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After a few months hiatus, the PC’s receive a message of King Bruenor Battlehammer, inviting them to Gauntlgrym for a meeting with other important people to discuss the situation of the underdark. The PC’s are the probably the most knowledgeable people about this subject. Gauntlgrym is easily accessible from the surface, as it is in the uppermost part of the underdark. The person who delivers the letter can also serve as a guide. If Eldeth is still alive, she can be the message carrier and guide them back to Gauntlgrym.
If the party is not level 8 yet, some travel encounters on the way to the dwarven city can happen to advance the level.
This chapter is an oddball that can go many different ways. Before running it, think about your players. Are they comfortable with long role-play encounters? Are they more of a hack-n-slash type? A mix of the two?
If they are hardcore role-players this chapter can be a long one. And a great opportunity to expose ideas and experiences from their past underdark experiences to the King and other very interested parties. Negotiations can go sour and be reworked in order to get what they need. If the party is not very role-play heavy (maybe beginners or just hack-n-slash type) the chapter can go very fast. Mostly by having the NPC’s orchestrate the plan. Or a middle point between these options.
The chapter describes the different areas of the city just for flavor, there is no map and no quests within the city. The information is meant for flavor purposes when giving descriptions and when the PC’s are given a tour around town. In case you find it interesting (I didn’t) there are some encounter tables for the Iron Tabernacle (page 123) and for the Great Forge (page 124). As with other sections of this guide, if plan on using them, roll before hand to avoid slowing the flow of the game.
Make sure you visit my Map of Gauntlgrym, it really makes running the chapter easier.
King Bruenor is a nice guy, and he’s already on their side when they meet him. He will talk with them privately first, he wants to hear their story first hand. Afterwards there is a feast where the rest of the invited factions will have a chance to socialize. This is a great moment for the fire elemental to stir and spit some fire elementals right then and there. The PC’s can take advantage of the situation to show off their prowess. This is just one of the options in “Enemies among us” (page126) Other ideas work just as well, like the doppelganger impersonating a faction representative, or the dwarf assassin sent to get rid of another faction’s representative or a PC. Possibilities are endless, but the purpose of these should be to give the players chances to demonstrate their skills.
King Bruenor explains his plan in private after the feast. He wants to form an expeditionary force (with the favor and help of the other factions), travel to hidden Mantol Derith to meet Ghazrim DuLoc, and get a map from him to travel to Gravenhollow. This is a legendary library built by stone giants where they expect to find important insights about the demonic invasion. After that, a new plan has to be made, with the acquired information. In order for this to work, the PC’s must get in good terms with the rest of the factions’ representatives, but most importantly with Davra Jassur (page 129) who represents the Zentharim, only she can provide directions to Mantol Derith.
There are other parties that have to be worked with, the king cannot intervene because of political matters, so it’s up to the PC’s to convince them.
- The Harpers (page 126).- Lord Zelraun will give out a Shield Guardian if he is beaten at chess. The book says he might give it as a gift even if he wins. I recommend to nerf the Shield Guardian to 100HP, it will still be very powerful but there will be a more normal chance of losing it if mishandled.
- The Order of the Gauntlet (page 127).- Sir Lanniver Strayl is the most respected knight among the different factions in Gauntlgrym (think Sir Barristan Selmy from A song of ice and fire). He will gladly help a good party. If he does he provides 5 poweful veterans and a +1 warhammer.
- The Emerald Enclave (page 127).- Morist Malkin will help the party expecting them to find and bring back Sladis Vadir, who is missing (He is in Mantol Derith), she provides some mounted scouts and giant lizard mounts for the party.
- The Lord’s Alliance (page 128).- The elf Lord Eravien Haund is an influent person but unfortunately, he hasn’t heard much about the underdark issues, thinking them small or grown out of proportions, if convinced otherwise, he puts some guards and spies at the party’s disposition.
- The Zentharim (page129).- Davra Jassur has already decided that she wants to help, but she will make sure that the operation is profitable for her faction. She might ask for a 20% share of treasure found during the expedition, and a full report of their findings and whatever else the party reports to the king. She provides 8 thugs that know the way to from Gauntlgrym to Mantol Derith.
After having negotiated with the different factions, the party should get the support of the Zentharim and maybe some other factions too. Bumping their numbers to 20+ to form their expeditionary force, they are now ready to wander back into the underdark. But things are different now. Now the PC’s are equipped and have the support of the most important organizations.
–Edit: Running chapter 8 in Eberron–
The Out of the Abyss campaign is set in the Forgotten Realms, however most of it occurs below, in the underdark. This makes it easy to adapt the campaign to other settings. In case you are running OoTA in Eberron, you’ll be at a loss on how to run this chapter as all the factions in Gauntlgrym do not exist in Eberron. What I did in my game is: I found some equivalent or similar factions from the Khorvaire countries and worked the names accordingly, even including some NPC’s from the Dragon Marked houses.
Although it makes sense that Gauntlgrym is in the Ironroot Mountains in the Mror Holds. It won’t fit with the underdark maps. So the best place to have Gauntlgrym is the Icehorn Mountains, east of Eldeen Reaches. This western location fits perfectly with the underdark maps and makes for a wonderful trip through the druids’ lands in the reaches.
So this are the reworked factions for the Gauntlgrym chapter, the original faction name is in parenthesis.
-The Twelve (The Harpers).- The wizards of the Twelve have heard of the demonic incursion and wish to know more, they have sent two representatives. Lord Zelraun Roaringhorn and Arlanna d’Cannith, who is also spying for House Cannith. You can keep the chess challenge and the Shield Guardian as reward.
-Order of the Silver Flame (Order of the Silver Gauntlet).- For this one, just change the name and say that the knight’s order comes from Thrane, where the Church of the Silver Flame anoints the knights. Jaela Daran, the Flamespeaker has requested Sir Lanniver Strayl to look into the underdark situation.
-The Emerald Enclave.- There is no equivalent faction in Eberron, I used it as is, except that the members of the faction were all elves and half elves from Valenar.
-The Thronehold Council (The Lord’s Alliance).- This is a coalition of the different countries of Khorvaire. Following recent events, they have sent two representatives to Gauntlgrym, Lord Ben Harrings and the gnome Gonnedi d’Sivis, who also is there on behalf of House Sivis.
-The Zentharim.- This faction can be used as is, there’s never to many dark market guilds.
-The Gatekeepers (optional).- The orc druids from the shadow marches helped stop an aberrant planar invasion almost 7000 years ago. They have waited since then, honing their skills to be ready to be helpful again. An orc druid representative has been sent to Gauntlgrym to assist and learn what is going on.
After this there is little need for Eberron related material as the next chapters occur in the underdark.
Make sure you follow the rest of this GUIDE for Out of the Abyss !
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