Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tales From the Yawning Portal - Against the Giants, Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain and others coming to 5e this Spring

Forbes has an article on Tales From the Yawning Portal (are they getting paid by WotC?) but the gist of things is seven adventures from various editions are being converted into a D&D 5e adventure path this coming April.

What's included?

-Against the Giants
-Dead in Thay
-Forge of Fury
-Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
-Sunless Citadel
-Tomb of Horrors
-White Plume Mountain

I wonder if they will be using any of the crowdsourced edition translations that have been published on the DM's Guild / OBS site in whole or as a resources. Do you give up all rights to your work when you do said translations?


  1. Oh goody. Let's see ...

    Half of these are linear tourney adventures. Good for one-shots and not so much so for a real game.

    Oh, and there's the S1 abomination. I look forward to the new onslaught of linear deathtrap dungeons that encourage adversarial DM'ing.

    In spite of this, I'm going to try and stay positive. Those guys at WOTC know what they are doing and I'm sure they won't just slap it together to make money.

  2. To this product I give a firm, resounding "Meh." Sure, I think it's great to introduce 5e gamers to the old school style of adventure - but for me, I already own most of these adventures and can play them using a system I'd much prefer - so I'll pass.

    That being said, this product confusing me. With WotC ramping up the PoD of OSR products, is Yawning Portals supposed to draw more OSRers to 5e? If so, we're all either already on the 5e Train or still sitting back and happily playing our out of print or retro-clones. But if it's for the newer generation of 5e gamers, is it really going to appeal to them? I mean as Bryce Lynch said above, these modules can be real meat grinders, and are not very story heavy - and I get the impression that that's the opposite of what the newer generation enjoys. (But, I could be wrong.)

    So, while I love the cover art - I'm not sure the strategic value of the product from a marketing/publishing stance. Not quite appealing to the OSR, not quite the style of modern 5e gamers - so what's the plan?

    1. I kind of think this is exactly what modern 5E gamers want. Behind a companon book for players, short modules has been the most commonly requested product I've seen.

      This product is less about drawing OSR to 5E....I think they've already grabbed all of that market that they can. It is probably about catering to the needs of current 5E gamers and also offering up recognizable titles for lapsed gamers who are not OSR but used to play a long time ago....and also offering a product for the millennials who are obsesed with what for them is now a venerable history of product from before their time. Kinda like how in 1980 I discovered Howard and Lovecraft, and promptly became obsessed with this bygone era of fiction....well I have younger gaming friends who look at pretty much everything prior to 1990 in the same way.

  3. The interview on Forbes seems to answer your questions about who and why this collection was created. The mention of looking at sales numbers helping determine some of the modules included speaks they were looking for iconic entries from each time period. Though I am sad not to see a basic or expert set module. Isle of Dread would have been a fun one to include for the newcomers. It is an interesting collection of adventures to steal bits and pieces from for your own campaign in 5e.

  4. I have to give it a meh too. I too already own all but Dead in Thay. My fear is that they won't maintain the same difficulty of Tomb, Shrine, and Mountain. These modules were not balanced (balance is BS anyway) and a big focus of a lot of the 5e official material is about balance. If they maintain the spirit of the modules as written then I bet there are going to be some whiny players out there moaning about dying A LOT.

  5. If I were them I would use this to drive 5e players to the PDF/POD stuff they are doing with classics.

  6. To be contrary, I am actually excited about this release. 5e is my primary system because of the high quality mechanics but in a old-school sort of way. I decided that mechanics and style should be separated especially if the older mechanics are bad for playability. The 1e adventures have always been special to me from childhood. The 3e ones were two of the best although I never played that edition. Dead in Thay is an excellent one that needed to be updated from D&D Next anyway.

    So, new color art with updated 5e stats along with availability at Amazon at discount. What's not to like?

  7. So four "Best of 1st Ed AD&D" modules, the first two modules of a 3rd Ed adventure path, and one adventure from the D&D Next beta? And the choices where made through sales numbers? Smells like a cash grab via gamer nostalgia.

    1. They are a business so they do need to make cash. I see nothing wrong with this.

    2. That's the same mentality that's keeping Hollywood cranking out remakes, reimaginings, and reboots.

      Nudging WotC to maybe make new epic adventures/modules that evoke the passion and feeling of these older modules, is better than rebuying modules for the upteenth time. The Frankenstein's monster their going to turn this into - there'll be a shoehorned plot for all of these to tie together, just wait - isn't going to be memorable as they think it will.

    3. I bought these adventures when these first came out and I have played them and ran them under every version of D&D I own (at last count, all of them) so I'll buy this.

  8. Wild pessimism aside, I'm looking forward to this. I've run all of it other than Dead in Thay and recently planned on upgrading the S series to 5E for a future campaign anyway, so this will save me work. A lot of the impetus for this module from 5E fans has been a desire for shorter modules, so this appears to be an answer to that. For my own purposes....I'm oddly quite comfortable with them leveraging the legacy of the game for the current edition, and hope it succeeds as a product. It's a good way for WotC to see if the interest in legacy products extends to the current retail product line and not just POD products.

