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The Sword Coast Is Under Siege

 
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Old Jun 8 '19, 9:28am
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The Sword Coast Is Under Siege

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Forum
Dungeons & Dragons 5e

Application Deadline: Monday, June 24th, 2019

Hoard of the Dragon Queen

A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure for Characters of Levels 1-7, Concluding in The Rise of Tiamat

Disclaimer: The following adventure contains chromatic dragons. I cannot be held liable for characters who are incinerated, dissolved, frozen, poisoned, or electrocuted.


In this glacial scene illustrated by Raymond Swanland, the white dragon Glazhael takes ice sculpture to extremes, turning intruders into grisly decorations for its draconic lair.


What is this campaign going to be like for me?

Tyranny of Dragons is an epic story told across two adventure products, of which this is the first. Characters begin at 1st level, and by the end of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, they should be 7th or 8th level and ready to continue with The Rise of Tiamat.

Tyranny of Dragons is set in the Forgotten Realms on Faerűn’s western shore—the Sword Coast. A thin strip of civilization stretches down this coast, where widely spaced cities are arranged like beads on a string. A combination of roads and wagon tracks loosely connect the cities that stretch from Luskan in the north to Calimport in the south, passing through Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate, and other great ports along the way. The bulk of this adventure takes place on the stretch between Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter.

What is the posting rate for this campaign?

I plan to post at least 2/week, so I expect you guys to post that often as well.


What kind of characters are you looking for in this campaign?

I’m only accepting character options from the Basic Rules or the Player’s Handbook, and Hoard of the Dragon Queen.


How many characters will you take for this campaign?

The ideal party size is four characters.


How do you want me to apply for this campaign? Applications

Post a new thread in the link above with the following information about your character:
Note: A character sheet is not needed yet.
  • Name: (Try to keep to the cultural naming conventions of your chosen race outlined in their racial descriptions.)
Note: You do not need to use the sample names listed after the naming conventions of your race.
  • Alignment: (Neutral Evil and Chaotic Evil are not allowed; Lawful Evil is restricted to Lords’ Alliance or Zhentarim.)
  • Ideal: (Describe one ideal that drives your character: the moral compass that guides his or her decisions.)

    Ideals might answer any of these questions:
    • What are the principles that you will never betray?
    • What would prompt you to make sacrifices?
    • What drives you to act and guides your goals and ambitions?
    • What is the single most important thing you strive for?
Note: You can roll for an Ideal if you want to instead.
  • Bond: (Create one bond for your character: the thing your character holds most dear.)

    Bonds might answer any of these questions:
    • Whom do you care most about?
    • To what place do you feel a special connection?
    • What is your most treasured possession?
Note: You can roll for a Bond if you want to instead. You can also use Hoard of the Dragon Queen appendix A.
  • Flaw: (Choose a flaw for your character that could one day undermine him or her.)

    A flaw might answer any of these questions:
    • What enrages you?
    • What’s the one person, concept, or event that you are terrified of?
    • What are your vices?
Note: You can roll for a Flaw if you want to instead.
  • Background: (Describe where he or she came from, his or her original occupation, and the character’s place in the world.)

    The most important question to ask about your background is: What changed?
    • Why did you stop doing whatever your background describes and start adventuring?
    • Where did you get the money to purchase your starting gear?
    • If you come from a wealthy background, why don’t you have more money?
    • How did you learn the skills of your class?
    • What sets you apart from ordinary people who share your background?
Note: You can replace your Background Feature with one from Hoard of the Dragon Queen appendix A.
  • Faction: (Optional, but recommended for this particular campaign; characters will always begin at rank 1 in a faction.)
The Five Factions
Harpers: spellcasters and spies who advocate equality and covertly oppose the abuse of power.
Order of the Gauntlet: faithful and vigilant seekers of justice who protect others from the depredations of evildoers.
Emerald Enclave: wilderness survivalists who preserve the natural order while rooting out unnatural threats.
Lords’ Alliance: established political powers concerned with mutual security and prosperity.
Zhentarim: unscrupulous shadow network that seeks to expand its influence and power throughout Faerűn.

