5E Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
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  1. #1

    Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)

    My players just gave me Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat for an early Christmas present, on the understanding that I'll run the adventures for them. I've seen comments around the net saying these modules can use a bit of work to make them run better at the table, so I'd really like to hear what other people have done to spice them up or smooth them out. I'd also appreciate links to any other threads discussing the matter that you know of.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    EDIT to add: This thread is for HotDQ. I made a separate thread for Rise of Tiamat.

    NOTE: This is now a wiki thread. Please post favorite ideas below (or summaries, with links to the posts that explain them in detail). Thanks!
    Last edited by jayoungr; Wednesday, 25th October, 2017 at 08:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    First, go through and take notes on the chapter before running. Not everything is in a good location in the text for at-table use.

    Second, it really helps to have printed out the supplement pages for the monsters ahead of time, or to have copied down the stats. Not having to flip really smooths it out.

    Thirdly, remember that not all the encounters presented are mandatory.

  3. #3
    Download the fan compiled errata and clarifications from here: http://rpggeek.com/filepage/109184/e...s-fan-compiled

    The blogs Sly Flourish, Merric's Musings, and Hack & Slash have helpful blog posts for running episodes of the adventure. I'm sure they contain a lot of good advice that would be worthwhile to read.

  4. #4
    I used a highlighter to note important references in the text. I also used a pencil to circle relevant text to read out to the players. I used a lot of little sticky notes to write reminders about how I want to run an encounter. All this really helped speed up encounters without having to read through lots of text (I don't have a photographic memory).

    The blogs mentioned above are good resources.

    Personally, I love DM'ing this adventure. Very original ideas and circumstances, basically legendary as far as I'm concerned.
    XP Blackwarder, pukunui, chibi graz'zt, SigmaOne gave XP for this post

  5. #5
    Depending on your group there are several areas of problems you can encounter.

    First there is the loads of errors because the adventure was written before the rules were finished. See the errata document for that.
    Second is the lore. It simply does not make sense. Nothing much you can do about it, but unless they are FR fans they might not notice.
    And third is the playstyle issues. HotDQ is a very railroady adventure which expects your players to act in a certain way. For example the entire first chapter expects the characters to be heroic stupid and charge into a town under dragon attack and even attack the dragon (although that part is not strictly necessary by the railroad). If your group plays that way or is willing to "just go with it" for the sake of the adventure you are fine.
    Last edited by Derren; Saturday, 31st January, 2015 at 11:08 PM.
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  6. #6
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    You know the whole argument that going into the town with a dragon flying over it is railroading it is really old at this point. I would like to point out once and for all(ok wishful thinking) that every and I mean EVERY adventure railroads you into it, for every module ever written. If people want to argue how stupid adventurers have to be to go into a town with a dragon then it should be equally stupid to think you can go into an enemy dungeon/cave/castle/anythingelseyoucanpossiblyimagine and kill all the enemies inside when you are outnumbered 20:1 or worse. You're hero's, hero's fight against impossible odds and persevere or they fight against impossible odds and fall. That's what makes them hero's. Let's go really old school(I mean really old) David and Goliath. Man David was such a moron to fight against a giant of a man that had never lost and with a sling no less! What an idiot. Let's go with story that has some actual historical fact to it... Battle of Thermopylae. Roughly 7000 Greek soldiers against somewhere between 100 and 250 thousand Persian soldiers and they stood strong. Knowing they were being flanked on the final day Leonidas sent the bulk of the soldiers home leaving him with around 1500-2000 soldiers to hold the pass and prevent the entire force from being slaughtered.

    I could go on with examples for quite a while from both fiction and history, the point is that to be a hero and be immortalized you have to stand up and take a grasp of your destiny. At the start of Greenest you can either go into the town and show you are the hero or you can walk away and find another adventure where you will still be facing mathematically impossible odds and just keep on walking till you find something else you enjoy. I hear Connect 4 and Candy Land are lovely games.
    XP Elf Witch, Wepwawet, airwalkrr, DMAesh, KahlessNestor gave XP for this post

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    Depending on your group there are several areas of problems you can encounter.
    Okay, but I'm hoping this thread can be a spot for ideas on how to make the adventure better, and things other people have come up with to add to/improve it. Do you have any suggestions (the more concrete, the better) on how to address any of the issues you mention?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jayoungr View Post
    Okay, but I'm hoping this thread can be a spot for ideas on how to make the adventure better, and things other people have come up with to add to/improve it. Do you have any suggestions (the more concrete, the better) on how to address any of the issues you mention?
    The PDF was already mentioned.
    For the general plot problem one thing you should do is to shift the locations around the map so that the entire journey makes more sense than the round trip through the sword coast to come back right where you started. You still have the usual FR problem of "Why are the superpowers of the Realms not stopping the world threatening cult?". Although that is more a RoT problem.
    As for the heroic stupid dragon charge, either leave out the dragon completely, it doesn't really add much to the encounter except for a bit of payback you can give it later or you start the raid only after the PCs are inside Greenest. That solution also helps with the first encounter in the adventure where a group of civilians insist that you escort them to safety "right into the center of fighting" instead of fleeing the town by the way you entered without trouble.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    the heroic stupid dragon charge...
    This is very subjective. Myself, and the other players in my group, all loved this encounter. There was a dissenting player who didn't like it, and he also didn't like any other encounter that wasn't obviously balanced.

    I'd like to add another comment to nay-sayers: please write your criticism in a different thread, as OP is clearly requesting positive commentary.
    XP Tommy Brownell, MerricB, koga305 gave XP for this post

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sunrisekid View Post
    This is very subjective. Myself, and the other players in my group, all loved this encounter. There was a dissenting player who didn't like it, and he also didn't like any other encounter that wasn't obviously balanced.

    I'd like to add another comment to nay-sayers: please write your criticism in a different thread, as OP is clearly requesting positive commentary.
    The OP also doesn't want to hear that everything is fine even though it isn't.
    So what did you do because of the "dissenting player"? What could have made the adventure better for him (or why was he dissatisfied in the first place)?

    @OP
    You might also want to follow this thread once it gets some answers.
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...hts-Too-Deadly
    Last edited by Derren; Sunday, 1st February, 2015 at 09:19 PM.

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