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

Eltab

Explorer
Also, did anyone add any magic items to Arauthator's hoard? I'm toying with the idea of including one or two items. I'm also thinking I'll convert some of the gems into art objects.
My group botched claiming Hazirawn (never even knew it was there), so I put it in Arauthator's hoard instead. I also put a matched set of Swords of Dragon-Slaying (dagger, rapier, shortsword, longsword, all in a nice ornamental carry case) in the safest place the dragon could think of: buried in the ice underneath his bed. You could replace a gem with the carry case.

Maccath has been stuck with the dragon for years, so I don't see cost as a problem; she's BORED. She also wants a way to slyly get revenge on him via a third party.

While they are in the boat, have the group meet a Plesiosaur who also has the Swallow Whole ability, and see if anybody recognizes the Loch Ness Monster. :)
(In my group's case, 90% of the sailors fell overboard but only 2 heroes fell joined them in the drink. Go figure.)
 

pukunui

Adventurer
Arcane Brotherhood

Maccath has been stuck with the dragon for years, so I don't see cost as a problem; she's BORED. She also wants a way to slyly get revenge on him via a third party.
Yes, but she's stuck on an iceberg in the middle of nowhere. She's got the time, but where's she getting the other resources needed to make them? The dragon would notice if she was using any of his stuff. I think it makes more sense for the Arcane Brotherhood to give the PCs those arrows. They want Maccath back alive. It makes sense they'd give the PCs some weapons to use against the dragon.

Alright... for a minute there I thought we lost [MENTION=786]GuardianLurker[/MENTION]'s Giant Moot, Arcane Brotherhood and Breaking the Ritual sidequests/re-writes
Where's the Arcane Brotherhood stuff? I'm not seeing it.

I ask because I thought I'd posted something about them but I can't remember now. I'm planning on shifting most of what Dala Silmerhelve knows about the draakhorn to the Brotherhood and make it so the PCs take a Harper portal from Waterdeep to Luskan to meet with the Brotherhood.

According to the SCAG (pg 98), the current leaders of the AB are:

- Archmage Arcane Cashaan the Red
- Zelenn the White, Overwizard of the West
- Jendrick the Blue, Overwizard of the South
- Teyva the Gray, Overwizard of the East
- Druette the Raven, Overwizard of the North

These are the same five wizards who were vying for the top job as mentioned in the Legacy of the Crystal Shard campaign guide (pp 60-62). One can glean a wee bit more info about some of these wizards from that book.

Cashaan the Red is a male Calishite human necromancer. His full name is Cashaan el Farid. He was residing in the Hosttower and had command over the undead lurking in it during the time of the Sundering. I guess because he was already there and was instrumental in taming the undead, he won out over the others and took the top job.

Zelenn the White is a female elf wizard from Neverwinter. She buddied up with Lord Neverember in hopes of gaining some influence over him and his peeps.

Teyva the Gray, aka Teyva "Magehand" Lillowind", is a half-elf "thief and self-taught mage" from Baldur's Gate. She was once a member of the Guild and has sought to form an alliance with the Guild's leader, Nine-Fingers Keene.

Jendrick the Blue is a male wizard, presumably human. He was based in Port Llast. He sent his understudy, Vaelish "the Brown" Gant, to Ten-Towns in hopes of taking over Icewind Dale and using its resources to claim the title of Archmage Arcane. I guess since Vaelish's takeover was officially stopped (since Duvessa Shane is still in charge of Bryn Shander as of SKT), Jendrick failed and had to make do with a mere Overwizard-ship.

Druette the Raven is female and was based in Waterdeep. Nothing else is said about her.


These guys are essentially blank slates. I'm going to limit Dala's knowledge to the mere fact that the strange emanation is caused by the draakhorn. She doesn't know much more than that, but she suggests that if anyone in Faerûn would know, it would most likely be someone in the Arcane Brotherhood. Lord Neverember then namedrops his buddy Zelenn the White. So off the PCs go and they use their writ from the council to secure an audience with Cashaan and Zelenn. These guys will give them the lowdown on Maccath and offer to charter them a ship should they agree to attempt to return Maccath - and the stuff Arauthator stole from the Hosttower - to them.

Should the PCs succeed and the ABs join the alliance, I'm going to have Zelenn sit in as their representative, since she's such great friends with Neverember. I'll probably use her to tie in The Frozen Castle episode as well.
 
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akr71

Explorer
I was looking at post #66, pg 7 but I guess that is a substitute for the Mission to Thay. Just did a quick scan the first time I posted that...
 
