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Thunderspire Labyrinth (Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure H2) Paperback – July 15, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

RICHARD BAKER is a senior game designer at Wizards of the Coast as well as a New York Times best-selling author of the Forgotten Realms® novel Condemnation. His previous design credits include the Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine SwordsTM supplement, The Forge of Fury adventure, and the Red Hand of DoomTM adventure.

MIKE MEARLS is the lead developer for the Dungeons & Dragons® game at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. In addition to his design and development work on 4th Edition, Mike has developed numerous 3rd-Edition game products including the Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine SwordsTM supplement and The Shattered Gates of SlaughtergardeTM adventure.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; 4th edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786948728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786948727
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Baker is an award-winning game designer and a best-selling author. He's worked on the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game lines since 1991. Rich traces his D&D experience back to 1979, when he began playing the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game as a 7th-grader. He spent a significant amount of his high school and college years playing D&D at every opportunity, and after serving as a surface warfare officer in the United States Navy, Rich decided to take a shot at working on the game he grew up playing - and so he joined the staff of TSR, Inc., and became a game designer. Rich's list of D&D design credits numbers over 50 game products, including the Origins Award-winning BIRTHRIGHT Campaign Setting, the ALTERNITY Science Fiction Roleplaying Game (which he co-designed with Bill Slavicsek), and the newest edition of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game. He has also served as creative director for the ALTERNITY and FORGOTTEN REALMS game lines. As an author, Rich has published eight fantasy and science fiction novels, including City of Ravens, Forsaken House, and the New York Times bestseller Condemnation. Rich is currently employed as a senior game designer at Wizards of the Coast, Inc., and works every day on new products for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Wizards adventure team had me worried with Keep on the Shadowfell. The poor quality material, recycled maps, multiple discrepencies between module rules and the core books, and overall poor production value had me concerned about the future of the adventure path. Thunderspire Labyrinth goes a long way to ease those fears.

First thing I noticed was the booklet material. MUCH nicer than the KotS booklets. The pages feel firm, and both the cover and interior pages are much more resistant to smudging and ink transfer. This was a huge problem for me with KotS, and I'm glad to see it corrected.

The map was both exciting and dissapointing. On one hand, it is a very nice map with multiple important areas from the adventure on it. On the other, it is only one double-sided map. KotS boasted 3 double sided full color poster maps, impressive even if they were mostly reprints of D&D miniature's maps with new markings.

The booklets are nicely organized. Book One contains the adventure hooks, first encounter, new monsters, important NPCs, a bird's-eye map of the area the adventure takes place, and a map with call-outs of the adventure's 'town'. It's nice to see these laid out all in their own section, as it makes the module much more useful for folks who just want the locations for inspiration. Book One also contains a random encounter table for overland travel, something sorely missed from the first adventure. Most eye-catching is the final 5 pages, which contain artwork of the area arrayed in an easy to cut out or photocopy section. This adds a great layer to the read-aloud text in the booklet, as you can hand your players a picture showing some of the most important locations in detail.
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Thunderspire Labyrinth is an epic adventure taking place in the deep mazes and caves below Thunderspire mountain. In other words this is an underdark type adventure and has many creatures such as duergar that you would find in the underdark. It is heavy on combat for the most part, but I feel this will be a major criticism of all 4e dnd modules. It seems like the way they are releasing their products is put just enough roleplaying material in there and give the players a series of encounters (some aren't combat) the dm uses to level them up or advance the story. If you look at most modules released by wizards of the coast they are also combat heavy with minor roleplaying stuff in there. This one does a better job of giving out the roleplaying info for the 7 pillared hall than H1 did for Winterhaven and there is more of it. In fact nearly the whole first booklet describes the hall and its citizens and gives a basic overview of the adventure. I can see tons of roleplaying possibilities with each of the citizens but they don't map all of these out. In other words a beginning dm may run the 7 pillared hall as a bland excursion in a bland city and bypass most of the roleplaying fluff. This is sad since the roleplaying info here is pretty good and each of the npcs motivations would make for good roleplaying encounters. This is a problem with wizards modules in general dating all the way back to 3rd edition. I don't see why this surprises everyone. However, that being said there are some really cool skill challenges as well. There is even a simple find the items to open the door puzzle as well.

The paper quality is much better than H1. Just compare the two. No ink smudging but as another reviewer said there is still no back to the 2nd adventure booklet.
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I normally don't write reviews, but I think this adventure has been unfairly characterized as a "hack and slash" scenario with no opportunity for role-playing. Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a wonderful cast of characters in the hall, which provide ample opportunities for strategic role playing. Reviewer RobertBlank put it nicely - "It's populated with a wonderful mix of nonplayer characters - a guilt ridden man cursed with lycanthropy, an exiled drow curio shop dealer, the big ogre bully tasked with keeping the peace, and the grim righteous dragonborn who finds herself being bent down the path of warlockery by the corrupting enticements of her imp mentor." In addition to these, we have the Ordinator Arcanis. Mysteriously dressed in black robes and a gold mask, he acts as the judge, jury, and executioner of the hall.

So why would people characterize this as a hack and slash adventure? The reason, in my estimation, is that, as written, role-playing is not essential. Indeed, as written, PCs could complete major objectives of the module without spending any time in the hall. For example, in the first encounter the PCs rescue a halfling who is able to show PCs exactly where they need to go. My remedy - simply drop the first encounter, as well as all clues that make things too easy and obvious. My players must do some investigation in the hall, and find some people in the know, before establishing a clear destination.

In sum, a DM who is willing to lift his little finger can make this a role-playing extravaganza.
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