Halls of Undermountain initial impressions

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Halls of Undermountain has just arrived in my hands, and I my first impression is "this isn't a typical 4e adventure". I can see WotC have tried to make it more edition neutral. There aren't many monster stat blocks (there are some, and more in an appendix at the end), with encounters just giving page references from other books such as MV. There's no "tactics" sections, and most encounters are in a single column of the page. It actually reminds me more of a pre-4e adventure in the layout.

However, there are many more non-combat encounters than your standard 4e adventure.

My second impression was "omg Undermountain is huge". It's the biggest single floor dungeon I've seen. There is a large scale poster map for the entire dungeon, and a 1" scale poster battle map for encounter locations for some of the rooms.

There are 3 smallish adventures using parts of the dungeon, and ideas and hooks for creating your own adventures. Entrances to the dungeon in Waterdeep are detailed.

Overall I think this product is OK. I'd give it 3 out of 5.

I Like:
- The sheer number of encounters
- The many non-combat scenarios
- Plenty of ideas to re-use

Dislike:
- There's only one level of Undermountain detailed (although lower levels get a couple of pages of fluff)
- More work required by DM to prepare adventures
- Few tactical maps
- I would have liked to have had a boxed set with some tiles and other props
looks like i can hit the sleep button on it for a while, thanks for the review
I would love to see a side-by-side comparison between this product and the Expedition to Undermountain book which came out a year before 4E's release.

*sarcasm* Random thought... Assuming DnDNext's release comes in 2013 why does WOTC keep waiting until the last year in an edition's life cycle to put out an update for Undermountain? *sarcasm*

If no one gets around to comparing these two products then I will do so once I get my hands on the new one.
I bought and liked Halls of Undermountain.  It's a very nice update to the campaign, and the adventures it comes with are good.  However, comparing it to 2e's Ruins of Undermountain...yeah, ok, it's not quite fair to compare a book to a boxed set.  But Ruins was full of so much lore and innovative design, it's hard not to.  I mean, Ruins didn't just have random monster tables, it had random trap tables too!

And the maps...I still have those maps to this day. 

This isn't to say Halls is bad.  It's not.  Every other page seems to have a new magic item on it, and really, given the sheer scale of level 1, not having the other levels in this book isn't that big of a deal.  I give it an 8 out of 10...but if you like what you see, do yourself a favor and try to get a pdf of Ruins.  Oh and the other Undermountain books aren't bad either.   
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
Good review, So should I pass up on 4e undermountian or should I try to get the boxed set? If it's edition neutral I don't think I will be interested in the product. So thus, maybe this isn't for my tastes...
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Good review, So should I pass up on 4e undermountian or should I try to get the boxed set? If it's edition neutral I don't think I will be interested in the product. So thus, maybe this isn't for my tastes...


I'm not quite sure what you mean - it was originally slated to be a boxed set, but got changed to a hardcover book. So the product is just a ~90 page book with 2 pull-out poster maps.

It's not edition neutral, there are plenty of 4e traps and monsters in there, it's just not as heavy with the 4e adventure layout than usual, and there's more scope for the DM to make changes, either in the dungeon design, or perhaps if a new edition happened to come out.

Good review, So should I pass up on 4e undermountian or should I try to get the boxed set? If it's edition neutral I don't think I will be interested in the product. So thus, maybe this isn't for my tastes...


I'm not quite sure what you mean - it was originally slated to be a boxed set, but got changed to a hardcover book. So the product is just a ~90 page book with 2 pull-out poster maps.

It's not edition neutral, there are plenty of 4e traps and monsters in there, it's just not as heavy with the 4e adventure layout than usual, and there's more scope for the DM to make changes, either in the dungeon design, or perhaps if a new edition happened to come out.




I mean the ADnD box. Maybe I'll get it the 4e one from what you said about it...
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Character levels 1 to 5 and only the first floor? For where it is set it seems completely half assed.
It falls in line with the new Neverwinter campaign, where they decided to make everything in it doable at Heroic Tier.
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
well considering their idea of balance at higher levels, maybe its for the best
I bought and liked Halls of Undermountain.  It's a very nice update to the campaign, and the adventures it comes with are good.  However, comparing it to 2e's Ruins of Undermountain...yeah, ok, it's not quite fair to compare a book to a boxed set.  But Ruins was full of so much lore and innovative design, it's hard not to.  I mean, Ruins didn't just have random monster tables, it had random trap tables too!

