User:Cedric/Rise of Tiamat

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The Rise of Tiamat
Tyranny of Dragons
Rise up or bow down.

Alignment vector: (-1, -1, 1, 0) Dice: 5 tiny d6s, each of a head color (they trump any other dice of their kind)

This campaign is considered wrongly put together. Several sections don't really make any sense, which is probalby why the white dragon was at the start of the campaign. It's there to try to help you. The white head's presence on the Tiamat suggests that there is some problematic interaction with our plane and planes on which D&D are imagined.


You have travelled a long ways. Your feet ache. The sweat beads down your face and drips from the end of your nose. Your breath comes in hot and you feel it as it passes over your membranes. You’ve reached the entrance to the citadel of Tiamat It’s not easy to get here. Many game variables had to be set in motion for adventurers to be drawn or even find this place. Why are you here?

If you’ve gotten this far, you probably know why. If you don’t, woe be you, traveller. I can’t see from this vantage point what crazy mission you’re on, but you don’t tangle with Tiamat until you’ve a clear head about it. Each head is about 200 times bigger than yours. Don't be misled into thinking they’ve got a brain the size of a peanut — their brains are encoded in the scales themselves that cling to their body from times more ancient that your ancestors. Like the markings on a tortoise shell, it holds their particular history of the universe. They’re effectively smarter than you when they need to be and get to the size of Tiamat, they just don't share any of your priorities.... except, of course, survival.

SPOILERS: This section needs rewritten to avoid major spoilage. READ NO FURTHER, if you want to have max fun. DMs included.

Depending on your disposition to the rest of the realm, the DM reads different texts. If you came as a culmination of good and evil, the following text is used:

The air is motionless as if the sky is looking at you. Waves of heat rise up from the ground, which is mostly lifeless. You see the carcasses of giant beasts, their dry, white and yellow bones rising in the air. (if you’re arriving out of challenge) Sweat beads up around your brow.. Your c, a scuttlebug and you think you smell the stink of rotting flesh, but you r….see that the meat you carried as dried up and rotted.

If all of the dragons are in your world (meaning you haven’t killed any of the adult chromatics), there is a husk of a strange metal beast, decaying on the desert floor. Shreds of black, spongy material cling to circular, metal (***).

If the party (or singular individual) is there as a quest of sorts and not because they’re wrapped up in someone’s drama, then things are going to be very tense, for the gods don’t materialize Tiamat easily.

Searing heat and urning brimstone hang in the air of the caldera, a breeze crosses your path silently, as if you’re the only people within a 1000 miles —a marker that a threshold has been passed. the abode of the ROWE of Dragons (rhymes with WOW or Tao. “ROWE" is the name for a unisex Queen/King entity; that is, when it is both Queen and King -- higher than both genders, alone and united). The bones of crushed foes are its grave-yard, some of them looming overhead, turtled on their back as skeletons 50 ft high. The air is dead, there is no life around here, insects maybe. You hear only yourself -- even the stealthiest hear each fine grain of dirt underneath their shoes.

The air is dead, nothing in the way of sounds at all, leaving a lingering sense of dread -- like no one wants to be here, except you of course. "Maybe you shouldn't be here," you think, but then, .......nothing seems to be stopping you. Few know how to identity the scent in the air (DC21 arcana check). (rotting reptilian corpses) (arcana check: from dragons who've been slain...).

If the group has encountered Strahd, and “defeated” him (believes him dead), then rain falls from the sky. (If the realm is transformed): it has the sweet smell of a cleansing rain.

The caldera looms below with it`s multicolored rock burned in different temperatures far ages ago. The trail is seen that leads to the cathedral where Tiamat sleeps, or does yoawe? It is said that dragons don't experience day and night like mortals. That they rest with an ear out for any sound at all. ...perhaps it has already heard you or heard through you. With such an ancient beast there's no way to tell if your own hearing was made by theirs longer ago than anyone could remember. It is here you must assess whether you have come the right direction, whether you're truly ready to face the dragons that Tiamat represents. There's no tricking this one. Tiamat comes from an Age before magic, and survived with such antics far quicker than any mortal reflex. So, like Dirty Harry you have to ask yourself: Do you feel lucky?

