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5E Enhancing "Rise of Tiamat" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Powerscore briefly describes an alternate ending scenario that I'm finding very appealing:

This episode details Tiamat's Temple and the Well of Dragons. The bulk of this episode details getting through the caldera to the temple as a massive battle rages. The dungeon, in my opinion, is very bland. There's a lot of fights with dragonsouls and guard drakes.

I ditched the dungeon. I kept the material on the Draakhorn and the treasure (both on age 82) and placed them elsewhere.

I ran a bunch of encounters outside, in the middle of the epic was with the cult. I had my PCs face cultists, Naergoth Bladelord (page 81), a dragon, a pit fiend and Rath Modar (who was by the Draakhorn). Each round I'd have something chaotic happen, like a chromatic dragon flying down to breathe on the PCs, or Leosin the Monk running up and kidney-punching a bad guy, or a frost giant ally pummeling a dragon, whatever.
This sounds a lot more fun and a lot more memorable to have that PCs fight their way through a chaotic battle to reach the temple and stop the return.

Has anyone tried anything similar? If you were to run it this way what problems would you try to steer clear of?

I would run it narratively I think. I don't want to be rolling initiative every time a new NPC enters the fray. I'm imagining a couple of giants taking the van and clearing a path for the PCs but they still have to fight off opportunity attacks that arise from their push.

Anyway it sounds cool... :)
 

Sloblock

Explorer
Powerscore briefly describes an alternate ending scenario that I'm finding very appealing:



This sounds a lot more fun and a lot more memorable to have that PCs fight their way through a chaotic battle to reach the temple and stop the return.

Has anyone tried anything similar? If you were to run it this way what problems would you try to steer clear of?

I would run it narratively I think. I don't want to be rolling initiative every time a new NPC enters the fray. I'm imagining a couple of giants taking the van and clearing a path for the PCs but they still have to fight off opportunity attacks that arise from their push.

Anyway it sounds cool... :)
That sounds pretty awesome

I also changed the end and used the finale from the Dragon magazine Scales of war. Big fight on a platform suspended by flames.

I cut most of the fighting encounters and just had a big finale at the end.

For the dragon base the pcs were one of the 3 strike teams each with an objective.




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jayoungr

Explorer
This sounds a lot more fun and a lot more memorable to have that PCs fight their way through a chaotic battle to reach the temple and stop the return.

Has anyone tried anything similar? If you were to run it this way what problems would you try to steer clear of?
When I ran this segment, the PCs deliberately planned things so they could skip the battle outside the temple. They had one of the metallic dragons drop them off right outside it so they could run straight in and get to Severin as quickly as possible.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
My group has begun the final chapter. I took a page from Out of the Abyss and gave them some faction-aligned NPCs to help them out:

- 1 x human Harper spy
- 4 x human Lords' Alliance soldiers [AC 16 (breastplate + 12 Dex + Defense Fighting Style), 16 hp (3d8 + 3), Str and Con saves, and a shortsword as well as a spear]
- 2 x human Zhentarim thugs
- 2 x wood elf Emerald Enclave scouts
- 1 x shield dwarf Order of the Gauntlet priest

I've told the players that during this final battle, if they lose any of their squad members, they can spend inspiration to gain reinforcements, with the exception of the two Zhent thugs, who are a one-off since the Zhents aren't technically part of the alliance.
 

Charles Rampant

Registered User
Fun idea. Having allies along should certainly help establish that the players are not unsupported. Are you going to do a battle scene, or narrate that off-screen and focus on a dungeon delve for the party?
 

Charles Rampant

Registered User
TL;DR: Replacing Iymrith with Klauth for a mixed RoT/SKT campaign?

So last night I had my first session of Rise of Tiamat, after we ended Hoard of the Dragon Queen about a month early for various reasons. The first Council of Waterdeep was a monster of a session to prepare for: I must have spent six hours getting everything together. However it was worth it, since the Council went went and the players seemed really engaged with it. It seemed like the combination of narrative freedom (choose your mission) and in-world importance (a council of kings and ambassadors wants to hear what you have to say) gripped them.

Having been given three options (Giants, Varram the White, Draakhorn), the party selected Find Out What The Giants Are Doing as their first mission, and thus are off to the Eye of the All Father chapter from Storm King's Thunder. I'm pretty happy about this, since I think that the two adventure paths are stronger together, and the players clearly thought it would be really cool to get into the whole Giant side of things. Plus the dungeons in SKT are totally rad.

