Monday, August 25, 2014

Quick Impressions - Hoard of the Dragon Queen (D&D 5e)

When I first unboxed this last week, my mind quickly read it as Whore of the Dragon Queen, which might be a more evoking title, but isn't accurate, at least so far as a quick look shows. No, in reality it is Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

First things first - it seems extremely readable. None of this Numenera bullshit of excessive art behind the text (yes, I know others think the presentation of Numenrea is the best thing since sliced bread. I and my aging eyes strongly disagree. And get off my fucking lawn while you are at it!)

The art is nice and appropriate and the boxed text is highlighted without being annoying so. Really well done. Some maps are washed out and hard to read, which is a damn shame.

My only serious complaint initially? You can't run it with just the 5e Player's Handbook. You NEED the Tyranny of Dragons online appendix to play through this and it's successor. I'm guessing you won't need the appendix if you have the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide, which aren't released yet.

Am I glad you don't even need the Player's Guide, just the free Basic 5e rules and the online appendix? Sure, it's a nice touch. But in truth, you shouldn't have to download anything if you have what is being billed as The Core Book of the core 5e books - the Player's Handbook. It doesn't say there is a needed download or online access needed to play through the adventure on the back cover, and that's simply wrong.

Sure, we are in a very integrated internet world, but there are folks that will not realize this restriction until after the purchase and they will be left holding an incomplete product.

I have high hopes for this with the team behind it. I'll try to find time to read this through in the near future.


  1. Have you looked at the Appendix? It consists of the spells, which *are* in the PHB, but are reproduced in the appendix so you *don't* have to buy it, and the monsters, which will presumably eventually also be in the Monster Manual but again the appendix means you don't have to buy it, and certainly don't need to be larding up the PHB. I could maybe fault them for not putting that info in the ToD itself, but I can see the argument for keeping the page count and price lower, particularly when eventually all the info will be completely redundant for people who buy the core books. If you are shelling out for the core books it's nice to know that you're not paying more for stuff you won't need in the adventure set(s).

  2. Didn't say i have a problem with the download - it's the lack of mentioning the need of such anywhere on the front or back cover that irks me.

    You can't run it with just the PHB. The MM and DMG are not out yet.

    It would be proper to indicate the need of a download if you lack all three core books on the front or back cover - not that hard to do.

    1. You can't run it with Basic only either, as some of the monsters in the Appendix (like the Ettercap) aren't in the DM book. Seems strange that they're not in their yet as they already had all of that together when putting together the Basic books, and it's easier to maintain just two core documents for Basic play than have to maintain an Appendix for every single "transmedia" product that's coming along. As Erik says, that's adding an extra burden on the consumer of the product.

  3. It makes sense to me that they are providing the 'free online supplement' for use that has all the rules for creatures not found in the PHB. That being said, I would ASSUME that all those creates will be in the MM and DM books, but who knows.

    I read through the first 2 Episodes last night. I feel like they left these encounters VERY open ended, with no real clear cut "THIS IS THE PATH YOU WILL FOLLOW OR ELSE". They even point out other options characters may decide to do, etc.

    Overall I am impressed. One thing I really wish they would do is have a "If you plan to run this with the WotC minis, you will need (x) Kobolds, (x) Ambush Drakes, etc. Now I have to do it manually, and that is no fun.

    I really love using correct models on the mat, color me picky if you will, but it helps me imagine it in my head a bit more clearly and have an overall more fun experience.


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