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Best of Storm King’s Thunder

Empi tries to paint

All miniatures from my Storm King’s Thunder campaign have been posted. This is a summary of my second Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaign with some game statistics, all the story episodes at our table and the new miniatures.

We ran Storm King’s Thunder (SKT) from 2017 to 2019. The adventure was released by Wizards of the Coast for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons in the fall of 2016. It is designed to take players from level 1 to 11 during the campaign. However, since none of my players were new players, we decided to start at level 3 – as this is where the fun for most classes begins. We finished the campaign with all characters at level 13.

  • I wrote a short article about the start of the campaign and house rules used here.

We played Tyranny of Dragons as my first 5th edition campaign, as it was the only one released when we started in 2014. When we finished, several other official adventures have already been published. However, we skipped the Elemental Evil, Rage of Demons and Curse of Strahd adventures, as I found the idea of a Giant-themed campaign very cool. It would take the characters all over the North of the Sword Coast and face to face with giants of all kind. After an epic, very dragon-heavy previous campaign, giants were a welcome change.

All the miniatures I posted since the end of the last campaign were used for Storm King’s Thunder, and I will include them here to show you how they fit into the story. However, I did not paint as many figures for this campaign as for the first one. The main reason was that I could actually use a lot of the standard minis again (e.g. undead, orcs, beasts, etc.). Another reason was, that the campaign was shorter and had fewer sessions, resulting in not needing as many minis in encounters. And finally, during the campaign, my son was born – shifting time and focus a bit away from miniature painting.

For this campaign, we were six players, playing roughly every week.

Here are the player characters and their miniatures:

The campaign in numbers

  • session length

    4 hrs

  • duration

    2.25 yrs

  • # of sessions


  • sessions/month


  • sessions to lvl up


  • fastest level up

    level 5

  • slowest level up

    level 8

  • highest CR (Iymrith)


  • magic items found by PCs (non-consumable)


The story and the miniatures

Episode 1 - Treasure of the Broken Hoard(level 3)

Episode 1 - Treasure of the Broken Hoard
(level 3)

The Tyranny of Dragons ended 2 years ago, but the aftermath was still very much visible. The Cult of the Dragon ransacked many towns on the Sword Coast then, and some of the treasure was never transported to Tiamat’s summoning ritual. So the new group of adventurers was hired for a simple mission from the Lord’s Alliance to get a lost treasure near Daggerford. The stumbled upon a beast in the forest and the hunters became the hunted.

Episode 2 - A Great Upheaval(level 3-4)

Episode 2 - A Great Upheaval
(level 3-4)

The group was sent to escort a diplomat to the village of Nightstone to settle a dispute between the settlers and the local elves of the Ardeep forest. However, the adventurers found the village in a great upheaval.  In the town, the Nightstone was missing, collected by Cloud Giants for some strange purpose. Also, goblins were raiding the town, but they could be repelled. Then, the “the seven snakes” (a band of Zhentarim) arrived, searching for a friend of theirs, Xalla Darkhope. Together with these mercenaries, the adventurers defended the town from orcs. They then followed tracks back to the goblins’ lair to rescue villagers. 

Episode 3 - Trouble in Triboar(level 4-5)

Episode 3 - Trouble in Triboar
(level 4-5)

The adventurers met a friendly Cloud Giant wizard, Zephyros. He explained that all over the continent, the Giant factions were in upheaval and clashing with the small folk. He brought the adventurers to the small town of Triboar where they helped the villagers with various small problems. Ultimately, Triboar was attacked by a pair of Fire Giants in search of an artifact that was buried somewhere in the town. They brought orogs and magmins – the town banded together with the heroes, and they managed to scare the Giants off.

Episode 4 - A Grand Gamble(level 5)

Episode 4 - A Grand Gamble
(level 5)

The adventurers decided to travel to Yartar, a larger town in the vicinity. On the road, they met a sick nobleman, whom they escorted back to Yartar. He turned out to be infected by an aboleth. They followed up leads on a gambling barge and defeated the aboleth and its helpers in the sewers.

Episode 5 - Travelling the Evermoor Way(level 6)

Episode 5 - Travelling the Evermoor Way
(level 6)

After leaving Yartar, the adventurers had a full quest log and people they wanted to talk with. They travelled to Noanor’s Hold and defeated a shadow demon, they travelled to Silverymoon to rob an evil nobleman, and they travelled to Everlund, to meet with the Harpers at Moongleam Tower. On their way, the inn they were staying at was ambushed by a couple of trolls.

