D&D 5E Rebooting Dungeon of the Mad Mage

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Perhaps T’rissa pulls back to aid her sister on level 4. The drow on that level are cut off from the bulk of their forces on level 10 and are slowly being picked off by an aboleth calling itself the Lover in the Dark.
I'd do the opposite and have the drows move closer to the entrance of Undermountain. I dont know if there is a nice ambush spot in the first few levels? Or have them somewhere in Skullport, going for a more Urban encounter.
 

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pukunui

Legend
I'd do the opposite and have the drows move closer to the entrance of Undermountain. I dont know if there is a nice ambush spot in the first few levels? Or have them somewhere in Skullport, going for a more Urban encounter.
The way level 3 is presented, there's a bit of a "cold war" between T'rissa's drow forces, who have captured the eastern half of the ruins of Stromkuhldur (an old dwarven town), and the goblinoids of the Legion of Azrok, who still control the western half. The Legion is all that stands between the drow and Skullport, and the Xanathar Guild is busy infiltrating the legion via bodysnatching (their mind flayer ambassador is slowly implanting intellect devourers in more and more goblins' skulls).

The book states that if the drow are defeated, the legion retakes the eastern half of Stromkuhldur, but their victory is short-lived, as the mind flayer eventually succeeds in bodysnatching Azrok himself and his loyal wife, Lurkana. With the legion completely under the Xanathar's control, they act as the first line of defense for Skullport.

Now, the previous group of PCs did not completely defeat the drow on level 3, but they did leave T'rissa with drastically depleted forces. I would think that the Legion of Azrok would take advantage of that fact and press the attack. They might not have much more luck than the PCs did, although they do have the advantage of numbers. Perhaps the Legion hired a different group of adventurers to help drive out the drow.

My main thinking here is to delay the gratification of my players, since their new PCs seem to be built around getting revenge / finding the previous PCs. I don't want that to be the first thing that happens. So if I have T'rissa withdraw to level 4 to join forces with her sister, Melith, and have Halaster steal away with the (bodies of the) previous PCs to lure the new ones deeper into Undermountain, that should work to extend things a bit.

EDIT: Actually, I might even make it so T'rissa withdrew to join her sister on level 4 but was then summoned down to level 10 to be interrogated by her mother. So the new PCs will have to wait a while if they want to fight and kill T'rissa specifically.

As for where Halaster puts the previous PCs - I might just determine that randomly.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
...Yeah, that’s true. The thing is: I don’t think I really want to prolong the conflict with this specific group of drow - at least not in this specific location - any longer than necessary. It will get boring fast if we keep fighting the same enemies in the same location over and over.
...
Players enjoy vengeance, so giving them a shot at the foe that did them in can be fun. If you change the other defenses on the level they already cleared, including perhaps adding to or modifying the map (which is something Halaster or the Drow might do over a month - in fact Halaster might restock that part entirely differently than the stuff that was there before and unrelated to the Drow - or he might collapse parts of it all together).
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
If the party want revenge, i'd say don't take that opportunity away from them as it will be much more fun for them to return to the 3rd level and fight them back rather than fight new hobgoblin forces that recently took residence after slaying the drow. Its just more meaningful.

If you want to show an incursion has started, you can have some room now occupied by hobgoblins and some dead drows corpses lying around.
 

pukunui

Legend
It’s all good. Halaster has employed them as a “clean-up crew” to help him clear out the levels to reset things for the next season of his show.

They met with the hobgoblins and go their registration papers. The hobgoblins told them that T’rissa had escaped and gone deeper into Undermountain.

They then went exploring across the river on level 3 and killed the sea hags because they lied about the fact they had kidnapped a teenage boy in order to eat him.

I don’t think my players will be too upset about having to get to level 10 to reach T’rissa.
 


If I was in this situation, I'd try to show that the death of the original PCs changed the balance of power and overall situation in the dungeon.

The drow who killed the PCs, T'rissa, would get a promotion. Her sister, Melith, would get a demotion. Melith would then be willing to assist the new PCs in defeating T'rissa. That would nicely dramatize their backstabbing nature.

The drow overall would be more powerful and more prominent. The hobgoblins would become subservient to the drow or pushed out into different areas of the dungeon.

Finally, I'd work with the players to create deeper motivations. The characters focused on revenge need short term goals to keep them engaged -- and the character with the longterm goal of going after Halaster needs something shorter term.

Anyway, sounds like fun!
 

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