Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Journals
 Running the Realms
 Reworking Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 17 Dec 2018 :  22:31:38  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
This is a companion thread to my reworking of Dragon Heist. Anything that involves Undermountain will go here. My primary sources for this campaign are:
  • Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (D&D 5e adventure)
  • Halls of Undermountain (D&D 4e adventure)
  • Expedition to Undermountain (D&D 3.5e adventure)
  • Return to Undermountain (WotC website)
  • The Ruins of Undermountain (AD&D 2e boxed set)
  • The Ruins of Undermountain II (AD&D 2e boxed set)
  • Undermountain: The Lost Level (AD&D 2e adventure)
  • Undermountain: Magdoth's Castle (AD&D 2e adventure)
  • Undermountain: Stardock (AD&D 2e adventure)


So in short, I'm a pretty big fan of Undermountain (alas I only have these in PDF/electronic format and not physical format).

Here's my reworking of Undermountain's Backstory:
When Halaster discovered the Knot in the Weave he tried to study it and better understand it. In his tampering with it he almost ripped open a hole to another world and hastily modified Undermountain to keep the hole locked into place. The knot was woven to keep a core blast of wild magic at bay. The contents of the wild magic is constantly changing and before Halaster tampered with it the knot itself changed to compensate. Now Undermountain itself must change and be rearranged in order to keep the knot tied secure. These changes, however, occur on a scale of decades rather than days. However the stress and affects of the wild magic within the knot drove Halaster insane.

Many have taken on the mantle of Halaster over the years, with new apprentices chosen and trained and only survive by killing Halaster and taking on his mantle. They start to go insane as they work to fix the knot and so the cycle continues.

When Halaster was partially cured of his insanity by a High Priest of Mystra he started to lose grasp on keeping the knot tied. He tried rearranging things but started to widen the gap. When Halaster was killed there was no-one to resecure the knot and so it began to unravel further and eventually caused the Spellplague.

A wizard was able to secure the knot once more, but it was too late. It took over a century for Faerun to recover and for the Chosen of Mystra to heal the wild magic that had destroyed the Weave.

The wizard who stepped in during the Spellplague continues to hold the mantle of Halaster. He is completely insane and truly believes himself to be Halaster reborn.
---------
Ignoring the obvious contradictions with canon: the replacement of Mystra with a High Priest of Mystra, swapping out Mystra's death at the hands of Mask (or whoever) with the Undermountain knot unravelling, and replacing Ao doing the Sundering using the Tablets of Fate again (or however it happened) with Chosen of Mystra healing the Weave.

Overall does anyone know whether Halaster passing on the mantle of Halaster to new wizards (who slowly go insane and believe they truly are Halaster), the knot containing wild magic and the layout of Undermountain being tied to keeping the knot closed contradicts canon?

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.

Edited by - JohnLynch on 17 Dec 2018 22:43:47

Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1325 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  00:02:45  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I guess that yes. I mean, is supposed that he is resurrected by Undermountain after his death. And that he dod created many clones (a la Manshoon) that survived the Spellplague (that's why he survived the Spellplague as well, through one of his clones).

But, your take makes sense as well.

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  01:48:07  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I guess that yes. I mean, is supposed that he is resurrected by Undermountain after his death. And that he dod created many clones (a la Manshoon) that survived the Spellplague (that's why he survived the Spellplague as well, through one of his clones).

But, your take makes sense as well.
The clones definitely exist (I believe being a clone was a plothook for the 4e version of Undermountain). But they were relatively recent (he created them in the AD&D 2e era) so historically that isn't how he's kept in control of Undermountain. And transforming someone into Halaster can be seen as a form of resurrection ;) AFAIK there's no canon "this definitely happened. Here's how it happened" with his resurrection. Mostly just "well... Undermountain did it." So I figure that's more then enough leeway to have some fun with that.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32099 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  03:25:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I, personally, would say that Halaster is more like a sort of living lich, with all of Undermountain being his phylactery. So like a lich, kill him and he's just going to reform into what he was before.

Halaster has spent so much time in Undermountain and poured so much of himself into it that it's practically a symbiotic relationship. He's like a genius loci of the place.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  04:48:42  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I, personally, would say that Halaster is more like a sort of living lich, with all of Undermountain being his phylactery. So like a lich, kill him and he's just going to reform into what he was before.

