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In Search of Asberdies (Info, that is)

 
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Luz
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:09 am    Post subject: In Search of Asberdies (Info, that is) Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm running D1-2 (5e rules) and my players decided bypass the Grand Cavern to explore the Underdark. We're having a wonderful time with it, I'm relying heavily on Encycopedia Subterranica (from the folks at Dragonsfoot) to fill in the blanks.

I have planned to move Asberdies from area 7 of the Grand Cavern to another location in the Underdark, where he rules over a necropolis of ghouls and other undead (he provides the ghoul and ghast reinforcements for the drow in the cavern). Since he will be a major villain in our campaign, I am trying to find more info on his past. I've read the Yeomanry material provided in LGG and wondered if there is any other source of info about him.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction?

Cheers,

Luz
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unofficial, but:

The Yaheetes and Tyrus: The Wars Against the Hand and the Eye in the Sheldomar

There was some more discussion in this thread.
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Luz
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
Unofficial, but:

The Yaheetes and Tyrus: The Wars Against the Hand and the Eye in the Sheldomar

There was some more discussion in this thread.


Awesome, thanks Rasgon, especially for the article by Samwise. It's an excellent read.
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SouthernGent
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps you can adapt the old Dungeon adventure "Kingdom of the Ghouls" Replace Doresain with Asberdies.
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Luz
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SouthernGent wrote:
Perhaps you can adapt the old Dungeon adventure "Kingdom of the Ghouls" Replace Doresain with Asberdies.


Some embellished background: after being overthrown and forced to flee the (not-yet-called) Yeomanry, Asberdies returned to Slerotin's Tunnel only to find it completely sealed. Through magic, he managed to access a few miles of the tunnel that had not been sealed and discovered the remnants of House Lerara that had been trapped, but most had escaped the tunnel through a small passage leading into the Underdark. Asberdies followed the passage and tracked some of the Lerara, most of whom were half-starved and infirm by this point. Seeing them as little use, he summoned a nabassu demon and fed the helpless survivors to it, turning them into ghouls and ghasts to serve the lich as the foundation of his new beginning.

IMC, I've borrowed from a few sources and blended it with some homebrew material. "Kingdom of the Ghouls" is one of those sources, definitely, but I like ghouls and ghasts to be more bestial and less like the organized army they are portrayed as in KotG. Still, its a great module and I will use bits and pieces. For instance, in my game Asberdies (like Doresain) invaded a gnome settlement and drove out the svirfneblin and now occupies it with his undead minions. He sought a large deposit of dweornite that the svirfneblin jealously guarded and now spends much of his time analyzing and researching the magical ore.

Asberdies has had some success improving on ghouls and ghasts, endowing some of them with fossilized flesh, lashing tongues, and/or an atrophy attack.

I want to include an NPC or faction in the lair that may assist the party, but I'm still working on that. Some sort of "enemy of my enemy" ally (or allies), just haven't quite found the right idea yet.

Out of the Abyss provides a nice map of a gnome city (Blingdenstone in the FR) that I will use, and I may steal some of the material from that module for my game as well.

Still hammering out ideas, any suggestions or feedback is most welcome.

Luz
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grodog
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SouthernGent wrote:
Perhaps you can adapt the old Dungeon adventure "Kingdom of the Ghouls" Replace Doresain with Asberdies.


Baur also wrote a sequel to it called "Empire of the Ghouls" via his Patreon-like Open Design projects in the mid-2000s: see https://web.archive.org/web/20090901141756/http://www.wolfgangbaur.com/projects/Empire_of_the_Ghouls.php for some background.

The true ghouls also returned in The Age of Worms AP from Paizo, in "A Gathering of Winds" in Dragon #129.

Allan.
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grodog
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luz wrote:
For instance, in my game Asberdies (like Doresain) invaded a gnome settlement and drove out the svirfneblin and now occupies it with his undead minions. He sought a large deposit of dweornite that the svirfneblin jealously guarded and now spends much of his time analyzing and researching the magical ore.


You might also find RJK's Tower of Blood of interest here: it features undead, shadow-corrupted gnomes infesting a tower in the underdark. Some cover info and maps @ https://www.facebook.com/pg/BlackBladePublishing/photos/?tab=album&album_id=421913924638232

Allan.
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Luz
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grodog wrote:
You might also find RJK's Tower of Blood of interest here: it features undead, shadow-corrupted gnomes infesting a tower in the underdark. Some cover info and maps @ https://www.facebook.com/pg/BlackBladePublishing/photos/?tab=album&album_id=421913924638232


Thanks Allan, I am very interested in that module. Coincidentally, I had toyed with the idea that Asberdies dabbled with shadowstuff (maybe infusing ghouls with it, etc.), so Tower of Blood looks like it would fit that idea very well.

