Monday, 9 December 2013

Dungeon 220: King of the Wolves

Beth Trott's gruesome rendition of Isarr Kronenstrom, scourge of Icewind Dale.

November's Dungeon is a special one for me. As well as featuring my latest adventure, "King of the Wolves", it also contains my first guest editorial! It's been quite a prolific year for me in the ezines, so Wizards kindly asked me to put together some thoughts for this month's editorial. I wrote a brief piece about the creative process, focusing on where I draw inspiration for adventure ideas ("King of the Wolves", for example, is a mash-up of Rambo: First Blood and the legend of Beowulf - or more specifically, the movie 13th Warrior).

Although the adventure presented my tightest deadline to date, it ended up being the easiest to write - everything just fell into place. I'm probably getting better at writing to schedule, but in this case I think I just got carried away by the idea. It's quite a simple plot, drawing inspiration near the end from Aeryn Rudel's "Dead by Dawn", one of my favourite 4E adventures. Overcomplication is an easy trap to stumble into when writing adventures, and can be tragic when you're up against the clock. I guess I'm learning to keep it focused.

"King of the Wolves" ties into the "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" D&D Encounters series. At the moment I'm torn between running this and "Murder at Baldur's Gate" for my next home campaign: while I love the intrigue of "Murder", it sadly carries some plot holes and lacks player agency in places. "Legacy" is more dramatic, I think, so that probably sways it for me. Interestingly both have the same format: three factions that the players clash against, dynamically whittled down to one over the course of three acts. It's a nice model, and marks quite a departure from previous seasons.

If you like "Legacy of the Crystal Shard", "King of the Wolves" lets you carry on your adventures in the Dale once the season is complete. If you do get to play it, I'd be delighted to hear how it panned out (for us, it was nearly a TPK)!

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