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‘Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage’ review

Wizards of the Coast has released its latest 5E adventure, “Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage,” November 9, 2018. The Fantasy Grounds module version of the adventure is available on the Fantasy Grounds website and on Steam now as well. If you’re waiting for the hardcover book, you can expect that to hit stores on November 20, along with “Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage” Maps and Miscellany, which is a pack of enlarged versions of the maps that are laminated for your tabletop use.

So, what is this adventure all about? Well, if you’ve purchased “Waterdeep: Dragon Heist,” which was released a few months ago, you’ll find that “Mad Mage” fits perfectly in with that adventure. While “Dragon Heist” was an urban adventure, taking parties to the streets of the “City of Splendors,” “Mad Mage” takes you deep beneath the city, to the realm of Halaster Blackcloak.

From “Dragon Heist” to “Mad Mage”… a perfect transition.

Where “Dragon Heist” takes players from levels 1-5, “Mad Mage” then continues with content for levels 5-20, so there is a lot of varied encounters to be experienced, and with that, extended gameplay for many months to come.

The entry to Undermountain can be found in the “Yawning Portal” bar, owned by Durnan, who charges patrons a fee to lower themselves down into the entrance for a fee of 1gp, and another gold piece to be brought back up.

The main character in the story is of course, the Mad Mage himself, but you may also meet one or more of his apprentices. And word is that he’s looking for more apprentices. Do you dare apply?

I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll be a bit brief on what you will find when you open the module. I do want to make the following comment. The maps are really large, but perhaps some of the problem is that I’m using a 17” laptop to view the table. So, take that into consideration.

Each level is different than the one before, and more dangerous.

Because “Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage” covers so many levels; 5th to 20th level, it could be quite dangerous to enter a level of the dungeon that has creatures far beyond a party’s level, but fear not. You can always retreat if you find yourself in over your heads. It’s also possible to leave Undermountain and adventure in other areas to gain experience so that you won’t be quite so squishy.

In general, players that clear out a level in the dungeon will most likely have leveled so that going down to the next level will be doable. Also, DMs have the option to reward their players with experience for completing quests, exceptional roleplaying, finding and disarming traps, maybe even just showing up on time for the game, so this will all add to achieving the next level for players.

It’s said that if you played in a campaign using this adventure, it would take you at least eight months to complete it. There is that much content to experience. Plus, Wizards of the Coast has made it so that DMs can add their own touches to the dungeons with passages that lead off the maps, so that only your imagination can imagine what might lay ahead.

How to get cards from the “Secrets Deck”

What, you don’t know about the “Secrets Deck?” I could tell you, but well, you know the rest. I’ll just say that there are many rumors that are going around in Waterdeep, and if you spend any amount of time in a place like the “Yawning Portal,” you are sure to hear some of them.

Players can listen to these rumors and if they pass an intelligence check, they will learn a secret about Undermountain and be able to draw a card from the “Secrets Deck.” Later on, players will meet some NPCs that know the truth about Halaster and Undermountain, and these cards will again come in question.

Well, I don’t want to reveal any more, but suffice it to say, I look forward to playing in this module.

Purchase the Fantasy Grounds Module of “Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage” from the Fantasy Grounds store.

We at Fantasy Grounds College are fans of the Fantasy Grounds program, and advocate its use in playing D&D and other RPGs online. We are not affiliated or officially endorsed by SmiteWorks USA LLC or Fantasy Grounds.

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