Trigger Warning: Spoilers, Rule Changes for 11 Mar 14, fireballs centering on the casters, and bad Dungeon Mastering.
The Penultimate Session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen shows some promise for a bigger playing group in the upcoming season, Princes of the Apocalypse, in two weeks. Mostly because the dudes in town are being too good in the other WotC brand.
While I’m having my Encounters table, there is a newbie M:TG tournament, where people who are just starting out in the card game can have a tournament environment without getting constantly wrecked by pros. They have a special ruling that bars players who win this tournament more than three times. A lot of the kids here wish to switch to D&D once they get their ‘social promotion,’ so to speak.
You know of the saying, the Gods close one door so they can open another. This is an apt case of it.
And they’ve really got interested in D&D when I brought both Resmir and Azbara Jos, one of the two Red Wizards of Thay, together to face the party after their final Extended Rest. Along with them is Kellebrende, the wizard who got his stupid ass captured during the Castle Naerytar chapter, tied up in chains behind the bad guys.
The conflict continued my trend to swing for the fences at this point in the campaign. I remember counting four Fireballs in total flying all over the field as Resmir, Azbara, two Guard Dragons, and two Ogres pounded the party almost into goo. That’s two fireballs for each side, including one that made the players question my sanity.
“Oh, you’re slinging Fireballs, eh? Well, I have a surprise for you. I cast Fireball…CENTERED ON MYSELF! HAIL TIAMAT!” —Azbara Jos, what should’ve been his final words.
Yes, you heard that correctly. He made sure that everybody was around him when he decided he wanted those seventy-two virgins. And I expect at least one Muslim to E-Mail me and go “My friend, that is not how you do it.”
I managed to bring at least two players down, though not yet a total wipe. As any 5th Edition DM’ll tell you, the PCs can get really sturdy when they get going. (And I do get more liberal in my Magical Items distribution.)
When the smoke has cleared and the party squeaked by for the second time in the row, what would appear in the distance clapping his hands was the other Red Wizard of Thay, Rath Modar…
…who will not be partaking in my version of Rise of Tiamat.
“You know how Thay are under the oppressive thumb of the arch-liches and the necromancers, no? You’ll be surprised to know that there are Red Wizards who fight to resist their rule, wishing to return our land to its former glory before they came. That is why I’m here, discussing matters with the Cult of the Dragon.
“While I admire this newer faction’s new direction from just making dracoliches right and left, it’s come to my attention that Sevrin is quite a fool. Even simple-minded Minsc knows that Tiamat is not to be trifled with, nor will she accept a mere mortal to be her herald. She’ll surely eat him just like all the other sacrifices, and then turn around to raze the whole Realm!
“However, I have found enough allies to serve my own interest, and shall leave you to finish the job you’ve begun. You will find your final obstacle, the Dragon, in the main chamber. Defeat the Wyrm, and full control of the castle will be back to your giant friend. I bid you good luck, heroes.”
And that will lead them to the climactic battle as they wrest control of the Sky Castle from a just awoken White Dragon. Ooooh, a possible TPK at the end? Maybe.
With the last session next week, I’ll also report some changes to my DMing style for the upcoming season. This includes an updated Action Point system that I use that will also replace Inspiration. I brought 4th Edition Action Points to 5th Edition as an attendance incentive ever since I took the DM’s chair. With Princes of the Apocalypse, I’ll introduce the Action Point Mark II, which has some added features and will be awarded in place of Inspiration Points. They will have additional effects the player can choose from as well. I’ll let everybody know about it when I set up my Encounters Table Beginners guide here in this blog.