DMG Review: Dragon Relics

Frost giant and blue dragon cover for Dragon Relics campaign by JVC Perry

Dragon Relics is an epic campaign that takes the adventurers from the deserts of Anauroch to the frozen steppes of the High Ice and down into the hidden jungles of a place called Rasilith. Devious traps and powerful adversaries will stand between them and the dragon relics they seek. These relics are the only thing that stand a chance of defeating an ancient dragon mena ce, now reawakened and bent on domination.

This piece offers an entire campaign with enough adventures to bring PCs from level 1 all the way to 10 (although they are likely to reach anywhere from 12 to 15). The final goal is provided from the start and helps to focus the campaign, making every part of the journey feel like it’s progressing towards that goal—or possibly the characters’ doom. The artwork is top-notch and the author obviously put a lot of effort into the little details, which really makes this campaign shine.

Chapter one begins in typical fashion, but the action quickly drops in on the characters in the form of a cloud giant’s castle falling from the sky, as well as the ambush drakes that prowl the debris. An expedition through the desert brings them to the castle’s remains and Hrungnir, the cloud giant king. He explains his failed attempt to battle the ancient dragon Rah-Ziel, newly arisen from slumber and already rebuilding his dominion. Hrungnir enlists the party’s aid in recovering the dragon relics that will give them a chance in combating Rah-Ziel. These relics were formed from the bones of a bronze dragon and Rah-Ziel’s ancient adversary. Individually, they are powerful artifacts, but when brought together they provide the catalyst for something that even Rah-Ziel will fear.

The journey to acquire the relics take the adventurers to a variety of locals around the area, providing an array of encounters and situations to perk the interest of all types of players. The arrow of dragon slaying has been stashed in the High Ice by a frost giant holed up in an old dwarven ship, surrounded by a cohort of orc mercs. The arrow can be retrieved through brute force, but the presence of the giant makes it a safer bet to go with stealth or persuasion.

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Meanwhile, the armor is being sold in auction by an old dwarven family, which is further complicated by an assassination. For players not interested by intrigue, the presence of a secret hag, a weretiger, and an open vampire provide ample opportunity to brawl.

Each of the NPCs involved in the auction are detailed and fleshed out in a way that any DM should be able to appreciate. There is also a detailed sequence of events for the players to discover. Although there is an angle that will allow the party to simply ignore the intrigue and wait for the fallout to get their hand’s on the armor. For groups that are more interested in role play and investigation, further steps might need to be taken by the DM to steer this chapter in the right direction.

In searching for the dragon slayer greatsword, the party must make their way through a trap-filled temple to discover a massive underground jungle. This chapter is the most encounter heavy and will be a boon for your combat oriented players; most of the rest of the campaign is left more to random encounters, though the author does a great job at providing interesting encounters in the appendix.

Here, the players must make their way past hunting dinos, a froghemoth worshiping bullywug swamp, lizard patrols (including some custom CR3 lizardfolk), and a gauth/girallon cave, before making it to a ziggurat at the center. The ziggurat is guarded on each side by a different group of lizard folk, which provides a nice chance for clever players to scout it out and see which ones they prefer to engage with.

I would note, though, that the players might miss the fact that the obelisks in the jungle provide a force-field that denies entry to the ziggurat. If they don’t key in to that fact, I would just come out and tell them, rather than have them get all the way there and then have to backtrack. The ziggurat itself provides even more devious traps, including one of my favorite: a coffin with a portal to a pocket dimension full of undead skeletons that come pouring out.

After making it back out of the jungle, the group is presented with their first taste of what it’s like to face an ancient dragon when Rah-Ziel sends his simulacrum after them. This provides a great opportunity for them to get some dragon slaying practice in without a TPK, while also building tension for the final climax.

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The final relic, the dragon horn, is in the hands of a theocracy dedicated to Tyr, god of justice. They don’t play nice with those that have conflicting views and pitting the players against paladins, priests, and angels is a nice change of pace from your typical monster fest. The temple city is built like a fortress and would need a small army to fight through, forcing the players to find a way to infiltrate it instead. This is the obvious place for your rogue or charisma oriented character to shine.

One thing that stands out about this chapter is actually the amount of treasure that may tempt adventurers to do something foolish to get their hands on it. Considering the strength of the theocracy’s forces, players that focus more on treasure—which, of course, is trapped—than on completing the mission might find themselves in a very bad situation rather quickly.

Having collected all of the dragon relics, the group makes their way to Rah-Ziel’s pyramid lair for the final confrontation. His pride has so far been his downfall, but even with the relics this will be no easy fight for the adventurers. Fighting an ancient dragon in his own lair is definitely an epic way to end a heroic odyssey and his hoard of treasure feels well earned—if the party can survive the trap that protects it, at least…

From start to finish, this really felt like an epic adventure. The ultimate showdown with Rah-Ziel provides a satisfying ending in achieving a goal long sought, with a hoard of treasure that will allow players to retire their characters or build a legacy. I would say that the entire campaign is rather trap heavy, with most encounters being of the random variety except for the jungle chapter or the theocracy if they get caught. This is excusable in that the traps are so well done that they really make you want to trigger the next one just to overcome it. As a DM, you can always just cut some of them out if it seems like your party is getting frustrated with them or simply doesn’t have the skills to overcome them; a wand of dispel magic might be in order.

The campaign was very focused in its goals, which should keep the players focused over the many sessions that would be required to complete this from start to finish. You’ll know how important that is if you’ve ever had players forget what they’re trying to accomplish half way through a campaign. There are also a host of little details and nuances that I wasn’t able to cover in such a broad overview, even though they really add to the overall value of the campaign. There’s even a host of location information in the appendix to provide quick and easy access in understanding the area, world building, and directing the party. If you’re looking for an epic campaign that will keep your players invested for many sessions to come, you won’t go wrong with this one.

Product received for free in return for an honest review. This site includes affiliate links, which provide a small commission when a purchase is made through them. That commission is what helps keep the Drunken Dragon going and we appreciate your support!

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Published by Shaun Thomas-Arnold

I'm a writer, a fantasy geek, a book-worm, a sci-fi nerd, and I'm sure a few other names you could call me. I also think that tabletop games are better than video games in nearly every way. Some of my favorite writers are: Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, and Susan Kaye Quinn.

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