Now, my question here is what to do with Iymrith. Rise of Tiamat already has Blue Dragons in it, and having a Blue Dragon show up who isn't the one that attacked Greenest is rather narratively weak. By contrast, there are no named Red Dragons in the adventure, one of its major omissions. My eyes are drawn to Klauth, not least because he's right there in Storm King's Thunder, and I'm not using him (or his airship) for the campaign otherwise. In addition, Klauth as an arrogant and handsome 'Fire Giant' could be a lot of fun to roleplay. He doesn't have a whole history worked up of trickery and deceit, unlike Iymrith, however; he makes considerably less sense as the criminal mastermind responsible for getting the Giants out of the way for the Cult. Does anyone else have any thoughts? There is the Red Rage of Mintarn as well - Hoondarrh - but that's kind of just moving the deckchairs. The real question is - does replacing Iymrith with a Red Dragon work?


Sent from my iPad using EN World
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
TL;DR: Replacing Iymrith with Klauth for a mixed RoT/SKT campaign?

So last night I had my first session of Rise of Tiamat, after we ended Hoard of the Dragon Queen about a month early for various reasons. The first Council of Waterdeep was a monster of a session to prepare for: I must have spent six hours getting everything together. However it was worth it, since the Council went went and the players seemed really engaged with it. It seemed like the combination of narrative freedom (choose your mission) and in-world importance (a council of kings and ambassadors wants to hear what you have to say) gripped them.

Having been given three options (Giants, Varram the White, Draakhorn), the party selected Find Out What The Giants Are Doing as their first mission, and thus are off to the Eye of the All Father chapter from Storm King's Thunder. I'm pretty happy about this, since I think that the two adventure paths are stronger together, and the players clearly thought it would be really cool to get into the whole Giant side of things. Plus the dungeons in SKT are totally rad.
This is exactly what I've done with my group and it's working very well (and I couldn't buy running SKT after ToD and suddenly have dragons, and their cultists, be the good guys) :)

Now, my question here is what to do with Iymrith. Rise of Tiamat already has Blue Dragons in it, and having a Blue Dragon show up who isn't the one that attacked Greenest is rather narratively weak. By contrast, there are no named Red Dragons in the adventure, one of its major omissions. My eyes are drawn to Klauth, not least because he's right there in Storm King's Thunder, and I'm not using him (or his airship) for the campaign otherwise. In addition, Klauth as an arrogant and handsome 'Fire Giant' could be a lot of fun to roleplay. He doesn't have a whole history worked up of trickery and deceit, unlike Iymrith, however; he makes considerably less sense as the criminal mastermind responsible for getting the Giants out of the way for the Cult. Does anyone else have any thoughts? There is the Red Rage of Mintarn as well - Hoondarrh - but that's kind of just moving the deckchairs. The real question is - does replacing Iymrith with a Red Dragon work?
What would your players make of it? Do they (the players) know enough about Klauth to not buy the switch? If so then I'd stick with Iymrith. Otherwise one ancient dragon causing trouble is as good as any other :)
 
OK, this seems like as good a place as any to ask the question that's on my mind right now.

I'm prepping for the Second Council of Waterdeep. My PCs went to Oyaviggaton, took out Arauthator, rescued Maccath and won the allegiance of the Arcane Brotherhood, then went on a four-month side quest (a barbarian's not going to just let it go when she finds out the warlord who slaughtered her people has been spotted raising an army in the Surbrin Valley), then tracked down Varram the White and brought him back alive.

So now the possibilities are either (1) they go after Neronvain (hope they don't pick this one -- we use XP advancement, not milestone, and they're not ready to take on a green dragon yet), or (2) they go with Elia to the metallic dragon council (hope they do pick this one, because in that direction lie two more personal PC side quests).

Here's the problem: Elia herself. Here she is at the Council of Waterdeep, cheerfully inviting everyone to come to the metallic dragon council. Only she hates dwarves and is hostile if the party includes any. Well, first, our party contains two of them, and second, Connerad Brawnanvil, the guy she expects an apology from, is sitting right there while she's conveying the invitation! Am I the only one who realized that this straight-up doesn't make a lick of sense?

