D&D Encounters: Tyranny of Dragons Kit – Preview

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 24, 2014

tiamatWith the release of the new 5e Dungeons & Dragons comes a new look and feel to D&D public play. D&D Encounters as we know it is changing as it becomes part of the broader public play program known as the D&D Adventure League.

The first adventure in the Tyranny of Dragons story arc is Hoard of the Dragon Queen. The D&D Encounters adventure, which your FLGS can download for free, provides enough material to advance PCs from levels 1-4. The story continues for PCs of level 5 and above in the for-sale product of the same name, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, on sale August 19.

As part of the new 5e public play kick off game shops everywhere will be receiving Tyranny of Dragons Kits full of great free stuff for DMs and players. Today we’re going to share everything that you can expect to find inside including Faction Packs for players, and DM packs that include magic item certificates. Read on.

Faction Packs (Player Kits)

During character development players can choose a faction that their PC is affiliated with. Being a part of a faction gives you in-game benefits and can help you create a more memorable character. The Tyranny of Dragons Kit provides everything players need to become part of a faction.

There are five factions: Emerald Enclave, Harpers, Lords’ Alliance, Order of the Gauntlet, and Zhentarim. Each Tyranny of Dragons Kit comes with 20 factions packs. Four copies of each faction pack are provided. Each faction pack comes with the following materials for players.

  • Folder (with the faction’s logo & colours)
  • Faction welcome letter
  • Faction membership certificate with Certificate Identification Code on the back
  • Faction Sticker
  • Tent card: Name on the front, Faction Ranks * Requirements * Benefits on the back
  • Regalia of Bahamut certificate: Scale of Bahamut (item) on the front / Neverwinter MMORPG certification code on the back
  • Blank Character Sheet
  • Blank Adventure Log Sheet

I’ve scanned all the materials for each faction and provided images of what’s in each faction pack below. Click on images to enlarge.

Emerald Enclave

Folder
folder-emerald-backfolder-emerald-front
Faction Welcome Letter
letter-emerald
Faction Membership Certificate
Certificate Identification Code on the back
membership-emerald
Faction Sticker
sticker-emarald
Tent Card
name-tag-emerald
ranks-emerald

Harpers

Folder
folder-harpers-backfolder-harpers-front
Faction Welcome Letter
letter-harpers
Faction Membership Certificate
Certificate Identification Code on the back
membership-harper
Faction Sticker
sticker-harpers
Tent Card
name-tag-harpers
ranks-zhentarim

Kings’ Alliance

Folder
folder-lords-backfolder-lords-front
Faction Welcome Letter
letter-lords
Faction Membership Certificate
Certificate Identification Code on the back
membership-lords
Faction Sticker
sticker-lords
Tent Card
name-tag-lords
ranks-lords

Order of the Gauntlet

Folder
folder-gauntlet-backfolder-gauntlet-front
Faction Welcome Letter
letter-gauntlet
Faction Membership Certificate
Certificate Identification Code on the back
membership-gauntlet
Faction Sticker
sticker-gauntlet
Tent Card
name-tag-gauntlet
ranks-gauntlet

Zhentarim

Folder
folder-zhentarim-backfolder-zhentarim-front
Faction Welcome Letter
letter-zhentarim
Faction Membership Certificate
Certificate Identification Code on the back
membership-zhentarim
Faction Sticker
sticker-zhentarim
Tent Card
name-tag-zhentarim
ranks-harpers

The Dungeon Master’s Pack

The players aren’t the only ones who get great free swag this season. There are four DM packs and inside each one DMs will find the following items:

  • Folder (tyranny of dragons logo)
  • Letter
  • Special Starting Item for the DM / Certificate Identification Code
  • Sticker
  • Name card / Faction Quick Guide
  • D&D Encounters instructions (see below)
  • Magic Item certifications (see below)
  • Tear of Bahamut item card: Regalia of Bahamut / Neverwinter MMORPG code (see below). The DMs kit comes with six of these, and each players kit comes with one.
Folder
folder-dm-backfolder-dm-front
Faction Welcome Letter
letter-dm
Faction Membership Certificate
Certificate Identification Code on the back
magic-item-cert-dm
Faction Sticker
sticker-dm
Tent Card
name-tag-dm
ranks-dm

Magic Items

One of the most significant changes with the new 5e public play is that magic items are going to be hard to come by. Magical items used during public play will now require item certificates. This Tyranny of Dragons Kit comes with magic item certificates for all the magic items you can find in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen (the D&D Encounters part and the part you need to purchase) and for all the magic items you can find in Lost Mines of Phandelver, the adventure found in the D&D Starter Set.

