Halls of Undermountain a 96 page hardcover

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I just checked out the listing on Amazon for Halls of Undermountain and was pleasantly surprised to see it was a hardcover but extremely disappointed to see it was only 96 pages long. By comparison, both of the previously released "super-adventures" Tomb of Horrors and Revenge of the Giants were 160 pages long.

While I'm disappointed about the short page count, what really irks me is that its going to cost the same as those other two books. I know there's going to be a second poster map (the other two adventures only had one) but for me that doesn't make up for the reduced page count.

I was very surprised at how good the 4e Book of Vile Darkness was, but similarly disappointed at how slim it was but yet cost the same as a 160 page book.

Perhaps I should just be happy that we're getting any more 4e material at all, but it bothers me that we are getting less product for our money.
Perhaps the text size is smaller :P
I was even more disapointed for having seen an earlier product summary:


One 64-page adventure book
One 32-page campaign book
2 card stock sheets of hero and monster tokens
1 card stock sheet of dungeon tiles
2 double-sided battle maps
6 pre-painted plastic miniatures representing boss monsters (1 Large, 4 Medium, and 1 Small)
8 treasure cards


 


and later for seeing that is a lv 1-5 adventure Frown

I was even more disapointed for having seen an earlier product summary:


One 64-page adventure book
One 32-page campaign book
2 card stock sheets of hero and monster tokens
1 card stock sheet of dungeon tiles
2 double-sided battle maps
6 pre-painted plastic miniatures representing boss monsters (1 Large, 4 Medium, and 1 Small)
8 treasure cards


 


and later for seeing that is a lv 1-5 adventure Frown




Actually this makes me rather upbeat for the product. This makes it sound more like Gardmore Abbey which was a fantastic product. I'd rather spend $35 on all the stuff in this list than on a single 96 page hardcover.

Levels 1-5 is about what I'd expect considering that this is going to be an old school dungeon crawl. That doesn't lend itself to high level play. What's really disappointing is that we're not getting this AND proper paragon and epic adventures.
im pretty confident it will be a good product, much like gardmore. i am saddened though that wizards made it a level 1; this was an opportunity to continue the loose adventure path started with the red box, dm kit, monster vault, and ending w gardmore. so making it like 8-12 level would have been really cool. i might not buy it right when it comes out bc i dont have any group at level 1-5 and the last two campaigns i have dmed i have started the groups higher than that. maybe ill wait a year and pick it up for less than half the cover price on amazon.

anyways, wizards really sucked when it came to high level support for 4e
I was even more disapointed for having seen an earlier product summary:


One 64-page adventure book
One 32-page campaign book
2 card stock sheets of hero and monster tokens
1 card stock sheet of dungeon tiles
2 double-sided battle maps
6 pre-painted plastic miniatures representing boss monsters (1 Large, 4 Medium, and 1 Small)
8 treasure cards


 


and later for seeing that is a lv 1-5 adventure Frown




Actually this makes me rather upbeat for the product. This makes it sound more like Gardmore Abbey which was a fantastic product. I'd rather spend $35 on all the stuff in this list than on a single 96 page hardcover.



You misunderstood me: i would also have prefered to pay extra for that package (i also loved Gardmore Abbey) and was excited for it; you can imagine my disapointment when the summary was changed Frown
I was even more disapointed for having seen an earlier product summary:


One 64-page adventure book
One 32-page campaign book
2 card stock sheets of hero and monster tokens
1 card stock sheet of dungeon tiles
2 double-sided battle maps
6 pre-painted plastic miniatures representing boss monsters (1 Large, 4 Medium, and 1 Small)
8 treasure cards


 



Todays Design & Development column confirms the early summary above.

Waiting for next instalment, which will go into the reasons behind the change; too bad, the original content had me (and another DM) drooling...

I am however curious about the three adventures within, probably the same approach of Madness at Gardmore Abbey with the quests, which work quite well.
I am disappoint.
I have to admit that I'm pretty disappointed in this release. The book is good, the art is great but it's too short for $30.00. I'm feeling kinda ripped off here. This could have been such an awesome release the way it was originally planned- I would have happily paid more for it to include minis, tokens and tiles.

Im glad a release for 4th has hit the shelves- it has been a few months now since Heroes of Elemental Chaos came out. But, this product seems like an afterthought- an afterthought once D&D Next was announced. 
I have the previous editions for Undermountain and I'm woNdering if so few Can contain Undermountain. I cross my fingers..
The more I hear about the product, the less that I want it.