It appears to be unavailable for sale tho, as its not listed on the Black Blade Publishing website
Sad

Luz
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Grodog, that version of the Empire of the Ghouls has been an adventure I've always wanted to get my hands on. Do you own it? Could you comment on how different it is from the Dungeon magazine version? Is it an expansion of what came before or a whole different adventure?

Any interesting Greyhawk tidbits?
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking through The Slayer's Guide to Undead by Gary Gygax and Jon Creffield, and there's a story hook in that where in a subterranean realm, the player characters are approached by a pack of ghouls, cursed with the inability to eat after they refused to serve an even darker presence. They offer to become the PCs' allies against their common enemy, though it's not at all clear they can be trusted.

The gholle and ghulaz in that book, which originally appeared in the Gord the Rogue series, and their associated demon lords might have a variety of possible interactions with Asberdies as servants or enemies, or both.

Asberdies' House of Malhel seems to have possessed rituals for summoning malign entities from the Elemental Planes, such as Bwimb.
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grodog
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luz wrote:
grodog wrote:
You might also find RJK's Tower of Blood of interest here: it features undead, shadow-corrupted gnomes infesting a tower in the underdark. Some cover info and maps @ https://www.facebook.com/pg/BlackBladePublishing/photos/?tab=album&album_id=421913924638232


Thanks Allan, I am very interested in that module. Coincidentally, I had toyed with the idea that Asberdies dabbled with shadowstuff (maybe infusing ghouls with it, etc.), so Tower of Blood looks like it would fit that idea very well.


Excellent! :D

Luz wrote:
It appears to be unavailable for sale tho, as its not listed on the Black Blade Publishing website
Sad


The Black Blade site is down until we finish rebuilding it, but you can view our published products via Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/pg/BlackBladePublishing/photos/?tab=albums and order from Black Blade via FB or email, as detailed on my blog @ https://grodog.blogspot.com/2017/06/how-to-order-tales-of-peril-and-other.html

Let me know if you need more info/help on ordering, Luz.

Allan.
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grodog
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edmundscott wrote:
Hey, Grodog, that version of the Empire of the Ghouls has been an adventure I've always wanted to get my hands on. Do you own it? Could you comment on how different it is from the Dungeon magazine version? Is it an expansion of what came before or a whole different adventure?

Any interesting Greyhawk tidbits?


I shared some map info with Maldin for him to add EotG to his UnderOerth maps @ http://melkot.com/locations/underdark/underdark-region.html but I've not gone back and re-read the adventure in quite awhile. My recollection is that the setting was built out significantly more, and that it had about the same level of Greyhawk-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off lore as the Dungeon #70 adventure. But it's been awhile....

I'll add it to the "to do" list for my site updates :D

Allan.
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Luz
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
I was looking through The Slayer's Guide to Undead by Gary Gygax and Jon Creffield, and there's a story hook in that where in a subterranean realm, the player characters are approached by a pack of ghouls, cursed with the inability to eat after they refused to serve an even darker presence. They offer to become the PCs' allies against their common enemy, though it's not at all clear they can be trusted.

The gholle and ghulaz in that book, which originally appeared in the Gord the Rogue series, and their associated demon lords might have a variety of possible interactions with Asberdies as servants or enemies, or both.


Excellent ideas and exactly what I'm looking for. I think the presence of gholles and/or ghulaz (unsure how to pluralize "ghulaz") would create a schism with a pack of embittered ghouls (and gnoll-ghouls) loyal to Yeenoghu. Perhaps instead of the inability-to-eat curse, they are being rationed and starved by the bigger, more powerful gholle and ghulaz. I do like that curse tho...

To broaden this a little further, some of the ghouls willing to ally themselves with the PCs could be original descendants of House Lerara, providing the PCs with some relevant info of Asberdies as well as me a voice to provide some of the backstory (I have a few GH history buffs in my game that love this sort of thing).

rasgon wrote:
Asberdies' House of Malhel seems to have possessed rituals for summoning malign entities from the Elemental Planes, such as Bwimb.