Episode 6 - The Search for Harshnagg(level 6)

Episode 6 - The Search for Harshnagg
(level 6)

In Everlund, the adventurers gained the trust of the Hapers, and also gained access to their teleporation circle network. The group continued and went to Citadell Felbarr, the home of Gwen. They were looking for a famous old Frost Giant, who worked for Waterdeep’s Blackstaff in Force Grey a couple of decades ago. The group found Harshnagg in the cold North while following clues left behind by the Fire Giants. Duke Zalto, leader of a local group of Fire Giants based in a fortress even further in the North, is looking for parts of a magical construct that he wants to use to propel his kin to the top of the Ordning of the Giants. Darrak Ironfist, a tough dwarven veteran warrior joined their quest to infiltrate Zalto’s stronghold.

Episode 7 - The Forge of the Fire Giants(level 7)

Episode 7 - The Forge of the Fire Giants
(level 7)

After reaching the fortress Ironslag, the adventurers fought their way through a Yakfolk village built at the entrance and tried to sneak into the fortress. When they realized that they might be in over their heads, their dwarven companion Darrak revealed him being a Dao, an earth elemental genie. He helped Gwen – a stone magic sorceress – to enhance her innate stone magic to guide her to the magic golem the dwarves were looking for. Meanwhile, the adventurers observed a group of drow meeting Duke Zalto. They gave him an iron flask containing a fire primordial, stolen from the forges of the dwarven hold of Gauntlgrym. Chaos ensued, when Gwen stopped Zalto from using the primordial to fuel his forge and complete the Vonindod construct by releasing the fire elemental from the flask. The heroes fled through the mines, leaving the fortress to fire and ashes.

Episode 8 - An Ancient Betrayal(level 8)

Episode 8 - An Ancient Betrayal
(level 8)

Back in Citadel Felbarr, the adventurers realized that the dwarven noble who was responsible for sending the Dao with them to find an ancient golem wanted them to erase evidence of his dwarven house working with the Fire Giants in the past. After unraveling this intrigue, the old dwarf fled into a secret underdark vault, where they had to fight him and the Dao.

Episode 9 - The Eye of the All-Father(level 8)

Episode 9 - The Eye of the All-Father
(level 8)

After helping Harshnagg with the Fire Giants, the old Frost Giant kept his promise and led the adventurers to the Eye of the All-Father, an ancient Giant oracle high up in the Spine of the World. On their way, the group had to deal with barbarians, with a tribe of goblins of the mountains. In the holy site, the adventurers spoke to the oracle that revealed the fall of the Ordning to them, and that a dragon is behind some of the chaos. The king of the Storm Giants is missing, and his wife is dead. Other Giant lords are planning to usurp the throne by proving their worth to the Allfather through great deeds. However, these deeds would be catastrophic for the small folk. The heroes should seek out Maelstrom, the Giant’s royal court. The need to find a magic conch to go there. Only the high Giant lords possess such a conch to follow summons by the Storm King. When leaving the oracle, the group was surprised by an ancient blue dragon. Harshnagg sacrificed himself to help the heroes’ escape.

Episode 10 - Iceberg Ahead(level 8)

Episode 10 - Iceberg Ahead
(level 8)

Mirabar, hometown of Otiris was under siege from Frost Giants. The group of adventurers spilt up:  Otiros, Baltor and Gwen rushed there to help, but the Frost Giants were already gone, taking a dozen prisoners – including Otiros’ mother! So the group decided to take the fight to the swimming fortress of Svardborg, where the Frost Giant Jarl Storvald seeks to bring everlasting winter to the world by finding someone named Artus Cimber. The Jarl would also have the conch the heroes needed to go to Maelstrom. Together with another group of adventurers, the party reached Svardborg by riding griffins through the Sea of Moving Ice. They infiltrated the base and freed the white dragon Isendraug and their eggs from the Frost Giants. Also, they freed the prisoners! They also got the magic conch, but it broke during a fight in the treasury. Then, Jarl arrived with his longship. Isendraug joined forces with the adventurers and attacked the longship. Her mate was chained on the deck of the ship. Seeing her freed from the Frost Giants, the Jarl had to fight two angry white dragons, while the heroes could escape.

Episode 11 - The Halls of Hotun-Shûl(level 8-9)

Episode 11 - The Halls of Hotun-Shûl
(level 8-9)

The rest of the adventurers – Quarion, Meria, and Jannik did what the oracle told them to do: They wanted to find three master runes – ancienct giant rune magic – so that they would not be used against the small folk by the remaining Giant Lords. They travelled to an ancient Stone Giant library at the Halls of Hotun-Shûl. The heroes teamed up with a noble explorer half-elf from Waterdeep, Laris Amcathra, and gained insights into the strange rune magic of the giants and their prophecies. They found that the Frost Giant Jarl Ryndölg was already trying to break into the old repository to get the Liv rune, with which he sought to live forever. 