Halaster has spent so much time in Undermountain and poured so much of himself into it that it's practically a symbiotic relationship. He's like a genius loci of the place.

That certainly works. And as a fan of the setting I definitely understand why that would be enticing. But it doesn't seem as exciting to me and it also raises the question: Is there any point going into Undermountain?

Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage has setup Halaster to be at the bottom of Undermountain as the final boss that the PCs can face. While I'll certainly be coming up with reasons for the PCs to go down into Undermountain, it will eventually get to a point where if they keep going down into Undermountain it's because they want to get to the bottom.

Undermountain is a megadungeon. Defeating the big boss at the end of the megadungeon is a staple of the genre and one of the big reasons to play Dungeons & Dragons (and was in fact, the original reason for original Greyhawk players to constantly go into Greyhawk Castle. Funnily enough I don't think they did defeat the big boss though). Unless there's a good and satisfying story reason to subvert the genre, the PCs should probably be facing Halaster at the bottom of the dungeon if that's what they're aiming to do and successfully complete the steps required to get there.

So if we go with the idea of Undermountain being the phylactery of Halaster, that means the PCs have to destroy Undermountain to defeat Halaster. If they defeat Halaster and I say "he'll eventually reform after a decade/century because Undermountain is his phylactery" they're going to want to destroy the phylactery. That's how phylacteries work. You defeat the bad guy and then to permanently defeat them you destroy the phylactery. If I say "Sorry. Undermountain can't be destroyed for plot reasons" they're going to ask me what the hell was the point in even fighting Halaster. It's a gotcha moment.
I could let them destroy Undermountain. Except I'd also like to have the opportunity to have Undermountain survive the campaign because there's a crapload of stuff my PCs will never get to see in one campaign so I'd rather have the opportunity to allow future visitors of Undermountain see those areas. Which means *I* don't want Undermountain to be destroyed.

Alternatively if we go with Halaster Blackcloak as a mantle that people sacrifice themselves to take up (and eventually go insane from) then after Halaster is defeated and the PCs learn that the Knot in the Weave will eventually explode and cause a catastrophe in Waterdeep, it gives the PCs a few choices:
1) They can let it explode. Walk away and simply restart their lives elsewhere and let the whole knot unravel and damage the Weave and the city above it.
2) Unravel the knot and take the energies and funnel it into a permanent bridge that connects Toril and Abeir. It means Halaster's protective wards that keeps the monsters in Undermountain will fail. Which means monsters from Abeir could get into Undermountain and eventually the city. But it's better then the city exploding.
3) Deliberately unravel the knot and direct the energies into transporting the lowest dungeon levels into Abeir. This sacrifices the denizens of those levels (who will potentially be transformed into living nightmares if the Arcana roll is low). But it saves Waterdeep and the rest of Undermountain once and for all.
4) Bond with Undermountain and gain control over the dungeon. Sacrifice your life to start rearranging the dungeon to undo the damage done by the battle Halaster had with the PCs and stabilise the Knot. Swear to do better then previous Halasters and work to find a more permanent solution to keeping the knot tight*.

These alternatives from a gaming perspective feel more satisfying to me. Each option has it's pros and cons and allow the PCs to meaningfully affect the world without removing Undermountain from the world itself for future campaigns (well, unless they go with Option 1 but it's unlikely they will).

Have you got ideas for how the campaign could end that would be satisfying if Undermountain was a phylactery for Halaster?

*All Halasters swear this same oath. All of them succumb to the madness.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1325 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  06:57:24  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have to ask, then: is there a reason to go to Undermountain in the earlier modules?

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  11:16:35  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I have to ask, then: is there a reason to go to Undermountain in the earlier modules?

Expedition to Undermountain: Yes. But it's also effectively a subset of level 1.

Halls of Undermountain: Yes. But it's also effectively a subset of level 1.

Ruins of Undermountain: Yes and no. It's much more of a "here's a framework for a megadungeon along with some interesting things filled in for some of the rooms" with giant poster maps of empty rooms for a GM to populate. Ruins of Undermountain is also filled with portals leading out of Undermountain and to interesting places. Finally it's also filled with all sorts of death traps and dangerous monsters. You're not going to send a low level party (or even a 5th level party) into the AD&D 2e Undermountain and have a reasonable hope of them surviving for very long. But as far as I know Halaster isn't stated up or presented as an opponent that your expected to defeat (the first boxed set only has the first few levels as well).

