• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

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

jayoungr

Explorer
I just wanted to park a link here to the recent discussion thread on how (or whether) to try to incorporate Murder in Baldur's Gate with Hoard of the Dragon Queen:

Murder in Baldur's Gate: How Did It Go?

And [mention=32659] Charles Rampant,[/mention] not a necro at all! This is meant to be an ongoing thread for anyone interested in running the adventure. I just have been unable to keep up with the board much over the past few months.
 

Sloblock

Explorer
cool, I bought MiBG and stole the locations and the flavour of the city, as I felt I didn't have time to do the adventure justice
 
Great thread. I just had to pop in because of a funny gameplay event that just happened. My players, including a Paladin(!), were so beaten down they didn't take up Cyanwrath on his challenge. And, one of them actually talked Nighthill into going. Obviously, Nighthill gets MURDERED.

My paladin player is immediately wracked with guilt...starts blaming everyone & thing (I drank too much, why did you guys talk me out of going out to do it, etc.) Hilarious. He's got a serious guilt complex now. Great for eventual Vengeance Paladin build, I suppose.

I have a lot more to say about my prep of this path and how its going, but, as this just happened, I felt compelled to share it.
 

akr71

Explorer
^^ Wow, those are the stories that players talk about for a lifetime and why I love this game. My son, playing an monk/assassin (well, a ninja class I created for him) volunteered for the dual. Through some lucky crits on his part and horrible rolling on mine, he actually held his own for a while. One more hit and he would have had him down, but Cyanwrath's superior HP won out and the ninja was felled. My son was upset, but it made his revenge all the more sweeter in the Dragon Hatchery.
 

jayoungr

Explorer
The moment my group still talks about is when our not-too-charismatic cleric of Bahamut converted that lone cultist who's left behind drunk in the dragon hatchery. I let him make a Persuasion check against the cultist's Wisdom roll. The player rolled a 4 for persuasion, so we figured the cleric's conversion attempt was to yell, "So you like dragons, do ya? Let me tell you something, Bahamut's much better than that f***ing b**** Tiamat!"

Then I rolled the cultist's Wisdom--a 2! The whole table burst out laughing as I described how he suddenly gasped in shocked recognition and replied, "You're right!" After that, he was very eager to help the PCs in their fight against "the cult that, until recently, I followed in my blindness." When last seen, he was training to become a priest of Bahamut in Scornubel. (A fuller write-up of the incident is here).

***

Combing through the last few pages of this board, I found some other threads relating to this adventure (at least tangentially) that may interest people. Links are below.

Greenest (some background on the town)
Leveling the Pet Baby Dragon (in case your players decide not to destroy the dragon hatchery)
Faerûn's Vendors: A Flexible Vendor System for Magic Consumables (for shopping)
Warlock Patron: Jotun (Could be fun if you use The Frozen Castlehttp://www.dmsguild.com/product/172527/Frozen-Castle--Expanding-Tyranny-of-Dragons with this adventure)
A Question about the Hunting Lodge (The elven armor trap)
 
Hi guys!

I'm in need: as my party is approaching the end of HotDQ and I'm preparing in advance for the big finale, I'm facing two problems.

I read the AP, but I'm not sure how to handle the choice regarding the Castle. I'm quite sure they'll try to befriend the Cloud Giant, therefore they'll be able to hijack the flying castle. There's a passage, in the book, where it tells that the Cloud Giant will fly the Castle to the Spine of the World "because reasons that are explained in Rise of Tiamat". The problem is that, skimming through Rot book, I couldn't locate these "reasons".

I would like to give them a possibility to fly the Castle where they want (Waterdeep, possibily) or just give them a ride before the giant disappears. Also, it seems that the giant, flying north with the castle, brings the treasure with himself?!

2nd problem: the aforementioned treasure. the horrible horrible treasure. a lump sum - mainly made of copper - and nondescript and trivial treasure. Do you guys have a fix for this? Any suggestion on the BIG LOOT?

Thank you for your help.
 

akr71

Explorer
I think the 'reason' was cut from the final version of RoT, but you can buy it from the DM's Guild - Frozen Castle.
http://www.dmsguild.com/product/172527/Frozen-Castle--Expanding-Tyranny-of-Dragons?term=frozen&test_epoch=0

Don't forget, that while the party may befriend the cloud giant, he is still a NE cloud giant. He may not be hostile toward the group, but definitely believes he knows better than a bunch of small folk. He probably does consider the wealth inside the castle to be his - it is his castle after all... though he would be more attracted to gems and magic than coins.

I would play it that the cloud giant is 'letting them live' while he heads north to consider his - and all of giant-kind's - next move. Do they join the war against the dragons? How best to mobilize a scattered people? If the party does not want to head to the Spine of the World, the best case scenario is to convince the giant to drop them off somewhere - hopefully stuffing their pockets and backpacks with as much loot as possible while he isn't looking.