There are four item sets in the kit, one set for each DM. Each item has the name and description on the front and a Certificate Identification Code on the back. See an example sheet below.

tyranny-of-dragons-ad-1
tyranny-of-dragons-ad-2

Now if you’re like me you DM a lot and play only occasionally. I’ve always felt cheated that despite my involvement with public play behind the screen I get short changed when I finally get a chance to play. Well, Wizards has taken a big step in the right direction to remedy that problem. Included with the DM kit is a Special Starting Item for the DM. When the DM final gets to play they can begin with one of five special items, some of which are magical. Thank you Wizards of the Coast.

magic-item-cert

Instructions

instructions-4 instructions-1
instructions-2 instructions-3

Looking over the instructions we see that D&D Encounters is running every Wednesday from August 20, 2014 through February 11, 2015. It’s still unclear what’s going to happen after February 11. I guess we’ll wait and see. In the mean time this looks like a fantastic start to 5e public play. Be sure to visit your FLGS on August 20. Be early as supplies are limited.

Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe July 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Is the store adventure downloadable yet? I’m most eager to start reading and preparing that.

2 TheLightdarker July 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Is it possible to get higher resolution, legible scans of these images? I’m newly returned to D&D for 5th edition, after an 11 year hiatus, but don’t have an LGS to run these events and distribute swag : (

3 JD July 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Just thought I would mention that since the images aren’t zoomable, can’t really read anything. Nice effort though.

4 Ameron (Derek Myers) July 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

@TheLightdarker and @JD
Sorry about that. The images were supposed to click out to the high-res scans. For some reason all the links got stripped out. I’ve added them back in. Just click to enlarge.

5 JD July 24, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Thank You! Glad to get a sneak peek. My kits wont arrive until Saturday or Monday.

6 Vobekhan July 24, 2014 at 4:45 pm

hoping that we get the full kits here in the UK, cant see why not as we’ve received everthing since I began running Enc’s with the Elemental Eye of Evil ( I think that was the title).

Thanks for the excellent preview as always, can t wait to get my mits on these.

7 Tanakil July 26, 2014 at 12:46 am

Got my kit and adventure today. Know how we get more faction packs if we need them?

8 Dan July 26, 2014 at 12:58 am

Do you know if there will be a Saturday launch event like there has been in previous seasons?

9 Vobekhan July 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Yay – got the full kits here in the UK and now have our copy of the adventure to prepare (though most of our players want to run a few sessions of Lost Mine of Phandelver in the meantime.

@Dan – there’s no official Saturday Launch but it could be fun to organise your own, maybe running LMoP to give the pc’s a kick start?

10 AlHazred July 28, 2014 at 8:54 am

I’m a little concerned with how to get more player kits. I get the feeling that the Harpers will be really, really popular with some tables, and have a feeling I’ll run out soon enough.

The adventure has different end dates for the next season. From the module, page 2: “The Tyranny of Dragons storyline season for D&D Encounters runs from Wednesday, August 20, 2014, through Wednesday, March 11, 2015.”

11 Carl the Paladin July 28, 2014 at 10:13 am

I noticed that there are 2 things are not in those kits. NPC cards, and dice. I would have loved to have a Tyranny of Dragons d20. Good thing this looks cool too.

12 Joe July 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

Haven’t gotten our kits yet, but we got the download link. Reading through the adventure, so far it’s rather decent. I like the idea of including a dragon without having an all-out dragon fight to the death, since they outright state that the dragon can 1-hit kill any 1st level PC. Looks like a fun season that’ll take advantage of the strengths of 5E. I can’t wait to run it!

