5E Let's Talk About Yawning Portal
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  1. #1
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    Let's Talk About Yawning Portal

    I picked it up today at a "preferred retailer" and have done some overall skimming and more careful reading of Tomb of Horrors.

    I was surprised to see that not only does the titular inn have no place in any of the adventures, it seems to point to an adventure location (The Underdark) that is not covered in the book at all. I would say maybe it was setup for an Underdark AP but we have one of those already. I don't own Out of the Abyss though: does the Yawning Portal factor into that adventure?

    Reading the Tomb of Horrors I feel like it is not especially dangerous for 15th or so level characters in 5E. Even when there is unavoidable damage it seems pretty low and challenges requiring flight or sight seem a literal pedestrian at the suggested level. But I am only 1/3 of the way through the adventure so maybe the difficulty ramps up.

    You thoughts on Yawning Portal?

  2. #2
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    It does feel a bit like they should have used the Yawning Portal as a framing device for an Undermountain campaign (Undermountain is not the same thing as the Underdark, btw.)

    Having skimmed through it, my initial reaction is that they don't appear to have adjusted the treasure values much, if at all. The early adventures, at least, look like they are filled to the brim with loot and magic items. Very different to the stingier 5e campaigns that have come before. (My players have noticed a dearth of coinage in CoS, for instance.)

    I haven't looked at Tomb of Horrors all that closely, but I have a feeling it won't be as deadly for the simple reason that 5e is not as deadly as the older editions, especially at higher levels. If they've made the traps less damaging as well, then ToH will definitely not be as deadly as it might once have been.
    Last edited by pukunui; Monday, 27th March, 2017 at 04:34 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pukunui View Post
    It does feel a bit like they should have used the Yawning Portal as a framing device for an Undermountain campaign (Undermountain is not the same thing as the Underdark, btw.)

    Having skimmed through it, my initial reaction is that they don't appear to have adjusted the treasure values much, if at all. The early adventures, at least, look like they are filled to the brim with loot and magic items. Very different to the stingier 5e campaigns that have come before. (My players have noticed a dearth of coinage in CoS, for instance.)

    I haven't looked at Tomb of Horrors all that closely, but I have a feeling it won't be as deadly for the simple reason that 5e is not as deadly as the older editions, especially at higher levels. If they've made the traps less damaging as well, then ToH will definitely not be as deadly as it might once have been.
    I have never played in or run a game in FR so I am not sure what the difference between the two is.

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  4. #4
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    Undermountain is a man-made mega-dungeon located beneath Waterdeep. The Underdark is a natural network of caverns and tunnels far below the surface. The are passages that connect Undermountain to the Underdark.

    See the second paragraph under "The Yawning Portal" on page 5 of the book for more.
    Last edited by pukunui; Monday, 27th March, 2017 at 04:50 AM.

  5. #5
    The gold values were definitely reduced for Against the Giants. Here's a comparison:

    Maids' Chamber
    1st Edition (original):
    3,000 gp
    three bracelets worth 2,000-8,000 gp each
    Total: 9,000 - 27,000 gp

    5th Edition:
    800 gp
    three bracelets worth 1,000 each
    Total: 3,800 gp

    ***

    Minor Treasure Room
    1st Edition (original):
    13,000 cp
    27,300 sp
    7,140 ep
    10,800 cp (in metal)
    11,000 gp (in items)
    980 gp (in gems)
    Total: 18,518 gp

    5th Edition:
    13,000 cp
    9,100 sp
    2,400 ep
    10,800 cp (in metal)
    2,750 gp (in items)
    325 gp (in gems)
    Total: 5,423 gp

    Seems about right for level 11 characters in 5th Edition.
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  6. #6
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    OK. I was mostly looking at The Sunless Citadel and The Forge of Fury. The treasure values are nearly identical. There are going to be some very wealthy (and possibly overpowered) PCs coming out of those adventures!


