So, Rolth escaped my PCs at the temple of Urgathoa, and, after breaking out Jolistina from Citadel Volshyenek, where would be a good place for him to retreat and scheme against them?
I thought of having him join the Emperor of Old Korvosa, but that seems a little soon to spring him upon the Party again. We just started Book 3 and they will likely run into the Emperor next session. But, since Books 4 and 5 seem to be almost entirely outside Korvosa, does that prevent him from popping up until Book 6?
Just as importantly, who would Rolth turn to for sanctuary now that his Dead Warrens hideout and laboratory at the temple of Urgathoa have been destroyed? I have mixed feelings about him directly allying with the Queen, although I guess it might be possible. Is the Red Mantis a possibility, and where would they pop up? I'm not terribly familiar with Books 4 - 6 yet, so any advice will be much appreciated.
In mine, when the party met with the Emperor, he was there negotiating for some favors/equipment already. When he saw the party, he pretty much went "oh sh---", warned the Emperor about them and then got out of dodge before they could get to him.
He was also dealing with the authorities for bodies from Deathhead, but the party never encountered him.....
While they are off at Scarwall, I'm working out how to incorporate him next. The party has allowed enough to escape already that they are going to see several familiar faces at the castle.
So I've been debating whether to have him picking up the scattered pieces in Old Korvosa.
I think my PCs hate Rolth more than they hate Ileosa. In addition to the Dead Warrens and the temple of Urgathoa, in my campaign he was behind the slaughter at Carowyn Manor, so they feel he's always just one step ahead of them. I'd like to have him show up at least once more and, if he survives, show up somehow in the last book.
Consider replacing the Shadowcount with Rolth for book 5 -- "ooh, we want to kill him" versus "we really need a necromancer to help with this castle full of undead." Might work better if the PCs developed friendly relations with Laori who can serve as a go-between.
Last book is easy -- Ilesoa has someone resurrect him (queens can afford lots of spells in their budget!), no matter what happened to him earlier. Or maybe if the PCs killed him he comes back as some kind of undead and is hanging around the Sunken Queen hoping to get in...
In my campaign Rolth escaped from the temple as well, with his sidekick, one of the PCs’ sisters, whom he kidnapped and brainwashed over 5 years ago. (We actually played this, since we started the AP with the PCs still being children in Lamm’s organization.)
I didn’t want to wait too long to complete the Rolth storyline, so I resolved it during Escape to Old Korvosa, but I decided against making him a lackey to the emperor, which would have diminished his role in the campaign. Instead; I had him exact his own plan of revenge.
The short version is this: he sold his soul in an infernal contract to gain a handful of devil allies for a limited period of time. Next, he kidnapped some of the party’s friends and used them to set up a series of challenges for the PCs in which they had to save these friends. Each challenge was set up as an ambush, but to keep his enemies ‘motivated’, Rolth made sure that each victim could be saved if the heroes wasted no time and rushed headlong into each next challenge. This way he could manipulate them into depleting their resources before facing them himself in the final encounter.
You can read the long version of this story in my journal. The set-up to this scenario starts in this journal entry, although it takes a few more posts before the story actually gets rolling. The story also has links to my relevant deviant art pictures of the tabletop miniature set-up I used, giving you an idea of what my maps looked like.
Anyway, whatever you do with Rolth, he is too intriguing an enemy to let him just disappear. I definitely encourage you to use him again. When he finally died in my campaign, it was one of the most rewarding victories my players ever experienced. I hope my journal can give you some inspiration.
@MrVergee Wow, that's some impressive work!
While I was initially hesitant to use Rolth with the Emperor, it's a logical place for him to regroup as he looks for a new base of operations and access to corpses. He probably views Pilts as more easily manipulated than the Queen, and I view him as a misanthrope at heart. His attempt to play nice with the Urgathoans and Queen's physicians (imbeciles in his mind) nearly ended very badly for him, so he would prefer a situation he can more readily control. He might turn to her as a last resort if he escapes those meddling PCs again!
