The Rise of Tiamat – Adventure Summary, Guide, and Review

Last Updated on November 8, 2023

Tiamat is a name that many D&D players know or have at least heard of. I mean a five-headed dragon that has her own Funko pop is hard to miss. 

With such notoriety, it’s not surprising that many fans of the game are interested in picking up The Rise of Tiamat, an adventure clearly centered around the dragon queen.

For that reason, we’ll be looking into what this adventure module has to offer and whether or not you should purchase it.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Rise of Tiamat is the second half of Tyranny of Dragons.
  • This adventure can be poorly balanced at times.
  • This book provides a great skeleton for an exciting campaign.
  • The story ends with a fight against Tiamat.

What Is The Rise of Tiamat?

The Rise of Tiamat is an adventure book released by WotC that puts players up against a dangerous cult seeking to unleash Tiamat from her prison in the Nine Hells. If that sounds familiar, you might recognize another adventure book called Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

These two books together make up the Tyranny of Dragons campaign. 

Hoard of the Dragon Queen serves as the first half, taking adventurers from level 3 to level 8, while The Rise of Tiamat takes players from level 8 to level 15 and concludes the story.

This brings us to an important piece of the puzzle: 

Don’t get The Rise of Tiamat if you haven’t run Hoard of the Dragon Queen. 

While it’s technically possible to jump right into this second half, you and your players would be missing out on so much of the groundwork that’s set by HotDQ.

To run Rise of Tiamat as the starting adventure would require so much more work to make things run smoothly and coherently, which brings us to our next point. 

The layout of the Tyranny of Dragons books means that DMs can allow their players to explore the world around them and involve themselves in whatever they wish to without having to worry about finding their way back to the clearly defined path of the adventure. 

Instead of clarity, Tyranny of Dragons provides openness. This does create a fair amount of work for the DM, but luckily for you, most of that work has been done by countless DMs before you, and you can handpick exactly which tools you want to use.

This kind of DM prep work is something beginners are generally cautioned against, but I would say that Tyranny of Dragons generally has enough prep laid out for most beginners to do a good job with it. 

You’re not creating an entirely new adventure. Plus, the long campaign these two books create makes for plenty of opportunity for growth.

What’s in The Rise of Tiamat?

As the conclusion half of the Tyranny of Dragons module, The Rise of Tiamat includes a lot of continued storylines from the first half. You can expect to find the same Cult of Dragons, the same Sword Coast factions, and the same NPCs you’ve come to enjoy in the first book. 

Normally, we’d provide a bit of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown to give you an idea of whether or not you might enjoy the contents of the book. Since this is a continuation, that doesn’t feel quite right.

Instead, we’re going to be talking about the general feeling of this latter half and what you might get out of it. After all, the real question here should be “Does The Rise of Tiamat feel like a fair follow-up to the Hoard of the Dragon Queen?” 

The answer is yes, for the most part. The adventure continues to bring us more of the same. Espionage, politics, uncovering secrets about the cult, and the occasional epic battle still makes up the core gameplay experience. 

So, it definitely feels coherent, but does it feel like a good conclusion? That’s really up to you. A bit of linearity in the story means the party will always end up trying to stop, or fight against, Tiamat. Are there other ways the story can go? Well, that’s up to you and your group. How much are you willing to adapt the story based on your adventurers’ decisions?

Should You Buy The Rise of Tiamat?

No! Okay, don’t be afraid; this is an adventure that you should have in your collection. It just shouldn’t be purchased as its own book. Since Tyranny of Dragons has been published as a compendium of both TRoT and HotDQ, that’s the book you should be buying.

For more recommendations, be sure to check out our full guide to 5e books here.

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