Out of the Abyss
At 250+ pages of good clean material, Out of the Abyss is a really solid purchase. I got my review copy a week or so ago and jumped right in. I cannot help but be reminded of the D series. The author give many nods to the old school adventures and gives something more than a simple dungeon crawl. Imagine Drizzzt being sent to Wonderland and experiencing something like Alice did. If you can imagine this then you are ready for the story of a lifetime. A true tribute to some of the greatest adventures ever published and yet something that is new and complete. Out of the Abyss will take your characters from first level all the way up to 15th or more. It is not a stand alone but a true campaign that, if played properly, prepares your players for taking on the Demonweb Pits.
The ads say, “The Underdark is a subterranean wonderland, a vast and twisted labyrinth where fear reigns. It is the home of horrific monsters that have never seen the light of day. It is here that the dark elf Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzoberranzan, casts a foul spell meant to ignite a magical energy that suffuses the Underdark and tears open portals to the demonic Abyss. What steps through surprises even him, and from that moment on, the insanity that pervades the Underdark escalates and threatens to shake the Forgotten Realms to its foundations. Stop the madness before it consumes you!”
Out of the Abyss is story driven but unfortunately has a linear plot. You can add side treks without a problem if you are more adventurous, something I certainly shall do. It is very descriptive right down to behavior of NPC’s and great details on the environment. I cannot recommend this adventure for a Noob to DMing. It is a very complicated story with far too many NPC’s for an inexperienced DM to handle. Now if you are experienced and good at running many NPC’s you will thrive with this story line.
While the opening and maybe the first half of the campaign allows for many options the second half seems to rail road the players a bit. Hopefully your players will take the bate and run with it but if they are difficult to motivate you will find the second half a choir to DM. Something I found to be a true gift to me as a DM is that the story ends in such a way that you can kick off Queen of the Demon Web Pits if you are adventurous enough to convert it. My campaign will see the spire queen’s spider ship making a huge appearance.
Other reviewers have had alot to say and I have to agree with the vast majority of them:
Diehard Gamefan says “It’s a fantastic product and the best campaign I’ve seen released for any system this year. It is well worth the cover price, especially if you can find it at places like Amazon that have it for only $31. I can’t recommend Out of the Abyss enough and I am even more excited for the WotC/Green Ronin Sword Coast release.”
Slug Magazine says “Out of the Abyss is, without a doubt, one of the best adventure modules to be released for D&D in over a decade. It’s more than just a well-crafted adventure—it’s a proving ground for some of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition‘s best ideas. This module dares to venture into the furthest reaches of this edition, drawing from a vast pool of mechanics that uniquely fit its storytelling pace and style. This is a challenging adventure—both to run and to play—but few other pre-made adventures in the history of Dungeons & Dragons have the kind of rewarding immersion that can be found here.”
DnD Troop says “Put simply, this is shaping up to be the best published adventure yet for 5e for a more experienced group. The huge amount of options and mechanics to run the Underdark as a living, breathing and terrifying place for your party to survive in are REALLY well done. The broad themes of madness, fear and demonic possession are subjectively a lot more compelling than what we’ve seen so far with the Cult of the Dragon and the Cults of Elemental Evil. For a brand new DM though, we’d suggest getting your bearings in the starter set adventure “Lost Mines of Phandelver” before tackling this one.”
In conclusion, if you are playing Dungeons and Dragons 5E you gotta get this book. It is by far the best story line that has been released for 5E and the fact that the story hearkens back to 1st ed is a true plus that you will not want to miss. In years to come this campaign will be remembered as an instant classic.
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