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.

Edited by - JohnLynch on 18 Dec 2018 11:22:19
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  13:35:26  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jhesiyra (one of Halaster's apprentices) is used as a deus ex machina to keep the PCs alive and facing only level appropriate challenges. Her primary motive is to pit the PCs against Halaster. So it's definitely assumed some tables will pursue this goal.

But here's an idea on how to get Undermountain to act as a living Phylactery and still give the PCs the options I mention above.

For Undermountain to function correctly it needs to flow in certain configurations. When Halaster is being resurrected Undermountain must undergo a series of specific changes. Undermountain will naturally make these changes autonomously, although it can be substantially sped up (by someone bonding with Undermountain) or it can be halted by someone continuously working to stop Undermountain from undertaking those changes.

I personally prefer the mantle idea myself. But both do work largely the same in providing an end to an Undermountain campaign.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4518 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2018 :  15:10:37  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ooh, I love the idea of undermountain itself being a gigantic spell component, kind of like a malleable rune of limitless power. Works great for the resurrection thing, another configuration might make him immortal (and mad).
There is lots of idea potential with this. The changing portals could be linked to room locations. Even the inhabitants could affect the various flows of magic in undermountain - so if it needs to repair itself it links portals to troll heavy areas like the savage frontier.

Awesome idea, and stolen if you don't mind.

Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Candlekeep Archive
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 1
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 2
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 3
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 4
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 5
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 6
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 7
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 8
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 9

Alternate Realms Site
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2018 :  01:51:39  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Ooh, I love the idea of undermountain itself being a gigantic spell component, kind of like a malleable rune of limitless power. Works great for the resurrection thing, another configuration might make him immortal (and mad).
Ideally you also keep the configurations mutually exclusive. So there's a configuration that repairs the insanity, but it causes something 1,000 times worse to occur so the PCs can try to find a way to get around the shortcomings of the different configurations until they reach the optimal configuration that with outside assistance has minimal downsides.

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

There is lots of idea potential with this. The changing portals could be linked to room locations. Even the inhabitants could affect the various flows of magic in undermountain - so if it needs to repair itself it links portals to troll heavy areas like the savage frontier.

Awesome idea, and stolen if you don't mind.
Sounds pretty awesome to me. And definitely don't mind if you use it :)

Here's a compromise on the living phylactery/mantle of Halaster idea: It isn't a living phylactery. What it is though, is a living organism that wants to keep the knot in the weave tied because it knows that it will have devastating consequences FOR Undermountain itself if it does unravel. Undermountain didn't start out as sentient, it was an emergent property that occurred over time as Halaster built and molded Undermountain.

Undermountain does have vaults of treasure and information hidden away. When a Halaster dies and stays dead for a prolonged period of time it starts to link those vaults into the different levels to entice adventurers into the dungeon. It then tests these adventurers to see if they have what it takes to bond with Undermountain. It uses the preprogrammed images of Halaster to interact with adventurers and watches to see how they react.

However Undermountain is more then just a sentient collection of corridors and rooms. It is a living copy of everyone who has ever entered Undermountain. The longer people stay in Undermountain the better it learns them and understands them. When people enter Undermountain they must make a Charisma Save (Will Save in 3.5e parlance, an attack against Will in 4e rules and a Save vs Spell for AD&D) or have their mind read by Undermountain itself.

When Undermountain finds a candidate that it believes can take over the role of Halaster, it begins enticing them with the knowledge and access to the memories it holds. As the person gains more memories, they begin to take on the mannerisms of Halaster along with his insanity. With the descent into madness the wizard eventually takes on the physical proportions of Halaster.

Recently the Illithids of one of the lower levels have begun tapping into the Undermountain repository of knowledge and have created an environment where the memories can interact with each other and the illithids. They have created an entire city for these memories called Alterdeep. They has been doing this to probe deeper into the memories to gain their knowledge. Most recently they have begun creating living bodies for these memories to inhabit. One such body was Durnan who the illithids have released back to the surface.
------------
So I'm clearly tweaking things as presented in Dungeon of the Mad Mage to try to help make things a bit less "deus ex machina, the PCs didn't die, they were rescued by an illithid!" I've inadvertently recreated the plot to West World a little bit, but what can I do?

