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5E D&D Rise of Tiamat and Thay


First Post
One of my biggest disappointments with Rise of Tiamat is the lack of Thay content. The story is focused on Thayan rebels bringing a Dragon God into the world that it seems to lose what the importance of Thay is to this. With many Thayans being god like in their own undead Necromantic ways. I've created much content to tie in with RoT to make the story more interesting.

Here's my thoughts, I'd like feedback on different pieces of this.

First, Rath Modar is a near God in his own Lich ways. Taking one from Sly Flourish he is a mastermind and has use powerful Necromantic magics to create Simulcrums of himself. These Simulcrums are independent living copies of himself.

Now, Going back to 3.5 there was a Great Circle power or something like that that belonged to Red Wizards. This granted a high ranking Red Wizard to have combined magical powers of his followers. So, for example....

Say the Big boss if you will, is a level 17 NPC, with 5 x 9th level castors as followers. Obviously this is high level content! With the Great Circle the Boss person would be nearly a god with 45 spell slots (or spell power to choose from each attack round as long as all of his followers are alive). Now to adapt this to 5e content, I'm not sure if this should be a value of 45 based on spell slot level. E.g. drawing on one's followers a 9th level spell would use 9 of the 45 power points the master wizard has? Or if it would be one spell slot.. (I'm leaning towards power points based on spell level. So, if this being wanted to cast 45 1st level spells without tapping into his own reserves, then so be it or if he wanted to cast 5 9th level spells, then, well, pardon the pun, but more power to him.

This said, the Lich resides in a large and powerful dungeon in Thay, the Doom Vaults, and his phylactery may be hidden there as well behind powerful magical traps. His followers may or may not be in this same dungeon, but the PCs would be given clues and/or information to not confront this Tiamat mastermind until the devoted followers have been killed. The followers are living clones of the lich. With lifespans. They die every so often so he's got new copies constantly going, paranoid of his mortality and intent on overthrowing Szass Tam, he's pateint in his efforts to build enough power to take over Thay.

That said, the cult has been very ambitious and more successful than Rath expected.... Tiamat is actually about to rise. Which works in Rath's favor by having Thay potentially commit resources to holding Tiamat at bay and it's own internal turmoil as well. While the rest of the world couldn't care less about Thay and refocus it's efforts on taking sides with or against Tiamat.

So, in the end the PCs would be facing copies of Rath Modar, possibly all at once (other than the lich). Would this be too weird? Each one could have it's own school of magic focus as Rath would want to call on all spells not just one or two schools of magic. Plus he wouldn't want any of his copies dabbling in Necromancy..... He fears his own ambition... :)

I'd need to build out the Doom Vault dungeon for high level content and high level traps. (Thinking level 13 / 14.) And then upon completing this huge endeavor face Tiamat to wrap it all up.... I do agree that this deemphasizes the epic battle against Tiamat, at the same time, there won't be armies to help the PCs in Thay. In fact they'd be traveling through dead lands (Interesting overworld encounters and something as simple as no fresh food anywhere in the country side). Dead creatures all around, the constant smell of acrid sulphuric smoke. Possibly even toxic air to breath as a constant reminder that this is a desolate land that belongs to the dead.

So would destroying Rath Modar as the leader and mastermind of the entire cult and exploring the Doomvaults be entertaining?

Horrible ideas? Or really cool near ending of RoT?

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Yeah I think there are some good ideas there. The concern, as you mention, is that having a ton of Thay content so close to the big Tiamat showdown will derail the focus of the campaign.

One way to handle this might be to run your Rath Modar story line AFTER the battle with Tiamat. Use the Thay chapter of the adventure to plant the seed that Rath Modar is involved with the Cult in some way (e.g. his forces attack the PCs in Thay apparently without motive; upon investigation the PCs learn of a vague connection to the Dragon Cult but they cannot follow up on this investigation because they need to deal with Tiamat). Then after the PCs defeat Tiamat they find Rath Modar was pulling the strings the whole time. It could be an unforgettable plot twist for your party to defeat what they believe is the "big bad" of the campaign only to learn Tiamat was just a distraction to draw attention away from Modar's REAL evil plot. You could then run your Rath Modar Doomvalts story line as a level 15-20 finale to the campaign.


First Post
Ninjayeti, I really like your take. I think this would be perfect. Thanks for the insight! I want to make it fun, but challenging. This is perfect to extend the storyline into that high level content.


I toyed with the idea of running Dead in Thay after Rise of Tiamat myself. My group killed Rath Modar at the end of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and I hadn't referred to him since then, so I didn't feel like I could really build him up as the big bad. So the way I was going to work it was to have the Thayans realize that the Sword Coast would be in disarray after the battle at the Well of Dragons and seize that opportunity to invade. The dungeon would have to be repurposed to be connected with the invasion force. The PCs would have to get their intel from some of the renegade Red Wizards they had just been fighting, which seemed like an interesting twist.

The main reason I've decided to go in a different direction is because my players really geared themselves for fighting dragons, and I think they would be disappointed if the climax of the adventure wasn't dragon-y enough.

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