Tales From The Yawning Portal - 7 Classic Dungeons Updated To 5E!

Coming in April is WotC's next official D&D product, Tales from the Yawning Portal. This hardcover book contains seven classic dungeons updated to 5th Edition, from adventures such as Against the Giants, Dead in Thay, Forge of Fury, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, Sunless Citadel, Tomb of Horrors, and White Plume Mountain. This is, presumably, the product previously codenamed Labyrinth. It's set for an April 4th release, for $49.95.



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When the shadows grow long in Waterdeep and the fireplace in the taproom of the Yawning Portal dims to a deep crimson glow, adventurers from across the Sword Coast spin tales and spread rumors of lost treasures.

Within this tome are seven of the deadliest dungeons from the history of Dungeons & Dragons. Some are classics that have hosted an untold number of adventurers, while others are newer creations, boldly staking a claim to their place in the pantheon of notable adventures.

The seeds of these stories now rest in your hands. D&D’s deadliest dungeons are now part of your arsenal of adventures. Enjoy, and remember to keep a few spare character sheets handy.

For use with the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide, this book provides fans with a treasure trove of adventures, all of which have been updated to the fifth edition rules. Explore seven deadly dungeons in this adventure supplement for the world’s greatest roleplaying game:

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

Find it on WotC's site here. Forbes has an interview about it here. Mearls says "We're announcing a new D&D product, a book coming out this spring. It is called Tales from the Yawning Portal(out March 24th in local game stores and April 4th everywhere else) It's a collection of seven of the most famous dungeons from Dungeons & Dragons history. They're all collected in one hardcover book. The idea behind it is not only do you want to capture some of the most famous dungeons from the game's history, but we also wanted to give a selection of adventures that you could in theory start at Level 1 with the first dungeon and play all the way up to Level 15 by playing the adventures one after another."

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Cover Image

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Gibbering Mouther

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Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan



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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Jester David

Adventurer
I'm torn with this announcement. At first I was excited. Some great adventures there! Then I realized I've been running a lot of classic adventures while converting on the fly. I'm running White Plume Mountain right now. I have the Classic Modules Today conversion guide for it, but have yet to reference it during play. So do I really need this product?

If it brings something new to the table, I think I'll get it. If it's just updated, cleaned up conversions? I'll pass.

I do hope it does well, though. I like the idea of them releasing a collection of standalone adventures.
That's my thoughts.
Enough people want small adventures that I do want them to release a book of stand-alone (yet connected) adventures. But I'd like them to be new and not reprints. So I want this to do well enough that more small adventures can come, but not so well the do a direct sequel with more easily converted adventures.
 

darjr

I crit!
There was another in store event with multiple tables against a dracolich and her lair. The sidebar was about how to run it with a single table.
 

pkt77242

Explorer
That's my thoughts.
Enough people want small adventures that I do want them to release a book of stand-alone (yet connected) adventures. But I'd like them to be new and not reprints. So I want this to do well enough that more small adventures can come, but not so well the do a direct sequel with more easily converted adventures.
What I want is a book of short adventures that are themed that includes classics and some new ones. Such as having a I3-I5 and X4 and X5 with 2 new desert adventures. I think the ideal mix would be 3-5 classics with 2-4 new adventures.
 

JeffB

Adventurer
What I want is a book of short adventures that are themed that includes classics and some new ones. Such as having a I3-I5 and X4 and X5 with 2 new desert adventures. I think the ideal mix would be 3-5 classics with 2-4 new adventures.
I would buy products like that. A mix of old and new riffing off the same themes. Or like with the Slave Lords compilation where they added a new low level adventure to kick things off. If they took I3-5 and gave us some new locations/adventures preceding and afterward (not necc entrenched in the main adventures but lead ins/complementary to, maybe a sandboxy ;) gazetteer for the region). Also would work great with X4/5.

Or somethinng like new intro adventures leading to X1 then some other new adventures in the region/islands (could resurrect "the treasure of the hideous one" too) and then maybe ending with Isle of the Ape.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
I was really hoping at least one of the adventures would be for levels 16-20.
True, a missed opportunity there. Levels 16-20 still aren't supported by published adventures. The only trouble is, there aren't really any classic level 16-20 dungeons.
 

araquael

Villager
Interesting thread.

