Keep on the Shadowfell was my first D&D module and I didn’t like it. It consisted of a large boring dungeon crawl with NPCs who I didn’t give a damn for and lengthy repetitive combat. So after that experience I decided to make a homebrew game with my own world and that turned out fine. How fine you might ask? The group I played with last two and a half years before two of them moved to Canada. Anyways I never touched another WOTC module since until now.

Hoard of the Dragon Queen came out August 2014 and was part of a collection of 5th edition or DNDnext modules. My partner ran the game and ended up tossing it to the side for a homebrew that takes place in Waterdeep. The combat was repetitive peppered with kobolds and cultists. The thing that turned me off to this module was a particular combat session. There’s a family who is held hostage and a half-dragon challenges anyone who would fight in one on one combat. Regardless of the outcome he would let the family go. Being the paladin I was I didn’t want the father with little combat experience to fight him so I volunteered and got my butt handed to me. Death in a game is fine! I was okay with it until my partner told me later that the half-dragon was very powerful and there wasn’t any way a second level adventurer would be victorious. Hence part of the reason we’re playing something else.

Since then the group has moved on and I was curious about the module that was supposed to take place after Hoard of the Dragon Queen, The Rise of Tiamat designed for players of 7-8th level.  This is the synopsis as taken from the official D&D website,

“The Cult of the Dragon leads the charge in an unholy crusade to bring Tiamat back to the Realms, and the situation grows more perilous for good people with each passing moment. The battle becomes increasingly political as opportunities to gather allies and gain advantage present themselves. From Waterdeep to the Sea of Moving Ice to Thay, it is a race against Evil. Succeed or succumb to the oppression of draconic tyranny. Win or lose, things will never be the same again.”

Sounds exciting doesn’t it? A race to stop the coming of Tiamat with the possibility of fighting the goddess yourself is awesome. Before reading the material I went on Amazon to take a look at the reviews. Currently the module is rated 4.5 stars (36 reviews) out of five as opposed to Hoard of the Dragon Queen which has four stars (110 reviews).

The adventure is well written. In the introduction we are given an overview of what happens in the module as well as descriptions of the factions of Waterdeep, potential allies, and other enemies. There is just enough information given not to make your head spin. I love how your party may be able to ally themselves with devils, because let’s be serious not every devil wants Tiamat out of the Nine Hells.  It hooks whoever is reading it in.

The modules has six dungeon crawls sprinkled with multiple meetings which include the Red Wizards, the metallic dragons, and the factions of Waterdeep. Personally I’m not a fan of multiple dungeon crawls, but for what it’s worth each one is unique in its own way. Players will travel to the glaciers of the Sea of Moving Ice to Xonthal’s tower (a magical tower that once belonged to a power magic caster). As thorough as the adventure is I can see a fresh inexperienced DM having trouble running this campaign due to extensive details however an experienced DM should be fine.

Though the major dungeons layout is described very thoroughly there are some sections that lack such detail like the council meetings. Though it could be that the creators wanted the DM to add a little flair of their own into the adventure. There is very little detail given about the meetings themselves even though the factions are vital for the players to have for the last final battle. The lack of detail can also be found with meeting the wizards of Thay, the metallic dragons, and the Ice Hunters at Oyaviggaton.

Multiple reviews of Amazons I read mention that the adventure is stacked against the players. This may lead to multiple deaths along the way. That’s not surprising as there are parts of Hoard of the Dragon Queen which are heavily stacked against the players. One of the helpful reviews mentions that it is strongly recommended to have at least 4 people in a party and even with that the adventure still must be tailored. I can understand that this module is trying to bring back the old ways where everything could kill adventurers. That is acceptable, but be prepared if your players are not used to dying they may become extremely frustrated. What I like is there is a possibility that the adventurers might fail and sometimes that’s a good thing! I think…

I view this module as spectacularly average. There is a solid story with some intrigue but not as much as I would hope for. It’s a good module for DMs that have little time to make their own adventure.