An Adventure for 1st level characters by R.A Salvatore, James Wyatt, Jeffrey Ludwig
Forgotten Realms - the Sundering
The People of Icewind Dale are hardy and have long stood against the perils of he North. the events that shook the region a hundred years ago are now a distant memory. But what was defeated was not destroyed.
Now forces converge on the Ten Towns, the people of the North face their greatest trial yet. To overcome these threats , adventurers must once again rise to challenge evil.
"Legacy of the Crystal Shard" (2013), by R.A. Salvatore with Jeffrey Ludwig, James Wyatt, and Matthew Sernett, is the adventure for Season 16 of D&D Encounters. It was released for play in November 2013.
Continuing the Encounters. "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" follows the new trends of the Encounters program that began with Season 15's "Murder in Baldur's Gate". That means that it kicked off with a Launch Weekend event, which was held on November 16-17. Stores were given Launch Kits that included an extra-long version of the first week's adventure, 20 white dice with blue numbers and snowflakes, and a poster map of the area.
However, to play more, Encounters GMs had to buy the "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" as a printed adventure, which appeared on November 19. It was another extensive package including a 64-page sourcebook, a 32-page adventure book, and a Crystal Shard GM's screen, all packed in a flimsy slipcover. There was one more element to the release: a book of "Encounters and Monster Stats" that had to be downloaded from Wizards. GMs then had just one day to prepare themselves before the season of Encounters began!
Like "Murder in Baldur's Gate", "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" returned to the traditional PC levels of 1-3.
"Legacy of the Crystal Shard" was the Winter 2013-2014 Encounters season, running from November 20, 2013 to February 12, 2014. That implies a 12-week run, but two of those weeks were Christmas and New Year's, so there were only 10 weeks of actual play.
Playtesting D&D Next. Like its immediate predecessor, "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" was statless, with monster books allowing for play in D&D 3.5e, 4e, or 5e. By now, the D&D Next playtest rules were becoming increasingly available, not just as an internet download, but also in Gen Con's "Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle" (2013).
About the Encounter Format. Traditionally, the Encounters adventures carefully delineated an encounter worth of play for each Wednesday's adventure. "Murder in Baldur's Gate" switched that up a bit by providing players with more choices of what they did each week, but it still maintained the constrained weekly format. "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" totally broke away from Encounters' traditional style of play. There are no encounters; instead GMs are told to break up the adventure as they see fit over the ten weeks of play.
The style of adventure is also quite different. The traditional Encounters were heavily combat oriented, then "Murder in Baldur's Gate" moved dramatically in the opposite direction. "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" finds a middle ground. Part of this is done through its inclusion of three different power brokers who are advancing evil agendas. Depending on which villains the players oppose, they might have to fight, politic, or roleplay. The idea of players opposing three different power players come right out of "Murder in Baldur's Gate", as does the fact that one of those villains will ultimately succeed.
About the Product Tie-In(s). "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" is rife with tie-ins to products across the long history of D&D.
To start with, it's founded in The Crystal Shard (1988), R.A. Salvatore's first Drizzt novel and his introduction of the north — a locale that he arbitrary picked off of a map of the Realms. "Legacy" also has ties to many other Salvatore novels thanks to the eponymous Shard: Passage to Dawn (1996) saw its return, The Silent Blade (1998) saw its theft, Servant of the Shard saw its destruction, and The Ghost King (2009) saw its necromantic return.
By the '10s, Wizards was actively moving D&D to other media, so Salvatore's northern setting had also been featured in the Legacy of Drizzt (2011) board game.
Finally, "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" is part of Wizards' multimedia Sundering event. Like "Murder in Baldur's Gate", this new adventure is about the realignment of the gods in a new era of the Realms, with a Chosen of Auril acting as one of the adventure's antagonists. Set in 1485 DR, "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" also runs concurrently with The Adversary (2013), the third novel of the Sundering, which was released in December 2013.
Exploring the Realms. Ten-Towns and the Icewind Dale first appeared in fiction in the The Crystal Shard (1988), then in the early supplement, FR5: "The Savage Frontier" (1988). These lands have appeared in many novels since as well as numerous D&D supplements, with the most notable being The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996), Salavatore's own The Accursed Tower (1999), and to a lesser extent Silver Marches (2002). The area was also the subject of an entire video game, Icewind Dale (2000).
"Legacy of the Crystal Shard" focuses mainly on the north as revealed through R.A. Salvatore's novels. The Campaign Guide book describes Icewind Dale, Ten-Towns, nearby peoples, and nearby locales, as well as two factions of note: the followers of the Frostmaiden and the Arcane Brotherhood.
Future History. Dungeon #220 (November 2013) features an adventure called "King of the Wolves", which is set in the area of Icewind Dale, and could be used as a sequel to "Legacy of the Crystal Shard" as it's for characters levels 4-6.
About the Creators. R.A. Salvatore is best-known for his 40(!) books set in the Forgotten Realms, beginning with The Icewind Dale trilogy (1988-1990). His contributions to the RPG itself are much fewer, making this book special. His previous major contributions had been FR9: "The Bloodstone Lands" (1989) and "The Accursed Tower" (1999). Salvatore has said that he likes writing adventures because he's "a DM by nature".
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.