The "Off to See the Wizards" could be run as a Mission to Thay replacement, but they weren't really intended to be. They're supposed to be an indication of the kind of quests the Brotherhood's representative would issue. The section doesn't deal a whole lot with the internal workings of the AB, just as the adventure doesn't delve into the leadership/politics/workings of any of the "independent" factions, like the Harpers, the Zhentarim, or the Emerald Enclave.

The AB has two representatives at the council - Maccath, who the characters rescue, and another brother who's the actual ambassador/politician. The politician's job involves a lot of "Shut up, Maccath. What my colleague meant to say was...".

I'm still working on the Mission to Thay replacement, but got distracted by other things.
 
I'm in the process of leveling my crew of 6 adventurers to 20, because honestly if Tiamat is played correctly, would just be a TPK. I have been side questing the hell out of them with with a slew of 5e converted modules I havefrom my AD&D days. On top of all this I made some slight changes in the game giving the players a chance to get their hands on a few of the dragon masks (Blue, Green, and Black).

On top of this, the paladin of the group has been in possession of Hazirawn (evil sentient sword). Once the encounter with the metallic dragons happened, I had the scenario where the dragons find an item/weapon in the party's belonging as stolen from their lair being Hazirawn, though adding to this, the sword being cursed (that's why its evil). They removed the curse and in doing so, changed the alignment of the said weapon back to its normal good state, and easily wielded by the paladin.

The whole group is excited to "max" out their characters, and it should be a fun battle at the end to go toe to toe to see who will truly be victorious!
 

Kalaron

Visitor
I'm in the process of leveling my crew of 6 adventurers to 20, because honestly if Tiamat is played correctly, would just be a TPK. I have been side questing the hell out of them with with a slew of 5e converted modules I havefrom my AD&D days. On top of all this I made some slight changes in the game giving the players a chance to get their hands on a few of the dragon masks (Blue, Green, and Black).
Michael, have you perused [MENTION=786]GuardianLurker[/MENTION] magnific rewrite of the Well of Dragons activities? It's on this same thread and very detailed. No need to move to 20 adventurers :D

On top of this, the paladin of the group has been in possession of Hazirawn (evil sentient sword). Once the encounter with the metallic dragons happened, I had the scenario where the dragons find an item/weapon in the party's belonging as stolen from their lair being Hazirawn, though adding to this, the sword being cursed (that's why its evil). They removed the curse and in doing so, changed the alignment of the said weapon back to its normal good state, and easily wielded by the paladin.
This is very smart. I am stealing it.
 

V0RTEX

Explorer
The are an number of references around the web that have suggested continuing the campaign by having the party chase Tiamat to Avernus to defeat her once and for all. I kind of like the idea of taking the campaign right up to 20th level and exploring another plane.

Has anyone thought of a good scenario to do this?

I've looked at the previously published scenarios that explore this. Fires of Dis has some good material about travelling across Avernus to Tiamat lair, but the lair itself is pretty lame. Dragon 175 (the Finale to Scales of War) has a detailed lair, but it's all a bit video-gamey for my tastes (Tiamat at the top of a magma spout, disintegrator rays that need to be knocked out etc).

im sure the creative folk on this formum could devise something better...
 
Planning on it. But I'm working on the Earlier stuff first.

But at concept level: Travel elemental planes To gain independent power, Wyrm's wyrd to gain dragonslaying artifact, something to gain terrain map; hell crawl over backcountry to temple, assault tiamat in her deific realm/lair.

Expected ending level 20+. Maybe 25? Basically +5 to 7 levels from the end of RoT
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Prepping the council sessions and came up with the following changes:

Session 1
I think Taern Hornblade should introduce the idea of the Draakhorn but have the other council members dismiss it as a myth. The PCs are then approached by Delma Silmerhelve who confirms Taern's theory and gives them info on where it might be.

Session 3
After Silverhand presents the Red Wizards invitation she is interrupted by an aide carrying a message from the Zhentarim. She invites Rian Nightshade to join the PCs and present the intelligence they have received. Whispers and murmurs of disapproval accompany her walk up to the front. She delivers the intelligence and, once the Council considers it, they determine that retrieving the Blue dragon mask would be very helpful to the cause and in convincing the Red Wizards to join the fight.