To some, whether you take down Tiamat is irrelevant, the challenge is to come close. Pay no mind to the label of "QUEEN OF EVIL DRAGONS" to the multi-headed monster -- that's just a trick by the commoners to get you to fight it. Do you think they know the lore of dragons and their SEX!?! I can tell you that eggs are laid by a unisex form on the basis of need. You know, it's all to rile you up, so that YOU take the chance and fight her/him/it (nay: yoawe — the object, rather than subject form). Maybe, it's even a subtle hatred of women in the realm made them use the female gender, who knows? But if humans with genitalia can be called the opposite gender because of their feelings, you can be damn sure you don't know the pronoun to be used on a dragon.

To peer down into the well is a risky act, but will get you at least 1000XP. The DM rolls a d8 as you peer into the Well....

  • 1: The multi-headed dragon stirs, peers at them from the blackness, sniffs the air (do they detect anything? This is something the AL has to figure out), and (probably) goes back to sleep.
  • 2: They see into an infinite blackness that catches them off-guard. DEX DC20: if they succeed, they catch themselves from falling, otherwise they lose a proportion of the HP dependent on how close they came from failing.
  • 3: The gods send a peal of thunder, jolting you into awareness. You look around you. What do you thoughts say? Depending on their answer, the result is. In other words, the gods create partly what you imagined.
  • 4: The dragon stirs and gives a cry from the depths. You feel a rise of static electricity... A wave of heat and light rise... your brain fogs for a moment as if something is overpowering you... you sense a faint presence of an acrid odour arises /...for a moment you feel the dragon's coming, but the wave breaches the lip of the well and dissipates, expanding outward. Which head is stirred? Read the state of the realms and the party's disposition. What have they been antagonist
  • white: PER
  • red: STR
  • orange: DEX
  • yellow: CON
  • green: INT
  • blue: CHR
  • purple: WIS
  • black: ASM

There's always some non-zero chance of learning some epic piece of knowledge, arcana, or some new experience. It's a little like taunting bigger boys than you at the park just for the chase, but these "boys" are dragons. There's some non-zero chance you'll die, too. That's always a fun challenge. Do you even know if they act as one, or does each head have their own personality? <shakes head>

Anyway, this campaign represents an epic finale culminating several months or years of gameplay. Depending on how that gameplay went and what it achieved will determine what the multi-headed dragon will look like and it`s temperament. There are 8-12 heads to choose from (fix this), and there will always be at least 3 present (never more than 8), one of which will have some non-neutral relationship to one of the players, arising as a challenge or ?? to the player. XXX The First Age has 4 heads (not both black and white), the Second Age 5, the Third Age 7, the Fourth Age hasn’t been explored enough to know.

What heads appear are dependent on the reasons your players find themselves there. Have aggression? Then the red head. Purity of heart? Then, the purple. If the gods have engaged the beast, then these are playing out through time, not just the local encounter at the moment you appear before the Well of Dragons.

Each different head has a single-syllablic name, each one protecting some corner of the universe, whether in the planes of the Forgotten Realms or elsewhere. We have been shown two such arcane names: Tiamat (3) and Bahumut, but the spelling of this latter at the end is wrong, we’ll give it an f (pronounced as moof) (another 3). Since they’re all different we have 6/8 names out of the arn(Tiamat, then, represents three heads, of a configuration with Blue, Red, and White dominant..>???, Bahumyuf (bahumoof — common with he Balrog of Tolkein) another three, one of partly in common with Tiamat). That leaves many different scenarios of game play. For example, if players did not free Thunderchaud from the Underdark (a Red Dragon), then there will be no red dragon on the multiheaded foe. ONLY dominant heads have/get names.

If players (or others in regional play) have killed a young(er) version of a single-color dragon, then the more ancient head of the same color.

Sample encounter. We have a LVL 21 dragonborn rogue M, a LVL 30 fighter M, a LVL 40 human mage "Xavier Istvalen" M, a LVL 29 human barbarian F, and a LVL25 dragonborn mage M. It should be said that this is the situation as seen from the higher self of Severin and Rath Modar, who have taken over to some degree because of the mask puts them in trance, allowing the higher self to interact and assume some control.

