We smelled it with Tomb of Annhilation, we saw it with Ravnica and finally we figured it out with Saltmarsh: Wizards really like to march on the march. Call it a winning marketing strategy, call it business interest or simply fear, every time a product comes out Wizards the market explodes. The Wizards pulls, there is little to do. I welcomed with a surge of joy, I do not hide it, the recent announcement by the WotC of the re-edition of Tyranny of Dragons.

Well yes. It seems that Hoard of the Dragon Queen e Rise of Tiamat will be shown on the gaming tables for the fifth anniversary of the fifth edition. An old AP awaits us with new graphics, adjustments and above all a single manual (instead of two), all correct and revised.

First di lose myself in nerdy drool and wet dreams, however, I would like to take a very small step back and talk about Tyranny of Dragons and everything that revolves around the first storyline of the fifth edition. Because the battleship with which WotC has relaunched D&D is far from being a flagship and, indeed, has too many problems.

Tyranny of Dragons will put adventurers and storytellers to the test.
Tyranny of Dragons will put adventurers and storytellers to the test

Does Tyranny of Dragons Really Suck?

TLDR: Yes, Tyranny of Dragons it sucks everywhere you look at it. Go ahead if you want to go to the specific analysis or you can stop here if you trust me, I'll do the same for the sake of news.

Tyranny of Dragons born from a lame team, on a system being created and it follows that the general plot is a heresy for those who understand and not. It is no coincidence that it is the most criticized module, and is considered the absolute worst among those who narrate and play the adventures released by the US house.

Speaking of the Team the WotC five (and more) years ago, it emerged from the disastrous adventure of the fourth. Orders from Hasbro they had been clear enough, "relaunch everything" and, with the fifth, it could also be done. Too much, however, was the work to be done, too few people were at work and the consequence was haste. The first part of Tyranny of Dragons, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, therefore it was born incomplete. Some rules and statistics make clashes particularly difficult or too simple. Rise of Tiamat he tries to save himself by introducing something, but he suffers terribly from the shortcomings of the previous module and brings home a consolation prize.

The new cover of Tyranny of Dragons, terrifying and beautiful.
The new cover of Tyranny of Dragons, terrifying and beautiful

Okay, what about the plot?

The plot that comes out is rather banal as a whole and, if explained specifically, it can be even more fallacious. Summing up: Tiamat, the evil queen of chromatic dragons, has decided to make the world known her dominion. Its rise would bring i Forgotten Realms in chaos and disorder for several centuries. Very similar to Disorder period or to Spellplague (before being deleted), theAscent of Tiamat it is a catastrophic and very important event which is not given much weight in the book. If you think about it, however, the concrete possibility that an evil divinity enters your world should make huge mechanisms begin to turn, but this does not happen.

Specifically, the WotC exploits an enemy already known to the historical players of the Forgotten Realms, however, going to destroy its structure to adapt it, badly, to its own purposes. The Cult of the Dragon (this the main enemy of both modules) is then eradicated from its real position and is put to play a role that the Church of Tiamat He already had.

Why the Cult of the Dragon wants to bring the divinity of its adversaries to the world we cannot know. Because the Cult of the Dragon and the Church of Tiamat have been adversaries from time immemorial. Already! Just as it is not known to us how all other religions, upon hearing that the antichrist of the Avernus has decided to make the known world his holiday, intend to act. Tyranny of Dragons begins with these premises and, as I have announced, we got off to a bad start. Continuing to read, it seems then that the whole event is "something of a universal character".

If you are reading this, it means that you chew a little bit of D&D and you also know that all the worlds of Dungeons and Dragon are connected. Tyranny of Dragons, according to WotCo, it was supposed to be a global event, a kind of "global awakening of dragons". Unfortunately this was not the case: Eberron it is not even remotely mentioned, either planescapeNor Mystara. Even the Forgotten Realms "feel" this event only in Faerun and, more specifically, only along the Sword coast.

The cover of the second AP of Tyranny of Dragons, Rise of Tiamat.
The cover of the second AP of Tyranny of Dragons, Rise of Tiamat

Criticality in HotdQ

But let's move on to the first part of this Tyranny of Dragons, or Hoard of the Dragon Queen. The AP begins by forcing players into a siege that is more scenic than logical, full of questionable choices. He then continues to feed the players, guiding them on a long track.

The lack of good connections is not a small problem for the most experienced players; expect the characters to move in the direction indicated "because they are goodWas never a good thing. We are far from the glories of Dragon Heist e Curse of Stradh, still far, too far away. The colossal central chapter "On the RoadIs another part tricky of the AP, as it takes so much away time, he adds little context and introduces too many PNGs unnecessary.

The enemy introduced and the problems linked to the Cult, moreover, are fallacious. Rezmir herself is a difficult but elusive opponent until the end of the adventure (moreover not even questionable, it seems), the Mask of the Black Dragon is unattainable and everything is resolved with nothing.

