Explore seven deadly dungeons in this adventure supplement for the world’s greatest roleplaying game, the cover says…
Tales From The Yawning Portal is here, and players will be doing anything BUT yawning as they brave the seven classic adventures updated to Fifth Edition with all new artwork contained within the pages of this fearsome anthology.
Check out this video review, or read on below. Either way don’t forget the photo gallery at the end of this post!
Tales from the Counted Numbers
- Cover Price: $49.95 (Amazon lists it much cheaper but make sure to support your FLGS!)
- 248 pages
- 7 Adventures
- 15 magic items
- 39 creatures / NPCs
“You all meet in an inn…”
You don’t have to meet in the classic and cliched inn to begin these adventures, but the book’s introduction has a nice overview of the Yawning Portal inn itself and its very long lived proprietor Durnan, plus plot hooks and patrons from across the D&D multiverse.
Longtime D&D players and/or readers will recognize that Durnan and his inn are closely associated with the megadungeon Undermountain and the history of Waterdeep. It seems his history has been slightly updated in TFTYP as in previous incarnations he was presented as a white haired retired adventure of about 70, whereas now he is presented younger and very long lived due to potions he looted from Undermountain.
The “yawning portal” that is the inn’s namesake is literally a well (which used to be an old wizard’s tower, now sunk) smack dab in the middle of the Yawning Portal’s main room and said well leading to a level of the Undermountain megadungeon. Adventuring parties and thrill seekers can pay Durnan to be lowered into Undermountain and back up again (paid in advance).
Which leads yours truly to speculate: with an entrance into one of the largest and most well known dungeons in D&D history now featured in a D&D 5th Edition product, can a 5th Edition version of Undermountain be far behind? Whether a physical book or a digital product via the DMs Guild, I would be very surprised if we didn’t see something official from D&D regarding Undermountain sooner rather than later.
The Seven Updated Adventures
The adventures receiving a 5E update span 36 years, ranging from 1978’s Tomb of Horrors to 2014’s Dead in Thay and with minor exceptions are essentially the same adventure as the original but 5E ready.
All new artwork accompanies each adventure and, nostalgia for previous artwork aside, looks great and is in keeping with the fantastic art direction of all of the 5E products to date.
Pretty much every level range is represented in TFTYP:
- The Sunless Citadel: 1st level
- The Forge of Fury: 3rd level
- The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan: 5th level
- White Plume Mountain: 8th level
- Dead in Thay: 9th – 11th level
- Against the Giants: 11th level
- Tomb of Horrors: “Only high level characters stand a chance of coming back alive”
TFTYP is not meant as a campaign, however each adventure represents a certain range of levels so they could be played in succession if a DM wanted to put in a little extra work to connect them. The book’s Introduction even mentions this as a possibility, starting with The Sunless Citadel and wrapping (if they can survive that is, muah ha ha ha!) with the legendary Tomb of Horrors.
I would have liked a quick reference chart for recommended level and party size for each adventure, but the Introduction and each individual adventure have fairly easy to scan summaries for this info.
There’s a good spread of dungeon types as well, from the introductory / classic dungeon crawl of The Sunless Citadel, to the fun house dungeon that makes no sense but provides a great mental challenge of White Plume Mountain, to the killer dungeons of Dead in Thay and the Tomb of Horrors that test your mettle like no other.
It should be noted that these adventures are all dungeon crawls of one type or another as opposed to more narrative or epic storytelling adventures. Some of them are pretty deadly and don’t hold the players’ hands.
Although 5E has defaulted to the Forgotten Realms as its main setting, each adventure has notes for placing it in various well known settings:
- Forgotten Realms
Which is nice.
- There’s a guide to the front cover character art on the inside credits page.
- Each adventure features a sidebar with information about the original version.
- Two of D&D co-founder Gary Gygax’s classic adventures made it in: Against the Giants and Tomb of Horrors.
- Again, it’s a nice surprise to get stat blocks for the magic items and creatures / NPCs. Let’s give it up for the giant crayfish, clawing it’s way back into the spotlight!
Is Tales from the Yawning Portal worth your money?
As usual, I try not to give an up or down binary response to this question given the wide range of tastes and desires of the D&D community. So here we go:
If you love some or all of these old adventures and want a 5E version without doing the conversion yourself, TFTYP is absolutely for you.
If you want some “module” non-campaign type adventures in book form and not a PDF from the DMs Guild, then TFTYP is for you.
If you like a good old fashioned kick down the doors and let’s get to looting dungeon crawl, TFTYP is for you.