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

I'd love to hear more about this! Post it on the Enhancing Rise of Tiamat thread, maybe? :)

P.S. If you haven't decided yet what they can do for the Arcane Brotherhood, that seems like an ideal place to insert The Frozen Castle.
:erm: Well, as soon as I have it written, yeah. Those sentences were in the present tense for a reason. :blush:

What I can tell you right now is that the Thayan portion keeps a large portion of the "tour of the Realms", but tightens the focus to the Sword Coast. For instance, one of the Thayan Exiles knows the *full* details of the ritual being used to summon Tiamat - helpful when planning how to stop it. The Cult knows about this as well. The problem facing the cult assassination team, and the player characters, is that the wizard is now an Avowed Scribe within Candlekeep.

There are three other Thayan Exiles that know the full details of the Dragon Masks (as Tiamat has used them before, for different purposes, a long time ago). The cult *doesn't* know this. These exiled wizards all greatly fear retaliation from their homeland - one's trapped his tower 19 ways to Tenday, another has so many layers of indirection to contact him that sometimes *he's* confused, and the third has put an adventuring company under contract to guard him (and is loaded for demonic bear-tiger-elephants). The characters can offer the protection of the alliance, or the arcane brotherhood. The real problem though, is that by this point, the cult is watching the characters (and all of the Alliance's known agents very carefully). So once the characters start following the trail, the cult won't be far behind them. One wizard is in Neverwinter, another in Waterdeep, and I've been debating where to place the last. Right now, the leading contender is Silverymoon.

As for the Arcane Brotherhood, I haven't looked at Frozen Castle, but given how many cold environment quests are already part of Tyranny of Dragons, I'm leary of it just on that basis. I've debated cribbing something from Princes of the Apocalypse, but right now, I'm leaning towards a quest I'm calling "Rex Elementorum", where the players have to retrieve portions of the purest of each of the 6 elements (i.e. go **deeeep** into each of the Elemental Planes, past the point where genies and other elemental denizens live). And that's about all I have of that.

I'll cross-post this to the http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?480371-Rise-of-Tiamat-Question-from-a-DM-spoilers-ahead&p=6843718#post6843718 thread as well.

P.S. Anyone interested in a Jotunmoot writeup or a Red Dragon/Maccath quest (replacing the White Dragon/Maccath quest)?
 
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jayoungr

Adventurer
There are three other Thayan Exiles that know the full details of the Dragon Masks (as Tiamat has used them before, for different purposes, a long time ago). The cult *doesn't* know this. These exiled wizards all greatly fear retaliation from their homeland - one's trapped his tower 19 ways to Tenday, another has so many layers of indirection to contact him that sometimes *he's* confused, and the third has put an adventuring company under contract to guard him (and is loaded for demonic bear-tiger-elephants). The characters can offer the protection of the alliance, or the arcane brotherhood. The real problem though, is that by this point, the cult is watching the characters (and all of the Alliance's known agents very carefully). So once the characters start following the trail, the cult won't be far behind them.
That sounds really cool!

One wizard is in Neverwinter, another in Waterdeep, and I've been debating where to place the last. Right now, the leading contender is Silverymoon.
What about having one of them not in a city, but in some fortified location deep in the middle of nowhere? Just a thought, for variety.

As for the Arcane Brotherhood, I haven't looked at Frozen Castle, but given how many cold environment quests are already part of Tyranny of Dragons, I'm leary of it just on that basis.
I know what you mean, but I figure it will make my party feel smart for having bothered to invest in Rings of Warmth and White Dragon armor. Plus, I think I'm going to swap out the white dragon for a red one living in a geothermal cave underneath the glacier.

P.S. Anyone interested in a Jotunmoot writeup or a Red Dragon/Maccath quest (replacing the White Dragon/Maccath quest)?
But of course! Did you really have to ask? :D That's what this thread is for, after all!
 
