Initial Thoughts on the 2nd D&D Encounters Season
22 June 2010
So the second season of D&D Encounters has come. After a pretty successful foray into Undermountain in the first season, this season pits the players against the harsh and unforgiving Dark Sun campaign setting. Since I love D&D, I thought I would give my impressions of D&D encounters, Dark Sun, and the Ardent player class (which happens to be the pre-generated character I was given).
Just a warning, I will NOT tolerate any “4e suxxors, d00d!” comments. I invite anyone to discuss the differences between Dark Sun 2E (its debut) and its 4E incarnation, but I reserve the right to smite comments from trolls.
I was able to play most of the encounters from last season, and I enjoyed the format very much. As a husband (to an amazing woman, by the way) and father of a toddler (the most beautiful girl ever), a short game once a week is much more manageable for me than an hours-long marathon. While I have heard some say that roleplaying is at a minimum with such a format, I say that the roleplaying (as always) depends on the people playing.
One night my group, consisting mostly of people who might have met once or twice before, found the time to paint quite an elaborate scene involving the attempted intimidation of a goblin merchant. I’ll spare you the details, as we almost didn’t survive the ensuing “discussion” with two enforcers that showed up. How were we to know the goblin had protection?
Before commenting on the new incarnation, let me back up and give some background on my familiarity with Dark Sun thus far. I wasn’t playing D&D at the time it first came out, although I seem to recall picking up a source-book and marveling at all the psionic items, particularly the armblade (I think that’s what it was called). I also remember being struck by the number of items that were cursed in some way. I also played the two Dark Sun games that SSI put out, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands and Dark Sun: Wake of the Ravager. I remember the shock at seeing no clerics and having to put a druid in the party. I also remember the strangeness of psionics.
As to its current incarnation, I’m enjoying it. I missed the first week, but was there (figuratively) with bells on for week two. The skill check representing traveling the wasteland was an interesting twist. I’m glad that our DM forgot that we failed that little skill challenge, because the silt storm that was supposed to be raging about us (giving us all -2 to hit) would surely have caused a total party kill (TPK). As it was, we managed to overcome, and our mul even managed to get a new mount out of the encounter. Score!
Well, it seems I’ve gotten more laconic than I’d like, so I’ll save my thoughts on the Ardent for another post. Hopefully that post (which I’ll try and finish by Thursday or Friday of this week) will include another night of playing, which should give me better data for an assessment.
Until next time, post some comments, and have fun stormin’ da castle!’