Monday, February 1, 2016

Tyranny of Dragons: Hoard of the Dragon Queen Review

I'm late to the party on this one I know, as Tyranny of Dragons is sort of old news, but I've spent a lot of time DMing this campaign for my group over the past few months.  It served essentially as a starter for learning 5e for us.  After having some extensive time with the book, and having run my players through the first half, I'm going to share my thoughts on the campaign.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Things About Mordren: Basics About my Campaign Setting

Every Wednesday night at my local FLGS I run a D&D 5e game set in my homebrew setting. The world doesn't have a name it's just called The Realm.  The campaign is set in the city of Mordren which you can find in the north area of the map below:

My campaign world map
What is Mordren?

It's a free-city far to the north of The Wilderlands.  The largest free-city in all of The Realms, but rather than just your typical city, the place is more like a massive urban dungeon.  The city itself spans across a river and rises high in the air, multiple towers rising into the sky stacked on top of one another.  There are four distinct districts in Mordren: Downbottom (ground level), Midward (Middle level), and Skyhold (Upper level) as well as Undermord (sprawling crypts and tunnels below the city)

Mordren is (or was until recently) run by a council of 13 Nobles called the Mournvale.  Most of them were corrupt and decadent with little care for the plebs below their station.  The overall ruler was The Lady of Sorrow, a medusa who rarely made public appearances and left the day-to-day running of the city to the Mournvale.

The city's levels were distinct each with multiple districts.  Downbottom is the poorest quarter of the city. The folks that dwell on the ground level live in tightly packed dense towers which rise up to a larger ceiling (the ground floor of Midward one level up).  It is composed of shantytowns, red-light districts, a goblin district, and various other slums and hovels.

Midward is the merchant and trade quarter.  Most of the city's goods and services can be found here including most of the city's decent inns and taverns, smiths, merchants, and markets.

Skyhold is the city's highest level, open to the sky above and interconnected by hundreds of bridges making up the streets it is home to all the noble and wealthy families, high-end restaurants and taverns, and exotic goods and services, as well as the Palace of Pain where the Mournvale and the Lady of Sorrow rule.

The city is ripe with adventure and danger around every corner.  Explorers frequently visit Undermord seeking riches hidden in the winding crypts, or the buried forgotten ruined cities below Mordren.

Some Factions of Mordren:

Underfoot Crime Syndicate: The Underfoots are a ruthless halfling family who run most of the criminal and black market operations throughout the city. More than a thieve's guild, they have their hand in just about everything illegal from the drug trade, human trafikking, stolen goods, prostitution, and pretty much anything and everything nefarious in the city.  The family patriarch sits on the Mournvale, regarded as one of it's most influential members.

Order of the Steel Song: This adventurer's guild and mercenary company has been operating in the city for hundreds of years.  Most who seek fortune within the city's walls will join or seek membership.

Mordren University: Mordren boasts the greatest academic institution north of Astaria. The libraries are extensive and well protected and studies range from astronomy to the arcane sciences.

Archons of the Obsidian: This group is devoted to returning the lich king N'gash to his rightful state as ruler of Mordren.

And there are quite a few more.

My players have been campaigning in Mordren for months now.  Thus far they have overcome a Hunger Games-esque gauntlet which kicked off the campaign, stopped a Yuan-ti cult in Undermord, and recently tracked down a stolen tome for Mordren University which was in the possession of a dark naga noblewoman.

The players have nearly all suffered multiple character deaths within the city's walls, and recently were too late in preventing the Archons from succeeding in their plan. Rather than raising N'gash from the dead, they shifted Mordren into a demiplane of shadow in the Shadowfell, and in the process killed all the members of the Mournvale as well as the Lady of Sorrow.