Greetings adventurers, Asterdahl and Patrick here to talk to you about the upcoming epic trial, the Cradle of the Death God. Those of you familiar with epic trials will know that they represent some of the most challenging content in Neverwinter, requiring skilled parties with teamwork and coordination—the Cradle will be no exception! As the stage for the grand finale of the story that began in the Tomb of Annihilation module, The Cradle of the Death God will offer exciting new challenges and epic new sights.
As with past trials, the Cradle will be a straight shot from the start to finish, however, this time around the battle won’t be taking place in a single room. Instead, your adventuring party will be descending even further into Acererak’s Tomb, with the encounter taking place in three major acts.
In the first act, your party will be descending deeper into the Tomb aboard a massive stone lift. But don’t expect to be greeted with relaxed elevator tunes. Instead, you’ll face legions of undead and even the archlich himself. Look forward to some new and returning mechanics in this section, as well as some surprises to look forward to.
Instead of having the elevator descend down the shaft, we just have the shaft move up around the elevator. Even when you get to the large open vista during your descent, all of that geo is moving up around the players. This was a technical challenge that was pretty fun to work around, and I think it feels really cool to move through the space even though you don’t actually move!
If your party manages to make it to the bottom of the lift in one piece, you’ll find yourselves in the heart of the Tomb, face to face with the Soulmonger and an atropal, an undead abomination and fledgling godling created by Acererak. To have any hope of defeating The Atropal your party will need to destroy the Soulmonger. In this act you’ll need to survive the cry of The Atropal, waves of undead and Acerarak’s direct intervention while taking the Soulmonger apart, piece by piece.
Working out our version of the “final boss room” for the Tomb of Annihilation was a lot of fun. We decided to have a massive pool of doomed souls orbiting the bottom of the chamber with the Soulmonger feeding The Atropal hanging above. Check out our video at the end of this blog post for some more images of the Nursery in Act II!
Should you manage to destroy the Soulmonger, you’ll receive some well-deserved assistance grounding and weakening The Atropal, and then, the real fight will begin! While not yet a fully matured death god, The Atropal is more than capable of snuffing out the lives of those unprepared to weather its onslaught. If you can whittle down The Atropal’s life, expect the fight to grow more and more intense. This fight will test your split second decision making and group coordination. Don’t blink!
One of the ideas we’d been trying to work into our trials since Demogorgon was having the environment change around the players. It was a lot of fun to finally make that happen! Should you be skilled enough to destroy the Soulmonger, the resulting arcane explosion destroys part of the battlefield. During the fight with The Atropal you’ll have to be careful where you step. Falling into a pool of recently escaped souls is not recommended!
And what happens if you manage to defeat The Atropal? Well, congratulations! You and your friends have proven yourselves to be among the strongest adventurers in the Forgotten Realms! And of course you’ll be walking away with some considerable loot. A future blog will go into more details about upcoming rewards, but suffice to say, if you manage to complete this challenge, you’ll be able to earn the strongest weapons bar-none. We look forward to seeing you all challenge Acererak and his creation when the module goes live on February 27... See you on the Sword Coast, adventurers!
Doug “Asterdahl” Miller