D&D: 8 Tips And Tricks For Dragon Of Icespire Peak

There are plenty of ways to start a campaign in Dungeons and Dragons. You could try a short adventure from Candlekeep Mysteries or perhaps jump right into the terrifying domains of dread. But a great way to start your next adventure is to try a Starter's kit. The Essentials kit is precisely this. It contains the adventure module: Dragon Of Icespire Peak and is designed for new DMs and players to be eased into this fantastic hobby.

It can be a little daunting for a new DM to take on their first-ever campaign. Although the Essentials Kit provides a lot of content, it can feel a little empty in terms of the story. Here are plenty of tips to enhance Dragon Of Icespire Peak and turn it into an epic campaign that your party will remember forever.

8 Make Sure The Dragon Shows Up Throughout The Adventure

Having an unmemorable main villain of your adventure is something a DM should never do. It can be easy to forget about the dragon completely until the party feels ready to face it in its lair. Cryovain, the white dragon, can be quite an intimidating, scary encounter, especially early on. Have the dragon appear nearby when the party is traveling. It will keep the threat of the dragon in their minds.

You could also make sure Cryovian attacks Phandalin. The town could be in chaos right when the party returns from their latest quest. The party will need to save as many locals as possible and decide on a safer location for everyone to stay until the dragon threat is finally taken care of. This encounter will be intense for a low-level party but very memorable.

7 Have Neverwinter Prepared

Although there is not much information available in the Essentials Kit about Neverwinter, its visibility on the map makes it incredibly likely that your players will want to visit for supplies. Be ready for a session in Neverwinter and make it more exciting than a shopping spree.

Perhaps the party will encounter a shop full of strange puzzles to overcome before they can buy anything, or they will meet an NPC that will help them with their quest. The city will be a clear contrast to the smaller locations in the rest of the adventure. Having Neverwinter prepared will help your players feel more immersed in the world.

6 Combine The Adventure With The Lost Mine Of Phandelver

The Lost Mine Of Phandelver is considered an excellent way for newcomers to get into D&D. It has more of a clear storyline than Dragon Of Icespire Peak, with the players attempting to find the mysterious Wave Echo Cave. Both campaigns are set in the same area, with Phandalin as a central hub, making it easy to incorporate both simultaneously.

Combining both sets will make the town feel even more alive. They will have to decide what quests are more important to focus on and deal with the consequences of their decisions. Since both campaigns are focused on the same level range, you will know that your players will be able to handle anything that comes their way.

5 Give The Orcs Better Motivations Beyond Being Evil

There are a lot of orcs in this adventure. They have taken over many of the prominent locations within the Neverwinter Wood after being forced to evacuate Icespire Hold. They do not seem to have much motivation other than causing chaos. The Anchorites of Talos make for an exciting faction, but they also just want to destroy. With so many orcs, half-orcs, and ogres around, you should give them more to do to intrigue your players.

There could be rival factions within the orcs, each with its own leader. Some orcs might be willing to work with the party to retake Icespire Hold. Others might have a grudge against town master Harbin. By giving more motivation and clear goals for the orcs, you'll allow for some fun social encounters. The party could manipulate the orc factions into fighting it out or even joining together. Making the orcs more than just a generic fodder to fight will give more options for how your party can take on the adventure.

4 Make The Final Battle More Formidable

Icespire Peak, the lair of Cryovain, is the final location of the campaign. Unfortunately, it is a little empty except for a few stirges, bandits, and the dragon. It can make the climax of your adventure a little disappointing if you run it the way it is. There are plenty of ways to make it more exciting. Perhaps the Orcs are attacking the hold simultaneously to reclaim their home. Maybe it is a race against the bandits to navigate the fortress. You could fill the place with traps, puzzles, and loot.

You also might want to make Cryovain more of a threat too. There are plenty of ways to make combat more exciting for your players, which is very important when it comes to the finale of the entire campaign. You could give the dragon kobold followers. They could have legendary actions or lair actions that the party will have to combat against. Cryovain is also just a young white dragon. If the party defeats it too quickly, perhaps its mother arrives as an even more dangerous threat!

3 Incorporate The Bonus Adventures Earlier

After defeating Cryovain and saving the town, the adventure does not need to end. There are three additional adventures linked to the Dragon Of Icespire Peak. You can access them on D&D Beyond, a helpful online tool for DMs. These adventures will take your players to level 12 and are worth playing out as your party takes on cults and other dangerous threats.

It is good to seed in hints of these bonus adventures earlier in your campaign so they do not feel they have come out of nowhere. For example, perhaps residents of Phandalin will mention how overrun by monsters the town of Leilon was. You could have the players encounter one of the main antagonists of the other adventures early on before they fully realize who they are. Perhaps they even help the party out of a tricky situation to make it a memorable meeting.

2 The Sidekicks Could Become A Rival Party

The Essentials Kit introduced a new mechanic for D&D in the form of Sidekicks. These NPCs are helpful when playing with a tiny party or one player. They have a group of example sidekicks to choose from, such as Ruby Hammerwhacker the Shield Dwarf and Inverna Nightbreeze, a Moon Elf Warrior. But, if you already have a full party of players, you could still use these exciting characters.

They could form a rival party attempting to gain all of the glory before your players. This would add more conflict to the campaign, even if it is a friendly rivalry between the two parties. They could perhaps go on quests that the party was not interested in. They could also be a source of intel if your players struggle to piece clues together for a quest.

1 Add Your Own Spin On The Adventure

The Essentials Kit plays more like a sandbox than a standard adventure. Most of its quests seem more like one-shot adventures. It is intentionally vague in some areas, with the idea that you will fill out the gaps with your ideas. It can be daunting to do this at first, but by adding your unique twists and ideas into the adventure, it will feel unique and exciting for your players. This will help bridge the gaps between the disjointed quest lines of Dragon Of Icespire Peak.

Creating a Fleshed-out world is vital for keeping your players engaged and invested in the adventure. You can find ways to incorporate their backstories into the main quests. You could add in additional locations and quests for the party to explore. You could even throw out almost everything the book has and make everything your own. No matter how much or little you add, it will enhance the story and get you excited to play.

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