Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dungeon - Best of D&D 4e

Dungeon #221 cover
Dungeon #221, December 2013
The Best of D&D 4th Edition, Part 3

Be sure to also check out Part 1 and Part 2.

As noted in my prior article on The Chaos Scar, product support for 4th Edition flourished under the Dragon and Dungeon PDF publications as a part of D&D Insider subscription. But what became one of the gems of the 4th Edition digital tools, had a bit of a rocky start.

In 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, which also marked the end of the print publication of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines. With the last issue (Dungeon #150) scheduled for release in August 2007, many fans of the magazines, myself included, were saddened and outspoken on Wizards.com forums about the demise of the print support.

Some of the fears were realized when Wizards started putting out individual, uncollated PDFs and web-based articles, instead of a complete issues, for Dragon and Dungeon magazine on their website. A reader had to download all the individual files separately with no table of contents to speak of. Eventually, the publication staff listened to feedback and would release a “complete” PDF issue which sometimes had a table of contents, or not, or sometimes had odd page numbering. It wasn’t exactly a smooth product launch, but eventually, they started getting it right… and D&D Insider was suddenly worth every penny of the subscription price.

June of 2008 (Dungeon #155) saw the first Dungeon content for 4th Edition. Despite its somewhat rocky start, the list of credits over the course of the next 65 issues impressive. The designers for Dungeon are a veritable Who’s Who of the industry today: Robert Schwalb, Shawn Merwin, Bruce Cordell, Skip Williams, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, James Desborough, Chris Perkins, Rob Heinsoo, Bill Slavicsek, Rodney Thompson, and numerous others with regular columns by James Wyatt, Mike Mearls, and Ed Greenwood.

Lord of the White Field, Dungeon #184
This run of Dungeon Magazine was truly a high point in its history. Almost every issue had something that I could use in my own campaigns. Adventures and setting content covered multiple D&D worlds including Eberron, Dark Sun, the Forgotten Realms, and the Nentir Vale.

Dungeon #156 (along with Dragon #366) also introduced the Scales of War adventure path. This campaign spans level 1 through 30 with an epic face off against Tiamat and her 5 Exarchs in Dungeon #175.

Dungeon #197 through 200 also include a re-imagining of the Against the Giants series for 4th Edition by Chris Perkins. Chris added a completely new giant stronghold, Warrens of the Stone Giant Thane in Dungeon #198.

Steading of the Hill Giant Chief - Dungeon #197
Warrens of the Stone Giant Thane - Dungeon #198
Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl - Dungeon #199
Hall of the Fire Giant King - Dungeon #200

Dungeon also included other revamped versions of other classic modules including The Village of Hommlet (#212), Beyond the Crystal Cave (#211), The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (#209) and Tomb of Horrors (#213).

Truly, there was so much useful content in Dungeon, I could have utilized something out of almost every issue between #155 and #221 if I had the time to run so many quests. I can’t write about every highlight, but here are several of my absolute favorite adventures from that era. The following are all fantastic and easily ported to 5th Edition, but if I had to pick 2, they would be Dead By Dawn and Owlbear Run.

Adventure
Author(s)
Level
Issue
Cross City Race
James Desborough
Any
176
Stick in the Mud
Aeryn Rudel
1
171
Prey for Smiley Bob
Chris Perkins
1
205
Dead By Dawn
Aeryn Rudel
3-5
176
Battle of the Witchlight Hermitage
Sterling Hershey
3-5
191
Owlbear Run
Chris Perkins & Steve Townshend
4–6
213
The Battle of Emridy Meadows **
Jon Leitheusser & Chris Perkins
5–7
221
Lord of the White Field
Daniel Marthaler
6-8
184
Treed!
Tim Eagon
7
171
Massacre at Misty River 
Stacey Janssen
7–9
216
** Next / 5th Edition compatible

For a complete list of every Dungeon Magazine adventure and article from issue 1 to 221, there are article indexes in issues Dungeon #200 and Dungeon #221.
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