Episode 12 -Chasing the Weevil(level 9)

Episode 12 -Chasing the Weevil
(level 9)

For a long time, the adventurers wanted to take on the bounty of the Weevil, an evil bandit roaming the countryside. They finally tracked his location down through the help of the local authorities of Grunwald near the Lurkwood. The party went to an old tower where the bandit was hiding and killed him.

Episode 13 - Magic in the Sky(level 9)

Episode 13 - Magic in the Sky
(level 9)

Finally, the adventurers decided to pay the Cloud Giant Countess Sansuri a visit to try to get another magic conch. They have crossed paths before, but it was time to visit her in the Sky Castle of Lyn Armaal. With the help of their Cloud Giant ally Zephyros, the group reached the castle in the sky. The Countess was not planing on making deals with the small folk, so diplomacy failed and resulted – once more – in abrupt chaos. Cloud Giants were very capable, and the heroes had to flee, once they got the – now functional – magic conch.

Episode 14 - The Champion of Frost(level 9-10)

Episode 14 - The Champion of Frost
(level 9-10)

The adventurers heard of a great summoning call of the Frost Giants in Hartsvale in the Ice Spire Mountains. Another Frost Giant lord, Ryndölg, was trying to amass an army to conquer the North. Using their knowledge of the prophecies gained in Hotun-Shûl, the heroes were tasked to help to dissuade the Jarl from attacking the vale. Ryndölg issued a challange to a duel for claim of the vale to the elderly king. There may be a true, last son of Amnan the All-Father that was sympathetic to the humas when they last spoke with him hundreds of years ago. The adventurers followed the clues to find Hartkiller, resurrected by the summoning call and true lord of the vale. The group helped him to gain strength and ensured that the duel could be held fairly. Hartkiller won, and Ryndölg was defeated. The horde was turned back, and Hartkiller pledged to work with the humans to slowly rebuild the glory of Ostoria, the ancient giant kingdom.

Episode 15 - Underwater Diplomacy(level 10)

Episode 15 - Underwater Diplomacy
(level 10)

With a magic conch in hand, the adventurers teleported to the Storm Giant citadel of Maelstrom. They had to tread lightly here, because the giants do not like small folk, especially adventurers coming invited. They had to persuade a group of Giant Lords to arrange for an audience with the missing Storm King’s youngest daughter, Serissa – who currently holds the throne in her father’s absence. But her older sisters Nym and Mirran, ever envious, did not want the small folk to whisper in their sister’s ear. The adventurers knew the older sisters were complicit in the assassination of their mother and the abduction of their father to secure the throne for themselves. Finally, the Storm Giant called Iymrith – a powerful sorceress serving as some kind of surrogate mother for the three sisters – was revealed to be an ancient blue dragon, and the one pulling all the strings. It was the same dragon that ambushed the heroes at The Eye of the All-Father, killing Harshnagg! Iymrith put Serissa in stasis on the Wyrmskull Throne, and fled the scene with the Storm King’s magical scepter.

Episode 16 - Wild Goose Chase(level 10)

Episode 16 - Wild Goose Chase
(level 10)

In search of Iymrith, the adventurers followed a lead Serissa had told them: The assassins of the Queen droped a strange coin depicting a Golden Goose. The heroes had seen such a coin a couple of months ago in Yartar. It was a chip used on the gambling barge. The party infiltrated the riverboat, and confronted the owner, Lord Drylund. Before he could be persuaded to talk, he was killed by some psychic power. It was not another aboleth, but something far more dangerous – a kraken working with the ancient blue dragon was behind the assassination.

Episode 17 - Shadow of Purple Rocks(level 10)

Episode 17 - Shadow of Purple Rocks
(level 10)

The heroes knew the assassins came from the Purple Rocks, a small patch of islands in the Trackless Sea. After a few rough days at sea, dealing with storms, the adventurers found the Purple Rocks to be a horrible place full of strange people, most of them worshipers of Umberlee, the evil goddess of the sea. It took them a few days to unravel the mysteries of the place and avoiding mutants and evil priests working for the ancient kraken Slarkrethel. Finally, they found the prison of the Storm Giant King Hekaton, an underwater Umberlee temple in Ascarle and succeeded in freeing him.