And the maps...I still have those maps to this day. 

This isn't to say Halls is bad.  It's not.  Every other page seems to have a new magic item on it, and really, given the sheer scale of level 1, not having the other levels in this book isn't that big of a deal.  I give it an 8 out of 10...but if you like what you see, do yourself a favor and try to get a pdf of Ruins.  Oh and the other Undermountain books aren't bad either.   



Would you know how it compares to "Expedition to Undermountain" (from 3.5)? That was the last advanture I played in 3.5 and I fell in love with the setting. I know this book only covers the first level, but in comparison to the 3.5 book, how does it hold up? I can assume that "Halls of Undermountain" will certainly be more expansive on what is in the first level as opposed to Expedition being a well rounded supplement showcasing what seemed to be the entirety of Undermountain.

To me, Undermountain has always been a setting where a DM has to roll up their sleeves and do some work to make it work for their table. Plenty of old Undermountain sources were practically stat-less for many rooms, requiring to add the actual encounter. Others had stats, but then might not fit what would work for the party. The lore was often the most fascinating bit, but it often was very disconnected... the PCs might walk past that really cool room and just open the door to the boring one.

All of this must have been a big challenge to the designers. I can't imagine tackling a project like this, and I know one of the talented authors fairly well. With so many ways they could have approached the project, I like what I see. I think they made the right choice. You have some story options that can be run separately or even connected together for reasons of varying complexity to be down there and to explore cool rooms. Those plots can then weave into further plots (even connecting to the drow series, which likely answers the question further up in this thread of why they released this now).

There is some edition flexibility, while adding new 4E monsters and traps and magic and other bits still of good use to a 4E DM. It also gives you more for the page count... stat blocks would have made this a huge book if you added them all in, and it goes back to that issue of DM work... you can run as-is or you can modify it very easily.

There are some suggestions for weaving this into the Elder Elemental Eye season of Encounters, which can extend the play experience. You could use it as a way to linke Elder Elemental Eye to Undermountain and then to the Underdark and/or Drow products.

I also like that this adventure doubles as a sourcebook. I've long enjoyed Thunderspire Labyrinth less as an adventure and more for having some fantastic encounters I like to modify and add to my adventures (you can even see some influence in the monk fight in The Five Deadly Shadows in DDI). I like Halls of Undermountain far better as an adventure, but I also see it as something I will pilfer for years to come (even in other editions) for how it treats various encounters. I like how 4E creates really cinematic scenes and there are some excellent ones to steal and put into adventures of any level. I particularly like how the set up and boxed text create suspense - it can have a Tomb of Horrors feeling where you just know the players will be really worried. While I see that in the original Undermountain, I particularly like how these rooms work as 4E encounters. This is a very traditional play experience while at the same time adding the best of how we have evolved 4E to create great combats. I see it as a very good purchase for any DM, regardless of whether they are looking to run players through Undermountain.

Owning prior editions of Undermountain extends what you can do with this. You can use this book as an example, and continue the work into other levels, rooms, etc. Do you need this book? Nope, but that's true of everything outside of core books. I do think it is a very good buy. I would absolutely buy it for an Undermountain campaign and I see it as a great value for me to pilfer cool encounters to use in other settings.

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I also like that this adventure doubles as a sourcebook. I've long enjoyed Thunderspire Labyrinth less as an adventure and more for having some fantastic encounters I like to modify and add to my adventures.



+1 to this. The comparison between this book and H2 Thunderspire is spot on. That adventure is the best of the H1-E3 line because it is more sourcebook than adventure module. H2 and Halls of Undermountain are more like mini campaign settings then full on adventures. As a DM you might feel like "Hey, there's no description for these rooms!" but look at it the other way, its wide open for you to create your own world. That's what I always liked about H2, the basic chasis is there but the DM is free to add and create whatever he wants.

With regards to Halls of Undermountain, I was pretty miffed at the 96 page count when I first heard about it, but after reading the book I'm very happy with it. Yes there are adventures here, but this is more of sourcebook than a superadventure. It's definitely worth the cash. I'm planning a Undermountain mini campaign during the summer. When it wraps up I'll put up some posts of how it went.
Yeah, it is kind of a mix of an adventure and a source/setting book.
Okay, so I just received my copy of this thing in the mail. The adventure itself looks good. But a fatal flaw of this thing rears its ugly head within 15 seconds of reading it: WotC decided to remove the monster stats. That’s right, no stat blocks except for a few dungeon-specific creatures… and even then, they appear at the end of the book in an Appendix. So you have to flip back-and-forth while using the book.

