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Dungeons & Dragons Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (Adventure Book, D&D Roleplaying Game) Hardcover – November 20, 2018
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From the Publisher
Treasures and secrets abound, but tread with care!
In the city of Waterdeep rests a tavern called the Yawning Portal, named after the gaping pit in its common room. At the bottom of this crumbling shaft is a labyrinthine dungeon shunned by all but the most daring adventurers. Known as Undermountain, this dungeon is the domain of the mad wizard Halaster Blackcloak. Long has the Mad Mage dwelt in these forlorn depths, seeding his lair with monsters, traps, and mysteries-to what end is a constant source of speculation and concern.
This adventure picks up where Waterdeep: Dragon Heist leaves off, taking characters of 5th level or higher all the way to 20th level should they explore the entirety of Halaster’s home. Twenty-three levels of Undermountain are detailed herein, along with the subterranean refuge of Skullport.
Explore the Mega-Dungeon of Undermountain
The Greatest Dungeon of Them All
Dungeon of the Mad Mage is the dungeon crawl to end all dungeon crawls.
Hack, slash, connive, and conspire your way through 23 levels of Undermountain: the world-sized underground lair of Halastar Blackcloak, the Mad Mage.
23 Levels, 23 Adventure Settings
Each of Undermountain’s 23 levels is an adventure setting of its own.
Gather your adventurers and start your journey to explore Wyllowwood, a massive underground forest filled with woodland beings and werebats; or Arcane Chambers, inhabited by competing factions of goblins, wererats, and members of the Xanathar guild.
The Ultimate Dungeon, at a Glance
Undermountain teems with challenges. But navigating the book isn't one of them.
Inside, Dungeon Masters will find everything they need to make dungeon delving a breeze, including easy-to-read maps for each level and an iconographic dungeon key.
An innovator in providing fantasy entertainment, Dungeons & Dragons is the wellspring for the entire modern game industry, digital as well as tabletop. Fifth edition D&D draws from every prior edition to create a universally compelling play experience, and exemplifies the true spirit of a game that holds captive the hearts and minds of millions of players worldwide. The core rulebook series consists of three books: the Player's Handbook, the Monster Manual, and the Dungeon Master's Guide.
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If the designers cut the number of rooms on each level in half and used that space to add flavor and descriptions and more artfully designed maps (as in CoS, ToA etc) this would have been a much more useful product. Currently it is just dull and bland.
Although some of the levels are great, with interesting NPCs and conflicts, the whole hardcover is all skeleton and no meat. For me this defeats the purpose of buying a hardcover because I really don't want to spend hours prepping each level.
This is sadly embarrassing, unless you intend to spend 3-5 years playing this one module. The maps and locations included are not the quality I’d expect from a WOTC product... hire back your artists and get ride of Autocad randomly generated maps. Throw out the arbitrary geometry and hire an Archetect. Think about space, what is valuble, and what is just mindless wondering.
Further, there’s no real explanation of how to correctly run a mega dungeon or what it’s for. Over all it’s like a bad diablo wonna be, and don’t tell me the portals predate Diablo, I expect new content, not recycled garbage. With magic town portals, the survival, “get in, get as much as you can,and get out” game is lost.
For this to even be remotely playable, it should be engineered to work one 4 hour night a level or less. Dnd time is to precious and to little to spend hours wondering around sprawling maps that really have little connectivness to each other over all.
I’m sure some will disagree, but frankly you can find far better mega dungeons from indi publishers with a micron of the resources at hasbro/WotC disposal. Again that’s just sad.
Most floors are large, and wil take time to explore, I'd recommend DM's to invest in the map pack as well, and have players attempt to map their progress on grid paper to get a good dungeon delve experience.
Pretty simple concept, there's a massive and very deadly dungeon full of riches. How far will the players make it before running back to the safety of The Yawning Portal, or becoming permanent residents of the Mad Mage's subterranean abode? Or, wil they defy the odds and defeat the Mad Mage on his own turf?
