On Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Episode III Remix, Part II

Dragons are not creatures like you and I.

The beginning of this was pretty standard room and trap fare, but when the players leave after encountering the dragon creche, they should say—that's not like any dungeon I've ever seen!

So in each of the dragon and dragon spawn chambers, there's going to be environmental effect, some that do the battlefield game of a little extra damage. Others that whisper dragon to the part of your brain that recognizes them as master.

You may also note that I'm listing out the DC's and skills for each trap, because apparently the rules weren't finished yet. Many of the rooms are using verbiage from older drafts of 5e ("Readiness scores and Incidental spotting")

Room 7: Drake Nursery

So the gate blocks off this pit which is where the ritual to create a guard drake is performed.

What is this ritual? I'm so glad you asked! Instead of consuming a worm from a dragon egg, the victim—a cultist or captive who has committed some offense or crime—is forced to drink the blood of a dragon of the color of the guard drake they are to become. Blue in this case. This cup-full of dragon blood is enchanted so that the victim falls catatonic, but completely aware of their surroundings. Paralyzed with eyes open, a dragon egg worm is released on the face of the victim where it promptly seeks out a burrows into an available eye. It makes its way to the brain, at which point, it begins transforming the person in to a guard drake. As noted in the description, the drakes can understand draconic and any language they knew in life—because the mind of the person transformed is whole within the beast. Trapped inside an alien body they no longer control, they suffer as prisoners for the entire life of the creature, which, since barring accident or murder, guard drakes appear to be immortal, can be a long time.

So, they got that going for them.

Oh, there's also some dragon dogs here, who take it as their highest priority to release the drakes from their pen.

Environment: Besides the overwhelming scent of Ozone that the drakes (and all blue draconic creatures produce) anytime anyone speaks while fighting with blue drakes, everyone hears what they say come from the mouth of the blue drake and people regularly hear the people they are fighting with make loud draconic roars. Anyone making a melee attack against a blue drake must succeed at a DC 10 Wisdom save or find themselves having switched places with the drake. No long term affects result from this besides disorientation.

Traps: Spike trap: Passive Wisdom (Perception) 15, Intelligence (Investigation) DC 10, or discovered automatically if testing the floor ahead of the party. 20% chance per character to take 1d4 piercing + DC 10 Constitution save vs. poison. Causes confusion for 1 minute if failed, for 1 round if you succeed.

Avoidance: Avoid stepping on the camouflaged floor.

Chapter II: There are triple the number of Dragon-dogs and drakes in this chamber.

Room 8: Dragon-dog Barracks

Oh, look, a boring room with some treasure and monsters. 

The first thing to note is that this room looks like a frat house, but instead of having beers, they have people. Half-eaten rotten corpses lie everywhere, flies are swarming around, vomit and crap lie in piles. Anyone performing melee in the room has to make a DC 10 Dexterity check each round to avoid slipping and giving them disadvantage on their attack. Also, everything in this room is surprisingly flammable!

Traps: Collapsing Ceiling: Passive Wisdom (Perception) 15, Wisdom (Perception) DC 10, automatic if checking the stairway; 50% chance to collapse the ceiling on the person following.

Avoidance: It's only half the step, so it can be avoided by going down the correct side of the stairway, instead of needing to skip a step. 

Chapter II: Very active with double the number of kobolds here.

Room 9: Dragon Shrine

The black shrine to Tiamat.

Zero Content: First, any writing not devoted to Tiamat flares up and burns to ash as soon as there is a line of effect from the shrine to the person carrying it.
Void of the Black Wing: Secondly in front of the shrine there is a black vortex. It's a ball of inky purple blackness about the size of a soccerball floating in front of the shrine, and black-purple tendrils stretch throughout the room. Anyone taking damage in this room must succeed at a DC 15 Constitution save or take another 1d4 necrotic damage. This is stored in a pool that dragons and draconic creatures can access as an action to grant themselves hit points.

TrapsTrap Name: Passive Wisdom (Perception) 15, Intelligence (Investigation) DC 15, automatic if the chest is inspected for traps.  Description: The chest requires a DC 10 Dexterity check to unlock, and a DC 15 Dexterity check to disarm. On a failure to disarm the trap is set off. Taking real world measures to bypass the trap work (i.e. figuring out a new way to depress the plate. Removing the rear of the chest with flame paste, et. al.)

Avoidance: Keys man, keys. Rezmir has the key. 

