Eberronizing "City of the Spider Queen"

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For those unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms adventure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_the_Spider_Queen

Here's my brief summary so that those of you who do not have access to the adventure can still participate in this discussion:


  • The drow city of Maerimydra exists in the Underdark and contains Castle Maerimydra.

  • Maerimydra contains an ambitious archmage named Duneth Wharreil.

  • Lloth abandons the drow.

  • Duneth aids an invading force led by the half-fiend fire giant Kurgoth Hellspawn.

  • Most of the population of Maerimydra dies during the attack.

  • Irae T’sarran, a priestess of Kiaransalee, the drow deity of death and vengeance, uses the attack as an opportunity to seize Castle Maerimydra.

  • Irae T’sarran kills Duneth.

  • Irae T’sarran gathers her forces in Castle Maerimydra and summons Kiaransalee’s Undying Temple to the Material Plane.

  • Survivors of the attack flee to Szith Morcane, a distant outpost of Maerimydra.

  • Irae T’sarran sends agents to Szith Morcane, who kill both the survivors and the local priests of Lloth.

  • The drow of Szith Morcane start making raids against the surface in order to get the PCs involved.

  • Irae T’sarran begins researching a great reverence spell which will simulatenously animate all of the dead bodies in Maerimydra, in full possession of their faculties, bound to her will.

  • The PCs have to fight their way through Szith Morcane, find out about Irae's ritual, fight their way through the Underdark to Maerimydra, get past Kurgoth's siege, clear out Castle Maerimydra, fight through the Undying Temple, and stop Irae's ritual.


And here's my plan for running this in Eberron:


  • The Umbragen city under the Ring of Storms contains Qabalrin ruins (and the Heart of Siberys, into which the souls of the Qabalrin have been bound).

  • A force of aberrations led by (some lieutenant of a daelkyr) attacks, lured there by Irae T’sarran, who is a citizen of the Umbragen city who is loyal to Erandis Vol.

  • Most of the population of the Umbragen city under the Ring of Storms dies during the attack.

  • Irae T’sarran uses the attack as an opportunity to seize the Qabalrin ruins and the Heart of Siberys.

  • Umbragen survivors of the attack flee to the Umbragen city of Szith Morcane, located beneath Stormreach.

  • Irae T’sarran gathers her forces in the Qabalrin ruins and uses the Heart of Siberys to create the Undying Temple, which acts as an undead manifest zone of Mabar.

  • The manifest zone begins spreading and corrupting the nearby area.

  • Irae T’sarran sends Dorina T’sarran to Szith Morcane, who kills the city’s Umbragen leadership and enslaves the drow there.

  • Lady Vol begins researching a ritual that will allow Lady Vol to use her Mark of Death, turning her into the Queen of Death. She could then with a wave of her hand, simultaneously animate all of the dead bodies in Maerimydra, in full possession of their faculties, bound to her will.

  • The Umbragen drow of Szith Morcane are forced to start making raids in Stormreach in order to find components that Irae T’sarran needs for her ritual.

  • The PCs have to rescue the drow of Szith Morcane from Dorina, find out about Irae's ritual, fight their way through Khyber to Maerimydra, get past the aberrations laying siege to the Qabalrin ruins, fight through the Undying Temple, and stop Irae's ritual.



It doesn't feel very "Eberron-ish" to me, though: it feels too straightforward. Can anyone give me any advice for how to make this adventure arc more emotionally engaging for my players? Thanks!
Suddenly I really want to run this with derro instead of drow and place it under the Mror Holds. Can anyone assist me with filling in the blanks?
Maybe instead of a Dwarven city getting attacked, the Derro could be coming out of Noldrunthrone. The beginning of that City of the Spiderqueen adventure says that the Drow city was taken over by monsters right? Well, Noldrunhold fell quite sometime ago, but it fits the bill if you say it was taken over by a Daelkyr and its minions. That Daelkyr has spent centuries twisting the survivors of the hold into its servants and now is beginning to act. Derro are attacking Dwarven outposts and mines throughout the holds, and disappearing into the wild before any real counter attack can be brought against them. The Dwarven clans are getting angry that their wealth is being stolen, and the PCs are drawn in by a member of House Kundarak seeking a band of Derro who managed to infiltrate one of the vaults and escape with a valuable item.

But this is Eberron, and there is always something deeper. What that Kundarak Lord isn't telling the PCs is that the item stolen was part of an Eldritch Machine that Kundarak recovered from Noldrunthrone after the hold fell to monsters. The machine was intended to summon and bind a Daelkyr to the chieftan of the clan, in a bid to finally crush the other clans and unite them under one banner. But the makers of the machine were plagued by visions and nightmares, the influence of the very Daelkyr they intended to bind. The visions drive them to alter the machine, so that it can break the wards that keep the Daelkyr imprisoned in Khyber, believing that is the only way to truly access the Daelkyr's full might. In the end, the machine is only partially successful in freeing the Daelkyr, as the chieftan, realizing that his wizards have been corrupted, destroys the machine just before the Daelkyr can break free. It is too late to save his kingdom, as the Daelkyr's minions pour through the weakened bounds of the Gatekeeper seals to flood through Noldrunhold, but the chieftan entrusts the broken remnants of the machine to a small group of survivors who flee the hold. The survivors find their way to Kundarakhold, and tell the chieftan there of what has happened, and ask him to use the powers of the Mark of Warding to seal the fragments of the machine. The Kundarak chieftan agrees to do this, and the survivors eventually join the bloodlines of other holds as the terrible fate of Noldrunhold is kept as a secret by clan Kundarak.