If it was an adventure based around the top level on Undermountain, then fine. If it weren't trying to be about all of Undermountain, I could accept it. But it's just too small to deal with such a large dungeon.

I already have "Expedition to Undermountain" which sounds like it would give me more grist for an Undermountain campaign (even though it's for another edition). From what the adventure synopsis tell me, I'm not sure if I'm even interested in them for their own sakes. And where's the connection to the current Encounters season?    

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

The more I hear about the product, the less that I want it.

If it was an adventure based around the top level on Undermountain, then fine. If it weren't trying to be about all of Undermountain, I could accept it. But it's just too small to deal with such a large dungeon.



To be fair to them, the Design & Development article related to it specifically says that the focus of the product would be on the first level of Undermountain.

And where's the connection to the current Encounters season?    



This i would like to know as well; anyone who bought it can give an answer to this?
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" href="http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/drdd/20120404" contenteditable="true">Todays Design & Development column confirms the early summary above.

Waiting for next instalment, which will go into the reasons behind the change; too bad, the original content had me (and another DM) drooling...


Unfortunately the new installment didnt offer any info on the changes, disappointing Frown
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" href="http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/drdd/20120404" contenteditable="true">Todays Design & Development column confirms the early summary above.

Waiting for next instalment, which will go into the reasons behind the change; too bad, the original content had me (and another DM) drooling...


Unfortunately the new installment didnt offer any info on the changes, disappointing

I assume Matt's next Design and Development article will discuss the details. I didn't talk about it because I didn't think it was my place. Regardless of the format, I hope people still enjoy the product. :-)
Regardless of the format, I hope people still enjoy the product. :-)


You probably wish people would give a product a fair chance and take a look at it, rather than judge it before seeing it... sorry!

And where's the connection to the current Encounters season?    



This i would like to know as well; anyone who bought it can give an answer to this?


The recent PAX classic adventure, The Sun Never Rises, linked directly to Encounters. Chris Tulach, head of organized play, recently posted on Twitter saying the adventure could be ordered for local conventions if you contact him.

Between Undermountain, Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, The Sun Never Rises, Spider Killer (Lair Assault), and the Encounters season Council of Spiders, many ways are provided to link campaigns and play experiences together in the Underdark.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" href="www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...>www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d..." contenteditable="true">Todays Design & Development column confirms the early summary above.

Waiting for next instalment, which will go into the reasons behind the change; too bad, the original content had me (and another DM) drooling...


Unfortunately the new installment didnt offer any info on the changes, disappointing

I assume Matt's next Design and Development article will discuss the details. I didn't talk about it because I didn't think it was my place. Regardless of the format, I hope people still enjoy the product. :-)



Good to know, looking forward to it; will also have a look into it anyway.
And where's the connection to the current Encounters season?    



This i would like to know as well; anyone who bought it can give an answer to this?


The recent PAX classic adventure, The Sun Never Rises, linked directly to Encounters. Chris Tulach, head of organized play, recently posted on Twitter saying the adventure could be ordered for local conventions if you contact him.

Between Undermountain, Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, The Sun Never Rises, Spider Killer (Lair Assault), and the Encounters season Council of Spiders, many ways are provided to link campaigns and play experiences together in the Underdark.



We meant the current season, "The Elder Elemental Eye", which has a followup in "Halls of Undermountain".

We meant the current season, "The Elder Elemental Eye", which has a followup in "Halls of Undermountain".


Ah, it is more of a hint than a very strong link. You may have already met some Drow in a previous session and learned some information. This may not be the last you see of drow...

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

We meant the current season, "The Elder Elemental Eye", which has a followup in "Halls of Undermountain".


Ah, it is more of a hint than a very strong link. You may have already met some Drow in a previous session and learned some information. This may not be the last you see of drow...



Ah, ok, thks.

Was hoping it was more Elder Elemental Eye related (which my home campaign currently focus on), but makes sense connecting it to this year big event.

i just dropped less on a complete undermoutain 2 box than this costs
Was hoping it was more Elder Elemental Eye related (which my home campaign currently focus on), but makes sense connecting it to this year big event.