Oh, and if you find the treasure lackluster, change it.
 
I think the 'reason' was cut from the final version of RoT, but you can buy it from the DM's Guild - Frozen Castle.
http://www.dmsguild.com/product/172527/Frozen-Castle--Expanding-Tyranny-of-Dragons?term=frozen&test_epoch=0

Don't forget, that while the party may befriend the cloud giant, he is still a NE cloud giant. He may not be hostile toward the group, but definitely believes he knows better than a bunch of small folk. He probably does consider the wealth inside the castle to be his - it is his castle after all... though he would be more attracted to gems and magic than coins.

I would play it that the cloud giant is 'letting them live' while he heads north to consider his - and all of giant-kind's - next move. Do they join the war against the dragons? How best to mobilize a scattered people? If the party does not want to head to the Spine of the World, the best case scenario is to convince the giant to drop them off somewhere - hopefully stuffing their pockets and backpacks with as much loot as possible while he isn't looking.

Oh, and if you find the treasure lackluster, change it.
Thank you.

The alignment detail is a great suggestion that I completely overlooked.
 

akr71

Explorer
Best of luck! Getting the stone giants on their side might also aid in having the cloud giant in a more compromising mood.
 
Hi guys,
my players yesterday just finished Chapter 6, in a fun and surprisingly almost non-violent way.

My PCs infiltrated the Castle posing as cultists and managed to poison the cultists' food with diarrhea-inducing berries juice.

They were therefore asked to catalogue and bring part of the hoard down in the basement. There, our wizard left his pseudodragon familiar hiding for Borngrey to speak the password. Then, the same night, they stole a bunch of treasure and managed to sneak into the caves, where they destroyed Pharblex and his bullywugs.
They also buried them, via magic, making them difficult to find them.

Therefore, they left, via Draezir password, going to the hunting lodge.


They didn't bother messing with Borngrey, Azbara Jos or Rezmir: they are still alive and healty. Also, they don't know almost anything about my PCs' infiltration.

How should they behave, once they get that some of the treasure has been stolen and some bullywugs, including Pharblex, have disappeared?

I would like to have some advice on how should the baddies behave consistently.


Also: Is Naerytar/Hunting Lodge teleportation circle two ways?
I mean: via Draezir password (or something else) can my PCs go from the Hunting Lodge back to Castle Naerytar?
I don't think they can, but, I'm asking out of curiosity, and can't find any reference on the sourcebook.


Thank you!
 
Last edited:

jayoungr

Explorer
My PCs infiltrated the Castle posing as cultists and managed to poison the cultists' food with diarrhea-inducing berries juice.

They were therefore asked to catalogue and bring part of the hoard down in the basement. There, our wizard left his pseudodragon familiar hiding for Borngrey to speak the password. Then, the same night, they stole a bunch of treasure and managed to sneak into the caves, where they destroyed Pharblex and his bullywugs.
They also buried them, via magic, making them difficult to find them.

Therefore, they left, via Draezir password, going to the hunting lodge.
That's awesome!

How should they behave, once they get that some of the treasure has been stolen and some bullywugs, including Pharblex, have disappeared?
I'd say the obvious assumption is that Pharblex and his pals stole the treasure and either took the teleportation circle or (more likely) disappeared into the swamp. So the castle might be wasting some of their energy and personnel on searching for the fugitives in the swamp, and there's probably renewed suspicion among those who remain. The treasure room is heavily guarded around the clock, anyone leaving is searched, etc. To cover all their bases, they'd send a message to the Hunting Lodge and/or Parnast, advising them to be on the lookout for suspicious bullywugs carrying treasure.

Also: Is Naerytar/Hunting Lodge teleportation circle two ways?
I mean: via Draezir password (or something else) can my PCs go from the Hunting Lodge back to Castle Naerytar?
I don't think they can, but, I'm asking out of curiosity, and can't find any reference on the sourcebook.
That's left up to the DM. It never came up in my game, but if it had, I'd probably have said yes, it works both ways, because logically Borngrey goes back and forth on a regular basis. I don't see any reason to prevent the PCs from going back to Naerytar if they want to, but if you did want to keep them from doing that, you could always say that there's a different password to work it in the other direction.
 
Last edited:

Charles Rampant

Registered User
Also: Is Naerytar/Hunting Lodge teleportation circle two ways?
I mean: via Draezir password (or something else) can my PCs go from the Hunting Lodge back to Castle Naerytar?
I don't think they can, but, I'm asking out of curiosity, and can't find any reference on the sourcebook.


Thank you!

