It will be a year ago tomorrow that I posted some initial thoughts about a campaign inspired by the marvelous cover art for the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion for the Lords of Waterdeep boardgame painted by Ralph Horsley, one of my favourite D&D artists.
Since then, I have given the campaign a bit more thought - I posted some further ideas toward the end of last year - but the final piece dropped into my head today. The basic outline involved slavers operating in Waterdeep and, of course, sending the captives into Skullport via Downshadow and Undermountain, and for those slaves to be destined to play a role in the creation of the Demon Weave per the Rise of the Underdark RSE that came and went with nary a trace.
Looking at the three NPCs depicted in the Scoundrels of Skullport cover art, the slavers theme easily explained the presence of the beholder - The Xanathar is a beholder crime lord and has been a significant player in Waterdeep for generations - and the illithid - mind flayers are also looking for slaves, particularly the Sept of Ill'Ghact which was revealed in Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue as being in need of new hosts for ceremorphosis in order to replenish their depleted numbers - but I was at a loss as to how to fit in Halaster, especially as he is officially dead.
However, it occured to me today that his consciousness would live on because an arcanist of his power would have made contingencies - clones, phylacteries, or even a horcrux-from-Harry-Potter-inspired multi-part phylactery - and that his conciousness in whatever form it now takes would be a valuable ingredient in the creation of the Demon Weave.
So while I am not sure how that will play out yet in the context of an adventure or adventures, at least I now know how Halaster will fit in with the overall plot. And it may be that I end up adapting the Chris Perkins-run adventures of Acquisitions Incorporated in their search for the Ark of the Made Mage into an adventure in such a campaign....