Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Princes of the Apocalypse

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Product– Princes of the Apocalypse

System– DnD 5th Edition

Producer– Wizards of the Coast

Price– $50 here http://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Elemental-Apocalypse-Adventure/dp/B00U6ALTOA/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1428288898&sr=1-1&keywords=princes+of+the+apocalypse

TL; DR– Good, but I left feeling hungry!  85%

Basics– The elements are back!  Around the town of Red Larch, monsters and evil are stirring.  Horrible elemental forces are advancing on civilization, and the heroes are the only ones who stand in their way.  Can you stop the elemental cults before they summon the elemental evil?

Mechanics or Crunch-This book adds a fair bit to the DnD 5e setting, but what’s here is less than I expected.  Overall it’s all well done, but I just want more.  The player’s companion online add-on was well done, but that had more options than this book.  The monsters and the story all have well done mechanics, but again, I wanted more.  I wanted new third level paths for a few classes.  I felt at least the cleric should have gotten four new domains and given the GM new tools to add evil elemental mad priests to the world, but that wasn’t added.  Clerics don’t even get new spells in this book!  What is here is great, but the book feels a bit like leaving hungry after a meal.  4/5

Theme or Fluff- I love the Forgotten Realms, so it’s good to see any more information about that world!  The story itself is well done, and provides the players with some great side trips for different adventures across the valley where the story takes place.  Even more interesting, some of the previous settings like Dark Sun get some support by providing the GM with Dark Sun information if you wanted to run this adventure there.  As a story, this adventure really hits its stride.  5/5

 

Execution– I don’t really like how WotC is setting up their adventures lately.  I feel the descriptions of the rooms bury the lead when it comes to monsters and other descriptions of locations.  Also, this book has a lot of information, but it’s somewhat arranged in a difficult to follow layout.  The campaign starts at 1st level, but that section before the real adventure is after the start of the campaign, so as a GM of a low level party, I have to flip all over the book.  It’s annoying.  Also, some of the maps are in different orientations, so unless you notice the compass rose, you’re going to spend a few minutes confused to why things to the north suddenly moved to the south!  It’s nothing game shattering, but some of the layout and arrangement choices for the book make this not as enjoyable as it could have been.  3.75/5

Summary– Let me start by saying, I’m just happy to see more D&D products out there!  This book is a great continuation of the Forgotten Realms story calling back to some of the most iconic D&D adventures ever written.  I also enjoy that other settings are supported by this book, as some of those settings haven’t gotten as much love lately as I’d like.  However, this book didn’t deliver as much I hoped.  The play section contents less information than the free online player PDF.  Also, I would have really liked a few new class additions to really drive home the elemental nature of this story.    Furthermore, the execution of this book, while not bad, makes this adventure somewhat hard to read and run.  This isn’t a horrible book by any means, but this isn’t as great as the core three books.  If you want a great adventure, this is worth it.  But if you want some good additions to DnD 5e as a whole, you will be somewhat disappointed.  85%

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