PUBLISHER: WIZARDS OF THE COAST | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
When the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons came out, many fans were happy to discover that Wizards of the Coast had gotten it right and produced a version of the game that would ensure it would not only last for years to come, but also keep D&D in its number one slot. Given that D&D is now enjoying a huge revival of interest, it’s fair to say that fifth edition D&D has been very well received.
However, a roleplaying game is only as good as the scenarios and adventures used to run it. Two of the earlier scenario books for this new edition were Hoard of The Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat. Though critically acclaimed at the time, one of the frequent complaints was that the adventure was essentially split between these two books. Subsequent D&D scenario books have been complete and rather dense tomes, making the two earlier books look a bit lost on the shelf.
Tyranny of Dragons brings the two together with a bit of minor reworking; fixing references and putting certain information in one place. The combination makes it just as dense as the others, and just as handy. It’s the better (and cheaper) choice for those looking for a new D&D scenario. Our only gripe is that the (very pretty) cover means it doesn’t have a matching spine to go with the other D&D books.
The plot, for those who’ve missed our previous reviews, is classic D&D. Evil dragons are starting to get organised. Great wyrms who would normally either sleep or fight amongst themselves suddenly seem organised, and an army of darkness is rising. The players start from humble beginnings and slowly uncover the cause of this great evil, exploring dungeons and cities to find clues, getting into one massive fight after another. If this sounds familiar, well it is. It’s a well-worn path, one attempted in various ways across multiple editions of the game in the past.
What Tyranny gets right here is streamlining the story, so it’s essentially a series of high-adventures and thrills. Memorable moments is what makes D&D, and this book is filled with them. The book gives the Dungeon Master the tools to keep the players on a steady path. It also provides enough leeway for players to do anything they want. There is not a single game of D&D ever played where the players haven’t ignored bits of the plot entirely. Good storytellers can get the tale back on track of course, and Tyranny of Dragons provides enough ideas and hooks to make this easy and fun.
Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons is the best it’s ever been, and this new compilation has taken an extremely fine adventure and made it pretty much perfect.