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Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next) $14.99
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
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Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/12/2015 18:17:18

'Dreams of the Red Wizards' presents a module that should take a number of nights to explore and complete, and offers a wide scope for players and DMs who like non-linear adventures. It mixes exploration, intrigue, social encounters, and combat, so there should be something for all classes.

Set in Daggerford, the module asks the PCs to make a number of choices that will influence the resources at their disposal later in the game, but does so by prompting the characters to express their values (and their commitment to said values). The DM could easily tailor these to reference the characters history, or a recent module (although this starts at Level 2 - an odd choice - so chances are the characters have only completed a single module beforehand). Daggerford is not well-presented and subsequently appears to be very dry. It has potential, but running this module off-the-cuff is not recommended.

Overall, the module makes good use of a variety of monsters (some of which are played very intelligently and woven into the overall plot) and locations - again with the clear intent to ensure that not any one class or race is constantly in the spotlight.

The only downside to this module is the lack of practical design. Puzzles that aren't repeated in handouts (and have the answer on the same page), maps that have both player and DM information (instead of two separate maps which I thought was standard development), and a lack of xp amounts on monsters means that you'll need to prep this before playing quite well and think about the implementation choices that weren't catered for by the design team.

That said, the writing is on standard with other Wizards modules, and the adventure is suitable scaled and challenging for a party of second-level adventurers. The module offers the opportunity for far more than one night's play, and with some work, Daggerford could be developed into a 'home base' for a much longer-term campaign.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/27/2014 13:13:11

Originally posted on www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday! Product-Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast Producer-Wizards of the Coast Price-~$18 (PDF) System-DnD Next TL;DR- Not bad, but the worst of the three Sundering Modules. 80%

Basics-Time to go back to the Sword Coast. Problems are brewing around Daggerford with goblin attacks, orc raids, and gnolls stalking the country side. The heroes arrive outside of Daggerford as the Duke has barred all non-citizens from entering the town. Can the heroes save the town and the people stuck outside from the horrors brewing in the Sword Coast? A DnD Next adventure for character level two to level four.

Story: This module doesn't seem to have as involved a story as the other two Sundering modules. It kind of feels like a holding pattern as the players get to find some interesting information, but the players will have to wait till next module to use it. You get to be a hero, but not completely the one you want to be. 4/5

Mechanics: This module uses new DnD Next mechanics, so that is fun and give more insight into the progress of DnD Next as rule system. I really missed the random encounter tables and other stuff that gave the last DnD encounters season it's amazing flare though. 4.5/5

Execution: This adventure come is in one source book, and I think that hurts the adventure. The players will not see it, but as a GM I felt things were too cluttered with important information being mixed with bits of encounters. I also miss the custom GM screen. I know I would have to print one out, since this product is a PDF. But, I missed those little extra bits. The random encounters really made the world come alive in the last season. I can do that as a GM, but now I need to do extra work! Furthermore, I felt like the story needed a diagram to really help me to organize my thoughts regarding the plot. I feel the story is a bit mixed up and won't help all the GMs across the world coordinate their efforts well. Also for $18, I felt like I didn't get enough. For $30 I got a printed option with the GM screen. What I got was nice, legible, and a fun play experience, but this should have been much cheaper for a PDF product. 3.5/5

Summary: I don't hate this adventure. I've been the roughest to this Sundering adventure path, but I don't hate it. This adventure has the unfortunate luck of coming out after the previous one, WHICH WAS AMAZING! This one feel like it's in a holding pattern for the next adventure. These facts make all the flaws that much more visible. I would have liked two books, a PDF of a printable GM screen, and some help keeping pace of the adventures, so all the encounters GMs can coordinate better. However, this one isn't bad, but I hope the next one lets the players get past level 4! 80%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by John P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/17/2014 19:31:55

SPOILERS AHEAD!