Who wants to do that?

Worse still, some of the entries REQUIRE you to look up a monster and modify it on DDi. Some aren’t the levels as printed in the Monster Compendium. So let me get this straight, this product both requires a DM to: a) use a DDi subscription in order for it to work properly; and b) requires that a DM keep a Compendium on hand in order to run it. Oh, and some of the encounters have a mixed group of creatures, so one would have to look up multiple stats in the Compendium to know what’s going on within a particular room. That’s a lot of flipping back-and-forth and moving from one book to another.

Double worse still: there’s no indication as to where things are positioned on the map (where the creatures are within a room, etc.). This is a backward step from the well-thought out adventure design that 4e started. I am not sure I understand the rationale for this product. It’s not really a mixture of a sourcebook and setting book at all, since over 75% of the pages are dedicated to the dungeon itself. This is simply a hardbound module, with a little fluff to help DMs work it into their campaign. Calling it anything else is being gracious. It’s an extended module that isn’t self-contained.

So in short: this product is not stand-alone. ANY DM attempting to run this will have to put in serious hours compiling all the stats. This is a shame. I was really looking forward to this. At 96-pages, WotC had more than enough room to include the stats, since many of the keyed encounters are not creature-based. Just a couple more signatures would have made this thing perfect (as a person who buys print regularly, I can assure other the price would have been extremely marginal for adding an extra 16 pages). Every other D&D 4e $30 book on my shelf has more pages than this.

This might be the most ill-conceived 4e adventure product. Again, the adventure itself looks good… hats off to Matt. But as an adventure product? It’s seriously flawed. Don’t let the fanboys tell you otherwise. Take a GOOD HARD LOOK at this thing yourself with your own eyes before you buy.
theres things i like about them not having the creatures mapped out on areas. even if the maps werent like super detailed for every room or used a 1 sqr=10 ft scale i would like it. i dont like the overblown descriptions and exactitude of a lot of 4e adventures. however, i dont think they should have left out stat blocks for creatures. not bc i dont own the monster vault (i do), but bc its a pain in the butt to have multiple books open constantly. i can appreciate wanting to get an old school feel but the fact is old monster stats were short enough to fit in a couple of lines then you could look in the mm for flavor and special attacks if needed. sounds like at 96 pages they could have put them in. ill still buy it to support 4e (i buy pretty much everything)
VividAntivirus... are you serious? Not trolling?

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Alpha, I'm very serious. What, are you, the den mother to the D&D Forums? You don't see me wasting time questioning your motives or single-minded viewpoint, do you? Just because I'm not singing the praises of everything WotC publishes doesn't invalidate a very reasonable and justifiable opinion. Customers are entitled to level a critical eye when they spy something wrong. People should know how poorly executed this particular product is from a usability standpoint, and this is the correct thread to voice initial impressions.

Matter of fact, I'll do you one better: I'll tell everyone what I would have done to improve this very well written product:

1. Include monster stats with each encounter. Flipping between pages and different resources is cumbersome, at best. Thise is a presentation style that goes against the standards set forth by this edition, which has helped speed up prep time and play for DMs. With 156 pages beimg the standard for the same price point, there was enough room to print the discarded material. This product now demands that DMs possess an additional, specific book, and it's not even the Monster Manual... it's the Monster Compendium. Including the stats would have made this product self-standing.

2. Decrease the variety of monster groups per encounter. Having 3 or more different creatures to reference is too many. It serves no benefit for gameplay other than story. It would have been better to increase the quantity of a particular creature type than to make a DM juggle an additional monster to reference.

3. The mini maps that show the zones are a good idea, but they would have been more functional if they took up an entire page (to make them larger) and then show monster placement. For some encounters, the placement isn't mission critical, but for new DMs looking for a large dungeon crawl, the placement advice would have been really helpful, and it would have been easy to do.

What this product gets right:

1. It has excellent encounter variety, which demonstrates to other DMs how to build non-combat encounters in a dungeon crawl in order to avoid repetition. I can't think of any product of its equal in this category. This shows great dedication by the author and development team. Their imagination and creativity is visible for all to see.

