5E Need advice on Out of the Abyss - Mantol-Derith
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  1. #1

    Need advice on Out of the Abyss - Mantol-Derith

    I have a specific question about running chapter 9: Mantol-Derith in Out of the Abyss. If you haven’t played that adventure yet, my question might contain spoilers, and you are unlikely to have an answer.

    I am currently preparing chapter 9 of OotA for my group. I do understand the series of events that led to the current situation in Mantol-Derith when the players arrive. However if I play everything as written, I get the impression that it will be very confusing and frustrating for my players: With so many NPCs suffering from madness, not much they can find out by asking around will make much sense. And if they find and destroy the gem at the end, they still aren’t any closer to understanding what the heck happened.

    I am looking for ideas on how to:
    • Make it more clear that demonic influences are at work
    • Let the players find out the back story of Fraz-Urb’uu’s gem
    • Make the players feel they had a “win” against Fraz-Urb’uu when they destroy the gem

    Any ideas? One element that confuses me is that several times the option to cure people from madness is mentioned, which might help the investigation. However at this point in the story the players should be level 8, but to cure indefinite madness you need level 9 (Greater Restoration).

  2. #2
    I have not read through the book, but I have played through this part as a player. And yes, it is very confusing as to what the hell actually happened. But at this point in the adventure we knew about demonic influence, we knew (and had experienced for ourselves) the madness that is running rampant, and we knew that each of the factions in Mantol Derith did not trust each other one bit. Our group fully didn't understand what the cause of all this was, but we knew we destroyed a gem that affected anyone that touched it so that was a win in our books. I don't think we ever even learned that it was Fraz-Urbl'uu that was mucking things up there.

    But one thing that I think helped sell this was to make the madness slightly more subtle for this chapter. Instead of the types of madness that turn you into a raving lunatic (my PC once broke down into uncontrollable crying for 1 hour) have the madness simply affect the NPCs memories while still being fairly lucid. The way our DM set it up was that the deep dwarves were keeping a deep gnome hostage for stealing their gem. We then investigated and talked to the NPCs that were in the area to try to figure out what happened. This part played out like a mystery novel trying to piece together the truth by finding holes in the statements and figuring out which details don't fit. While we didn't fully piece together the lore of what was happening we enjoyed the section as we got to feel like Sherlock Holmes for a bit.
    XP Tobold gave XP for this post

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