D&D Encounters season 11 – War of Everlasting Darkness – session 1
I ran our opening sessions of the new season of 4e Encounters last night and was pleasantly surprised to see how much it felt like one of our DnDNext sessions. I Dm back to back 2-hour slots for the two groups and as usual they both chose to tackle the scenario in different ways. However, both did interact with villagers to get background information then chose how to proceed, had a minor encounter en route, then came across the “other” adventurers at the ruins, 1st group joined forces with them, 2nd group scared them off, before descending into the catacomb beneath the ruined temple. A little more exploring, with trap detection (by accidental triggering more often than not) before problem solving and even a pair of riddles (both groups solved the first and failed the second, triggering the combat) It was only at this point that I actually put the map out with the battlegrid, though the fight was fairly short both times (indeed the second groups hexblade defeated the imp in the first round, winning initiative and using his action point to seal the deal before the imp could act!).
The whole thing felt more like one of the “old school” adventures, albeit shorter, but I think a great way to showcase what DnD (in any edition) is about. Even within the 2 hours, we had lots of roleplaying even between the players themselves as well as with the npc’s, exploration with choices rather than a railroad “you travel to the dungeon” and some good old dungeon crawling. Perfect to show any drop in players what DnD has to offer, maybe not the best for an ongoing campaign (I would have probably made more of the journey and possibly had the dungeon part as a second session given more time) but to fit in the time requirements of the Encounters program it worked really well.
If the rest of the season runs as smoothly (especially the later higher level sessions) it certainly bodes well, I’d be interested to see this session ran using the DnDNext rules for comparison.