I have read some excellent posts on this reddit about the Essentials Kit adventure, and I will be using some of that advice in the future when I run through DoIP. However, I also like to make adventures my own, and this one in particular needs quite a bit of wrangling to tie the story together into a cohesive whole, especially for those who want to run the follow up adventures from DND Beyond. What follows are just some thoughts I have on the story, and I would love to hear input from others.
I would like to give credit to Bashamguy's incredible post found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/DMAcademy/comments/e77dmi/dragon_of_icespire_peak_revised/
- Talos is Gruumsh? -In 4th edition, it was said that Talos was an aspect of the orc god Gruumsh, but the second sundering in 5th edition re-established Talos as his own being again. However, I like the idea that believing Talos is Gruumsh is a heresy among orcs, and some still believe it to be true. The half-orc anchorites are trying to spread the heresy among the orcs, recruiting some of them, while others refuse to believe it. That will give me essentially two different factions of orcs in my game.
- The Gods of Fury – The inclusion of the wererats gave me the idea to include Malar the Beastlord, god of evil lycanthropes, as one of the gods of fury who work with Talos. Basically, the two gods are working together to spread chaos and destroy civilization on the sword coast. I would likely give the lycanthropes a larger role in the adventure, including them elsewhere.
- The dragon – Bashamguy suggested changing the dragon into a blue or storm dragon to match the theme of Talos. I thought that was an excellent idea, but instead, I plan to use a young red dragon. Why? Simply because I have a mini for a red dragon and not a blue. 🙂 While yes a white would make more sense for an ice mountain and a blue for the storm theme, I will explain later how I will work a red into the story.
- The Seeds of Chaos – Long ago, the gods of fury created the Seeds of Chaos, giving them to their most devoted followers. There are three such seeds, each of which grants different powers. The anchorites of Talos found them hidden in an old Netherese ruin deep in the Neverwinter Wood, and they now seek to use their power to spread chaos and destroy civilization in the area.
- The Seed of Unrestrained Growth – When planted in fertile soil, this seed will sprout a corrupted tree (Gulthias tree), which causes the area around it to spring forth blighted growth that will continue to spread outward unrestrained, unless the seed is found and removed. Grannoc plants this seed at the Woodland Manse.
- The Seed of Perpetual Storm – This seed, when planted on a high place will cause storm clouds to gather and create a thunderstorm above its location, which grows more violent and begins to spread throughout the area. In addition, the worshipper of Talos who plants the seed may perform a ritual to summon Gorthok the Thunder Boar. Yargath plants this seed at the Circle of Thunder.
- The Seed of Unquenchable Flame – A third anchorite of Talos took this seed to Icefire peak. Yes you read correctly. I am changing Icespire peak to IceFIRE peak. In my game it will be a dormant volcano, which is now covered in snow at its peak. Unfortunately, this third anchorite did not realize a young red dragon had chosen this peak for its lair. The dragon devoured the half-orc and also the seed in the process. The seed gave this young dragon the ability to transform its lair into an active volcano once again. Icefire peak threatens to erupt, possibly endangering Phandalin if it does. At the beginning of the campaign, one of the ominous signs of danger in the area is that smoke rises again from Icefire Peak.
- Back to the Orcs – As written in the module, the dragon displaces the orcs from Icespire hold (renamed Icefire hold). Some of the orcs are convinced that the dragon is now a chosen of Gruumsh who is Talos and join with the anchorites, while others do not believe the heresy and choose to go their own way. The party will have the opportunity over the course of the adventure to see the two different groups of orcs and could possibly gain allies in the non-Talos orcs to help stop the plot of Talos and Malar.
These are my ideas so far. When I first read the adventure, I thought it had a lot of great locations and set pieces but lacked a coherent story. I look forward to hearing other ideas about what I have started. I also plan to include mention of Myrkul in the module, probably with the undead at Axeholm, since Myrkul features heavily in the follow-up adventures.
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