The last chapters are then a breathtaking race between clashes, advances and other clashes, some so difficult as to seem almost impossible. The finish, a tremendous bottleneck, leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

The second module will see adventurers face a green dragon. The clash will be so simple as to get away from laughing.
The second module will see adventurers face a green dragon. The clash will be so simple as to get away from laughing.

Criticality in RoT

Rise of Tiamat instead take a different path than its predecessor, saving Tyranny of Dragons from the most total defeat. It is, in fact, a tool-book, a book to browse and on which you have to work a lot.

The manual, in fact, is nothing more than a collection of events divided into steps, without a real narrative trait; it will be the Narrator to fill in the blanks as he sees fit, ranging from players, organizations and so on.

But if from a certain point of view this absence of tracks helps the AP, the few events are still particularly castrated; the amount of work behind each event is huge, and the objectives still seem to slip out of the hands of the players just before they can grab them.

Just to make you a little spoiler: the search for the masks seems to be fundamental in stopping Tiamat. All these masks revolve around Tyranny of Dragons, and players will have to search for them far and wide. Once found, however, these will dematerialize, be stolen or simply turn out to be fakes. Frustrating, sad and brutally negative.

The Cult of the Dragon has received a hallucinating boost in this AP
The Cult of the Dragon has received a hallucinating boost in this AP

Other critical issues on adventure-building

If we want to talk about the general adventure, numerous other criticisms emerge.

Criticism of the Plot. Most of the criticism of the Forgotten Realms is about the sheer amount of high-level characters they pack. From Elminster to La Symbul, via Drizzt and continuing with Laeral Silverhand, epic and famous characters abound. Following a certain cosmic order, however, epic characters are unable to cope with minor threats because they are busy with epic challenges (of course), and this is where characters often come in. Unfortunately this is not the case Tyranny of Dragons.

I have already mentioned the fact that the return of Tiamat is a catastrophic event for the whole world, but to move are minor factions, often not too convinced; of the other churches (the first of all should be Bahamut) there is no news. Neither of the other factions. On the other hand, these rumors of the return of Tiamat, combined with an increasing destruction brought by the chromatic dragons, will be just lies.

Stylistic criticisms. We could extend these criticisms to the simple basics of campaign writing, namely "never create an enemy too strong to be defeated, or too far-sighted". In principle, never pit the characters against the gods.

Please note: I know this is the basis of the "epic" game. Chiuqnue would like to take a divinity with sword and treat himself to that healthy dose of coolness completely invented to make up for the shortcomings of this unfortunate life. But, if you want to see it from a critical point of view, giving the possibility to characters (level 15) to step on a deity is to make that deity a speck.

Let's face it, we are not talking about Pinco Pallino, but about Tiamat, one of the most powerful and "base" deities of the entire setting of the Forgotten Realms, and often not even that. Will you make me believe that a deity has no plan B? No backup plan? No skills able to avoid annoying interruptions?

And even if it were, no other deity is able to stop it? Will Lord Ao really sit around doing nothing, waiting for a new Time of Troubles? It is not very logical, from my point of view, to think that such a balanced setting does not move drastically in the face of such an event.

The first module of Tyranny of Dragons will see adventurers face off against an Adult Blue Dragon. The TPK is around the corner.
The first module of Tyranny of Dragons will see adventurers face off against an Adult Blue Dragon. The TPK is around the corner.

What do we expect from the new Tyranny of Dragons?

First of all, I expect the previous problems to be corrected. The single manual could guarantee a lot of additional material, even just thinking about the number of pages: 192 against the 250 or so of any other AP. The additional material may clarify various aspects of Tiamat's rise. Firstly how this event changes the regions bordering the Costa della Spada, secondly what kind of reactions you have; a few more factions wouldn't hurt.

It wouldn't hurt to make bosses thicker too; the depth of Wyrmspeaker in Rise of Tiamat is embarrassing when placed alongside that of Rezmir in Hoard of The Dragon Queen. A bit of additional construction wouldn't hurt at all, given the presence of SCAG and three manuals on the setting.

Typos, balancing and rhythmic errors will have to be adjusted without any recalcitrance; some chapters will be streamlined while others may benefit from the material released in recent years. I hope to see something added fully taken by the DM Guild, which always gives excellent products.

Ultimately, I expect WotC to respect his words and that Tyranny of the Dragons will truly become a global event, rather than a fight between two neighboring villages. If you are playing Tyranny of Dragons and you are, like me, rather disappointed, here are a couple of links that could lead you to a clear improvement pending the final version.

THU you can find a very thorough analysis on everything that is wrong with it Tyranny of Dragons and, more or less, how to fix it all. This instead it is a community where you can find ideas and help, attended mostly by storytellers who have played and / or are playing the AP. THU e Thu find scattered tips on how to manage the various chapters. You may also find the Forgotten Realms Wiki, as many things, despite Second Sundering, have remained the same.