Delving into Dungeon in a Box
  • Delving into Dungeon in a Box


    Dungeon in a Box is a monthly subscription service which bills itself as a complete package of materials to run a D&D 5th Edition adventure. The box includes an adventure and a variety of accessories to go with it. The modules are designed to work as standalone games, but if you subscribe monthly, the adventures work together to build an overall, year-long narrative. Downloadable digital content helps provide connective material to create an epic quest.


    What’s in the Box

    When you subscribe, you receive the first adventure box in that year’s cycle. The box I received contained the following:

    Adventure Booklet

    Secrets of the Greenwold: Caravan of Peril is the first adventure in the cycle. It is designed to take 1st-level characters up to Level 2. The 24-page booklet includes:

    • a caravan generator table, which helps you determine the makeup of the caravan
    • a stat block and background for an important NPC
    • several suggestions for random encounters the caravan may experience, ranked by difficulty
    • stats for monsters
    • magic items and other treasure
    • information about the terrain
    • a multi-part encounter
    • suggestions for how to scale the adventure for characters up to Level 10

    The adventure is a fairly typical, but well-constructed, first-level module. It may be best-suited to new DMs who are learning how to run games, but it’s a fun and easy way to get a game together with minimal prep time. Even if you choose not to run the whole adventure as published, it is full of good elements that may be useful to almost any DM in need of inspiration and short on time.

    Encounter Map

    The 18” x 24” map of the Caravan Camp location from the adventure is double-sided. One side shows the caravans, a campfire, and other location features for easy setup. The other side shows only the generic ground without other objects, so you can add your own minis and terrain pieces when running this adventure, or keep it to use in future games.

    Legacy Stickers and Tracker

    The tracker helps document the party’s progress through the year-long cycle of adventures. The DM can make notes on the tracker, and stickers are provided to indicate the outcome of each adventure’s major encounter, such as whether a mission objective was completed.


    Terrain Tiles

    An envelope containing several double-sided tiles lets you further customize your encounter map and represent changes in the terrain. For instance, you can add objects such as a horse or spilled treasure, or indicate a damaged caravan.

    Flat Plastic Minis

    The monsters you need for the main encounter, plus an NPC and a creature for one of the possible random encounters, are represented in two-dimensional form. Punch out these minis from the plastic sheet and insert them into the included bases. They are printed on two sides, showing the character’s front and back, so you easily can show which direction the character is facing.

    Random Miniatures

    Each box comes with two random premium miniatures. They are not necessarily related to the specific adventure, but are meant to be helpful additions to your mini collection. My box included a human fighter and a bugbear from the Reaper Bones line.

    Subscription Packages

    A single month’s subscription costs $26, but if you subscribe to one of the multi-month packages, the average price of each box decreases. The contents of each box are the same regardless of the tier, though the 12-month subscription includes an extra adventure. Four tiers are offered:

    • 1 month: $26
    • 3 months: $75 ($25 per month)
    • 6 months: $144 ($24 per month)
    • 12 months: $270 ($22.50 per month; includes a bonus 13th adventure)

    Shipping is an additional cost. Unfortunately, international shipping for the box is very expensive, so it is only provided upon special request.

    Conclusion

    If you’re a veteran DM who’s heavy into homebrew and owns a house full of D&D accessories, Dungeon in a Box may be less useful to you. But if you want to run a monthly game for your group without committing a lot of time to preparation, or are just getting started as a DM, Dungeon in a Box offers a helpful toolkit. I think it would make an especially great gift for a family that wants to learn to play D&D together. There’s no need to track down special items to run a fully realized adventure, and the nicely constructed module provides a good example of what a DM might need to create on their own for a game if they want to try their hand at homebrew later. Conveniently, almost everything in the box could be reused in other games.

    For more details and subscription information, visit DungeoninaBox.com.

    This article was contributed by Annie Bulloch as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. EthanSental's Avatar
      EthanSental -
      That looks nicely out together...thanks for finding and sharing as I didn’t know it existed.
    1. collin's Avatar
      collin -
      Very interesting. And given all that comes with it, I think the price-point is quite reasonable.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      A yearly subscription to this, including shipping, in the U.S. looks to be maybe only two or three dollars or higher than a Paizo Adventure Path (my last subscription from Paizo was about $27.00/month with shipping, and this would be about $30 to me). On the plus side, you can quit a Paizo subscription at any time, and to get the discounted rate for this you have to buy a year in advance.

