5E [PotA] Background Story
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  1. #1

    [PotA] Background Story

    Hi all, I need some pointers on this. Elemental Evil has quite some background story to it and I was wondering if all of that is revealed in the later chapters of the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure path.

    I ask this because I'm wondering what I can tell my players early on and what should wait to be revealed later.

    Some things in particular:

    - Is elemental evil and the elder elemental eye known in history as ancient threat?

    - Anyone knows that there was a drow cult in underground caverns thousands of years ago?

    - Remnants of a temple of elemental evil being found?

    - Could someone know that the haunted keeps were errected as protection from the remnants of the temple of elemental evil?

    - Is Vizeran DeVir brought up at any point?

    Maybe someone who already played through the adventure path could give me some pointers.

    This issue got brought up in my last session when I made Gariena (Scarlet Moon Hall) mention elemental evil (the adventure path says she gives the adventurers scrolls in their struggle against elemental evil - so I kinda spoke that out thinking it's a common term) and then the PCs asked what elemental evil is, so I started researching all the background info on it and realized, it might not be so commonly known after all. (I just waved it off with "Well, y'know those fanatics for elemental magic drawn together by an unknown force" for now.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    London, UK
    (Some spoilers unavoidable...)

    I got halfway through, and am a quarter way through now with a PBF group. I didn't reveal any of the above information. They will probably see the Eye symbol in one of the Chapter 6 preambles. I made it a DC20 religion check that nobody got.

    I think a lower DC religion check would be enough to know that there are elemental cults worshipping entities from those planes. DC10 or so. That's probably as close to common knowledge as it gets and would perhaps cover Garlena's comments.

    The Haunted Keeps - I had Thurl Merosska mention the history as the book says he knows this. Bruldenthar knows about Tyar Besil since he's a historian, I had him reveal some of this to the players.

    Some of the other information can come from the side trek Rundreth Manor or be revealed by cultist leaders. That would be the only place they could learn about the Drow, for me.
    XP Rya.Reisender gave XP for this post

  3. #3
    Okay thanks, so I'll stick to it for now and don't reveal additional information.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    New York
    Just to throw out an alternate view on it...whatís the advantage to keeping that info hidden from the players?

    I only ask because for years I would kind of hoard information as a DM, doing everything I could to preserve secret information. But I donít think that actually helps play....in fact, I think it often gets in the way. In my experience, a lot of that backstory is better off shared with the players so that the PCs have more context for everything thatís happening and why, rather than being kept as some last minute revelation, or even after the fact explanation.

    Such late stage reveals may be interesting in standard fiction, but I donít think theyíre anywhere near as effective in an RPG. So I think itís best to look at the pros and cons for withholding that info versus the pros and cons for revealing it.

    Sometimes there may be a good reason to keep the PCs in the dark, but more often than not, I thibk giving them information winds up being the better choice for play.

  5. #5
    I do think it's more interesting to have reveals coming from time to time rather than all at once. But that goes both ways. Revealing everything right away is just as bad as revealing everything after the adventure is over.

    That's why I'm particularly curious where things could potentially be revealed. (e.g. I still don't know if Vizeran DeVir becomes even a potential topic in the adventure. But I also don't want to be like "Oh by the way, you just remembered you read about a drow in this region who forged four powerful weapons". It kind of needs to fit into the adventure.)

    Sometimes the book is quite clear on this, other times not. But the hardest part is that there is no overview on what is supposed to be revealed when. In LMoP I liked it how the book directly said "At this point you can reveal the first three paragraphs of the adventure background", wish that would be in PotA as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    New York
    Gotcha. Yeah, the adventure likely could do a lot better about when/where/if to reveal some of the background info. For instance, I donít know if Vizeran DeVir ever really matters at all, or if the PCs are likely to learn that.

    I ran a pretty heavily modified version of the adventure, though, and I came up with my own background for the weapons, which my players learned just after defeating the first prophetthey faced and getting their hands on one of them. An ally was able to dvine the background for them.

    When I say donít hold back, Iím not advocating for revealing everything all at once. Just a general preference to revealing info when an opportunity to reveal it comes up, and maybe also to not hide the info behind a high DC skill check.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Hollywood FL

    [PotA] Background Story

    To help run it here:


    A guide by Sean McGovern.

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