What about having one of them not in a city, but in some fortified location deep in the middle of nowhere? Just a thought, for variety.
Already abusing the h*** out of that for other hooks, including most of the established quests. The only "urban" quests in the published material are The Tower, and Mission to Thay, and both of those are a stretch. The "Death at the Council" subquest would certainly qualify, but isn't detailed. (And yes, I'm planning on detailing that too.)

I should caution you though, that most of this is as Fantasy Grounds modules.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Already abusing the h*** out of that for other hooks, including most of the established quests.
Good point; it just struck me as a bit of a coincidence that every single one of the other wizards should have chosen to disappear in a large city, but maybe your players won't notice. Or maybe you could turn it into a plot point--say the three of them had a meeting and decided that cities were the safest place to lose themselves? I do like the way you've given each one a different strategy for staying safe.

The "Death at the Council" subquest would certainly qualify, but isn't detailed. (And yes, I'm planning on detailing that too.)
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that. I'd like to run this one myself, but I'm not sure how to work it in. I was thinking of making the murdered guy be Rian Nightshade's predecessor as Lord Neverember's advisor, which would throw suspicion on Rian and the Zhentarim initially. I may add an extra Council session as well, so that there's more time to spin this out.

I should caution you though, that most of this is as Fantasy Grounds modules.
Meaning what? (I've never used Fantasy Grounds.)
 
Good point; it just struck me as a bit of a coincidence that every single one of the other wizards should have chosen to disappear in a large city, but maybe your players won't notice.
I suspect they'll notice. I suspect they also won't care. The primary reason they're in those cities is access to research materials. So I might move Neverwinter's to Luskan.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that. I'd like to run this one myself, but I'm not sure how to work it in. I was thinking of making the murdered guy be Rian Nightshade's predecessor as Lord Neverember's advisor, which would throw suspicion on Rian and the Zhentarim initially. I may add an extra Council session as well, so that there's more time to spin this out.
Right now, I'm planning on just having it be a seduced/blackmailed secretary, not any of the actual council members themselves. But the detailing is yet-to-come.

Meaning what? (I've never used Fantasy Grounds.)
Meaning that it's (right now) in a FG-only compressed format, not a word or html file. It's not hard to break it out, even if you don't have FG, but it's a lot of tedious work. BTW, if you don't have FG, I strongly recommend checking it out. I won't rehash any of the *many* FG/Roll20/TT-only threads here (they're easy to find), but I will say that my investment has paid off in *SPADES* for me. It's easily the best GM aid I've *ever* run across.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
I suspect they'll notice. I suspect they also won't care.
Oh, well, then there's no problem! :D

The primary reason they're in those cities is access to research materials.
That makes a lot of sense. So that's all you need if someone in your group does question it.

Right now, I'm planning on just having it be a seduced/blackmailed secretary, not any of the actual council members themselves.
Yeah, I haven't decided for sure how to handle it myself. And I really should have brought it up at the second council session, but I was running that rather by the seat of my pants and forgot about it. But I know it's the kind of story my group would enjoy, so I'd like to work it in if I can.

Meaning that it's (right now) in a FG-only compressed format, not a word or html file. It's not hard to break it out, even if you don't have FG, but it's a lot of tedious work.
Oh, I see! Well, whatever format you can manage would be great. I would definitely like to hear more about your versions of those quests, though. I'm especially interested in the Jotunmoot because I intend to re-start my group with The Frozen Castle, but both sound intriguing.

BTW, if you don't have FG, I strongly recommend checking it out. I won't rehash any of the *many* FG/Roll20/TT-only threads here (they're easy to find), but I will say that my investment has paid off in *SPADES* for me. It's easily the best GM aid I've *ever* run across.
Good to know, and I'll keep it in mind!
 

Sloblock

Explorer
I agree with Jayounger that whatever format you could manage would be great

I am probably too far down my Realms trip to Thay to change much for my table but would love to hear about it
 

Delazar

Explorer
Hopefully this belongs here! Two questions:

A) When you "weaken" Tiamat, book says "her attack and breath weapon damage is reduced by 15". Is attack referring to her Bite?

