Where it concerns Undermountain or anything to do with products supplemental to Dragon Heist or Dungeon of the Mad Mage you could argue I’m late to the game. Nonetheless, today I’m looking at Undermountain: the Lost Chambers which is a collection of 11 adventures by 7 prominent DMs Guild authors. If you’re inclined to virtual tabletops, there is a Fantasy Grounds version available here.
Undermountain: The Lost Chambers
Creators: Alex Clippinger, Ashley May, Christopher Walz, Elise Cretel, Luciella Scarlett, Micah Watt, & Phil Beckwith
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 78 pages
Dungeon of the Mad Mage was published in 2018 and with all the anticipation leading up to that date many a creator on DMs Guild were eager to publish something related to that adventure. As a matter of fact, I reviewed a product last November called Altar of the Spider God that is meant to be a direct tie-in to Mad Mage. If you don’t know, Mad Mage is an adventure that picks up where Dragon Heist left off and also takes place in Waterdeep. Dragon Heist is an urban adventure, Mad Mage is a dungeon crawl, and Undermountain: the Lost Chambers is a supplement to give your adventurers even more places to explore beneath Waterdeep.
Generally speaking, it’s a foregone conclusion that you you need the three core books to accompany any product from the DMs Guild but I wanted to point out that you should also have access to Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes as well as the aforementioned Mad Mage adventure for The Lost Chambers for an ideal playing experience.
Undermountain: the Lost Chambers is a collection of 11 adventure locations by 7 of the DMs Guild’s best-selling authors: Phil Beckwith, Alex Clippinger, Elise Cretel, Ashley May, Luciella Scarlett, Christopher Walz, and Micah Watt and the levels for the adventures range from 3 to 13. While these locations are intended to be used with Mad Mage you could use them in any Undermountain setting according to the product’s introduction.
The cover (art by Dean Spencer) is great. Gelatinous cubes just don’t get the love they deserve and it’s great to see one featured so prominently. Personally, dark and mysterious things draw me in. This dark cover with its arcane lettering grabbed my attention immediately. Then the creators are also impressive. It’s a who’s who of Guild authors. I’ve reviewed about half of these writers already. But there are others that I’m familiar with but have yet to review.
Skimming its contents, the professional formatting and layout for The Lost Chambers impresses me. Pyromaniac Press did an outstanding job creating a cohesive product with so many individual contributors. I still think this is one of the most underappreciated aspects of any of the Guild products out there. Some products would be decent or even great but for their formatting. But I’ll grind that axe another time. Let’s move on.
Unlike most reviews here, I don’t plan to address things like writing and originality for each individual entry. I’ve pretty much already covered the bulk of production. Instead I will speak to the whole product. But not without giving you a snapshot of the Table of Contents below.
These Undermountain sidetreks give good opportunity to further develop your players.
I love when I learn new things from products and not just specifc-to-D&D lore. But consider Abandoned Atelier not just as an alliterative title but from a vocabulary perspective. Right off the bat, Ashley May gives me a word I didn’t know. An atelier (pronounced “adl-yay”) is essentially a workshop for an artist/designer. But “Woebegone Workshop” doesn’t have the same ring to it, despite the alliteration. The brooding and mysterious setting is quite enjoyable. Everything is decayed, rotten, and wet. But there is surely valuable information or treasure to be found here, right? Amid all the water, algae, and fungi there is magic, and trouble, waiting for the adventurers. possessed myconids and a luminous growth will give the party a run for their money.
From memorable encounters such as Elise Cretel’s use of a flying machine and wyrmlings to Alex Clippinger’s brilliant implementation of modrons, Undermountain provides wonderful encounters and fun side quests. There is a popular joke among D&D fans that many players have never actually encountered a dragon, wyrmling or otherwise. Now you can ensure that those aren’t YOUR players. I’ve personally never dealt with modrons so I can scratch those constructs off the list too.
Christopher Walz’s two adventures give what we’re familiar with seeing from him: something tense and atmospheric. His adventures are always challenging and filled with options for combat that is anything but hack and slash. Luciella Scarlett gives us something more refined and developed than what I’ve seen from her previously. But it still has her signature style!
Of course the other creators contributed great adventures as well but to talk about them all could potentially make for a review that is actually longer than the product! Let’s just leave it at this: while I do have my favorites, there is no single entry that drags down the whole. All are great and given the range of levels each adventure targets, there is something for everyone here except for the most advanced PCs.
Some of these adventures are quirky and fun, as with UWPS, and some have a more serious tone (Cathedral of Bones). Some are more linear than others. A few leave the resolution open-ended. Some have a definitive “win condition”. But all are great. Pyromaniac Press did a great job with production as it regards art direction, author selection, and layout. Cartography by Phil Beckwith and Chris Bissette are highly thematic and cohesive. In short, this product is more than the sum of its parts while allowing each individual contributor to maintain his or her autonomy and do what they do best.