Episdoe 18 - White Plume Mountain(level 11)

Episdoe 18 - White Plume Mountain
(level 11)

The group returned to Maelstrom with the weakened Storm Giant King. The storm giants were thankful and honored the adventurers. In the meantime, Queen Neri has been resurrected, but Princess Serissa was still in stasis. Going through all their options – as the Stone Giants, the Cloud Giants, and even Duke Zalto were still going after a higher rank in the Ordning with their catastrophic schemes in the North – and decided to follow up to seek out the White Plume Mountain. There, a legendary spear of the Cloud Giants was waiting to be reclaimed. It was a difficult dungeon, and the adventurers had to flee after the “owner” arrived – the legendary dragon Klauth claimed this domain!

Episode 19 - The Ark of the Mountains(level 12)

Episode 19 - The Ark of the Mountains
(level 12)

After returning from White Plume Mountain with the legendary weapons Whelm, Wave, and Blackrazor, their Cloud Giant ally Zephyros informs the adventurers, that Countess Sansuri and Duke Zalto work together now and refuse the call to peace from Storm King Hekaton. They now seek an ancienct Spelljammer battleship built by old Delzoun dwarves of eons past. Together with knights from the Lord’s Alliance, Haper mages, dwarves from Citadel Felbarr, two Storm Giants sent by Hekaton and Force Grey elite troops from Waterdeep’s Blackstaff Vajra Safahr, the group travels to recover the Ark of the Mountains, before their adversaries do. Ultimately, Zalto is killed and Sansuri is put in chains by Storm Giants. The threat of the giants is over.

Episode 20 - Doom of the Desert(level 13)

Episode 20 - Doom of the Desert
(level 13)

Finally, it was time to confront the true evil behind all the crisis. The Storm Giant oracles found the hiding place of the ancient blue dragon Iymrith in the Anauroch desert. The adventurers travelled to the dwarven town of Ascore, lost to the sand of the desert. They call Iymrith the Doom of the Desert and the Dragon of the Statues, and she commands legions of gargoyles to do her bidding. The Storm Dragons provided rare magic to the heroes, allowing them to become giants themselves to the final confrontation. Things got complicated, when the old red wyrm Klauth also appeared and pressured the heroes into an uneasy alliance for his help. Using all their resources, including an infernal contract to summon 12 Erinyes devils for the fight, Iymrith was killed. But she transferred her soul into a clone, and the adventurers had to find and defeat her a second time. But this time, there was no failsafe  for the dragon witch. She was truly gone. Right?

The epilogue

Of course, I had some material left for my players to go beyond the scope of the Storm King’s Thunder campaign. We never did the Hill Giant or Stone Giant arcs, and Adventurer’s league material was also still available. However, we decided as a group that defeating Imyrith was a good conclusion to the story and ended the campaign. Story wise, the ancient red dragon Klauth was satisfied with the adventurers and ‘forgave’ them, because they delivered him the hoard of Iymrith and her territory. He would never let his new best agents go beyond his reach, and would always be back for more.

So, we finally finished Storm King’s Thunder after 27 months and about 75 sessions in November 2019.

campaign, dungeons & dragons, SKT, Storm King's Thunder

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Best of Tyranny of Dragons

Empi tries to paint

I started this blog as a documentation of my painting experiences in 2013, and almost all miniatures posted were used in my Tyranny of Dragons campaign. The campaign was my first 5th Edition D&D campaign after a several year long hiatus on TRPGs, and my first real foray into miniature painting. It’s time for a look back at the campaign, before I start posting more pictures for the next one.

We started in 2014 with seven players and me as the Dungeon Master with The Hoard of the Dragon Queen (HotDQ) adventure. It’s the first of two consecutive adventure paths in the Tyranny of Dragons campaign. Since October 2019, both are now available in one hardcover edition. The campaign is truly epic, as players have to avert the return of the goddess Tiamat to the world, where she would enslave the whole continent.

Here are the player characters and their miniatures:

The campaign in numbers

  • session length

    5 hrs

  • duration

    2.5 yrs

  • # of sessions


  • sessions/month


  • sessions to lvl up


  • # sessions/lvl

  • fastest level up


  • slowest level up


  • most player deaths


  • most XP at once


  • highest CR (Tiamat)


  • true dragons killed by PCs


  • magic items worn by PCs


The story and the miniatures

Hoard of the Dragon Queen (level 1 – 8)

While the first adventure has its problems, feels railroaded, and is now considered as one of the least favorite adventures of D&D 5th edition players, it was the only available official adventure at the time. And my group had fun with it. I included lots of additional stuff in each episode.

Episode 1 - Greenest in Flames(level 1, session 1 - 3)

Episode 1 - Greenest in Flames
(level 1, session 1 - 3)

The adventure begins with a village in flames, because an adult blue dragon is attacking it. The players are expected to rush in to help and face the first Dragon Cultists, including Cyanwrath Langedrosa, an evil blue half-dragon paladin.

