Friday, 12 April 2013

Scoundrels of Skullport - Some Quick Thoughts

Scoundrels of Skullport
I have posted a few times about some general ideas I have for a campaign based in Waterdeep. We had some great experiences there during our 2E days and I still have the enormous maps that came with the City System product which I find really help to bring the city to life.

My ideas normally begin with a piece of art.

However, yesterday I noticed that Ralph Horsley had updated his Deviant Art site with a new piece: the cover art for the Scoundrels of Waterdeep expansion for the Lords of Waterdeep expansion which also appears at the start of this post.

It's stunning. Seriously stunning.

I'm a big fan of his work - I particularly love his cover art for the Neverwinter Campaign Setting - but seeing this latest piece of his has me re-thinking my plans for an eventual Waterdeep campaign. Basically, there's no way I can ignore his Scoundrels of Skullport cover art! Also, it has a trio of villains and I very much prefer to have at least three factions in my games.

While Halaster is canonically dead, one of the Character Theme articles in DDi included a Halaster's Clone theme and, while is is very Manshoon-like, I rather like the idea of a less-than-all-powerful clone of the Mad Mage waking up, finding a very different Waterdeep and also an absent Weave thanks to the effects of the Spellplague, and then he tries to find his way in this new world.

Of course, the return of Halaster - even if only a clone - would set off alarm bells amongst the existing powers beneath Waterdeep... such as the beholder - The Xanathar - and the illithid - a representative of the mind flayer city of Ch'Chitl - depicted in the picture. I can just see the PCs starting as pawns of a broken clone of Halaster - who, in vernacular terms, basically wants his stuff back - and finding that they are cutting across the plans of both.

In other words, it's a perfect picture to inspire a campaign.

Of course, I can still begin such a campaign in the Yawning Portal - so that I can still use that wonderful piece of cover art! - but I can replace the noble family mentioned in the 4E adventures Halls of Undermountain with a clone of Halaster instead. The idea of an ancient wizard manipulating adventurers to get his stuff back is something I find rather appealing in an Old School way....

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