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

Evhelm

Explorer
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 :)
 

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jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
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.
 

Evhelm

Explorer
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?).
 

RulesJD

First Post
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.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
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.
 

bgbarcus

Explorer
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/Vault-of-the-Dracolich-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.
 

Fion

Explorer
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. :)
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
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.
 


Endur

First Post
I think you could adjust Out of the Abyss for level 15-20 (instead of levels 1-15). The problem however is that extremely high level characters will have abilities (Gate, Time Stop, Wish, etc.), that the module authors never foresaw in writing the module.

My actual recommendation is to temporarily retire the level 15 party and start a new 1st level party for Out of the Abyss. The high level party could be mentors for the low level party, and when the low level party approaches a similar level, you could combine both parties to let the players play either character they prefer for the final encounters in Out of the Abyss.
 

Evhelm

Explorer
All interesting solutions, but so far, I think I'm leaning toward a 3e conversion.

I have zero experience with earlier edition modules, and my group meets so infrequently that putting the ToD characters aside likely means permanently retiring them.

The more I read, the more it sounds like high level play is somewhat of an anomaly anyway (with most groups retiring or dying before achieving it). I guess that makes sense given that the current story arcs all end by level 15!

Thank you for all the ideas; keep 'em coming :)
 


Azurewraith

Explorer
After Rise of Tiamat, send the players into Hell to kill Tiamat on her home plane, once and for all.
This is pretty true by 15th level your a match for demon lords and dragons etc after that your touching on the realms of gods and killing a god is well not something an AP is going to cover as well story continuity.
 

ryan92084

First Post
If its like our campaign you send them to the afterlife because some very impatient wizard refused to wait for the reinforcements to show up and help...
 

Evhelm

Explorer
After Rise of Tiamat, send the players into Hell to kill Tiamat on her home plane, once and for all.
Oh, trust me, I have tons of great ideas for what a post-15 campaign could cover, but I really don't have time to develop it from whole cloth! And, again, I have never run even a post-12 campaign, so this is new territory for me. New enough that I feel like I'd ruin (what has been) a perfectly epic campaign with a dorky, unbalanced encounter due to inexperience at higher levels.

(Seems a lot easier to balance low level goblin fights than high level wizard fights ;) )

This is pretty true by 15th level your a match for demon lords and dragons etc after that your touching on the realms of gods and killing a god is well not something an AP is going to cover as well story continuity.
I agree! But, as an example, the 3e modules I was thinking about still involve planar travel, cover attacks on great demons/minor gods, and are pre-written! Creating something as epic as Tyranny of Dragons from scratch to "finish out the module" would take more time than I have available to me.

Thanks again to all for the thoughts--keep 'em comin'!
 

bgbarcus

Explorer
Assuming Tiamat is beaten there are still a lot of high ranking cult members, affiliates wizards, and dragons that need to hunted down. Those would be episodic adventures rather than campaigns so they would fit a limited play schedule nicely.

My players were impressed with Talis's hunting lodge. It is likely at least one will want to return and claim it. Castle Naerytar is also a potential stronghold for anyone able to tame the swamp.
 

choryukami

First Post
My group had the same problem with Princes of the Apocalypse. We're 15-16th level with nowhere to go. We just retired and started new characters and are pulling them out for high level expeditions. There's one in Season 2 and one so far in Season 3. SOL at 17+ though.
 

jrowland

First Post
I haven't DM'd it, but my first read through I thought about making the coda (15-20) about the clutches of eggs many of the evil dragons "left behind" as they went to help big T. Be a cool way to introduce Draconians to Faerun (or your homebrew world). Hordes of Draconian erupt from a single egg (OH MY GOD! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE! THERE ARE SOOO MANY!). An extended skill challenge across 5ish levels, where they have to find clutches of the 5 chromatic types, and create an "antidote" for each. I'd probably accelerate leveling. each level a single type with a plane hop or two thrown in. Very ad hoc but against crazy big bads.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
When I conclude a campaign, those characters retire. And my next campaign takes place in a different location or time.

From time to time, I run special one shots for old characters. Just for giggles.

But I prefer to let what has concluded remain concluded. Leave em wanting more, rather than lingering past your welcome.
 

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