As you’ve seen, I’m running the Hoard of the Dragon Queen as my first campaign using the release version of the 5E rules. Up until this point I’ve stayed fairly close to the script since Episodes 1-3 all tie pretty closely together. Moving into Episode 4, there was a long stretch of travel where minimal detail was provided. Since I’m running this as a home campaign and not as public play, I decided that this was a missed opportunity and created some material to fill in some of the gaps.
The player running Pry was unable to attend the last session, so that seemed like a good chance to tie up a loose end with Frulam Mondath. The module as written doesn’t make any further use of her down the line and gives no direction as to what she might do if she managed to escape the party in Episode 3, so I left it up to the player to decide how things would play out. You can see the results in Emmerik’s write-up of the last session.
A journey by boat seemed like a good chance for a combat encounter and I was pleased with how it played out. Caelum’s player had to call in sick at the last minute, so he was the lucky one to be attacked first by the swarm of venomous snakes summoned by the lizardfolk shaman. The humorous part about that aspect of the encounter was that the ranger (Dag) critically failed his nature check to identify the snakes, so he repeatedly assured the group that they were harmless and that Caelum would be totally fine.
The farm encounter was inspired by a simple flip through the incredible new Monster Manual. Again, it was mostly about doing something other than deal with world-conquering dragon cults for a little while. I started from “ankheg attack” and worked my way back to why the ankhegs might be a problem. It was a lot of fun to play and the farmers sort of spontaneously morphed into characters from the Dukes of Hazzard somewhere along the way.
I have a little more home-brew material ready for when the party arrives at Baldur’s Gate. It’s such an iconic city within the Realms that I’d like to try and give the group a little taste of it before they’re hustled onward to deal with the whole “Tiamat taking over the world” issue.