It's not all hack n' slash as there are opportunities to interact with NPC's, and potentially influence factions that vie for control of some of the dungeon's levels. There is also the city of Skullport, not the friendliest of places, but full of adventures and intrigues of its own.
I also really enjoyed the inclusion of the runes and secrets (which can be photocopied from the book, and are included with the map pack) , as well as initial quests, and quests that require prerequisites to undertake as this adds to the overall interests and motivations to continue exploring Undermountain.
Personally, I can't wait to run this module. In earlier editions, a campaign and its characters carried a certain investment value, and the best campaigns stretched out over years of play.
If you're looking for something you can complete over a moderate amount of sessions, then you can use this for individual dungeons or potentially some light delves. If you're looking for a module that will last you awhile and keep your players on their toes, or are just a fan of Undermountain, give this a go.
Top international reviews
This is either the right fit for your group, or it isnt.
This have few opportunities to roleplay, many complex dungeon levels (some better than others) and lots of combat. It is a reminder of what D&D used to be.
Granted i can see an experienced DM being able to turn this fantastically packed dungeon madness into a quest to destroy halister (fab villain) before he does something terrible. But for most there is little at stake besides fun and loot.
For those not wishing to run the entire adventure you can easily skip leveks and cut the adventure short (careful of xp leveling doing this though). Or you can steal idea and encounters for use throughout your campaign world, i highly recommend this as a "dungeon building tool".
That said if you wanna run this as is then it will require time to plan, to read up on sections and get familiar with the module. Any DM or PC exploring this should remember the amount of combats and encounters that are to be had, with room for the DM to expand on the story! Do not go into this module blind amd expecting a "point A to point B story" or a follow up to dragon heist. You will be disapointed.
If you are getting this because you know you wanna run through a tricky, scary and fantastically made dungeon with your friends with little consequence then this is for you! Murder Hobo approved!
If you’re looking for a campaign book with more RP opportunity this isn’t great; it is however an extensive hack and slash mega dungeon which will challenge even more experienced players of the game!
Content quality: Compared to the other books, maps quality is really low. I get that you can't detail this type of mega dungeon as much but a middle ground would have been better. There's almost no art, rooms and faction descriptions are vague and there's a TON of work to do to bring life to the dungeon. As another reviewer said, it feels more like a hack&slash Diablo-style map, wich can work but maybe not for a full campaign. The 1 star is for the ideas a GM could adapt to a game.
I DON'T recommend this product in it's current form.
Moreover, the new maps are so utilitarian in comparison to the others previously done by the likes of Mike Schley that they are flat out boring and non-inspiring. Why couldn't these maps just be printed out like some of the cool maps that came with Curse of Strahd or Tomb of Annihilation.
For those looking for the "first" ultimate 5E dungeon, I am sad to say that the best I've yet seen came from a third party. I highly recommend you check out Rappan Athuk (in either PDF or book form, get the book if you can, it is awesome!) because it delivers in every way I envisioned.
O bom e velho desgosto nas compras de livro de RPG que tenho tido nos últimos tempos. Quanto ao manuseio da Amazon: Capa marcada e riscada, leve escoriações nas pontas, livro um pouco sujo, mas isso tudo provavelmente vem da forma que o livro é estocado, pois nos últimos tempos os livros que comprei na Amazon tem sido embalado em plástico no transporte e as caixas tem vindo sem nenhum amassado, portanto, o defeito não está no transporte e sim no manuseio.
Sobre a qualidade física do livro em si. WotC deveria ter vergonha dos livros que produz. Material e montagem é um vexame se comparado a produtos de outras empresas de calibre muito menor. A espinha é colada, não é costurada, as folhas sempre vem com alguma marca ou rasgado. Tenho 6 livros deles do dnd5 TODOS possuem algum defeito infeliz. Esse em especial veio com uma gota de cola entre as páginas que deixou marcas pra eu retirar. E a espinha está exposta no começo e fim do livro, está tudo registrado nas fotos Eu não entendo a lógica do povo que parabeniza a construção desses livros, mas enfim.