Firstly, your session sounds hilarious and fun, and I'm a little jealous of it. (My players had a Lizardfolk Barbarian, so recruited the Lizardfolk tribe to go and murder the Bullywugs, while they focused on the Cult. Took two sessions to clear the castle and the dungeon, while the Lizardfolk cheerfully slaughtered the majority of the Bullywugs outside and in the castle barracks. I added a Froghemoth into the moat, which was tackled by some Lizardfolk riding Catoblepas, to add a sort of Godzilla background track to the players fighting their way into the barbican.)

So you had two questions, one about what happens next and the other about the portal. The latter question is simple: when you consider that it was built by a wizard of ancient Netheril to connect his various laboratories and whatnot, it seems clear that it must be two-way, since otherwise it'd be easier to just use Teleport all the time. On that logic, I let the players discover that saying the word lets them return; I also stated that Draezir is just a name in Draconic (since I'd forgotten about the Loross thing), rather than anything meaningful. The adventure does leave you with an intriguing possibility of what to do with the other three portals; if book two had more Netherise ruins, I'd have it connect to them, but sadly it doesn't. It could be fun to have one turn up in a future campaign though, so that party of characters could find it and your players could revisit the hunting lodge.

The cult are not stupid, even if they are fairly daft for worshipping dragons, so I'd say that they would figure out what happened, but it will take some time, and probably enough time for the players to deal with the Hunting Lodge and approach Parnast. If I were you, I'd have Azbara and Rezmir hurry into the sky castle just ahead of the players, and start frantically tearing it apart looking for them; that way the players, if they observe briefly, will know that the same trick won't work this time. After all, this is the climatic dungeon of the book, you don't want them to just sidestep it entirely.
 
Firstly, your session sounds hilarious and fun
I take it you liked the diarrhea inducing berries. Yeah, my players like silly plans like these (even if they get really serious once in a while). Anyway, thank you :)
On the other hand, i HOPED for a lizardfolk rallied revolution, but, hey, if they want shitstorms, they'll have shitstorms!

So you had two questions, one about what happens next and the other about the portal. The latter question is simple: when you consider that it was built by a wizard of ancient Netheril to connect his various laboratories and whatnot, it seems clear that it must be two-way, since otherwise it'd be easier to just use Teleport all the time. On that logic, I let the players discover that saying the word lets them return; I also stated that Draezir is just a name in Draconic (since I'd forgotten about the Loross thing), rather than anything meaningful. The adventure does leave you with an intriguing possibility of what to do with the other three portals; if book two had more Netherise ruins, I'd have it connect to them, but sadly it doesn't. It could be fun to have one turn up in a future campaign though, so that party of characters could find it and your players could revisit the hunting lodge.

The cult are not stupid, even if they are fairly daft for worshipping dragons, so I'd say that they would figure out what happened, but it will take some time, and probably enough time for the players to deal with the Hunting Lodge and approach Parnast. If I were you, I'd have Azbara and Rezmir hurry into the sky castle just ahead of the players, and start frantically tearing it apart looking for them; that way the players, if they observe briefly, will know that the same trick won't work this time. After all, this is the climatic dungeon of the book, you don't want them to just sidestep it entirely.
Thank you for your help.
I finally found out that there is another password to get back to Naerytar (it IS mentioned in chapter 7, but only a slightly hint), but i think only Talis (and Borngrey and Rezmir) will know it.
I TOTALLY FORGOT the Netherese aspect of the portal history, they'll love it (Our previous campaign was all over Netheril and Shar).
 
That's awesome!
Thank you :) Shitstorms for everybody!

I'd say the obvious assumption is that Pharblex and his pals stole the treasure and either took the teleportation circle or (more likely) disappeared into the swamp. So the castle might be wasting some of their energy and personnel on searching for the fugitives in the swamp, and there's probably renewed suspicion among those who remain. The treasure room is heavily guarded around the clock, anyone leaving is searched, etc. To cover all their bases, they'd send a message to the Hunting Lodge and/or Parnast, advising them to be on the lookout for suspicious bullywugs carrying treasure.


That's left up to the DM. It never came up in my game, but if it had, I'd probably have said yes, it works both ways, because logically Borngrey goes back and forth on a regular basis. I don't see any reason to prevent the PCs from going back to Naerytar if they want to, but if you did want to keep them from doing that, you could always say that there's a different password to work it in the other direction.
I like this approach!

When they ran away, two PCs were left behind. Maybe one of them could get away with it using a bluff like that, still impersonating a member of the cult.

Thank you!
 
I have a group that played the introductory module to get to 4th level a few years ago but decided I would nurse them along to get to the end of HOTDQ and beyond.