  9. I don't have any issues with them leveraging the legacy. I think it is great that they are doing that. While I might be meh about it, I'll still pick it up and likely run parts of it for my 5e group. As I mentioned above, my fear is that WotC won't maintain the spirit of Tomb, Mountain, and Shrine and I think that does a disservice to the legacy.

  10. This is the 5e book I'm most excited about, to be honest. I never had a chance to play these as a kid and I think it's great to have them remade for 5e, because 5e is pretty amazing.

    Looking at the comments, I'd say this place is too full of grognards who may be a little too far gone to be able to give any new product a fair chance. :D

  11. Tomb Of Horrors 5E.. Yes Please.. YES!!!!!

  12. What seven adventures would you choose instead of these?

  13. Well *I* am looking forward to this. I have already converted most of these myself for my own group, but I really want to see what they did and how they did it.

    I doubt they will be using any of the classic conversions on the DMs Guild.

  14. I'm an old school gamer, but I've about reached my saturation point on reprints of S1, S2, C1 or the Giants series. Instead of once again resurrecting the old classics, why not hire competent people to WRITE the new adventures that will become classics? Ask Matt Finch, Michael Curtis, Dyson, Harley Stroh, James Raggi, Jeff Talanian, Greg Gillespie, etc to write a 5E game in the "old school style"....I'd buy that. Not Tomb of Horrors Part XIV.

  15. Being the 1E OSRIC loyalist that I am, it still amazes me that anyone would find fault with WotC for doing what they're doing with these old adventures. As a matter of fact, NOTHING that WotC does has any impact on my own enjoyment of flying the flags of the first edition. So I applaud what WotC is doing with this, knowing full well that whatever happens will be a real learning experience for people (WotC included.)

    That being said, I do like what Badmike wrote above me in the thread here, and I am all for seeing WotC have those writers create new modules that will become classics. It's a real mystery to me, why WotC hasn't brought more writers of that caliber on board their team yet.

    Here at TSR 2.0, we're building towards having an impressive line of original/new adventure modules of our own, and I've already begun writing an outline for a few of them. Stay tuned.

  16. Volo's Guide had quite a few monsters that would let you convert, say, S3 or the Slavers series to 5E. I wonder if this is a push to get more people to pick up old material on DMs Guild, which is profitable for WotC. I also wonder if this was an easy-to-produce product to put out while they work on other things (Mike Schley has already updated the maps for some of those adventures).

  17. It'd be interesting to see if they used any community-sourced conversions; most of those are very thin documents primarily focused on a straight 1:1 conversion of monsters, traps, and magic items and (almost) nothing else, so I suspect the answer is that they didn't, instead using more interesting and thematic conversions to shake things up a little bit and update monsters rather than do some kind of "thessalgoyle = 2 gargoyles" or some such.

    As to the rights: you are playing in WOTC's court when you publish to DM's guild, so they can technically use your stuff all they want, but they have little impetus to do so in order to avoid watering down the brand (i.e. what if the conversion kinda sucks or gets something wrong?) or angering fans. More likely, if they saw something they wanted to use they'd just contact the person, have them pull their product, and pay them a buck or two (hyperbole) to use the stuff and not have to worry about pesky folks yelling at them.

    I'm no lawyer, but that's my reading.

  18. All other thoughts aside, I really question the name of this book. I had to read the back of the book text on their website to figure out that "Yawning Portal" was a reference to an inn. My first impression was that these were tales that would make me sleepy.

  19. While I agree with Badmike regarding the RPG talent that WOTC isn't utilizing at the moment, I have to say that I find the typical Grognard response just tedious.

    Don't like it? Whatevs. But I'm looking forward to it. While I've been reading D&D books since 1982 (old ones, we ones, whatever I could find), I grew up in a little place with almost no RPG community. I couldn't find a group interested in playing, or an established group until 1995 (You know, the Dark Ages).

    I missed out on actually getting to PLAY the classics.

    I have a great group now. But I'm the lone OSR guy (If I had my druthers, I'd be playing Moldvay or BFRPG...) and the group has moved on to 5E. So, I can't wait to buy it and actually play a classic with my closest friends.

    Is it a cynical money grab by WOTC? Possible. Even likely. But throwing that qualifier at them ignores the fact that it could still be a good product and good business decision: None of these things need be mutually exclusive.

  20. For me it is simple. My kids love the old adventures but they also love 5e. I can't possibly be the only 40+ year old gamer with kids that wants go back one more time to these adventures. I have been converting these on my own, but having this book would be great.

    ALSO My son is running 5e and he wants to run these adventures, but he does not have nearly 40 years worth of D&D experience to convert on the fly. So this is book is perfect for both of us.


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