Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Yawning Portal

So, I'm so far out of the loop these days that I only just learned last week about the forthcoming new D&D release, a septet of classic adventures adapted to Fifth Edition rules, called The Yawning Portal. According to WotC,* the seven adventures are

  • Against the Giants
  • Dead in Thay
  • Forge of Fury
  • Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
  • Sunless Citadel
  • Tomb of Horrors
  • White Plume Mountain

  • Of these, four are classics: G1-3. Against the Giants (Gygax), C1. Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (Harold Johnson), S2. White Plume Mountain (Laurence Schick), and S1. Tome of Horrors (Gygax again).

    Two more come from the Third Edition Adventure Path: Bruce Cordell's Sunless Citadel and Rich Baker's Forge of Fury (the first and second in that series, respectively).

    The seventh wasn't familiar to me, and a little checking revealed the reason why; it's a new piece they've thrown into the mix (presumably like 'greatest hits' albums tend to have a new song added in the hopes it'll become a hit by being on the album**).

    It's probably no coincidence that all four of those classics ranked high in DUNGEON magazine's polling of "The 30 Greatest Adventures of All Time" (DUNGEON #116, November 2004), coming in at #1 (Giants), #3 (Tome), #9 (White Plume), and #18 (Tamoachan), respectively, albeit with Against the Giants there included in its mashup form as GDQ1-7.

    Personally I never cared much for the Drow series (D1, D2, D3) or its Llothian conclusion (Q1), probably I've only read them and never actually played through the adventures. Same goes for S2: I've heard it praised by enough folks whose opinion I respect (e.g., Bruce Cordell) to conclude I'd like it more if I'd played through it at some point. I did play through G1-G2-G3, which I do have a high regard for.

    Two surprising absences from this greatest-hits update/recap, at first glance, would be I6. Ravenloft (which came in at #3 on the DUNGEON list) and T1-4. Temple of Elemental Evil (#5 ibid.), but one of these has already had its stand-along fifth edition treatment: CURSE OF STRAHD, which came out about a year ago.

    Here's hoping TEMPLE OF ELEMENTAL EVIL gets a reprint as well.

    --John R.

    just finished: MacArthur vs. Truman by H. L. Brand (2016)
    currently reading: a book on octopus intelligence
    just finished: THE STORY OF SAIUNKOKU , second season
    currently watching (w. disappointment) RWBY season four.


    see also


    **a trend started by Paul Simon, with "Slip Sliding Away"

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