Durnan is going to take a bit of a closer look at the books when I get back. But I believe the Durnan in Dungeon of the Mad Mage is the original Durnan and doesn't have any family. However the Durnan in Halls of Undermountain (4e book) is very clearly a descendant of Durnan (Durnan the 6th from memory). If that's the case it raises the question of where did Durnan the 6th and his family disappear to and where did the original Durnan appear from and why doesn't he care or notice the disappearance of his descendants? Illithid clone is certainly one explanation.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1325 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2018 :  03:09:11  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Tales of the Yawning Portal (a general adventures sourcebook) states that "a century ago" (before the Spellplague, I guess), Durnan went to Undermountain again, "never" returned and was presumed dead. His descendants got the place after this.

After Durnan returned from his last adventure in Undermountain a few years after the Sundering, he bought the place from his descendant, and paid quite the fortune, it seems, , he bought the place from his descendant, so that his descendant doesn't need to work ever again in his life.

So that's why the "original" Durnan is in place nowadays (he seems to have some magic item that gives him "a lifespan longer than that of an elf")

Anyways, if you are about to use Skullport, I recommed you to take a look to Dungeon Magazine 200. An article there updated Skullport to 4e, and IMO, its way better than 5e's version of Skullport (which only function is to be Xanathar's hideout...)

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 19 Dec 2018 03:17:18
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2018 :  03:13:30  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

Tales of the Yawning Portal (a general adventures sourcebook) states that after Durnan returned from his last adventure in Undermountain, he bought the place from his descendant, and paid quite the fortune, it seems, so that his descendant doesn't need to work ever again in his life.
Aaah. Well that solves that mystery then. Or does it? Perhaps that's just a cover story Durnan has told everyone to hide the real story.

quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

Anyways, if you are about to use Skullport, I recommed you to take a look to Dungeon Magazine 200. An article there updated Skullport to 4e, and IMO, its way better than 5e's version of Skullport (which only function is to be Xanathar's hideout...)

I'll have to see if I have that article. My DDI subscription eventually lapsed so I'm not sure which ones I have. Thanks for the heads up.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1325 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2018 :  03:18:49  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You can get those magazines in DM's Guild, if you're interested.

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3019 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2018 :  03:29:56  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For Skullport , there's a 2e book completely dedicated to it (https://www.dmsguild.com/product/16795/Skullport-2e). Details places, factions, denizens, the Skulls, etc...

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 19 Dec 2018 03:31:50
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2018 :  21:15:25  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

For Skullport , there's a 2e book completely dedicated to it (https://www.dmsguild.com/product/16795/Skullport-2e). Details places, factions, denizens, the Skulls, etc...

Already own it :)

quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

You can get those magazines in DM's Guild, if you're interested.

That's good to hear. Thanks :)

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4518 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2018 :  21:36:50  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you're not a fan of the god Mary sues save the world thing then you could link the slim presence to halasters madness, they added an alien intelligence to his creation which is of course directly linked to him and so affected how his brain worked. Think of the slimes as a disease.
The removal of the smiles allowed his brain to get better.

Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Candlekeep Archive
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 1
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 2
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 3
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 4
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 5
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 6
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 7
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 8
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 9

Alternate Realms Site
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8025 Posts

Posted - 20 Dec 2018 :  06:12:59  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The "knot in the weave" might also be the dead remains of a powerful being of the far realms OR the place where vestiges go, and maybe its madness is a result of this linkage. For instance, if we were to say that Pandorym and Entropy are related, and we note that most of Entropy's "worshippers" are mad, it might be a similar type of being. Since the Imaskari separated Pandorym, maybe Halaster "discovered" (was called by?) this being in Undermountain. Maybe it hopes to be freed, but it requires sacrifice of willing fool's souls. Maybe the tests that Halaster sets up are meant to work as key "components" in a grand ritual of sorts which can open the pathway for this being to be freed or returned to life. Or maybe it can't return to life, but it can possess individuals. Maybe its some strange power of dreams.


Anyway, I'd buy this more than a "knot in the weave"

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 21 Dec 2018 :  02:11:46  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

The "knot in the weave" might also be the dead remains of a powerful being of the far realms OR the place where vestiges go, and maybe its madness is a result of this linkage. For instance, if we were to say that Pandorym and Entropy are related, and we note that most of Entropy's "worshippers" are mad, it might be a similar type of being. Since the Imaskari separated Pandorym, maybe Halaster "discovered" (was called by?) this being in Undermountain. Maybe it hopes to be freed, but it requires sacrifice of willing fool's souls. Maybe the tests that Halaster sets up are meant to work as key "components" in a grand ritual of sorts which can open the pathway for this being to be freed or returned to life. Or maybe it can't return to life, but it can possess individuals. Maybe its some strange power of dreams.