2. The pullout maps, as always, are very nice. Mike Schley is also a cartographic god, which I've said many times before.

3. There are too few other 4e products like this, making this dungeon crawl unique. While it may initially appear similar to Dungeon Delve, it is, in fact, written much better and is more cohesive. Matt's product can allow DMs to hang the early part of a campaign on this, which the same can't be said for Dungeon Delve (not without a fair bit of work).

Lastly:

This product comes so close to being great, and them falls away from grace by some design choices that make it tougher for the customer to use. No matter how you cut it, anything that makes a product more difficult for a DM to use is a bad decision. Hopefully, the development team will look past the emotional sting of criticism leveled at this product and embrace the better design decisions that have worked so well for them in the past.
For me, the design choices you bring up as criticisms are points in its favor. I like that it only shows statblocks for creatures that are unique to the book, because I have a DDi subscription, and I use a combat manager that links to creatures in the compendium, so I never have to look in multiple books. Everything I need is right there on my laptop.

This also means I like having a wider variety of creatures in encounters, it helps avoid monotony. And I have never liked having monster positions shown on the maps, it makes it so I can't show them to players without giving away more information than I want to.

I realize that not everybody runs the game the way I do, so your mileage may vary, but for me, these are all positive points.
well considering their idea of balance at higher levels, maybe its for the best

My group is still Heroic. What is the Balance issue you speak of, in case I need to prepare for some unknown thing.

well considering their idea of balance at higher levels, maybe its for the best

My group is still Heroic. What is the Balance issue you speak of, in case I need to prepare for some unknown thing.

> 2. Decrease the variety of monster groups per encounter. Having 3 or more
> different creatures to reference is too many. It serves no benefit for gameplay
> other than story.

I'd actually say that three types in an encounter is about right, as is two types. One doesn't work (unless there's some other major feature that serves as a de facto 'monster') and four is where it becomes unwieldy, but three allows for creature synergy that can't always be done with two.

Of course, that takes a hit when the creature's stats aren't readily available, but I suppose it's only fair - people've complained about the redundancy of reprinting standard stat blocks in every encounter (sometimes multiple times in the span of a few pages) and asked for that to be left out, and it looks like they've got it. OTOH, if the creatures are off-level or otherwise nonstandard then that does pose a problem.
Of course, that takes a hit when the creature's stats aren't readily available, but I suppose it's only fair - people've complained about the redundancy of reprinting standard stat blocks in every encounter (sometimes multiple times in the span of a few pages) and asked for that to be left out, and it looks like they've got it. OTOH, if the creatures are off-level or otherwise nonstandard then that does pose a problem.

Exactly. I suspect the main reason to print it like this is exactly because of the loud and often heard complaints about reprinting standard monsters and the rather large amount of space they take up. Not printing every monster speaks in favor of the product for me as well, especially if it means a couple of more pages with story hooks and little details that enrich the adventure. I will simply print the monsters on seperate paper (it is what we did during the playtest), also really easy to modify them up and down (it is not as if you *need* the monster builder for that). Each his own I guess...

I was the producer and managing editor on Halls of Undermountain, and let me begin by saying thanks for the feedback. Good or bad, it's appreciated. We're always looking to make improvements with each new project and look for creative ways to leverage our resources.

We produce products of different sizes and price points, for variety, and the page count for Halls of Undermountain was set at 96 pages, a size comparable to some of our earlier 4E adventures (namely the H/P/E series). The designers' goal was to pack as much adventure as possible into those 96 pages, and as it stands, there are weeks if not months of game play in this adventure product. After we laid out the book and placed the maps and art, it was running long, so I made the decision to cut stat blocks instead of encounters, new traps, or new magic items. I would rather send DMs to the Monster Vault for monster stats than print yet another kobold slinger stat block, or worse, the same kobold slinger stat block four or five times in the same adventure. Monster books are supposed to be DM references, so I don't feel bad telling DMs they need other resources to run an adventure; that's what monster books are for. Most of the monsters in the adventure appear in Monster Vault, so that became our one default reference. It's the only reference a DM needs to run the adventure (although D&DI subscribers can use the online Compendium as a substitute). Monster stats that don't appear in Monster Vault were placed at the end of the adventure because many of these monsters appear in more than one location, and for practical reasons, we didn't want to repeat the stat blocks over and over. I agree that flipping pages can be annoying, so I recommend using a bookmark. It's not high tech, but it works.

