D&D 5E Red Hand of Doom + Rise of Tiamat + Scales of War

Rellott

Explorer
A suggestion: make it kobolds instead of goblins. The Cult of the Dragon regularly uses kobolds as their low-level flunkies; they show up on Skyreach Castle, for instance.

But Red Hand of Doom is all about goblinoid armies. Of course, you could re-skin that to be humanoids using kobolds to bring it more in line with the Cult of the Dragon in Rise of Tiamat. I like the ideas presented by the Hack and Slash blog about dividing up the cult into factions for each color. (I think he actually stole them from the DM of the D&D with Porn Stars actual play series.) The Red Hand is one of the factions, along with the Pale Eye, the Jade Fang, Cobalt Claw, and Black Wing.
 

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jimmytheccomic

First Post
A suggestion: make it kobolds instead of goblins. The Cult of the Dragon regularly uses kobolds as their low-level flunkies; they show up on Skyreach Castle, for instance.

Ooh, good call. Would the Kobold Dragon worship trait also apply to Bahumat, though, or do they just worship evil dragons?
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Would the Kobold Dragon worship trait also apply to Bahumat, though, or do they just worship evil dragons?
The kobold page at the Forgotten Realms Wiki just says they are known for "serving dragons":

http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Kobold

It also says their societal alignment is lawful evil, though, so take that how you will. I think there's enough wiggle room to make some of them interested in serving metallic dragons if that will help the story.
 

Rellott

Explorer
I think you could still be lawful evil and serve a good dragon. You follow orders and work within the hierarchy, but you only care about your survival and advancement within that hierarchy.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
"Rise of Tiamat", with additional homebrewed missions (It needs some urban mysteries
For this: check out the additional hooks/storylines at the beginning of Rise of Tiamat. You can do a lot with "Death at the Council," the storyline about the succubus. If you want ideas on how to turn that into a full story thread, check out [mention=786]GuardianLurker's[/mention] expansion of it in this post and this post--or, if you don't mind spending a little money, try DM's Kit: On the Trail of Tyranny. It has a different expansion of that storyline tying in with the assassination of Remallia Haventree's husband, complete with mock-up newspapers you can pass out to your group.
 

Brandegoris

First Post
Hey there!

I've got at least half a year to plan it out, but my players want me to run a campaign where they tussle with Tiamat after we finish up our current outing.

I wasn't big on "Hoard of the Dragon Queen", but I love Red Hand of Doom and Rise of Tiamat, and Scales of War gives some fun ideas for high level play, so I'm putting together something that tosses them all into a kitchen sink/blender approach.

Has anyone attempted this with any level of success? Anything to watch out for?

Here's my vague outline so far:

Red Hand of Doom to get them to level 7ish. I play up the "Sandbox" elements of that book, and this section of the campaign ends after the major battle in the city- the Fane of Tiamat doesn't 'exist' yet at this point. They learn that the loot that would have been taken from the razed city was supposed to be delivered to a flying castle, so we still play out that section of "Hoard", because a flying castle stronghold is dope.

Either winning the battle, or taking the skycastle, gets them the attention of Waterdeep, so they are invited to the council, and we jump into the mission style gameplay of "Rise of Tiamat" for the mid-section of the campaign. I'd change around some of the story elements here- I want the players to be able to retrieve masks without completely throwing off the cultists plan, for instance. I also liked Sly Flourish's suggestion of putting the "Doom Vault" dungeon in here as a method for killing the leader of the cult- that gives us mission based gameplay and a MegaDungeon, so now we've covered several campaign styles.

After beating the Aspect of Tiamat, they'd have the option to start planejumping and finish her off, and we'd use some of the "Scale of War" adventures for high level play- I haven't had a chance to fully read these through, yet, but a lot of the concepts sounded cool. (Getting the arrow that had split Tiamat and Bahumat, raiding a Githyanki ship on the Astral Plane, attacking her a Bahumat realm to finish her off...)

Anyone tried something similar, or have any insight into these campaigns?
I support this idea. Mainly because I think that "Red Hand of Doom " is Arguably the best adventure produced for that edition. Good Luck and have fun with it!
 

hastur_nz

First Post
Just a note on Red Hand of Doom, which I played through and then did a little reading of and on some time later....

Red Hand of Doom doesn't really have anything to do with Tiamat, until near the end when you've pretty much crushed the hobgoblin armies, and you finally hear about how Tiamat is the BBEG behind their attempt to crush humanity. So if you only play the part up to then, you are playing a campaign which has nothing to do with Tiamat. Which is totally fine, but just be aware that you have a very long lead-in before your players will see anything to do with Tiamat, and, just like in the full-blown Red Hand of Doom adventure, chances are you get a plot disconnect, unless you've deliberately worked in various more specific hooks towards the fact that Tiamat is behind all the initial troubles. From my reading, and recollection as a player, that's about the only real complain people have about the campaign - it's a sudden jump in style and plot, from battling the armies, to going into the Fane of Tiamat.