Episode 2 - The Raider's Camp(level 2, session 4 - 6)

Episode 2 - The Raider's Camp
(level 2, session 4 - 6)

After the raid, the players follow the retreating cultists back to their camp in the hills and infiltrate the camp to free the captive monk Leosin. He knows the reason behind the raid. The cultists are divided into different sects within the Cult of the Dragon, depending on a type of dragon. There are The Cobalt Claw, The Pale Eye, The Red Hand of Tiamat, and The Jade Fang cultists.

Episode 3 - The Dragon Hatchery(level 3, session 5 - 10)

Episode 3 - The Dragon Hatchery
(level 3, session 5 - 10)

There’s a well guarded cave in the camp, where the cultists hatch dragon eggs. The players meet Frulam Mondath, the leader of the camp. But she escapes. And we have the first player death, as Vinaya the rogue is killed by a roper.

Episode 4 - On the Road(level 4, session 11 - 20)

Episode 4 - On the Road
(level 4, session 11 - 20)

After a trip to Elturel to raise Vinaya from the dead, the adventurers follow Frulam to Baldur’s Gate. The cultists travel incognito and hide by joining caravans, so the heroes also join a large caravan heading north to Waterdeep. They meet the Red Wizard Azbara Jos, who is working for the Dragon Cult and Jamna Silvergleam, a Zhentarim agent also tracking the Cult. On the way up north, there are lots of encounters with the local wildlife, like an owlbear, and bandits.

Episode 5 - Mere of Dead Men(level 5, session 21 - 22)

Episode 5 - Mere of Dead Men
(level 5, session 21 - 22)

The party leaves the caravan and follows the cultists from a roadhouse deep into the swamps. They encounter lizard people and help them to start a revolution against their Dragon Cult oppressors and a huge colony of bullywugs. They fight a mighty hydra and finally find the hidden base of the Cultists.

Episode 6 - Castle Naerytar(level 6, session 23 - 26)

Episode 6 - Castle Naerytar
(level 6, session 23 - 26)

Deep within the swamps, the cultists work with bullywugs in an old castle ruin to gather plundered resources from all over the Sword Coast. Apparently, this is just one base of many involved in these raids.  The cultists here are led by an elf named Balmorrer Borngrey and the bullywug shaman Pharblex Spattergoo. They use a magic portal deep within the ruins to transport their collected spoils out of the swamp.

Episode 7 - Parnast Hunting Lodge(level 7, session 27 - 29)

Episode 7 - Parnast Hunting Lodge
(level 7, session 27 - 29)

The portal leads to a hunting lodge in the mountains several hundred miles away. After facing Trepsin, a giant mutated troll and Talis the White Wyrmspeaker, the trail leads into the village of Parnast, where the Cultists deliver all resources to a flying Cloud Giant castle.

Episode 8 - Skyreach Castle(level 7, session 30 - 34)

Episode 8 - Skyreach Castle
(level 7, session 30 - 34)

After defeating Rezmir, the Black Wyrmspeaker – a black half-dragon wielding a very powerful sword – and the young white dragon Glazhael, the heroes come into possession of the flying Cloud Giants’ Castle which they could now control. It would become their base of operations and host their future army against the Cult of the Dragon.

We finished HotDQ after 10 months and 34 sessions in July 2015.

I created a huge battlemap for Skyreach Castle. It was very well-received on the DMsguild and got thousands of downloads with a “pay what you want” price model (Electrum Best Seller). Because of the Skyreach Castle Battlemap, I can now get any item I want from the DMsguild with store credit. I am very grateful for that!

The digital battlemap of Skyreach Castle projected on the gaming table

Rise of Tiamat (level 8 – 17)

Episode 9 - Against the Giants(level 8, session 35 - 39)

Episode 9 - Against the Giants
(level 8, session 35 - 39)

We played a conversion from the older module Against the Giants before starting the second adventure Rise of Tiamat. The party was investigating the claims of the cloud giant Blagothkus on Skyreach Castle, that his daughter was kidnapped and he was forced into helping the Cult of the Dragon. The investigation led to the strongholds of a Hill Giant tribe, where she was imprisoned.

Episode 10 - Council of Waterdeep(level 9, session 40 - 41)

Episode 10 - Council of Waterdeep
(level 9, session 40 - 41)

The second adventure changed the railroaded structure and offered players missions to choose from. They were now an elite group and rallied allies against the evil Cult of the Dragon and undertook missions to weaken the cult. I used props and maps heavily here and let players choose what they wanted to prioritize. I added a lot of stuff to the adventure here with lots of side quests and additional factions, as I wanted my players to be high level when they finally face the Cult and stop the Tiamat ritual. Alester, the party cleric had to face the slightly corrupted church of Lathander in Waterdeep.

