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D&D General WotC needs to bring back Boxed Sets - pic heavy

DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
I know they aren't. And no, a new starter box every couple of years isn't what I'm talking about. They mostly make adventure books with 5 pages of lore. But that stuff doesn't spark the imagination.

And yes it's a different world now. Anything you could want to know about anything is at your fingertips, but most people aren't going to buy "old" stuff with outdated lore and stats. And reading the Faerun wiki isn't going to really spark much for adventure ideas. Not to mention you are expected to print things out on your own and man I love that Drivethru RPG has old stuff but the dissescted maps you are supposed to tape together to whatever never seem to print out right size-wise.

But anyways, I wanted to point out what was IN these box sets compared to what you get now-a-days.

And yes 3rd ed didn't really have box sets. You sometimes got a separate map at the back of the book you could pull out and unfold. AD&D did this as well with some items. Now-a-days it seems you have to get Beadle and Grimms version of things to get all those tasty extras.

Anywho, lets take a look at the few I own.

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The Dragonlance Box Set "The Tales of the Lance"

My current campaign I'm running is set 6 months after the war and I have used the heck out this box set. Especially the World Map.

First we have a this great iconic art on the box cover.
DL box.jpg


Inside we have little cardboard character chits. No minis? No problem! And some Cards for some of the iconic characters with stats for easy DM reference incase your heroes happen to stop by Solace or wander into the Qualinesti Woods or something.
DL cards.jpg

There are several Maps. One covering the world which has been fantastic for the players to plan their treks from one location to another.
DL maps.jpg


The book has all the info you need. The gods, the magic. The new races. Magic items. and LORE, so much lore.

Even a DM screen! Yeah the art is kinda... not good but hey there is a Lord Soth bi folded art work on cardboard that works just as good. Plus other pieces of Iconic Art just to get the players int he mood.
DL book.jpg


Even better, if you have the 1E Dragonlance book, it fits in the box as well saving space on the shelf!
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Next: The Forgotten Realms Campaign Set aka The Grey Box

Would you believe that there is more to Faerun than the Sword Coast? This box is FANTASTIC. I'm currently doing a read of the 2 books inside and every single entry of towns and landmarks sparks an idea for an adventure. One book for everyone and another for DMs. Multiple Maps to give a nice visual aid to adventures planning their trips to any location! And the plastic overs are there to help with planning out how many days it would take to trek from there and back again. Random Encounters! Seriously though. The maps and especially the books make this one of my favorite box sets. I'm not kidding when I say every inch of this spark the imagination. I can't read a small blurb about an iconic location and not have an adventure idea. I highly recommend you get this one if you can.


FR box.jpg


FR stuff.jpg


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My most recent acquisition (ive been reading the latest Drizzt book):

The Menzoberranzan box set.

Again iconic art for the box cover. This is a box box set. They really went all out with the extras and inserts.


Menz box.jpg


3 Books inside. 2 of them are lore. The City and The Houses. Lore! The 3rd is an Adventure! and look at the covers! That old 2E art when they made Drizzt look like some old man for some reason.

So far it seems I can also fit the Drizzt's Guide to the Underdark book and map into the box as well. And once I get it the Drow of the Underdark book as well. (much like sticking the DL1E book into the 2E box set for storage help). This would make the Menzo box set the ultimate source for 2E Underdark and Drow info in one box. Add in Night Below and woo....

Menz books.jpg

Here we have pictures and stats of one of the fleshed out House of Noble Drow. Great for showing the players who they are talking to or attacking!

Menz fam.jpg


And did I mention MAPS!? 4 Large maps of the city! Plus Posters! Not shown are some smaller interior maps on large cards.
Menz Map.jpg


And here we have some Drizzt-isms. a fun little extra.
Menz Ret.jpg

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So far what Ive shown are mainly Sources. Campaign areas detailed with info

Well now we have Adventure box sets:

The Ruins of Undermountain box set

Under Box.jpg


2 books. Campaign ideas if you want to add a bit of flavor instead of just "See Dungeon, get treasure". 4 dense maps. Undermountain is a lot... sort of. Most of that space is empty! The DM is expected to populate it as they see fit. And just go crazy! Halaster changes things all the time! Dungeon Ecology doesn't matter in Undermountain!

WE also have some cards with ideas for traps and encounters etc! And even some new monsters to add to the dungeon and to add into your other campaigns! Just add those 3 hole punched pages into your Monster Binder (you still have that right?)

under map.jpg


Under.jpg


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The Ruins of Zhentil Keep.

I recently read a 2E novel with a large Zhent presents and now I want to run a campaign that involves them! Luckily I have this box set (that I still need to read).

Zhent box.jpg


From what ive glanced it not only have campian lore and info it has an adventure as well! Their lands seem well covered and again at a glance I would think each local would spark the imagination for adventures! 2E stuff was very good at that.