Tactical maps that show the precise placement of monsters in every room was an interesting experiment that began late in 3E and continued throughout 4E. However, their value is questionable given the amount of space they consume. We're using them less these days because (a) the exact position of a monster is seldom important and (b) very few DMs who buy this sort of product need that much hand-holding. We'll continue using tactical maps for some of our more complex encounters, particularly ones in which monster placement and terrain are critical factors. Halls of Undermountain has three such encounters, with tactical poster maps to accompany them.

One cannot do justice to Undermountain in 96 pages, but the goal of this book was to inspire DMs to run an Undermountain campaign for a few weeks or months. Some folks who pick up this book will be inspired to do much more, perhaps even develop some of the deeper levels on their own or with the help of older Undermountain products, many of which are helpful despite being one or more editions out of date. We look forward to hearing from folks who run the adventure and expand on the material provided. I also direct D&DI subscribers to ChattyDM's recent article, "Trobriand's Machinations," and Matt Sernett's article, "Traps of Undermountain," for additional inspiration.

Chris Perkins
D&D Senior Producer
Wizards of the Coast LLC
Thanks, Chris! That's about what I figured was going on.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to get my hands on this for a couple more weeks...
I'm not entirely sure why it contains a section on linking the adventure with the current Encounters season. Surely in a month or two it's going to be out of date, and irrelevent? If not, then why not also mention Season One of Encounters, which dealt with Halaster's apprentice and seems more directly linked to Undermountain itself?
Chris, I love the fact that you address the criticisms (mostly mine) leveled at this product, and it’s great that you take time to extend the reasoning behind the decisions. Everyone loves it when someone takes ownership of the decision and steps forward. Halls of Undermountain is certainly an ambitious product with lots of potential. It has some great ideas. I am more than thrilled about the content, as much of the material can be lifted and used elsewhere in the event that someone doesn’t run the book the way it was written.

But I gotta say, no matter what your reasons are for removing the stat blocks, I think that’s a poor decision, and it’s one that goes against the bulk of material both TSR and WotC has published. Even in 1st edition, the product developers had the sense to put core information about a creature at the DMs fingertips. Among the thousands of d20 products, how many authors abbreviated their adventures by refering them to the Monster Manual? None that I remember. They were few and far between.

Removing the stat blocks, whether you agree or not, is a step in the wrong direction. As customer and DM, adventure books should by-and-large be self-contained. I think it borders on hubris to demand customers to subscribe to DDi to make any portion of a product function. And while I agree with you that the monster reference books are available and on sale for a reason (and most of your customers will already have them), it is not something a DM wants to reference in the middle of running an adventure. No one wants to flip back-and-forth between three different monsters. Come on now. Do you do that? I don’t. I already have maps, dungeon tiles, figures, dice, and a module to lug around… last thing I want is to be required to bring reference books.

So while you may not feel bad about your decision to tell customers to reference other materials, maybe you should… if just a little. Digging your heals in or being cavalier about what customers might think when they are wasting time thumbing through a Monster Compendium to make this product work doesn’t justify the decision to the customer. I seldom level the kind of criticism I have leveled at HoU, and I am sure my sourness of my tone will overshadow the praise I have sung for the parts of HoU that ARE great and other D&D products that WotC produces. For that, please understand I am sorry and really do admire your work. I am a big fan of Chris Perkins. But I have little gift for tact and I know what makes a good product. This could have, and probably should have, been better. Including stat blocks really is that important.

If you are willing to take any advice — and I know that you have a vast body of experience that might preclude you from thoughtfully considering someone on this forum you don’t know — then I’ll throw one final remark: if you remove stat blocks from future products, it will increase the prep time for DMs to run them, and depending on the product, it could be prohibitive. There’s no two sides to that argument. Would it help if the stat blocks took up less space? Yes. 4e stat blocks are big. Does all the information have to be in a stat bock? Probably not. There are solutions to this problem that would remove the economic necessity to remove stat blocks for an entire book. But to continue to go down the direction this book goes? Well, you’ll end up with more product on the shelves than there should be… and none of us want that.