Sobre o conteúdo do livro. Aventura bem grande, 322 páginas, mais de 20 mapas (simples ao extremo no visual, mas limpo e fácil de entender.). Nível 5 ao 20. Não tem nada relevante que relacione p conteúdo desse com O outro livro que o precede (dragon heist) e nesse não tem nem o mapa da taverna que é a entrada da dungeon, muito menos coisa útil sobre a cidade de Waterdeep. A premissa para entrar na dungeon é pueril, nada relevante e todas são cliché Os andares possuem temática própria, leve vínculo com o andar anterior, não é só matar monstro, pois há várias interações não violentas possíveis. Mas a dungeon como um todo não é coesa, tanto é que foram vários contratados para escrever e cada um ficou com poucos andares, além do fato de estarem limitados por exigências feitas pela Marca DnD. Layout do livro não ajuda em nada, paredes de texto das salas, pouquíssimas artes (não ajudaria na praticidade, mas seria pelo menos bonito de se ver) nada de partes do mapa mostrado em cada página para evitar inúmeras idas e voltas entre as páginas, mas pelo menos a ordem dos elementos apresentados são padronizadas, sempre começando com o ambiente e o que tem lá. Basicamente o livro é péssimo pra se usar na mesa, pra piorar ele não fica aberto direito na mesa pela péssima qualidade de construção que eu disse antes. Pra piorar, precisa de várias idas e vindas no livro do monstro e do mestre pra conseguir entender muito do que é mostrado, se vira aí pra fazer muitos preparos com antecedência. Por fim, eu ainda daria 3 estrelas, pois me serve como mapa pronto e salas cheias (isso tem de sobra, tem andar que tem mais de 40 salas) serve de inspiração pra alguns elementos e algumas intrigas para aliviar a matação desenfreada de monstros. Dou 2 estrelas, no entanto, pela lambança que é a construção física desse livro e dessa marca como um todo.
As for the roleplaying, yes it may appear that there is much less and that this is just a dungeon crawl. However it is up to the DM to create the roleplaying possibilities with what is available and the encounters the party will have. Instead of it being lined out for you as was in the Waterdeep Heist it is up to you to create the scenarios where the players can roleplay. The Undertaker bandits on the first level is a roleplaying option, and the Skullport town that is around levels 3 or 4. Much of the encounters can be roleplayed out if the party tries to make an attempt at it, and then it is up to you the DM to try and accommodate them and try to beat the roleplaying or have them succeed and get past a possible encounter that would of required combat.
Now for the criticism that for first time DMs this book could be overwhelming for new players, I whole heartedly agree. There is a great deal of prep work required, but using the stat blocks is a good short cut for getting the initial prep in place. Try not to recreate everything in notes, that is what the book is for and will be needed for use a lot. Creature stat blocks, pre-generated treasure, and DM treasure you will make notes of because then you will not be flipping back and forth between books and keep the overall flow of things in a steady format. Lulls when needed, and action when desired. This is a daunting book for newcomers, but with proper prep time (get at least the first two level of the dungeon prep completed) the players can move through at a good pace while giving the DM enough time to prep each subsequent level in his/her spare time.
Overall I think this is a pretty great module with a great deal of variety for encounters and roleplaying possibilities and recommend it for those that enjoyed running the Heist for their group. Remember there are also other options for running some other aspects of the Heist that players may not have done giving you another week of prep time for the Mad Mage.
El libro es de pasta dura y muy bien empastado. El contenido está muy bien organizado y con algunas ilustraciones detalladas y muy vividas. El libro también incluye en las últimas páginas, un par de apéndices que deben ser foto-copiadas en dado caso para utilizarse como tarjetas que los jugadores y Dungeon Master (DM) pueden utilizar al explorar Undermountain.
