For the third time in Dungeons & Dragons, a character of mine has stepped into the fiery town of Greenest to begin his destiny. I bet the that town is getting pretty sick of rebuilding houses and shovelling kobold feces out of the stream–amongst the other bodies we keep throwing in there–just so another adventuring troupe can get their start. Hoard of the Dragon Queen–often misspelled “Horde”–is the first adventure module released by Wizards of the Coast for the newest edition of D&D, all the way back in the fall of 2014. I say “third time” because I have played through this sequence before and even run parts of the module as a Dungeon Master for D&D Adventurers League when it launched.
Why play it again? Before I killed all the player characters off in Out of the Abyss the previous week, one of the players was prepared to take over the DM chair already when the campaign wrapped up. Real life timelines got moved up three months or so from expectations–I was stepping down in the summer in anticipation of baby. While planning for the campaign, he asked us our opinions on what to run: Tyranny of Dragons or a home brew campaign? I can tell you that my preference is always home brew, especially with this DM. However, I had a concern: this DM is not very well versed in the rules. Leaving aside the system mastery and “it’s not about the rules” arguments, I wanted to play D&D and not a vaguely similar game where the rules were not in-line with expectations. In the end, we encouraged him to run Tyranny of Dragons to get familiar with the rules, encounter building, and appropriate monsters.
With that off my chest, how about more information about the game? For the first time in a long time, we have a party name–rather than just “those guys” or “that adventuring party”. Winds of Change consists of: nominal party leader and pathological liar, Tephim, human wizard; screeching and extremely effective flyer, Erreek, aarakocra warlock; sly tongued and resents that human women are not hitting on him, Ceoltoir, tiefling bard; blood-filled artillery piece and tragic backstory, Dael, human blood hunter; and finally, tactical planner but very easily bored, Velkyn, moon elf cleric. The group and the characters had a great chemistry, everyone threw themselves into telling their encounters before the Greenest, and everyone was comfortable roleplaying.
My character is Velkyn Stormsoul, moon elf cleric of Akadi and Aerdrie Faenya. In a non-traditional turn of events, he is the light armor tank and primary healer in a party of ranged support characters. I am also playing him as a battlefield tactician. His shtick is destructive thunder and lightning damage–specifically booming blade in combination with Destructive Wrath and other Tempest Domain abilities. His motivation and flaw is that he obsessed with flight–he willingly runs towards danger of he can study creatures with wings or magic items that grant flying. And he gets bored easily. As I was creating and refining this character, I realized that he would have fit really well into Princes of the Apocalypse. Windvane and its faux avariel bearer would make perfect story elements for Velkyn–oh well. Mechanically, I like how the character is built and we will see how it works out as he levels up. Conceptually, I love the combination of tactical thinking and quickly bored reactions.
What is the point of this series of articles? You will see episode summaries from the point of view of Dael written by cle4ves–just like his Draekhill stories. I think his opinion is vitally important for readers and DMs, to see how the games come through a new player’s eyes. I will write about certain elements and nuances–mostly commentary as the campaign unfolds, rules and mechanics, story, and other fiddly things as they come up. Enjoy the ride!
But… what do I know…?