What solutions have other people found? The easiest one, probably, is to say that Elia isn't the silver dragon representative to the council after all, but rather a different silver dragon who was just sent as a messenger; it's the representative, not her, who's got a thing against dwarves. But that strikes me as kind of a copout, and I don't want to go that route if I don't have to.
 

jayoungr

Explorer
Oops, I apologize for not responding sooner! I missed the original post somehow. Hope it's not too late. Have some XP as an apology.

Here's the problem: Elia herself. Here she is at the Council of Waterdeep, cheerfully inviting everyone to come to the metallic dragon council. Only she hates dwarves and is hostile if the party includes any. Well, first, our party contains two of them, and second, Connerad Brawnanvil, the guy she expects an apology from, is sitting right there while she's conveying the invitation! Am I the only one who realized that this straight-up doesn't make a lick of sense?
I don't think it's impossible to make it work. The easiest situation is not to make Elia "cheerful" about it. She's not unilaterally inviting the PCs to the dragon council; she's conveying with wishes of the council at large, wishes she may not entirely agree with. Maybe she invites the non-dwarf PCs cheerfully and accepts the dwarves through clenched teeth because she has to.

As for Connerad Brawnanvil, you could have Elia pointedly snubbing him during the council meeting. You could throw in a mention during the dragon council of to how the dragons have asked the dwarves multiple times in the past for apologies and/or reparations in the past, and they've always refused; now the dragons want the PCs to convince the dwarves to give in to their requests. Depending on how the council goes, you could play it as if the dragons don't actually believe the PCs will succeed.
 
I ended up turning Elia into a messenger from the draconic council and creating a new silver dragon representative, Hyvantekevaisys, to take her seat. Hyvantekevaisys was the one who had a problem with dwarves.
 

akr71

Explorer
My group is still in HotDQ, but looking ahead I have decided to use portions of Storm King's Thunder to link HotDQ to RoT.

I'm trying to strengthen Blagothkus' character and motivations - why is a giant helping the Dragon Cult? I've got a pretty good handle on that, but basically, I'm scrapping the Thay quest in favour of the party trying to bring giantkind to the alliance. Has anyone run SKT as well as the Dragons AP? I have also bought Frozen Castle and may use pieces of that as well.

My thoughts:
Blagothkus is a member of the Cloud Giant court - Countess Sansuri is his sister or aunt?
At the end of HotDQ - assuming Glazhael or Rath Modar escape and report back to the Cult - Skyreach Castle is attacked by a Cultist airship, which the PCs can commandeer and use to get back to Waterdeep.

Blagothkus did not kill his son - Iymrith used her shapechange ability to disguise herself as Blagothkus' wife and murdered the son & then did the same to the wife.

Blagothkus is disgraced and exiled - in his despair & grief he hatches his plan to assist the Dragon Cult to spur the giants into action - he hopes to find out who framed him, but if the end of the world happens, that's alright too.

I'm going to scrap Mission to Thay in favour of the a mission north in order to help Blagothkus clear his name. Once Iymrith is uncovered as an impostor, perhaps a quest to find some artifact that will unite the giants against the dragons. I'm still reading through SKT to figure out what that quest might be.

I think I will have Force Grey as NPCs at the Council of Waterdeep meetings - they'll be reporting to the council about the 'giant troubles' in a similar fashion that the PCs are reporting in about the dragon cult. I'm hoping that this will give the world more depth - stuff is happening elsewhere and the PCs aren't the only Heroes on the Sword Coast. This also gives me an avenue to better introduce Harshnag should I need him.

Any thoughts or input?
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
My group is still in HotDQ, but looking ahead I have decided to use portions of Storm King's Thunder to link HotDQ to RoT.

I'm trying to strengthen Blagothkus' character and motivations - why is a giant helping the Dragon Cult? I've got a pretty good handle on that, but basically, I'm scrapping the Thay quest in favour of the party trying to bring giantkind to the alliance. Has anyone run SKT as well as the Dragons AP? I have also bought Frozen Castle and may use pieces of that as well.
This is exactly what I've done. I've replaced the Metallic Dragons and Thay chapters with the second half of SKT. It's going great!

My thoughts:
Blagothkus is a member of the Cloud Giant court - Countess Sansuri is his sister or aunt?
At the end of HotDQ - assuming Glazhael or Rath Modar escape and report back to the Cult - Skyreach Castle is attacked by a Cultist airship, which the PCs can commandeer and use to get back to Waterdeep.

