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

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Prepping for the final battle with Tiamat and a bit surprised to see Tiamat's tail does piercing damage. I was expecting bludgeoning. (And I'm going to make it that).
 

pukunui

Adventurer
Prepping for the final battle with Tiamat and a bit surprised to see Tiamat's tail does piercing damage. I was expecting bludgeoning. (And I'm going to make it that).
Her tail has a stinger on it, like a wyvern's.



See?
 
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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
A big concern I have about running the final battle is how a large army is supposed to arrive near the Well of Dragons without being detected?

I plan to have various teleportation circles opened on the plains near Waterdeep that allow the assembled armies to march through and be instantaneously transported to locations near the Well but it doesn't seem likely that a large force can assemble undetected? And thus goes the element of surprise I would imagine. So I feel like the plan has to be made in Waterdeep and then the teleportation is step one of the days campaign (i.e. there's no staging, just attack, attack, attack).

I guess I could have one small teleportation circle on the rim of the caldera which has been prepared for the PC team (+ a few helpers). They will teleport there and wait for the main assault to begin in order to gain some cover from the chaos.

So once the final push begins the PCs will make their way across the caldera to the Temple (I'm not going with the underground caverns - that seems far less epic than this grand finale deserves). I want them to witness the clash of dragons in the air above, the cultists panicking and trying to defend the temple from the onslaught. Just general mayhem and the PCs cutting their way through.

Mounted on the temple will be the Draakhorn making its baleful moan which becomes more strident as the ritual proceeds. (assuming they leave it intact).

Beneath the caldera is where the prisoners are kept - they're in a single file being marched up to a platform in front (but to one side) of the temple and being dispatched one by one and their lifeless bodies being tossed into a fiery lava pit.

The doorway leading into the temple stands open below the Draakhorn platform and arcane light can be seen flickering within. The sky above is thick with swirling storm clouds of course - giving the whole seen an eerie half-light.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
You could. But I don't see her bothering to whip someone with her tail. She'd use it more like a wyvern/scorpion to stab.
 

Sloblock

Explorer
A big concern I have about running the final battle is how a large army is supposed to arrive near the Well of Dragons without being detected?
I decided that the combined armies would start a great battle outside of the mountain range. They would be detected and all of that action would happen off screen.

I added a scene with some speeches for the players to get a sense of scale of what would be lost if they failed their mission. And to fill out the session.

I then had 3 strike teams, one being the PCs flown in via dragons. Each had a mission. The PCs one was obviously to stop Tiamat rising, the others were sent to stop the Draakhorn and free the prisoners.

My group doesn’t like huge dungeon crawls so that is why I cut down the final part.
 
I have a group that played amnesia to get to level 3 and then a homebrew version of the initial HOTDQ involving a camp and looted treasure.
One of the party (a barbarian) is Enclave so am building them more into the Chulth chapter. Essentially in the druid work there are silvanus, chaantea, miekkeli, and Malar. Th malar subfaction of the Enclave have sided with Tiamat and so berserker/feral/wildmen with similar stats to ogres will be the lackeys in the forest module led my old school, sacrifice-on-the-stone Malarite Druids. Just to keep the world from straight up black and white. I may even place a second enclave representative on the council. Someone more bestial and a little less on the ranger side of the faction - someone buddies with the Were-folk
 
I like the idea of 2 cult attacks. The first to drain spells and a second maybe an hour later once duration spells have worn off.
Even worse if cultists attack:
- Initial throwaway attackers.
- Second wave of summoned creatures or illusory creatures about 30 mins later.
- Then the real attack about 2 hours after that.

In the past when encountering a dragon outdoors I simply had the dragon fly straight at the party giving them about rounds to hide prepare. About 300ft away the dragon peeled away and sat on a hill about 800ft away watching the party waiting for whatever spells they had to wear off. he then did a single flyby with a breath weapon and carried on out of range. he discovered by spell and ranged attacks that they were pretty powerful so when flying by a third time instead of engaging in melee grappled one and flew of with them into the distance.
 

jayoungr

Explorer
I may even place a second enclave representative on the council. Someone more bestial and a little less on the ranger side of the faction - someone buddies with the Were-folk
Sounds like a great idea. If you do this, could you post the NPC here, in case someone else wants to use that character in a game?
 

Sadras

Explorer
My group is finally starting RoT and we are going into the first Council Meeting.

I've decided running the ToD layered with parts of the Sundering, SKT and OotA in the background.
The Sundering means the Lords' Alliance is split with Sir Isteval predominantly concerned with the effects of the Chosen and the rest worried about ToD.
Elminster is more worried about assisting in Mystra's and the Weave's return (which is a good enough reason why someone so powerful remains absent from the story).
The Zhentarim are preoccupied with losing agents in the Underdark and have noticed some changes there.
The Cult attempts to stop any efforts at an alliance between the small folk and the giants which results in the fallout from SKT.

The party now has to choose where to focus their attention - determining which threat is more pressing, while multiple adventuring parties/factions attempt to deal with all the unfolding events.

Some are attempting to find the Teleportation Circles in the Greypeak mountains, others are attending to the raids in Goldenfields (specifically Emerald Enclave) and Triboar, one is investigating the Underdark (Zhentarim), another is following the lead about the Sea of Moving Ice and then there is issue with Icewind Dale (LotCS) all with a prescribed timeline.

EDIT: To top it all off there is a major schism at the Council, some believe that the true culprit is the Church of Tiamat (given its beliefs) so another team is sent to Unther to uncover if there is a relationship between the Cult and the Church.

