Hoard of the Dragon Queen is a Wizards of Coast official DnD module for 5th edition, originally released in 2014 and included in the Starter Set. Adventures were built in part by Kobold Press, and this 96 page book contains everything you need to run a campaign from levels 1 to 8. This book is also the precursor to The Rise of Tiamat in the two part Tyranny of Dragons series.
What’s in the Module?
Hoard of the Dragon Queen is one of the first official modules released for 5th edition. Being one of the earlier modules, it makes an effort to pack lots of stuff into a small book. The adventure is episodic and made to be played over multiple sessions. Each session includes opportunities for encounters and role play, though this particular module tends to favor combat more heavily. In addition to its story, the book is loaded with detailed descriptions for NPC’s, locations and plot hooks to keep your party moving.
How Does It Play?
The module’s story is extremely linear and seems to be constructed in a way that makes it easier for new DMs to manage, which is a positive trait for those just starting out. The module takes place over individualized episodes, each with a larger plot point of the story unfolding that pushes the players toward the final climax. The fact that these have to happen in order makes the module a bit easier on first time DMs, but may make it hard to work into your own campaigns or be frustrating if you players go off the rails.
More experienced DMs will notice some sections of this module are designed to be extremely difficult for new players. The very first episode of the module puts players in real danger and gives them no time for a long rest. The first time we ran this module, two out of four players went unconscious in the first combat encounter.
First time players may not want their characters to be brutally murdered when they don’t know all the rules yet. It’s important for anyone running this to watch their group’s progress and be mindful of balance as much as possible. We advise DMs running this with first time players to make sure healing is more available if necessary.
Pacing, especially initially, is great in this adventure. The flow of the story is natural and organic, but has very little branching. So when running the campaign, DMs need to gently guide their players if they start to stray from the path. It does expect the players to act heroic, which is not always guaranteed, but assuming your group springs into action this setting will work well for them.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen Pros and Cons
- Great introduction story for new DMs and players
- High quality book with lots of fantastic art
- Good Pacing
- Well written descriptions
- Linear Story helps new DMs and Players
- Supplement needed to close some holes
- Disappearing NPCs and plot points
- Difficulty spikes can require DM intervention at times
- Linear story can be a bit boring for more experienced DMs
Overall this ended up being a fantastic module for 5th edition DnD, with some minor flaws that don’t have to take away from game enjoyment. The biggest positive is the book’s structure and ease of use, while the largest negative is that it seems to have been rushed to press early on (hence the module supplement). Overall the minor flaws in this module can easily be overcome with some good DMing and the story that expands out of it is worth playing. Once complete, this module transitions right into The Rise of Tiamat, so you can keep the party rolling.
Interested in purchasing the Hoard of the Dragon Queen? Buy it here.
Thoughts? Comments? We’d love to hear what you thought of the module. Contact us and let us know! Happy DMing!