Xavier (the human M mage): Left up to their puny minds, their experience adds up to something significantly less than Tiamat’s, and they wouldn’t have a chance. So we’ve taken over to preserve some investments.

In any case, a pretty strong group, wouldn't you say?. Let's find out how it goes...

You approach the Well, some 50ft across above a high, cathedral-like ceiling. Coins are scattered about on the floor -- offerings probably for the beast, from people who have formed a relationship with it. Your rogue thinks, perhaps, that he should slip a few of the shiny flecks, but nah, he's too tight and wired to risk stooping down and missing a possible bit of data (well-trained from his days of growing up the street). Xavier (the mage with the mask) steps up the lip of the rune-lined well and … (must look at the campaign and come back later.) with his leather boot kicks one of the coins down into the well -- you weren't just here to turn back, right? A faint murmer is heard, as if the beast wonders to bother or not, yet the gears of the universe have spun into motion as soon as you stepped foot past the threshold, even it cannot turn away from the fate that has lead to this encounter.

Stirring up, it flies up the well which the mage listens acutely, to know how distant the beast actually is (estimated 150-200ft down) and flying rapidly. The mage is your dragonmancer and knows that the lizard is trained to see any sudden movements as threats, so cannot even back down if he wanted to. He donned the dragonmask once stepping up on the lip of the well and now he'll see if the mask was worth the price.

Tiamat breeches the edge of the well and the red head flares back to breathe a line of brimstone-smelling fire as if rock itself were burning inside it -- a message from the beast, announcing it`s present level of agitation. The rest of the heads are looking around in all directions to see what level of threat they have to deal with, showing enough flare as to ward off any attempts at pre-emptive strikes from their puny magic. LVL 20 magic won't do much to any of the heads. The mage stands there, unafraid, perhaps a feature of the mask -- the voice in his head asking if is it enchanting him for sacrifice or does it carry in its mass the weight of the history of mortal and dragon interaction, creating a charismatic calm over him. In any case, he sees clearly, from the back of the depths of his eyes, as if the whole soul were assessing the situation. The urgency of the moment keeps him from thinking further on it, for he knows that the dragons don't have patience in such a situation. He must be ready to make his stand right there and begin the dialog before the beast takes the moment away from him.

He makes a gesture with his hands, showing his fearlessness and reserve, his presence to negotiate, to listen. While they had encountered dragons before, something about five heads and the sheer size of the beast seems to dominate the whole moment in ways that no preparation could have anticipated -- as if Time itself was held in abeyance across the whole of the realm -- just to handle this situation, which to be sure involves a large set of the powers of the realms itself. His friends beside him are stupefied and seemed to have already dropped a load in their pants. Unlike in battle, where having multitudes of LVL20 people increases the STRength, a party is only as WISe as it`s highest-level member (barring some blessed intervention from the gods).

Does this party have the moxy? No dragon that's survived more than one Age is going to impressed by the “fierceness” of a band of young warriors (young to a dragon? less than 1000years). No, what the beast needs is not moxy -- at least none that has ever been demonstrated by even the strongest and most courageous of wo/men, but something else. Something of respect. Not the simpleminded respect a commoner gives a warrior, nor even the respect a fael member gives their king or queen, but the respect a devout cleric gives to a god. That's about as close as the bard, speaking here to you, can describe, yet there is another level beyond that. Yes, this is the level that is required for perfect results: that one has cleansed away all that is impure within oneself, and is ready to stand to face their death eye-to-eye in order that they may face their life: by getting Death itself to let them pass by ler. Such an act would usher in another era, but that is neither here nor there, is it?

What any party needs is an aggregated wisdom so to make an encounter intelligible and rewarding enough with beasts that cannot even speak their language. So called "draconic" should not be considered a spoken language, but a somatic one -- the art of the "dragon whisperer". The combined ability to use gesture and whatever else may communicate the exact tone of emotional reality that co-evolved between animals, humans and the dragons. A subtle art, as the tones of an ancient dragon are not easily gathered by any mortal. It takes years -- even with a dragon ally. Think of all of the subtle experiences you've had that defined who you are now. This dragon has about a 100x more of them. It is this which is the language. So, the only true path is from the Dragonborn and the act of kolinahr.

