Saturday, 23 June 2012

Fimbulwinter (?) - The Return of Manshoon

The Last Clone

I'm back!

Deep in the ruins of the Citadel of the Raven is the last remaining stasis clone of Manshoon, the founder of the Zhentarim and former First Lord of Zhentil Keep.

This clone has remain untouched by the Spellplague - and was immune to the massive awakening that preceded the Clone Wars - as its magic was tied to the portal leading to the extra-dimensional space where it was secreted.

There is a faction within the Zhentarim that believes that if the Zhents are to return to greatness, Manshoon must be the one to lead them. They feel that there is something --wrong-- with the current Manshoon and so they have been researching the locations of his other clones for years hoping to find another Manshoon to lead them.

From the journal of a noted Zhent mage loyal to Manshoon recovered from the ruins of Zhentil Keep, they finally have the clues they need to locate the last remaining clone from an extra-dimensional space within the ruins of the Citadel of the Raven. Now all they need is the portal key....

(I could also use this same general background for a clone of Manshoon secreted in the dungeons beneath Darkhold. Perhaps I could use this for my Dark Weavings campaign instead?)

Manshoon is Dead; Long Live Manshoon!

Another option is to have Manshoon the Night King slain by adventurers off-screen, as it were. Zhents encountered in the campaign could actually be looking for one of his clones in order to replace him. A weaker clone might be seen as a way for an ambitious Zhent black cloak to increase his or her own influence in the organisation with the black cloak believing that the weaker Manshoon can be their pawn.

More food for thought....

(I also rather like the idea of a campaign set in Loudwater and the Fallen Lands where the Zhents have gone to the Sceptre Tower of Spellgarde to ask Lady Spellgarde just where they can find one of Manshoon's clones!)

General Comments

Manshoon is one of those characters who has been harshly dealt with by various RPG and novel authors, largely because of the old TSR policy that evil could never be seen to be successful.

If you read Ed Greenwood's comments about Manshoon over at Candlekeep, it is clear that Ed saw him as a true master villain. That's the Manshoon I want to include in one or more of my games at some point.

I don't like the idea of Manshoon as a vampire. Actually, it's not so much that I don't like it as I prefer the idea of more than one clone still running around. And Manshoon the Night King is both too high in level for my preferred campaign levels and I don't like the whole notion of Stormkeep. It's too high magic for the sort of game I want to run. (Yes, there is a certain irony in rejecting high magic when my preferred campaign setting is Forgotten Realms.)

Suffice to say, I want to bring Manshoon back but as a lower-level protagonist and as someone who has the potential to make the Zhentarim a force in the Moonsea again. Manshoon the Night King can have Darkhold and the Western Heartlands; "my" Manshoon wants the Moonsea....

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