Game Description:

Fight the war against draconic oppression in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

In an audacious bid for power, the Cult of the Dragon, along with its dragon allies and the Red Wizards of Thay, seek to bring Tiamat from her prison in the Nine Hells to Faerűn.

To this end, they are sweeping from town to town, laying waste to all those who oppose them and gathering a hoard of riches for their dread queen.

The threat of annihilation has become so dire that groups as disparate as the Harpers and Zhentarim are banding together in the fight against the cult. Never before has the need for heroes been so desperate.

__________________
Posting Status: 1/day

Last edited by Ivellon; Jun 10 '19 at 11:16pm.. Reason: Added a link to an Applications thread group, because it’s crazy for me to keep up with all the applications in this thread at once.
I have not actually played 5e before, but I've been looking to try out a game of the edition lately, so wth.




Name: Halisstra Xiltyn
First and last name derived from previous editions' forgotten realms material
Note

Race: Dark Elf

Class: Fighter 1

Alignment: Chaotic Good

Personality: Idealistic and optimistic but not naďve, Halisstra knows full well the evils of the world, and how her people are seen. Still, she refuses to give up hope, nor to give up her core belief in the fundamental goodness of most people. Motivated to do good above all else, she can be a bit brash in her desires to help others, not always considering the ways it could go wrong. That said, she's not reckless to the point of being suicidal. She believes in the freedom of all to do as they will provided it harms none, and that people should help one another to protect their community, but that forcing it is only the first step towards far worse. Very much an idealistic free spirit.

Ideal: Above anything else, Halisstra burns to see her people accepted more on the surface. Like many followers of Eilistraee, she sees the best way to do this to be fighting for good causes. While of course she would prefer to focus on fighting (and ideally, redeeming) evil drow, she doesn't believe in pursuing that idea to the exclusion of other good causes. By fighting all kinds of evil and helping to make Faerun safe for goodly people of all races, she can do more to develop acceptance for her kin.

Bond: Primarily her parents and the others of kin and friends in her home community of Moonhaven in the High Forest. Phaerun, her father and Elereal her mother. Her closest friend growing up was Akordia Abeir, another Eilistraeean Drow from Moonhaven. She prizes the Lyre her bard mother gave her.

Flaw: Halisstra has several traits that could be seen as flaws, depending on the circumstances. Though she understands why her kind, even Eilistraeeans like her, are held in suspicion and hate by many on the surface and below, she can get indignant if pushed over her heritage too far, too fast, too much. Held in suspicion, she tolerates, but when blamed for things not her fault simply because of being a dark elf, she can get quite angry, and those she will not physically attack innocents over it, she can alienate people with her rage regardless. Further, with both her parents redeemed drow born to the worship of Lolth, she firmly believes that nearly anyone, with the opportunity and the support of others, could find their way to goodness. Thus, if she believed she saw even a hint of remorse, hesitance or doubt in an enemy, she might refrain from killing them, or fight with slightly less vigor to win, in the hopes of giving them a chance to surrender, or at least to flee and have a chance for those doubts to bein a path to goodness. She would not consider this a flaw, but it certainly has it's many risks.

Background: Entertainer

Like many Eilistraeeans, Halisstra was trained in dance and song from an early age, and danced under the moonlight many times, excelling in the art. With her father a wizard and her mother a bard, she was drawn to the art of magic, and trained to be a bard for some time as a youth, but as she grew older, though she found herself interested in magic, she found herself far more drawn to the art and act of the sword more, interested in emulating her goddess still more, becoming a swordswoman without peer became a focus of hers. That said, she still practices her dancing and her singing, and when she has the opportunity - far less now than she did when she lived in Moonhaven - she dances under the light of the moon in honor of Eilistraee.

