If there is anything you can take away from this review, it is this: This is a well-designed adventure that overcomes the flaws that plagued Tyranny of Dragons. It is well worth the money. The beginning of the adventure has much more thought put into it. There are supplements for how to put the campaign into various other settings besides the Realms, there are a number of bridge ideas to get people started, and it integrates much better with the Starter Set adventure, Lost Mines of Phandelver than Hoard of the Dragon Queen did. The downsides are that the villains boil down to yet another cult toiling to bring about the doom of the world as you know it. If you have spent week after week trying to overcome the Cult of the Dragon in Tyranny, this might seem like a slightly more flavorful retell. The encounters and battles are much more well designed. The campaign definitely benefits from all of the rules being finalized and printed. If you haven't played an official campaign and are wondering if you should start with this or Tyranny, start with this. You won't be disappointed.
"Princes of the Apocalypse" is awesome. It has a strong story. While elemental evil is not a new idea in D&D, the way "Princes of the Apocalypse" allows gamers to tell it in the Forgotten Realms certainly is. The book is thick with immense detail, hooks, NPCs and rife with many great bad guys and locations. It brings the obscure location of the Dessarin Valley to life. "Princes of the Apocalypse" also dove-tails well with "Lost Mine of Phandelver". But, even better, I have found that it's great fare to use between chapters three and four of "Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle". Lots and lots of great content in this thing. More spells, magic items, adaptation notes for for other settings, the Genasi race and other monsters. The art, while not great, is still way better than the terrible fare we find in the PHB and DMG. "Princes of the Apocalypse" is well worth the money.
If you have any interest in elemental stories or monsters I would pick up this book for sure. I couldn’t help thinking about all the ways I wanted to “borrow” the water elemental sections for my own campaign. If you are a player looking for elemental options for your character – the free PotA Player’s Companion is a better resource. A great adventure and resource! Pick it up this week and start defeating the elemental cults.
It doesn’t seem that long ago I was pining for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons to finally be released and here I am, less than a year later, staring at the second Super Adventure released for the product line. Fifth Edition is here in earnest, and I’ve seen nothing but quality books coming off their presses. Princes of the Apocalypse (PotA) is no different. Coming in at a bulky 256 pages, PotA provides a full campaign arc that borrowers on a bit of nostalgia by using touches of a D&D classic The Temple of Elemental Evil.
Quality of the Product
There’s not much to be said here that I haven’t mentioned before with this edition’s quality. Wizards of the Coast has brought us a book every bit as sturdy as its predecessors in this edition, great binding, solid hardcover. Nothing new to relay there. Just quality craftmanship.
The artwork is every bit as strong. If the design team set out to evoke the feeling of immersion into the elemental forces your players will be dealing with they certainly succeeded. There’s a great use of artwork here and I am a sucker for anything based on the elements to begin with. Loved seeing scenes from the book brought to life for this.
The campaign arc represents the meat and potatoes of the book. The core story is a Super Adventure meant to take characters from level 3 to 15, with a number of adventures in the “Alurms and Excursions” portion of the book that will help characters get to level 3 if you are starting from scratch. Another nice touch is a series of hooks you can use to bring players over who have finished running Lost Mines of Phandelver.
The Elemental Princes are all wildly interesting antagonists, as are their cults, and the adventure paths your players will take may differ wildly from another tables. I am happily surprised at the openness of this campaign. Tyranny of Dragons had a bit of sandbox to it but PotA does the better job of it. Especially because while the players are meddling there are ways for the cults they face to react to said meddling, as one would expect to be honest. Plus I love that the whole thing is contained in one book. Hopefully we see that more often going forward.
Along with a solid Campaign to run WotC, and their partners for this endeavor Sasquatch Game Studio, have presented a number of new player options as well. Within the pages there are a number of new magical items for the DM to reward players with, or ruin their day with if the items lay within the grasp of their enemies. We are also greeted with a bevy of new spells for the various classes that use them, most spells having a bit of that elemental slant to them you would expect from such a story. Lastly we have a brand new race for players to begin using, the elemental focused Genasi we know and love from previous editions. One of the cooler aspects of this additional player content is that you can find most of it, the Genasi details and the spells, in .pdf form on the WotC website. The magic items are adventure specific though.
I continue to be a fan of the physical materials Wizards has been putting out. I love that they have been working with different RPG studios to create the content as well. Both Kobold Press and Sasquatch Game Studio have brought unique elements to their work they’ve done with the design team proper for Dungeons and Dragons. I like that trend and hope it continues. If you’re looking for some great DM content or even an entire Campaign arc for your table check this book out, it’s a great read and some solid adventuring!-Melvs
Being a long time collector and Dungeons and Dragons, plus owning about everything ever published for Forgotten Realms I was a little worried when i heard they were moving my beloved Temple to the realms. I think they did a great job by not just porting the module over but making it all new just with the same tone. But I tend to nit pick little things about the module, like the adventure location placement, it is very close to Waterdeep, the largest city in the realms. What would keep from vast amount of people going to fix the problem. Then one of the first adventures has a necromancer as the enemy.. but no spell books or items to make the zombies in the mission. What someone else raised them and like a sheep herder he was left to tend them? I do love the realms and temple and the did a great job on about everything.. just wanted it perfect.
Delighted with this adventure. From a practical point of view, it is well laid out, easy to follow and provides just the right level of detail. The setting is interesting and it provides plenty of backstory. There are options of player choice of what to do and where to go. The encounters are varied and there seems to be good mix of exploration, interaction and combats.I am very pleased there are nice maps for most encounter areas. There is also a lot of great atmospheric artwork.Highly recommended. If subsequent adventures are of this standard it will make me very happy.