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

weedenbc

Villager
I believe so. The bit where Harshnag(?) gives them the main quest. Instead Blagothkus can be that link. Especially as he might owe them a favor if they liberate his castle. I had the dragon cult hold his wife’s spirit hostage in order to get Blagothkus to comply with their demands.

Just finished reading through ROT and SKT over the weekend. I think that will work, assuming Blagothkus survives the end of HODQ :) But even if he doesn't, I think I can have Harshnag show up to one of the Council Meetings or maybe have the Council send the party to find him to link in.

I also think I'll change up the Oracle part of SKT to have them do the Stone, Frost, and Fire giant castles.
 

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weedenbc

Villager
My party is finally starting ROT this weekend and I'm super pumped! Made a lot of changes to it based on the great feedback here and elsewhere.

One final question - what can I do with the Draakhorn? Right now I have it blowing in the very beginning of episode 1, sort of as creating some uneasiness (and perhaps challenges with the baby black dragon the party just hatched!) and then two days later they get the summons from Leosin to the First Council Meeting.

But other than that, I don't really have a role for the Draakhorn. I'm dropping Sea of Moving Ice in favor of Frozen Castle and some other stuff so right now it won't come up again. But it seems like I probably should have it in there and potentially a way for the characters to get their hands on it? Or would that mean giving away where the Well of Dragons is too early?

Maybe instead having them go on a quest to retrieve some artifact of Bahamut that can rally the good dragons?
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Let a Ranger or a Druid treat that long continuous note from the Draakhorn as a 'homing beacon'; plot your location on a map and listen to where the sound is coming from*. Do this several times while traveling to get a general zone of origin, which can eventually be refined to the Well of Dragons.

Some of the Ancient Dragons who have decided to sit on the sidelines (see SKT) might want a group of adventurers - who will be traced back to the Lord's Alliance not back to the dragon - to go shut off that awful racket. Or get a bottle of 'aspirin' to deal with the Excedrin Headache they are developing.

* In the quiet of the very break of dawn, when night animals are settling in to rest and the day creatures have not yet greeted the morning, stand atop a hill and Listen. This may only work at dawn or dusk.

P.S. The Zhents own a fortress not too far from the Well of Dragons. They might let some spies use it as a forward base ... if the spies are discrete and if the price is right.
 


weedenbc

Villager
Currently prepping the second arc of my ROT campaign, which will end with Xonthal's Tower. Before they get to Xonthal's Tower, my party will have already had more than their share of experiences with various types of elementals as part of the Elementum Divinantor episode I'm adding to the beginning of this arc (along with Frozen Castle). So I'm planning on replacing the elementals in the dungeon of Xonthal's tower with demons and the backstory is that Xonthal was experimenting with summoning and controlling demons before he stumbled across a horrible secret.

The party will be 5 level 12 PCs by the time they get here. The plan is as follows:
  • Replace the fire and earth elementals at the checkpoint with 2-3 Armanites
  • Replace the wind elemental in the study with a summoning pentagon and 5-6 Bulezau
  • Have the door for the storage closet at the end of the hallway be infested by an Alkilith
  • Change the crystal portal to be looking out on the Abyss (and moving the crystal rod switches the view to a different layer of the Abyss)
  • Replace the talkative efreeti with an allip that is all that remains of Xonthal and wants to share his horrible secret
I'm looking for ideas of what sort of secret the allip can be hiding. There's some good ideas on RPing the allip here, but I'm a stuck on what horrible secret Xonthal could have stumbled upon that destroyed his mind.

Suggestions?
 

jayoungr

Legend
I'm looking for ideas of what sort of secret the allip can be hiding. There's some good ideas on RPing the allip here, but I'm a stuck on what horrible secret Xonthal could have stumbled upon that destroyed his mind.
Don't demons specialize in mind-warping and madness? Maybe he summoned a demon that was too powerful for him to control, and it destroyed his mind before escaping into the tower dungeon. And maybe he thinks he learned a dreadful secret, but he just can't remember what it was...
 

weedenbc

Villager
Don't demons specialize in mind-warping and madness? Maybe he summoned a demon that was too powerful for him to control, and it destroyed his mind before escaping into the tower dungeon. And maybe he thinks he learned a dreadful secret, but he just can't remember what it was...
Yep could certainly go that way, but I was hoping to be able to come up with something related to the overall campaign plot. Maybe some role of the demons in bringing Tiamat into the Material Plane? Or a traitor among the Council of Waterdeep?

I think if it's terrible enough, then when he passes it to the PCs it adds another new wrinkle for how the plot will play out.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Yep could certainly go that way, but I was hoping to be able to come up with something related to the overall campaign plot. Maybe some role of the demons in bringing Tiamat into the Material Plane? Or a traitor among the Council of Waterdeep?