Without said wisdom, the encounter is not likely to end well. Either the beast won't be sufficiently intrigued by your actions, or it will be sufficiently annoyed to give you.... well, if I tell you I'd be going against the stat block of the campaign book and it's their story after all. But if you DID try to force it to stir just for your personal "adventuring satisfaction", let you hereby be warned now and forever after, that such encounters have always ended, shall we say... ABRUPTLY.

The rogue came for the bragging rights of having stepped up in its own home territory and lived (let's hope?), yet they've put their trust in the objects of power they've managed to gather, believing that the material plane can generate value for the dragon, who existed before the land's creation. The other possible flaw is how they let themselves be swept up in the politics of the situation without being the master of it.

This all somehow enters their head, for they realized they didn't have sh*t to say and there was no chance in this hell to win. They relied on their trust of the mage for that and their own connection to fortitude. That their mage companion better know what the F they're doing, because they had no teleport spell prepared. While the mage was intelligent, the focus on finding the dragon blinds him to what happens to his other companions during the encounter. The gesture tells the dragon as much, and a bond is made, tentatively. The mage attempts to communicate in the inner planes to the dragon's heart. That he is here to reveal that he and his companions are here on a mission merely to demonstrate a willingness to cooperate but are available to <tinyvoice>listen, too</tinyvoice>. The black head suddenly looks over at his companion. And the white head understands the situation completely.

Suddenly, the party is nervous. A small shaft of light peeks in and lights up a column of the dust that has stirred since the party has entered the inner sanctum of Tiamat. The gods, sensing the tension of the situation, enter in at this point. They now must consider the fool-situation that these humans/humanoids have gotten into (arcana break: the point in which the party is nervous is the exact point in which the gods share -- the root or base of the spine and body, right at the gonads, boss) They pause, not because they have to think, mind you, but because of the utter boredom of the behavior of dullards who assume that they can waltz right into the kingdom of an ancient beast and not be considered "easy-picken's". So, once again, the gods must rouse and consider their options, with some prejudice. Do they ignore them out of their own overworked sense of justice or should they show "compassion" to keep the esteem of the mortals? They decide a middle ground -- they teleport the rogue and barbarian to a hell-hole in the Underdark: Gracklstugh city(?), where a red dragon, Thunderchaud, is in chains. And the mage is transported to an undisclosed location to think about what he's done, toying with a power he didn't understand and also getting swept up into groundless political problems of Faerun. In any event, perhaps they will all find the way to get the dragon out (the gods reason), so that STRength can continue evolving with virtue instead of this barbaric land of Faerun without the wisdom of the dragons to reign it in.

Alas, the level that the mage needed was about 50 or more in order to sustain an encounter that was, to be sure, unsolicited, leaving a WAY to much ambiguity in such an unplanned visit between the two beings. The mage was simply not advanced enough to know how to fill in the gap, leaving the beast to do it for him. Unfortunately, the efforts of Red Wizards and others have agitated Tiamat, making this little interaction a little.... heated. and because they are using arcane tricks in order to subdue the beast it lashes out at once from three different heads, disabling the crew, leaving the mask to fall to the ground. The gods ensured that a fragment of a robe caught the metal mask so as to prevent it from losing its shape and await the next encounter. Tiamat or the soul that animates it had long since concluded that a high probability was eminent that an encounter would appear, yet the preparations were not in order. Did they die or did they get a greater teleport spell and got saved? It seems this part of the story is unanswered....

In order to pacify a 5 headed ancient dragon you have to have 5 different kingdoms in order. But the rest of that story will have to be told another time.

Names of the multi-headed dragon.

The dragon usually has a name between 2 and 5 syllables, denoting the dominant heads. The dragon never has a mojority of dominant heads as it would tear itself apart. So the name might have the two dominant heads, plus the significant subordinate color syllabus. — Meanwhile, with the party toast, and left to the scavengers of the place (much of it the air itself), the mask sits there at the edge gleaming -- waiting for the next adventurous soul to step near....

