D&D 5E Enhancing Vecna: Eve of Ruin *SPOILERS*

BeachRat88

Explorer
Re-posting my post from earlier today on a dif thread...

I'm working on making this adventure more open and less linear. Thankfully, my EoR campaign won't start for several months while we continue/wrap up our current campaigns... so I have time to work this out!

[Apologies for its rambling nature but this is essentially a stream of consciousness!]

Before I get started... I'm probably going to move Kas to his own separate thread. I don't like his current place in the narrative but definitely believe he should be working to thwart/supplant Vecna. I'll probably make him focus of one of the Piece quests.

Now for the de-linearizing bit...

The first step is to make assembling and using the Rod of 7 Parts absolutely critical to breaking Vecna's ritual (instead of being a "nice to have" as it is currently). This shouldn't be hard to do though as the Rod is the principal artifact of Law vs Chaos.

Next, it's too convenient in my mind for Kas (and therefore the players) to know where the 1st piece is immediately and doing so also robs the players of much of their decision making power. Given that, I'm planning to mix up the locations for the Rod pieces and have them start with hints/pointers to the the 7th piece. Doing this will force them to have to figure out how to find the other parts and to decide how to go about retrieving them.

How might they do that? It occurs to me that Asmodeus's influence, and the Nine Hells, is noticeably mostly absent (a piece is in Avernus, but the devils are really not players in this campaign). Vecna's and the various demons' plans would tip the balance of the Blood War (and Law vs Chaos) if successful. Therefore, it makes sense for the devils (who are also somewhat "champions" of law) to be working against the chaos that Vecna and the demons are wreaking and planning to wreak. It's plausible that Asmodeus's minions might have knowledge of the location of a piece or two but that retrieving it will require even higher level PCs and the risk of the fine print of a contract.

I'm also considering adding one or more of the Hounds of Law. They could present another opportunity for the players to learn the locations of some of the other pieces and also preliminary knowledge of the threat level involved in retrieving them.

In short, rather than giving the party the location of piece 1 and setting them off down the tracks, I'm going to give them knowledge of where to get the 7th and then the task/choice of figuring out where to go next. In the next steps, they'll determine the location of a couple more of the pieces but also the risk/threat involved in obtaining them. At this point they'll be faced with the choice of going after the 1st given its extreme level of difficulty, or following their leads to the more achievable 3rd/4th pieces.

Lastly (for now), it occurs to me that even for a god, remaking the multiverse would be a feat requiring a tremendously incredible amount of magical energy. I recall that the obelisks were originally designed to allow an ancient civilization to reset a particular timeline in the event of a calamity and that Vecna now controls them somehow. It would seem that he would need to add in the power of the obelisks (or something, maybe several somethings? maybe the Rod?) to have enough magic to pull this off.

Anyways, this is what I've come up with so far. Any comments, suggestions or ideas are most definitely welcome!
Some additional thoughts/points I'm going to work through...
  • Thread Miska's influence throughout the campaign rather than him just being a set-piece at the end. Miska, the OG Prince of Demons, has been imprisoned for a LONG time but probably has been able to spread his influence using his minions/Queen of Chaos/etc all along. If not, why not?
  • Determine the relationship between Lolth and the Queen of Chaos [and why Lolth is working with Vecna (should be to perform a coup at the end a supplant him)].
  • Restore the chaotic properties of the Rod of Seven Parts. EoR sadly only requires an action to assemble each piece, and also sadly, has no repercussions if it's done improperly. I can see having a couple of other 1-shot settings or places lying in wait just in case (Shadowfell, Feywild, etc).
  • Replace simulacrum spell with a less game-breaking spell that's more relevant to the Rod in 2e.
  • Mordy is the real Mordy, and other Chosen of Mystra/Bahumut/etc are discreetly involved in the background somehow. Doesn't really make sense that they wouldn't be involved.
  • Replace Tasha the Witch with Tasha the Archfey. EoR's statement that Tasha the Archfey has bigger things to attend to seems hard to swallow given the threat level.
  • Additional arch-demon NPCs appear in select places. Each wants a seat at the table given that all demons envision themselves as the ultimate BBEG and don't want to "miss out".
  • Characters will probably have to visit a larger part of Sigil to figure out where some of the other Rod pieces are.
  • Infinite Staircase and its major NPC will play a roll.
  • Add in a ticking clock to the narrative to drive a greater sense of urgency.
  • Given that the Barovia section appears to be at least decades prior to CoS, consider moving it all the way back to the VotM or KotD times. Could allow for inclusion of some additional interesting pieces/places. Replace Death House Strahd statblock (weaker) with CoS Strahd statblock.
  • Replace Soth statblock with Weiss/Hickman-aproved Soth statblock. Consider adding in Dargaard Keep.
  • Update Vecna statblock to feature Legendary Actions, automatic mage armor, better weapon damage imunity (artifacts only?) and Lair actions if the battle takes place where it's described in EoR.
More to come later...
 
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Bitbrain

Lost in Dark Sun
Alright, I’m back. Thinking about the betrayal, yeah, no. The sneak attack option mentioned upthread makes more sense to me. Probably have it take place after the PCs collect five of the rod’s fragments.

Then it becomes a case of the PCs retrieving the sixth fragment while the folks who summoned/hired them rally their own supporters and followers for the final showdown. Once the PCs have the sixth fragment, they and all their allies will teleport to the BBEG’s stronghold and have a MASSIVE battle in the endgame.

Finally, instead of just three wizards, the PCs will actually be summoned by a group of three wizards and three clerics:
  • The wizard Mordenkainen (Leader of the Circle of Eight) from Oerth/Greyhawk.
  • The halfling wizard Chervina d’Ghallanda (Daughter to the Baron of Dragonmarked House Ghallanda) from Eberron.
  • Female wizard from Planescape. No idea who though.
  • Asgrim the Bowed* (High Priest of Odin) from Mystara/Known World.
  • Lorl (Proprietor of the Hall of Light**) from Dark Sun.
  • The Golden King*** (Priest-King of the Gleaming Valley) in Scarn/Scarred Lands.

*Okay, Asgrim might be a total stick-in-the-mud, but he’s not the villain of this particular story.

**combination candle & lantern-making factory and shrine to Elemental Fire. Since fire clerics are supposed to be the most militaristic and well-organized of the elemental faiths in Dark Sun, I made Lorl the local High Priest in Tyr. He’s famous for wielding a flame tongue flail in combat and has innate pyrokinetic psionic powers in addition to clerical spellcasting.

***in the Scarred Lands, gold is associated among the followers of the god Corean with clerics specifically.
 
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Zaukrie

New Publisher
I've been traveling and coaching HS golf.... So I haven't read it .. But I'm going to run the prelude in the middle of phadelver and below..... And likely have the PCs going back and forth between there and Neverwinter..... As I'm unsure how much I love the below parts....
 






BeachRat88

Explorer
New Strahd is stronger than CoS Strahd.

Also Soth's statblock is good, I don't recall Weiss/Hickman having any issues with it.
Thanks! I'll look more deeply at Strahd Death House vs Strahd CoS but after an initial pass, he looked weaker. Stand by!

As for Soth, the statblock at the link below was created as a response to the one that was released as part of SotDQ and is said to have been blessed by DL co-creator Margaret Weis.



Here's GameMasters('s) youtube video on the above statblock. Note that the video covers a slightly earlier version. I've heard that Weis had some issues with Soth in KotBR, and so the statblock seems to have been updated to remove those abilities that were unique to that book.

 
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