I cobbled together a number of modules and its starting to hang together as a nice lead in to HOTDQ.

chapter 1
1st level: Amnesia (DMs Guild)
In which the explosion at the start was caused by Dragon cultists killing a wild talent psionic child (who was killed by a fireball and all in the meeting at the start were killed). the party were guards, guides and interpreters assisting with the Human/Elf Summit.

chapter 2
2nd level:
My own version of the bandit cultist camped at an ancient ruin.
Fighting those bandits left behind to guard the camp.

chapter 3
3rd level: DDEX1-4_DuesfortheDead (converted to an arid, hidden catacomb rather than city based)
Delving underground into the catacombs without a guide to tackle the wizard cultist who was researching on behalf of the cult.

chapter 4
3rd level: The_Whispering_Hag (DMs Guild)
Returning to their village based (Auglathia from chapter 1) They went on a mission to nearby Kabels Hill to go back into the woods where they started (but to a region controlled by Dark Fey and taboo).

on the way back they found the three old rogues that they first encountered in karse, Murdered. They recovered the Aranea egg from the hobgoblin murderers.

chapter 5
4th-5th Level: Trouble_under_Arn_Forest (DMs guild)

chapter 6
6th Level: Trouble in Doomspire (DMs Guild)
Doomspire has a gate which leads up to an uncharted castle. I am going to have this lead instead to Skyreach castle. and we well take of from there to the end of HOTDQ and on to Rise if tiamat.
 
I replaced chapter 7 with a rescue attempt on dragonspear castle (currently occupied to hobgoblins who are doing the XCults treasure collecting work).

The party were on the high moor cliffs hiding and watching dragonspear castle (represented as a keep/fortress atop a lone mesa, set 500 feet or so away away from the main moor cliffs).

Here is the party writeup:

"We arrived at the edge of the moors and observed the castle. The hobgoblins were on high alert, watching the skies and were in the process of barricading all dragon cave entrances to the side of the Mesa. We could see a number of fully laden wagons ready to go and were debating how to follow the pickup wagon train, and where it could possibly go from here.
[the party at this point knew that dragonspear was a horde collection point but couldnt figure out what direction they could take it from there by road]

Then we saw it.

At first it was a disturbance in the overcast cloud cover above.

Then a small, dense cloud detached itself and descended. Eventually we could see towers, walls and minarets protruding from the top of the cloud until finally the cloud/castle 'docked' and dropped a drawbridge against the side of the mesa.
Ogres emerged and started harnessing themselves to the ready wagons.

A huge giant - either dead or entranced - seem to stagger slowly from the castle dragging a dead female giant behind it.
[The Thayans mind controlled Blagothkus and had him help kill Escarlotta and handed his sons over to some stupid evil hill giants who are envious of the nobler giants. The Cult are using Blagothkus as a tool to drive the castle. Killing the red wizards or dispelling the mind control will give the party an immediate ally and will open the door to a resuce mission after liberating Skyreach.]

Following both close behind was a bald figure in red robes, apparently concentrating hard on the giant in front.
The giant toppled the other giant corpse over the edge of the bridge spanning the castle and mesa to tumble like a thunderous rag doll far below.

The wagons were brought aboard.

[I have the bulk of the Horde all here 350,000 gp worth with no magic items. All items are immediately distributed as rewards to Cult leaders. The treasure will need to be returned to the people (via the council) or risk the wrath of half a continent. 10% of it was already there before the Cult so the party will have that as reward (35,000) to split among them)]

Our plan is to fly up underneath the castle and stow away in one of the caves that enter from beneath.

- Obrus(Barbarian) has wings of flying.

- Mordan(Mage) can Cast a Fly spell on someone

- Mordan(Mage) has a Griffon that can carry one (or two humans with difficulty)

- Yahto(Warlock) can levitate and be towed as a weightless wagon

- Killian(Priest) still has an active shape change which will change his weight if he changes into a gnome or halfling.

- Jorogumo(Aranea Bard -npc) has enlarge/reduce so can effectively achieve the same as Priest
 
Iron maiden climax

So my group has almost cleared skyreach.
they are exhausted, spells spent and healing used.
the white dragon was killed first but they didn't finish it off and it passed death saves. Rezmir found it, gave it a healing potion and told it to slink off for a long rest.

rezmir and all else then got butchered thorough the day and the party were continually harassed by sandyssyl throughout the night. It's 5am in the morning, the party hasn't been able to sleep and is exhausted.

Sandyssyl has also been dropped to zero and slunk off to one of her coffins (I have her with two in skyreach).

once she has had a short rest and located glazhael the two of them will attack the party as they try to consolidate their hold. (Blagothkus is on side but only has 3 surviving ogres.

i have these images of. Vampire (who is attuned to hazirwan now) riding glazhael to attack the party and blagothkus. It all sounds very metal.
 

akr71

Explorer
Skyreach isn't the dragon's lair. Why wouldn't it just flee to save its own life when it got hurt bad enough to think its life was in danger?

However, if the players are having fun it hardly matters.
 

Advertisement

Top