When Tiamat starts making movements in the realms, you can be sure that the people are doing something wrong. Perhaps it's misuse of magic, perhaps leaders are killing the innocents too much, or maybe fouling the waters and forests. You don't hear of dragons setting forests ablaze, now, do you? Just villages and people. It's just a little divine payback. This campaign is written wrong in the books. Look at that front cover. See that little wizard/warlock in the lower right-hand corner (I call him Aegwareth)? Yeah, I think each of those heads is about... a level 65 and could take you out in one round. You know this because of all of the detail and flair that accompany the size of the monster: the glowing eyes, the breath and other legendary effects. You don't get to be a legend at level 30. That was a trick of the gods to get us closer to it and learn more about it. If you had an immune system that took the form of a dragon, maybe you'd want to take a closer look at it, too. Tiamat existed before Time and lives outside of it. It arose before the evolution of gender, so it is not properly a female nor a male. There are a 100 ways to meet Tiamat and finish the game without killing it, but a million more that will end in your, perhaps untimely, death. So what's a person to do? Ditch all the clan-gathering and such and go with the dragon cult? Then you can become a dragon whisperer, a dragon mage. Because unknown to the players, the dragon's are serving a divine purpose. Whether there is a divination that can find it for you, is yet to be determined and requires coordination with the WotC. The multi-headed dragon's not going to talk, you have to speak in gestures: subtle body mechanics that speak to the dragon and then "listen" for the somatics of Tiamat's response. I'd imagine something like this. Firstly, there has to be a player that has at least level 40 dragon-blood. Then, the player has to know how to summon the dragon and then how to get the dragons attention/trust before the ingrained reflexes want to cut you down and take you out. It takes mastery of holding attention. This is something you must do with the eyes. Too many slip-ups and the dragon will either decide to leave, letting you come back when you're not an imbecile, or will take you out because you didn't have the relationship requried with the dragon to actually summon it. This campaign should be a culmination after both Ice Queen AND Princes of the Apocalypse is tacked. It a major epic story arc which would take players to level 50 and beyond, and years to build-up and play. It would herald a new age. But the goal shouldn't necessarily be seen as the take-down of Tiamet. It's true purpose could be, for example, to find the One Ring -- the Ring that was snatched before it hit the fires of Sauron's furnace. You must get the Ring before Xonthal gets it.XXX? Consider Tiamat a level 100 adventure that sits atop 2x50 level adventures (HotDQ and PotA, +Abyssal character Drzz't Dourden), which sit atop 4x25 level adventures and so forth. It's like a giant tree structure of mechanics that are required to get everything right. You effectively need to round up the whole realm -- that's 1000s of miles each direction. You're free to go straight to the dragon though, if you're impatient -- but you won't defeat it. Drzz't is the only character who knows how to speak to Tiamat (see dragons for dragonwhispering). The Tower of Xochitl (Xonthal) is not meant to be approached. That is the meaning of the hedges. The tower is for a mage working with the powers of the dragons (Mordenkainen?), probably calling them to rain some doom. They are a test, otherwise there'd simply be an magic shield. The tower is the representation of Isengaard in the LotR -- an abode and stronghold for a hyper-intelligent wizard. The hedges entangle the players if they attempt to push through them, trapping them in brambles or dull their weapons at the injustice if they try to cut them. Players will have to navigate the hedges (a hellish task designed to tell them they're not ready for further advancement) or realize that the campaign is too tough for their PLEM. If Tiamat rises, it will have a number of heads that is related to how wrong the world has gotten. The more wrong, the more heads -- up to 7. Also, you'll have to video link to play by at one of the heads in order to defeat it. That implies huge amounts of setup is needed just to get to Tiamat. I don't mean your video feed -- I mean the game universe will require huge amounts of buy-in just to get close (short cut: TPK). Keep in mind, they'll be protecting the whole fantasy universe. Each head gets a round. So, choose wisely.... One doesn't just approach Tiamat like some dungeons and dragons adventure party.  ;^>

Tomb of Diderius[edit]

This little secret enclave belongs somewhere in the desert, the lower level of Xonthal's Tower or perhaps the Underdark. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the (cursed) pool of divination which channels a wizard from our own plane of Earth. The pool holds water that was taken from the Dark Lake in the Abyss. The underworld unites all realms of death, no matter the plane of existence or planet, including Earth. A wizard from Earth that perhaps was struck down or consumed by flame. Its spirit now talks through scrying efforts of those who know how to address it. It speaks common.

