Princes of the Apocalypse
From the press release, “Wizards of the Coast today announced the launch of Princes of the Apocalypse, an epic adventure for the Elemental Evil story arc!
Designed for fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game, the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure contains everything a Dungeon Master needs to create an exciting and memorable play experience. With new elemental spells and the element-touched genasi as a new playable race, the Princes of the Apocalypse delivers a grand adventure for characters levels 3–15, with special introductory content for players starting at first level. Starting today, fans can purchase Princes of the Apocalypse everywhere for $49.95.
Fans can also play a portion of the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure through the D&D Adventurers League in-store play program, which takes place every Wednesday at Wizards Play Network locations around the country.
In conjunction with the Princes of the Apocalypse release, new Elemental Evil-themed content for Neverwinter on PC, the highly-acclaimed free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, is live today. In Neverwinter: Elemental Evil, adventurers battle the cults of Elemental Evil, discover a new playable class (the Oathbound Paladin), and see an increase of the level cap to 70. Neverwinter is also now playable on the Xbox One, with Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil content coming to Microsoft’s console at a later date.”
So lets take a look at what Princes of the Apocalypse has to offer. I received a copy from Wizards of the Coast last week and I gotta tell you that the book looks sharp. Great cover art, solid construction, and an in depth story arc that is a campaign in and of itself.
First of all a lot of the book is dedicated to character design. New races, spells, etcetera. The adventure is a throwback to the early eighties in design. A huge dungeon crawl with an overarching story that pulls it all together and helps you make sense of what is happening. Not to say that it is all dungeon crawl. There is tons of stuff to do and the story is set up as a huge sandbox of sorts. If you are a DM that can work on the fly, then this story has much more to offer than the Tiamat campaign of last year. If you run this as a true campaign then you will like the way they have set aside little side missions that deal with enemies seeking retribution for acts the PCs have done in earlier parts of the story. The whole thing is very rich in flavor and enjoyable to the extreme.
Unlike the Tiamat story, this book takes the time to give the PCs a detailed home base. This means that if played right, the players will get emotionally invested in the town, the people, and will fight that much harder to protect it. They might even sacrifice treasure and resources to keep the town safe from the evils that lurk outside. One really nice element of the book was rules for integrating this story line into nearly every campaign setting on the market. You get Dark Sun, Krynn, and more. They even have elements that could be used to cross story lines between the earlier Tiamat story arc if you are creative enough to take advantage of them. To do this will require slower character progression to keep the villains at the same power level, but what a great crossover it would be.
As 5E continues to grow we are seeing some truly worthy additions to the Dungeons and Dragons legacy. I am proud to have the chance to play these great new additions. Seeing as how many were not impressed with the Tiamat story line, I honestly loved it, I suspect that this new story arc will prove to be a huge success and well worth the investment. Overall I would give this book a nine out of ten for quality and enjoy ability. Obviously, until we play the game we will not know for certain if it holds up but I have faith that it will be epic.
So here is the gist of the story:
Part one: Rescue a bunch of people who have been captured by cultists. Why is it always cultists. I feel like we are in a HP Lovecraft novel here. Anyway, you gotta investigate this kidnapping and travel around to a bunch of cultist bases. Some are friendly, some not so much. In the end you should discover the Temple of Elemental evil before it is all over and hopefully rescue a few people.
Part two: You now enter the Temple of Elemental Evil. Here is where you flashback to the early eighties and the Village of Hommlet. The temple is broken into quadrants and the cultists in these areas seem secluded so you only deal with one group at a time. There is a lot of flexibility for your characters so they can do this part of the story in a variety of ways but most players will try to hack and slash it and then die. Play smart and you will beat this very difficult part of the story. If you pull things off in a really successful manner then the cults will be dispersed forever but this requires the players to be active and smart. Otherwise you have the makings of a very long battle that will likely take over the larger story arc of your group for many months to come.
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