I’ve been running Dungeon of the Mad Mage for about 4-5 sessions now, and they’ve just made it to 3rd level (floor, not character level). I’ve been running the module pretty light hearted with non-serious roleplay (just how my group likes to run things), tongue-in-cheek even, using the DOTMM Companion by Wyatt Trull for inspiration. I have an idea to use a revenant against the party, but I’m not sure how well it’ll go.
When the party found the revenant Halleth Garke on the party, I made him a passionate and dramatic creature, spouting vengeance for the adventures that betrayed him, but otherwise polite and friendly if not single-minded in his pursuit of revenge. The party helped him out of his pit, gave him a handaxe, and they fought the nearby bugbears together. After the battle, the party decided to rest, and Halleth went on his merry way down to level 2 with a pat on his back. So that the party wouldn’t run into the revenant cutting his way to his targets the moment they got down, I made the revenant’s Vengeful Tracker feature not work so great, and Halleth didn’t detect one of his targets, the dwarf thief Copper, nearby. Halleth proceeded to wander the level looking in the general location of his targets (this floor), going “off stage.” After some shenanigans, the party eventually bought Copper off the goblin slavers he was held by and forced him to guide them to level 3. Copper got lost, got knocked unconscious by some giant spiders, and while the party rested waiting for Copper to wake up Halleth showed up again and the party let him kill Copper. The revenant then left again, and continued to wander level 2 “off stage.” That was the last time the party saw Halleth.
Regarding Halaster: he has showed up a few times to chat with the party, prank them with harmless gifts, and give exposition. He’s known to the party as completely insane, super powerful, but as of now someone who won’t harm them if they don’t attack first.
Halleth’s quest for vengeance is mostly happening in the background as of now. No doubt it will return to the forefront whenever the party needs to backtrack to level 2, but I wanted to have Halaster play a bad prank on the party.
My idea was that Halaster will add the party to the revenant’s target list at some point, and from then on Halleth serves as a hunter in the dungeon, a constant threat to the party unless they find a way to trap him. I mainly want to do this as a way to add danger to resting in the middle of the dungeon without random encounters, as a way to showcase that Halaster isn’t the party’s friend, potentially introduce a plot line where the party teams up with the evil adventurers who originally killed Halleth, cameo old NPCs the party has killed who’s bodies Halleth now possess, and potentially introduce a plot point where the party tries to convince Halaster to free Halleth’s soul in exchange for a favor—nobody should owe Halaster a favor.
I’m unsure how well this will go, since I don’t want to take away player agency and an established NPC they’d built some rapport with. Can you think of alternatives to achieve the benefits?
What’s your opinions?
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