Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign

Gunner Scott

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Hi-

so I recently decided a about four months ago to give 5E a go. I had picked up the Starter Kit from WotC and from there spent two months gather up a group of players (People that I could tolerate and would not annoy me). The Starter Kit was a nice intro into 5E but I did not play the adventure within it, by the time I did have a group up and going, both the 5E PHB and HotDQ were out. So with that said, I decided to run HotDQ a 1 to 7th level campaign set in the forgotten realms. The adventure is not bad but very railroad like IE trying to force the players into situations that normally most would not be apt to attempt, so as a DM I felt the adventure needed a bit of loosening up and a bit more leeway for the players and less railroading.

Basically this adventure pits the players against the Dragon Cult, which is looting area's of Greyhwak and to bring that loot to a central area for the main bad guy to summon Tiamat from the 7th plane of Hell and to do this the cult needs to gather as much loot as possible. The players come into the picture by trying stop the ritual and get back the loot for their patrons. Pretty simple and epic feeling adventure but some parts needed serious work I felt to make it more palatable to both players and me the DM.

I did make a few changes in both the module (an adventure path actually, AP's are episodic encounters kind of.) and my campaign. In my campaign I set HotDQ in Greyhawk in the Village of Hommlet. In the module HotDQ, many locations are set in the Forgotten Realms, but the FR just has to much baggage and too many players know FR better then me. So Greyhawk was my alternative choice to FR. Greyhawk is a more open campaign area where you can add or take away what you like or dislike.

As for house rules, I had a just a few, I'm old school D&D, so in my campaign I ruled zero'ed teiflings (a Dominic P.C race in 5e) and Dragonborn (another PC race in 5E), I also ruled that Paladins must be Human and of Lawful alignment, no new age paladins in my campaign. Another thing thast should be kept in mind is that 5E is a low powered system IE no powerful magic and monsters tend to be weaker then previous editions, so perspective DM's will have to bear this in mind when playing 5E. As one person on another message board put it, a 20th level cgaracter in 5E with a +3 sword is considered to be wheedling a relic. Not very epic but will see how this turns out.

The characters in this campaign consist of one rogue, two clerics and one fighter and an NPC ranger named Dolf.

In HotDQ there are some very railroad like encounters and this I did not like, I wanted the players to immerse themselves into the campaign and get to know the NPC's in Hommlet before the proverbial **** **** hit the fan. Ya see in the module the players come upon a raid in progress and are attacked relentlessly by the raiders as they do certain missions with in the town, I did not like that and wanted to build up to a more set piece battle. So I had it where the players arrived 3 days before the battle occurred, giving them time to scout the lay of the land and inter act with their fellow NPC's/ characters.

The players do hear rumors of a vast Raiding army approaching, and get sucked in to helping defend the Village of Hommlet from these raiders which includes a young Blue Dragon. The Attack begins late in the Day on St Crispens day, the village of Hommlet, even though they knew the attack was imminent still celebrated the Feast of St Crispen. Once the attack got under way, the players helped the Druids of the Grove (Cherry, Amber and Misty) defend against various incursions by both Kobolds and Goblins (the players are at 3rd level), The Raiders take a beating and but do manage to loot some areas of Hommlet and then the raiders Retreat back.

The players are then tasked to follow the Raiders to where there camp is and try to get an idea of the raider's and report back to the Lord Mayer Burns so he can dispatch a troop of mounted knights to deal with the Raiding group. The players find that the Raiders have taken refuge in an old abandoned Moat house, they do see the Blue Dragon in the court yard but it is just relaxing and eating any stray kobold or goblin that wonders to near it. They do come across a secret passage in the outlying woods and it leads into the tunnels underneath the Moathouse, of course near the secret entrance in the tunnles are two troll's guarding this access point to the rest of the area underneath the Moat house.

Will post the next part later in the week, but as much as 5E can be a bit weak, its not that bad.


Scott
 

Gunner Scott

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Howdy-

Well today was a sidetrek adventure day due to some nut job setting fire to a radar facility in chicagoland and effectively halting air traffic for a few days and thus one of my players could not make it. Anyway, once more we continue to plow through the ins and outs of the 5E rule set and to be honest there are times I just want to dump it and go back to 3.5 ver DnD just because there are mechanical bits that answer my questions way more then 5E does. Worse still, some of those feats in 5E are more powerful then you would think, players taking half damage on many attacks and then unleashing some serious hurt on the villeins but I'll fix their wagons soon enough.