Aside: If Cyanwrath is dead, he's not here. The bezerkers could be half-dragons also. Personally, I'd have him use his breath, cut down anyone that's weak, pump back up on hit points, and then flee using the bezerkers for cover. Why he fights to the death is beyond me. Plus, players love to chase down a bad guy. Also, Cyanwrath owns a potion of fly.

Chapter II: Cyanwrath has his full guard compliment of 8 half-dragon bezerkers.

Room 10: Dragon Hatchery

You know where you don't want to be?

A dragon hatchery

Environment: The walls in this room ooze acid. Every minute spent in the room by a non-draconic creature requires a DC 15 Constitution save or you take 1d8 acid damage from the burning to your lungs.

The guard drakes in here are black guard drakes.
Festering wounds: Black drake attacks do 1d6 points of damage the round after the successfully strike a foe as the wound festers and burns.
Disco Confusion: When in bright light, mirrored reflections of the people around it dance in a confusing holographic array, making ranged attacks take place at disadvantage.
Persistence of Memory: Sometimes, after fighting these drakes, the world forgets your name.

Sweet, anyone want to try and raise a black dragon? At this stage they are still worms, allowing the characters to create 10-100 dragon dogs or guard drakes, if they have a penchant for such things, but they only have a tenday (this is Forgotten Realms, remember?) meaning each day 1-10 worms are eaten by the other worms.

Also, sticking an out of depth roper in here is a nice nod to the Sunless Citadel Debacle.  I see you Steve Winter.

Chapter II: There are eight eggs here, and twice as many guard drakes

Room 11: Frulam Mondath's Chamber

No changes. Mondath needs a personality, since she's not given much of any text until this point.

Random generation says she's: Fanatical and Cautious, she's a physical fitness buff and has a narrow bering. She views herself as having the spirit of a dragon and is tired of the constant shit she has to take from everyone.

Nice that her actions and motives are dynamic. Sanctuary and her potion of Invisibility I just gave her should give her a fighting chance to flee from the party.

TrapsCarpet Pit: Passive Wisdom (Perception) 10, automatic if looking or checking for traps; I prefer cumulative sum for falling damage, as Gygax intended it. 1d6+2d6+3d6=6d6 falling damage for the 30 foot fall. If you are running this and you cringe at that, then I promise you after puberty, you'll enjoy it a lot more. 

Avoidance: Don't step on the sagging rug.

Room 12: Guard Barracks

The guards that are left here should be engaged in a touching ritual, where they are gleefully worshiping Tiamat. The details of this should be strange and mildly to severely disturbing. Adjust to taste. The important part is that they are totally stoked about what they are doing, super friendly to party members, and actively encourage them to join in.

Room 13: Treasure Storage

If woken up and not killed outright, this cultist doesn't want to be in the cult anymore, and instead wants to be a henchman. He's socially awkward and laid back and is interested in minutia. His name is Rank Magus, and he has a long neck.

Hack & Slash 
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  1. I could not find an email address to email you. I just found this blog. What led me here is we are getting back into D&D with the new edition and are playing HotDQ. Lke you, I found the published adventure to be good, buy dry and lifeless in a few parts. These remix posts you are doing are a GODSEND! Thank you so much. You have definitely earned a new subscriber and fan!!!!

  2. The roper is a ref to forge of fury not sunless.

    1. Right you are. A decade and a half will cloud the memory.

  3. I concur. These are some of the most practical articles I've read to-date, rpg in general. Some great stuff throughout ; much of which could easily be reused in other modules or on their own in a customized dungeon. Just great food for thought throughout. Keep up the stellar work.

  4. All this Dragon Cult body violation is spot on. NOW I have a handle on what these guys can really be about.

  5. A concern about 9. where "...any writing not devoted to Tiamat flares up and burns to ash as soon as there is a line of effect from the shrine to the person carrying it."

    You do realise this is the end of every wizard's spell book right? This has the potential to make players a bit testy.

    1. Awesome. What a cool way to really learn the lesson that the world is a hostile and dangerous place, and this dungeon isn't just a place where you go to kill things, but a terrifying nightmare dragon crèche.

    2. You could very easily tweak that so it was just non magical writings. That way spellbooks and scrolls would be ok, but anything else the party had such as maps, letters etc would flame up. It would be annoying, but not debilitating,

    3. It's perfect. The wizard equivalent of a rust monster. So it burns on random writing per person per round. Gives 'em a chance to get out.


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