Does Dead in Thay's inclusion do anything weird to the order of the Sundering fiction (if it does anything at all)?

Furthermore, might this model of repackaging older adventures be a clever way to "rehabilitate" a lot of 4E content back into the current "canon"? Maybe do the Herkenwold stuff for 5E and put it in the Realms?
 
I wonder if you could stuff all these dungeons in a sandboxy game, starting out in a town with rumers about the 2 lowest level dungeons.
If they complete one of them start adding rumors of the higer level dungeons.
and fase ou the rumors of the dungeons they now are to high level for, but make up what happens if thse bad guys got away with what they whwew planning.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Against the Giants
This is an odd choice, as it was semi-updated for 5e already with Storm King's Thunder. I'm not sure what WotC was thinking with this. It doesn't even really have an "end" as the drow element likely won't be included.
The level range might have been a factor, but several of the I series would have been the same level range, as would The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

Thumbs down
Storm King, however, is intended as its own self-contained AP; here the G-series can be used together, as three stand-alones, as one-offs, or whatever; with much less effort required to strip out the story elements you don't want. And...Giants! :)

Forge of Fury
I imagine this and Sunless Citadel are the first, safe attempt at viewing 3e adventures and content as classical adventures or seeing how nostalgia there is for these books. This way they can see if they should look to other 3e adventures for inspiration or as the sources of storylines, or just focus on 1e.

The DMsGuild description says "It distinguishes itself less for truly innovative dungeon and encounter design than it does for providing a good, solid, old-school adventuring experience." Which is something of an ironic as most of the classic dungeon craws were old-school for the innovative and creative dungeons. This seems very much in line with my experiences with past Rich Baker adventures: so-so encounters and bland dungeons.
But the uneven encounters and challenging fights do make it sound nice and old school. Although this will be far less challenging in 5e if done straight: ropers are far lower in CR.

Thumbs up
Where I really hope they keep it challenging, even nasty in parts, as that's what makes it good. FoF is probably the best of all the 3e-era modules I've seen.

Tomb of Horrors
This mean we're unlikely to see a Return to the Tomb of Horrors storyline. Which is fine. I imagine this product exists because they needed to do something with classics like that or Hidden Shrine or White Plume Mountain, but couldn't turn them into full storylines of their own. So this is a way to just take those off the board all at once. This way they're not trying to do a Tomb of Horrors storyline where you run around from level 1 to 10 doing unrelated things before trying to attempt a demilich lair battle at level 13.

This adventure is a bit of a mess with it's illogical solutions to "puzzles". Where the solution to the "puzzle" isn't signalled anywhere. There are no clues and you either need to succeed through brute force (either definition). I'd actually pay good money to see this dungeon with better solutions that rewards creativity rather than just weird luck and having the exact right spell prepared. And a little more margin for error in the traps, where you have a round or two to consider a solution before death.
Let's face it, Tomb of Horrors is full of traps. Not traps for the characters, but traps for the players. All of the players, as there are plenty of DM traps here as well. This is a dick module that makes the person running it a dick.

Tumb dependant on execution
The solutions do reward not just creativity, but careful (to the point of boring, I must say) play and teamwork. I've been in a group that's played and beaten* it using only some of the pre-gen characters in the module.

* - we destroyed Acererak's phylactery/ies but didn't actually defeat the lich itself, instead we outmaneuvered it, took the treasure item we were there for, and left.

It's an interesting inclusion in this compilation because it's such a contrast in style - all the other modules (except Dead in Thay, never seen that one) are grand hack-fests while ToH is anything but.

White Plume Mountain
Like the Tomb of Horrors, this one depends on the execution. If it's presented as a straight update, or tweaked and revised to conform to modern adventure design.

I've run this and found it to actually be rather terrible. It was a writing sample and it shows. It's the apex of illogical dungeon design. There's no consistency, no reason for the dungeon to exist, and only the flimsiest pretense at a "plot", as if someone designed a dungeon via madlibs or a random dungeon generator. It's an example of how not to design a dungeon.
It's less a singular dungeon that you can just drop into play and more a series of chambers and rooms that you can pull out and use in your own dungeons.