And the above all excludes interference from the Nine Hells or the Githyanki (who historically have an alliance with chromatic dragons and their Hell-Queen).
 
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Eldarc

Villager
First, I apologize for my poor English.

I am DMing Rise of Tiamat and we're about to play the last chapter. Players have struggled through the whole adventure to get the support of as many factions as possible. But in the end, it doesn't really matter at all. They don't get any bonus even though they got the support from all factions. I find it's quite stupid and, even worse, I feel I'm cheating my players: "you feel you've achieved something and you feel proud but... actually, who cares if you got Thay's support or not?"

So I'm wondering if there's any way to reward my players for getting all those supports, any way to make their supports matter in the finl battle in a "crunchy way" and not just with flavour text.

Again, excuse my poor English pls :(
 
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Sloblock

Explorer
Hi there

Good question, I also felt that the book as written didn’t really flesh out the final great battle that is building throughout the book.

So I had a pre-battle scene in which I described each of the factions and allies assembled.

I then had a little bit of the battle start, as the PCs were flown away as part of a strike team to stop Tiamat. This avoiding having to describe the battle much.

I updated a couple of the encounters based on what the PCs had achieved. For example when they entered the Caledera several evil dragons started flying down to attack because they had got the metallic dragons on side they flew in and intercepted the evil dragons.

So what ideas have you been thinking of doing?

Did the PCs get many allies?

Sure between us all on here we can assist :)
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
First, I apologize for my poor English.

I am DMing Rise of Tiamat and we're about to play the last chapter. Players have struggled through the whole adventure to get the support of as many factions as possible. But in the end, it doesn't really matter at all. They don't get any bonus even though they got the support from all factions. I find it's quite stupid and, even worse, I feel I'm cheating my players: "you feel you've achieved something and you feel proud but... actually, who cares if you got Thay's support or not?"
Yeah, the council part seems to be there for groups like yours that enjoy politicking (which is great), but then they leave you dangling a bit at the end.

So I'm wondering if there's any way to reward my players for getting all those supports, any way to make their supports matter in the finl battle in a "crunchy way" and not just with flavour text.

Again, excuse my poor English pls :(
Don’t forget about the matchup table they provide. You can reveal the utility of the allies by listing the various foes and have different allies step up to oppose them. Basically you’re going to have to create a battle planning scene that handles this. A “war council” perhaps, where the entire strategy is revealed and players can identify their part. Like Sloblock, i hated the idea that the PCs basically scurry around away from the main battle. Instead, the main forces enterec the caldera and acted as a distraction, battling all the foes, so the PCs could slip in and make their way to the temple to confront Severin and Tiamat. And really they have to see Tiamat appear even if she ends up getting swallowed back if the PCs beat Severin! Talk about robbing them of a finale! :)
 

Eltab

Villager
I did some map-work after reading the chapter on metallic dragons.

If you get a lot of dragons to help, you can place "air cover" all along the river from Baldur's Gate to Elturgard. This is close enough to the Well of Dragons that the army can be close by before it is discovered.

If you have tacticians in your group, offer these options:
- Dragons will escort troop convoys at sea. From Waterdeep to Baldur's Gate, say.
- A few dragons will adapt Blackhold as an 'advanced base'. A force of older dragons will then move in and attempt to establish air superiority over the region. (The Zhents may not agree to share their main base, though.)
- Cult 'air raid' on Waterdeep, to disrupt the preparations. They want to emulate the Mitchell Raid but might become kamikazes instead because...
- Pull some 3e material and have a few 'secret dragons' or slumbering dragons offer their services to the Alliance / the Cult.
- The wyvern trainer in SKT could be drafted by the Alliance. A dozen wyverns are about equal to one dragon in aerial combat. This gives the PCs a way to do something very cool and very scary. (It also gives a few experts - like the PCs - a way to avoid the big battle outside and James Bond their way into the enemy's lair.)
 

Sloblock

Explorer
Like the idea of the tactical approach, I also did something similar

I used a first edition map of the region ( the orange background one ) this was to simulate the map the Council had and then talked through the plans. I had seen something similar in the supplement ( http://www.dmsguild.com/product/172545/DMs-Kit-On-the-Trail-of-Tyranny ) which I then expanded on. The PCs then chipped in and helped re-assign some of the resources.

I had the towns and villages overrun with Cultists which is why they need also needed to be dealt with

Battle.JPG

Edit: noticed that the green text isn't readable in the picture

* going direct to the battle is the Silverymoon Folks - in my game they were delayed

* Elves, Dwarves and other knights/Troops head to the main battle

* Frume leads the bottom group, along with Flaming Fist, Half of the Metallic Dragons, Army of Waterdeep

the other half of the Metallic dragons are covering protecting Waterdeep, etc
 
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I have made a sword coast map on foam board in A4 and use coloured pins to show where council members hail from so the party can tell which regions they need to protect and who is placated as a result.
I then have a flag for each adventuring party that the alliance has access to (including the current adventurers). the colour of the flag shows thier faction allegiance if necessary.
This way the party can assist with assigning resources and assigning themselves as they go on different areas/adventures.

it also gives a feel that there are many more adventures/missions needed in the time available - eg onegroup of griffon riding Torm fanatics were sent to locate the well of dragons and scout out the area. A Barbarian party with enclave heavy allegiance was sent to the Uthgardt lands to assists and to sway them to the cause where possible. making sure at a minimum that the army woudl be unmolested by uthgardt raids when moving through thier tribal lands. and so on
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
That’s actually a fascinating approach and would have been a great way to focus the council meetings as they describe the growing threat an incursions of the cultists.
 

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