And of course aside from nice handy maps we have cards with more interior locations and more of those Monster Binder pages of new monsters!
Zhent.jpg


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Well that all I have for box sets. Some I lucked into cheap. Some cost me about $150 (Menzo). Some like Night Below and Planescape and Dark Sun are even more expensive. And as much as I'd love to own the original boxes I'm not spending $200+, at that point I'll just get the DrivethruRPG print on demand versions even though it crams it all into one book and hacks the maps to pieces (and dont fit right when printed out IMO).

So tell me, would you rather have a hardcover book with 5 pages of lore and the rest adventure or spend the same amount of $ (or possibly a tad more for deluxe box sets like Menzo) and get a box set with soft cover booklets full of lore and adventure ideas and maybe even an actual adventure and 4 large maps and a bunch of extras?

I really wish I could get all the old box sets, they are so FUN and reusable! WotC really needs to consider brining these things back, instead of making thinner and thinner hard cover books. Make that new Adventure FEEL like an adventure with maps and pictures and handouts etc instead of just a book. I can't express how much just having a large map of Krynn open in the middle of the table adds to my weekly Dragonlance game.

Thoughts?
 

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Stormonu

Legend
Campaign settings definitely are better as boxed sets, mostly due to the enclosed maps. It still makes me furious we never had an Eberron boxed set (maybe I should see if Beedles & Grimm has a silver edition....). I'd love to see any future campaign settings being done (starting with Planescape?) made as a boxed set.

But 2E did go way overboard on how many box sets they produced, and what they made them for. For example, while Undermountain and Night Below wouldn't be the same if it wasn't done as a boxed set, Return to the Tomb of Horrors could have been done as a softback or hardback. Probably Dragon Mountain as well. A lot of the FR area boxed set (such as Empires of the Shining Sea, Lands of Intrigue, Spellbound and The North) would have been better done as softbacks - with pull-out maps.

I'd like to see a middle ground. Put out Campaign Sets with the option for a boxed set version or a hardback. For adventures, go back to putting out a map folder that has the maps enlarged (for my tired old eyes) - has PC-viewable versions and possibly contain a battlemap of one or two key areas*.

And, of course, a Deluxe Starter Set with plastic hero minis and monster chits (either acrylic or thick cardboard, like the PF version). I mean, I loved the 3E versions of the starter sets and the current D&D offering, though cheap, is pale in comparison to what comes in the PF2 starter box.

* If they did this for Curse of Strahd, please let me know - I've been dying for years to get battlemap scale versions of the Castle for years!
 


Yora

Legend
Are the undead riders the Dragonlance DM screen?

I never pass an opportunity to share my dislike of Dragonlance and I never use GM screens, but that's one I really would want to have.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Are the undead riders the Dragonlance DM screen?

I never pass an opportunity to share my dislike of Dragonlance and I never use GM screens, but that's one I really would want to have.
I wish it was the screen. As @DarkCrisis notes, the screen is under the DL Tales of the Lance book. I think the Soth's Ride in that set is a folder for holding the other pictures and handouts. I'd have to pull mine out to be sure.

Anyone know how the 2E Revised FR boxed (gold cover with the horseman) set holds up to the 1E set? Unfortunately I gave my Grey Box to a friend (who was running Rime) and only have the 2E box (which is big enough to hold the 3E book in it, by the way).
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
I’ve got the 1e Forgotten Realms Grey Box, and love it. It’s my fave next to the Greyhawk Gold Box. I also have the Kara-Tur Box, and the Ravenloft Realms of Terror Box and the Forbidden Lore Box (tarokka cards and dikesha dice FTW).

I wholeheartedly agree with @DarkCrisis that the FR (and Greyhawk) boxed sets are just about perfect, and the location descriptions are more than enough to build adventures and hooks forever.
 

The Planescape box sets (Planes of Law, etc) were beautiful, but there was a lot of empty space in them. I think they typically had 3 staplebound books and several poster maps of the planes. The poster maps were visually interesting...but not exactly 'useful' in a traditional way, given that they were depicting infinite spaces. And considering the amount of material from incomplete box sets I see on ebay, it probably would have been more practical to release those sets as nice, hardcover books (not to mention that TSR was losing money on that whole product line).

What are some current games that come in boxes that people like? I love Mausritter, and would highly recommend picking up the box set while it's in stock
 


Shiroiken

Legend
Boxed sets are awesome for campaigns, providing maps and lots of goodies to use. The occasional mega-adventure can benefit from a boxed set, but they were too overdone IMO. Obviously starter sets are ideal as a boxed set. The problem with boxed sets is the profit margin is bad and they don't typically sell that well. I think 5E could have benefited by putting out boxed sets for both Eberron and Forgotten Realms, but I don't think anything else would have been worthwhile financially. None of the adventures seemed like they'd been significantly improved with a boxed set.
 

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