Blagothkus did not kill his son - Iymrith used her shapechange ability to disguise herself as Blagothkus' wife and murdered the son & then did the same to the wife.
That sounds cool. I just removed the dead son as it went against how I'd portrayed Blagothkus in HotDQ.

Blagothkus is disgraced and exiled - in his despair & grief he hatches his plan to assist the Dragon Cult to spur the giants into action - he hopes to find out who framed him, but if the end of the world happens, that's alright too.
I simply had the dragon cult threaten to destroy the spirit of his head wife (basically being held hostage) so they could use the flying castle as their loot conveyor. Blagothkus is seething in anger and frustration and willing to help the PCs liberate his castle from the cultists. He's not helping, he's helpless and not happy happy about it. And that's why he's willing to help the PCs when they investigate what's up with the giants.

I'm going to scrap Mission to Thay in favour of the a mission north in order to help Blagothkus clear his name. Once Iymrith is uncovered as an impostor, perhaps a quest to find some artifact that will unite the giants against the dragons. I'm still reading through SKT to figure out what that quest might be.
For my group simply rescuing Hekaton and restoring him to his throne will impose enough obligation on him to rally the giants and come to the aid of the sword coast. They love fighting dragons after all :)

I think I will have Force Grey as NPCs at the Council of Waterdeep meetings - they'll be reporting to the council about the 'giant troubles' in a similar fashion that the PCs are reporting in about the dragon cult. I'm hoping that this will give the world more depth - stuff is happening elsewhere and the PCs aren't the only Heroes on the Sword Coast. This also gives me an avenue to better introduce Harshnag should I need him.
Sounds great! We've just completed the river boat section of SKT and are about to head to the Trackless Sea to find and rescue Hekaton. The PCs know that Iymrith is in disguise in the Maelstrom and have sent warning to Serissa. When they get back to the Maelstrom they'll find Iymrith gone with the sceptre. And most likely they'll go after Iymrith in her layer. There they'll find Blagothkus (who they think is dead) prisoner - he'll end up leader of the cloud giants after the battle with Tiamat (assuming there's victory of course :) )
 

akr71

Explorer
@robus - Thanks! I may have to borrow some of your ideas if/when my players do something unexpected or if my changes feel ham-fisted or forced. Now to read SKT in depth rather than just skim through it.

Edit: I may recast the stone giants in HotDQ as cloud giants - perhaps minor courtiers or cousins - someone who has known him a long time, stuck by him and seen his fall. Now that VGtM & SKT are out, fleshing out the different giant races, xenophobic stone giants that shy away from the surface real doesn't really fit well. I have it now that if the encounter goes well, they receive a token of some sort so that Blagothkus is willing to parlay with the PCs.
 
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akr71

Explorer
Have you checked out [mention=786]GuardianLurker's[/mention] "Jotunmoot" adventure (post 58 of this thread)? It might give you some ideas you could borrow as well.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?394129-Enhancing-quot-Rise-of-Tiamat-quot-(Practical-stuff-to-try-at-your-table!)/page3&p=6857959&viewfull=1#post6857959
Yes I have. I'll likely incorporate some of that too - names and titles and such since its all set to go. I don't want to make it too involved. Enough to secure the giants' help at the summoning ritual and then move on. My players have said that they want to see this through to the end and try and stop Tiamat. There was even some discussion of heading to the Hells to kill her outright. :angel:
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
[MENTION=6702445]jayoungr[/MENTION] - I'm making the rounds of the Enhancing threads asking that they be made into Wiki threads so the best ideas can be accumulated on the first post. Collected under Chapter name. I'm not saying you need to do it - just that the opportunity is made available :) (your other threads too if you don't mind :) )

Thanks!
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
[MENTION=6702445]jayoungr[/MENTION] - to make it a wiki thread, edit your first post and check the “wiki” box.

See the Enhancing ToA first post to see what I’m wanting to do.

Thanks!
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I've started the indexing process, got to about page 10. I'll continue to make progress as I can.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Index is now up to date. Looking forward to re-reading [MENTION=786]GuardianLurker[/MENTION]'s thoughts on the final battle as we're getting close to the end (after 2 years of campaigning!)
 

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