This is great stuff, rasgon, thanks again for the input. I had plans to include an elder earth elemental guardian somewhere in the gnome warrens that the party could seek out, but I may rethink that plan and include something more along these lines. Maybe the gnomes summoned the earth elemental as their protector when Asberdies attacked, but was turned against the gnomes by some sort of Bwimb-corrupted magic cast by Asberdies. Lots to consider here.
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Luz
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grodog wrote:
The Black Blade site is down until we finish rebuilding it, but you can view our published products via Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/pg/BlackBladePublishing/photos/?tab=albums and order from Black Blade via FB or email, as detailed on my blog @ https://grodog.blogspot.com/2017/06/how-to-order-tales-of-peril-and-other.html

Let me know if you need more info/help on ordering, Luz.

Allan.

Thanks, Alan. I just sent an email to Black Blade, hopefully we can get the ball rolling from there!
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another idea: what happened to the leaders that Asberdies deposed when he took over the Yeoman lands? Could they still be his undead thralls?
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Osmund-Davizid
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:52 pm    Post subject: An alternate source Reply with quote

As an alternate version of this lich, Nathan Irving did an article that had a different backstory and had some good fluff to add to the character's history. This was done on the old Codex of Greyhawk fansite.

If you can find a wayback machine link to the old Codex of Greyhawk - you can find his article. I was able to find it after some looking, but I lost the link. If anyone else out there knows of it, please let us know.

Now that I am on the subject, the old Codex of Greyhawk was an absolutely great site. If you can get some of the old articles from wayback, you will not regret it.

O-D
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vestcoat
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:21 pm    Post subject: Re: An alternate source Reply with quote

Osmund-Davizid wrote:
As an alternate version of this lich, Nathan Irving did an article that had a different backstory and had some good fluff to add to the character's history. This was done on the old Codex of Greyhawk fansite.

If you can find a wayback machine link to the old Codex of Greyhawk - you can find his article. I was able to find it after some looking, but I lost the link. If anyone else out there knows of it, please let us know.

There's a link to that Asberdies article on the sidebar here (http://mcgillsociety.org/dnd/dnd-misc/codex/greyhawk/greyhawk.htm) under "Kits, Characters..." but the link is busted and wayback doesn't have it. ACK


Last edited by vestcoat on Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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vestcoat
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found it! A whole article on Asberdies (top of the drop-down menu under "KITS, CHARACTERS, & CREATURES":
http://web.archive.org/web/20020604103528/http://216.10.17.109/
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for providing that link, Vestcoat. I remember that article from waaaay back. Happy

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Luz
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
Another idea: what happened to the leaders that Asberdies deposed when he took over the Yeoman lands? Could they still be his undead thralls?

Good point, and I don't see why not. They would certainly have good cause for defecting and also be a source for filling in the historical gaps if the party successfully parleys with them. Taking this a bit further, maybe one of these leaders is a revenant seeking vengeance against Asberdies - although revenants only have a year to complete their task, so I'd have to account for this somehow.

In a similar vein, Asberdies could have a captured commander from the Keoland forces that helped the Yeoman farmers overthrow him. (I read somewhere that Keoish soldiers had allied with the Yeoman people. Not sure if its canon, but its hard to believe a bunch of farmers defeated a lich by themselves). This commander could be a skeleton warrior now under Asberdies' control, serving as his bodyguard.
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Luz
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:13 pm    Post subject: Re: An alternate source Reply with quote

vestcoat wrote:
Osmund-Davizid wrote:
As an alternate version of this lich, Nathan Irving did an article that had a different backstory and had some good fluff to add to the character's history. This was done on the old Codex of Greyhawk fansite.

If you can find a wayback machine link to the old Codex of Greyhawk - you can find his article. I was able to find it after some looking, but I lost the link. If anyone else out there knows of it, please let us know.

There's a link to that Asberdies article on the sidebar here (http://mcgillsociety.org/dnd/dnd-misc/codex/greyhawk/greyhawk.htm) under "Kits, Characters..." but the link is busted and wayback doesn't have it. ACK

Interesting take on Asberdies, thanks for the tip O.D. and for the link, vestcoat. I think it makes a terrific way to explain Asberdies' presence in the grand cavern, but his story is a little too tragic for my campaign plans. I prefer to have him as a dyed-in-the-wool evil villain and a foil for my players, without the remorse or conflicting morality. Rather than explain what ultimately led Asberdies into isolation (as Nathan Irving so deftly has), I've taken the opposite approach by moving him elsewhere in the underdark and giving him ambition and purpose. Both work, it all depends on how active a villain the DM wants Asberdies to be. YMMV.

Strangely enough, as much as I prefer him as a Suel of House Malhel, I'm not sold on the Suel lich. It's such a rarity that my players face a lich, I suppose I'm old-fashioned and want the classic lich with a phylactery.
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