That said, pretty much all the long-running Adventure Paths I know of (and I've DM'd a few), suffer the same problem - the initial levels are a long set-up, only vaguely linked to what comes next. While there's nothing wrong with this, and often the initial levels are incredibly fun and formative, you do always run the risk of having a very long-running campaign where DM and/or players are looking forward to what might come next rather than enjoy what's planned for somewhere in the future.

For example, if your players want "fight Tiamat", why not just start with PC's around 8th level, who have found out about something that hints at Tiamat's diabolical plans, and take it from there...?
 


jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
So I've been reading the final Scales of War adventures, and I'm really excited about this idea. What I really like is that the SoW storyline won't be anticlimactic after Tyranny of Dragons--it actually will be an escalation of scope and threat. It makes sense that Tiamat would continue trying to escape from Avernus. Plus, it still involves dragons, so it doesn't just feel tacked on. And it should give my cleric with the "gold dragon" background a chance for full redemption too.

I think I'm going to skip Betrayal at Monadhan and go straight from my transitional adventure into Grasp of the Mantled Citadel. It seems a bit much to have to go through two separate planes to get to the next part of the story. Also, my players finished Palace of the Red Pasha at level 15, which is where the blog conversion of Grasp of the Mantled Citadel picks up. (Betrayal at Monadhan has some cool scenes, though, which I might try to work into the transitional adventure.)

One thought that occurs to me: Galvan the Blue wyrmspeaker doesn't really appear in Rise of Tiamat. It would be really easy to slide him into the Scales of War adventures: swap him for Mornujhar, the "black exarch" in Betrayal/Grasp, for example.
 

FelipeH92

First Post
Hey there!

For some time I thought I was the only one with that idea :)

I actually did not run Red Hand of Doom mainly bacause I started Tyranny of Dragons when the adventure came out, and now (almost 3 years later) the group is at level 12.

But I took things a little bit too far, I guess.

(Arc I - Done) I introduced 4 more factions to the game. The mercenaries from the shadowfell from the beggining of Scales of War, the Chuch of Tiamat because it's a totally different thing from the cult and there is no reason why they are not helping, the Githyankis from Scales of War, again because there is no reason why they are not helping, and a 4th faction that has to do with the background from one of the players (basically good guys turned bad guys). I ran Hoard of the Dragon Queen up until Waterdeep, then the group got separate and I ran The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge for one part of the group before turning the full group to the flying castle in Hoard of the Dragon Queen with a twist, they were intercepting a reunion in the castle between the cult, the church and the shadowfell mercenaries. Things went south pretty fast but somehow they got the castle.

I then ran The Temple Between adapted to the campaign in Baldur's Gate, but duo to that fourth faction revealing themselves traitors, the city fell.

At this time the campaign was totally different from Rise of Tiamat, so I scraped most of the book, only reading it as a guide for some things and for the Council of Waterdeep (Heavily adapted). From Rise of Tiamat I'll run the Xonthal Tower and the trip to Thay, I guess.

(Prologue to Arc II)
Oh, and Neverwinter also fell along the way (Things are pretty rash). The summoning will be there using part of the city as sacrifice.

I really liked the idea from one of you guys of using a consort of Tiamat instead of her in the summoning and have the summoning fail.

(Arc II - Going) Before the siege to neverwinter, I plan to run xonthal tower, a tournament to get allies from the Ruby Dragon and the final two adventures from the Paragon Tier of Scales of War to avoid reinforcements. I may throw the Ruby Dragon idea out and leave it for after the summoning or throw it all out.

(Arc III - To go) Then there is the recover of Baldur's Gate and the Palace of the Red Parsha -> City of Brass thing but I'm still figuring it out how to put it all together because I can't seem to find where I'll put the death of Bahumut there, and there is one more thing from the campaing... the plot twist

(Plot Twist Prepared) The leader of the faction that betrayed the players at Baldur's Gate is actually a simulacrum of one of the leaders from the Church of Tiamat, which is Shruppak, that is actually trying to fool everyone alongside The Sibilant Shade (one of the leaders of the cult, highly devout to Null) to summon Tiamat only to have a clear opportunity (during the summoning) to kill her and use her essence for something (Haven't figured it out yet, maybe become a god (Shuruppak) or goddess (Sibilant Shade)), and if that happens how in the nine hells am I to put it all together with a big battle against Tiamat at the end of the campaign...

I'm in serious doubt at what to do with the plot twist... If I leave for the summoning, it would be at least weird to have Tiamat killed, ressurrected (when they put out the Sibilant Shade) just to have them go to hell to kill her. If I leave it to the end, like they think they're doing good in killing Tiamat only to leave the space to another god (all planned from the start, lolz), I think a battle after Tiamat would diminish the epicness of fighting her, even if it's against an Epic Warrior and Shadow Dragon with divine powers...

Any suggestion on that Third Act and the Plot Twist? Throw it all out and make it simple? Go along?
 

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