What Do I Know About First Impressions? Shadow of the Dragon Queen (D&D 5e), Part Five

Shadow of the Dragon Queen Chapter 6: City of Lost Names


The opening section of this chapter, leading to the location that the PCs have been trying to find, is another of those callbacks that reminds me a bit of the original adventure and the Sla-Mori, the hidden path into Pax Tharkas.
There are four locations in this section, with three meant to be explored. The fourth is next chapter’s problem, and to dissuade players from going there, it’s the most heavily guarded.

Exploring the City

Of the other three locations, if they go to one of the locations first, they don’t get anything from the other two locations, and that’s going to be a big issue. The DM is told to have patrols show up to signal to the PCs not to go to the chapter-ending encounter first.

Given the way the site is structured, it’s possible to just say it’s impossible to get there without using extraordinary means like flying spells, so I think I would be more inclined to just say that the regular path isn’t there until later in the exploration.

Iconic Moments

I’m going to point out that any Dragonlance campaign set during the War of the Lance is waiting on three big milestones. One is the return of divine magic, the next is the arcane member of the party taking their test of High Sorcery, and the third is acquiring the titular weapon.

We covered one of those in the prologue, and the other two are handled in this section of the adventure, but only if you explore the locations in the right order. That’s what I mean by it being a bummer if you don’t properly redirect players from cutting straight to the endgame.

The Test

When it comes to the Test of High Sorcery, I think the scene does one thing well, but is still a little lacking for me. The Test is used as a means of exploring more of what happened at this particular site. It’s a tragedy on a similar scale to Soth’s betrayal.

On the other hand, the actual test and anything that might be personalized feels a little disconnected from the person taking the test. It’s primarily taking queues from the previous “Test of High Sorcery” related scenes, plus the character’s alignment.

It’s never going to be easy to create a “generic” Test of High Sorcery without knowing the PC and adding in their particular struggles and history. I wish we had a little more about exactly what a good Test of High Sorcery should look like. This one, however, is doing double duty, communicating and pushing forward the plot, as well as finishing the quest line of the character that may want to become a member of the Orders.

The Ecology of the City

While there are dragon army troops, undead, and constructs for the PCs to run into, there are also a few encounters that are with inhabitants that aren’t automatically hostile, and I like that aspect of this section. Despite the similarity to the Sla-Mori above, exploring this section of the adventure, especially when it comes to the scene that involves the Dragonlance, this section does a lot to echo the exploration of Xak Tsaroth.

This chapter also builds to the first encounter with one of the creatures most closely associated with the titular lance of the setting as well. We’re shifting into high gear. Spoilers: it’s a D-R-A-G-O-N. A real one, too, not just a smaller relative.

The PCs have to make a pretty dramatic escape from a degraded location and meet up with the troops for whom they were scouting in the previous chapter.

Wrapping Up

The board game tie in this chapter doesn’t give you a “do this scenario or play out this skirmish” choice, it’s just an extra scenario you can play, that gives you more details on your withdrawal from the region, and if you are successful, you get some prizes.

I like that this adventure continues to play similar notes to the original adventures, but those notes are remixed into different tiers of play.

I’m a little sad at the lack of a skirmish for the withdrawal, and with the lack of personalization of the Test of High Sorcery, but otherwise, this comes together as a pretty epic chapter of the adventures, as a lot of key Dragonlance story beats start to come together.