The Second PRINCES OF THE APOCALYPSE Review

EN World member Brian Michaluk is the second person out of the gate with a review of Princes of the Apolocalyse, the upcoing D&D 5th Edition hardback adventure. He says it's much better than the previous three adventures (by which he means Lost Mine of Phandelver, which I thought was rather good, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat). His review follows Fildrigar's last week.

The full review is below. Brian also answers questions in the comments, indicating there are 40 new monsters (including Howling Hatred Initiate CR 1/8, Eternal Flame GuardianCR 2, Razerblast CR 5, Olhydra CR 18, Ogremoch CR 20)

Wrote up a review on the new module. Honestly its miles better than the last three.

http://5eddnd.blogspot.com/2015/03/princes-of-apocalypse.html

At first glance this module is of far higher quality than the first 3 that were published. It even includes a section on adapting for other worlds including Darksun, Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Eberron. From a skim through of the meat of the adventure it seems well designed and could easily keep a group busy for a long while. There are creatures with Challenge up to 20th level included as well as a printing of the free materials that wizards put out for players.

The modules real starting point assumes 3rd level characters but it does include a mini adventure in chapter 6 for running pure 1st level characters up to 3rd.

Set in the Dessarin Valley http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Dessarin_River this module is close enough to waterdeep, neverwinter and balders gate to offer a familiar launching point. The included map has more detail for the area than I have ever seen before in previous products. The town of Red Larch http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Red_Larch gets more use in this adventure than I think it has in the past.

Good old day / night Random encounter charts make a real comeback in this adventure and will definitely add a good element of tension every time the party comes to a rest.

At the adventure start it seems to be assumed that the GM will be using the faction system but it does allow for a nonfaction start as well. The adventure is quite non linear in approach with included side quests and adventure locations that dont have to be done in order though it could be dangerous taking 3rd level pc's into the 6th level site for example.

By chapter 4 the party should have advanced to level 6 and by chapter 5 10th level. The adventure seems to finish around 15th or 16th level so truly this is a full campaign in a book.

The standard monster manual will get heavy use through the running of this module and will be required for play.

Artwork is top notch I was quite impressed. Well detailed NPC's very cool magic items and fun new monsters including the reappearance of some favorites of older elemental evil products.

Overall the module reminds me of the crammed in wealth of info from old 2nd edition products and the well written approach of 4th edition.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Comments

pukunui

Adventurer
Between this and [MENTION=67925]Fildrigar[/MENTION]'s review (not to mention the AL preview), I'm eagerly awaiting this adventure. My home group is coming up to the finish of LMoP, so I should be able to move them straight into PotA pretty much straight away.

Any chance you could spill the beans on the new monsters contained in chapter 7? No stats or anything, just a list of new beasties and such. Pretty please?
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
Between this and [MENTION=67925]Fildrigar[/MENTION]'s review (not to mention the AL preview), I'm eagerly awaiting this adventure. My home group is coming up to the finish of LMoP, so I should be able to move them straight into PotA pretty much straight away.

Any chance you could spill the beans on the new monsters contained in chapter 7? No stats or anything, just a list of new beasties and such. Pretty please?
Would love this as well.

Also if possible I would like to know the CR's of each of the Elemental Princes.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Princes of the Apocalypse review

We have a review section for this.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Yes monster Manual required for play no stats in the book leaving more room for meat and potatoes

40 new monsters including:

Howling Hatred Initiate cr 1/8
Eternal Flame Guardian cr 2
razerblast cr 5
Olhydra cr 18
Ogremoch cr 20
 

Fildrigar

Explorer
I'm not sure if the MM is needed, as I didn't want to page back and forth through the adventure, looking to see if every monster listed is in the Basic packet. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if they are, though.
 
Even just the random encounter chart requires the MM let alone individual detailed areas that uses monsters from the MM not included in the book. Not sure if the free basic supplement has all the monsters or not though.

Page 17 has a reference stating that if a monster is not statted in chapter 7 you should check the monster manual but no reference to the basic rules
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Paraxis

Visitor
Any mention of a web supplement for users of Basic?

Or jury duty if lack thereof?
That is not what JeffB is talking about, he is asking if there is any word on a supplement so that groups that only use the basic rules set can run the adventure. These supplements include any spells necessary that are not in the basic rules, as well as magic items and monsters.

Examples
Hoard of the Dragonqueen http://media.wizards.com/2014/downloads/dnd/HoardDragonQueen_Supplement1.pdf

Rise of Tiamat http://media.wizards.com/2014/downloads/dnd/RiseTiamatSupplementv0.2_Printer.pdf
 
Doing a quick scan through the book looking for monsters not in the basic package.

Scout - MM only
Veteran - MM only
Ankheg - MM only
Merrow - MM only
Jackelware - MM only

that's 3 pages looked over and found 5 monsters already so yes MM is needed
 
That is not what JeffB is talking about, he is asking if there is any word on a supplement so that groups that only use the basic rules set can run the adventure. These supplements include any spells necessary that are not in the basic rules, as well as magic items and monsters.

Examples
Hoard of the Dragonqueen http://media.wizards.com/2014/downloads/dnd/HoardDragonQueen_Supplement1.pdf

Rise of Tiamat http://media.wizards.com/2014/downloads/dnd/RiseTiamatSupplementv0.2_Printer.pdf
Ahh yeah its possible they will put out a supplement with all the monsters in it but that would be a heck of a lot of freebies if they do. From the look of this module it uses a heck of a lot of the MM.