Growing up in Moonhaven (the Common translation of it's Elven name), a small community in the High Forest of less than a hundred, mostly drow and half-drow, all followers of Eilistraee, Halisstra has never directly known the harsh ways of the majority of her people, but she has learned much about them from the stories her parents and others in Moonhaven told her. She was taught the ways of Eilistraee, the sword and the lyre, and raised in a loving home among good people. Her life was hardly idyllic or perfect - her community was attacked more than once by the hostile monsters and savage humanoids of the Sword Coast North and the like, but she was relatively safe and secure when she was too young to fight, and in time, she became able to fight to defend her home herself.

Shortly after her 110th birthday, she decided that she needed to leave home and see more of the world on her own, outside of the supervision of her elders. She plans to return home, to continue to serve the interests of Eilistraee and her kin, but she set out. Moonhaven had worked with Harpers a few times in the past, and the leading Priestess of Eilistraee in Moonhaven put her in contact with them to give her an institution she can work with and a faction she could be affiliated with in her efforts to do good out in the wider world. A desire to do good, both for it's own sake and to further prove to the world that not all dark elves are to be hated and mistrusted. She has thus been a member of the Harpers for a few months since setting out.

Faction: Harpers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin View Post
This got discussed a fair amount on the Myth Weavers Discord yesterday. The big thing is that players involved need to recognize that there are fights they can't win in this AP. Murder hobos or that barbarian that always charges are bad fits for the adventure.
I am not sure what think about this. I've heard such descriptions before, but usually is a nice way of saying: "This game requires a massive amount of knowledge of the rules, particularly the monsters. You can only survive by disregarding the character's perspective and employing a massive amount of meta-game thinking." Particularly the phrase "recognize they can't win" is often used as synonym for meta-game thinking.

For example, a character, who never heard of a mind-flayer before, is supposed to know that a calm mind-flayer is more dangerous than a raging brown bear with blood on its fangs, which is an assessment that doesn't actually make sense, from the character's perspective.

So, the question is, is this a game for rule-mongers, or a role-playing game?

Well, Mind Flayers are a known thing in Faerun, at least in stories, and they're known to be pretty dangerous. It's not really meta-gamey to imagine your character has heard at least one story about the tentacle-faced humanoids and knows to run the other direction if they don't have good reason to think they could win.

There's not really a distinction between "rule-mongers" and "roleplayers", over this or anything else.

No, this AP should not require extensive rules knowledge. It requires a group willing to think instead of charge, that’s really it. I know of multiple GMs who have run rookies through the AP successfully without issue.

@Feuerrabe, From my personal experience with HoTDQ, it meant "the players said our playtest were too simple, so let's ramp up the number of encounters to redonkulous amounts." It just wasn't a very well optimized campaign book to introduce 5E. So warning your players you can't do every encounter is fair instructions; you just also as a DM have to think of how you should work out failure states as well because the book doesn't really expect the players NOT to succeed whatever is put in front of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin View Post
No, this AP should not require extensive rules knowledge. It requires a group willing to think instead of charge, that’s really it. I know of multiple GMs who have run rookies through the AP successfully without issue.
Well, that actually sounds pretty gorgeous.

If you would like to discuss The Hoard of the Dragon Queen, this thread is not the place to do it. Please move your discussion to a thread in GM Discussion or Gaming Discussion if you would like to continue it.

Fair enough! >_<

Regardless, it sounds like @Ivellon has already put a lot of thought into this and knows what they're doing. I wish everyone a fun game!

@Feuerrabe: First of all, we won’t be using the Customizing Ability Scores Variant from page 13 of the Player’s Handbook to determine the ability scores for your character; however, that is not important for now.

Quote:
Elves are considered children until they declare themselves adults, some time after the hundredth birthday, and before this period they are called by child names.
Player’s Handbook, p.22
Amyriel is missing a child name, unless she never took an adult name when she turned 107 years old, which needs explaining because this is one of those cultural naming conventions that I mentioned in how I wanted you to apply for this campaign.

