Content of the article: "DM Guide Dragon of Icespire Peak – Sleeping Dragons Wake"
This is post was adapted from the latest video in my DoIP DM guide series– video and full playlist linked in the comments if you prefer to watch/listen 🙂
Sleeping Dragon's Wake
Continuing our Beyond Icespire Peak series, we’re diving into Sleeping Dragon’s Wake, the level 9-11 expansion adventure available for free with the download codes inside the D&D Essentials kit box set, or for purchase on D&D Beyond.
Just like Storm Lord’s Wrath, this adventure is based around Leilon, but it’s features are a little different this time as the town’s construction has progressed!
- Aubrey’s Peculiarities Shoppe, the Barge Yard, and Idol Island are unchanged.
- The Fishery however, has become a more permanent structure where the town council meets at night to discuss the construction and threats to the town, and it has a job board where they post quests for your party!
- The House of Thalivar is no longer haunted assuming your party took care of the ghost, but the wizard Gallio remains to help them with obscure history and lore, much like the…
- Shrine of Lathander where the halfling priest and town councilwoman Merrygold Brightshine can heal your party’s wounds and ailments for price.
- The Settler’s Camp is still there but now it’s led by a witty old human woman Mazira Shae who can help guide your party through Leilon.
- Torver’s Post is a new general store owned by Jack Torver, a devout worshipper of Lathander, who sells everything but healing potions which they can buy at the Tymora Shrine from Puck Caridbas a rambunctious elf who sells a handful of other useful potions, but neither spell scrolls nor weapons, which they have to get from Town Square merchants like Zana Taylish.
- Finally, the new-constructed Umber Hulk’s Shell inn can provide food, a place to sleep, and rumors to help direct your party to the two starter quests and one of the three follow up quests.
Whichever quests they take on first, character’s gain a level when they complete two quests, and again when they complete the remaining three.
Death Knight Dreadnaught Quest
I recommend starting with the Death Knight-Dreadnaught starter quest because it bridges the gap well between the cult of Talos events in Storm Lord’s Wrath and the cult of Myrkul plot in this module. The party is basically told to investigate an undead boat thing off the shore of the Tower of Storms where, as you probably recall, Phandalin had some trouble with the cult of Talos, and the reward is a very enticing 6 potions of greater healing! The actual goal is to rescue Tarbin Tul, the bard captured by Fherelai Stormsworn at the Wayside Inn in Storm Lord’s Wrath, because his forced singing is appeasing this sentient undead vessel to do Fherelai’s bidding. But this death knight ship actually belongs to the other cult leader, Ularan Mortus, who like so many other captains, was drawn into the Tower by Talos– even though your party probably destroyed the beacon already so maybe we can just blame Talos for creating an epic storm that drove the ship to shore.
The real issue with this quest is that it says Fherelai Stormsworn is onboard and will try to escape. But if my level 6 party could kill a white dragon in one round, your level 9 party can definitely kill a cult leader in one round. However, it also says that her followers could resurrect her using divine intervention from Talos, and that would make a pretty shocking come back in the next adventure, so as long as your players wouldn’t feel cheated by that, I say go for it!
Whether or not she’s around, I recommend using the smashing wave effect from area 1 to continually rock the ship– roll a d6 every round, and 5 or 6 triggers the strength saving throw, as if Talos himself is attacking the party! And the skeletal figurehead on the ship’s prow is kind of funny because it can’t move, but it does have a crazy 20 foot reach to whack your characters if they walk by, and maybe consider having another creature untie it, so this undead giant can really join the fight. But between the figurehead, the cultists with siege equipment in areas 3, 5, and 7, the necrotic damage trapped steering wheel in area 6, the minotaur skeletons and six rugs of smothering below deck, AND the very sauron-esque mainmast hellfire orb with a passive perception of 13 that can shoot a level 5 fireball once per day, the dreadnaught is very-well defended. So I recommend giving your party the chance to communicate with the death knight’s soul early on through any of the creatures it can see through, like the figurehead or the fireball, and maybe your characters can turn the ship against the Talos cultists, and take it for themselves! An important piece is finding Ularan’s Journal in area 10, which Fherelai also made some notes in, for clues that seed the plot of this module, but if your party doesn’t search, you could have the deathknight reveal information after the party frees Tarbin Tul.
The second starter quest, Leilon point, is not really part of the story, and it’s incredibly simple: defeat the scary aquatic humanoid raiders harassing the little village of Leilon Point, and get some gold; however the hook for this adventure says that these sahuagin raiders started attacking here at least 10 days ago, AFTER the dreadnaught left the Tower of Storms, but ignoring the weird timeline, the point is that Fherelai tricked the sahuagin, posing as an avatar of their shark god and telling them to attack leilon point.
Now, pretty much everyone here is pulling a Harbin Wester: as-written “no amount of persuasion or intimidation” can get them to open their doors, but I would at least make this possible, because even the leader of this little town is written to do it too, and I know from talking to many viewers like you, that plenty of players did not enjoy Harbin’s antics– and this guy actually has important clues to share!
