Dungeons and Dragons Game Log: Night Below Retrospective.
After about three years of playing, my current game group finished the 2nd edition module Night Below: An Underdark Campaign. This is the fifth group I have started on this module and the first to make it to book three as well as finish it. I have run the module in every edition of Dungeons and Dragons from the time it was released for the Second Edition, and finally, I got a group with the endurance to finish Night Below.
There were a few party changes along the way due to a few people moving, breaking up, and other drama, but a final core of 4 people who had been there from the beginning finished. Troy, playing the Bard Cera, Greg playing the Warlock Omedon, Brie Playing the Rouge Gydian, and Stay playing the Fighter Kathra. Along for a good portion of the game were Tony playing the Ranger Adan, and Corey playing the Sorceress Althaea.
Night Below: An Underdark Campaign
I started the campagin a bit differently, as Greg had been in several previous attempts at the module so I wanted to mix the beginning up by having the party start as random mercenaries who were each hired to protect a village from marauding orcs. The group pushed back the orcs and followed them to their camp, where they found a cave the orcs were taking prisoners down. Following the cave lead to the keep that served as the climax in book one, and the party took the keep. In one of the cells is where they found the sorceress Althaea who joined them.
Book II: Perils of the Underdark
After this, the game pretty much followed the story from the Night Below Boxed set. The group cleared the keep, set it up as a base, and begin venturing down into the Underdark. They met the Deep Gnomes and befriended them, battled trolls and braved other hazards of the caves. They finaly made it to the sunless sea and, after clearing any local threats, set up a small fort with armed guards and other amenities with the large amount of treasure they had earned.
Book III: The Sunless Sea
From here they explored many areas of the Sunless Sea, gaining treasure, and experience, as well as making allies with devils, demons, and even some rouge Mind Flayers. They fought fire giants, braved an island that drove lesser mortals insane, explored a haunted ruin and fought a Kraken. After exploring everywhere they could in the area around the Sunless Sea, they began the slow infiltration of the enemy stronghold, The City of the Glass Pool.
While in the city, the group worked to free slaves and dispose of any assets and obstacles they could while trying to remain as unnoticed as possible. They were able to make several excursions into the city before their activities were significantly noticed, and by then, they had gathered the resources and help they needed to take down the leadership. After an epic battle with a powerful dwarven spellcaster, they confronted and defeated the Giant aboleth leading the whole thing and make it out of the city as it sank below the waves.
This boxed set is rather extensive and really does take a character party from the start all the way to level 20 or so. It provides a good mix of items and challenges to the party, though parties that like hack and slash might get a bit bored in the middle of book 2 or so. It is nothing an experienced DM cannot work with however to tailor some of the encounters and side quests to the parties tastes. It is a long road, but a super dedicated weekly party who plays for 4 or so hours a week with a bit more dedication and seriousness than our group could probably finish this up in less than a year.
One of the hardest parts of the DM was converting the thing to the current edition and
keeping the balance. Many spells were altered or removed and most of the big nasties have a spellcasting component to them. Honestly, I wish I had kept more notes as it would probably be a handy resource for other people interested in running the game for 5th edition.
Overall, Night Below was a fun Dungeons and Dragons module that is well worth playing if you can find a group dedicated to see it through. I am not sure where our game group will go from here, but rumblings of some kind of space adventure using the Hero System seems to be the most likely direction. I look forward to it and already have some plans.