Anyway, I'd buy this more than a "knot in the weave"
I'm not sure which book the phrase "knot in the weave" comes from (I am fairly confident it's mentioned in Dungeon of the Mad Mage, but I could be wrong). But it's fairly established that it's powerful and is located within Undermountain.

We know that Wild Magic is from damaged areas of the Weave and that one of the duties of the Chosen is to repair these damaged areas. It makes sense that the Weave might have a "knot". Now that's just colourful language to help describe a phenomena that involves magic. So is the idea of "tightening" it or "loosening" it. What isn't known is what created it. I'm connecting it with the elves of Ilefarn (the ones who erased all trace of their city from history) and I've put powerful wild magic inside the knot and connecting it with the Spellplague.

But you could connect it with the Imaskari, a dead god, Netheril or anyone else.

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

If you're not a fan of the god Mary sues save the world thing then you could link the slim presence to halasters madness, they added an alien intelligence to his creation which is of course directly linked to him and so affected how his brain worked. Think of the slimes as a disease.
The removal of the smiles allowed his brain to get better.

I don't mind incorporating what the gods "do" into my campaign with "this is what their priests do". The Time of Troubles occurred in my backstory. Just VERY differently to how they did in the books.

But I do like the idea of the illithids hooking into the Undermountain Repository and it causing his madness. It can't be the original cause because I don't think there've been there since the beginning. But it could be a cause, definitely.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8025 Posts

Posted - 21 Dec 2018 :  14:21:02  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, the big thing I see with the "knot in the weave" here is that its known to cause insanity (and given Halaster and his apprentices.... it gives some credibility). So, the reason I state the Far Realm or the place where vestiges go is for exactly that reason. It makes sense to tie it to SOMETHING that's typically considered insane. If you connect it to the elves of Ilefarn, I'd recommend tying it to them in the form that many elves do things. Some power came at them and they "stopped it and stored it away because they couldn't destroy it". Thus, maybe some great power of the far realms attacked the elves, and they "shattered it" or somesuch and "tied it into a knot". Along comes a human wizard, and he's drawn to the power. He's begins messing with it, and "unties" a portion. He realizes "oh crap, what have I done", and he sets himself up to "retie the knot" by gathering some apprentices and shepherding them to power.... only before they can all work collectively to "retie the knot".... the power drives them insane. Sound like a good idea?

In fact, the Promenade of the Dark Maiden was the site of a temple to Eilistraee formed by a powerful Chosen of Mystra (i.e. Quilue). I know we all know that. But, that temple was specifically created by Quilue because she was sent to destroy the Pit of Ghaunadar, and she faced an avatar of Ghaunadar there. Perhaps it was this slipping of the knot that eventually allowed Ghaunadar to get released. If the source of the insanity were actually somehow tied to Ghaunadar OR some being that Ghaunadar served, that could make sense. This place could also be another place of power similar to the other pits found around Faerun (for instance, Narathmault <aka Dun-Tharos>, Athamault <the iron pit>, the Dark Pit of Maleficence in the Cliffside City of Peleveran, presumable something similar beneath the Conjurer's tower in Impiltur, etc.. and possibly other similar areas like the Hill of Seven Lost Gods, Ironfang Keep, the artifact beneath Amruthar, the athora beneath Thaymount, possibly beneath Bezantur since that's where Kossuth was summoned, possibly beneath Lake Halarah <sp?> etc..)

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4518 Posts

Posted - 21 Dec 2018 :  14:33:05  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you go the elves route, the netherese unleashed extra planar horrors on the region (by accident) and so that could be the source. Foolish arcanists summon some slimy super being and the elves are forced to trap it within their own mythal

Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Candlekeep Archive
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 1
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 2
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 3
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 4
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 5
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 6
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 7
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 8
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 9

Alternate Realms Site
Go to Top of Page

dwarvenranger
Senior Scribe

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2018 :  14:59:22  Show Profile  Visit dwarvenranger's Homepage Send dwarvenranger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I have to ask, then: is there a reason to go to Undermountain in the earlier modules?



Depending on your players, an emerald the size of a halfling's head is a pretty strong motivation.

