Vortigern: What have you guys done with him?

I'm currently working on my Stoneheart Valley + Sword of Air campaign, and was wondering: What have you guys and gals who've run Stoneheart Valley done with Vortigern? Was he just a background-less villain, or did he have a history? What was that history? 

I'm considering making him an illegitimate child of Manisool and Myseri from the Cult of Orcus' secret stronghold in the Claws of Orcus outside Bard's Gate--the intention being that Vortigern has some sort of evidence that reveals Manisool is involved in the cult of orcus, or eventually leads to that conclusion.  

Omote's picture

I simply made him his low-level villian.  Although, when pressed I did come up with a brief background that Vortigern was drummed out of Wizard's Guild of Bard's Gate.  Very basic.


I did settle on the Manisool/Myseri angle for my version of Vortigern (I like my villains to have reasons to be villains); of course, the party won't learn that unless they interrogate Vortigern, rather than kill him outright; only clue they'll have otherwise is a couple letters on him, one of which is from Manisool, but it isn't signs, merely the condescending "I am disappoint" speech from a bad father.

Omote's picture

I have started two campaigns with The Wizard's Amulet adventure, and Vortigern appeared in both campaigns, obviously.  However, since this was such a low-level affair, I didn't really want to build the campaign around the relationship of Corian, Eralion, and Vortigern.  As the players eventually traveled east and onwards to bigger and better things in Fairhill, Crimmor, Bard's Gate, etc. I thought it best to not have Vort as a lingering villain or plot device.  Though, there is nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to get the character's feet wet in the Lost Lands setting with those adventures.  If would be fun if Vortigern did somehow pop up much later in the campaign as a low level menace again, when the characters are of a much higher experience level -- just to show how the character's evolve, but the low level nemisis can't because they are too focused on their own plots and revenge.  ;)


I also tied Vortigern in more with the Stoneheart Mountain Dungeon, showing that he's a true cultist of Orcus, as well as a power-grabbing maniac. 

Limper's picture

So, I'm running a game on Roll20 right now using the Adventures in Middle-Earth 5E ruleset but in a generic fantasy homebrew world (i.e. without spells; magic is more subtle and mysterious), and I ran the party through Wizard's Amulet, Crucible, and Lost City of Barakus (which is where they are now). They managed to kill Vortigern at the farmhouse, shooting him down with arrows before he could get away. The mountain dwarf in the party tossed a bag of flour on him, exposing him to ranged fire, ha! 

Well, long story short, a few sessions later when they got to Eralion's Keep, and the battle was raging, at the appropriate moment, I had V walk out of the chapel. And everybody's jaw just dropped. (There is no Raise Dead spell in this game.) They had burned his body. I basically took some of Voldemort's story and made it where V is a wicked sorcerer, and through his pacts with evil entities in the Great Beyond, he basically learned how to create a "horcrux," preserving his life even after death as his soul is tethered to the world. He actually harvests his own children and possesses them when they grow up so he can keep coming back, although each time, he looks a little bit different. (Now there's a reason why a different actor plays him in the sequels.)

He's basically morphed into the big bad guy of the campaign. My players hate him...but they love it, too.