Neverwinter's Gateway, currently in beta, allows players to access their character sheet, manage their professions and browse the auction house even when they aren't in game, which is somewhat useful but not very exciting. Sword Coast Adventures makes Gateway a bit more colourful, thankfully.
Through your adventures up and down the Sword Coast, you'll recruit companions, but you're not always around to keep them company. What do they get up to when you go to work, cook your dinner or pretend you prefer socialising instead of playing an MMO? My guess would have been that they do exactly the same thing, but actually they bugger off on their own adventures, the cheating bastards. Now, at least, you have some measure of control over their independent adventuring.
You choose your party before sending them off on an adventure, though in my case I could only choose my mangy dog, because I've not played enough to have more than one measly pal. Luckily, three other adventurers decided to join in, and they'd be able to assist my faithful hound in battle for a share of the loot, though they'd leave once the adventure was over.
There are different quests dotted all over the map, ranging in difficulty, and my hound sniffed out some treasure in an ancient crypt. What followed was a series of dice-based battles, where individuals in the party could be selected for each fight, and they'd have to get certain symbols during their rolls that matched the enemy's, eventually defeating it. Different characters have access to special die, as well, called power die, on top of the basic set that everyone has access too, and they all have different skills that make them more proficient in certain scenarios.
After slaughtering a few zombies and skeletons, fighting an ogre and beating up a chest, my dog and his friends ended up earning me a tidy sum and left me with a few items to boot, all available in game next time I jump in.
It's a simple addition to the main game, but it's a nice way to make a bit of extra coin and experience when you don't have time to actually play. It's all done through the browser without any hassle at all. My dog certainly seemed to enjoy it.