5th Edition Dungeons of Dragons presents its next adventure campaign following the Tyranny of Dragons story arc. The new storyline is called Elemental Evil, a fresh succession to the classic adventure The Temple of Elemental Evil. Princes of the Apocalypse is the first installment in the Elemental Evil story arc, for characters, level 1-15.
Princes of Apocalypse is a set in the Forgotten Realms where the threat of Elemental Evil rises in the Sumber Hills and threatens to take over the North.
Called by the Elder Elemental Eye to serve, four corrupt prophets have risen from the depths of anonymity to claim mighty weapons with direct links to the power of the elemental princes. Each of these prophets has assembled a cadre of cultists and creatures to serve them in the construction of four elemental temples of lethal design. It is up to adventurers from heroic factions such as the Emerald Enclave and the Order of the Gauntlet to discover where the true power of each prophet lay, and dismantle it before it comes boiling up to obliterate the Realms.
In the book, Chapter 1 gives the Dungeon Master the overview and background of the adventure. There is a section on how to use the book, outlining the chapters as well as guidelines for starting and running the adventure. Four Elemental Cults are described here: Cult of the Black Earth, Cult of the Crushing Wave, Cult of the Eternal Flame, and Cult of the Howling Hatred. There are adventure hooks to use for introducing the story. Also, factions, presented in the Tyranny of Dragons organized play continue on in this adventure.
The main adventure is for characters 3rd level on up, but there are adventures in Chapter 6 of the book that can be used to get characters to 3rd level. In Chapter 6, there are additional side treks the dungeon master can use as well.
Inside the book, the layout is again excellent, as all of the 5th edition releases have been to this date. The pages are well laid-out with easy demarcations for text to be read to adventurers.
In addition, there are plenty of full color maps for use in the campaign and plenty of full-color images for the DM to use for inspiration in leading the adventure.
A great addition to this book is Chapter 6: Alarums and Excursions. This chapter presents secondary adventures that are loosely tied to the main storyline. There are some adventures for characters that are levels 1-3 and there are some side-trek adventures for higher level characters. These additions allow for the book to be used to cover a larger spectrum of player levels.
There is an additional chapter covering new monsters and magic items that are associated with the Princes of Elemental Evil storyline. Some of them are magic devices created by the evil elemental cults, or are relics from the long-lost dwarf kingdom of Besilimer.
Appendix A brings in a new race that characters can play. Genasi, are a half-genie, half-mortal cross and can derive from air, earth, fire, or water. All of the stats are included as well as backgrounds to allow players to immerse themselves into this new character race. There are also new races that can be used through accessing the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion that is available for free online.
Appendix B has new spells. Aside from the spells in the Player’s Handbook, these new spells are options to add for your party. They are divided by class, are denoted by their schools of magic, and also have descriptions for each spell.
Appendix C allows for the game to open up. All though this adventure is set in the Forgotten Realms, there are tips and insights to allow the game to be adapted to other worlds such as Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Eberron or even your own world.
I continue to be impressed with the 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons books. I feel that the game has returned to its roots. I love the flexibility that this storyline offers, allowing for the adventure to be adapted to other worlds. The inclusion of an adventure for characters level 1-3 allow for a direct transition into the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign, starting with new players, or for players wanting to start with a new character. The side-treks allow the story to open up and allow advanced players to attempt to deal with certain problems that may arise during the normal campaign.
The organization of this book is superb. The artwork is again awesome continuing the creation of an adventure that unfolds in the imagination. The adventure is well supported by the 3 main resources: Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. The afterword of the book is great, leaving a nice note about inspiration for the story. In addition, there are online resources available. There is a 55 page online adventure supplement available as well as a 25 page Player’s Companion that has new races and spells.
To me, this is a worthwhile investment in the Dungeons & Dragons world that will offer months of enjoyment and excitement.