B) We're playing the last chapter, and the Rogue went ahead of the party, full stealth, and entered the Temple via the tunnel in area 5. He saw a mage performing a ritual, and he one-shotted him with an arrow. Then he retreated to where his friends were waiting, and they continued to explore the tunnels in the volcano. If I understand correctly, the 10 rounds countdown to have Tiamat appear begins as from the moment the Heroes enter the Temple... does this mean the rogue triggered the countdown?
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Hopefully this belongs here! Two questions:
Yes, it's fine to ask here! And hello!

A) When you "weaken" Tiamat, book says "her attack and breath weapon damage is reduced by 15". Is attack referring to her Bite?
That's how I read it. It might possibly extend to legendary actions, but those aren't technically attacks.

B) We're playing the last chapter, and the Rogue went ahead of the party, full stealth, and entered the Temple via the tunnel in area 5. He saw a mage performing a ritual, and he one-shotted him with an arrow. Then he retreated to where his friends were waiting, and they continued to explore the tunnels in the volcano. If I understand correctly, the 10 rounds countdown to have Tiamat appear begins as from the moment the Heroes enter the Temple... does this mean the rogue triggered the countdown?
Ooh, interesting question! It's up to you to some degree; if you think it's really going to mess up the climax to have it start early, you can say the countdown starts when the whole group enters the Temple. But if I were running it, I'd say that since the rogue actually did something to disrupt the ritual, the countdown should start from either when he entered the tunnel or when he killed the mage.
 

akr71

Explorer
My group is just starting HOTDQ, but given the amount of work I spent prepping that, I figured I had better get reading ROT... ;)

Anyway, something jumped out at me on pg. 11 of ROT under the Giants section. It says "a frost giant named Harshnag lives on Mount Sar north of Waterdeep, and he is sometimes called upon when the Sword Coast faces dire threats." Dragon threat or not, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around why a frost giant would come to the aid of Waterdeep. I thought about turning him into a stone giant, but their reclusive nature doesn't feel right either.

How have others approached this?

I'm working on building Blagothkus's personality and character. My hope is that if I play him right, the party will leave HOTDQ with Skyreach Castle intact and in Blagothkus's possession. If they don't, I will probably use Frozen Castle to link the two books.
 

Sloblock

Explorer
B) We're playing the last chapter, and the Rogue went ahead of the party, full stealth, and entered the Temple via the tunnel in area 5. He saw a mage performing a ritual, and he one-shotted him with an arrow. Then he retreated to where his friends were waiting, and they continued to explore the tunnels in the volcano. If I understand correctly, the 10 rounds countdown to have Tiamat appear begins as from the moment the Heroes enter the Temple... does this mean the rogue triggered the countdown?
Like Jayoungr has mentioned, I would also have the timer start once the whole party is in. When we get there that is what I was going to do
 

Sloblock

Explorer
My group is just starting HOTDQ, but given the amount of work I spent prepping that, I figured I had better get reading ROT... ;)

Anyway, something jumped out at me on pg. 11 of ROT under the Giants section. It says "a frost giant named Harshnag lives on Mount Sar north of Waterdeep, and he is sometimes called upon when the Sword Coast faces dire threats." Dragon threat or not, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around why a frost giant would come to the aid of Waterdeep. I thought about turning him into a stone giant, but their reclusive nature doesn't feel right either.

How have others approached this?

I'm working on building Blagothkus's personality and character. My hope is that if I play him right, the party will leave HOTDQ with Skyreach Castle intact and in Blagothkus's possession. If they don't, I will probably use Frozen Castle to link the two books.
I totally missed that part, you could always have Harshnag dormant and only woken by Blagathus?

The way I got round the PCs being nice to Blagothkus, was to make the 2 Stone giants really friendly and inquisitive around the PC races ( I have an inquisitive Gnome ) and to mention that something is wrong if Blagothkus is helping the Cult of the Dragon. This way when they met him, they could start with a topic around why is he helping them and go from there.

hope that helps
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Anyway, something jumped out at me on pg. 11 of ROT under the Giants section. It says "a frost giant named Harshnag lives on Mount Sar north of Waterdeep, and he is sometimes called upon when the Sword Coast faces dire threats." Dragon threat or not, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around why a frost giant would come to the aid of Waterdeep.
Maybe Blagothkus could persuade Harshnag to help out?

