I was brand new to D&D in 4e when my friend ran his own campaign. When 5e came out, a different group of friends wanted to play D&D, but I was the only one with any prior experience, so I became the DM. We've been going through the 5e starter set, and as they are finishing that up, I'm looking for the next step for their characters. The standard published campaigns are somewhat problematic in that they all start at level 1. If your players want to keep playing the same characters (up to level 20, or whenever they die), its going to take a bit of work on your part.
Enter Tales From the Yawning Portal. I have not personally run my players through any of the adventures yet, but I have read through each one pretty extensively. The way they are set up is brilliant, and even as a new DM it seems that they will be very easy to run. Tyranny of Dragons has a good story from what I've read through, but it doesn't seem to be set up in a way that is easy to DM, with a lot of fill work required on your part.
Tales is a little different however from the other full campaigns in that they are meant to be sprinkled in bigger campaigns/adventures, not necessarily stand on their own as one over-arching campaign. That being said, you can do that, as the levels of the adventures compliment each other; the first one is 1-3, the second 3-5, then 5-8, etc. There won't be any over-arching story, but that doesn't matter too much. My personal plan is to run Horde of the Dragon Queen next (I will have to modify it as my characters are level 4) and when they are done with that, I will run them through one of the Tales adventures before moving onto part two of Tyranny, Rise of Tiamat. I had already bought those books, and their characters tie in nicely with the story. For the most part though, I can't wait to get to the Tales adventures. After the full campaign is done, I might run them through Tomb of Horrors, the last adventure in Tales. I am doing that last, because of the looks of it, it will kill them.
The last thing I wanted to mention about Tales from the Yawning Portal is that the adventures feel very much like they were taken from past editions, but that's not a bad thing. I have several AD&D books that I've skimmed through, and the adventures seem very similar in terms of traps, puzzles and choices the characters can make. Also, most of the adventures seem, at least to me, that they are deadlier than the current 5e lineup. Many sections require smart thinking on the part of the players, not something that is easy to hack and slash their way through with min-maxed characters. The last adventure, Tomb of Horrors, looks especially devious. It was originally created by Gary Gygax himself, as a way to humble even his strongest players. These adventures are tough, but look to be extremely rewarding for those who survive.
All in all, this is a solid, easy to use product that adds much needed content beyond first starting level. I highly recommend it.
- Hardcover: 248 pages
- Publisher: Dungeons & Dragons; Tales from the Yawning Portal edition (4 April 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786966092
- ISBN-13: 978-0786966097
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.7 x 28.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 885 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)