Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Modifying the Night Below Setting: Adding Shadowdale

Although I plan to add a lot to the underdark regions of the Night Below campaign, up to this point I haven't had any plans of changing the surface world setting. However, when I stumbled on my copy of Shadowdale from the old 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms boxed set, I knew I had to work this old favorite in. Milborne is thematically a better fit for a Shadowdale switcheroo, but since the players have already visited Milborne, I don't want to confuse them by changing a location they thought they knew. Instead, since they're headed to Thurmaster anyway, "Shadowdale" will just take its spot instead!

Of course, just because I am who I am, I can't just drop it in as-is. There will be some changes to the new Thurmaster, starting with...

  • Tauster will be the second most powerful wizard in town. Elminster will be there in spirit, but will be an incredibly powerful but unpredictable mage who is just known as "the old mage." In truth, he'll probably have more in common with Fizban than Elminster.
  • Other ultra-powerful characters will be absent (Storm Silverhand, for example). Although I want the PCs to live in a world where there are major movers and shakers, I don't want them to feel like they can run off to this or that super-NPC to save the day.
  • The message post, while important to the original Shadowdale, will be emphasized even moreso in Thurmaster/Shadowdale. This will be an opportunity to present the players with lots of different hooks that they can investigate or ignore at their leisure. I'm going to develop a sizable list of rumors and jobs to be posted there, and they'll be able to pursue whatever they want.
  • I'm going to use this version of Thurmaster to introduce a lot of key NPCs that will play more and more of a role as the PCs gain experience (Hadrogh Prohl or Baron Rodorigo Enano Casta, for example)
Having a Shadowdale clone for the centerpiece of the surface world will be perfect. I'm surprised I hadn't thought of it before!
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