On a completely different note: what would it take to coax you to remake D1-3? You know the love out there for the G series you did. Even if you can’t be specific, some of your customers would love to know how well received (# of downloads) that series was. If you put the G series and D series in a book (Hell, Chris, you can even make it 96 pages), I would buy it in a heartbeat. I’ll even pay more than $30. Maybe that’s a subject for a future online poll: How much would DMs pay for their products? I, for one, am willing to pay more.
I don't think removing the monster stat blocks is that big a deal to be honest, but I think it should be labelled clearly on the front of the packaging "requires Monster Vault or DDI sub". It's easy to photocopy the page in MV for quick reference during the game. I do this for my own home-written adventures.

(Ideally, I agree, the monsters (including the ones from other sources) should be at least listed at the back of the book.)

I think this style of product is very much geared for experienced DMs, and it's not a "pick up and play" adventure. This will suit some people and not others. Personally, with a full time job and a busy schedule, I prefer a product with the work done for me, but I imagine some DMs will love the flexibilty and openness of the format.

Oh, great to see you on the community forums, Chris. :-) 
Can someone tell me about the tactical poster maps included, if any? How many, what the sizes are, how interesting they are for encounter locations?

Right now I don't necessarily need more adventure locations, but more tactical maps are always useful, and I suspect they will continue to be useful even in D&DNext, for groups that choose to play with them.
I was the producer and managing editor on Halls of Undermountain, and let me begin by saying thanks for the feedback. Good or bad, it's appreciated. We're always looking to make improvements with each new project and look for creative ways to leverage our resources. We produce products of different sizes and price points, for variety, and the page count for Halls of Undermountain was set at 96 pages, a size comparable to some of our earlier 4E adventures (namely the H/P/E series). The designers' goal was to pack as much adventure as possible into those 96 pages, and as it stands, there are weeks if not months of game play in this adventure product. After we laid out the book and placed the maps and art, it was running long, so I made the decision to cut stat blocks instead of encounters, new traps, or new magic items. I would rather send DMs to the Monster Vault for monster stats than print yet another kobold slinger stat block, or worse, the same kobold slinger stat block four or five times in the same adventure. Monster books are supposed to be DM references, so I don't feel bad telling DMs they need other resources to run an adventure; that's what monster books are for. Most of the monsters in the adventure appear in Monster Vault, so that became our one default reference. It's the only reference a DM needs to run the adventure (although D&DI subscribers can use the online Compendium as a substitute). Monster stats that don't appear in Monster Vault were placed at the end of the adventure because many of these monsters appear in more than one location, and for practical reasons, we didn't want to repeat the stat blocks over and over. I agree that flipping pages can be annoying, so I recommend using a bookmark. It's not high tech, but it works. Tactical maps that show the precise placement of monsters in every room was an interesting experiment that began late in 3E and continued throughout 4E. However, their value is questionable given the amount of space they consume. We're using them less these days because (a) the exact position of a monster is seldom important and (b) very few DMs who buy this sort of product need that much hand-holding. We'll continue using tactical maps for some of our more complex encounters, particularly ones in which monster placement and terrain are critical factors. Halls of Undermountain has three such encounters, with tactical poster maps to accompany them. One cannot do justice to Undermountain in 96 pages, but the goal of this book was to inspire DMs to run an Undermountain campaign for a few weeks or months. Some folks who pick up this book will be inspired to do much more, perhaps even develop some of the deeper levels on their own or with the help of older Undermountain products, many of which are helpful despite being one or more editions out of date. We look forward to hearing from folks who run the adventure and expand on the material provided. I also direct D&DI subscribers to ChattyDM's recent article, "Trobriand's Machinations," and Matt Sernett's article, "Traps of Undermountain," for additional inspiration. Chris Perkins D&D Senior Producer Wizards of the Coast LLC



Chris, if there is one answer I would like, would you be able to verify if there will be a continuation of covering Undermountain? With so many levels, just one level being covered will certainly leave us wanting more. But I will say, that it is magnificently detailed while still leaving a lot for DMs to work with and mold how we like. Great job!

Can someone tell me about the tactical poster maps included, if any? How many, what the sizes are, how interesting they are for encounter locations?


You can see the maps in my gallery file or check Icosahedrophilia's Twitter feed.

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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'll just second the remarks at the lack of all monters being the adventure. At the very least they should be at the back, but as someone who even has DDI and every MM but the MV's, I find it very annoying that I have to go elsewhere to run this adventure.