A couple of small changes that I think might make these Council meetings a bit more dramatic.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Storm on the voyage to the Sea of moving ice

The book has the voyage just be narrated and over and done with but that seems unmemorable, so I'm planning for a storm to hit the ship. This will be a series of events that will be presented narratively giving the PCs a chance to tackle them in whatever way they want (or ignore if they choose - though if they fail too many the ship will probably be wrecked!)


  • Once the storm hits - DC 15 Passive dexterity check or the ship is now difficult terrain
  • Ship is heaving: Periodic DC 15 DEX check or be knocked prone.

  • Man overboard: throw a rope: DC 20 Strength check, Jump in after periodic DC 15 Constitution check to survive the cold water and waves (or take a level of exhaustion) and contested grapple check to get ahold of the sailor who’s panicking.
  • Helm is loose: Take the helm DC 20 WIS and steer the ship DC 15 passive STR (or take a level of exhaustion) or secure the helm DC 20 STR (fail the WIS check and the captain yells at the landlubber for endangering the ship and takes over the helm).
  • Sail needs reefing: DC 20 DEX to catch the loose rope and DC 20 STR to reef the sail or take a level of exhaustion.
  • Taking on water: Help with the bilge bump DC 15 passive STR or take a level of exhaustion.
  • Loose cargo: something heavy (a cannon?) is rolling free on the deck threatening lives and the stability of the ship. DC 20 STR check to secure it. DC 15 DEX check to dodge out of the way or take 2d6 bludgeoning and be knocked prone.

That's what I have for the moment - open to ideas and improvements :)

 
My group is on the verge of the first "The Cult Strikes Back" episode. They've completed the first council meeting, the Sea of Moving Ice and Varram the White sections, and just reached tenth level. Given that they literally just leveled up, I'm having a hard time justifying another level after what is admittedly a hard encounter, but still just ONE encounter.

Am I missing something here? I was thinking of working in one of the additional encounters (maybe the Devilish Demands one, gone wrong) to weaken them up before the cult's assassination attempt, but it still feels like a super quick pit stop at tenth level.

Any suggestions as to how to slow things down a bit? Maybe a DM's Guild adventure that could drop in and make the party earn the level, while staying consistent with the story line? The devil angle seems interesting to me because it would give the party a break from battling dragon after dragon. Not a lot of prep time these days, hence the hope that something "off the shelf" might be out there.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

pukunui

Adventurer
[MENTION=6791920]grvgrv[/MENTION]: I agree. I don't think the PCs need to gain a level after each cult strikes back episode. Especially if you include the Frozen Castle episode (available on the DMs Guild) that was cut from the adventure.
 
[MENTION=6791920]grvgrv[/MENTION]: I agree. I don't think the PCs need to gain a level after each cult strikes back episode. Especially if you include the Frozen Castle episode (available on the DMs Guild) that was cut from the adventure.
I'd forgotten about that one. It's do-able for tenth level characters, so maybe I'll contrive a reason that they need to be dispatched up that way.

I don't want to put the party off the pace to have a chance at succeeding at the final encounter by simply skipping the level up associated with the cult's failed attempt, so this may be a good option to make it seem like more of an accomplishment.

Thanks.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

pukunui

Adventurer
I don't want to put the party off the pace to have a chance at succeeding at the final encounter by simply skipping the level up associated with the cult's failed attempt, so this may be a good option to make it seem like more of an accomplishment.
If you include the Frozen Castle, then you could also just give them a level after the third failed cult attack. That would still get them to 14th level. You can also give them a level for going to Thay (or say it's for both Thay and the meeting with the metallic dragons), which would get them to 15th.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
The leveling guide in the book is way too aggressive. I'm sticking with just the major episodes and I'm skeptical about whether the metallic dragons and the thay episodes count...
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Prepping for part 2 of the Tomb of Diderius (episode 3) and finding a few things to improve on...

1) There's no way the PCs have advantage on the lizard folk guards after the secret door is opened to area 14. I'll have the guards ready to fire a shot at anyone coming through that door way.

2) The bridge drops 40 ft over a 40 ft span - that's a 45˚ gradient! The bridge has to be at least 120 ft long (and perhaps longer to make that descent navigable without steps. I changed the DC to remain on the bridge 15 and a DC 20 to make a grab to stay on the bridge if a PC slips - heck it's slimy moss - very hard to get a good grip! Also no mention is made as to what the negative effect of failing a climbing check is. I'm going with a snake attack from one of the holes in the wall or take a level of exhaustion to keep climbing (for variety in case there's more than 1 fail).