THE GOOD:

Most of this review focuses on the things I didn't like, because this adventure has a lot of aspects that frustrate me. That said, those problems are mainly with the presentation. The content itself, for what it is, is really awesome. There are five fully detailed adventure locations, each with their own unique feel and intertwining threads between them. There's even a little intrigue in town. The maps are beautiful (though they could be much more useful, see below). The PCs always have a choice of what they want to do, and even the dungeons are refreshingly non-linear (compared to Keep on the Shadowfell, which was basically a straight line with the boss battle at the end). There's plenty of good old-fashioned dungeon exploration, with plenty of weird shrines, secret doors behind secret doors, checkerboad floor puzzles, etc. Good stuff. I haven't seen how the combat shakes out, but it looks like a good mix of easy and difficult fights.

THE BAD:

1. My biggest problem is that the descriptions are too verbose. It would just be much easier if the information was presented in a clearer, more concise way. For example, here is a room description:

"The tents of the Fanged Moon tribe shelter the fifteen orc warriors that live in the castle. Normally, five rest in the tents, five idle in area 10, one is on sentry duty in area 9, two keep watch in area 12, and two patrol the curtain wall (areas 3 and 5). Development: If the orcs come under attack here, orcs dispersed to other areas join the battle in 1d4 rounds (roll for each group). The ogre in area 4 joins the fight in a similar amount of time. Sezibul joins combat from area 16 in 3 rounds."

They really expect me to make four separate d4 rolls and write down which is which at the start of the combat (when I'm already busy rolling initiative for the orcs and listening to initiative rolls from the players)? Why not roll each round to see which group shows up? Actually, why even make it random? It's not like the party is going to have this encounter multiple times. It would be much more convenient if it was written like this:

"There are fifteen orc warriors in the castle. Normally, five are resting in the tents, and the others are in the areas listed below. If combat starts here, orcs from the other areas join the fight on subsequent rounds: Round 1: Two orcs (area 12). Round 2: Two orcs (areas 3 and 5). Round 3: Sezibul (area 16), one orc (area 9). Round 4: Ogre (area 4), five orcs (area 10)."

The prose style makes it a hassle to run on-the-fly, and I had to reread the adventures multiple times before I understood how to run them. Almost every published adventure has this problem, and it's really annoying.

2. The adventure seems awfully complex, with lots of moving parts. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems like a poor choice for Encounters, as it makes the adventure harder to run. 3. Why does it start at level 2? Who starts a campaign at level 2? Again, seems like a poor choice for Encounters, since 1st level characters are supposed to be a simple starting point for beginners (which is presumably the target audience for Encounters). If I was going to start at level 1, I'd flesh out the goblin encounter before getting to Daggerford, and have that get the players to level 2. I wonder if the adventure was originally written like that and changed at the last minute. 4. As I said, there's a little intrigue in town. But beyond that, Daggerford itself is just a map and a bunch of boring descriptions of boring businesses and the boring people who run them. I don't know why they wasted so many pages detailing the town itself; there's nothing interesting about it. It would really help if there were tables with useful mechanical details (info about the guards and the militia, the kind of equipment available, classes and levels of NPCs, etc.). As is, there's nothing in that section that would actually help me run a game. That's 5 pages wasted. WotC needs to stop paying adventure authors per word. 5. The adventure says you should use the wilderness exploration rules, but doesn't let you do so. The overland maps don't have hex grids (so what am I supposed to do, use a ruler?). There are no random encounter tables. Actually, both those things would be really useful even if they don't assume we're using the exploration rules (and it would have taken fewer pages than all those boring paragraphs about people in town). 6. There are a few smaller problems that everyone already knows about. The monsters don't have XP values. The puzzle on page 53 relies on showing the image to the players, but the image itself shows the solution. The region map has a location marked on it that the PCs aren't supposed to know about. These errors aren't dealbreakers, but they do make me wish they'd put in the extra effort.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Geoff G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/09/2014 09:29:01

This adventure is part of the Encounters series and is designed to be played for a couple of hours a week in a game store. I bought this for personal use with my gaming group and am going to review it from that perspective. I have DMed a couple of sessions for my group, and have read through the whole adventure, but we have not finished it.

