I'm going to be running the starter set for a group and during our session 0, i pulled some great character backstories from them.
When talking about expectations, I told them although some things in there story are time bound, we would have a little suspension of disbelief in order to follow some individualized character storyline inclusions. As this group will likely finish at the end of the set, I'm going to flesh out some extra adventures involving the character storylines to make it more than the package module.
On that note, id love to hear of any changes or alterations that any of you have done to the storyline to change the feel or to make things more exciting, no matter how big or small.
- Agatha is actually a Hag instead of a Banshee. She took memories as payment for using her "seer" abilities. If the players let her pick the memory, she'd tell them the answer they sought, then take the memory of her answering them. If the players wanted to pick the memory to have removed, Agatha would have a riddle competition for it (note, the Paladin won using a pun).
- Since I misread the manual, the Shrine of Luck is actually a small community library made from recovered building stones. Even though it's a frontier town, the villagers are very concerned with the education of their children; hence the number and variety of books. It's not a complete collection of anything, but just enough for a basic education. Also Sister Garaele is socialy awkward with a tendency to stutter and wring the hem of her habit when nervous.
- The Paladin Noble was asked by a family friend to investigate a number of land deeds that had gone missing. - The Rogue Spy is there to avenge his lover who was killed by Black Spider because said lover was on of the Rogue's informants (he is also posing as the Paladin's manservant).
- Humon Kost has learned of the party's plans to come back to Old Owl Well and drive him off. Because of this he has been killing a number of the orcs from Wyvern Tor; all leaving evidence to implicate the party.
- Halia is a lvl 3 warlock of the old ones.
- I would randomly change the gender or race of members of the Redbrand Ruffians. This resulted in these lowly thugs developing sudden bouts of amazing rolls. Most notable were the female human who tore into the druid and several other party members (later described to have blue face markings); and a male high elf who kept dodging EVERY attack (the party eventually knocked him out and then convinced him to join them...he's now a lvl3 fighter). Keep in mind I in no way changed their stats, just their descriptions!
That's about it right now. The hardest part I've found has been keeping them on track to find Mr. Rockseeker and, thus, Wave Echo Cave.
The biggest change I made was to make Harbin Wester, the incompetent townmaster, actually the male Doppelganger in disguise. The party realized something was up when they found the chewed up body of the real townmaster down in the Nothic pit.
Additionally, I made Halia Thornton, the Zhentarim guild master, a bigger player in the town politics. A couple of my players tried to infiltrate the Redbrands, and they were told to steal some crap from Halia bc she was the only person in town they couldn't control. They went straight to Halia and brought her in on the plan and she started setting things in motion to take over town.
I did add a few brawlers to the Redbrand ranks. Bigger, didn't use swords, one had a lasso, tried to pummel/grapple the PCs. They became known as Big Dead Jessica and Big Dumb James somehow.
The party kept Glasstaff alive and didn't kill Mosk and the Redbrand Bugbears, so when they came back from Cragmaw castle they found the town hall on fire and Glasstaff escaped, with Halia inciting an angry mob to give her control of the town.
Glasstaff's glass staff is part of a set of protective glass items handed out by Black Spider. It goes with a glass ring of mind shielding and a glass brooch of shielding, held by Grol and Vyerith the doppelganger, respectively. Black Spider has the final piece, a glass bowl that can be used to communicate with anyone attuned to one of the other items. If someone is attuned to all three glass items, the glass bowl can be played like a wineglass to create a resilient sphere spell around that person. This is so if anyone tries to use them against him, Nezznar can seal them in a glass ball.
After the party killed the fake townmaster/doppelganger, the female doppelganger sought vengeance against them by trying to sneak around in town disguised as various people. The party got super spooked by this, you can make them really paranoid when you have a shapechanger playing it cool somewhere in town.