Episode 11 - The Tomb of Diderius(level 9, session 42 - 45)

Episode 11 - The Tomb of Diderius
(level 9, session 42 - 45)

Varram the White was investigating the Tomb of an old Sage in the desert, but got captured by Yuan-Ti. The heroes rescued him and brought him to Waterdeep for questioning, but not after battling zombies and mummies in the tomb and finding the secret base of the Yuan-Ti first.

Episode 12 - The Sea of Moving Ice(level 10, session 46 - 51)

Episode 12 - The Sea of Moving Ice
(level 10, session 46 - 51)

The tiefling wizard MacCath, an expert on dragon lore was missing and last seen on an expedition to the lair of an ancient white dragon. The party sailed north to Luskan and on to the Sea of Moving Ice to find the dragon. They encountered ice trolls, ice toads, an oni, yetis and a Rhemoraz on their search. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any painted miniatures ready for that.  Finally, the adventurers found MacCath in the lair of Arauthator amidst hordes of kobolds and freed her by defeating the evil wyrm. 

Episode 13 - Metallic Dragons, Arise(level 11, session 52 - 53)

Episode 13 - Metallic Dragons, Arise
(level 11, session 52 - 53)

The heroes meet with the council of metallic dragons to rally them to their cause against the evil dragon cultists to prevent the return of Tiamat. This mission required diplomacy and heavily featured the backstory of Hakran, the dwarven warlock who was a copper dragon once. He was reincarnated as a dwarf as a punishment for old crimes and had to prove himself worthy to the dragons.

Episode 14 - The Misty forest(level 11, sessions 54 - 61)

Episode 14 - The Misty forest
(level 11, sessions 54 - 61)

The wood elven prince Alagarthas was missing. It was suspected that he joined the Dragon Cult a while ago and now works with a powerful green dragon. Chuth, the Emerald Assassin and Alagarthas’ alter ego, Neronvain the green wyrmspeaker were both defeated and the cultist’s resources plundered.

Episode 15 - The Cult strikes back(level 12, session 62 - 63)

Episode 15 - The Cult strikes back
(level 12, session 62 - 63)

Back home in Waterdeep, the party was ambushed by a powerful assassin squad sent by the cult. It included two red dragons! The heroes prevailed. But not without losses, though. Asgrim died defending the others. But he could be raised from the dead to fight on for his god Tempus!

Episode 16 - Expedition in Gauntlgrym(level 12, session 64 - 67)

Episode 16 - Expedition in Gauntlgrym
(level 12, session 64 - 67)

The heroes petitioned the dwarven king Bruennor Battlehammer to join the alliance the heroes were forging. Fire giants attacked the fortress, and the party followed them and stumbled upon clues to a large library in the Underdark, where they finally found more information on the ritual the cult is planning.

Episode 17  - Mission to Thay(level 13, session 68 - 73)

Episode 17 - Mission to Thay
(level 13, session 68 - 73)

The council of Waterdeep sent the heroes to recruit the Red Wizards of Thay to join the alliance – or at least help them against the rogue Red Wizards who have allied with the Dragon cultists. I used the Doomvault mega dungeon from the Dead in Thay adventure here. We had quite some fun bashing monsters for a while, before getting back to the story. This included succubi, hordes of undead, a flesh golem, stone golems, and a mithril golem.

Episode 18 – Xonthal’s Tower(level 14, session 74 - 76)

Episode 18 – Xonthal’s Tower
(level 14, session 74 - 76)

Scouts reported that the blue Wyrmspeaker Galvan has been tracked down. The heroes were dispatched to capture him, so that he cannot aid in the ritual to summon Tiamat. They followed the clues to an old (extradimensional) wizard’s tower and explored it. However, Galvan managed to summon a small army of abishai (dragon devils sent from Tiamat to bolster the cult’s army) and Lennithon, the blue dragon from Greenest. Prothander, the leader of the council of metallic dragons came to the rescue of the adventurers, and together they managed to kill Lennithon, but Galvan escapes. They also meet Amyria, a deva paladina sent from Bahamut to help the alliance fight Tiamat.

Episode 19 - Return to the Mere of Dead Men(level 15, session 77 - 79)

Episode 19 - Return to the Mere of Dead Men
(level 15, session 77 - 79)

After the players learned about Tiamat having hidden her divine essence in five dragons, they set out to find and defeat as many of these dragons as possible to weaken Tiamat. One of them was Ebondeath, who became a dracolich some two hundred years ago and was destroyed by adventurers. They travel back to the Mere of Dead Men into the mausoleum of the dracolich. There, they interrupted the Cult’s closed ally, the Red Wizard Rath Modar, in acquiring the divine essence and managed to destroy it.

