D&D5e Campaign Update – The Hoard of the Dragon Queen

After completing The Lost Mines of Phandelver we quickly started the next one, The Hoard of the Dragon queen. This one may involve a little more griping from me, as there was one thing in the session that bothered me. Again, a warning for spoilers if you don’t want to know anything that happens in the campaign. Oh, as an aside, Penny Arcade put up their latest Acquisitions Incorporated video last week, if you’ve never watched them it’s a live game of D&D played at the PAX conventions, it’s really fun and you should go check it out on Youtube!

Anyway, we left Phandalin and made our way up the coast, however, the ship we were on encountered a storm, although it didn’t seem to be natural. We were blown off course but managed to make it to a town, where I bought a net. This seemed to surprise the DM, but I wanted more equipment to hopefully allow us to have some different tactics in battles, and be able to set up trap. As much as I enjoy the combat sometimes it does feel samey in that we tend to do the same attacks, and usually the reason we win is because we just deal a load of damage rather than use our ingenuity. This will become relevant later.

We came to a town that was being ransacked, and attacked by a dragon. We went in and rescued some people, which I thought would have been a bit different to what it was. Initially I thought we’d have to run into the town and rescue people while dodging the dragon’s attention, but instead we just rescued one family, then had a fight. After this we made our way to the keep and talked to some of the locals. A mass of enemies were approaching the keep, and I think the DM had planned it to be quite an epic battle, but since he allowed us to have our attacks ready when the gate was opened, the Half-Orc Warlock created a Fireball which obliterated the small army approaching us.

This astounded the locals, and since we had already killed a dragon in the last campaign we called ourselves dragon slayers, although this dragon was much bigger. We ended up in a fight with it (because of course we did) and it had an epic ending, where again the Warlock (this session was really his show) took care of things. He leaped onto the dragon’s back as it swooped down, used his Scroll of Darkness on a copper piece to blind the dragon, and sent it crashing to the floor. It didn’t die, but it did fly off, swearing vengeance upon us.

Following this, we went to the temple to try and rescue the people trapped in there. Now, this is the part where I feel the DM made an error, or perhaps it was just a misunderstanding. As we walked through the town he kept pointing out that the parties of looters were too large for us to fight, so we took the hint and avoided them, going around the rear of the temple, fighting through a group of enemies, then entering through the back door. There was a large group (the one that he had said were too large for us to fight, with two heavily armored people leading them, again making me think that we weren’t supposed to fight them) battering down the door, so we only had a short amount of time to get the people out. We sent them out with the rogue, while me and the Half-Orc stayed to create a distraction and give them time to escape, in the hope that as soon as we could we’d run away and join them, so the plan wasn’t to fight, it was to delay the attack for a little while and flee, thinking that it was something different than our usual battles.

We declared this to the DM but the army came crashing through anyway. Still believing that we were supposed to be retreating, we tried to escape, but soon we were surrounded, and before I could do anything I was dead (I didn’t actually get to make one attack). It took the Rogue coming back to save us, and I perma-died, only managing to be brought back because the Half-Orc had a scroll of Revivify. Aside from dying, I was disappointed at how the battle went because it felt like our DM was going out of his way to tell us that we shouldn’t fight them, and I don’t think he really understood that our plan was to distract them and then run, so perhaps we didn’t make that clear enough, but it was a situation where I thought the DM was trying to have us do something different that just another fight, but it turned out not to be so.

The only other notable thing that happened was a one-on-one duel with an acolyte of the dragon cult. I was chosen, feeling that I’d be the best suitable, but I didn’t give myself a good showing and went down very early. So for me it wasn’t the best session, and I didn’t feel like I contributed that much. I am looking forward to the rest of the campaign though. I liked that we came into the town while the attack was happening, so we were straight into the action. We’re also so close to level six as well, and we’re going through these levels much more quickly than I expected!

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