The adventure comes with a description of Daggerford, and five "dungeon areas", including (low resoultion) maps and a bestiary. Overall I would estimate that the adventure could be finished in 20-25 hours worth of play time.

Good Things:

  • The adventure is laid out in such a way to encourage player choice. It describes the town, the principal characters, and for each area it provides a room by room description of the creatures and traps present. Players can largely decide the order in which they want to visit the areas, and there are a number of different ways to traverse each dungeon.
  • The adventure comes with a very good description of Daggerford, including businesses, a detailed map, and descriptions of the major NPCs. You could easily integrate Daggerford into your own campaign.

Gotchas:

  • The levels are assigned a predetermined points in the story and xp values for monsters is not provided, so you don't have an option to use xp based leveling. This is fine if you usually assign levels this way, and its probably a good fit for Encounters, but some DM's may not like it.
  • The adventure ends with many things unresolved. This is good for encounters because you want people to come back for the next adventure. However, many people buying adventures expect all of the major plot threads to be resolved by the end of the adventure, and that's not the case here.

Overall, I think its a good Encounters adventure. The more similar your group is to an encounters group (meeting 2-4 hours biweekly, a possibly rotating cast, etc...) the better this adventure will fit. The adventure may not satisfy a very dedicated group, or a DM who buys adventures to chop them up and use them in their own campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/07/2014 10:25:04

This is an interesting way in which to lay the groundwork for the upcoming edition change, both in terms of giving everyone (not just the diehards who have slogged through ten iterations of the playtest materials) a chance to play 'D&D Next' before it is released and also because the in-game groundwork is being set for a cataclysm that will be literally world-changing for the Forgotten Realms... thus setting the scene for the changes in the way you will play there.

There's quite a lot of background to absorb, especially if you haven't seen the previous campaign Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle - although this is perfectly playable if you have not played through it - but the action soon starts with the characters arriving at Daggerford in the midst of a refugee crisis. Plenty of opportunities for interaction, and even a spot of brawling, from the outset and a chance for the party to get to know Daggerford if they have not previously visited the settlement.

Once they actually gain admittance to Daggerford, there are opportunities to find out what is going on... or at least why there are refugees trying to get in and why the local lordling is less than friendly towards them. Missing persons and missing items, as well as the raids that have displaced the refugees, provide ample opportunity for a party of adventurers to get involved. Loads of detail is provided to help you make the place and its inhabitants come to life, it is presented as a dynamic living township whose locals have their own lives to lead, not a backdrop for your party's adventures, which all goes towards creating a rich shared alternate reality for the characters to inhabit.

One notable feature of the mechanics is that encounters and monsters do not come with XP values: instead, the DM is to reward the party by advancing all of them to the next level as they achieve certain goals in the adventure. Some may find this a bit rough and ready (well, go calculate your own rewards as appropriate), while others may find it convenient (it is something I have been doing for years anyway!).

There are lots of opportunities for adventure other than the main thrust of this scenario, which creates a good free-form air - just about anywhere the party decides to go, there will be something going on for them to interact with. However, the second part of the main plot takes the party to the village of Julkoun and other locations in the area such as a hunting lodge, a ruined castle and a beautiful manor house and more. Some maps are provided within the adventure covering all the locations, but most would be quite hard to share with the players - a few players' maps would enhance this product.

All monsters encountered are presented in an appendix with D&D Next stat blocks. The download also includes several documents that cover all that you need to play this edition of D&D, necessary if you have not been following the playtest and handy even if you have.

Overall, this is an excellent introduction to what the next edition of D&D will be like, and a good way to find out relatively inexpensively if you are going to want to play it once the full release is out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Tony S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2014 21:29:51

Having flipped through quickly and now about halfway through a more thorough read-through, this material is shaping up to provide a great framework for adventure. It's structured so that it provides a strong framework (in terms of timeline) for when things happen in the story, which gives it the feature that things are happening whether the adventurers. At the same time, the details and events can be taken in any order for a GM that doesn't want / need to follow the prescribed timeline. The locations are well structured and documented, and the details around Daggerford and it's NPC's are awesome.

