- Posted by Giaco Furino
- On September 15, 2015
- 0 Comments
Releasing today is a huge adventure for Dungeons & Dragons. The roleplaying game, which just re-launched as “5th edition” and includes new, easy-to-follow rules, has been making a huge splash in the gaming world. As the tabletop game’s core audience grows, the question is: do their periphery accessories, like this adventure Out of the Abyss, live up to the standards being set by the core game? As far as the adventure is concerned, the answer is unequivocally yes!
If you’re familiar with D&D, if you’re a regular player of the game, skip this paragraph while I break down the game for new players (welcome, friends, you’ll find no one calling you a “newb” here). Dungeons & Dragons is a collaborative storytelling game. You and a bunch of your friends sit down with books like The Player’s Handbook and the famous Dungeon Master’s Guide and create heroes to put through adventures. One in your group will take the role of Dungeon Master, they control the scenarios, the bad guys, the helpful NPC’s, and just about everything other than your characters. You set out on an adventure, you roll polyhedral dice anytime you do something with a chance of failure to determine whether or not you succeed, and from there you can pretty much just follow your imagination. That’s D&D in a nutshell. It sounds hella fun, doesn’t it?
This adventure is massive, taking players from level 1 all the way up to level 15 (a huge jump in levels, making me think that it could take months and months to play through the adventure in this book). While you can play D&D just by making stuff up on the fly, or writing your own adventures, it’s often fun to run published adventures. In the case of Out of the Abyss, you and your friends are about to embark on one of the deadliest adventures in the history of D&D.
The story takes place in the Underdark. Home to famous Drizzt Do’Urden, the Underdark used to be a place of dank caves, evil elves (named the drow), and dark depths. It’s still got all that stuff, but for 5th edition they’ve given the Underdark a much more fantastical, near-whimsical feeling. To quote Chris Perkins’ (billed in this book as “Story Creator”) foreword: “…I decided that our Underdark tale was going to draw inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s works. We would paint the Underdark as an insanely wondrous domain into which our heroes must descend.” It really does feel like Alice in Wonderland… if Wonderland was full of dark elf slavers and demons of madness.
The story plops the adventurers right into the action. You begin the game as a slave to the evil drow, and start with nothing on you except what you’ve scavenged. From there, your goal is to escape and get back to the surface world… but things quickly, and irrevocably, go wrong and derail your quest for freedom. Over the next 17 chapters, your adventurers will meet a variety of terrifying villains and helpful allies, will traverse terrifying underground cities and dangerous mazes, and will come face to face with some of the most powerful, dangerous, and maddening demons in the D&D mythos. Buckle in, this is a wild, deadly, crazy ride.
While some may balk at the $50 price tag on this adventure, I’ve never seen an ancillary product so worth the money. It clocks in at over 250 pages, has a whole mini-bestiary of monsters and demons, and is something you’ll play with your gaming group for nearly a year, I bet. I want to read this adventure like a book, and because I’m an evil Dungeon Master, I’ll certainly put my players through the madness and trials of the Abyss before too long. If you’re a player and fan of the game, this is a must-purchase. If you’re an outsider looking in, join us, download the free basic rules of the game, and plunge into the delightful world of D&D. We’ll see you in Menzoberranzan!