The idea of a child name reinforces the elven belief that you are not considered your own person until you come of age. Until then, the other elves get to decide what is best for you, including what to call you, because you are still considered a minor.

This could also be the root of what others perceive as the elven superiority complex: you may consider anyone, not just other elves, under one hundred still a child, and so you can decide what is best for them because they don’t know any better yet.

Looking at Amyriel, I find it very interesting that her first love was a human who, even if he didn’t die in battle, would have obviously been long dead by the time she reached 327 years old.

I actually think it meshes quite well with her flaws of being impulsive, easily distracted, and shallow. I can totally imagine her falling in love with a human and throwing caution to the wind in spite of her cultural upbringing.

Unfortunately, Amyriel’s ideal is not as clear as that. I get the feeling that she considers it to be Beauty, and I also like that it reinforces her flaws, because Beauty is fleeting, but I’m left without any idea of how this drives her as a character.

How does she use her ideal of Beauty as a moral compass to guide her decisions? You mentioned that she wants to convince others to see the world the way she does, but that is more of an extrinsic character motivation, and it still begs the question, “Why is Beauty so important to you that you want to share it with others?”

Secondly, for Amyriel’s background, I am not allowing options from Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide; however, you have the option of Customizing a Background from pages 126-127 of the Player’s Handbook, provided you don’t go outside the book.

Lastly, I think you misunderstood Colin, who was echoing what I said on the Discord about how Episode 1 will be damage control, and that the characters are not meant to drive off the attackers at all, but to save the townsfolk instead.



@darknight910: Yes, I am familiar with Hoard of the Dragon Queen, as I run it for my group. We are now on Episode 5.


@Miaomei: Much like Feuerrabe’s character, Balin (I assume his first name is Balin because, according to page 33 of the Player’s Handbook, “Dragonborn . . . put their clan names first as a mark of honor.”) is also missing a childhood name.

Quote:
A childhood name or nickname is often used among clutchmates as a descriptive term or a term of endearment. The name might recall an event or center on a habit.
Player’s Handbook, p. 33
Dragonborn wear their clutchname into adulthood as a badge of pride and intimacy with those whom they choose to share it. Telling someone outside your clutchmates your clutchname is akin to adopting them into your clutch.

The idea of a clutch name, and even their clan name going first, reinforces the dragonborn belief that the group is far more important than any one person.


Quote:
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
—Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982)
This could easily clash with Balin’s ideal, or even his bond, as they are in service to an individual, Bahamut, and not for The Greater GoodTM. This is a good thing. Conflicts like this are what can make a character very interesting to play!

I would also like you to describe the terrible mistake he made in battle. It could explain why he’s so worried about his fellow soldiers and friends in battle: maybe he’s afraid of making that same terrible mistake again.

Balin is also missing any kind of background description about who he is, where he came from, etc.



@Colin: Thank you very much for the compliment!


@Vahnyu: I love what you did with his name! I am curious, though, if the name Vahnar was also given to him by the Bronze Claw, or if it was his name from before he was adopted.

Beyond that, I have very little in the way of notes; however, you can’t have multiple characteristics, except for your bonds.

Hoard of the Dragon Queen states that you can use their bonds “in addition” to the one you get from your background.

The Hunt for the Dragonscale Cloak is still on!



@Zman101: I am only allowing the Ranger in the Player’s Handbook.


@Kylia Quilor: I know very little about Drow naming conventions, so I’ll defer to your research on the matter.

I particularly enjoy the duality between her ideal of Acceptance and her flaw of blind, alienating rage. Good job!

There's not much 5th edition stuff covering Dark Elf naming conventions, tbh. I mostly used the stuff from my Copy of 3.5e's Forgotten Realms: Underdark (which of course has a lot on the Drow) and characters from various Faerun Novels.

Glad you like what I've done with my character.







 

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