There is a question pending to it: what is the nature of life/god/magic (or something)? The answer: You must be more clear on your question if you want me to answer. (I'm not a mind-reader.) <--This point shoudl/could be a game-play dynamic/drama.

Xonthal's Tower[edit]

The hedge maze is a test to weed out those who are inadequate. Basically the DM uses the sundial as a way to get the player's under his control. Then, the DM takes the role of the wizard of the tower, in an ultimate match between other DM groups in tournament play.

Iayo's Tower, an altnerate name...

The tower is said to have peculiar powers to deliver a future. It is possibly an earlier incarnation of the Wizard on the TSR Hobbies logo, back when he was about level 25. (He’s now considered level 100).

Well of Dragons[edit]

….You thought you were prepared, but the movement of the ancient dragons heads tear and manipulate the fabric of reality, sending you suddenly in a field of cold space, filled with electrical charge, the smell of brimstone and seared flesh, but you can’t notice if its your own because the very movement of the dragon has made you sick to your stomach and a sense of dread fills you before you even start.…

The abode of the dragon. Will you step up to its edge? Tiamat (usually) sleeps about 100 yards down. Just peering over the rim is a risk. Were you stealthy enough? Are you going to call out it's name or what's your plan? DM notes: At the bottom of the well are four masonic archways (each with a symbol of Chinese alchemy above? it?). One has lava, one has mud, one enters the plane of sky/storm, the other ???. It is not known whether these symbols are stable and fixed or whether they change.

With different names for each dragon color, there are many different endings and interactions possible. Each head has a yin name (and appearance) and a yang name (and appearance). The YIN forms often will have horns. The YANG form sometimes has a single horn at the snout. Horns could signify dominance in that head, but the knowledge is still being divined by Xavier/Cedric. When the dragon is protecting it's land, the head is yang. When the universe (including ours) is protecting the realm, the head is "YIN". When evil is dominating over good, choose the yang (Man>GOD) name. When laxity is dominating in a quadrant, entropy starts forming and threatens the order of the land. In this case, those the YIN name (YHVH>Man). Yin, despite the feminine associations is not the weaker, it is merely an ordering to life itself.

So the first name shows when evil or destruction is in excess while the second name comes when the basic (atomic-level) order is lacking creating ennui in the lands. (all names tentative for now)

  • Albino dragon (rare): “Ti” W(t)izd(realm of real world) (Tao)(magical/fantasy world) shows up when people just want to kill dragons or at a boundary (transitional) area between when Yowe wants to interact with our (real-life) world. The former when the fantasy world gets too encrusted or entrenched and needs a little chaos.
  • Red: Raz (Man>God), Thran (God>Man), Raz might appear, for example, when PCs choose evil over good (hurting commoners, for example). Thran, would not appear, but when man is being weak.
  • Orange: Han (Man>God), Neh (God>Man)
  • Yellow: Ba or, the yin side of the universe
  • Green: Ha (out of respect of YHVH) (short a)(YIN), Hah (again, respect) (short o) (Yang)
  • Blue: (YIN) Shə or just (Man>God) uh (or the "a" in Ti-a-mat); the schwa: Ə
  • Purple: Mut (YANG), Ptahth (YIN); YANG or "Mut", if you're destroying the RPG arch-purpose; "Pad", if you're destroying creativity (YIN)
  • Black: Qah (Goddess>man), presence of the black head can represent hatred from the animals

The eyes on the cover show the head`s relation to lawfulness vs. chaos. The green, white, blue are lawful (a cool conservative color), while the black and red are chaotic (red eyes). In geneneral the name of the multihead dragon should be a combination of 2 chaotic + 1 lawful (if the dragon is stirring in the realms) or 2 lawful and 1 chaotic (if the dragon is approached for no prior history). The lawful aspect moderates and maintains control of the otherwise chaotic dominance.

Now, most of the time dragons are practically chaotic to everyone. Yes even the “lawful” ones mentioned above — because most people are simply out of sync and the dragons aren’t known for patience, especially at the speed of a human.

