I am currently running a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign which follows the Tyranny of Dragons published adventures. Instead of using the base setting for DnD (and the campaign as written), I am converting it to my favorite setting: Eberron!
(This series of posts is SUPER spoilery. Don’t read this if you are going through as a player and haven’t yet, especially if you’re one of mine!)
If you’re looking for a basic run-down of this setting, the absolute best (and funniest) comes from Runesmith.
Choosing Eberron Locations for Hoard of the Dragon Queen
While Greenest is the original starting location for the Forgotten Realms, it doesn’t exist in Eberron (at least, not in the same way). The primary thing needed for this campaign is to start in a village. Since Eberron is so well connected by roads and the Lightning Rail, I wanted to find a centralized location. I settled on Marketplace, Aundair as the replacement for Greenest.
From Marketplace, there needs to be a town that the party passes through on the way to a city. I didn’t want my players to pass into another nation yet, so I put all clues pointing toward a big meet-up in Passage, Aundair (replacing Waterdeep). The town on the way can easily replace either of the towns between Marketplace and Passage; one route will even take them to Arcanix (one of my favorite locations; one which I’m running an irregular campaign in).
After this, most locations will be roadside, unmapped places. All of these will be on the way toward a mountain range where a giant’s flying tower could be. Since there are giants who live in Droaam, the monstrous nation, I can think of no better location than the Greywall Mountains (on the Breland side).
Choosing Eberron Locations for Rise of Tiamat
Since Waterdeep doesn’t exist in Eberron, you might as well choose the most cosmopolitan of locations in any setting for Dungeons and Dragons: Sharn.
With the easiest decision out of the way, the rest of the adventure is a bunch of missions to far-off locations. While you can run this straight, I am currently planning on using my characters’ stories to provide missions which directly affect them and give these missions as choices with specific timeframes:
- The Sea of Moving Ice: In the original setting, the Sea of Moving Ice is supposed to be as far north as possible, a desolate location which isn’t seen by civilization. For Eberron, this would be the Frostfell– an enormous frozen iceland begging to incorporate Icewind Dale rules for cold exposure and survival. While I’m making certain aspects of this adventure optional, I’d say that if they don’t complete this, they will have no connection to an equivalent to the Arcane Brotherhood– in this case: Arcanix. Having the school of the best professors at your back, doing research and helping with magic, should be considered a boon and a high priority– plus the Draakhorn is a highly powerful artifact (which I plan to turn into a vestige similar to what is found in Critical Role‘s Exandria from Matt Mercer). I wouldn’t put a time limit on this one, but it would be introduced at the first council along with a vague “kill cultists, get allies, find vestiges.” At this point, this mission would fill at least two requirements.
- Tomb of Diderius: This mission is also given during the first council session. I would give this mission to track down Varram the White Dragon Speaker. The explanation for Varram being separated from his White Talon of Tiamat, a bond which is intended to go deep, is that Varram has lost his mask. The dragon went to the north for the other mission; Varram went to this little settlment called Boareskyr Bridge. While the original campaign sets this location in the midst of the badlands of the Serpent Hills with Lizardfolk abounding, that leaves a few options for this location. You have to choose to follow the thematic location of a badland or the lizardfolk presence. Since I plan on using Q’barra later, I don’t want to follow the lizardfolk and instead plan to set this into the outskirts of The Labyrinth of the Demon Wastes (which I definitely wanted to show up during the adventure). Ideally, this tomb is actually of a wizard who was a great aid to the Ghaash’kala orc tribe and remains his resting place. The best location, when choosing this route, would be to make the Tomb of Diderius also known as the Burning Keep, just outside the Lake of Fire. This would enable the adventurers to more or less see a lot of the Labyrinth, but without having to enter it. This mission should have a nonspecific timeframe, whenever Varram is done with his mission, he will leave. However, I wouldn’t do any rolls for his completion before the adventurers get the chance to complete their first mission. Ideally, they’ll hit this mission on their way to or the way back from the “Sea of Moving Ice.”