El contenido está dividido en capítulos que representan cada uno de los niveles del calabozo. Con la ayuda de una tabla de "nivel del calabozo vs nivel de experiencia" en la introducción, el DM puede consultar el nivel de personaje necesario para que puedan explorar cada nivel del calabozo sin exponerse a una muerte segura. Comparando este libro con previos suplementos de Undermountain, este libro no cubre TODO Undermountain, solo los primeros 23 niveles y solo una fracción de cada uno de ellos. Aún así, el Undermountain explorado en este libro es masivo y deja muchos túneles abiertos para que el DM pueda agregar interminables expansiones e historias.
El punto más bajo en calificación que tiene esta aventura es la calidad de los mapas. Visualmente los mapas se ven "baratos" y resaltan con el estilo, diseño y calidad que el resto del libro recibió sin reservas.
En conclusión: Dungeon of the Mad Mage es una excelente campaña para exploradores de calabozos que gustan de enfrentar criaturas y trampas y encontrar tesoros y respuestas a algunos misterios ocultos bajo la ciudad de Waterdeep. No es la mejor aventura publicada para 5a edición en cuanto a su narrativa, pero está entre las mejores 4 en cuanto a contenido y experiencia de juego a mi juicio y experiencia. Recomendada!
TLDR; The book's falling apart upon receiving it, and the content's too condensed. Overall, very disappointing.
I have to preface this by establishing that I am new to DMing, but I'd still like to give my opinion on this book.
When I got the book today, and opened it up only slightly, I felt the resistance that would suggest that the spine wouldn't allow it. I still made the mistake of opening up the book too much (too much for this book seems to be about 30 degrees). I struggle to describe how incredibly upsetting to have the spine tear away from the pages when the book is first opened up. I wouldn't even be too upset about the condition of the book if this hadn't already been the case for two other books. I'm beginning to wonder why I even buy from Wizards of the Coast anymore, I have never bought from a company that this consistently gives me appalling products. I want to scream at the moon, cause I love D&D, I truly do, so I wanted to support the game by DMing, but I can hardly bring my books to the different games cause I fear having them fall apart on me.
While the general quality of the book spines and pages are something to avoid in most cases of Wizard of the Coast's books, the content isn't usually bad, but when it comes to Dungeon of the Mad Mage, I can't help but feel like I've been let down.
DotMM (Dungeon of the Mad Mage) is the first 5+ game that I was planning to run with the people of my house, and I was exited to hear that this would be following the stories of Waterdeep Dragon Heist HC, but when I read through some of the book for DotMM, I felt like if they had split the book into two or more books, and described the scenes and story in better and more colourful detail this book could be much better.
Right off the bat, it's not a great sequel to Dragon Heist other than taking place in the same area and possibly having some ties to Xanathar. During my initial read-through I wasn't really impressed at first, until it grew on me.
I was expecting a maze filled with random encounters and levels and levels of the same thing with a cheesy recurring villain and I was proven wrong.
It really is excellent for what it is. It's a massive massive dungeon, but each floor has its own feel and theme. There are combat and roleplay options and shortcuts in and out of the place. Your players get to run all kinds of encounters and fight almost every kind of monster. Some players love dungeons and exploring and this is for them.
This is a pure dungeon dive for PCs after glory and riches, and the fact the players are driven to explore deeper and deeper is even boiled into the plot of undermountain. They can return to the Yawning Portal for breaks and booze and as their wealth grows, so does their legend.
This book is one of 5e's hidden gems. It might not be a full balanced diet meal like Descent into Avernus or Tomb of Annihilation but it's sure got meat. It's like a meat lovers adventure, if that makes sense.
It's just a massive party where your PCs fight and gather power, and all of their greatest fans and sponsors are just waiting for their return in the Yawning Portal. It's like the pro-sports of Faerun.