I never worried about it as I buy all the books. Honestly I would find it a little odd if a group would shell out 50$ for an adventure module and not own at least one of each of the 3 main books.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

JeffB

Hero
Im odd , then ;)

I run a game for group of 15-16 year olds. My son and some of his friends. Been doing it for 4 years. They have absolutely no interest or desire buying rulebook or learning the rules in depth. They just want to play and have fun, no work desired , just like popping on the Xbox or what have you.

As mentioned elsewhere, I have not invested in the 5e books partly because of the group and their desire not to be bothered with details,but mainly because I am not happy with what WOTC is not producing for 5e as regards to advnture material, and with my work and family obligations, my little prep time is better spent reviewing than converting. Sessions suffer when I spend more time on stats than getting to know the material. It's easier and adds up to better play experiences to run Pathfinder BB with PF adventures, OD&D/OSR adventures with S&W, or even come up with a couple of ideas and improv with Dungeon World.

I. have pre ordered POTA because of positive banter, but if WOTC is not planning a web supplement like they did with Tyranny, then I will cancel my pre-order and just move on. I have come to realize I am no longer in the target market and this rollout/business model of 5e isn't going to work for me like every previous edition . If I didn't enjoy 5e gameplay as much as I do I wouldn't care that much, but thems the breaks ;)
 
I am sure they will have a web supplement as they did say there would be one for each module set but even if not or its late a person could always just use the stats of something else of the same CR and just SAY its a whatever.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
I respect your decision to minimize expenditures and pre-game prep time, but I feel like the Monster Manual would be tremendously useful to your play style and worth the money. In particular, if you don't want to spend time constructing stat blocks, it seems like a giant book of stat blocks would be right up your alley.

5e monsters are relatively straightforward to run with little prep. Many of the monsters are basically mini-adventures unto themselves, and the variety can keep the group interested for a long time. So if you need a side-quest, then *bam* the MacGuffin is in the lair of a medusa, or the mayor's son is kidnapped by grimlocks, or somebody in the village is a lycanthrope of unknown sort.

I think it would be more fun to play in a group that had Basic rules + MM than a group that had a PHB + free online adventure supplements, so if a group only buys one core book, it should be the Monster Manual.
 

TerraDave

5ever
I respect your decision to minimize expenditures and pre-game prep time, but I feel like the Monster Manual would be tremendously useful to your play style and worth the money. In particular, if you don't want to spend time constructing stat blocks, it seems like a giant book of stat blocks would be right up your alley.

5e monsters are relatively straightforward to run with little prep. Many of the monsters are basically mini-adventures unto themselves, and the variety can keep the group interested for a long time. So if you need a side-quest, then *bam* the MacGuffin is in the lair of a medusa, or the mayor's son is kidnapped by grimlocks, or somebody in the village is a lycanthrope of unknown sort.

I think it would be more fun to play in a group that had Basic rules + MM than a group that had a PHB + free online adventure supplements, so if a group only buys one core book, it should be the Monster Manual.
To each his own...but also second this. (And its a great book).
 

JeffB

Hero
I respect your decision to minimize expenditures and pre-game prep time, but I feel like the Monster Manual would be tremendously useful to your play style and worth the money. In particular, if you don't want to spend time constructing stat blocks, it seems like a giant book of stat blocks would be right up your alley.

5e monsters are relatively straightforward to run with little prep. Many of the monsters are basically mini-adventures unto themselves, and the variety can keep the group interested for a long time. So if you need a side-quest, then *bam* the MacGuffin is in the lair of a medusa, or the mayor's son is kidnapped by grimlocks, or somebody in the village is a lycanthrope of unknown sort.

I think it would be more fun to play in a group that had Basic rules + MM than a group that had a PHB + free online adventure supplements, so if a group only buys one core book, it should be the Monster Manual.


This idea of just getting the MM is on my mind. I've no issue buying the core books if wizards actually starts supporting the game with more varied and additional adventure material...dungeon mag coming back, more small sandboxy LMOP type products, that type of thing. . But until that time I am unwilling to invest 100 bucks plus into rulebooks. I have shelves of games and adventures, but my days of collecting are long over. Expenditures have to provide in- game utility.

I think the quality of POTA will likely be the determining factor. If it's easily cannibalized in part, I probably will spring for the MM. The kids are fine and dandy with the core four basic classes, and have been in several variations/editions. If on the odd occasion one of them wants something a little different for a character it's generally something I look at other rules sets for.For example, I tweaked the basic 5e fighter to make a PF Gunslinger type for the last one shot we did. Took me about 10 min. Not worth grabbing the PHB for that.
 

Gwaihir

Explorer
We also run a "low expenditure" group, but we are switching to 5E once our 3.5 current campaign is done. We have purchased 2 5E PHs and a MM and DMG so far. Im considering the POA as well.

G
 
Just finished a full read of chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 2, The Dessarin Valley, Is awesome. Really excellent detail, plenty of npc notes location notes towns inn's etc etc I have a feeling that I will be referring back to this module for years and running adventures in this area well beyond whats published in this adventure. This module will be sitting in the forgotten realms reference shelf in my library for good I think.

For reference this module is set in 1491 DR - The year of the Scarlet Witch
 

In Our Store!

Advertisement

Advertisement

Top