I’m a little worried about the inclusion of the Zhentarim as one of the 5 PC groups. Is an evil organization really something they want to have 1/5 of their new player base thinking D&D is about? I do NOT want a repeat of that godawful Drow season where everyone was stabbing folks in the back. At my store, I intend to run it like “you’re a good guy trying to infiltrate/change this evil group from within”.

As for the dates, there’s flexibility. They give you a 2-3 week buffer, in case certain sessions take longer than expected, though there are notes on additional adventures to run if you have empty weeks. I just hope our FLGS gets copies of the PHB early (as they have with other products), since there will be no time for a character gen session if books go on sale 8/19 and the sessions start 8/20.

13 Jim Crocker July 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm

I really don’t know what to make of this whole set-up, to be honest. Encounters used to be the point of entry for new players, specifically engineered to allow drop-in play, with content tailored to allow us to train new DMs as well as easily move new players into D&D.

The new approach seems to have completely abandoned that in favor of weekly advanced campaign play for people who already know the game and play regularly.

I totally hate the faction kits. They’re useless dross, flash-over-utility junk that doesn’t do anything but drive swag hounds and other jerks to our door. I pine for the days when they’d give us kits with pregen character sheets, minis, maps, and easy-to-use step-by-step adventures. My fear is that this won’t be a good introduction for new players, and that we’ll get a bunch of people we’ve never seen before showing up on week 1 expecting to get whatever the internet has decided the ‘hot’ kit is, and then never again.

Given the limited nature of the kits, expect to see them on eBay soon if they’re not there already, and for many stores to tie them to in-store purchase of the PHB (a sensible move that we’ll almost certainly adopt).

I’m fascinated to be completely on the fence about all this. I could see it either being huge, or a massive flop. Either way, I ‘m pretty sure it’s not a style of campaign I’m going to have much fun with. If I wanted factional intrigue instead of heroic adventure, I’d be playing Vampire, and Joe’s worries about twits who want to go all Zehnarim on everyone else at the table has me considering just ditching those kits unopened.

14 Snark Knight July 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I can’t see allowing people to join the Zhentarim as newly minted PCs. As someone who rocked the dark side in KOTOR (Star Wars – Knights of the Old Republic), I know the temptation to be an evil player too well to trust a new player with that. Someone’s going to take it as an invitation to be disruptive.

15 Jim Crocker July 31, 2014 at 3:06 am

OK, after looking over the faction kits more closely at the store, I will grudgingly admit that they’re awfully pretty, though I still don’t necessarily see their utility, and the difficulty with the limited number of each is already causing us allocation headaches.

The coupons for a potion in the online game got a chuckle out of everyone at the table, though.

16 Julio August 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Where are you supposed to input your Certificfate Identification Code? I’ve looked all over the Wizards of the Coast official site, but I can’t seem to find it…

17 Mrlost August 12, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I don’t see anything wrong with including Zhents as a playable faction. During 3.x we had the Cabal of Shadows as playable faction in the Xen’drick Expeditions, LE zhents are nothing compared to CE skin mask wearing psychos.

Most people run their PCs as gold greedy murder hobos anyway.

18 LaTia August 21, 2014 at 8:27 am

I was wondering if it was possible to get click-throughs to hi-res versions of all the folder images? I’d like to use them as iPad backgrounds.

19 Ameron (Derek Myers) August 21, 2014 at 10:00 am

@LaTia
Just click on them. The hi-res image opens in a new window.

20 LaTia August 21, 2014 at 4:25 pm

@Ameron

I did. Only the Emerald Enclave photos are clickable for me. :/

21 Ameron (Derek Myers) August 22, 2014 at 8:14 am

@LaTia
*GROAN* I’ve had to fix the links to these images twice already. I don’t understand why they keep dropping. Sorry about that. I’ll add the links (again) shortly.

22 Hadan August 22, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Where did you get all this from? Did this come with the Hoard of Dragon Queen set? Is it from the DnD website? Doesn’t Lost Mine have more than 3 magic items? If so, are there cards for the others? Thanks

23 Ameron (Derek Myers) August 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm

@Hadan
The coordinator at your FLGS needed to sanction this season of D&D Encounters two months before the season began. If they did they would have received this package. If not, you get nothing. Sorry, dude.

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