This week marks a special week for me, because after 1.5 years of planning, writing, playtesting, rewriting, commissioning art and doing the layout I finally published my second 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure: Dragonbowl!
Drawing on influences from some of my favourite 80s and 90s movies, as well as my favourite comic, the hardly-known Dragon Claws, Dragonbowl is a pulp action adventure which pits 16 badass fighting teams against each other in a bid to be crowned Dragonbowl Champions.
But a series of arena combats might get a fraction dull after a while (even with arena effects, like monster pits, necrotic beams and power ups), and so I’ve packed Dragonbowl with A LOT of other things to do during the tournament. For a start there’s the festival grounds to explore, starting with the huge drinking den that is the Festival Hall, but not forgetting the Dragonbowl Casino, the Funfair, the House of Poetry, and the ArcTech Expo – a trade fair of all the latest arcane technologies the Forgotten Realms has to offer. And let’s not forget the Dragonbowl Airship, a black and gold dirigible fitted with Skybubble hot tubs and the host of VIP events like the Sky Party, and Bloodwizer Blowout. Each location was designed with something for players to do, and many come with a table of potential fun encounters you can spring on adventurers.
All of the action takes place in a vast cavern called the Underbelly, in Mount Waterdeep, and your players should have some fun getting there, whether choose to scoot Indiana Jones-style down in a makeshift mining cart, or charter a boat from Waterdeep harbour, arriving via Mount Waterdeep’s sea cave system.
Naturally, such a prestigious sporting competition has attracted some of Waterdeep’s most notorious denizens, such as Jarlaxle Baenre, Davil Starsong, Volo Geddarm, the Black Viper and even the Xanathar itself (the beholder is invisible, but the round shadow rather gives it away). And your players will have plenty of opportunity to socialise with these ‘intriguers’ (as I’ve called them) and get entangled in their murky business. If you haven’t guessed by now, Dragonbowl can be played as a sequel to Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and is optimised for 6th or 7th level characters.
The tournament is hosted by Blood Games Incorporated, and their CEO, the Games Master, is the adventure’s arch villain. He has plans for introducing blood sports into every major town and city in Faerun, while his advances in scrying and cloning technology present a major threat to civilisation as we know it.
I’ve poured every ounce of creativity I have into this adventure, and it’s one of those rare creations that has turned out better than I could have dreamed of when I started… it was a real blast to run it with my group and, given the large number of gladiatorial teams, ‘entanglements’, locations and encounter seeds I know I can run it again with a second group and have a completely different experience. Something I know other DMs are sure to appreciate.
Please do check it out on the DMs Guild, where you can buy it for a special launch price of $14.95. It would be a fantastic way to support my work and this blog (which will get a lot more attention now that the book is FINALLY published!) – and I’m 99.9999% sure you and your group are gonna effing love it. If you want to support my work but can’t buy right now, you can still give me some much appreciated help by adhering to the first rule of Dragonbowl: “Tell everyone about Dragonbowl!”
"The first rule of Dragonbowl…. tell everyone about DRAGONBOWL!" Come join the festival fun in Mount Waterdeep's Underbelly Cavern. ⚔️🪄🏆https://t.co/hREiJddwft
— Duncan Rhodes is partying at DRAGONBOWL 🍻⚔️ (@HipstersDragons) May 25, 2021
After the first rule, the second rule of Dragonbowl of course, is obey the Code of Conduct…
I’m going to leave you with some more screenshots from the adventure. As you can see some wonderful original art and maps has been produced by some amazing artists for this adventure, plus plenty of top quality stock art as well.