ICEWIND DALE: Alternative Options in Good Mead

This is BDC and I’ve been DMing through the Rime of the Frost Maiden with a mix of seasoned role-players, one returning player from 2E and his wife who is new to all of this. But I’ve found it necessary to switch up some things here and there. But isn’t that what it’s all about? We take what Wotc gives us and spin it for our players. But, in Good Mead, we really flipped the narrative.

THIS IS MOSTLY FOR DMS. SO, IF YOU DON”T WANT TO BE SPOILED, PLAYERS, YOU MIGHT NOT KEEP READING!

KILLER GIANT?

The main encounter in Good Mead involves a murderous giant who kills the speaker and takes a shipment of mead and disappears into the cold, dark forest. And, as it was with my group who have banded together to work for an Adventurer’s Guild out of Bryn Shander, they didn’t waste time tracking this monster down!

The only problem? The Verbeeg are considered rather intelligent by giant standards. And my players had just come from Easthaven where the hag was stewing dwarves. So I just couldn’t do the dwarf over the open fire. So, I flipped it.

First off, the information they were given was false. The Verbeeg left the speaker with a few broken ribs and a busted arm, but he was alive. After the giantkin left the town and before all of the people came to see what was happening, someone smashed the speaker’s face in; killing him.

Now, this left a situation. They were a bit trigger happy and could totally murderize everything in the cave home of Gahg, the Verbeeg. The trick was if they were to actually talk to the giantkin, they would realize that he’s a bit confused as to what theft is (see any writeup on Verbeegs), but he isn’t a murderer. So, you have to leave it up to the players. Give them the info and let them decide.

Fortunately, they did have a word with Gahg; mainly because the cave didn’t look like the lair of some murderous monster. I replaced the dwarf on the fire with venison and the fact that it was made up like a cozy little home installed with cute, adorable goats. A few words in and they realized something was up. They had a good visit and talked Gahg into giving back what was left of the ale and promised to return.

DARK POLITICS

The second adventure hook in Good Mead had to do with the vacancy left by the dead Speaker and who was to take his place. What I did was to simply lean heavily into this side and made the death of the Speaker political. Once they realized that someone was lying, they went back to the town hall and talked them man who gave them info.

Long story short, one of those who were being considered as the Speaker’s replacement, Shandar, the logger, was in deep with some seedy types and either bashed the speaker dead or one of his accomplices did.

BIG SPOILER!! So if you players have hung around, you need to skeedatal!

The ‘seedy types’ were some of the darkest. The Zhentarim, a dark organization bent on controlling everything they can get their hands on is the dark entity that’s manipulating the politics in Good Mead to gain control.

The party goes to find Shandar who is sitting vigil over the dead Speaker’s body in the Shrine to Tempus a war god who inspired the good people of Good Mead during the conflicts between the towns of Ten Towns long ago. They confront him. They insight the truth and Shandar begins to break.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about…” He says as he wags his head toward the stairs in the shrine tipping them off that the spies are upstairs. They rush up and get into a battle with a pack of Zhentarim. Mostly caught by surprise, they obliterate most and chase the others down for interrogation.

GETTING ANSWERS

Shandar took off when the PCs went upstairs and one of the spies they captured poisoned himself so he couldn’t talk. The one left was a green kid who had just joined up when they were in Easthaven. He knew NOTHING. But he was in over his head. But, instead of killing him or giving him to the authorities, they took him in; promising protection. One of the PCs is a Rogue secretly running a guild our of Bryn Shadar and is highly interested in increasing power and teaching this kid to become an adequate rogue could come in handy.

BURNING THE SHRINE

Yes, you heard me right.

Another of my PCs is a young cleric of Lathander/Amaunator. He rolled high on his Religion check and realized that Tempus wasn’t as holy a god as the cleric could stomach. He lit the shrine on fire with the speakers body inside. Something about ‘purifying his soul’.

The rest of the town knew they were not powerful enough to stop them and in one move, they were the new Speaker. They still haven’t discussed this part, but it should be interesting.

Bottom line, they’ve made an enemy in the Zhentarim and that could prove fatal. We’ll see.

Until next time, this is BDC of the Magic Tavern in the sunless wasteland of the Ten Towns awaiting my party’s next move!

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