Dungeons & Dragons Encounters Recap: Legacy of the Crystal Shard

Greetings once again, dear readers! As you may or may not know, I’ve had the distinct honor of being a part of Team Dungeon Master for 9 seasons of D&D Encounters at the Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn, NY. This season, I’ve been asked to write the recaps for each episode of Encounters and so be posting the recaps here. I have elected to write the recaps in journal format, from the perspective of Dwarven caravan leader Beorne Steelstrike as he recounts the Winter of the Iron Dwarf’s Vengeance in Icewind Dale in a tome he intends to gift to his Father when they meet again.

I hope you enjoy the recaps, PDFs listed by in-game date, and please do let me know how our story at 20sided is differing from your own experience with Legacy of the Crystal Shard. As always, questions and comments are very appreciated, thanks and enjoy!

Legacy of the Crystal Shard

Icewind Dale & Nearby Environs

DR 1485, 30th Eleasias

DR 1485, 25th Eleint

DR 1485, 26th Eleint

DR 1485, 27th Eleint

DR 1485, 30th Eleint

DR 1485, 31st Eleint

DR 1485, 1st Marpenoth

DR 1485, 2nd Marpenoth

DR 1485, 3rd Marpenoth

DR 1485, 4th Marpenoth

DR 1485, 5th Marpenoth

DR 1485, 6th Marpenoth

DR 1485, 7th Marpenoth


About Berling

Ken Breese (he) Writer, Narrative Designer, and Game Master for hire focused on Inclusion, Table Top RPGs, Nerd Culture, Critical Thinking, and the Politics of Gaming.

5 Responses to “Dungeons & Dragons Encounters Recap: Legacy of the Crystal Shard”

  1. Thomas Metten | December 3, 2013 at 04:39 #

    Please do keep this up, I’m really enjoying your writing so far.

    I’m picking up the adventure kit this weekend and I am planning on running my first session of Legacy of the Crystal Shard on New Years Eve, with some friends. You have some very original additions and details which I will probably use to spice up our story as well.

    • Berling | December 3, 2013 at 08:52 #

      Thank you, Thomas! It’s great to hear from you. The kit is a great product; the campaign guide is really helpful and has some evocative art, while the adventure booklet itself is just solid story. My favorite piece is the DM Screen though. It’s incredibly helpful. Enjoy your New Years Eve game, that sounds like quite a nice way to ring in 2014! Thanks again for reading, I truly appreciate it.

  2. Blur | December 3, 2013 at 14:59 #

    I suppose that Beorne might want to overlook the ode that I wrote on King Bruenor. So far so good in the campaign. I do have a request though, I went ahead and checked the playtest guide and found the EX that I had and leveled myself up due to the XP I was supposed to gain. Would it be possible to utilize our XP accordingly? I’m ok with different encounters and what not i.e (one group battling a rogue bear, second group goblins third group may not have an encounter at all but were rewarded XP due to RP skills) But I find our interpersonal communication interesting. It’s fun we can go to a different group due to random chance every week, but could we actually develop and expand more on pre encounter and post encounter RP? The marshal, a high elf, the drow, a bard, the paladin of tyr and myself all were talking among ourselves trying to discern what exactly this black ice is, and for the most part we have conflicting views. Some characters might have attempted slight meta although realistically My bard and a few other bards might have some general knowledge of the Crystal shard, However I believe (both In character and out of character) that the crystal shard isn’t sentient. It’s behavior patterns don’t con-inside with its MO, I believe I conclusively deduced that in character with the others due to the lore that is known about it. Aside from this we can safely assume that if everyone in the party was at least level two we should be able to stand a moderate chance against enemies should we have the ability either pre or post break to exchange teams. I for one would feel more comfortable with say… Myself (bard) Another Bard (I forgot his name but he’s pretty logical) The Mage, and a fighter. Although realistically the odds of us winning a fight might be slightly reduced, in actuality it would make more sense to have a team where at least one person can heal others, it would also make sense for a large party to at some point organize themselves. So if we could pre or post break have in character chat where we could *if the DM’s Allowed and saw that it wasn’t used as division or a means to break apart in to cliches* band together to accomplish specific goals. An example; We’re going (or likely going) to clan battle hammer, where there is a ton of strife at the moment. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the bards of the group to come together and attempt to coerce both parties in attending a feast/treaty meeting? And at that point utilize our negotiation skills to convince both parties to come together and agree on a common goal? Rather than having just a group of 15+ people show up, and attempt to argue about what is right and wrong and who’s more honorable and who is subject to having questionable integrity. The fact is, We’re all outsiders, and there are only two or three dwarf PC’s in our party accompanying the two dwarf NPCs we have with us. Non Dwarfs are rarely treated as equal with a dwarf, let alone during a time of political strife would two clans listen to inconsistent mutterings of tallfolk, let alone elf’s. If we run in there and try to tell them what we perceive to be right and wrong in all reality we may not accomplish much except a temporary agreement to not openly fight with each other. We will need the backing of the clans (clan battlehammer in my opinion) to assist us with traveling father north. Should the winter find its way to disperse even the fealty of the dwarfs then I don’t honestly think we’re accomplishing anything as far as uniting people in our adventure… CONTINUED>>>

  3. Blur | December 3, 2013 at 15:29 #

    2/2 (?)

