Tales from the Yawning Portal is Wizard’s latest release for 5th Edition, a 248-page full color hardcover book featuring four adventures from 1st Edition and two from 3rd Edition that have been updated to 5th Edition, along with one adventure from the D&D Next playtest. you can think of it as a “Greatest Hits” collection.
The adventures featured are:
- The Sunless Citadel
- The Forge of Fury
- Against the Giants Trilogy
- The Tomb of Horrors
- The Hidden Shrine of Tamaochan
- White Plume Mountain
- Dead in Thay
One of the best disclaimers yet!
This book is a bit different, from what WOTC has done in the past, this is not a full adventure book, nor is it a new story line, this is a drop your party in to the dungeon kind of book. Pretty much every level range is represented in Tales From The Yawning Portal:
- The Sunless Citadel: 1st level
- The Forge of Fury: 3rd level
- The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan: 5th level
- White Plume Mountain: 8th level
- Dead in Thay: 9th – 11th level
- Against the Giants: 11th level
- Tomb of Horrors: “Only high level characters stand a chance of coming back alive”
This is a great book if you want to run some “one shots” or maybe you want to interject some of these dungeons into your current campaign, be it homebrew, or if you’re playing one of the current story lines. They give you tips on how you can do this in the book, where to place, how to place those types of things. 5E has defaulted to the Forgotten Realms as its main setting, each adventure has notes for placing it in various well known settings:
- Forgotten Realms
I did like there is a good spread of the different types of dungeon’s here, from the introductory dungeon crawl of The Sunless Citadel, to the fun house dungeon and all of the craziness that is White Plume Mountain, to the killer dungeons of Dead in Thay and the Tomb of Horrors, that let’s be honest are just there to provide with that ever so satisfying TPK. They did a good job of keeping the “feel” of the old-school dungeons here, but still updating them to 5E. I think they did a great job with the book. The encounters are balanced, the adventures are all wonderful examples of various kinds of dungeon crawls
This is not a story driven book at all, so if you’re looking for that, you should move along, these are just the dungeons. As I said, before you can place them in your current campaign, or you could if you wanted to start with a new character and just have a great old fashioned dungeon crawl over several weeks, and run them 1 by 1. You are free to do pretty much whatever you would like, use 1 dungeon, or use them all.
The book gets so much right, the ‘About the Original’ blocks, listing maps in the table of contents, and including the magic items and creatures in the appendices. WOTC knocked it out of the park once again, with the artwork. The maps, oh my god the maps, I can’t talk enough how I love the maps! A big kudo to the art department, from the looks of the monsters, to the maps, great job.
That being said, it gets a few things wrong.
The Yawning Portal, it’s in the name of the book! But we don’t get much about it, we get a short introduction to it, what it is, some brief history but that’s it. I would have loved to see them do more with it. I can only hope that this is just a big tease and we are going to see a 5E Undermountain. Can I get a amen on that from the crowd?
My biggest complaint I have is they did not include the handouts for the dungeons! Back in the day when you were running Tomb Of Horrors, you would hand out sheets to your players, so they would see what you were talking about. When they were *Spoiler Alert* looking at the green mouth, you handed them a sheet that showed them that. I think WOTC missed the mark here, I understand this is a hardcover book so it would not have been easy to do, but It seems to me there should have been a way they could have done this, even give us a link to download them or something.
They few minor complaints I have aside, if you want to relive some of the best dungeons in the history of D&D then, this is your best bet, without having to do the conversions yourself. Then Tales From The Yawning Portal is the book you have been waiting for.
Tales From The Yawning Portal can be purchased now at your FLGS or you can purchased via Amazon
A Big Thank You! To WOTC for providing a early review copy of the book, for this review, Which had no effect on the outcome of the review.
*The Amazon link found above, is an AFFILIATE LINK, and DDO Players will get a small percent of your sale, this is another way you can help support the site*