Finally, he would make a good "finale" for my PCs gaming season. They are about to head back to college so we are unlikely to play again until November or December. We have one more session left, and I'm hoping they get through Book 3 up to the Arkonas. Battling Rolth, their most immediate nemesis so far, would be a good way to end things for the interim.
Hi! I'm a little late to the conversation, and mostly observing (I'm about to start CT in about a month), but wanted to give an option, if you're still looking for a place to put him.
If your PC's really hate this guy that much (though, considering their interactions with Ileosa are likely minimal at this point, so it's not super shocking) maybe play a longer game with him.
There's some tidbits at the back of the book about how to continue the adventure beyond the end of the AP. One of those is delving into the temple beneath Castle Korvosa, where once upon a time the Fangs of Kazavon were held.
There are likely mummified corpses and the like in there. Perhaps Rolth, looking for a hideout after his plans fell apart, stumbled upon a long-lost entrance into the temple, and set up shop before getting trounced by whatever ugly spirits/monsters currently reside in a ~400 year-old temple. After making a bargain, he gets turned into a nasty undead himself (he is a necromancer after all). The obvious choice is lich, but you could go other, weirder directions too. Ghost, for example (incorporeal casters are SO freaking frustrating) or maybe juju zombie/zombie lord.
Now, that doesn't mean he has to disappear completely until the end of the AP. With plenty of corpses to work with inside the ancient temple (I would assume) he could occasionally use scrying and undead minions/hired lackeys to mess with the PC's. He probably doesn't expect them to die from his efforts, and maybe wouldn't want them to anyway; someone as sadistic as Lamm would probably want to draw out his vengeance as long as possible. Perhaps ghouls disguised as lepers jump the party in the middle of the Trial of Cindermaw or in the Acropolis during Book 4, or set up traps inside Scarwall that weren't there before to hamper the PCs' progress. The PC's might not even necessarily know that it was Rolth, though I would leave clues that these creatures/NPC's didn't belong there.
But if they already killed Rolth, high-five them and close that chapter. It might be tempting to bring him back from the dead for a "round 3," as it were, seeing as resurrections and lichdom exist in this world, but it would cheapen the PCs' victory and cause story fatigue; if he can just keep coming back, what's the point in fighting? They still will, of course, but their experience would be lessened. If it was round 2, that might work, but after finding and beating him twice (and killing him the second time) I would say put it to rest.
Again, this opinion is based on overall GM/storytelling experience and not experience with the AP itself, since I've only read through it and haven't run it yet, so some things might not work based on info I'm lacking (like placement of traps inside Scarwall; I've only perused that section since it's 5 books in the future, so maybe there are logistical reasons that wouldn't work, I don't know) but I think you understand what I'm getting at, at least. Good luck continuing the tale, and I hope you and your players are having a blast!
In my game, Rolth escaped from the temple and the PCs lost track of him for a while. I spent that time developing Rolth's hideout/batcave where he began working on a series of abominations as he plotted the demise of the party.
One PC (a druid) had fallen in love with Trinia and had decided his character no longer had interest in the main campaign. He moved to Harse with Trinia to settle down. I had Rolth kidnap her while he was out fooling around in an alchemy lab, and leave a finger and a sinister letter behind, stating his intent to kill the rest of the party as well.
This led to the druid coming back to the party just in time to face the emperor of Old Korvosa. After that, they followed some leads and found Rolth's lair in Old Korvosa. I had to put him in at that point because the party was getting fanatical in their obsession with him and I was concerned they wouldn't leave the city in book 4 if Rolth was still around.
Their final fight against Rolth was a level 9 Rolth, a Spectre, a Manananggal, 2 ghuls, and 2 infested mummys, and an imprisoned Trinia as collateral. It was glorious and ended with Rolth dying them setting off a contingency fireball.
I also used it to reintroduce a converted and leveled up Ishani who had gone missing for some time in book 3, then returned at the end of this fight as an 8th level cleric of Shelyn.
Now that I've seen all this though, I may have to find someone interested in resurrecting Rolth again...