5E After Tyranny of Dragons (OR: What to do with 15+ level PCs?)
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  1. #1

    After Tyranny of Dragons (OR: What to do with 15+ level PCs?)

    As I generally do, I have to start this post with a potential apology: It's possible this question (set) has been asked an answered elsewhere on the forums, but I haven't seen it yet.

    Has anyone tried to continue a campaign past the end of the Tyranny of Dragons adventure path (without completely homebrewing it)? What did you do and (if you've already done it) how did it go?

    The situation is this: I've been DM'ing the Tyranny of Dragons adventure path since very shortly after it came out. My game meets regularly, but not frequently, meaning that we're just now getting toward the end of the adventure path. Assuming that the PCs actually manage to "win out" or at least survive the path, it will be up to me to figure out where to take those characters next.

    I don't have time at this stage in my life to create modules from scratch; I have enough trouble prepping for the pre-packaged adventures that Wizards has produced (which I, and my players, enjoy). This leaves me with a conundrum since there are no current (first party) modules that address the highest tiers of game-play. Additionally, I've never (in this or any other edition) run a game at those upper levels, so my instincts for what will or won't work are probably not as accurate/sound as they are at the lower tiers of play!

    My current thoughts run in two directions:

    1) Are there third-party products which fill the void and would allow these players to continue their campaign up to (and maybe including!) 20th level?

    2) Are there older 3e/3.5e modules which could homebrewed (converted?) to run as a 5e adventure?

    As to the first, I've looked at a few of the current third-party contenders (and a shout-out here to MerricB for having an excellent list of adventures!), but nothing has made a real connection with me, and most of them sound like they only handle one or two of these upper levels (as opposed to 3, or even 5!).

    The second one is something I'm more comfortable with in principle (I've been reading/parsing Wizards' style for a decade and a half, and I'm very comfortable with it!), but I don't know how difficult it would be to make a conversion. (Think, something like the old Lord of the Iron Fortress or Bastion of Broken Souls.)

    Any thoughts are appreciated.

    I should mention that whatever happens, I received the Out of the Abyss adventure path for Christmas, and my players have heard whispers of the path's style and are aching to have me run it for them--after they've taken their Tyranny of Dragons characters as far as they possibly can

  2. #2
    ISTR someone mentioning reworking the Doomvault from Dead In Thay to be a high-level dungeon. I'm thinking of trying that project myself, if my players want to continue after the end of Rise of Tiamat.

  3. #3
    That's an interesting idea! But that sounds like it would be tougher even than doing a conversion of a 3e title; the Dead in Thay adventure is geared toward low level adventurers as I recall (6th'ish?).

  4. #4
    If you can, play the Season 3 DDEXs at a local game store or stream it online (all you need is a webcam really). There is currently 1 T3 DDEX and another one coming out soon. They can get you up to 16.

    Additionally, you can probably just play the last chapter of Elemental Evil/OotA.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Evhelm View Post
    That's an interesting idea! But that sounds like it would be tougher even than doing a conversion of a 3e title; the Dead in Thay adventure is geared toward low level adventurers as I recall (6th'ish?).
    Yes, I'm sure they substituted higher level monsters, etc. I don't know if it would actually be harder than converting from 3E, though.

  6. #6
    The "Vault of the Dracolich" module would be easy to turn into a nice challenge for 15th level characters. You'd have to do some extra work to flesh it out or it won't last more than one or two game sessions. http://www.rpgnow.com/product/120762...colich-DD-Next

    It could be fun to pick some old module like "Caves of Chaos" that was written for 1st level and have new, bigger, far more dangerous monsters move into the abandoned dungeon. That would be doubly fun if your players have been through the module with 1st level PC's.

    Depending on your style of play you might find it is easier to create high level adventures than you expect. At those levels, travel is rarely any risk so the adventures become more missions. The simple missions can be "the king of X sends a messenger begging for help with a dragon (or other marauding big monster)." Writing that is a few hours and it could buy you time to write a more involved story based mission.
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  7. #7
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    I'm running Out of the Abyss which I expect to end in the late teens. The party started the adventure higher in level (6) and I connected the dots to lead them down by having them defend their home city of Baldur's Gate from a Drow war-band looking to take that cities famous 'undercellar' (a sprawling cavern/basement system that extends throughout the city) as their new home in order to escape the dreadful things happening in the Underdark. The party defeated the attacking army (later revealed to be just an auxiliary unit) and entered the portal the Drow had created to enter Baldur's Gate with the 'quest' to destroy the portal magic holding it together on the other side. But they failed and were rapidly captured and taken to the drow slave outpost of Velkynvelve. Just last night they finally found their way back to the portal after 7+ days of travel. Seven long days of a drow army making their way to Baldur's Gate to battle each night. By all rights the quest was failed, at least until they finally shut down the portal.

    After they finish OotA I'll switch them to the latter part of the great old 3rd edition adventure Path Age of Worms, beginning with Module 8: The Prince of Redband where they'll finally return to Baldur's Gate (the corrupt city of Alhaster in the module) to find that it's in the hands of a sycophantic tyrant (Prince Zeech) a top-ranking Zhentarim. Turns out the city was on its last legs and had to hire a mercenary army controlled by the Zhents and when they won the city the war they staged a coup and took over. The party returns, likely a year+ after that fateful day when they plunged through the portal to find their city is gone and they must try and stop the plot of the God of Worms himself.

    Obviously I'll have to make a number of minor changes to the story but I think it'll be a great way to bring the campaign to a close and make those last levels memorable.
    Last edited by Fion; Monday, 28th December, 2015 at 10:35 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evhelm View Post

    I should mention that whatever happens, I received the Out of the Abyss adventure path for Christmas, and my players have heard whispers of the path's style and are aching to have me run it for them--after they've taken their Tyranny of Dragons characters as far as they possibly can
    Do a quick conversion of Tomb of Horrors.

    On the minus side, I hope the players aren't too attached to their characters.

    On the plus side, you'll be running Out of the Abyss in no time!
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  9. #9
    About the only advice I can give is to convert some of the older modules. I haven't played much of 3e and 4e, but converting AD&D modules are super easy. So just take some of the high level adventures from back then and convert them. Although, I feel my advice probably won't be all that helpful as we retire our PCs by the low teens almost exclusively.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    About the only advice I can give is to convert some of the older modules. I haven't played much of 3e and 4e, but converting AD&D modules are super easy. So just take some of the high level adventures from back then and convert them. Although, I feel my advice probably won't be all that helpful as we retire our PCs by the low teens almost exclusively.
    One note of caution; most people forget about this, but AD&D (at least the golden age stuff) didn't really go to high-level play. Even Q1 (Lloth) was recommended to 10-14.

    Tomb of Horrors should be doable (in a semi-serious way as a challenge) at that level if they don't mind dying. But I'm not sure about the other modules from 1e.

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