My party didn't go after the orcs at wyvern tor but I needed another encounter, so I brought the orcs to them on the path to Phandelver. The orcs had happened to catch the doppelganger, which meant that the party also caught her. I did this so they would have closure about who was and wasn't a doppelganger.
I made the forge of spells into a puzzle. The party needed artifacts proving membership in the Phandelver Pact, i.e. some belonging to human mages, dwarf miners, and gnome crafters from 500 years ago. The forge itself was malfunctioning and blasting magic rays everywhere, a combination of the spectator's ray weapons and the wild magic surge table from the PHB.
I added Kuo Toa to the Black Spider fight. When they encounter Nezznar he's in the middle of a meeting trying to arrange to get some Kuo Toa slaves to help him run the mine. Once the battle starts, the Kuo Toa quickly give up and run back to the booming cavern, which leads to an underground lake in the Underdark.
- Instead of starting my players in Neverwinter/Having them agree to escort goods from there to Phandalin. My players started as level 0 characters living in the town of Novudun. In this town all citizens must receive training from the local military, kinda like army reserves, in case the army needs more able bodied soldiers. During their first training session they must go on patrol outside of the town. During this patrol they will come across the ambush site.
- The ambushers/majority of the villains in my version are Kobolds. So no goblins, bugbears.
- I replaced the wolves in the kobold cave with a single cockatrice.
- The redbrands are called the greybrands and have grey cloaks. They have 3 leaders instead of 1.
- I replaced the nothic in the Tresendar Basement with a Gibbering Mouther. This gibbering mouther is the Tresendar family, cursed by a dragon to assume this form until killed.
- I split cragmaw castle into 3 different abandoned ruins from before the fall of dragons. A tunnel network connects these 3.
- Black Spider is now Red Claw and is actually a half dragon that can shift into human form. His goal is to access this old dwarven mine in an attempt to shatter a magical prison that holds a dragon captive.
My players are very focused and haven't pursue much side quest stuff. I have made other changes but we are 13 sessions in so, my memory of all the changes is quite fuzzy.
Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme of things not found within recorded time.
- Between several Thunderous Smites in the entryway and Long Resting in the Banquet Hall, the party missed King Grol because, let's be fair, if you hear explosions in your abandoned castle HQ; would YOU stick around?
- The Thunderous Smites also alerted the goblins in the Banquet Hall and their leader decided to prepare. when the party arrived the tables were upended as barricades with several goblin archers behind each. Of course, they didn't expect the party to take the long way around and come through the back.
- They also alerted the Kobold Mage in the Sanctuary who prepped a summoning circle and brought forth the spirit of a fallen warrior!...Well, it was a Kobold Ghost.
- Also, the door to the Banquet Hall was "trapped." I.E. the goblins smeared honey on the handle.
- Anywho, Vyreth, an actual drow, was in that small room off the side of Grol's chambers, wounded and with a heavy crossbow pointed at the door. Grol had tried to leave before their negotiations were over and she attempted to stop him. It didn't go too well for her. Surprisingly, my party let her live after getting what info they could.
- This lead to a full rainy day persuit of Grol who had left a wide and obvious path for them to follow, as well as several scouts to spy on the party and learn their various traits. Three groups of three (hobs and gobs) would roll Stealth against the party's Passive Perception. The more that succeeded, the more tactics Grol could prepare for (tanks, magic users, stealthers, etc.). My group spotted the third party and a chase ensued. They were able to keep their quarry alive (see link) and the paladin flirted with the lady hobgoblin (complimenting her wonderful sideburns) enough to find out about the ambush Grol was setting up.
- Grol set up an elaborate ambush along the Nerverwinter River: Hobgoblins under the water with breathing reeds, check; hip high grass with several goblins inside to take advantage of their Disengage/Hide bonus actions, check; steep, slippery sloped hill that required a DEX save DC10 to not fall down while fighting on it, check; a log with part of the middle chipped out so that a player that steps on it instead of jumping across is dumped into the river and over a 25' high waterfall ?!?!(DEX DC15 to avoid), check; Grol having three levels of Ranger and a mountain lion companion, big check*
- The best part of this is that they are now set up to rest in the abandoned town of Thundertree.