DM notes:

  • For the multi-headed dragon to rise out of the abyss, there must be some serious problems in the realms that threaten all of existence. Nuclear war or a magic war that threatens the whole realm. Without that, expect confusion and disappointment.
  • White dragon head present? You've messed up some boundaries that keep the planes separated.
  • Black dragon present? You've confused something in the realm that maintains life itself and now the goddess is pissed.
  • Depending on the party’s (or even particular member’s) disposition to the rest of the realm, there are important weather effects that should be stated to set the mood. Some players (like dreamers) will get intuition about their presence there from it. If Strahd has been encountered, there will be rain. If he was transformed, then the rain is sweet and cleansing, otherwise the rain is gloomy and foreboding.
  • Rumor has it (this is divined knowledge) that the Well of Tiamat is 8-10 stories tall and each story has a sort of antechamber, where (presumably) items are stored. These may or may not be visible from our world.
  • XXXObsolete: You don't want to take out Tiamat until you're ready to close down D&D itself, that's some estimated 20-30 years into the future XXXseebelow— about the time when they close down sports lolz. Until then, there are many interactions to be made, from learning to speak with dragons, advanced arcana about magic (like marrying fire + water), being wiser than a bludgeoning fool, developing political acumen, understanding of the gods, finding hidden pockets of intrigue that only the dragons know about, etc.
  • The ultimate way to play this, is for tournaments. Xonthal is a test to get the DMs to be pitted against each other in a wizard's war where the player's are like the arms and head of the DM's player character. This decides which party gets to visit the Well of Dragons.
  • Little does the campaign book say, but the dragon mask offers no advantage to handling the dragon -- it is purely at the service of the gods who made it so that YOU would respect the dragons. Lo and behold the poor soul who wanders into the Well of Dragons thinking the dragonmask makes Tiamat its friend. (Burnt to a crisp, charred to the very core.) He didn't believe in the gods.
  • Also, the Draakhorn isn’t a gift from Tiamat (what dragon would gift a part of their hide?) — it was fashioned by someone who had claimed a dragon’s life and was guided by the gods (via the giants?) on how to fashion it into a dragon call.
  • The winner of these battles gets pitted in the ultimate confrontation with the Tiamat. But to win there is a master plan that would span 3 years of game play. But in the final end (bringing in all shards of the sunsword, …), the prize would close up 40 years of the game.
  • This is the grande finale of the whole D&D canon. It is not expected for anyone to finish this campaign for 20-50 years. By finish, i mean getting the experience, wisdom, constitution, and power to actually, well, I won't spoil it for you.... But may it suffice to say that finishing this campaign finishes D&D itself -- meaning the whole world of epic fantasy comes to grand ending. You earn the title "Ultimate Braven Warrior". What world will wait after that will surely be something more than dread suburbia and strip malls. May it be a world of enchanted forests, beautiful maidens, noble men, and magic.
  • A good DM helps the dragons see through the game into the player's soul and re-presents them -- for they represent the four corners of the game universe (four heads) as well as boundaries of the universe-at-large (up to four others as well, but then your ass is toast in the real world), so can use us and peer into our world at times, when appropriate to hold the order of each.
  • At the bottom of the Well of Dragons, beyond the portal to the muddy corridor that leads to a Dark Lake, you encounter a ragged man stuck in the mud. His bones are sticking out, but he can talk — barely. You find out that he's the mad arab, that character running for his life around in the tales of H.P.Lovecraft and necronomicon. He MIGHT give you his journal holding the codes to madness immunity. If players are playing in the First Age, there is a 50% chance they will find the One Ring on him. If they help him get free, he can show them the way out, or even teach them the ways of immortality.
  • The Tiamat endgame is entangled and dependent on the Abyss endgame — if either is incomplete the game universe enters another cycle of conflict between yin and the yang, of good and evil. But this is what creates the gemstones of the realms. (a little unearthed arcana for you, if you followed me this far).
  • If you leave from the Well and enter the Abyssal campaign in anywhere between v3 and v5 of D&D, there is a shrine to Tiamat. Somewhere during the Fourth Age the shrine is desecrated and thrown into the waters. By the Fifth Age, most of the treasure is looted. Before the Third Age, the shrine does not exist.
  • Here’s some dragon arana: the fins on the black dragon (or whereever they might show up in a different incarnation) ties that head to the Abyss, meaning that dragon is connected to the Underdark and the place of death and retribution. In case it’s not clear, these fins look like a swordfish on the top back of the black dragon gracing (ahem) RoT campaign book. Other arcana: the horns on the dragon represent deaths from innocent creatures that died above ground (being represented since they no longer have a voice), by the powers of the dragon. This information was brought to you at a great price, use it well young adventurers.
  • Xonthal’s tower has a few hidden secrets. It is basically an attempt of wizards to recreate the tower of Vizeran in OotA — such is the mystique and intelligence of Vizeran.