Episode 20 - Preparation for War(level 15, session 80 - 82)

Episode 20 - Preparation for War
(level 15, session 80 - 82)

One of the PCs, Asgrim, was dead (again). This time, a disintegration ray killed him. The party brought his ashes to the Tower of Storms in Amn to resurrect him. The heroes then set out to visit the Elemental plane of fire to charge the breath weapon of their new clockwork dragon B.E.T.S.I. They later also helped Hakran, the archfey warlock, to fight for his patron in the Frostfell plane. At the end, the party was back together with lots of allies and new, deadly equipment.

Episode 21 -  Attack on the Well of Dragons(level 16, session 82 - 85)

Episode 21 - Attack on the Well of Dragons
(level 16, session 82 - 85)

In September 2016, with level 16 and after over 80 game sessions, they gathered all their allies and marched on the Well of Dragons to fight the evil Cult and to stop the summoning of Tiamat. It felt like playing the Lord of the Rings, as armies of orcs, elves, and human factions clashed and my players infiltrated the citadel where the ritual was taking place. They overcame legions of cultists including Naergoth Bladelord, the death knight commander of the citadel, their orc vassals and abishai minions. Then, reached Severin, the Leader of the Cult.

Episode 22 - Tiamat's Return(level 17, session 86 - 88)

Episode 22 - Tiamat's Return
(level 17, session 86 - 88)

In the citadel, they faced Severin, the head of the Cult at level 17 and prevented the successful summoning of Tiamat. Of course not before Tiamat would start phasing into our world and defeating her before she was at full strength. It was glorious!

I used maps showing the various quests and hooks like in any good video game.

The invasion of the Well of Dragons by the allied forces of the Sword Coast

We finished RoT 15 months and 55 sessions after HotDQ in November 2016.

After their victory, my players wanted to continue to level 20. So, I adapted the 4th edition adventure Scales of War and took the high level parts I liked and created a new threat for my players to face.

Scales of War (level 18 – 20)

Episode 23 - The Rise of the Lich(level 18, session 89 - 91)

Episode 23 - The Rise of the Lich
(level 18, session 89 - 91)

One year had passed since Tiamat was defeated. A lich named Vurkas and his aide, a death knight named Garonn, have since awoken in the mausoleum of Ebondeath in the Mere of Dead Men, because the players opened the tomb and destroyed the magic barriers preventing the undead to leave. The party infiltrated the tomb again and destroyed Vurkas and his phylactery for good.

Episode 24 - The Legacy of Io(level 19, session 92 - 95)

Episode 24 - The Legacy of Io
(level 19, session 92 - 95)

Bahamut is dead. Unbeknownst to the adventurers, Tiamat and Bahamut fought their war in the heavenly planes, since Tiamat could not conquer the material world. Bahamut sacrificed himself to banish away Tiamat for centuries to come. Amyria, the deva paladin from Xonthal’s tower, carried within her a divine spark of the good dragon god’s essence that could rebirth Bahamut. The heroes had to find and break several magic seals of the gods in the astral planar city of Hestevar. They had to destroy the seals to allow for a rebirth of Bahamut, but a mighty mithril dragon named Dakranad tried to do the same thing to become the new god of dragons himself.

Episode 25 - Those once loyal(level 20, session 96 - 99)

Episode 25 - Those once loyal
(level 20, session 96 - 99)

After dealing with the seals, the party finally travelled to Celestia to the Soul Forge of the dwarven kings to get a divine spark to use with the essence in Amyria. However, their opponent Dakranad was faster and already got the spark for himself. Now, there was no other way than for Amyria to sacrifice herself to get the divine essence out of her body. The party climbed the mount Celestia to reach the Bridge of Al Sihal. By crossing this bridge in the highest of the heavens, mortals ascend to godhood.

In the final confrontation of the campaign, they were caught between fighting the mithril dragon Dakranad, the arch-devil Dispater who also wanted the divine spark for himself and the mighty Solar, guarding the bridge from all trespassers. They tried to get Amyria to the bridge, but she died before reaching it. Elena, the party’s fighter, took the essence, and ran. She sacrificed herself to carry it over the bridge while the Solar was distracted fighting the mithril dragon, and she became the vessel for Bahamut’s rebirth.

We finished Scales of War 3 months and 10 sessions after RoT in Spring 2017.

The epilogue

I had more material ready to let the players visit the City of Brass in the Elemental Plane of Fire or the prison of Tiamat in Avernus at level 20. But ultimately, the rebirth of Bahamut was the most epic conclusion I could think of for our 2.5 year-long campaign after 99 sessions in April 2017.

