Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Quick Sneak Peek at Dark Legacy of Evard

“Evard, master of shadow magic, is dead— or is he? A sinister force has the citizens of Duponde in its clutches. Even as it threatens to drag the whole town into darkness, an unlikely band of heroes stands on the threshold of the Shadowfell to deny evil its prize.”

The next season of D&D Encounters, Dark Legacy of Evard, will start one week from tonight. Designed by Richard Baker, Dark Legacy of Evard is an adventure for characters of 1st - 3rd level. It features lots of Shadowfell creepy goodness for those who want to take a walk on the dark side of D&D. The mini-campaign will run for 13 weeks, from May 11th -August 3rd . Like previous Encounters seasons, one session of Evard equals one encounter each week (1-2 hours of play time).

The adventure is tied into the release of the new Player’s Option: Heroes of Shadow rulebook, so players can use it (as well as Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms) for character creation. If a player doesn’t have a 1st-level adventurer or doesn’t want to create one from scratch, six pregenerated PCs are available. The pregens provided for use with Evard are actually the same ones that came with March of the Phantom Brigade. I have to admit, I was disappointed to open the new DM’s packet and find that WotC was recycling the MotPB pregens. I had been looking forward to new pregens that would’ve highlighted some of the new classes and powers from Heroes of Shadow. Having said that, though, my disappointment with the pregens is pretty much the only negative thing about Evard that I’ll have to share in this sneak peek. I think this is an absolutely awesome mini-campaign and I can’t wait to get it started next Wednesday night.

Besides the tie-in to Heroes of Shadow, Evard also gives the DM an opportunity to use the Despair Deck from The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond. At certain junctures in Evard, players are prompted to draw cards from the deck and the effect on the card (Hopeless, Paranoid, Forgetful, etc) will temporarily hamper the PC. When the effect is overcome, it then provides a boon. One neat (suggested) use of the Despair Deck is connected to a skill challenge in Session 3. Whenever any character fails a check as part of the skill challenge for the first time, that character’s player must draw a card to determine what effect takes hold. The Despair Deck can also be used in connection with a skill challenge in the last session. (Happily, the use of skill challenges has been expanded in Dark Legacy of Evard.)

The DM will need to purchase The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond if he wants to use the Despair Deck with Evard, but there are three new promo Fortune Cards that come with the Evard DM’s packet. They are Cunning Plan, Lack of Scruples, and Cunning Fate. There are also several card boxes that can be given away to the players. Each card box features the art from the new DM screen.

Being a huge map geek, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the maps that come with Dark Legacy of Evard. They are COOL! See the photos below for a sampling of the maps. I think the Evard maps are exceptional and that their use will enhance everyone's enjoyment of each session’s encounter.

Something else that I think will boost the players’ enjoyment is the increase of meaningful decision points in Evard. We saw one of these decision points in March of the Phantom Brigade when the players’ decision in Session 1 directly affected the events of Session 2. Dark Legacy of Evard takes it one step farther by incorporating two major decision points (in Sessions 2 and 8). I like this aspect of the adventure because it gives the players the feeling that they’re actually affecting how events unfold, rather than feeling as if they are just along for the ride.

Alright, so that’s a quick sneak peek at some of the things you can expect with Dark Legacy of Evard. Oh, and to close, I’ll just mention this: I was happy to see that Evard begins where all good adventures ought to start… with the characters gathered in the common room of an inn.

I hope you take the time to check out Dark Legacy of Evard at your FLGS.

No comments:

Post a Comment