Embedded in each encounter is a call out box called Adjusting Difficulty. The author suggests how to make changes if you need to make things harder or easier for your group based on their number of PCs or the experience of your group.

Since most of the “monsters” the PCs face this season are people, the heroes will need to decide if they want to kill them or capture them. There are consequences depending on which option they choose from week to week. Encourage the PCs to play their characters as they deem appropriate even if it creates some in-party conflict.

Maps

Oh how I love the maps that come with D&D Encounters. Every season I gush about how great they are and every season Wizards seems to top the ones that came before. This season we get double-decker maps; scenes that display multiple levels of the same structure. There’s a ship, a residence and a temple. Just when I thought I had every map I could ever need, Wizards gives me three new gems for my map collection.

Be sure to check out our D&D Encounters Map Gallery for all the maps that provided over the past 13 season.

encounters-13-map-1 encounters-13-map-2
encounters-13-map-3 encounters-13-map-4

Free Stuff

storm-over-neverwinter-dice-1Last season I complained that we didn’t get any free stuff. No rewards, no Fortune Cards, nothing aside from the adventure itself. This season Wizards stepped up and is providing participants with two great rewards.

The first is a free d20. Each kit comes with 20 d20s. They have a symbol I’m not familiar with in place of the 20 (if anyone can let me know what the symbol is in the comments below I’d be grateful). The dice are slightly larger than a standard d20, but they still get the job done.

storm-over-neverwinter-dice-2In my opinion you can never have too many dice. I’m hoping that this just the beginning of the free dice. Whether it’s a new d20 each season or a different die in the same set, it would certainly give me another good reason to keep playing D&D Encounters season after season.

It’s up to the coordinators to decide how to distribute these rewards. I know at one of the FLGS where I play they are planning to hand them out to players who complete three sessions (while supplies last).

storm-over-neverwinter-mmorpg-itemThe second reward is tied in to Neverwinter MMORPG. With each kit there are 20 Neverwinter postcard ads. Each ad has a unique code that you can enter online and it will provide your Neverwinter online character with a free bonus random magic item. It’s unclear if these are items that are exclusive to people who use the code or if they’re just any old items you can get in the game through other means. If they’re exclusive and they’re cool, expect people to come out to D&D Encounters just to get their hands on a code.

Instructions

storm-over-neverwinter-instructions-1 storm-over-neverwinter-instructions-2
storm-over-neverwinter-instructions-3 storm-over-neverwinter-instructions-4

The Adventure Begins

D&D Encounters: Storm Over Neverwinter begins on April 10 and runs through June 5. It’s particularly important for you to visit your FLGS during week 0 this time around. This is when you’ll find out if your FLGS is offering D&D Next or 4e or both. For newer players creating a character at level 3 may create challenges, especially if they don’t have a DDI subscription or all the books. Your DMs can help you make level-appropriate characters for this season.

Be sure to visit Dungeon’s Master every Thursday for our ongoing weekly coverage of D&D Encounters. Also be sure to listen to Recounting Encounter, the weekly podcast in which Alton (from 20ft Radius) and I provide our post-game report. Recounting Encounters is now available in iTunes!

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.


Looking for instant updates? Subscribe to the Dungeon’s Master feed!


{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jason magolan March 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

does it specifally lists the book you can use for chr creation?
usually its the players options heroes books; shadow, elemental chaos, feywild, ?

2 Ameron (Derek Myers) March 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

@jason magolan
It specifically says that you can play any race and class from any books. No restrictions. It does strongly encourage players to choose Neverwinther themes. Beyond that everything’s fair game.

3 Joe Lastowski March 29, 2013 at 11:51 am

So obviously there’s a 4e version, if folks can port in their characters from Lost Crown. But what about NEXT? The most recent (3/20/13) D&D NEXT playtest packet said that the Storm over Neverwinter season would be an opportunity to playtest NEXT at levels 4-6. Does it look like they’ve carried through with that, or is there any mention of it in the book? I’m fine if there isn’t, as every iteration of NEXT has disappointed me on multiple levels, but I was just curious.

4 jason magolan March 29, 2013 at 11:53 am

have you come across any 3rd lv pregens?

5 Joe Lastowski March 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Oh, the other reason not to port in an old Lost Crown character would be that you won’t have access to the classes, races, backgrounds, or themes that you might otherwise use (remember, Lost Crown was still essentials-only classes & races, + what was in the Neverwinter book), so returning “Heroes of Neverwinter” will be less diverse than the former gladiator moteborn Thri-Kreen runepriest that a new character could be.

6 Vobeskhan March 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Another great preview for the upcoming season, many thanks.

Really looking forward to getting my hands on this and returning to the Forgotten Realms once more.
Vobeskhan´s last blog post ..Keep on the Shadowfell Campaign – session 2

7 Azurecobalt March 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm

My guess on the die symbol is that it’s a modified symbol of Asmodeus ( https://sites.google.com/site/ddretrocrawl/DemonDogs/the-gods ) to fit on a d20 “side” cleanly.

8 Ocampo March 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Anybody recognize the d20 symbol? Looks like nothing from Neverwinter lore.
Ocampo´s last blog post ..Un villano para toda la vida

9 Alphastream March 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

@Jason: this page had several pregens for a previous season (uses the typical pregens, but takes them to other levels, including 3rd). http://community.wizards.com/dungeonsanddragons/go/thread/view/91301/29440315/Pre-Gen_Resources

In addition, you could grab the Level 1 and Level 5 LFR pregens and either uplevel or downlevel (you can see from the level 5s what the level 1s would get at level 2 and 3).

