Rebuilding Thunderspire Labyrinth: Gharbad

When I was going through Thunderspire Labyrinth and adding in some more stuff, I read through some Dragon articles on minotaurs and their entries in every Monster Manual. Somewhere there is a bit about how they gain powers from eating the hearts of other creatures, which gives you a vampire minotaur and I think even a gorgon one. I liked this heart-eating idea, and so decided to make a minotaur NPC in the Seven-Pillared Hall that would be a pathetic wretch who comes to the characters and offers to reward them if they bring him the heart of a powerful monster.

What he becomes depends on what the characters bring; there are hobgoblins, other minotaurs, duergar, and even demons running amok, so they got options. It reminds me a lot of a quest in Fallout: New Vegas, where you can bring a brain to fix up a dog NPC; each brain gives a different bonus, like more health or damage. I was waffling around on what he might offer them as a reward--if anything--and the more I thought about it the more he reminded me of Gharbad the Weak, and since I didn't have a name at the time decided to just go with that.

Though Gharbad was pretty pathetic, even if I souped this guy up considerably I cannot see him holding off an entire party of adventurers. I am thinking that he might teach them a ritual that will allow them to gain bonuses (or a one-time permanent bonus) from eating hearts, or even give them an item for their help, but ultimately I see him becoming a villain later in the campaign. He might even show up in the final encounter to help thwart everyone and take control of all the bronze warders while they are duking it out with whoever the final boss is (P-something?).


  1. Might also be interesting for the GM to keep track of exactly WHAT hearts the PCs end up eating if they get the ritual to do so. Perhaps in addition to the power-gaining effects, if they consume the hearts of evil creatures they begin to slide a bit towards the dark side themselves. And if they consume the hearts of GOOD creatures, they move toward the good side.

    That then sets up the moral quandary of killing good monsters in order to eat their hearts-- an evil act-- in order to keep oneself from falling to the corruption he has consumed. If you want to play Garbad as a nasty manipulator, that's a good angle. It's effectively a no-win situation for the PCs, brought on by their own desire for power and their own choices.

  2. I like the idea of eating the hearts of evil creatures to gradually begin corrupting the character, but I think killing good things to eat their hearts would be a wash (since killing the good critter for a heart would also be evil).

    More than likely I will make it a one-time benefit, or a ritual that gives them a boon-type power that can be swapped out if they get another heart later. There IS a vampire in the group, and I will probably make it addictive.


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