[RPG] Recommend a published encounter for 4e to demo its strengths to newbies!


I'm looking for recommendations for a published (but not necessarily WotC), fun, single encounter to introduce some friends to D&D 4E. We'll be using a virtual tabletop (Roll20 specifically) for it, and are planning a relatively short session of 2 hours.

Since most of the folks are new to 4e, I'm leaning towards fun rather than challenge, and I'd like to show off the system's strengths. Particularly, I'm looking for a single encounter that showcases the tactical, synergistic combat that 4e does so well. I'd be even more pleased if said encounter had a skill challenge (structured or otherwise) built in.

I should have 7 or so at the table, so something that works well for a large party is a secondary consideration. Lastly, I'd prefer an early heroic power-level, mostly to avoid overly complicated PCs.

Best Answer

Prey for Smiley Bob: http://archive.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dun/smileybob

Specifically, Encounter 3: Poke the Bear.

  • You can easily summarize the lead-in (which includes a halfling giving a bear half a Glasgow smile; the whole module has a sense of the ridiculous) to explain what's going on, so it can work as a stand-alone encounter while still feeling like part of a story.

  • It's for a level 1 party.

  • It features goblins, who have great tactical show-off-ness with their shifting powers.

  • It takes place in an enclosed space with objects, but can spill outdoors or upstairs.

  • It has a bear! He has a grab attack, which lets you show off that part of the 4e rules. But the bear will only attack if provoked, and...

  • There's a skill challenge to make friends with the bear. You can feed him a goblin as part of it, if you like.

To show off the way NPCs can synergise, you'd have to customize some of the goblins.

If Smiley Bob doesn't do it for you, I understand there are "Encounters" sessions: single-encounter delves designed for use in game shops. But you'll have to track one down physically if you want to try that.

There is also the Dungeon Delve book, which is a Great Big Book O' Short Adventures (one per level). You might be able to pull one encounter out of that, but I find most of them a little underwhelming.

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