D&D 5E Tomb of Annihilation - Valindra's role (spoilers)

pukunui

Legend
Hi all,

I am running Tomb of Annihilation for the second time. The first time I ran it, the group met Valindra Shadowmantle in the Heart of Ubtao, but aside from having her send some Red Wizards to attack them in the jungle in an attempt to claim their map, I didn't have her return in the adventure.

My second group also met with Valindra in the Heart of Ubtao. One of the PCs is scholarly, and they rolled well on a History check and recalled that there was an infamous elf lich named Valindra Shadowmantle who had been a member of the Arcane Brotherhood in Luskan and had antagonized Neverwinter some time ago. This Valindra insisted it was a coincidence and besides, she was working with the Red Wizards, not the Arcane Brotherhood. Nevertheless, the players were rightly suspicious and weren't in the mood to tangle with someone who might be a lich.

But recently I got to thinking: rather than have her be a one-and-done cameo for fans of the Neverwinter MMO, what if I have Valindra show up again? Her orders from Szass Tam are to capture or destroy the Soulmonger. She tells the players she wants to 'quarantine' it so she can study it safely and argues that destroying it should be a last resort. To me, that suggests she wouldn't just sit back and leave it to the PCs (or her Red Wizard minions) to decide what to do with it.

So she needs a way to get into the tomb with the PCs. She can't just teleport in since Acererak has blocked that kind of magic.

I could have her show up in Omu in her living elf guise and offer to join the party. This might make parts of the tomb easier but I expect the players would spend the entire time wondering when she'll betray them. And sure enough, if she makes it through to the Soulmonger's chamber, she'd fight them if they insist on destroying it without even trying to "quarantine" it first.

And then maybe Ace shows up and it's a three-way battle between two liches and the party!

Another option I've thought of, though, is that she could have perhaps a magic item that lets her shape change into an animal and then she can pretend to be a cute cuddly pet (this particular group of players is into their pets) so she can hitch a free ride through the tomb without having to help the PCs get through it, and she can then change back into her normal form at the end to confront them. Very Wormtail-esque.

What do you folks think? Do you have a preference? Or a better idea? If you ran Tomb of Annihilation, how did you use Valindra?
 

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Rabbitbait

Adventurer
My players never made it to the heart, but I would have her join the party - great idea. There are plenty of opportunities for the truth to be exposed, so chances are that her true nature would be revealed well before they actually get to the soulmonger.
 

pukunui

Legend
My players never made it to the heart, but I would have her join the party - great idea. There are plenty of opportunities for the truth to be exposed, so chances are that her true nature would be revealed well before they actually get to the soulmonger.
Absolutely! So would you have her join in her humanoid form, offering to help the PCs reach the Soulmonger, or would you have her be more surreptitious about it (either by disguising herself or perhaps by trying to follow along invisibly)?
 

Rabbitbait

Adventurer
Absolutely! So would you have her join in her humanoid form, offering to help the PCs reach the Soulmonger, or would you have her be more surreptitious about it (either by disguising herself or perhaps by trying to follow along invisibly)?
I would have her join in disguise as someone new - the last survivor of an adventuring party in Omu. She could be a very useful (but not overpowering) member of the party. I would also have her make soft attempts to get into a relationship with a party member that she feels she could turn to her cause when it came to her trying to get the soulmonger from the rest of the party.
 

Rabbitbait

Adventurer
As a side note. At the very end where the party come across a sack with a creature struggling in it, I had that creature be Artus Cimber without the ring of winter. It would have led to the party realising that Acerak had taken the ring, but no hint of what had happened to it. This would come to light later.

However the barbarian saw the sack moving, stabbed it and then they all moved on. No-one looked inside and so my cunning plan was wasted.
 


pukunui

Legend
I would have her join in disguise as someone new - the last survivor of an adventuring party in Omu. She could be a very useful (but not overpowering) member of the party. I would also have her make soft attempts to get into a relationship with a party member that she feels she could turn to her cause when it came to her trying to get the soulmonger from the rest of the party.
Ooh! Nice! I hadn’t thought of that. That’s excellent. Thank you.
 

Absolutely! Liches in particular have a very motivating reason to stop the Soulmonger. In fact, it's a minor plot issue that Tomb of Annihilation is not swarming with some of the more powerful Liches in the setting attempting to stop the Soulmonger. I say minor, because involvement from the likes of Red Wizards can count as "the liches doing something about it" through Valindra, Tam, and even potentially Larloch.

Interestingly, I believe Roll20 even used a lich patron to start the adventure in their Tomb of Annihilation series.
 
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Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
When I played it, we encountered her in the Heart of Ubtao; we did something that ended up triggering her to reveal her true form (can't remember what, but had to do with somehow detecting that she had a illusion up disguising herself). She escaped after killing some NPC allies, and I think stole our map.

The DM later brought her back as the leader of the Red Wizards expedition in Omu; we did indeed enter the Tomb of the Nine Gods accompanied by her in an uneasy alliance, but she was destroyed almost immediately by some sort of trap or magical effect (basically the DM having a major villain kill off a minor villain to telegraph "this place means business").
 

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