Unlike Tomb of Horrors, I'm not sure this can be redeemed through better phrasing of the puzzle solutions. It's just too much of a mess.

Thumbs down
What do you mean by "conform to modern adventure design"? Designs both bad and good can be found throughout the whole history of D&D...and WPM is far from the worst. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the very illogic of the thing that makes it memorable for the right reasons.

Lan-"I'd run WPM again someday if my players didn't already know it so well"-efan
 

ddaley

Explorer
The Doomvault looks pretty sweet. I had not seen that before.

This is the Doomvault. It is huge.

View attachment 79767


In the original store run version each group of players would each be told to explore a section of this place. As Tales from the Yawning Portal is going to present this as a normal dungeon. The focus will likely be shifted to instead of finding mcguffins with the other groups on a time table, to exploring this massive dungeon.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
Storm King, however, is intended as its own self-contained AP; here the G-series can be used together, as three stand-alones, as one-offs, or whatever; with much less effort required to strip out the story elements you don't want. And...Giants! :)
The thing is, five giant lairs (hill, frost, fire, cloud, and stone) can be used self-contained. They don't require any connection to the larger story. And really, the connections between the larger story of the AP (the Storm King) and the giant lairs is pretty darn tenuous. Even the connection between the lairs and the overall metaplot (the breaking of the ordning) is pretty weak.

Running those together or as one-offs would be effortless.

What do you mean by "conform to modern adventure design"? Designs both bad and good can be found throughout the whole history of D&D...and WPM is far from the worst. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the very illogic of the thing that makes it memorable for the right reasons.

Lan-"I'd run WPM again someday if my players didn't already know it so well"-efan
There's a lot of non-ecology going on in the adventure. How do the various animals and humanoids eat? How does the wizard get about in his lair? Why did they build the crazy dungeon? How does he pay the guardsmen, where do they live, and how do they get to work?
The dungeon is really a giant carnival funhouse. Just one strange surprise after another. Until it literally becomes a carnival funhouse with the spinning room.

The plot of the dungeon is the wizard, Keraptis, steals three powerful artifacts and hides them. But then taunts the owners. Why? There's no motive. He achieves nothing. It's like this evil wizard is basically trolling the kingdom, tricking adventurers to their doom for the LoLs. And you don't even really get to fight him at the end. He's a non-entity. But based on how the dungeon is design, he should really sport green hair, white skin, and be voiced by Mark Hamill.

The thing about the module was it was written as a writing sample. The author penned it to show TSR he could write. It was an example of his imagination and skill rather than an actual dungeon designed for play. It was a giant buffet of as much crazy and wild brainstorming as he could cram into one module. It was literally a combination every every single crazy dungeon chamber idea he had one after another. And it shows. It's ten rooms of crazy in a five room dungeon.

Now, what makes it good is that, unlike Tomb of Horrors, this adventure is less... spiteful. There's a sense of whimsy that makes the whole experience - for a lack of a better descriptor - jolly. It has an "all-in-good-fun" tone that makes the experience less painful despite the madcap logic.
 

Parmandur

Legend
From what the WotC guys are saying, part of the point may be to throw the original G series into SKT, as they suggest doing with the Cloud Giant castle in Hoard of the Dragon Queen...

And sight unseen, the "mad house" style is pretty appealing...to me at least.
 

guachi

Villager
If mad house dungeon was what they were going for, X2 is the way to go.

Someone linked to an RPG.net play through with 3.0 rules from 2004 and it's hysterical. I plan on running X2 in about two months when my party is the right level. After four serious adventures I think a loony one is a good break.

But White Plume Mountain, for whatever reason, doesn't quite meet my threshold for acceptably crazy. Maybe if they give it an appropriately silly framing story.
 

machineelf

Villager
... one thing I have to say I love is some of the adventurer's eye view renderings provided and something I think is missing from the 5e books. While there are a few flavor images in the 5e adventures they're not showing key images from the point of view of the adventuring party. It would be great to have some renderings of some of the key visuals in the adventures we're running (available as a pack of images that we can hand out in the session....)
I fully agree. One of the things I loved from those classic adventures was the black and white art showing scenes from the adventurer's perspective. The art wasn't as flashy as modern art is in modern campaigns, but that was better because it wasn't overdone. It had a purpose and showed you what the insides of the dungeon looked like.