There are 2 things that was disappointing about the product:

  1. It's been mentioned on many forums and in the comments, but it IS very disappointing that maps, individual, unmarked, and high-res versions were not included in the download. I game almost exclusively on roll20, a virtual tabletop, and map-packs would make gm's that use virtual tabletops so much easier. It's surprising that, given WotC's move to an exclusively digital product, they would have ignored the digital-focused need.

  2. Given that this is touted as a continuation to the Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle campaign, I was hoping to see a conversion (a table, or alternate encounter detail) of the adventure for groups that want to carry over the characters they built up in GoDC. I understand that this is an encounters pack, meant to be played in FLAGS to attract newcomers to the game, but it would have been good to see this option addressed given the adventure is now being sold to the public. - it would be nice to see guidance on how to bring characters along through the last 3 sundering adventures.


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/06/2014 06:15:47

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/02/06/tabletop-review-dreams-of-the-red-wizards-scourge-of-the-sword-coast-dungeons-dragons-next/

Scourge of the Sword Coast is a pretty unique experience in a lot of ways. It’s the third in the series of Sundering adventures. It’s also a Dungeons & Dragons Encounters release, much like the first two Sundering adventures. Unlike Murder in Baldur’s Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Scourge of the Sword Coast is released in a digital PDF format rather than as a physical package. This means instead of getting a DM screen, a Campaign Guide and an adventure, you are getting one large PDF and twenty supplementary PDFs. As well, Scourge of the Sword Coast is designed only for D&D Next rules while the previous Sundering adventures were compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 and Fourth Edition. I’m not sure why such changes were made to the format as the first two Sundering adventures allowed a wide range of D&D fans to play the content. It’s a bit of a disappointment to be sure, but it’s not as if this is the first publicly available D&D Next only adventure. We’ve already had Vault of the Dracolich and a full campaign in Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle released. We had to move on to the new edition sometime, right?

Speaking of Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle, it is worth noting that Scourge of the Sword Coast is a direct sequel to that campaign, with characters and events from that collection showing up here. However you won’t be able to use the same characters as you did in Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. That campaign took a character from first to (at least) tenth level while Scourge of the Sword Coast will take characters from second to fifth level. This is also a good time to mention that leveling up is done D&D Encounters style rather than based on experience points. This means you will level up after specific questions/dungeons crawls/campaign moments. This might not sit well with long time D&D players, but those used to D&D Encounters and its style of play should be used to this. I have to admit I would have preferred straight up experience because the adventure is completely open world so events can unfold in any order. So the gaps between leveling up might be really small and then take forever. At the same time goal based leveling up may not be what we’re used to as roleplayers but it does make more sense from a story point of view. No worries though because if you really want to assign XP totals to monsters, there’s nothing stopping you.

Scourge of the Sword Coast takes place around the town of Daggerford, which shall act as your homebase for the campaign. Yes, this is a campaign made up of several dungeon crawls which connect to form a larger story. The order in which quests will be discovered and completed depending on what clues and/or conversations the characters have, and in which order. It’s entirely possible for one or two quests to not be finished before the endgame is figured out and players being players, may just skip right ahead to that. There’s nothing wrong with that. Adventures need to be designed of all sorts of player decisions and Scourge of the Sword Coast does just that. Because of the open world nature of the campaign, Scourge of the Sword Coast is best left in the hands of a very experienced DM who can handle multiple dangling plot threads at once as well as the many locations this campaign contains. An inexperienced DM might find themselves in over the head and thus the experience will suffer greatly.