Overall I suggest having your party arrive the morning after a night raid, which explains the dead NPCs in the fishing supply hut and the shrine, and giving them one day to talk to the scared villagers and find clues before the sahuagin attack again that night. Also the huer’s hut is a great place for them to explore because it contains a book that can provide them with information about the sahuagin! Very cool! If they learn about and explore the salt caves to root out the sahuagin, really rely on the trap in area 1 and the awesome giant shark skeleton in area 4, the sahuagin aren’t too interesting on their own, but they do have a giant glowing clam that gives them advantage on attacks as long as the head priestess is alive, and some sweet hidden loot in area 3!
Iniarv’s Tower is maybe my favorite quest of this adventure: defeat the bandits and earn some gold! Cliche but with a great twist! Because banditry is merely their side hustle. The Chimera Crew has been hired by cult leader Ularan Mortus to guard his towerkeep filled with zombies, and it begins with a few zombies having escaped from the tower with two bandits chasing after them! This makes for a fun fight and can reveal an alternative way into the keep if the bandits are interrogated. There are guards on the walls who will probably spot your party, but that’s okay. I think this quest is more about the party trying to talk their way through this weird situation, where not even the bandit leader knows what Ularan is planning with the zombies. Because while there is a neat pit trap filled with snakes, and a very secure gatehouse with flammable oil and murderholes, and obviously a bunch of bandits around, the coolest thing your party can do here is kill all the zombies in the main tower by destroying its shabby roof because it does a lot of damage!
The problem with this location is that the party doesn’t really get any closer to stopping Ularan’s plans, so this is a good place to put Ularan’s journal if they didn’t find it in the dreadnaught, you can decide that the bandit leader DOES know Ularan’s plans if interrogated, you could make the bandits willing to double cross Ularan– we all know the party can probably pay better, or you can leave a note with the whereabouts of Viantha Cruelhex– Ularan’s lieutenant laying siege to one of our two not-so-sleepy dragons.
So first, let’s check out the Bronze Shrine, because by the book, the final location can only be learned about from this location, where the party must visit the temple of an adult bronze dragon, Lhammaruntosz (La-ma-rune-toes), to hopefully receive a vision of any threats to Leilon while praying at its shrine. The dragon used to defend the region, but has been maddened by decades of unknowingly living with a fiend in disguise! As written, the place is kind of hard to enter and it’s guarded by several dragon followers and a pretty tortuous molten bronze trap, but I would nix the trap because these followers shouldn’t be trying to kill everyone who comes to the shrine, and I would even reduce the number of followers to one loyal individual who will gladly accept any help the party can offer to restore the dragon’s well-being. They can warn them about all the traps, and thereby help them ascend into the dragon’s chamber without being charmed to drown themselves, because that would just be a pretty terrible (albeit memorable) way to lose a character.
Then in the Lhammaruntosz chamber, characters must make DC 18 persuasion checks on the dragon every single round to keep it from attacking, and a DC 20 arcana check to notice the disguised fiend. So it seems like the book wants them to fight and kill this dragon, which they probably can, but then they would have no way to learn of the final location. So I recommend letting combat erupt, but having this parasite-like fiend join the combat to protect their host– hopefully your party will then go for the fiend first, kill it, and thereby cure the dragon, and receive a premonition of the other dragon attacking Leilon, learn it’s current whereabouts, and go home with the sweet loot.
Finally, Claugiyliamatar’s lair (Claw-gill-ee-ya-ma-tar) which is located through that vision— not the quest board. This ancient green dragon, Claw for short, has been dealing with daily attacks by minions of Uluran Mortus to quote, ”weaken the dragon’s mental state with anxiety and frustration” so the undead dragon spirit can possess it. But then whyyyy did Uluran NOT just have it possess the bronze dragon Lhammaruntosz who’s been in a weakened mental state for decades, and is not even that far from the tower of storms where his boat crashed a few weeks ago? Because SPOILER alert, at the end of this quest, the undead dragon spirit just possesses Claw anyway and flies off which is pretty lame.
So I recommend totally flipping the script, and having the party sent here to receive a vision of the bronze dragon attacking Leilon! Claw even has multiple crystal balls in their lair because they’re constantly keeping tabs on the entire sword coast, so it makes sense; And as-written, Claw doesn’t attack right away and even tries to hire the party to help her take care of Ularan!
So to quickly sum up the rest of this location, the slime pools are an awesome mix of quicksand and acid that I definitely want to use in my own games, I really like the wood woad guardians, the magical moss map room, the detailed dragon-worshipping druids, and the thorough details for the lore-filled statues scattered around the lair and how the statues can potentially be used to unlock the dragon’s hoard. Then after the party talks to Claw, you can have Lhammaruntosz be possessed, OR still give the party the chance to save Lhammaruntosz, and if they do, having the now dead body of Cryovain be possessed by the undead dragon spirit. And come back for round two in the final adventure of Icespire Peak!
Thank you for reading! 🙂
- BBEG fights the party (too) early intentionally – credible reason for withdrawal and balance for the fight?
- I’m using Dragon of Icespire Peak as a segue between Lost Mine of Phandelver and Rise of Tiamat, neee some help planning and foreshadowing it
- I’m using Dragon of Icespire Peak as a segue between Lost Mine of Phandelver and Rise of Tiamat, please help me plan and foreshadow it
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