But what became of our heroes?

Asgrim Fuxfell (cleric/paladin)

Asgrim Fuxfell (cleric/paladin)

The mighty Paladin of Tempus went on to lead a legion of the remaining army to hunt down further Cult of the Dragons leaders. Together with the assassin Vinaya, he spent years recovering treasure stolen by the cultists and giving it back to the communities where it was stolen from. He was on death’s door to the afterlife several times, but was sent back by Tempus to fight on. It is unknown, if Asgrim returned home to his barbarian kin in the north or if he still fights as a champion of his god – on this world, or the heavenly planes.

Vinaya (rogue assassin)

Vinaya (rogue assassin)

In the beginning, Vinaya was cursed by a supernatural power and was linked to Asgrim. Both of them had to trade places, and only one could be on the material plane at the same time. Eventually, she could break this curse and manifest again as herself. This experience changed her physique, as she now was more demonic tiefling than human. Vinaya mastered her new powers and became a master assassin during the Dragon Crisis. She continued to apply her trade and joined Asgrim once again in hunting down the remnants of the Dragon Cult. She was last seen in Calimshan deep in the South, but she left no trace to follow from there.

Elena von Greifenfels (fighter)

Elena von Greifenfels (fighter)

Elena von Greifenfels, the noble knight from near Waterdeep was an expert fighter. Instead of persuing the divine magic of her order, she devoted herself to physical and martial perfection. As a battlemaster, she was essential in during the Dragon Crisis and wielded the mighty greatsword Haziwran. It took some time before Elena mastered the evil sword, bent it to her will and she cleansed it from its evil. By then, she was nearly unstoppable. Elena found a good friend in the deva paladina Amyria and completed her divine mission for her. By making the ultimate sacrifice, Elena was the new vessel for Bahamut’s rebirth. She died, so Bahamut could live again.

The Red Raven (warlock)

The Red Raven (warlock)

The enigmatic warlock was eager to learn everything he could about the strange magic of the Far Realm. After accepting a pact with a great old entity from beyond the stars, he was tasked to secure this knowledge and prevent it to fall into the wrong hands. After the Dragon Crisis, the half-elf only known as The Red Raven gathered a small following himself and created a coven of apprentices in Waterdeep. This circle of warlocks dedicated itself to dig up the lost lore of the Far Realm, the Abolethic Society and the Illithid, specifically in the Underdark and in Skullport near Waterdeep. The Red Raven still heads this coven today and works in the shadows, sometimes working with his old allies from the Alliance – such as The Blackstaff. His true motivation is only known to himself.

Hakran Steamhammer (warlock)

Hakran Steamhammer (warlock)

When the young shield dwarf Hakran stumbled into a pact with the Winter Price Cyramore, a mighty arch fey, his adventure began. Soon, he found out his true destiny – he is a dwarf now, but his soul is that of a dragon. On his travels during the Dragon Crisis, Hakran found another mentor in the Copper Dragon Aaronarra. At the Council of Metallic Dragons, Hakran proved himself worthy in the face of Prothander, the Dragon King of Justice. The Champions of the Sword Coast were essential in the rebirth of Bahamut, and the dragon god pardoned the warlock. He would be a dragon again in his next life, if he so chooses. So after the Dragon Crisis, Hakran embraced the life as an adventuring dragon-soul, furthering the cause of the Winter Prince and of dragons all around Faerûn.

Lafisar (druid)

Lafisar (druid)

The wood elf Lafisar was an exceptionally talented druid from the circle of the land to begin with. During his travels, he got to know the lands and beasts beyond the elven forests. He returned home several times during the Dragon Crisis and got the recognition of his fellow druids. He was appointed arch-druid when he finally came back for good and became the leader of his circle. Until this day, he watches vigilantly and protects the forest realm against dangers from outside and inside.

Alester the Distant Light (cleric)

Alester the Distant Light (cleric)

Before the call of adventure, Alester was an aging travelling priest. He despised the twisting of words of the holy texts by the clergy of Lathander in his hometown or Iraebor and found similar problems in the highest temple of his god in Waterdeep. Alester’s wisdom and teachings were heard by many during the Dragon Crisis, as he found supporters from other like-minded clerics. Finally, he confronted the church in Waterdeep and reformed their practices. He was elected High Radiance of the Spires of the Morning, as the head of the church. But this was not was Alester wanted, so he turned it down. After the Dragon Crisis, Alester smiled, as he knew the faith of Lathander was strong, and the leaders were on the right track again. He continued to travel the lands, and was not seen for quite some time.

Wow, you really got this far down the page? Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the campaign 🙂 

campaign, HOTDQ, RoT

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