I'm working on building Blagothkus's personality and character. My hope is that if I play him right, the party will leave HOTDQ with Skyreach Castle intact and in Blagothkus's possession.
My group left Skyreach with Blagothkus intact. They overheard him telling one of his ogre assistants that he didn't like how the Cult of the Dragon was "trying to take over the castle," which gave them a clue that he wasn't wholeheartedly on the cult's side.

If they don't, I will probably use Frozen Castle to link the two books.
One thing to remember is that Frozen Castle is designed for level 10-11 PCs, and they will probably be level 7-8 when they finish HotDQ.

If you really like Frozen Castle, you can run it anyway; I'm planning to have the Cult of the Dragon assault Skyreach once they realize Blagothkus has turned on them, and they'll be the ones to crash it. The PCs will find out about it when the mage studying the yetis contacts the Arcane Brotherhood and happens to mention that a floating castle recently crashed in the neighborhood.
 

NotActuallyTim

Villager
My group is just starting HOTDQ, but given the amount of work I spent prepping that, I figured I had better get reading ROT... ;)

Anyway, something jumped out at me on pg. 11 of ROT under the Giants section. It says "a frost giant named Harshnag lives on Mount Sar north of Waterdeep, and he is sometimes called upon when the Sword Coast faces dire threats." Dragon threat or not, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around why a frost giant would come to the aid of Waterdeep. I thought about turning him into a stone giant, but their reclusive nature doesn't feel right either.
http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Harshnagg

He showed up in the 3.5 City of Splendors Waterdeep sourcebook. He's some kind of Waterdhavian super riot cop, if I remember correctly.
 

akr71

Explorer
snip
One thing to remember is that Frozen Castle is designed for level 10-11 PCs, and they will probably be level 7-8 when they finish HotDQ.
snip
My HOTDQ group is only 3 and I've added lots of extra stuff, so I should be able to get them to ~8-10. I also promised them that I would find a way that to switch to their 'old' characters between books, should they want to. They are all level 10 and I could have them summoned to Waterdeep for the first council meeting. The council could then ask for 3 volunteers for an extremely dangerous, yet vital mission.
 

Eltab

Villager
Kicking around an idea:

My group cleared out the Green Dragon Lair except for the dragon, then took a Long Rest. (The group is on hiatus while I work a seasonal job.) They interrogated and executed - because I wasn't prepared with answers - the Dragon Rider just before stopping.

When we resume, I'm not sure what to do.
1) Rewind to "you arrive outside the cave where the Green Dragon and his Rider lurk"
2) Figure out what the Dragon will do while they sleep all day - probably set up a TPK using "the Classic Cult is a criminal ring" assets
3) Let the group fight the Dragon by his lonesome then leave, probably in triumph
Preferences? Thoughts?

Assume they get out alive, the Rider is still dead, and they report back to the Council.
I am really tempted to build up the scene where they report the slaying of the Green Wyrmspeaker. (The group learned that much before killing him.) When they slew Arauthator, they put his head in a Bag of Holding. I expect them to do the same for the Green Dragon Rider. I also expect them to hold up HIS head for the council to observe, too.
The dwarves begin to sing a victory anthem, the humans rise for a standing O, the Silverymoon elves show grateful recognition ... but the King of the Forest Elves turns pale white and staggers over to the nearest railing, mouthing words that cannot be heard over the noise. He keels over and slumps into a chair as the sounds of victory are replaced by confusion and concern. In a sudden silent moment he can be heard gasping "Neronvain, my son, my son..." (Copied from the Bible, King David hears of the death of his rebelling / usurping son Absalom.) Cue doctors / sages / wizards / &c. He dies of heart failure (truly a broken heart) a few days later, so the Elves' seat is soon taken by his other son and heir. This Elven King has the sudden personality transformation described in the adventure, but he also resents the PCs for killing his father with "a poisoned spear launched straight to his heart."
 

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