Scourge of the Sword Coast will see Daggerford as the crux of all sorts of strange happenings. There will be machinations by devils, plots by Thayan wizards, a massive influx of refugees as Orcs, Gnolls and Goblins seem to be attacking and harassing villages in a great decree than ever before. The Duke of Daggerfod gets a an ancient piece of art stolen and accuses the longtime ally of a disabled Paladin of the theft. All of these plot threads and more tie together as the players seek to uncover the puppetmaster behind all these apparently unrelated incidents. Besides Daggerford players will travel to the village of Julkon, Phylond Lodge, Harpshield Castle, Firehammer Hold, and the Floshin Estate. So that’s a guaranteed five dungeon crawls in addition to the copious amounts of investigation, discussion, and NPC interaction. You have a wide variety of enemies that you will encounter and while the campaign is a little on the easy side compared to other D&D Next releases, but there is still a degree of challenge and if your PCs don’t work together, character death is definitely possible.

So adventure quality wise, I really liked Scourge of the Sword Coast thanks to the open world nature of the piece, the wonderful cast of NPCs you are provided with and the multiple locations you have to explore. While it’s not as good as Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle, Murder in Baldur’s Gate or Legacy of the Crystal Shard, the campaign is better than any of the D&D Encounters pieces I’ve gone through in the past few years and it’s definitely a better experience than most published fourth edition adventures. Scourge of the Sword Cost is a very well done and fun adventure and I’ve enjoyed fiddling with the adventure since October, 2013 (when it was originally provided to me). The final product, which is now for public purchase is really well done and you’ll definitely get your eighteen bucks out of it. Do I wish the piece had experience points or was in a pretty snazzy physical package like the first two Sundering adventures. Well of course I do, but as that isn’t going to happen I’m fine with what’s here. Scourge of the Sword Coast is a wonderful addition to the D&D Next line and will lead directly into Dead in Thay, which will take these same characters (if they survived) through Levels 6-8. Like Scourge of the Sword Coast, I’ve received various renditions of Dead in Thay since November and it too will be a really fun purchase for Fifth Edition fans. So far I have been thoroughly impressed with the D&D Next adventures and content and I’ve loved every single one. Here’s hoping you do too.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Like the previous two Sundering adventures, you are getting much more than just the core adventure. Where the previous two adventures came with a full campaign guide to their region and a nicely done DM screen, Scourge of the Sword Coast comes with a whopping 220 pages of various PDFs provided all the rules you will need to play D&D Next. So if you haven’t picked up any of the rules so far (Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle comes with them) you can buy this for only $17.99 and receive the following glut of mechanics and crunch:

•Eight 1st Level pregenerated characters (even though you start the campaign at Level 2…)

•A Twenty page DM Guide

•A thirteen page Equipment Guide

•A four page Feat Guide

•A twenty-nine page Player’s Guide

•A twelve page Magic Item Guide

•A three page guide on Multi-Classing

•A seven page guide on playable races

•A fifty-eight page guide to spells

•A five page guide on Character Creation

•An eleven page guide on Skills and Backgrounds

•A forty-six page guide on Classes

•A one page “Read this First!” document

Wow. That’s a lot of content and it’s all free with the purchase of the adventure. For those that already have Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle, you can see how the D&D Next rules have changed in the past few months. If you don’t have Dragonspear Castle, then purchasing Scourge of the Sword Coast not only gives you a full campaign but the ability to have all the rules you need to run a full D&D Next game. FOREVER! Well, until the core rulebooks come out anyway. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a great deal this is. 220 pages of mechanics in addition to an eighty-five page campaign? That is an exceptional deal and this is probably the best way to jump on D&D Next if you haven’t already. If you don’t like it, at least you only spent eighteen dollars instead of buying giant hardcover books with a fifty dollar or so price tag, right? If you’re at all a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, regardless of edition, Scourge of the Sword Coast is well worth picking up just because it’s an amazing deal for such a high quality release. Is it perfect? No, it has notable aspects that some people will rightfully pick apart as it’s not “their” version of D&D. I do think D&D Next is a massive step in the right direction and I’ve yet to read a release for it that I haven’t loved. It’s a shame we aren’t getting a physical release of Scourge of the Sword Coast, but I’ve made do with several digital renditions for months and I’m just happy to have the final product in my hands…via a Kindle Fire anyway.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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