Welcome back to another “Expanding the Adventure.” In this column, I add onto previous adventures that have been published by Wizards for 5e. I’ve been doing a lot of these lately, but I’m turning our attention to one of the early entries in the series now.
Not including the starter set, “Rise of Tiamat” was the second adventure released for the edition and it is the direct sequel to “Hoard of the Dragon Queen.” Just because it’s older and some of you might have played through it by now doesn’t mean that new add-ons are out of place here.
The adventure, at its close, presents several endings; including varied strengths of Tiamat should she emerge. However, if the players play their cards right, that encounter might not emerge at all with her failing to emerge from her realm into the Realms. Personally, as a player, though it would show the awesomeness of the performance of the team, I’d much rather face down The Dark Lady. This expansion to the adventure presents how one could do that.
Taking the Fight to Tiamat.
A gateway to Tiamat’s realm is being opened when the players arrive to stop the catastrophe from occurring. If they stop Tiamat from entering the world, they could instead use the rift in the planes to reach her own realm. At this point, the players are trying to stop Tiamat once and for all. Depending on your own preferences as a DM, the players could arrive at Tiamat’s Hellish temple on Avernus guarding the entrance to Dis, (Where the novel “Fire in the Blood” says it now is,) or you could have them make an difficult trek across Avernus to get there. If you do the latter, you ought to soften up the encounters in the temple.
The Temple of Tiamat has 5 towers of a great height and a sixth that is even taller and broader than the rest. The temple is loaded with wealth to the point that gaudy jewels and gold coins are everywhere in the same way rubble and dust are in more traditional dungeons. Tiamat rests atop a floating disc in the highest tower that is not readily accessible. Flying could reach it but because of “weakening the Queen” below simply flying up there is not a good idea.
The five towers.
Each of these towers holds one of Tiamat’s most trusted servants, each one a dragon of exceptional power and ability. Because of the obvious difficulty of this adventure, unless your players are well-equipped, you best not use exclusively ancient dragons among them. Each tower should contain several fights and good opportunities for treasures, particularly ones that would render one immune or resistant to one of the Chromatic dragon breath types or make one more able to harm Tiamat herself. Because of a pact with their kind, it would not be out of place to have the Githyanki here in this temple.
Weakening the Queen.
Upon slaying each of her draconic lieutenants, one of the negative effects of the end encounter from the original adventure is inflicted upon Tiamat, making her easier to destroy, in addition to getting treasures one might be able to use against her. Also, the disc she rests on drops lower or a way up to it is partially made with each flunky killed. If the party kills all five dragon servants, the disc is either easily accessible or the dragon Queen’s disc is now at ground level.
Victory! Now What?
Should the players fail against Tiamat, their end will either consist of eternal imprisonment or torture or simple annihilation. If they win, there are a number of things that could spawn from it.
1. In some iterations of the game, Tiamat holds Gith prisoner, if she is released, what will happen?
2. With Tiamat dead, the red dragons that serve the githyanki might revolt. What does that mean for the githyanki, githzerai, or the universe at large?
3. Tiamat guarded a key gateway in the Nine Hells. The devils aren’t going to be happy about this.
4. With Tiamat, a goddess of greed and envy dead, what changes about the nature of the world in general? You might also have to decide whether Tiamat is dead for good or just for a while.
And as for getting out of the Nine Hells: You could either have divine intervention, from someone like Bahamut helping them out. Or you could make escaping the Hells an adventure or two in themselves to cap off this extra little bit at the end.
I would like to thank you all for being here with me in another “Expanding the Adventure. I would also like to thank the D&D team for “Scales of War” an adventure path in 4e that largely inspired the temple of Tiamat as I presented it. If you’d like to see “scales of War” look in some back issues of Dungeons Magazine.
About the author:
Zachary is one of the DMs for “Companions of the Perception Check” and he enjoys bad sci-fi and horror flicks. He lives with and enjoys the company of his dogs and rats and reads classic lit almost constantly. His favorite Chromatic dragons are the green ones because of their devious natures and also, simply because green is his favorite color.