D&D 5E Mines of Phandelver - Need Help With a BBEG Brainstorm

DrNiklus

First Post
Is it possible for the Black Spider to be a Dread Pirate Roberts type, who was once a specific person but is now a role that gets passed down over time?

My idea was that one in my party mentioned a backstory friendship with a previous dwarf character he played. I was curious if Gundren Rockseeker could actually be this backstory dwarf - which was an easy tweak. But then what if this dwarf was originally captured by the Black Spider, but actually BECAME the Black Spider, akin to how Wesley became the Dread Pirate Roberts?

Just need to know if this is too far into left field to be achievable without railroading these poor bastards.
 

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Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
The Black Spider as an alternate identity? That can work, but it should originate independently of the PCs' background. Provide them with a mystery to uncover: if the Black Spider is a dwarf, how come he has an elf's lifespan?
 



I've run the campaign twice and both times I radically changed the Black Spider as he is a pretty generic villain without any terribly specific motive (he's seeking powerful ancient magic because of course he is) or much explanation of how he was able to cobble together the support of drow, goblins, dopplegangers, and the redbrands. If you change things it won't break anything, as nothing about him is intricately integrated into the module (which is the joy of this module, it's just developed enough that it's not demanding of the DM, but sketchy enough that DMs can get as creative as they want with it). I made him a doppleganger in one campaign and a deathlock of Ghaunadaur in the other. It broke nothing.
 




My idea was that one in my party mentioned a backstory friendship with a previous dwarf character he played. I was curious if Gundren Rockseeker could actually be this backstory dwarf - which was an easy tweak. But then what if this dwarf was originally captured by the Black Spider, but actually BECAME the Black Spider, akin to how Wesley became the Dread Pirate Roberts?

Just need to know if this is too far into left field to be achievable without railroading these poor bastards.
Okay, looking back over this I don't think I really answered the question. I think it would be very cool if some character from the PCs background or a prior campaign turned out to be the Black Spider, but I think making the same character also Gundren Rockseeker is probably going to require more rewriting than it's worth (if that's what you're proposing). You have to come up with why he would have hired these adventurers to escort a cart to a store in the town, or hook them in differently. Gundren does have a couple of missing brothers, so if you played with the time frame of the brothers arriving you could possibly make one of them the Black Spider without having to completely reinvent the opening of the module.

I'm not sure how having such a twist would "railroad" the players, unless you are strongly foreshadowing it but not allowing them to act on figuring it out, or putting them in contact with someone who is secretly the Black Spider and not letting them defeat them before the big showdown. But as long as you just have the Black Spider (whomever they are be in the mines from the time they arrive in the region it doesn't really require any railroading to have them be whomever you want them to be. Now if the plan is to have a person who is both the Black Spider and Gundren and have them similarly be rescued (or rather "rescued") from the Goblin castle and travel with the group that may require too much railroading to make it work.
 

GuyBoy

Hero
I'm running Phandelver for my grandkids (aged 12 and 9) with my wife doing sterling duty as a dwarf cleric. They're loving it and have just killed the green dragon to great delight!
They got interested due to Stranger Things and, with the new series imminent, I'm thinking of tying the Black Spider to Vecna somehow, so they can both defeat Vecna's machinations themselves and watch Eleven and Co do the same.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
I think Black Spider not being very physically powerful makes perfect sense given his m.o. of hiring a bunch of underlings, keeping his identity secret, hiding, and orchestrating events from a distance. If he was powerful enough to take out the party face-to-face in a stand-up fight, his behavior would make much less sense.
 




dave2008

Legend
I think Black Spider not being very physically powerful makes perfect sense given his m.o. of hiring a bunch of underlings, keeping his identity secret, hiding, and orchestrating events from a distance. If he was powerful enough to take out the party face-to-face in a stand-up fight, his behavior would make much less sense.
Am I missing something, what does this have to do with the OP's question?
 

dave2008

Legend
I like him as he is, he just needs a little extra HP. He’s just an adventurer like the party is.
This is the fourth or fifth answer that doesn't address the question in the OP and instead provides an answer about making the character tougher? Are people just reading the headline, making assumptions, and then answering without reading the OP?
 

dave2008

Legend
To answer the OP, I can't imagine it would be an issue to make the Black Spider a title rather than a specific person. Tying to a player's back story might be a bridge to far tough. Let your player control their backstory, not you.

PS - Evidently it would be a good idea to make him tougher too! Though I would probably give him minions and maybe lair actions than make his actual stat block tougher.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Make him Drizzt who took the mantle of ''the Black Spider'' when the previous one died!

Well, a fallen Drizzt. He's looking for the forge to free the soul of Bruenor or Wulfgar bound to Aegis Fang when they died, falling from grace in his mad quest to restore the Companions to former glory.

Use the stat of a Drow Elite Warrior. Each time he lose X percent of his HP, he sacrifices one of his magic weapon to the Forge in a last ditch effort (2 scimitars, one clasp, one statuette) to call a Ghost of either a Halfling, an archer woman, a Dwarf warrior or a berserker.

When he dies, the player have the choice to either take the mantle of the Black Spider and use the Forge to nefarious ends, or take the mantle of the Lone Ranger and defend the North.
 

This is the fourth or fifth answer that doesn't address the question in the OP and instead provides an answer about making the character tougher? Are people just reading the headline, making assumptions, and then answering without reading the OP?

Whoah...a thread that wandered off-topic. That's unprecedented.

I'd better alert the news media.
 

This is the fourth or fifth answer that doesn't address the question in the OP and instead provides an answer about making the character tougher? Are people just reading the headline, making assumptions, and then answering without reading the OP?
You do know you can multi-quote and put all your quotes into a single reply right? Rather than bombing the thread with 5 posts basically stating the same thing over and over again? If you don't and would like to learn how, I can show you.
 

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