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🎨 Creative Help me brainstorm a BBEG for Dungeon of the Mad Mage

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
#1
So I'm preparing to run Dungeon of the Mad Mage, but I need to do some work to make it, well, have a story. What I have so far:

The characters have joined (either knowingly or under some false pretense) "AfterLife Incorporated", a unique for-profit organization that essentially provides reincarnation assistance for adventurers. But I want this to be the cover for some high-powered "soul monger" type bad guy, who is using AfterLife to either gain leverage over or consume the souls of powerful adventurers.

So the idea is that, as low level schmucks they're delving into Undermountain for fame and glory. If they die, they can pay to be reincarnated. But as they go on, they'll learn more about this sinister shadow organization and realize that they've basically "sold their soul to the devil" and have to then either come to terms with that in order to best Halaster or fight back against this sinister force in order to save their souls. But I don't (necessarily) want to use a devil. I'd like to come up with some unique, powerful force that would have the power and motivation to resurrect people and harvest souls, either to eat or for some other purpose.

Thoughts?
 

Crinos

Be inspired!
Validated User
#2
Maybe its a cult dedicated to Nerull, the Neutral Evil God of the Death that the Raven Queen killed in order to ascend to Godhood. Maybe every time they resurrect somebody, they siphon a bit of power away from the Raven Queen, weakening her so they can eventually revive Nerull. Maybe the leader of the organization is Nerull himself, reborn as a mortal.
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
#3
Ooh, I actually like that, because I can tie it into another thing I've been pondering: Halaster made some pact with a powerful entity to gain more time and power, but when his "bill came due", he skipped town to Waterdeep, holed up in Undermountain, and has been killing any emissaries sent to "collect" as they contend with Undermountain to try to get to him.

So maybe one of the elder gods (I'd have to read up) basically said "whoever brings me Halaster Blackcloak is the rightful god of death", so now there is a "contest" between followers of the Raven Queen and cultists of Nerull. It also gives a reason to be gunning for Halaster besides boredom.
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
#4
And actually, if I open the aperture and make the contest "bring me Halaster Blackcloak and I will grant you one favor", it could create all kinds of motives for people to be throwing themselves at Undermountain...
 

Azimer the Mad

Knight of Chaos
Validated User
#5
Dragon+ has a great free article somewhere on how Halaster could be the possessed minion of the sentient dungeon, chomping at his bonds and trying to get the PCs to kill him to free his spirit and collapse Undermountain but he can't directly say anything.
 

Crimson Carcharodon

Formerly 'CrimsonCarcharodon'
Validated User
#6
Maybe its a cult dedicated to Nerull, the Neutral Evil God of the Death that the Raven Queen killed in order to ascend to Godhood. Maybe every time they resurrect somebody, they siphon a bit of power away from the Raven Queen, weakening her so they can eventually revive Nerull. Maybe the leader of the organization is Nerull himself, reborn as a mortal.
I'm totally stealing this. That's such a great campaign seed.
 

Crinos

Be inspired!
Validated User
#7
I'm totally stealing this. That's such a great campaign seed.
Thanks.

I mean its kind of a no brainer. Even if no one ever did anything with Nerull, he was a Greater God and he had worshipers and minions and a domain, I can't imagine any of them would just take their boss being killed and his position usurped laying down.
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
#8
Dragon+ has a great free article somewhere on how Halaster could be the possessed minion of the sentient dungeon, chomping at his bonds and trying to get the PCs to kill him to free his spirit and collapse Undermountain but he can't directly say anything.
I tried finding it but failed. Any chance you could see if you can find it and link it?
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
#9
Thanks.

I mean its kind of a no brainer. Even if no one ever did anything with Nerull, he was a Greater God and he had worshipers and minions and a domain, I can't imagine any of them would just take their boss being killed and his position usurped laying down.
It just occurred to me that Nerull and the Raven Queen are both Greyhawk deities... I could change it to Bhaal and Kelemvor maybe. Or make a new death cult looking to supplant Kelemvor and ascend their leader to godhood.
 

LibraryLass

Feminazgûl
Validated User
#10
It just occurred to me that Nerull and the Raven Queen are both Greyhawk deities... I could change it to Bhaal and Kelemvor maybe. Or make a new death cult looking to supplant Kelemvor and ascend their leader to godhood.
RQ is a Nentir Vale deity, actually. And thanks to Xanathar's Guide and Mordenkainen's Tome, she seems to have gone more or less multiversal, if not necessarily as a goddess.
 
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