The Old Gang has met a few times to work our way through the D&D 5th edition feature campaign, A Tyranny of Dragons, and while playing my son pointed out how far behind this blog was. Here's a quick update for those of you comparing your experience to mine:
After surviving the Cult of the Dragon's full blown invasion of the town of Greenest, my character hit his head on a rock and died. The party was called upon to save some townsfolk trapped in the old mill, and so elected to slip over the walls of the keep by night. I failed a climb check and my character plummeted 20 feet to his death. New character time!
The rest of the party, surviving the simple climb, sneaked out to the old mill only to discover a massive ambush - they fled before it could be triggered. As they climbed back into the keep, all hell broke loose. The Cult smashed their way inside the inner courtyard, and a huge fracas ensued, with the party barely managing to turn the tide of the fight thanks to the timely intervention of a recently recuperated dwarf fighter named Henry St. John (my new character). The incursion forced out, the keep settled into for a long siege.
The Cult had other ideas, though. Their champion, a big blue half-dragon, called out a challenge to the keep; one on one combat. Hostages were involved, so Henry St. John stepped up, answered the call...and got promptly skewered by Big Blue. The big old half-dragon was a half-man of his word and left the hostages and the village, the entire raiding party heading off into the mountains well laden with ill gotten loot.
The next morning, the party set out to track down the raiding party, fought through the rear-guard, triggered an ambush, and discovered the valley/headquarters of the Cult.
Interlude: At this point I have to break to sing the praises of our esteemed DM. He hand drew and colored a bunch of large maps for each of the major encounters. The picture below shows the enemy encampment and surrounding environs. This is a small valley; the blue and red icons are tents, the orangish square jobs are watch towers, and the blue blob in the far back is a large cave mouth.
The three infiltrators managed to bluff their way to the back of the camp, free a bunch of prisoners including a scholar who is an expert on the cult, and sound the general alarm. Just when their cover was about to be blown, the dwarf and necromancer started rolling rocks down into the camp, hooting and hollaring, and raising a general ruckus. Then they ran like little girls. In the ensuing chaos, the party rogue snuck into the large HQ tent, and stole a bunch of intel and a big 'ol sword.
After a day of rest (and levelling up), the party returned to the camp, only to find the camp decamped. The tents were gone, the troops gone, everything above ground...gone. Curious about what lay inside the big cave at the back of the alley, the party girds their loins and enters...
And that's the end of about three sessions of play. Overall we're finding fifth edition to be much faster than 3rd or 4th edition, and probably slower than 1st or 2nd? We're doing a lot more skulking and scouting than stand up fighting at this point, so it's a little hard to judge.