If I waited till I knew what I was doing, I'd never get anything done.

Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32099 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2018 :  15:46:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dwarvenranger

quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I have to ask, then: is there a reason to go to Undermountain in the earlier modules?



Depending on your players, an emerald the size of a halfling's head is a pretty strong motivation.



Honestly, it's not that different from any other dungeon, in terms of motivation. Generic loot and/or magic, specific loot and/or magic, needing to find/slay/have babies with a specific NPC or monster, fame and fortune, XP, etc.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  13:11:44  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also starting to brainstorm reasons for the PCs to enter Undermountain:
Has Halaster returned and if so, why now?

Where are the Fine Fellows of Daggerford?

Has Halaster's apprentices survived?

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.

Edited by - JohnLynch on 29 Dec 2018 13:24:40
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2018 :  13:23:28  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Moving away from the whole "what's inside the knot/what is the knot" for the time being (I'm starting to think along the lines of sleyvas but I'm still mulling over it), I've started documenting notes on who actually lives in Undermountain at the moment, how long they've been there and what they're aiming to do in the imminent future.

The Undertakers
The Undertakers have only just recently gained a presence in Undermountain, and are located solely on Level 1. After displacing the previous inhabitants of the area they’ve taken over, they have setup a scam to impersonate vampires and scare people into giving them money. So far it’s worked, but they’ve only been doing it for a short time. Already the gang are facing a leadership crisis Uktarl Krannoc and Harria Valashtar vying for control over the gang.

The Undertakers have control over the following zones:
  • Lair: Level 1 of Undermountain Room 6-8.
The Undertakers have the following goals:
  • The Undertakers want to receive payment from anyone who enters Undermountain from the Yawning Portal.
  • The Undertakers want the Southern Hall Outpost to be cleared out.
  • Uktarl Krannoc wants to make sure he retains leadership.
  • The Undertakers want the manticore and troll killed so they can expand to include the Manticore Den zone.
Xanathar's Guild
Xanathar’s Guild have control over the following zones:
  • Outpost: Building near Trollskull Alley. Controlled by Lamm (likely destroyed by the PCs by the time they reach Undermountain)
  • Outpost: Sewer hideout; Controlled by Grum’shar (likely destroyed by the PCs by the time they reach Undermountain). This also contains a portal to the Xanathar’s Guild hideout on Level XXX of Undermountain. This has become the Guild’s primary means of movement into and out of Undermountain.
  • Outpost: Level 1 of Undermountain. Bugbear, goblin and wererat operations. Their operations have completely subsumed the only entrance to Level 2. They have recently been cut off from the lower levels and are operating independently while they wait for the lower levels to regain control over the stairs in Level 2.
In addition they have lost control of the exit to Level 1 on Level 2 after being attacked by the Fine Fellows of Daggerford. The remnants of this outpost can be found Level 2 in room 9 and Room 20.

Xanathar’s Guild have the following goals:
  • To gain control over Level 1.
  • To re-establish control over Level 2.
  • To stop any further Outposts from falling to the PCs.
  • To continue to make money.
Rustbone Tribe
Rustbone Tribe has moved its operations. It had originally aimed at expanding its operations at the encouragement of the Fine Fellows of Daggerford, but suffered too many losses and instead relocated the tribe. Xanathar’s Guild remains a threat to the tribe.

The Rustbone Tribe has control over the following zones:
  • Lair: Level 2 of Undermountain.
-------
That's it for now. I've only just started analysing Level 2. It makes no sense that Xanathar's Guild has control over the stairs leading down to Level 2, but they don't have control over the stairs on Level 2. We do know that they had 3 Outposts on this level before the Fine Fellows of Daggerford destroyed 1 of them, which also seems dubious. The only way it makes sense is if Xanathar's Guild actually had control over most of the level and the so called Outposts on Level 2 are simply the remnants of the former outposts.

Level 1 also doesn't make much sense with the placement of the Revenant. It is smack dab in the middle between two areas in the Xanathar's Guild zone and is also in a corridor that leads to the sole means of entering level 2. Now of course WotC did that in order to make sure the PCs don't make it to Level 2 without encountering the revenant. But they gave no forethought as to how the goblins and bugbears deal with the revenant that they must walk past on a daily basis. I'll be changing the revenant to no longer be located in Room 37 and instead make him a wandering encounter that the PCs can cine across.