This leads to the present day. While the bindings of the Gatekeepers are weak enough in Noldrunhold for the Daelkyr's servants to walk freely, the Daelkyr remains bound. Now he is sending the Derro, the twisted result of his experimentation with the prisoners taken from Clan Noldrun, to attack other clans to draw attention from his real objective: the fragments of the eldritch machine that can free it. With each clan devoting its resources to guard against possible attacks against far flung outposts and trade routes, there are less available soldiers to oppose his minions from their objective. The PCs are then drawn in because House Kundarak knows why these particular vaults are being targeted, and has an idea what's going, but needs to address the situation without revealing the secret it has been hiding from the other clans. The PCs could try to guard the next vault expected to be attacked, only to find it pilfered while they are distracted by a group of Derro. Tracing the thieves, they will have to find out where the attacks are originating from (Kundarak knows but can't risk the anger of the other clans finding out), discover the significance of the items stolen, find a way into Noldrunhold (the passes have been blocked off or are infested with monsters), fight the servants of the Daelkyr in Noldrunthrone, make their way to the center of the Chieftans old palace, and stop the eldritch machine from being completed and releasing the Daelkyr Lord from its bonds.

For extra fun, the Kundarak Heir who informs the PCs of the attacks is actually working for the Daelkyr Lord. Its not an easy task to slip into a Kundarak vault, not unless you've got a man working on the inside! And this is Eberron, moral ambiguity is your bread and butter, so reveal to your players that the Kundrarak heir is being manipulated against his will. He is descended from one of the survivors of Noldrunhold, and the Daelkyr Lord has spent four centuries learning the secrets of the dwarven soul. Through terrible rituals and constant experimentation on the poor heir's family line, the Daelkyr has learned to control the heir's very blood, and can force the poor man to do whatever it desires, filling his mind with horrible visions when he tries to resist. Can the PCs save this innocent man from the twisted abomination that conspires to use him to doom his own people, or is his sacrifice the price they must pay to save a nation?

Also, if you have a Dwarf in your party, then bring up another plot point that to repair the eldritch machine, the blood of the man who destroyed it must be used to restore it. The chieftan is long dead, but his son was among the survivors who brought the fragments of the machine to Kundarak. And guess who is descended from the chieftan's son and therefore is the only living being left who can restore that eldritch device? Three guesses and the first two don't count!

Anyway, that's how I'd do it. Something like that anyway.
That's extremely awesome! So awesome that it's going to take my a while to wrap my head around the changes, but I'll post here again to let you know how I've adjusted my plans.

Thank you so much! 
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y158/Biscut/oh-stop-it-you_large.jpg)
Having run the adventure in the FR, a minor warning: it is very easy to turn into one long slugfest with little to no social interaction. The adventure contains enough hooks for more interaction, such as the Lloth worshipping refugee with the bebeliths, the conflict between the wizards and the priests in the outpost and the rebellious giants in the city itself. These three things proved to be vital in my campaign to keep the roleplaying going and get the much necessary breaks in the fighting. The adventure itself though has all these factions attack the PCs as well, and if there is one thing the average adventure rarely do, than it is make alliances with things that attack them. So instead I had those groups approach the PCs peacefully at first (which failed misserably with the fire giants, but the players talk about that scene years after the fact). If you replace the derro with the drow, you might end up loosing some of those factions (or they make less sense to talk with) and I don't think that is a good thing.
Having run the adventure in the FR, a minor warning: it is very easy to turn into one long slugfest with little to no social interaction. The adventure contains enough hooks for more interaction, such as the Lloth worshipping refugee with the bebeliths, the conflict between the wizards and the priests in the outpost and the rebellious giants in the city itself. These three things proved to be vital in my campaign to keep the roleplaying going and get the much necessary breaks in the fighting. The adventure itself though has all these factions attack the PCs as well, and if there is one thing the average adventure rarely do, than it is make alliances with things that attack them. So instead I had those groups approach the PCs peacefully at first (which failed misserably with the fire giants, but the players talk about that scene years after the fact). If you replace the derro with the drow, you might end up loosing some of those factions (or they make less sense to talk with) and I don't think that is a good thing.



Thanks for this! I'm definitely planning on cutting out a lot of the fighting, as I prefer to spend no more than half my gaming sessions on combat. A big reason why I started this thread is because I wanted to find more ways to add intrigue, that's what I meant by making the adventure "more emotionally engaging for my players".

I think your concern about being able to interact with derro is valid, so maybe I should go with duergar instead.