I don't expect the drow theme to link to the Elder Elemental Eye / Abyssal Plague arc. But, with all the DDI content, it wouldn't be hard to do. And, with Encounters, you could make that link (which you see in this season, with drow reacting to it). I just wouldn't expect products to further that link (the idea is, I believe, that the Abyssal Plague threat is vanquished by the PCs... for now... and now the next threat 'surfaces'). Worth noting that the very first Encounters season is also useful (and not duplicative, since it dealt with a lost area).

Speaking of Halls of Undermountain, I just got it! It rocks!

It has a large poster map (reverse is the Yawning Portal as a battlemap), then another separate poster tile map. The tile maps have some gorgeous new art. Really sweet.

The book includes sample adventures that can give you a purpose to explore and enter Undermountain. You can combine them as well. That's a cool idea and easy to further once you get started. Rooms include the classic ones from the first level (such as the skeletons on thrones or chessboard) but in cool 4E adaptation. I see new traps, magic, monsters, and some cool RP encounters. I like how they didn't spend space on reprinting existing monsters, just the new ones.

Also, this has the best picture of what should not happen to a dwarf EVER.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

I also posted my initial impressions on the general 4e forum here:
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... 
As mentioned, this week Design & Development article does go into the changes of format of the product, and as suspected, reasons of costs were blamed.

Its a shame that products like the previous editions of the Undermountain or the more recent "Madness at Garmore Abbey" are no longer cost effective, and its probably a trend that will keep happening. Frown
As mentioned, this week Design & Development article does go into the changes of format of the product, and as suspected, reasons of costs were blamed.

Its a shame that products like the previous editions of the Undermountain or the more recent "Madness at Garmore Abbey" are no longer cost effective, and its probably a trend that will keep happening. Frown



I think we can blame this  on the announcement of 5e. My local game shop says that sales of 4e material have plummeted since then and now they will only bring in new 4e material if it is paid for in advance. They still have boxes of 2e and 3e material in their stockroom that will probably never sell and the store is determined to avoid that mistake with 4e. I suspect they are not the only game stores thinking this way.

It's sad to say but I think that the future of 4e is what is already in the product catalogue: the Dungeon Survival Guide. And of course whatever comes from Dragon/Dungeon.
It isn't clear. I am very curious whether Gardmore Abbey sold well. It is phenomenal. If it didn't sell well, then that really dooms any such boxed effort.

But, it could easily be that the original design for Undermountain (this was announced a long time ago) was based on faulty logic. There was a long time when Wizards said "no more boxed sets" and then we suddenly saw this experiment with them (Monster Vault, Shadowfell). It was very strange to see that. And then we saw them disappear or alter. Compare MV to MV:Nentir Vale. Compare Shadowfell to Neverwinter or Book of Vile Darkness.

But, it still would be great to know how Gardmore did. Or, even, how Book of Vile Darkness and other such "bound but not a boxed set" efforts have done. Those are good books (MV:Nentir Vale is incredibly good)... is the format a problem for sales?

Unfortunately, Wizards is always mid-cycle when "lessons" are coming in. Just placing the MV:NV and Halls of Undermountain schedules on a calendar would likely be shocking to most gamers as to how far back they start and when some decisions need to be made (or changed at great effort and perhaps cost). The same is true of other publishers, but Wizards usually operates at the grandest scale with the flashiest and most costly to print products.

In the end, this is still a great product. I don't care for tokens and we pretty much have the same page count, maps, and the only other missing piece was minis. While I would love minis, they don't have to come with a book (though it would have been an interesting experiment).

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

They still have boxes of 2e and 3e material in their stockroom that will probably never sell


Are they selling them for E-Bay prices? Some of those are pretty good markups. (If they aren't, I want a list of their inventory!)

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

They still have boxes of 2e and 3e material in their stockroom that will probably never sell


Are they selling them for E-Bay prices? Some of those are pretty good markups. (If they aren't, I want a list of their inventory!)



I'll ask him to do up a list and email it to you. IIRC most of them are adventure modules and some of the more common source books.
yeah id like to dig in those 2e crates, you can keep the 3e

Semi-off-topic, but because I played so much Living Greyhawk I never had much use for 3E adventures. Now going back and purchasing some (collecting) I am really surprised at how many of these were worse or as bad as the initial 4E adventures in terms of being "four walls and five random monsters". They have battle maps or really strong map fixation and are very low on story compared to combat. It is something I didn't appreciate before in terms of the history of the game. It is as if 3E became that increasingly and 4E just improved/innovated upon that foundation (perhaps failing to see it needed to go back and question some of the aspects... particularly adventure design and what it communicated to the audience).