I think if it's terrible enough, then when he passes it to the PCs it adds another new wrinkle for how the plot will play out.
Perhaps Xonthal provided the missing info for the summoning ritual and was mind addled by the cult for his reward? Do they know at this point what the cults plan is? I can’t remember...

And perhaps this is how they can get the info on how to disrupt the ritual?
 

weedenbc

Villager
All my party knows is that the Cult is trying to bring Tiamat back to the Material Plane. They have no idea how, why, or where.

I don’t think the published campaign has any details about how the summoning ceremony happens, other than it involves the Dragon Masks. I’ve already changed that up a bit as my party managed to successfully retrieve two masks so far (white and black). In my world, Severin doesn’t need the masks to bring her over, they only help determine how powerful she is.

I’m not sure if stopping the summoning is something I want the party to be able to do. That sort of eliminates the big finale! They definitely can impact Tiamat’s strength when she arrives and how many allied forces they have, however.

Alos, I don’t think there’s anything in the published campaign about a role for the Devils or Demons in the Cult‘s plans. I suspect the Demons may want her to stay in Avernus because the Devils have to expend power to keep her there.
 

jayoungr

Legend
I don’t think the published campaign has any details about how the summoning ceremony happens, other than it involves the Dragon Masks.
We know it requires at least five wizards to do the ritual, and a large number of sacrifices (see pages 85-86 of Rise of Tiamat if you have the two-volume version of the adventure or 171-172 of Tyranny of Dragons if you have the single-volume version).

Alos, I don’t think there’s anything in the published campaign about a role for the Devils or Demons in the Cult‘s plans.
Demons aren't mentioned, but devils show up a few times in RoT. There's Lord Vollmer and the "Devilish Demands" side encounter, plus devils are listed among the cult forces at the Well of Dragons. (See pages 7, 10, and 86 of RoT, or 10, 13, and 173 of ToD.)

I suspect the Demons may want her to stay in Avernus because the Devils have to expend power to keep her there.
That would make a lot of sense. What if Xonthal was allied to the Cult of the Dragon and the demons were trying to prevent him from helping them?
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
All my party knows is that the Cult is trying to bring Tiamat back to the Material Plane. They have no idea how, why, or where.

I don’t think the published campaign has any details about how the summoning ceremony happens, other than it involves the Dragon Masks. I’ve already changed that up a bit as my party managed to successfully retrieve two masks so far (white and black). In my world, Severin doesn’t need the masks to bring her over, they only help determine how powerful she is.

I’m not sure if stopping the summoning is something I want the party to be able to do. That sort of eliminates the big finale! They definitely can impact Tiamat’s strength when she arrives and how many allied forces they have, however.

Alos, I don’t think there’s anything in the published campaign about a role for the Devils or Demons in the Cult‘s plans. I suspect the Demons may want her to stay in Avernus because the Devils have to expend power to keep her there.
I tried to put a "World War II" feel to my Tiamat campaign, and for the Manhattan Project I used "figure out the summoning ritual so we can mess it up". The high elves (unwillingly) and Arcane Brotherhood (willingly) took on that task, using my former-PC as the liaison between that group and the PCs. Besides stealing Dragon Masks and taking down Wyrmspeakers the group also got to pick up certain obscure knowledge from custodians that were unwilling to share. In essence I was slowly revealing the "how to weaken Tiamat" list, and listening as the players tried to figure out what they (or somebody) could / might do about it.
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
Has anyone come up with an alternative to the summoning of Tiamat being successful? It seems as if one thing the party is trying to stop is the ritual being performed, but they can’t succeed because otherwise you don’t get the final scene with Tiamat. So what happens if they do succeed? Whats the end then?
 

ART!

Hero
Has anyone come up with an alternative to the summoning of Tiamat being successful? It seems as if one thing the party is trying to stop is the ritual being performed, but they can’t succeed because otherwise you don’t get the final scene with Tiamat. So what happens if they do succeed? Whats the end then?
My first thought, and it's really just a hint of an idea: if they mess with the ritual at the wrong point, sure Tiamat is still trapped, but you're now down there with her. Maybe trapped, too, maybe not.

OR

Sure, Tiamat is still trapped, but a bunch of devils came through instead. "Why are you messing around with things up here!?!"
 

weedenbc

Villager
I know some people have added big chunks of Descent into Avernus to the end of ROT, the thinking being that you now chase her down to finish her off once and for all.

I'm still trying to work out whether the devils actually want Tiamat in hell or not. I don't think that backstory was ever officially fleshed out. And it matters as to whether they would be helping the Cult get her out or whether they might actually be working against the Cult (and hence allied with the party!) to keep her there.

That said, there is some interesting speculation in this thread:
 

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