A month ago now, Wizards of the Coast released this four-part scenario on their D&D Beyond platform. Here are my thoughts after reading through it.
First off, I cut and pasted the content into an Open Office document, exported it into a PDF, printed it, and then read it. I imagine the hyperlinks in it are quite handy.
This whole scenario reminds me a lot of Star Trek, with cadets being trained for service at the Academy. I wonder if the adventure that comes with the boxed set, Light of Xaryxis, will have the same kind of feel to it.
Advancement in this scenario is quick. Really quick. Each of the first three parts “takes approximately two hours to play” and advances the characters by a level. That's four levels that could be earned in a long day of gaming!
I appreciate that, while the scenario takes place in the Forgotten Realms, the island Nimbral is isolated from the rest of it. That is such a big campaign setting, with so much history behind it, that I would find it intimidating to run a scenario in the Realms.
These scenarios are approved for use with the D&D Adventurers League. I think it would be fun to run them for various groups and see how they play out in different ways for each.
On the one hand, it feels like this scenario is written for new DMs; the text talks the DM through encounters. It is written for “three to seven 1st-level characters,” however, and does not provide suggestions for modifying the number of opponents that the characters face in combat situations.
Part 3 of the adventure sends the heroes, as 3rd-level characters, to the planet H'Catha in Realmspace. That seems like a perilous assignment for a group of cadets.
That voyage includes a level increase in the middle of the journey, since it is divided between parts 3 and 4 of the scenario.
Finally, I wonder how the Academy leaders even know to send the heroes on that assignment, which involves recovering a meteorite from that planet. How do they know that it is there?
All in all, this seems like a fun scenario; I wonder if the published adventure, Light of Xaryxis, will have the same kind of tone.
I am really looking forward to the release of the new books tomorrow.