News Archive | 8/2/2012
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D&D Lair Assault

If you think you have what it takes to brave the fiercest foes, fight the toughest battles, and conquer the vilest enemies, we have the Dungeons & Dragons play experience for you! Gather your master tacticians and rules experts together to kick down the dungeon doors and begin the assault! D&D Lair Assault is a new Wizards Play Network in-store program that pits tactically-minded players against a super challenge where the difference between victory and defeat is dependent upon your game knowledge, ability to adapt, and a little bit of luck. You'll pit your wits against some of the most difficult encounters you've ever played.

Each challenge is a mega-encounter that plays in just a few hours, but many will need to make more than one run at it in pursuit of victory. D&D Lair Assault challenges are available for a few months, and stores can schedule their sessions at any time during that period.

D&D Lair Assault has been designed for a quality, fun, super-challenging play experience that really encourages repeat play. We've designed the kits to accommodate as many players as possible by keeping the focus on the play experience, accomplishments, and bragging rights. Rather than making the challenge all about obtaining a physical "prize," it's about having a great time playing a fun D&D game available nowhere else.

The Story So Far

Into the Pit of Madness

Mad cultists have located the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun and sounded the dark god’s iron horn, the Wailer of Tharizdun. Now the ground trembles as the Chained God’s aspect struggles to escape. When it does, the Chained God will follow, plunging the world into Eternal Darkness.

Into the Pit of Madness draws inspiration from Gary Gygax’s The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, as well as Monte Cook’s Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Fortune Cards

Add D&D Fortune Cards and Enhance Your Game

Dungeons & Dragons Fortune Cards, sold in booster packs of 8 cards, give players fun new ways to survive the challenges of the D&D Encounters in-store play program, as well as their home campaigns. These cards give characters fun, temporary benefits that feel different from the benefits gained from powers and feats, without adding undue complexity to the D&D game.

Twitter Buffs will allow you to do even more with your D&D Fortune Cards—follow @Wizards_DnD

How They Work

At the start of each encounter, shuffle your deck and draw a card.

You can play one card per round. It requires no action to play. The rules on each card state when you can play it and what effect it has. A card takes effect just once unless it states otherwise, and you discard the card when its effect ends.

You can have only one Fortune Card in your hand at a time. At the start of each of your turns, you can do one of the following:

  • Discard the card in your hand and draw a new one.
  • Draw a new card if you don’t have one in your hand.
  • Keep the card that’s in your hand if you haven’t played it.

Download the rules for How to Play and to Build Your Own Deck

Creating a Character

Our most skilled players spoke, and we listened. When they’re tackling the deadliest fights in 4th Edition, they want options. Unlike D&D Encounters and other shared-world campaigns, D&D Lair Assault allows players to utilize the entire breadth of the 4th Edition rules. Any legal character build of the appropriate level, using options from official Wizards products, is permissible in D&D Lair Assault. A great way to sort through the rules and make effective characters is through the Character Builder online tool available to D&D Insider subscribers.

Yes, that means all those books, both old and new, are resources for players to create the most deadly team of adventurers possible. They can pull out an old favorite from the Player’s Handbook, grab something from the latest releases like Dungeon Survival Handbook, or augment their options with rules from Dragon. If it’s a 4th Edition rules source printed by Wizards, it’s legal for play.

Gearing Up for Danger

Each D&D Lair Assault challenge will specify a level. This D&D Lair Assault, Into the Pit of Madness, is 10th level. Players bring characters of the challenge’s level to your scheduled event to participate. Characters higher or lower level than the challenge’s level are not allowed.

We use straightforward rules to equip characters for their deadly battles. Each character receives one magic item of one level higher than their level (level + 1), one of their level (level + 0), and one of one level lower than their level (level – 1). In addition, characters receive gold pieces equal to the value of one magic item of one level lower than their level (level – 1) to buy other equipment they think they’ll need. Each character may have no more than two consumable items (like potions or magic ammunition) equal to or less than the challenge’s level, and no more than one rare magic item. Note that players may equip their characters with magic items that are less than the stated levels if they so choose.

