I was extremely fortunate to partake in the Neverwinter Game Day at my FLGS this past weekend. It only required a trip to the zoo, several splash pads, and attendance at a picnic for my in-laws Italian social club to build up enough leverage to make my escape to the empire of the nerds with only minimal wife aggro. Needless to say this wasn’t a spur of the moment carpe diem deal, but more an intricate plotting and machinations affair. I can still see the look of protest and the tone in my wife’s voice when I proudly announced my intentions and watched her internal struggle and quiet resignation play out before me… yes check and mate sir.
In my experience these things can be sort of hit or miss, as last year at the Red Box Game Day I ended up having to DM because no one showed up to run the adventure. The production quality for this event was absolutely fantastic, way better than last year, from the adventure to the free swag that every player received (full color fold out map of Neverwinter, 2 fortune cards which I of course tore up and threw in the DM’s face, a bookmark, and a power card with a Neverwinter character theme). The adventure itself was entertaining, flowed well, and was not overly long. It was an interesting set-up and prologue to the next season of Encounters that starts rolling this week. It makes me lament not being able to play Encounters anymore but unfortunately there are not enough Italian picnics in the world that would grant me safe passage to the nerd store on a weekday evening. It does appear that someone in Wizards has been boning up on synergy as they have really become focused on tying all product releases to the same theme. So for the next little while it is going to be Neverwinter all the time anytime. I have been really impressed by the continued quality improvement in the Encounters program that I would love to see them release the adventures for public consumption when the season is long over.
They attempted to introduce a new wrinkle this time in having people create their characters on the spot, complete with rolling your ability scores. I am pretty sure they adjusted the monster stats for this adventure to account for the possible suckage that could ensue from this. I, not surprisingly, ignored this stipulation and built 3 essentials characters the night before (warpriest, thief, and knight). I understand what they were going for but in reality it came off as overly cumbersome and time consuming. I ended up helping a first time player build his character, and without that help and continued support throughout the game I don’t think he would have had a very good experience. We had seven players and guess what class I ended up running? Of course I ended up playing a leader in one Carl Laggerbelly, dwarven warpreist extraordinaire. Carl performed his duties admirably, keeping the party in ship shape with no deaths (despite the DM twice attacking an unconscious player, it is a good thing he didn’t understand the whole coup de grace rules). Carl even sacrificed a standard action to use a heal check to trigger the slayers second wind, that’s just the kind of guy Carl is. It also didn’t hurt that we were fighting a douche face necromancer and lots of undead as Carl had access to tons of radiant powers thanks to his unwavering devotion to Pelor.
Overall it was a good time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even momentarily forgetting that I was not in fact attending GenCon this year, but alas it was only momentarily and the pain, anguish, and rage quickly returned. And for those of you who were fortunate enough to attend GenCon this year…well go fuck yourselves