Warning: this post might contain spoilers from Lost Mine of Phandelver, In Volo’s Wake and Out of the Abyss.
I’ve recently been running a regular 5th edition D&D group at Games Laboratory on Wednesday nights. We started out with In Volo’s Wake, a six-part adventure that was released digitally at the same time as Volo’s Guide to Monsters. However, the adventure paths offered in In Volo’s Wake are pretty linear, so I worked out some ways to incorporate some of the side plots from Lost Mine of Phandelver (which is set in the same area, around the town of Phandalin) and a couple of the dungeons from Tales from the Yawning Portal (which I haven’t used yet, so won’t talk about here). I also did a survey of my players to find out what kind of locations, villains and monsters they were interested in, which gave me the sense that we could start Out of the Abyss once we’d finished all of the In Volo’s Wake quests.
Two weeks ago, the party travelled to Old Owl Well, looking for Master Aumaro, who was investigating the yuan-ti cult at a quarry nearby. I decided to include the red wizard who is at Old Owl Well in Lost Mine of Phandelver with his zombie minions. The party destroyed most of his zombies (besides two that they pushed into the well) but the wizard ended up casting misty step to escape.
At our most recent session I had the orchardist Daran Edermath approach the party in Phandalin and ask them if they could find out what the Red Wizard is looking for at Old Owl Well. They found out that he was looking for ancient magical knowledge from the fallen Netheril Empire. He asked the party to accompany him down the well, but they killed him instead, and then descended into the well.
They wound a steep stairway going deep into the earth. On the walls of the stairway were bas reliefs of elves and giant snakes descending into the earth, possibly connecting the Netheril Empire to the secret, hidden knowledge of the yuan-ti that the party had encountered in the previous session. Eventually they came to a place where the stairs dropped off in to a great fissure with a building in the middle – the Lost Tomb of Khaem from Out of the Abyss. So we now have one location where the party could begin to explore the Underdark if they wish to go in that direction.