Legacy of the Crystal Shard review

After almost a year of silence I come back! I’m afraid I may have to refocus my blogging activity. My current life doesn’t really leave me so much time for playing, and there are things I really want to write about which have nothing to do with games… we will see.

Anyway, back to the playing table. I bought a couple of months ago the Legacy of the Crystal Shard campaign for Dungeons & Dragons. After two sessions of play I want to give you my opinion about both the product and product line. In future posts I will describe how the sessions go.

Product cover

I had read some very good reviews, and it was the last product in the Encounter series to be edited in a physical format. Wizards of the Coast decided to publish from then on in PDF format, and I wanted to own one of the books. They are usually well written and illustrated, and the price was reasonable at Book Depository (you can still find it at 20€ including shipping).

This product belongs to The Sundering series, which is an effort by Wizards of the Coast to re-launch their fantasy franchise in a multiplataform event: books, role playing games, computer games, board games, card games, etc.

PDF-only policy

If you try to sell a new adventure or campaign every other week, at a price around $40, don’t expect sales to be huge. Depending on your distribution channels, and the low-quality expectation for a weekly campaign, you will probably lose money.

I understand why they change to a PDF-only sales policy. The price is around 15€, which is high enough that I will only buy the ones I’m almost certain I’m playing. The physical edition however included a beautiful game screen, which is worth more than 5€ by itself, so the price for the PDF is a little too high.

Good: A great campaign

Good plot, charismatic villains, references to the classic Icewind Dale book series, both city intrigues and tundra encounters… The plot evolves as the heroes deal with evil cultists, scheming wizards and warring dwarves.

I’m really eager to see how the heroes perform, what dooms they can stop in time, and which fall upon the people of the Ten Towns.

The adventure is very good, and the campaign book provides enough information to enlarge it at your will.

I recommend downloading some promotional NPC portraits which are not included. They provide a great visual help for players to get immersed in the adventure. You can find the portraits in the Dungeonmaster blog.

Akar Kessell

Bad: Preparation required

The campaign material is vast. Initially I tried to know everything about the Icewind Dale, but I soon understood it was impossible. This makes me feel somehow uncomfortable while running the adventure.

The complexity of the adventure is also very high. There are three antagonists with links between them, multiple locations, a complex timetable of events…

I followed some advice I found online and wrote down a timeline to know what is happening every day, with different colors for each of the factions.

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