Shards of Selune Review

Fetch quests are not new to Dungeons & Dragons (or games in general). In many cases they require you to go to point A to get something that lets you go to point B, and so on and so forth until the writer gets bored or runs out of points. Other models adopt a more free-form "sandbox" approach, giving you all the points and leaving it up to you to tackle them in whichever order you prefer. Shards of Selune opts for the latter, and requires that the characters go about the dark places of Neverwinter on a treasure hunt to locate three of Selune's tears 'cause the bitch couldn't cry in one spot.

Eh, could have been worse.
The adventure hook is basically this: the players see some falling stars one night--or don't--and are petitioned by an eladrin priest named Lady Jasmine to go get them. She gives you the vague locations of all three, but it is up to the party to determine which ones to after in what order. Things get complicated because other factions saw them and want them for various reasons, but character themes can also further complicate things, which is fucking awesome. This part of the adventure design is what draws my interest to what would have otherwise been another ho-hum "go get that thing I want 'cause I want it and oh here is some magic shit".

Though it seems to work for 99% of World of Warcraft...
Almost every event either requires one or more themes to trigger, or has additional stuff that can occur if a character has one of the indicated themes. None of the events with required themes are mandatory, and either provide extra background information, potential hooks into other adventures, and/or give you a benefit to help you out. It is really nice to see player decisions like this integrated into the overall larger picture, and hopefully it is something we will see in future adventures.

Another thing that sets this adventure apart from others is the almost even mix of skill, social role-playing, and combat challenges (though most of the role-playing ones have required themes). Of the seven combat encounters, only three have tactical maps; the rest give you guidelines of the layout, such as "any city map featuring an alley/road". While I expect people to complain about cutting costs or whatever, there are plenty of stock city maps, and if nothing else it would give me an excuse to actually use my Dungeon Tiles.

The encounters with maps are well done, with interesting terrain features and potentially dynamic monster rosters depending on the party's previous actions. For example one encounter involves dealing with a gang that found one of the shards on their flooded-building pissing ground. If you dealt with other factions previously, then the DM swaps out some of the gang members for imps, zombies, dwarves, etc. It is a small thing that helps reinforce that the actions of the players can have consequences, and I fully endorse this move.

Yet another good adventure for the Neverwinter crowd. I am liking a lot of the adventures coming out of Dungeon, and I would like to see WotC round up some of the more talented authors and get a nice adventure path rolled out. Hell, I would settle for an adventure arc that at least runs through the heroic tier. I had heard that they were wrapping up Chaos Scar (yay), so here's hoping.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your review, Antioch! I'm very pleased how this adventure turned out, and I hope you have fun playing it.


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