But for now I'm trying to not get bogged down in details and instead looking at the different levels on a high level perspective before I start drilling down further into encounters and placement of creatures.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2018 :  09:23:23  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wererat Alliance
A gang of wererats on Level 2 has formed an alliance with a Zhentarim agent called Rizzeryl. Rizzeryl (who is a drow mage) has a key that he believes is to a secret vault of treasure, but is in fact a key that opens gates on level 6 and 8.

Rizzeryl (who was for both the Zhentarim and House Auvyndar) united the wererats in Skullport and led them to Level 2 after hearing that Xanathar’s Guild had faced a terrible blow at the hands of the Rustbone Tribe.

The Wererat Alliance has the following territories:
  • Lair: Ancient Throne Room on Level 2.
In addition I've got some notes on Level 1 Undermountain and Level 2 Undermountain.

What I'm doing is splitting up the levels into zones and detailing who owns which zones and which zones they're trying to get control of. I'm also listing what notable features exist (food, water, exits and gates to other levels).

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.

Edited by - JohnLynch on 30 Dec 2018 09:24:23
Go to Top of Page

JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 01 Jan 2019 :  00:15:27  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
House Auvryndar
House Auvryndar is a drow house from Menzoberranzan that has come into Undermountain through entrance XXX. After gaining control over an area in Level 10. From this base of operations they have started mounting incursions to the other levels in an attempt to gain control over the entirety of Undermountain.

Controlled Zones
The Azrok Legion has control over the following zones:
  • Outpost: Undermountain, Level 3.
Goals
House Auvryndar have the following goals:
  • To secure their territory on level 3 against Xanathar’s Guild.
  • Take over all of Undermountain.
  • Gain control over the manipulation of Undermountain’s configuration.
Legion of Azrok
30 years ago Azrok led his hobgoblin tribe to Level 3 of Undermountain from XXX where he secured a place for his people within Stromkuldur. However recently the Legion have suffered great losses with Azrok even going so far as to cede a significant portion of the Legion’s domain to the drow of House Auvryndar without a fight. This is because Azrok has lost a magic item that granted him the ability to perceive around him and is trying to keep that fact secret. However the result is that he has lost some of his forces who journeyed to Skullport and joined Xanathar's Guild.

Controlled Zones
The Azrok Legion has control over the following zones:
  • Lair: Undermountain, Level 3.
Goals
The Azrok Legion have the following goals:
  • To repel the drow and reclaim their territories from Level 3.
  • To have Azrok’s blindness remain secret.
  • To reclaim the dagger of seeing for Azrok.
----------
By introducing House Avryndar at this level, when their lair is discovered on level 10 the PCs will discover that Undermountain can be controlled by people other than Halaster. It simply means killing Halaster (if he's alive) and taking over Halaster's role. This is good timing as level 11 is a great point in the campaign to have a major revelation that propels the PCs forward to level 17.

In my version of Undermountain there is a way to travel to Oerth (Greyhawk) on Level 1 where the map of "In Search of the Unknown" Map is located (bottom left hand corner for anyone who doesn't know about it). This is how spells like Bigby's Forceful Hand and Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion make it to Toril. Traders traveling between Toril and Oerth using portals like this one.

In the Dungeon of the Mad Mage map the entrance of the "In Search of the Unknown" map doesn't exist. In order to introduce the idea of Undermountain constantly changing shape the PCs will come across a spell merchant who trades in spells who is currently trapped in Toril as the entrance to Oerth is gone. He's quite distressed obviously and will reveal to the PC's his secret and ask for help. This will be a long term mission that the PCs will have to uncover.

I'm also thinking that potentially there will be different stations across Undermountain where someone being there is able to manipulate part of Undermountain. This will help explain why all of the different factions are trying to gain control over Undermountain. It will also allow the PCs to change the configuration which can introduce and remove certain passageways. This way shortcuts can be introduced that makes travelling from the Yawning Portal down to deeper levels more easy (which can provide alternatives to using the gate system). However it does come with a potential cost in removing access to vital resources for different communities such as water and food. Whether or not the PCs are allied with those factions or enemies of these factions will determine how happy or sad they feel about such occurences.

Some themes for this game will be: self sacrifice, the needs of the few vs the needs of the many, and corruption.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.

Edited by - JohnLynch on 01 Jan 2019 01:13:56
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2019 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000