So, to use our 10th level example above, each character would have one 9th level, one 10th level and one 11th level magic item, plus 4,200 gold pieces to spend on other equipment (both mundane and magical).

Glory & Awards

Bragging Rights: Glory & Awards

Each installment of D&D Lair Assault has a list of awards that can be accomplished by you and tracked in a variety of ways. All of these awards have a glory point total – you can earn up to 200 glory through one or more plays of a specific challenge. Some awards are easier to obtain, and some are really tough!

Let's give a few examples from Temple of the Sky God:

  • And the Horse You Rode in On: Your mount dies.
  • See You Next Fall: Cause an enemy to have a high-altitude fall.
  • See You at the Bottom: Fall to your death.

In addition, there are a few "secret" awards that aren't known at the beginning and are given out as a surprise by the DMs during play. You'll need to take on a given challenge multiple times in order to come close to earning all 200 glory.

Tracking Awards

At the conclusion of a D&D Lair Assault session, the DM announces to the group what awards they've earned. Awards are earned per player, not per character. There are three ways in which these awards are tracked:

  • Poster: A tracking poster is provided in the kit. On the poster, the organizer can write each player's name and tally up the awards as they're earned to act as an in-store leaderboard.
  • Tracking Card: A number of tracking cards with all the awards listed are provided in the kit to hand out to players. There, you can keep a record of all the awards earned during a specific challenge's play period, and bring the card back with each session.
  • Online: You can login to your Wizards Community profile to keep a checklist online of all the awards you've earned. Best of all, you can earn profile badges specific to each installment that show off your accomplishments to everyone online!

Want to DM a D&D Lair Assault?

It’s OK to Be Evil

D&D Lair Assault isn’t for the faint of heart. You can expect players to be bringing their A-game to the table when they saunter up, confident that their party has been tweaked to the max. It’s the DM’s job to show them just how wrong they are – all in good fun, of course.

Specifically, D&D Lair Assault lets DMs take off the kid gloves and swing for the fences, allowing for them to use every legit trick in the book to take down the characters. The players are trying to beat the challenge, and the DM is trying to eliminate the characters. It’s as simple as that.

DMs are encouraged to play smart whenever possible for their foes, bringing as much of their tactical knowledge to the table as could be expected for the specific challenge. This can be a refreshing change of pace for DMs used to balancing encounters to keep the story and game flowing with a fine degree of tension. The expectation with D&D Lair Assault is that no holds are barred, and the players won’t be likely to make it through the challenge the first time through.

Just remember: there’s no crying after it’s over… only another character creation session.

Make It Your Own

So, let’s say your players have made their first run through a D&D Lair Assault challenge, and they’ve made it pretty far. They know the mission, have a good sense of the layout of the area, and are starting to prepare for another run against the foes they’ve met and the traps they’ve sprung. It should be a cakewalk the second time through, right?

Not really. The deviousness of the DM really shines when the cat-and-mouse game is truly engaged -- on the second and subsequent play-throughs for a group. You see, D&D Lair Assault also lets the DM swap out many of the monsters and tricks for others in-between play sessions, ensuring that each challenge packs a few new surprises. While players will certainly get a bit of an edge after one play-through, the DM has a number of options available to swap out certain threats and tricks each time the challenge is attempted. Every play of D&D Lair Assault offers the potential for a different mix of creatures, hazards, and area features.

Quality Materials Custom Made

Each D&D Lair Assault has all-new custom components. The challenge, presented in a full-color 6x9 inch booklet, is created for each installment. The tactical poster map is custom made – a completely new design, not present in past adventures and not built using Dungeon Tiles. There’s even a custom, full-color token sheet created for each challenge, with all the potential foes and features needed to depict any of the situations that may develop during play. We’ve even thrown in a small, wet-erase-marker usable reference map for the DMs to use to mark placement of their monsters and traps!

After the D&D Lair Assault season is finished, the kit contents make a spectacular reward for hard-working DMs. The maps alone are great for re-use, either with the challenge or in another adventure of the DM’s own devising!