D&D 5E Out of the Abyss: Gray Ghosts



My players seem more interested in tracking down the Gray Ghosts, than finishing of the Whorlstone Tunnels "dungeon".

Anyone has any thoughts on how to expand on the little that's in the module about them?

- they are (or were) the city's foremost thieves guild
- they were nearly crushed when their former leadership was rooted out previously
- they operate the fungus lab alchemy thingy for what purpose? (Mainly to grow fungus and poisons to fund their operations)

What connections there are between the Gray Ghosts and the Council of Savants is unclear.

I get the general vibe that the adventure makes a half-hearted attempt at keeping these separate, but there isnt even material for one of them.

Would it be unreasonable to consider the Gray Ghosts to be little more than a front for the revolution that the derro is orchestrating?

Can anyone recommend a D&D dwarf-run thieves guild from which I can steal bits and pieces?

Finally, do you know of any source of information on this Council of Savants? The module basically says they're holed up in a luxury fortress, and it heavily hints their leaders have been corrupted by demons.

What kind of devilish (not demonic) assistence can the Duergar of Gracklestugh rely on?

I mean, I realize the storyline isn't pitting demons vs devils, but since the Duergar is so heavily devil-allied, I figure they should be able to bring in at least some measure of extra muscle.

If there isn't any game material to go on, perhaps one of you have read a novel featuring the duergar and their connection to devils?

Thank you

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Dragon Lord
I can tell you what I did.

Errde and Gartokkar send the PCs after Droki.

Droki is a Gray Ghost. The Gray Ghosts are working with the demon cultists to undermine Gracklstugh and destroy it. I made most everything in the Whorlstone Tunnels connected by a common desire to destroy Gracklstugh. The Gray Ghosts, Derro Savant demon worshipper, and a bunch of renegade derro allied with demons have built quite a power base in the Whorlstone Tunnels.

Here's a spoiler I hope my players don't read: [sblock]Buppido is still alive. he plans to lead them to the slaughter in the caves so the renegades can kill and rob the PCs to increase their power, possibly sacrificing them to Demogorgon so that he will send more demons to help them despoil the city.[/sblock]

I felt the above was a stronger use of the characters and elements in Gracklstugh rather than a bunch of disconnected weak encounters the PCs would steamroll.
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I'm amongst it as well (game went on pause in the Tunnels) and I agree. The Grey Ghosts were simply caste-less Duergar who did dirty work in the city until they were recently taken over by the Savants who themselves are enthusiastic servants of Demogorgon.
Perhaps there is a secret passage from rm#14 to the decadent pleasure palace of the Savant Council. They have a palace in upper city where they are "kept" as a token council to be paraded around to appease the rabble below (being a savant actually has nothing to do with it). It turns out Demogorgon's presence has turned them into actual Savants. The place is an insane psychedelic dungeon populated by literally two-faced mutants. (maybe Red and Pleasant Land could be useful here...) It's so weird the Duergar havent managed to find the secret door to the Whorlstone Tunnels.
Also, I miss the 4e Duergar. They are definitely gonna start throwing mohawk darts soon. The whole grow/invisible thing has not been satisfying for me (unlike other d&d nonsequiters which bother me not at all). They should all be hellfire spitting Asmodeus warlocks, but I guess I blew it already playing it by the book.


Now we're talking!

The Detroit Derro savant headquarters as some kind of degenerate opium den or Hut nest... Yum!
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Found this tidbit:

The Gray Ghost thieves guild in Gracklstugh has a number of psionic members -- mostly lurks but also multiclass duergar and derro psychic warriors and psions. The guild is embroiled in a bitter war with the Keepers of the Flame, an order of psion/clerics [Laduguer] that serve Themberchaud (young adult red dragon), the Wyrmsmith of Gracklstugh. The war began when Zunkhasp Saltbaron (LE male duergar lurk 14), the nominal leader of the guild, organized the theft of a dragon egg from Themberchaud's treasure hoard. Themberchaud did not lay the egg -- he is a male dragon -- but it might be his offspring or part of the spoils of one of his conquests. The enraged keepers declared war on the guild, throwing the everyday affairs of the city into chaos.

It's an old 3E article from 2007 in the "Class Chronicles" series, discussing psionic subclasses of certain races.

Nice continuity even if the (SPOILER) Saltbaron in the adventure isn't really involved in any detailed capacity.

I'd ignore the level specifications - my impression is that the inflation in NPC levels is gone from 5E. (I know there are no "NPC levels" in 5E but we can still discuss power in terms of Challenge Rating.)

More on this tangent within tags:

[sblock]Judging from OotA I would guess there are no NPCs with a CR in the double-digits, with the prominent exception of Themberchaud. This works because of bounded accuracy: while he could probably slay a dozen Stone Guards, he would die if he attacked the city and its defenders.

What I mean is that even if I wanted to make this Zunkhasp Saltbaron (or Werz, his relative?) one of the most personally imposing Duergar in the city, I would definitely not make him 14th level (or the CR equivalent under the old rules: CR 13).

5E is much more realistic about NPC power: a Gladiator is a 15 HD creature, but only CR 5. A Mage is a 9th level spellcaster, but only CR 6.

So even if I wanted a "14th level NPC spellcaster" that would "only" mean CR 9. If the NPC was less focussed on dangerous spells, as low as CR 5.

I still wouldn't introduce a NPC as potent as that unless it truly was an important NPC. The leader of a thieves guild (even a psionic one) doesn't qualify. (Why would a level 14 character be content in running a thieves guild? If it secretly controlled the entire city I could understand it, but "waging a war" against one out of several city factions? To me, at 14th level you're severely overleveled for that role. In 5E, that is. 3E was infamously crawling with high-level nobodies)

Perhaps Morndin Gloomstorm, the Laduguer High Priest, could rival Deep King Horgar in (personal) power, and even then a "clerical Mage" sounds much more appropriate than "level 14".[/sblock]
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