I also loved the simple blue and white dungeon maps. Not because they were blue and white (although those colors were pleasant), but because they were simple and clear (and again, not overdone), and focused on giving the DM a quick and clear understanding of the dungeon layout.
 

machineelf

Villager
I'm curious about how they are going to set this up, but what I might do is have my group create characters for a main campaign, and whenever they want a break from the main campaign they can go to the Yawning Portal to hear the barkeep tell stories he's heard of other adventurers trying to find wealth and greatness in various ancient, lost dungeons. As the barkeep begins his story, we transition to the players' other characters to begin their one-off session -- the story the barkeep is telling.

This way you can still keep the dangerous dungeons dangerous, and it can simply serve as a break from the main campaign. Anytime my players want to play a one-off, they can travel back to the Yawning Portal to hear a new story.
 

pemerton

Legend
If mad house dungeon was what they were going for, X2 is the way to go.

Someone linked to an RPG.net play through with 3.0 rules from 2004 and it's hysterical.
That was me.

I plan on running X2 in about two months when my party is the right level. After four serious adventures I think a loony one is a good break.

But White Plume Mountain, for whatever reason, doesn't quite meet my threshold for acceptably crazy.
I think that S2 is just crazy. But it has nothing else going on.

Whereas (as [MENTION=19857]Jer[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6799753]lowkey13[/MENTION] pointed out) X2, while (in my view at least) also crazy, has a sometimes sinister creepiness also going on.

That is, the two modules aren't just different in degree but I think in kind also.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I think that S2 is just crazy. But it has nothing else going on.

Whereas (as [MENTION=19857]Jer[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6799753]lowkey13[/MENTION] pointed out) X2, while (in my view at least) also crazy, has a sometimes sinister creepiness also going on.

That is, the two modules aren't just different in degree but I think in kind also.
I haven't played or run White Plume in forever. IIRC, it was mainly (in)famous for having a Disney-like quality to the Dungeon and, most importantly, for being the source of the three cool weapons, most importantly Stormbringer Blackrazor.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I'm curious about how they are going to set this up, but what I might do is have my group create characters for a main campaign, and whenever they want a break from the main campaign they can go to the Yawning Portal to hear the barkeep tell stories he's heard of other adventurers trying to find wealth and greatness in various ancient, lost dungeons. As the barkeep begins his story, we transition to the players' other characters to begin their one-off session -- the story the barkeep is telling.

This way you can still keep the dangerous dungeons dangerous, and it can simply serve as a break from the main campaign. Anytime my players want to play a one-off, they can travel back to the Yawning Portal to hear a new story.
You know - not to derail this thread too much - but that would also be a great concept for the upcoming D&D movie... different dungeons featuring different adventuring parties all stitched together by a master storyteller. It would avoid the need for some "epic" narrative while focusing on one of the key aspects of D&D and showcasing the variety of adventures to be had (and a wide variety of adventurers)
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
The plot of the dungeon is the wizard, Keraptis, steals three powerful artifacts and hides them. But then taunts the owners. Why? There's no motive. He achieves nothing. It's like this evil wizard is basically trolling the kingdom, tricking adventurers to their doom for the LoLs. And you don't even really get to fight him at the end. He's a non-entity. But based on how the dungeon is design, he should really sport green hair, white skin, and be voiced by Mark Hamill.
I have no problem with this.

Not for every dungeon, but a recurring "Joker" villain seems sweet.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
You know - not to derail this thread too much - but that would also be a great concept for the upcoming D&D movie... different dungeons featuring different adventuring parties all stitched together by a master storyteller. It would avoid the need for some "epic" narrative while focusing on one of the key aspects of D&D and showcasing the variety of adventures to be had (and a wide variety of adventurers)
A master DM could then take that "flashback" and use it as a jumping-off point for the main-line PCs. That might mean a low-level party that "cleaned up" some "missed treasure" from a higher-level group. It could be a matter of a now-wealthy-and-retired (or maimed-and-retired) adventurer handing the PCs a nugget of info or a map gleaned from his exploits. Or, it could be a party that comes ready for bear when they here about a (near) TPK from an earlier group.
 

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