—— Adventurer’s League notes:

  • Approaching the caldera and entering the realm of the multi-headed dragon should have the appropriate gravitas. The weather should be in accord with the state of the game, because here is where many things will be settled for some time, so the gods take interest. When the gods show interest from a neutral perspective, the air is still and the sun is shining down on the players. When the gods disapprove, rain and gloom will surround the event. If the gods take interest but don’t have complete confidence in your attitude and strategy, the wind will blow across your path. When the gods don’t like the context of your arrival (cult alliances, other forces outside the party), the sky will be filled with clouds, even though the sun will shine through occasionally. If you have a high-level ranger/explorer with the party, they may read these omens and decide to camp for a night, before starting the final encounter. If they do, evaluate their strategy in relation to the total game.
  • Overlooking the well of dragons is hanging a bat in a stalagtite(?). It blends in so inconspicuously no one would notice it, except… This is a link to the dragon from Ravenloft.
  • XXXseeabove: There is a scenario now developed that if you take out Tiamat, something like an Apocalypse ensues. The giants come down and wreak havoc, pretty much turning every merchant and craftman’s towns into ghostowns, devolving everything to like the First Age (greyhawk levels). Tiamat will turn into dracoliches and haunt the land until the dragon soul returns.
  • The scent in the air (DC21) is the smell of burnt rock. Only those who have been close to a volcano would know it, but wizard’s oft get access to arana in the soul itself.
  • (***) The metal carcass is the 1970’s duster muscle car. It doesn’t run. Inside is a faded, tattered leather pants(?) and a jacket. Shoes on the floor boards. There are no bones — it’s like someone disappeared but left they’re clothes behind.
  • Tiamats abode is home to lots of obsidian, if you happen to be looking for it.

—— WotC only:

  • Under the Well of Dragons (at the bottom where Tiamat rests), there is a 100+ mile long tunnel, ending in stone arch-work at the Dark Lake from where Tiamat slakes it`s thirst every once in awhile (proabably between sleeps, some nn years at a time). It may knock out the (formally “Mad”) Arab (who has. been stuck in the muck there, half-dead), but strangly, and generally, respects his presence and flies around it. Go figure. The Arab has felt its scales, perhaps one of the most intimate encounters of any humanoid or other above-ground being, apart from the short experience in yowe`s mouth. It`s tail, btw, is unusually long (despite the appearance in the artwork of RoT), 5x the length of its torso/heads. The tail balaces the 5 different heads, so that the inherent chaos involved with 5 distinct heads dosn’t blow out the dragon itself. Yes, I’m right.
  • Deep arcana: The true name of the wizard, which appears also on the cover of Tiamat is Xenocanth, a larger version of Xonthal, which itself should be considered an time-displaced version of the Wizard on the TSR Hobbies logol

—— …you’ve made it all this way. Do you have what it takes to face the ultimate dragon? 5 heads — unless your own world is dying and then there might be 7, because the gods of YOUR world are abandoning YOU. Fathom that? One wrong move, and the impatience and choatic nature of the dragon comes down on you like an 1000lb anvil. If explorer: There are no tracks but scuttlebugs. Hardly any birds, but there are few overhead, you surmise are vultures. They circle overhead looking at… you. The geology shows signs of ancientness mixed with the new and the scent in the air is stale, of rotting flesh as if other animals who’ve wandered in, didn’t make it far. A roll of a d6 and getting a 1, you see a small lizard sitting still toward you. It’s tongue sticks out as you gaze as if it can sense you from it’s position. It moves not, it seems to be waiting for your next move.

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