Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Legacy of the Crystal Shard + G1-3 + D1-3 + Rise of the Underdark

A possible scene in one of the Ten-Towns?

Unfortunately, any time I think about the classic Giants series - G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl and G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King - I naturally start thinking about how they then lead into the equally legendary drow series - D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, D2 Shrine of the Kuo-toa and D3 Vault of the Drow - which then segues in my mind to the 4E attempt to capitalise on the drow, the various adventures, events and novels which became known as Rise of the Underdark.

The short version of Rise of the Underdark is this: Lolth sought to grab Mystra's power over magic by attempting to create a Demon Weave fuelled by artefacts, relics and the remains of primordials.

What if Legacy of the Crystal Shard was set during the time of the Rise of the Underdark events? And what if Lolth saw Auril as a deity who was vulnerable to the Queen of Spiders' attacks but who also represented a significant source of power (Auril is, more or less, an archfey - she's the Queen of Air and Darkness - as well as a deity according to some theories plus she has at least one primordial imprisoned in her divine realm: this is probably worth a separate post explaining this theory)? So, as Auril seeks to expand her power base through the events described in Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Lolth is hard on her heels seeking to thwart Auril's ambitions so that she can fulfil her own.

I rather like the idea that this leads to the giants being divided into two groups: hill giants and frost giants supporting Auril and fire giants supporting Lolth. That raises the possibility of the PCs being able to play the groups off against the other or turning them to the same side. (I also like the idea of bringing back Errtu the balor from the R A Salvatore novels as the leader of the fire giants... in part because it will upset the RAS purists who will say that Errtu is dead or something [I haven't kept up with the RAS novels so I really don't know].)

Ultimately, the adventures involving giants reveal the manipulation of the drow and that, in turn, leads to D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth where the PCs descend into the Underdark, D2 Shrine of the Kuo-toa where the PCs fight the mad fishfolk but possibly gain much needed lore from an aspect of Blibdoolpoolp (the kuo-toa deity) and finally concludes in D3 Vault of the Drow with Menzoberranzan replacing the Greyhawk city of Erelhei-Cinlu. And unlike the original Vault of the Drow the PCs have a clear objective: destroy the nascent Demon Weave. I imagine these adventures can also draw some inspiration from some of the adventures published for Rise of the Underdark, particularly War of Everlasting Darkness.

That's my short version of a further expansion to Legacy of the Crystal Shard that I think makes sense and also lets a DM run some of the classic D&D adventures. It's definitely something I want to do and it's on my gaming bucket list.

A Quick Note on Monster Levels

If you're a 4E DM and you're reading this, I suspect you are wondering how it it is possible to run a conversion of the Giants series after Legacy of the Crystal Shard. It's quite simple. One of the things I have done with 4E is to reduce the levels of monsters to match their 1E hit dice. That means my hill giants are level 8 brutes, frost giants are level 10 brutes and fire giants are level 11 soldiers. Even a balor is only a level 13 elite brute (I used the balor's 2E hit dice as its 1E hit dice made no sense [although if you read OD&D's Eldritch Wizardry it does make sense... and it's a reminder that the original Monster Manual was, in many ways, still an OD&D product rather than a 1E product, but I digress]).

If you do the same with the drow as well then what I have described here will probably take the PCs to around level 13-15. I think that's as far as any DM really wants to go with 4E (or 3.xE... or Pathfinder... or 2E... or 1E).

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