As for the campaign, the players are in hot pursuit of the dragon cultists that looted hommlet but they also know they need to find where the final destination is for where this loot is going. To that end the Jeager Staffal, an organization of lawful good Paladins have directly took a hand in this situation and are helping the players with transport and logistics in trying to keep the players on the trail of the cultists and their caravan of loot. To that end, the players were given passage abourd the Sea Sprite, a ship of Captained by Hans von Muntafful an elf Calvalier and veteran of the both the Blood wars and Psychic Wars on the planes. His Ship was belonged to a Demon Lord and every so offten, that Demon Lord will send his minions out to harrass the good Capt.

As for the adventure itself, I ran a little city adventure set in Sanctuary (yes of thieves world fame), During the Journey to Sanctuary, the Sea Sprite collects lightening and stores it in a box of unknown metal, then Capt Hans sell's this lightening to powerful Wizards for a nice fat stack of gold. You see, the Sea Sprite can not only plow the waves, it can fly and travel the planes of existence. It is one of maybe two or three other ships like it known to exist from what many texts say. So on the Journey, the players are charged by Capt Hans to guard the strange metal box while it absorbs the lightening, unfortunately, there are creatures called Lightening Mephits that guard their lightening with fanatical vigor. The players are a smart bunch and tie themselves to the ships rails as the ship rocks back and forth in the lighten storm, one player falls overboard but manages to make a strength DC and hold on for dear life on the ships rails but at the same time 6 Lightening Mephits begin their attack on the ship targeting the box, the players get hit hard but the Mephits end up getting critted three times, three players rolled nat 20's !! By the end of the melee, the players are hurt but not dead though one nasty surprise with the mephits is the fact that they explode when they die. By days end, the Ship is approaching City of Sanctuary and begins to dive out of the sky to land in the water and pull along the docks. What the players see though is a City of pure filth.........

Will continue this later.

Scott
 

Gunner Scott

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Hi all

Here is the latest installment of my HotDQ Campaign, in the last session, the players had defeated the wererats thieves with a little help from the Assassins guild from the mini adventure Urban Decay from Dungeon magazine. Unfortunately Bel a female wererat apart of the Thieves guild managed to escape the Assassins guild guards and has swore vengance on the players for taking down her Brother, the wererat guild master. So with that said, here is a break down below of what monsters and other stuff the players encountered and EXP awards:

Here is the EXP for each creature and for Role Playing:
Crawling Hand 20 xp
Air Elemental 1,800 xp
Giant Roach 200 xp
Giant Scorpion 300 xp
Sand Yak 100 xp
Hells Galley +Infernal Laddle Role play 200xp
General RP rewards: 200xp
Total: 2820 xp

Episode 5 Construction ahead

Note:
I used Santuary as Waterdeep

Thomas Fairweather is the Assassins guild master and has asked the players to take on the task in trying to find Bel the wererat thieves guild surviver in Sanctuary for the Assassins Guild. The players do go back to her old hide out beneath the Ratcatchers guild and fight a parting gift from her: a Crawling Claw at Her old hide she left behind.

After the fight with the crawling claw which the Claric did turn, the players do find a clue clue a torn piece of paper with the number 7 written on it. As the DM I did point out to the characters as they were on the docks earlier in the morning that 7 caravans were getting ready to head out to the Neverwhere Desert including the Wagons belonging to the cultists. So for the players, that number 7 Luckily corresponded to the Caravan she hired her self onto for the Dragon Cult possibly.

Still, running around the sewers of Sanctuary most of the day, gave the cultists and their caravan a head start so Unfortunately you guys realized that she along with the caravan left early in the morning for the oasis of the sunflower in the Neverwhere Desert.

But with the help of Hans and his Ship the Sky Ship Sea Sprite, you might reach the Oasis of the Sunflower just around the time the caravan arrives and pick up the trail again of where the Dragon cult is taking the loot from sanctuary but also deal with Bel the wererat Thief maybe.

During the Journey to the oasis, once more Capt Hans wants to gather lightening so he fly's the Sea Sprite into another dark cloud and once more you guys are tasked with guarding the box that gathers lightening but this time you guys get to fight an Air Elemental named Gus. Thank gawd for NPC's to take the brunt of attacks sometimes lol.

Nonetheless Freddy the Fighter with awesome skill of swordsmanship did quite the number on Gus. With good support from Badger the Rogue and Marty the Cleric, the poor Elemental was dispatched back to the elements. I should have added inspiration from the Happy Yoddlers and the Bag Pipers Clan when you guys fought that elemental. My bust.

After the battle with Gus, Marty the Claric decided to check out the Galley aboard the Sea Sprite to do some cooking, what He found was Hell's Kitchen.

