The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond: A 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons Supplement
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
Terror and suspense await you in the Shadowfell.
This boxed set is for Dungeon Masters interested in taking their heroes on excursions to the Shadowfell, as well as Dungeon Masters looking for a sinister setting in which to run thrilling urban adventures. A 128-page book presents the fully detailed city of Gloomwrought, complete with location descriptions, maps, quests, and game statistics for monsters and villains. It also includes provides information on other locations heroes are likely to visit beyond the city's dark walls. In addition, the box contains a 32-page book of encounters set in Gloomwrought and beyond, two card stock sheets of die-cut monster and villain tokens, a foldout battle map, and a deck of 30 cards that DMs can use to add suspense to any Shadowfell-based adventure.
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This item The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond: A 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons Supplement
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|Item Dimensions||1.95 x 9.03 x 11.55 in||1.94 x 8.97 x 11.49 in||0.92 x 8.78 x 11.02 in||2.2 x 9.15 x 11.99 in||11.5 x 11.5 x 5.5 in||3.5 x 1 x 2.5 in|
|Item Weight||—||1.84 lbs||2.52 lbs||2.57 lbs||6.35 lbs||3.7 ounces|
Top customer reviews
I almost passed this one up. I'm not hugely interested in running a game in the Shadowfell, and it just doesn't seem right to use this for my Dark Sun game. Still, as part of my attempted rehab of P3 Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress, I dug deep into the Shadowfell, kept my players in Gloomwrought for a few sessions, and generally got to like the stuff that Wizards of the Coast had done with it. So, on a whim, I snagged it, and I'm glad I did.
Apart from some construction issues with the unnecessarily-large box (it's very light stock, think cereal box sturdiness but higher-quality; it unsurprisingly arrived squished), this is one heck of a quality product. Here's what I found inside...
* A nifty Despair Deck
* Two pages of Counters
* A 128 page softcover book (PHB-sized, not Essentials-sized)
* A 32 page encounter book (with stock similar to that used in the H-P-E modules)
* A two-sided poster map, with Gloomwrought on one side and a battle map on the other.
The Despair Deck is just cool. I love the idea of using non-collectible cards in my RPG. While I have no time for those silly Fortune Cards, non-collectible cards can add a lot to the game. These are no exception. More or less, these present additional challenges for the heroes after taking an extended rest in the Shadowfell. Characters draw one, are subject to a few random penalties, and are given a "mood" they can use as a role-playing tool. If they can overcome their despair, they get a boon for the rest of the day. I really want to use them in a game.
The tokens ... eh. While I love tokens, these have the monster's name in big bold print across the bloodied side. I appreciate that this makes them easier to find, it's kinda ugly, and I don't really always want my players to know the names of the monsters they're fighting. Still, I'd rather have them than not.
The two books are, of course, the meat of the product. And whether or not you will like them is probably related to whether or not you liked adventure sites like Hammerfast and Vor Rukoth - particularly the latter. (In my opinion, Vor Rukoth is one of the best FRPG supplements released in recent memory, so you should be able to guess where I'll stand!) As a note - If you're not familiar with the term "sandboxing" or an "adventure site," a sandbox is basically a campaign style where the players are in the driver's seat, and the DM concentrates more on presenting an objective fantasy world than presenting a specific plotted adventure, and letting adventures arise naturally from the interplay between the players and the game world. So, while this isn't an adventure, it's potentially the basis for an entire campaign. Hence, "adventure site." The PCs have an entire city to explore.
The first half of the book is devoted to the bustling Shadowfell metropolis of Gloomwrought. If you think of an even darker Sigil, you'll be close. Gloomwrought is an ever-shifting place with dozens of fantastic sites, several important factions, and a ton of detail and interest suitable for both visits and entire campaigns. There's the perfect amount of detail, here, for DMs who want to run a fairly open sandbox-style game, set in Gloomwrought and its environs. Between the Keepers, Midnight's Own, the Raven Queen fanatics of the Ebony Guard, Prince Rolan and his Deathless Watch, the Ghost Talons, the cult of Zehir, the Tenebrous Cabal, and others - there's no lack of potential for some great political city-based adventuring. There are plot hooks on every page, and evocative illustrations and maps everywhere.
The second half of the book is split. The third quarter deals with other locations in the Shadowfell - Letherna, the Raven Queen's Stronghold, and a half-dozen or so other important or interesting sites. It's far from a comprehensive gazetteer, but fitting with the Points of Light setting, there's a lot of interest and a lot of flexibility.
The final quarter deals with new "monsters." "Creatures" would be more fair; only a few of the entries here are typical monsters. Detailed herein are typical members of the various factions found within the city, available at your fingertips for on-the-fly encounters. Each faction has a varied enough mix of entries, and enough flavor text and lore, that using them should be insanely simple for a sandbox-style game. What's more, these foes - like those in the Monster Vault and other new creature books - show some just superior design. Every single one is interesting in some way, and I think I'll find most of them useful even if I never run a game set in Gloomwrought. They're that good. (And thank goodness Keepers got an upgrade from their tepid Manual of the Planes entry. Now, they are substantial and cool.) Pretty much every faction is in the low- to mid-paragon range, which is perfect for the average level of adventures, here.
Enhancing the sandbox toolkit is the wonderful 32-page Encounter book. This isn't a module. It's not even a collection of Delves. It's a non-sequential series of interesting, fleshed-out, fully-mapped encounters which a DM can drop in whenever they need an encounter to move their game along. It's *great*. It's the perfect sandbox toolkit.
So, I have to say. I'm impressed. I'm glad I didn't pass this one up. It's every bit as good as Vor Rukoth, and probably even better.
The Despair Deck is my favorite part. It's a fun tool for the DM's to play with. The book doesn't give many hard rules for its use, just some suggestions on how to incorporate it. I adapted an elite NPCs to attack and inflict "madness" or "fear" effects, then have players draw a random card. The players loved it.
I'd like to see more box-sets like this from WotC. This set is a very nice "DM's Toolbox" for the Shadowfell, which will essentially be the 4th Edition version of Ravenloft it seems.
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