      However, knowing nothing of the quality, I can't say one way or another if it's worth it, but on paper it looks like a very reasonable value for the materials you get.
    1. Darren Richardson's Avatar
      Darren Richardson -
      Sigh, i wish there were companies producing stuff like this here in the UK or even europe, the shipping kills off any worth with this kind of 'Crate' subscriptions
    1. Burnside's Avatar
      Burnside -
      Really good idea for a product, and the price point seems reasonable for what's included. I will give it a shot. Hope the actual adventures are strong.
    1. Ristamar's Avatar
      Ristamar -
      The guy behind this venture, David Crennen, was the DM for the Crit Juice podcast (parts of the site and the podcasts are NSFW). I believe Dungeon in a Box failed as a Kickstarter before he struck out on his own.

      There are some videos on YouTube with in depth looks at the content of one of the first boxes and they and they all seem favorable. He had also streamed some of the adventures on Twitch. I hope this works out for him.
    1. Cathayan's Avatar
      Cathayan -
      A very nice review. I'd like to have heard an opinion on the quality of the map, terrain tiles, etc.
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      As noted above, international shipping really hurts for something like this. Still, it's a cool concept for a product.

      That said, something like this is really dependent on the quality of the adventure, which makes it hard to judge from any distance.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Consider some long-time gamers have clamored for box sets to return, over the past few years they HAVE BEEN -- just as premium products.
    1. pogre's Avatar
      pogre -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ristamar View Post
      The guy behind this venture, David Crennen, was the DM for the Crit Juice podcast (parts of the site and the podcasts are NSFW). I believe Dungeon in a Box failed as a Kickstarter before he struck out on his own.
      Just to clarify: The reason it was pulled from Kickstarter is late in the campaign they informed him it did not comply with Kickstarter guidelines. Specifically, everything in the Kickstarter must be manufactured by the sponsor and he was providing miniatures from other companies as part of the box.

      I love this idea and the price is reasonable, but everything except the adventure would get no use from me. I have tons of terrain and minis and do not use stand-ups or printed encounter maps. I'm tempted to buy a subscription for one of my sons though.
    1. Nebulous's Avatar
      Nebulous -
      Looks like a nice product if you're just getting started. I have tons of minis and maps already, and I run the official campaigns, so I wouldn't use this.
    1. Burnside's Avatar
      Burnside -
      I got a three-month sub to this and received the first package last week.

      Thoughts:

      PROS

      - Overall, the quality of the materials is very good to excellent, especially at this price point. The first box included two minis, 11 flat plastic pawns with bases, two very nice full color battle maps (one printed on the back of the other), a large campaign map (monochrome, but lovely and looks like it could exist in the game world), the adventure booklet (full color, glossy, quite nice), and a couple of hand-out cards that work much like AL story awards.

      - The adventure itself is very solid, if a little bit basic and standard. Guard the caravan during its route. An quick intro, a description of some of the wagons and NPCs that could be part of the caravan (with some very amusing/original ideas), fleshed-out random encounter and terrain tables, culminating in a detailed pair of climactic encounters.

      CONS

      - Doesn't quite live up to one of the main selling points, in that everything you need for the adventure is not, in fact, in the box. Due to the choice of using the tried-and-true "guard the caravan" plot, the adventure is actually a bit sprawling in scope. The plastic pawns and battle maps provided cover only what's needed for the two climactic encounters - for all of the random encounters included (which actually comprise the bulk of the adventure), you'll need to supply your own materials. Similarly, why not include stat blocks for the SRD monsters and NPCs? it would be perfectly legal to do so, and would save the DM prep time and page flipping.

      - The minis included have nothing to do with the adventure (although the flat plastic pawns do). The creators are totally up front about this being the case, but it seems bizarre. I received a mini of a wall of ice, and a second blister pack with three skeleton warriors. I mean, I can always use a few more skeleton warriors in general, but it seems like a no-brainer that the included minis should be featured in the adventure. If they're not in the adventure, why include them at all? The plastic pawns are fine. Leave the minis out and shave a few bucks off the price.

      - The site claims that there are "pages of digital content" available to subscribers to help link the monthly adventures together into a campaign. If such pages exist, I can't find them.
    1. guachi's Avatar
      guachi -
      It looks fun and interesting. I actually wish I could have them every other month. So maybe just get six months and then cancel.

      Thanks for the shout out.
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