Perhaps WoTC could make a free download PDF available on their website to complement Hall of Undermountain for DM who don't have a DDi Subscription or the Monster Vault product.

I wouldn't cost much and it would make some customer very happy i am sure !

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Alpha, I'm very serious. What, are you, the den mother to the D&D Forums?


THAT would be an awesome custom badge!

I honestly wasn't sure if you were trolling. Your first post mentioned a number of things as obviously negative despite them having been discussed in positive light earlier in the thread. You also used language like "Who wants to do that?", "This might be the most ill-conceived 4e adventure product", and "It’s seriously flawed" despite that earlier conversation. Usually, that's trolling.

Ok, so you are serious. But, really, when you say to a staff member of whom you claim to be a fan that something they did "whether you agree or not, is a step in the wrong direction"... I just don't see what you are trying to achieve. The sourness of your tone and comments like "There’s no two sides to that argument" do undermine your points.

Objectively, yeah, it's great to have everything you need to run an adventure. But, that isn't the whole picture. Many have been asking for space taken up by monsters to instead be devoted to other content. It is a common request. And it isn't without precedent. The very AD&D adventure series you ask Chris Perkins to bring to 4E, is a great example (amongst others). D1-3 is filled with random monster tables and encounter areas where no information is provided (sometimes hit points are mentioned)... you in fact need the Monster Manual to run these!

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Objectively, yeah, it's great to have everything you need to run an adventure. But, that isn't the whole picture. Many have been asking for space taken up by monsters to instead be devoted to other content. It is a common request. And it isn't without precedent. The very AD&D adventure series you ask Chris Perkins to bring to 4E, is a great example (amongst others). D1-3 is filled with random monster tables and encounter areas where no information is provided (sometimes hit points are mentioned)... you in fact need the Monster Manual to run these!


 
im fine with random tables not having attached stat blocks. hell id love to see more random tables in 4e, its something i am introducing into my games and def passionate about. but if its a planned encounter i think there should be stats. im cool with them being in the back of the book though and not reprinting the same creature over and over; thats actually like the layout for adventures im experimenting with. pharaoh did it like that with new monsters
Given publishing constraints, I'd much rather have statblocks left out in favor of other content.
I would have been much happier with a product that gave us 3 pages worth of details for each region of Undermountain (including entrances in and out of Undermountain), similar to how the 4ed FR books presented world regions.

Failing that, just focus on the first level of Undermountain (which is what they technically did, but state it on the front cover) and give us 50 different plots, factions, and locations on the level.  

"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

I unfortunately don't have my copy yet, however I want to jump on the bandwagon that I feel that monster blocks do not need to be included in the encounter.

The biggest one is the "I'd rather that space be used for something else" - I bought the monster manuals and compendium for a reason - so I can refer to them.

This makes it "nicer" if I'm going to be tweaking the adventure (higher/lower level - swap out the monsters, etc).

All I need to see is "Goblin Archer x 3" and then it can tell me any special changes - like if a template was applied to one of them or not.  

Since this is edition neutral, I'm going to enjoy it, I'll lump it up with my AD&D box set, my expedition into undermountain, see if I can find a list of adventures from Dungeon that happen in undermountatin (if any).  Should be fun.
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I unfortunately don't have my copy yet, however I want to jump on the bandwagon that I feel that monster blocks do not need to be included in the encounter.

The biggest one is the "I'd rather that space be used for something else" - I bought the monster manuals and compendium for a reason - so I can refer to them.

This makes it "nicer" if I'm going to be tweaking the adventure (higher/lower level - swap out the monsters, etc).

All I need to see is "Goblin Archer x 3" and then it can tell me any special changes - like if a template was applied to one of them or not.  

Since this is edition neutral, I'm going to enjoy it, I'll lump it up with my AD&D box set, my expedition into undermountain, see if I can find a list of adventures from Dungeon that happen in undermountatin (if any).  Should be fun.

Too lazy to write a post this morning, but this pretty much sums up my take as well.
It's not strictly edition neutral - it still has a handful of monster stat blocks, 4E traps and magic items, as well as references to 4E skills (Perception and Athletics instead of spot or climb, for example). It should be easier than most 4E adventures to convert, however, due to the nature of the descriptions, and low emphasis on monsters using specific tactics and powers.
Alpha, I'm very serious. What, are you, the den mother to the D&D Forums?


THAT would be an awesome custom badge!



Pfft. Done.

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