General D&D Topics* A new campaign (now with play report)





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  1. #1
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    A new campaign (now with play report)

    I am gearing up for a new D&D campaign with my group. Joy! We haven't been able to game in a long time because of real life, but it looks like we're all ready to jump back into D&D

    I'd like to begin it with a bang, I'm thinking a huge dragon assaulting the King's castle with lots of explosions, dragon-riding, and other desperate heroics. Then figuring out *why* the dragon attacked and where it came from will be the hook for the next couple adventures.

    I know it sounds horribly cliched, but we've actually never done something like this in D&D. What are your ideas for how to make it awesome? Or general musings about dragon fights or campaign beginnings?

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S. Loosely, I'm basing this campaign on events from the last campaign I ran with this group, so it's my homebrew world, with the timeline advanced 5 years. Players can either use characters from that campaign or new ones (we talked about "D&D All Stars" where players plays their favorite PC of all time). The PCs would be 11th level. The "read aloud text" to introduce the adventure would go something like this...

    Spoiler:
    It has been five years since you overthrew the tyrant and put his young son Arslein on the throne. Now you've returned to Tir Uldeir, the king's castle, on the eve of his 18th birthday. Tir Uldeir is filled to the brink with visitors from across the kingdom, and throughout the known lands. It is the beginning of autumn, a crisp breeze filling the castle's russet banners. You meet outside the castle as the portcullis is raised.
    Last edited by Quickleaf; Saturday, 10th November, 2012 at 09:56 AM.

 

  • #2
    I started my recent 4E Eberron campaign like this, recently. Starting with a dragon attack, but on the lightning rail!

    My group started at 1st-level, got acquainted on the train when it was attacked from above. They had to figure out what was causing it, temporarily held it off with other guards on the train, and it culminated with a full on derailment and crash where they had to rescue the survivors while the dragon carried off the treasure it was looking for.

    Definitely worthwhile.

    I don't think a "Dragon Attack!" opener for a campaign is a bad idea at all. My one thought would be to change the setting. I had a great time with the lightning rail. Perhaps instead of "dragon attack the castle," a slightly different environment?

  • #3
    Well there's a hell of a lot of ways of making it interesting. Terrain is a great one. Castles should be more than props.

    - Ballista on the walls: Allows you to fire arrows at the dragon for large damage and a chance to bring it to the ground (requires a standard action to load and fire, taking two people)

    - Boiling oil on hand, to pour on the dragon once he's down

    - Crowds of soldiers that the charismatic PCs can rally to encourage them to fire arrows at the dragons

    - Flames started on the roofs, which the PCs can put out (if they don't, part of the castle burns down).

    - A moat which they can force the dragon into, and which disables its wing abilities (wings are waterlogged!)

    - Maybe magical defenses that the PCs can activate to hinder the dragon?


    You could make it a multi-stage encounter.

    Stage 1: Rally the castle to put out the fires and fire arrows at the monster

    Stage 2: Ground the monster, and weaken it with magic

    Stage 3: Engage it outside the castle walls before it breaks through (maybe only the PCs venture outside the castle walls, because heroes are heroes, and guards are not heroes).

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    While it might be cliched there are actually very few adventures that are built around a
    dragon attack and the fallout of that event.

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    I think much could be done with this idea, how high a level are the characters?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    Then figuring out *why* the dragon attacked and where it came from will be the hook for the next couple adventures.
    To kidnap the princess, of course!

    Sounds like a great way to start off a campaign.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy_dnd View Post
    I don't think a "Dragon Attack!" opener for a campaign is a bad idea at all. My one thought would be to change the setting. I had a great time with the lightning rail. Perhaps instead of "dragon attack the castle," a slightly different environment?
    Cool lightning rail story!

    For story reasons, the castle seems like a best fit. It's the king's 18th birthday, it's a way to rally the PCs, and it's a familiar touchstone from a past campaign. That said I'm definitely doing something along the lines that @GreyICE suggests...especially like the idea of activating ancient magical defenses of some kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iapetus View Post
    I think much could be done with this idea, how high a level are the characters?
    They'll be 10th level. I'd like this to be a very hard adventure that plays from beginning to end in one 4-hour session, and for there to be a real possibility the PCs might fail to repel the dragon without some lateral thinking.

    Rules-wise, I'm looking at a heavily modified adult red dragon (CL15) because, well, it's iconic! And a full frontal assault would be more a red dragon's style than other dragons I think. I'm planning on running it using AngryDM's boss monster blog on 3-phase solos as a guideline.

    Story-wise, I have to work some things out: Why is the dragon attacking on the king's 18th birthday celebration? What is the attack's connection to the orb of dragonkind gifted to the king by a visiting emissary? Who is behind the dragon attack? Are they controlling the dragon magically or do they have an alliance?

    Quote Originally Posted by MortalPlague
    To kidnap the princess, of course!

    Sounds like a great way to start off a campaign.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    Story-wise, I have to work some things out: Why is the dragon attacking on the king's 18th birthday celebration?
    What is the attack's connection to the orb of dragonkind gifted to the king by a visiting emissary?
    Who is behind the dragon attack?
    Are they controlling the dragon magically or do they have an alliance?
    A fire/dragon cult seems most appropriate here.
    1) The 18th birthday could be the approachment of the age of ritual sacrifice, or the age of joining if you want a twist (a distraction for the king to exit unnoticed).
    2) The dragon may want it as tribute for it's aid to the cult to protect itself from the orb's influence, or the cult may want it to control the dragon and break their deal.
    3) The cult (or the soon to be a cultist king).
    4) I think it would start as an alliance, but the cultists may want to change that. Or the king may be controlling it to cause a distraction and arise fear in the hearts of the common-folk.

    Even if the king is becoming a cultist, he could still rule the kingdom spreading the influence of the cult of fire/the dragon.

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    I'd break it up into small scenes.

    Make it a more powerful dragon and have a few different ways. Have a few scenes with different dragon attacks. Think the beginning of Skyrim.

    Start with it attacking from a distance as the PCs try to make it across a burning courtyard while avoiding blasts of fire and saving guests (and the castle).
    They rush towards the battlements but the dragon attacks and the tower collapses on the PCs and they have to dig out and find an alterate way.
    From there kove to fighting on the battlements. Organizing the scattered bwmen. Then move on to fixing the damaged siege weapons that can bring it down.

    Treat the thing like a massive series of skill challenges. The dragon might be X number of levels higher than the party (let's say L25) and every success lowers its level (to a minimum of 15).
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    @Jester Canuck , that sound a bit too much like a computer rpg.

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