D&D 5E Help reskinning an adventure *Acq Inc and ToA spoilers*

pukunui

Legend
Hi all,

As you might know, I'm running a Tomb of Annihilation campaign that I've combined with material from the Acquisitions Inc book.

So, for starters, I kicked off the campaign in Waterdeep, where I ran through the initial episode of the "Orrery of the Wanderer" adventure. When we finished that episode, I had Omin Dran send the PCs to check up on a failed AI franchise in Port Nyanzaru rather than Phandalin.

I made it so the ill-fated Company of the Yellow Banner (CYB) was the failed franchise. If you're familiar with ToA, you'll know what happened to them!

I've decided to make it so that, after the CYB arrived in Omu, the yuan-ti there sent word to their agents in Port Nyanzaru to attack the CYB's HQ and take out their staff. I'm not sure why they would do this, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Anyway, episode 2 of the "Orrery" adventure has the PCs visiting the cellar under Tresendar Manor in Phandalin (from Lost Mine of Phandelver), which has been repopulated with various creatures left behind by that adventure's bad guys. What I'd like help with the most is replacing / refluffing the encounters in the cellar to make them more thematically appropriate for ToA and yuan-ti.

Please bear in mind: I have 5 players, and their PCs are all level 2. They also have a goblin and a bronze wyrmling dragon as companions, both of whom they picked up during the initial adventure in Waterdeep.

So here's what I've got to work with in terms of the cellar encounters:

1. Main Cellar: Not much going on here except that the well has been poisoned with "ghoul gut". I'm fine with that, as there are plenty of ghouls out there in the Chultan jungle!

2. Storage Room: This room has been rigged with an alchemist's fire trap. That seems fine, so again, we can just leave it.

3. Hall with Pit: There's an open pit here, with two scarecrows hanging by nooses above it. One of the Orrery baddies left them there. They swing on their nooses and try to grab and pull the PCs into the pit. I suppose I could give them a pit of a voodoo magic vibe, but otherwise they're not super thematic. I also feel like the setup would only catch really gullible players who get too close to the edge of the pit. Most players I know would just snipe them from range (or cut the ropes from range) to avoid engaging the scarecrows in melee. I might replace these with snakes in the pit. Perhaps they spring out and try to bite PCs as they attempt to jump over the pit or something. Scarecrows are CR 1, so there should be plenty of alternatives here.

4. Crypt: There's a mimic in here. It's got some bones attached to it with fine wire that are supposed to wiggle as the mimic attacks, making the players think that the bones are going to reassemble into skeletons. Not sure how thematic that is really. I might want to replace this too. A mimic is a CR 2 creature.

5. Cells: There's a dragonborn corpse that reanimates as a ghast. That's fine. But there are also two living prisoners -- sisters who can potentially become business associates once the PCs set up their own AI franchise. Given that in my game, a few months have passed, it doesn't make sense for there to be living prisoners in the cells, so I may just have to leave them out -- or introduce them at a later date.

7. Failed Ritual: Here's where most of the CYB's franchise staff ended up. There was a 'failed' ritual to open a portal to the Far Realm. I suppose I could change that to some other dimension more aligned with yuan-ti interests. Is there one? I can't think of one off the top of my head. Yuan-ti don't seem that big on the Far Realm, as far as I can tell. But maybe they're trying to contact the Far Realm to help with their mission to release Dendar?

8. Charnel Chasm: There are some skeletal remains and two swarms of insects. They can stay, I guess.

9. Between a Rock and a Cockatrice: There are two undead cockatrices in here plus a kobold who keeps getting pecked and petrified. Not sure if I want to keep them or not. Cockatrices are CR 1/2. The kobold is meant to be another possible ally / hireling. Maybe I could put the sisters in here and have them be the ones that keep getting pecked.

10. Far Realm Rift: Again there's a Far Realm element here, only this time the ritual succeeded, and the PCs have to fight a gibbering mouther that comes through the active portal. If I change up the Far Realm theme in area 7, I'll need to do that here too, and may need to replace the mouther with something else. It's a CR 2 monster. If I keep it as written, I might need to come up with a reason why the yuan-ti are doing this.

11. Workshop: In here are three shadows that are all that remain of "professional grapplers" who "put on a show" as they attack. I might just leave them for the random humor factor. (They were hirelings who helped attack the base and were then murdered to be left behind as undead guardians.)

12. Office: There's just a clue in here from one of the main bad guys for the Orrery adventure. I can either leave it out entirely or put some clue pointing towards the Omuan yuan-ti, I suppose.

And that's about it really. I'm open to any ideas on how to make this dungeon more thematically appropriate for Chult / ToA!
 
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I don't really see that it needs changing. Yuan-ti themselves are a bit tough for a 2nd level party, at low level snakes serve as a proxy, but filling that dungeon full of snakes would make it less interesting I think. You could do things like putting a snake inside each scarecrow, make the cockatrices serpents (keep the stats, just change the appearance). Make the kobold a Chultan - e.g. a grung or ghostwise halfing.
 

pukunui

Legend
I don't really see that it needs changing. Yuan-ti themselves are a bit tough for a 2nd level party, at low level snakes serve as a proxy, but filling that dungeon full of snakes would make it less interesting I think. You could do things like putting a snake inside each scarecrow, make the cockatrices serpents (keep the stats, just change the appearance). Make the kobold a Chultan - e.g. a grung or ghostwise halfing.
Fair. I don't want to include any actual yuan-ti, especially since they do prefer to use proxies where possible. I just want to try and make it more thematic, and maybe try and figure out why the yuan-ti would have done these things.
 

Maybe lean into the idea that yuan-ti are weird and alien, and thus do things that are incomprehensible to non-yuan-ti?

The living prisoners could be in the final stages of transforming into histachii (broodguards). They are CR 2, so would be a tough but doable fight. Maybe nix the ghast to preserve the overall difficulty?

Replace the swarm of insects with a swarm of snakes.

The shadows could be constrictor snake shadows, rather than human shadows.
 
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