10 Alphastream March 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Oops. Here is the link for LFR pregens (and adventures): http://www.livingforgottenrealms.com/#pregens

11 Jason March 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

According to the flyer the symbol is the storm over neverwinter symbol

12 Jason March 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

@alphasteam,

Thanks. I do have all the pregens. It just seemed like the flyer suggested there would be official 3rd lv pregens.
Not a big deal though

13 jason magolan March 31, 2013 at 11:43 am

Does it mention anything about fortune cards? My players use them quite a bit.

14 Greg Bilsland April 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I can answer a few of questions above, as well as address some other possible issues:

Is there a D&D Next version?
Yes, you can download the conversion notes in the latest D&D Next packet (dndplaytest.wizards.com).

Are there pre-gens?
Yes. There are level 4 D&D Next pre-gens in the latest D&D Next packet, and we’ll have some Neverwinter-themed 4E pre-gens going up at dndencounters.com once Against the Cult of Chaos officially ends.

Can I use Fortune Cards?
Yes, if you’re playing 4E, you’re still welcome to use Fortune Cards.

What is the symbol from?
The symbol is unique. It was inspired by this season’s thematic elements.

Can I carry my character over from Against the Cult of Chaos?
You’re welcome to do so, though it’s worth noting that they’re set in different worlds. If you do, you shouldn’t carry over any of the gear from Against the Cult of Chaos unless your DM allows it.

15 Ameron (Derek Myers) April 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm

@Greg Bilsland
Thanks for answering these questions. I for one will allow my players to continue using their Against the Cult of Chaos characters into Storm Over Neverwinter despite the campaigns being from different worlds. We had a lot of new players this season and I think allowing them to experience ongoing character progression and development will just cement their love for D&D.

16 Jason April 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm

As i unfortuneatly missed getting to sign up for this season (against the cult of chaos), having this info ahead of time is great. I should get my kits this wednesday.
Thanks guys

17 Nicole April 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Hello – I’m a relative newbie to 4e (Lost Crown of Neverwinter was my first full encounters season) and I love it. Unfortunately, the only store I have access to really hates 4e, and has been giving us a hard time. They often don’t let us report sessions, and this season, they didn’t tell us about Storm Over Neverwinter’s deadline, so we missed it. They refuse to use an exception to get the kits for us. Does anyone have any advice on how we can obtain the materials? I don’t even know how to contact Wizards for help. This has been an ongoing issue for years with our local store and we just want to play.

18 Ameron (Derek Myers) April 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm

@Nicole
This season and last can both be played using the new DnDnext rules. Maybe that can win over some of the 4e haters.

19 Nicole April 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Sadly, they are even less interested in D&D Next. The owners are all Pathfinder players, and have even stopped carrying new 4E stuff that comes out. They didn’t tell us when the next session could be ordered, so we missed the deadline and now we can’t play it. I wish we had another option of another place to go to play :(

20 Joe Lastowski April 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Nicole, you’d likely need to contact someone at the Wizards Play Network (WPN). Their main page is here:
http://www.wizards.com/wpn/

21 jason magolan April 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm

wizards has 3rd lv pregens…
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Event.aspx?x=dnd/4new/event/dndencounters
not bad but are essentials classes but pretty good pregens

22 Nicole April 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

@Joe – thanks very much! I’ve contacted WPN in the hopes that they’ll be able to help us out, or at least help us to get future packets. I also think it’s ridiculous that Wizards won’t send us the free packet, when we’ve been playing these since the first season, yet some of the people they ARE sending it to are selling them on eBay for $100: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Storm-Over-Neverwinter-Kit-Dungeons-and-Dragons-Encounters-DND-/251255944924?pt=Games_US&hash=item3a800576dc

23 Jason April 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm

@Nicole
Wizards are a pain in the butt that way. My store owner told me they only allow 1 exception a year for missed events. And my store owner has to save that 1 exception for magic tounament and things as they bring in a lot of money for those events . I know it sucks and i feel your pain. Hopefully your able to get future releases

24 Mike_LV April 10, 2013 at 2:31 am

Sorry to hear you had issues getting 4E. Sadly both stores and WotC seem to be going out of their way to drive away customers. I have coordinated with WotC before and the support was on par with EA. Stores get fed up and drop WotC products. Our store still supports it even though it isn’t nearly a money maker, it still brings people to their store who end up buying other stuff. Hope you have better success!

25 Chava April 17, 2013 at 2:17 am

I’m looking to play one of the pregens found at http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Event.aspx?x=dnd/4new/event/dndencounters under the ‘Creating a Character’ section. I’ll be using Viktor the paladin. can anyone figure out how he’s getting a +11 to diplomacy checks? As far as I can see, it should just be +9. Any help would be most excellent. Thanks

-Chava

26 Ameron (Derek Myers) April 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

@Chava
Viktor has the Neverwinter Noble background. The background benefit provides a +2 to either Diplomacy or History. They obviously added it to Diplomacy.

27 Sean_Mc April 25, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Do we know if *all* FLGS got the dice and item cards? Where I play, we were told three different things:
1) there are none this season, 2) there are dice, but no Neverwinter item cards were in the pack, and 3) item cards *were* in the pack, but went missing before they could be given to the players.

I sent Wizards support an email letting them know management didn’t seem willing to contact them, and Wizards told me there were no item cards this season. I tried to clarify, and even included the picture of the card from this post, but the answer came back the same – no MMO item cards were included with the packs.

Help?

28 Winter Iroquois September 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm

can someone tell me what the blonde characters name is? The one that appears on the cover.

29 Ameron (Derek Myers) October 30, 2013 at 11:02 pm

@Winter Iroquois
Based on the NPCs/Villains presented in the adventure, I’m guessing that the people on the cover are Elden Vargas and his wife Karis Vargas.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: