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 Reworking Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
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JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2019 :  09:29:42  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wanted a break from documenting factions and so I decided to explore an outpost on level 1: Worg's Eye Watchpost. I expect the PC's to be Level 5 when they take on the goblins of Level 1. Due to how the outpost is mapped out, the best tactics for the bugbears to engage in is to organise a pincer attack on the PCs. I split the groups into 2 (both led by a bugbear) and individually they're medium encounters. Due to the fact that the encounters are designed to blow out into 1 big encounter, this would become deadly due to the number of foes involved. However the passageways are only 10 feet wide which does impact how many foes can get in at once (although this is mitigated by most of the foes being goblins who can disengage as a bonus action).

I purchased Dungeon of the Mad Mage on D&D Beyond, which means I can copy and paste the dungeon into a word document that I use at the gaming table. This is accidentally ideal as a megadungeon changes over time which lets me delete what no longer applies with the room descriptions and create new versions of what's on that map. I can also write hand-written notes on the print out as well without worrying about it ruining the book.

I've created a writeup for this Outpost which I've uploaded here. I won't be able to post up too many of these writeups due to copyright infringement. But I wanted to include a sample of how I'm formatting my DM notes for Undermountain. I've included tactics depending on what approach the PCs take along with a map of the relevant rooms so I don't have to do any flipping back and forth.

I also put some treasure back into the Outpost as it was there in the 2e Undermountain Boxed Set and it seems unfair that the PCs would face a big encounter (or two medium encounters) and get zero reward for it.

[EDIT]: For some reason the image isn't loading properly when I print it to PDF. You get the idea in general though.

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

Edited by - JohnLynch on 06 Jan 2019 10:47:29
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JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 08 Jan 2019 :  13:14:40  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here is my revised secret history of Undermountain:
The elves were created (or at least brought to Toril) by the faerie. One of those ancient and esoteric creator races. The elves feel a kinship with the Plane of the Faerie (known in current times by humans as the Feywild) and when they built their city on what would become Waterdeep, they were able to trace the leylines that existed underground to several nodes of power where they built arcane weaves to enhance the magic and concentrate the subterranean leylines. They created gates on the surface to funnel to these nodes so the magic from the nodes could rush to the surface where the elven wizards could use the magic to empower their spells.

The dwarves eventually came upon the area and found Mithral mines. As they mined the region they came upon these nodes with the arcane weaves and gates and began to tap into the magic themselves. Initially this caused animosity between the elves and dwarves, but the dwarves found a much more powerful node of magic deep underground. They convinced the elves to work with them to harness it. The dwarves dug down to it and the elves studied it as the magic was unlike that of the leylines nodes. This was wild magic. Over the decades a sanctuary was built closer to the wild magic node for the elves where they could have a place of retreat while they worked on harnessing the wild magic. Eventually they placed powerful wards on it to enhance and redirect the magic to the surface.

The idea the elves had was to harness the magic to allow them to freely move between Toril and the Plane of the Faerie. With this new source of magic it would prove to be more than enough. As the elven arcanists started to cast the magic, drawing upon the nodes from beneath the city a malevolent presence imprisoned within the deepest node began to wrestle for control. A powerful entity from another world, it had been imprisoned on Toril eons ago after it was defeated on its home planet. Using wild magic it corrupted the spell and instead of creating a permanent connection between Toril and the Plane of the Faerie, the elves created a permanent connection between Toril and Abeir.

The creature, an ancient primordial from Abeir, began to clamber through the tunnels and to the surface. The elves and dwarves were able to drive it back down into its prison and seal it away, disrupting the connection between Abeir and Toril in the process. But not without substantial cost and not before the primordial corrupted many of the dwarves and enslaved them as foot soldiers. And not before the elven city was destroyed.

The elves razed the remainder of their city to the ground before leaving the site entirely. The dwarves sealed the ancient tunnels and soon departed as duergar and drow descended on their hold.

Halaster heard whispers of the Lost City of the Elves and came in search of it. He immediately detected the leylines and began tunneling down to them to study the arcane weaves. Halaster created tunnels to channel the magic and directed it inward instead of outward. As he mastered the elven magic he went further, Creating spells that could only be cast when the channels connected the nodes. He found new configurations for the tunnels that could enable new spells. He also put the defunct gates to new uses.

Instead of channeling the magic to the surface, Halaster channeledcthe magic through the tunnels of Undermountain, allowing him to cast powerful magic. Each node also allows for the manipulation of certain parts of Undermountain, changing the shape and configuration. Doing this causes the magic to course in different directions which causes different effects to allow different spells to be cast. Using Undermountain as a giant sized alternative to somatic components, Halaster was able to cast spells far more powerful then any other mage. And using gates to connect to different parts of Toril and beyond, Halaster could have the area the spells affect be anywhere he wanted.

Halaster built a failsafe into Undermountain that in the event of his death Undermountain would slowly reconfigure itself and automatically enact a spell to regenerate his body. Undermountain was doing this when the Spellplague hit, disrupting the process.

When the Sundering occurred vast portions of Undermountain were erroneously sent back to Abeir as well. Undermountain has resumed the process of trying to bring Halaster back from the dead, but with such substantial portions of Undermountain missing it isnít working. Undermountain has begun reaching up into Waterdeep itself to try to replace the tunnels it has lost so it can complete the process.

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

USA
7854 Posts

Posted - 08 Jan 2019 :  14:34:02  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like this. Essentially, it may have been that Halaster's been unable to reform himself because the undermountain that he had tied himself to was in portions between two worlds (i.e. the spellplague may have pulled some portions of undermountain into Abeir, and with the sundering they instead returned). In some respects, he may have been able to act in Mystra's interests within Abeir in the last century acting as something like a weaveghost. Perhaps we might find that portions of ancient Imaskar also transferred to Abeir, but since noone really delved those regions, it wasn't noticed/documented well, and given Halaster's ties to Imaskar as well, he may have had some involvement there.

Along these lines as well, it may be that when the Mulan Gods arrived and fought against the Imaskari, perhaps they didn't so much kill the Imaskari as send them somewhere where their magic didn't work as well. Especially if we follow along with the idea that the Imaskari were splitting a primordial (Entropy / Pandorym) which was magic anti-thetical to threaten the gods. The idea that the Imaskari had some ties to or discovery of Abeir isn't unbelievable, and the idea that the gods which had to exist in physical form for so long weren't something "akin" to a primordial also bears some thought. I say this especially when looking at the Untheric gods who have very much elemental ties.

Now, am I saying that the Mulan people came from Abeir? Not necessarily. But if Abeir is in an enclosure "like" a crystal sphere that's somehow out of phase with Toril's, who says that Abeir is the only planet in or around Abeir. Nor am I saying that the Mulan people have to have some ties to Abeir at all, but the fact that their lands did transfer makes me think there was "something" done with Imaskari lands and Abeir at SOME time in the past.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 08 Jan 2019 14:44:02
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JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 09 Jan 2019 :  00:31:44  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

In some respects, he may have been able to act in Mystra's interests within Abeir in the last century acting as something like a weaveghost.
Oooh. That could be quite good as well.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Perhaps we might find that portions of ancient Imaskar also transferred to Abeir, but since noone really delved those regions, it wasn't noticed/documented well, and given Halaster's ties to Imaskar as well, he may have had some involvement there.

Along these lines as well, it may be that when the Mulan Gods arrived and fought against the Imaskari, perhaps they didn't so much kill the Imaskari as send them somewhere where their magic didn't work as well. Especially if we follow along with the idea that the Imaskari were splitting a primordial (Entropy / Pandorym) which was magic anti-thetical to threaten the gods. The idea that the Imaskari had some ties to or discovery of Abeir isn't unbelievable, and the idea that the gods which had to exist in physical form for so long weren't something "akin" to a primordial also bears some thought. I say this especially when looking at the Untheric gods who have very much elemental ties.
I like that. To me, the only way the Abeir and Toril split works is if cultures had access to Abeir and documented it. Historians misunderstood these references to Abeir and thought there were two names for the planet and so named it Abeir-Toril.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Now, am I saying that the Mulan people came from Abeir? Not necessarily.
To me (assuming I'm getting my cultures right) the Mulan are pretty much confirmed as being from Egypt. It also provides a link with Golarion and Toril as well (Golarion also has an Egyptian culture)

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