First thing's first: let's fix the XP system.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen is about two things:
ONE: Killing Cultists
TWO: Taking Their Stuff
That is literally the point. Against the Cult of the Dragon Queen would have been a great name as well.
So let's make the actual incentive structure of the game reflect that.
ONE: no XP for defeating monters EXCEPT CULTISTSFighting bullywugs? Sorry, no XP for that. Why are you doing it again? For kicks? Okay.
Fighting cultists? GREAT KILL AWAY. Your life is dope, and you do dope things.
TWO: 1 XP per GP recovered FROM THE CULT and SECURELY DEPOSITED whereverYou slap the half-hobbit bartender and nick the coin from the till? Wonderful. Buy some Alizé.
You recover some money stolen from some podunk town by the cult? Well then my lads and lassies, that's 1 XP per gp safely deposited somewhere:
- given to someone you think deserves it
- hidden where no one will find it
- stored with your faction
- stored with a bank
- we're all grownups here, or soon we shall be
THREE (OPTONAL): 10% of next level's XP value for completing faction quests or ad-hoc quests.
Factions are a thing. If you want them to have more pull on the players, give them XP for doing what the factions want.
THE REMIX WILL NEVER DIE
(at least until it's done)