I’ve been busy working on regular feature content here on my blog, so I kind of got behind on this LMoP series. Plus, I’ve recently started playing in Adventurer’s League. Adventurer’s League is the organized play set up for D&D 5E. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m meeting a lot of cool people. But I realized that if I run LMoP for Adventurer’s League, I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the remixing and redesigning I’ve talked about in this series. It gave me some food for thought.
Here’s the main thing–I’m not a huge fan of the Forgotten Realms. Yet the Realms is the official setting for all the hardcover adventures published for 5E, and is the official setting for most of AL’s modules as well. Recently AL has made Eberron another option, but there are only a few modules so far, and the official setting guide is a work in progress. At any rate, it’s unlikely that I will run any non-AL games in LMoP anytime soon, and may not run any AL-legal games there either, since there are so many other options for low-level play now. But I feel obligated to finish this series, so here we go.
Agatha evidently has a history in Faerun lore, because she was created by R.A. Salvatore in one of the Forgotten Realms novels, then later added in official Realms material published by WotC. According to the My Realms post on Agatha and Conyberry the Neverwinter Campaign Setting had the most interesting information on this village. I recommend you read the post, it has fascinating possibilities for this area: warwing drakes, orc bandits, werewolf villagers, floating chunks of land resulting from the Spellplague and the merging of Toril and Abeir, descriptions of how banshees typically affect the land around them.
All of the stuff mentioned in that post from My Realms would work if you are running LMoP in the Realms. And since it’s taken from official Realms lore, it’s probably even legal for Adventurer’s League play. But so far this series has mostly been based on what I would do if I were trying to incorporate LMoP into my own homebrew setting.
If I were to place Agatha and Conyberry in my setting, I would skip the banshee business and make Agatha some type of hag. Probably a green hag, since they live in forests. Like banshees, hags are a pretty high level threat for a Tier 1 (Level 1-4) group of PCs. But since this is supposed to be a roleplaying encounter and not a combat one, I think it would work. Here are some other reasons I would make Agatha a hag:
- Agatha is a perfect name for a hag. If you look up famous witches or hags from history or folktales, you’ll see names like Jenny Greenteeth, Peg Powler, Grindylow, Nelly Longarms, and other such colloquial names. Perhaps you could add something to Agatha, such as Agatha Cackle or Agatha Greenskin.
- A green hag would be an appropriate denizen of a green dragon’s forest. Green dragons tend to remake the forest containing their lair into an eery, mystical and dangerous place. Dark, evil or corrupted fey creatures would be very at home in such a forest. The hag could be an ally or servant of the green dragon who also appears in LMoP (at the Ruins of Thundertree). In the Realms, Conyberry isn’t that close to Thundertree…but if you are putting it in your own setting, you can put both in the same large forest.
- Making Agatha a hag opens up so many more adventure hook and story possibilities. Hags like to make bargains. Their bargains often have a steep price, but clever adventurers can sometimes get the better of them, or can deliver on a seemingly impossible condition the hag sets for her assistance. In folklore, Baba Yaga was a fearsome hag–but she did assist heroes at times, and even more often the people she tormented were evil people deserving of punishment. For a more recent example, the three Crones in The Witcher 3 are very much based on the hags and witches of folklore. They protect a region (and one village in particular), but the price for their protection is creepy and gross. Sacrificing an ear, or sending your child into the forest (to be fattened and then eaten) were the price of protection in that game. So for Agatha, perhaps in the current adventure, she could offer information to the PCs…but she demands a favor in return, to be redeemed at some future point.
In my post on setting up nodes in LMoP, I suggested some ways you can plant clues that point to other locations in the area. I won’t go into those here, but depending on whether you keep Agatha true to her history in the Realms (a banshee who for some reason protects Conyberry), or whether you make her into some other form of monster (such as my idea of the green hag)…find ways to connect Agatha and Conyberry to the surrounding areas, and find ways to connect her to the main story of this adventure (the Cragmaws, Wave Echo Cave, and Black Spider).
I hope this has been helpful! Next in our series is an examination of the Ruins of Thundertree. See you next time!