    So let me first address Playing first then continue with my thoughts on the campaign so far.

    Firstly I Love that we have random encounters with different DM’s, But I would also like the ability to try and pick and choose a party of five or X amount of characters so we could attempt to accomplish a goal or continue on where we left off, it not only allows us to get to know one another a bit more both in and out of character it also allows us the chance to attempt to utilize each others strengths and cover up weaknesses. we have in the party ONE cleric. I don’t know if I’m the only one who can heal (bard) but I do hope that we play on each other a bit more and try to actually utilize party gold and each others ideas. It is possible for us to actually accomplish alternative routes to things by splitting up and still remaining on the path set out before us (Game wise) If I had it my way I would have rather attempted to beguile Slim and then simply say that we’ll work for him secretly and in reality act as double agents. Of course some of us may have been forced to become wear-rats as a result but we could have been cleansed of our curse later on if we actually went along with the plan and did Ten towns a service by cleansing it of its impurity. Granted the entire party (whatever the number would be) Saw Slim, If one party actually turned coat and fled during the chaos of the battle would it have been so disruptive? We do have lawful good characters in our party who would have attempted to stop us, but I think if we succeeded in escaping, not only would we have had a bit more of information, but we could actually found a means to resolve the issue with ten towns and being forced to pay “Protection money” by simply stating that we will be traveling north up toward the dwarfs to broker a deal that would allow us secure more food or supplies for ten towns (which is greatly needed) on behalf of slim. There are so many ways to work around things that we simply haven’t explored collectively as a group. This isn’t the black ice talking but I think Slim might have been a pretty nice guy. If anything at least have certain opportunities granted to us based on situational events. One party was wiped out and another actually has two ware-rats. Granted we shouldn’t PK, but in all honesty what trust my character did have for the group is slightly wavering with those who were bit by the ware-rats, mostly due to his religious background and distrust of them, He may or may not (if DM’s Forbid it and opportunity doesn’t allow it) attempt to kill one of them who were bit by the ware-rats, only on the grounds that they are a liability. Now does that mean that I should expect the Paladins, Clerics, the Marshall or any other lawful good character to Eyeball me everytime I walk around them because I Openly worship demons? Yeah, Does it mean I’ll attempt to disrupt the game by trying to PK all the time, or even more than once or simply out of boredom. No, not at all. A character is more than a numbers and a name, I enjoy that we’re all or… maybe most of us or some of us… Casual Players at encounters. But I honestly am not comfortable with potential enemies around us. Now can the characters in character convince me in character that they aren’t infected. yeah absolutely, would my character just up and Kill another Party member for any reason. No, not unless he was absolutely sure he A: wouldn’t be caught, B: it wouldn’t turn back to bite him in the ass, and C: it wouldn’t cause attention to bore down on him. He would however let someone die if he deemed them a potential threat. But that doesn’t mean that after a battle if he’s the only one who can heal and the Marshall or any Lawful good or chaotic good Aligned character was at 0 HP or worse that he’d just let them die. The need to have a strong party outweights his limited disdain for what he deems “Good, and Righteous” That being said. I think that If we allowed more conversation in character between one another we would find the means to accomplish our goals by paring ourselves up with those whom we could count on and trust, vs those whom we just happen to be fighting along side. I don’t think we need to split up the adventure or go Abridged as a result of this, but I do think that certain voices are being heard over reason simply due to the fact that we don’t have known party leaders or selective trust. We simply go with votes and what some of us believe to be right because at the time we simply agree with whatever last thing someone else had said versus logic and forethought. I honestly don’t think Blur would be a candidate for party leader because Of his nature, however there is a certain bard, The marshal, A claric, a certain High elf, A fighter and a Harper who in my opinion should make up for the general consensus for us all. That way we could easily decide what action we should take based on what makes the most sense and what would behoove us more than simply get us moving along. If we all as a group have to vote on which way to go, what to do, who should talk to whom and things of the like then we won’t get much accomplished. We need people who will make solid decisions for the whole of us, not leave our lives up the whims of ourselves. Unity and solidarity is far greater than the mentality of a mob whose decisions can be altered in the confines of the most remedial of retorts. **End of RP thoughts**

  4. Blur | December 3, 2013 at 15:55 #


    Now then back to the Story: It has been One year since the Companions has ended, So we don’t know what happened with drizzts, Spider, catte-brie and Wulfgar. But It’s clear that they aren’t around. R.A Responded to an Email I sent him about something similar, But I’m curious if In character, Anyone else has seen them? Should I email Him and ask him his opinion on if anyone actually Knowns where they are, or if they’ve seen them? The entire reason of my character being in Ten towns is because he’s looking for Spider, whom he thinks would come here. If he isn’t here or if no one has seen them, then odds are he’d attempt to set up a stow away (The insurance concept/ THIS ISN’T A THIEVES GUILD IT’S A… A, LIABILITY GUILD!) in ten towns. Which he has addressed to the party multiple times. If anything He’ll try even harder to bring everyone together, but I question if the parties goal rest in killing the chosen, or simply asking her to hold her touch a bit for ten towns. It seems as if The party is filled with vapid murderers. And that’s sayling alot from a character who is leaning toward chaotic evil.

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