    EDIT: Nightscale's Hoard (The Forge of Fury):

    3e version
    6,200 sp
    1,430 gp
    2 garnets (20 gp each)
    black pearl (50 gp)
    wand of magic missiles
    +2 dwarven waraxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
    large steel +1 shield
    potion of cure light wounds
    potion of levitation

    5e version
    6,200 sp
    1,430 gp
    2 garnets (20 gp each)
    black pearl (50 gp)
    wand of magic missiles
    +2 greataxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
    +1 shield
    potion of healing
    potion of flying
    Last edited by pukunui; Monday, 27th March, 2017 at 05:21 AM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by pukunui View Post
    It does feel a bit like they should have used the Yawning Portal as a framing device for an Undermountain campaign (Undermountain is not the same thing as the Underdark, btw.)

    Having skimmed through it, my initial reaction is that they don't appear to have adjusted the treasure values much, if at all. The early adventures, at least, look like they are filled to the brim with loot and magic items. Very different to the stingier 5e campaigns that have come before. (My players have noticed a dearth of coinage in CoS, for instance.)

    I haven't looked at Tomb of Horrors all that closely, but I have a feeling it won't be as deadly for the simple reason that 5e is not as deadly as the older editions, especially at higher levels. If they've made the traps less damaging as well, then ToH will definitely not be as deadly as it might once have been.
    From what I've heard from others reading it (my book's still in the mail), it sounds like it's less deadly in that there's more times to notice something's off, roll saves, does damage instead of death, but it also has the damage cranked up enough that it's still easy to lose a character if you're not careful.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by flametitan View Post
    From what I've heard from others reading it (my book's still in the mail), it sounds like it's less deadly in that there's more times to notice something's off, roll saves, does damage instead of death, but it also has the damage cranked up enough that it's still easy to lose a character if you're not careful.
    I'll have to look at it more closely. I am still skeptical that many PCs will die, simply because, as I said before, it's so hard for PCs to die (or at least stay dead) in 5e, especially at high levels.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    I picked it up today at a "preferred retailer" and have done some overall skimming and more careful reading of Tomb of Horrors.

    I was surprised to see that not only does the titular inn have no place in any of the adventures, it seems to point to an adventure location (The Underdark) that is not covered in the book at all. I would say maybe it was setup for an Underdark AP but we have one of those already. I don't own Out of the Abyss though: does the Yawning Portal factor into that adventure?

    Reading the Tomb of Horrors I feel like it is not especially dangerous for 15th or so level characters in 5E. Even when there is unavoidable damage it seems pretty low and challenges requiring flight or sight seem a literal pedestrian at the suggested level. But I am only 1/3 of the way through the adventure so maybe the difficulty ramps up.

    You thoughts on Yawning Portal?
    This doesn't surprise me.

    The only thing that can kill high-level 5e characters are encounters way deadlier than the official guidelines suggest, and insta-death traps.

    The former is out of the question until WotC admits they don't want to think about what optimization and powergaming does to their precious balance.

    The second, however, is there, but perhaps not frequently enough or too easily avoidable.

    But my reaction to all the hopes for a really deadly environment was always:

    Not until they admit monster and encounter guidelines lead to a severely carebearian game, and massively upgrades high-level monsters from the jokes they are today.

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  10. #10
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    I haven't gotten mine yet, but from some of your descriptions of the deadliness (or not) of ToH, that does seem to be disappointing. However, the more I thought about it, the more I am thinking that it might not be all that bad.

    For one, it seems psychologically easier to increase damage and challenges of an adventure than it is to nerf an adventure. So that might give us players and DMs more options. What I mean by that is, if someone wants a more playable ToH instead of a pure death-trap, then maybe they have that. And if someone wants the death-trap, it would be easy to take what we have in this book and ramp up the deadliness. Simply make a few of those high-damage traps into insta-death traps, and you're basically there. Easy-peasy.

    So now we have more options. Want to include the dungeon in your campaign as something that might be achievable? Just run it as is in the book. Want to make it closer to the original as a super death-trap? Make some of the traps instant-death, and you've got it. So maybe that gives us more options and is a good thing?

    Like I said, I haven't read the adventure yet, so these are just off-the-cuff thoughts about what you guys are reporting so far.
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