- The Misty Forest: This mission is intended to be introduced in the second council session. This mission is supposed to be all about tracking down the Green Dragon Speaker and his dragon, the Green Talon of Tiamat; Neronvain is intended to be deeply connected with the elves– so Valenar or Aerenal are great places for Neronvain to be tracked down. I would choose to use Valenar, keeping the adventure primarily on Khorvaire, or I might even look at Neronvain using his connections to flee Khorvaire through Valenar to Aerenal– especially since there is a sect of elves in Eberron lore who are known dragonslayers, and therefore mortal enemies to the Cult of the Dragon. While I think there is probably a timeline for how long Neronvain will stay in a specific location, there are several forests in Valenar and Aerenal and all could be used for the same encounter. Every once and a while, Neronvain will just move to the next forest.
- Metallic Dragons, Arise: This is the other mission introduced in the second council session. The easiest and best setting for this meeting would be Q’barra. I plan on having the dragons even summon the dragonborn, long abandoned by the dragons, to the meeting. (This will add some extra intrigue to the diplomatic meeting, a great addition to a setting which should never be treated as straightforward.) This mission is intended to happen roughly a week from the introduction and the dragons are willing to wait up to a month (including the side-quests they may offer); if the adventurers aren’t there, then they will miss out on direct help from the dragons of Argonnessen. They also miss what they miss within the time-frame. I’m hoping they choose this mission first.
- Xonthal’s Tower: This is a mission introduced in the third council session (the last one where they give missions to the adventurers). Since Xonthal was a great wizard, Aundair is a great location for him, but it’s also supposed to be a setting very close to the “dracolich traditionalists,” which I would transfer to mean they worship the Dark Six dragons, especially the Keeper (who is sometimes depicted as a dracolich), not the dragon-demon Overlord Tiamat, daughter of Khyber. The equivalent of “I believe what you believe up to THIS point, but I don’t believe THAT!” As such, they have taken refuge in Xonthal’s tower. As I want to make sure to mix in a variety of locations, factions, and themes for this half of the campaign, I would set this tower just outside of Thaliost, possibly making it the Silvercliff Tower. This would introduce the issues between Thrane and Aundair in Thaliost, Aundair’s original, founding city-state which is now under Thrane’s control. This would pit Aundairian loyalist versus the Cult of the Daughter versus the Silver Flame Templars of Thrane versus these Traditionalists. They know they’re one mistake away from being torn apart by the other three factions; that their only hope is to keep those three at each other’s throats and to get help from the adventurers.
- Mission to Thay: This is the other mission introduced in the third council session. This mission’s equivalent should obviously be Karrnath. The Karrnathi wizards of the Emerald Claw (the closest equivalent to the Red Wizards) are experts on not only necromancy (a dark magic to those outside of Karrnath), but also in opening and utilizing manifest zones (even though they usually focus on Mabar). The adventurers are now meeting with TWO leaders of import to Karrnath; they will need to meet with King Kaius III, who is believed to be a vampire, and a leader of the Blood of Vol, a vampire Eseldra Yeth (the named Red Wizard from the original story). This mission may bring Karrnath into the final combat as an ally and the Blood of Vol may turn more loyal Emerald Claw sects on those following Rath Modar.
- Rise of Tiamat: The final chapter of this adventure, the crowning jewel of it all, should take the adventurers to where Tiamat is meant to be imprisoned in Eberron, the Pit of Five Sorrows on Argonnessen. Without permission from the dragons, the adventurers will have a much harder battle, leading an army of doomed humanoids from Khorvaire to the Argonnessen coasts. With help from the Aerenal elves, the dragonborn, or other strong magical weilders, they may avoid a Saving Private Ryan beachhead experience and may make it up the river to the outer edges of the mountains holding the Pit. The more powerful and the more allies they have in making this push will make it so that they have a better chance of taking on and surviving the ultimate encounter, what the entire campaign has been building toward: the fight with Tiamat herself.
Thank you for reading! Interested in more Eberron DnD content? Subscribe to keep following as I work to convert content for Eberron. Want even more information on story-craft, at the table or otherwise? Check out The Storyscribe Podcast (wherever fine podcasts are distributed).