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In an effort to make the adventure a bit more coherent, I'm changing the BBEG to be a bugbear, leveraging the stat blocks from the Monster Codex - and making a few other changes to the bugbear encounters.
As written, there are really not that many set encounters. The adventure is dominated by exploration and random encounters that are only peripherally tied in to the plot. I'm hoping this makes the adventure less "ok, we wander around and wait for some ad-hoc monster attacks" and more "hey - there's something going on here that we need to deal with"
This revises the adventure to be one where the primary opponent is a clan/tribe of bugbears. What had been random encounters with bugbears gets morphed into hunter packs actively seeking out the party and trying to eliminate them.
This turns Varkak into a Bugbear Sorcerer. I used the statblock from the codex but kept his spells and bloodline from the adventure. He picks up some AC and HP, making him a bit more durable.
In place of the mini-boss in the bugbear camp I swapped in a Bugbear Flesh Glutton (Barbarian 5, CR 8). I'm also sprinkling in Gnashers (Barbarian 2 CR4), Stalkers (Ranger 3 CR5) and a Cultist (Oracle 6 CR7).
What I'd like to do is have a series of encounters that start with one or two random encounters. After those are killed by the party Vardrak orders the camp to hunt down and kill the party. This would result in nighttime attacks groups led by a gnasher, then a stalker, and then an attack by the cultist. They would then track them back to their camp where the flesh glutton would be, supported by bugbears and gnashers. I might add in some barghests also.
My hope is the party would then assume that they had defeated the BBEG (flesh glutton) only to learn later that he was a servant of Vardrak.
Any suggestions/feedback would be appreciated.