It is part of the reason why I love the recent 4E adventures so much. We've returned to needing a good story and developments and choices, added DM ideas back in, and yet also built upon what 4E provides to capture the best of cinematic interesting combats. Products like Undermountain (which reminds me of the awesome DM Reward Shrine of Tamoachan) do a great job of bringing these approaches forward.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

the awesome DM Reward Shrine of Tamoachan.



i wish there were more like that. even just the format of that with the pull away cover is awesome. seemed cheap for them to print bc of the black and white so i hope there might be more like that. def one of the high points for 4e adventures

baelard's legacy is probably the best 4e adventure

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...
the awesome DM Reward Shrine of Tamoachan.



i wish there were more like that. even just the format of that with the pull away cover is awesome.


What do you mean with a pull away cover? The reward is in the format of the Encounters.


 def one of the high points for 4e adventures

baelard's legacy is probably the best 4e adventure

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...



Never played it. What makes it great?
youre right pruano, i wasnt remembering correctly. i think i got vor rukoth the same day. still, i like the layout, it feels like they could make more like that for cheaper cost

baelards legacy has a cool storyline that the pcs piece together through the adventure almost detective style, theres a lot of exploration, and theres lots of different ways the pcs can go. i have run it three times for three different groups and it was wildly different each time. its pretty much the only 4e adventure i can say that about. its also easy to add on to, for example i added a vrock encounter as they approached
youre right pruano, i wasnt remembering correctly. i think i got vor rukoth the same day.


Ya, both "Adventure Site" modules (Hammerfast and Vor Rukoth) have a pull away cover that is indeed cool, reminds me of older adventures.


baelards legacy has a cool storyline that the pcs piece together through the adventure almost detective style, theres a lot of exploration, and theres lots of different ways the pcs can go. i have run it three times for three different groups and it was wildly different each time. its pretty much the only 4e adventure i can say that about. its also easy to add on to, for example i added a vrock encounter as they approached



Nice, will keep that in mind when my group gets to early paragon, thks for the tip.

Nice, will keep that in mind when my group gets to early paragon, thks for the tip.



read it, its very different from most 4e adventures


Nice, will keep that in mind when my group gets to early paragon, thks for the tip.



read it, its very different from most 4e adventures




Somehow this adventure slipped through the cracks and this is the first time I've seen it. Thanks for the tip, it's nice to see a low paragon adventure, and for it to be this interesting is a real bonus. It looks like a lot of fun to play and DM.

Nice, will keep that in mind when my group gets to early paragon, thks for the tip.



read it, its very different from most 4e adventures




Somehow this adventure slipped through the cracks and this is the first time I've seen it. Thanks for the tip, it's nice to see a low paragon adventure, and for it to be this interesting is a real bonus. It looks like a lot of fun to play and DM.




every group ive run through it has loved it. im a huge advocate for this adventure

its also the authors only published adventure in the mags! hes like jd salinger
Regardless of the format, I hope people still enjoy the product. :-)


You probably wish people would give a product a fair chance and take a look at it, rather than judge it before seeing it... sorry!   






Sometimes, as hard as it is to believe, people can read a preview of a product; through cognitive discipline they are able to draw a conclusion about whether or not they wish to buy such product. 

Sometimes they can determine, before such product comes out, if it falls short of their expectations. 

There are those who judge before and then there are those who blindly accept everything about WotC. 

I own this product and it could have been soooooo much better. 96 pages for $29.99 is inexcusable.  it better not set the new norm for what they plan on charging (especially with D&D Next- just one calorie! Seriously, D&D Next sounds like Diet Pop). 
What is in the book is great, I just wish it had say, oh 100 more pages of that.  
Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
I pre-ordered this adventure in Amazon and I'm currently waiting for it to arrive at Nicaragua. While it is a dissappointment to read that there are no minis, not even tokens included, it's good to see that it has its share of positive feedback. Even more, I got a new adventure for free. Legacy is awesome!
Even more, I got a new adventure for free. Legacy is awesome!



Which adventure is this?


Which adventure is this?



The adventure previously recommended in this thread, Legacy of Baelard. I started reading last night and it's quality stuff.