This ship as pointed out by Capt Hans used to belong to the Infernal Lord Draxis whom he and his fellow adventurers defeated and the Ship, the Galley has not been used by the Ships crew, so in remained in the same state for ages. The players came across bones of various humanoids in the hearth, and a cauldron atop a stove that is black as night.

Within the cauldron a swirling viscus liquid swirling counter clock wise around and around. Capt Hans pointed out that is is planar gate to where is not sure, he just chucked non-cooperating or paying passengers into it. He does quip however that one of them did make it back unbelievably and said there were infernal like pastries that walked about the plane he was on. too weird.

No matter, Marty commenced to cook up some bread from some bags of infernal flour He had found, but the brimstone taste was just very appetizing, then Marty came across a Laddle called laddie, that said he could help Marty be a top cook in the infernal culinary arts, with a bit of a caveat, the laddle required a tiny bit of blood to work. Of course Freddie the fighter was none to happy about this but Mart assured him that He had thing under control, the Infernal Laddle did get rid of the brimtone smell and taste of the Bread and the Bread turned out to be very tasty, the Bread is magical and each slice gives the player a +1 to hit and damage for a day.

The players arrive see the cult caravan in the courtyard being unloaded. They see a huge looking Orc named Burk Detwiller directing where the caravan horses go, and making sure the crates of cult loot is stored in a storage house adjacent to the inn common room. The players convince the Inn's cook Old Grisled Joe or OG as he likes to be called to let them check out the storage area, in exchange they would go and hunt up some Scorpion meat and tail, a fine delicacy in the Neverwhere Desert. Of Badger is not fond of Desert Worm meat or Scorpoin Tail and finds out that there Sand Yaks that might be found nearby.

The players set out around late afternoon and find that the desert is a most dangerous place as they survive a number of spots with quicksand. They do come across both a Sand Yak and a Desert Scorpion and dispatch both creatures with little problem and do return to OG with his items. While Marty distracts OG, Both Freddy and Badger manage to find a trapdoor, where it leads they are not sure but plan to investigate it later.

Enter Bel! As the players dine on their Scorpion tail and Badger dines on his Sand Yak Steak, Badger begins to feel not too good (failed his con DC) and about this Time Bel the thieves guild wererat whom failed her disguise (slight of Hand roll) is found out and Freddy charges her table and tries to tackle her, that fails and Bel wins the initiative, bounds for the door leaving her pet cockroach (medium size creature) to block the door while she jammed it shut. The players dispatch the giant cockroach but fail to catch Bel. Badger thanks to Marty's quick intervention, is cured of the poison effects. Its about this time Badger turns to Burk Detwiller and tells him of the Trap door in the storage room............a cliff hanger lol

Scott
 

ChrisM

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I'm looking at %E as well - haven't played or run anything since 2nd Edition - my campaign lasted from the late eighties to the early '00s. Hoard of the Dragon Queen looks like a good place to start.

Is there going to be a big learning curve, Scott? Rae the new rules pretty easy to follow? And I would be using Greyhawk as well - is the conversion form Forgotten Realms easy enough?
 

Gunner Scott

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Hi-

The Rules are easy enough, but I would advise leaving out feats, they really put the hurt on the bad guys in a big way. As for learning curve, not much really, if you played earlier versions of D&D then you should have no problem with this edition, its very much like 2E D&D and much much less mechanical the 3E or 4E.

Greyhawk should work, I'll post a map of my campaign area. The blue line represents the trail the cult is taking with the goods they looted. IE From the moathouse near Hommlet to Safeton to Sanctuary into the Neverwhere Desert to the Oasis of the Sunflower to castle Nearytar to the hunting lodge in the Demon Blight Hills.

Hommlet= Greenist FR
Cult Camp and Hatchery = The Moat House and I used the hatchery map for beneath the moathouse.
Safeton=Balders Gate
Sanctuary =Waterdeep
Oasis of the Sunflower= Carnath Roadhouse
The Dead Marsh= Mere of Dead Men
Demon Blight Hills= Greypeak mountains
Marlboro = Parnast

Scott
 

ChrisM

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I will be starting this as DM in a couple fo week s- getting prepped now. Wish I had gone back and read your post Scott - I told the Players they could have any standard race form the PH (before I bought my own copy of the PH) and sure enough - one of the f-ckers picked a Dragonbron. Why the hell they allowed this as a base race is beyond me. I'll just make sure that he has a nasty accident in the attack on Greenest (maybe the half blue dragon will single him out for combat and that will eb the end of it.

he cna have a dwarf as his replacement.
 
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