*The party now LOATHES Fog Cloud as he used it several times during the battle.
Wyvern Tor: An orc named 'Axe Biter' has to have an interesting backstory. In my campaign, as a young orc he had been hit in the mouth with an axe and lived. Now he's got a great big scar. It goes back from both corners of his mouth and up his face, giving him the appearance of a huge grotesque perpetual smile. When I described it to my players, they said "You mean he looks like The Joker?!" Exactly! This tough orc also had Great Weapon Fighting, Second Wind, and Action Surge. That surprised the players!
My players kept wanting to know more about what the Necromancer Hamun Kost was up to at Old Owl Well. I was sure they were going to go back and investigate him deeper, so I came up with a backstory for him. He was searching for clues to the ancient Netheril, and their fallen city of Xinlenal. They never did go back to Old Owl Well, but now this is one adventure hook for the continuing campaign now that we've finished Lost Mine of Phandelver.
I had more. I'll post them later.
"Yer late, elf!" First words we hear from one of the all-time greatest fantasy characters.
Never got past the 1st session into the adventure (due to only having 2 players), but I had transplanted the story into a homebrew world (not the one in my sig). The PCs were hired by a member of a bat-based beastfolk race that I can't remember the name of right now, the noble in charge of the village had a bodyguard from a city far to the east, and the "Mine" was actually a vault still inhabited by the descendants of the original inhabitants.
The city that the bodyguard was from is the city of Salt In Wounds, the bodyguard was mutated from consuming tarrasque flesh, the vault would later be ironically nicknamed in universe as the "Home of the 100 Saved".
Post by CannibalCacti on Apr 18, 2017 10:27:11 GMT
Still currently only 3 short sessions in but so far: - Have an all girl group, so decided to change the Rockseeker brothers to female also (Gundra, Nundra, Thardeln) - Sildar was Iarno's lover - making for a bigger betrayal later, potentially causing Sildar to join the party on their quest - Added a town hero as an NPC cleric, Paela, who is looking to save Phandalin over anything else, since they needed a healer - Players are giving me murder-hobo vibes and keep trying to rob the town masters house, so I've added a subplot where he's actually a spellcaster whose been experimenting and trying to fight back a necrotic illness he's developed using his necromancy, and has been asssisted by Glassstaff. This will only be discovered either after they raid the castle or rob the house and find his laboratory and the hidden lab underneath
My group ended up coming at Cragmaw Castle from the back, saw Grol through a window, and tried to take him out discretely. The "drow" ended up dragging Gundeer into the surrounding forest and the PC's gave chase. They didn't even remember until they had found a dead Gundeer and no drow that they had agreed to clear out the castle for Sildar (whoops). They captured a scout to get information about the castle and asked "Who's in charge now?" uhhhhhh there's that acolyte in that shrine room? Sure, he's a shaman now who was second in command. That made for a really interesting encounter with the somewhat easy Grick fight followed by their first match against an enemy caster. 2 direct shots with Inflict Wounds towards the end left the party with 1 person standing. A great amount of drama from a happenstance promotion.
Post by timecommander1983 on May 28, 2019 16:28:55 GMT
So with this campaign I've been asked to dm for a group some new and other who have done some of it.
I chose to randomly up the difficulty level and add a few extra enemies.
I made up an extra puzzle mission for the Agatha section of the module. The players had to work out a riddle to get across a chess board at the end of which were four chests containing a magical item to release Agatha and a second one that might turn her into a bag, a mirror. Also the group walked straight on to the town with the cart instead of going to the cave. They returned without the cart to kill the goblins. Then headed back to town to get a cart. When they return I spawned a few new goblins in the process of rebuilding the dam.