3) Yuan-ti quarters the dart trap. There's no Passive Perception check for spotting the pressure plate. It's an investigate check which seems weird. I'm changing it to DC 18 passive perception to notice something strange about the stone. Adding the "click" warning if a PC actually steps on it of course.

4) upgrading the yuan-ti priestess to yuan-ti nightmare speaker (thanks VGtM) and the making the yuan-ti in the hatchery a pit master.

I think those are the major changes so far.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
I'm having trouble with the Cult Strikes Back setup.

I've got four 10th level PCs, with a 6th level NPC druid companion, and I'm looking at the Second Attack options. The text makes it sound like it should be a big force - it talks about multiple nycaloths and mezzoloths and/or multiple cultists dropping down from the black dragon ... but when I do the calculations, I'm getting a deadly encounter with just one dragonsoul, one mezzoloth, and one nycaloth. One dragonsoul and one adult black dragon gets me a deadly encounter as well. (Whereas the black dragon by itself is merely hard.)

Anyone got any advice? [MENTION=6702445]jayoungr[/MENTION]? [MENTION=6803337]Eltab[/MENTION]? [MENTION=6686829]Steven Winter[/MENTION]?


By the way: I've set this attack up by having the PCs in Everlund just as it comes under attack by the cult. I could potentially have waves of cultists hit them as they try to make it back to Moongleam Tower in order to teleport back to Waterdeep.


EDIT: In case it helps, the PCs are as follows:
*goliath moon druid 10
*dwarf evoker wizard 10
*human berserker barbarian 10
*halfling swashbuckler rogue 10
*halfling druid NPC (a 6th level caster)
 
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My group is on the verge of the first "The Cult Strikes Back" episode. They've completed the first council meeting, the Sea of Moving Ice and Varram the White sections, and just reached tenth level. Given that they literally just leveled up, I'm having a hard time justifying another level after what is admittedly a hard encounter, but still just ONE encounter.

Am I missing something here? I was thinking of working in one of the additional encounters (maybe the Devilish Demands one, gone wrong) to weaken them up before the cult's assassination attempt, but it still feels like a super quick pit stop at tenth level.

Any suggestions as to how to slow things down a bit? Maybe a DM's Guild adventure that could drop in and make the party earn the level, while staying consistent with the story line? The devil angle seems interesting to me because it would give the party a break from battling dragon after dragon. Not a lot of prep time these days, hence the hope that something "off the shelf" might be out there.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

I think its the only way they could figure out a way to get the characters to a high enough level to battle Tiamat? Even so, getting to level 14, I believe, isn't high enough to fight Tiamat. I have gone beyond this in my campaign, taking the adventurers to level 20 to fight Tiamat the way I want to! mwahahaha!
 
I think its the only way they could figure out a way to get the characters to a high enough level to battle Tiamat? Even so, getting to level 14, I believe, isn't high enough to fight Tiamat. I have gone beyond this in my campaign, taking the adventurers to level 20 to fight Tiamat the way I want to! mwahahaha!
I agree about these episodes being a means to an end, with that end being to get the characters to a reasonably high level in the allotted page count.

I replaced the first cult strikes back episode with the Frozen Castle adventure, which worked out great. The players really got a kick out of Allac and the yetis, and had to actually work for their level. As it stands, the castle is the party's new ride, and Allac and the yetis are crewing it, although this is not without its own problems. Basically, Allac has become distracted with piloting the castle, and without his guiding influence, the yetis have split into murderous factions. Only the most hardened and ruthless remain as crew members.

As a twist to the cult strikes back idea, the cult has joined forces with a revenant that the party inadvertently created when they went against alignment and murdered the crew of the Frostskimmer (don't ask). At their level, a revenant isn't a huge threat, but they're starting to realize that he's going to keep popping up. Also, I tweak the stats a bit depending on what body the revenant is in. Currently, he's occupying an abominable yeti corpse, so he's sort of tough.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
I've got four 10th level PCs, with a 6th level NPC druid companion, and I'm looking at the Second Attack options. The text makes it sound like it should be a big force - it talks about multiple nycaloths and mezzoloths and/or multiple cultists dropping down from the black dragon ... but when I do the calculations, I'm getting a deadly encounter with just one dragonsoul, one mezzoloth, and one nycaloth. One dragonsoul and one adult black dragon gets me a deadly encounter as well. (Whereas the black dragon by itself is merely hard.)
I had the dragon do one breath attack and then fly away after dropping off the cultists.

I ran the full encounter, though, and couldn't even drop one PC in a group of four. As you know, my group's PCs don't die as much as yours do.
 

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