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The first adventure published for D&D’s 5th edition finally comes to a close

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Way back in 2014, Wizards of the Coast kicked off 5th-edition Dungeons & Dragons with Lost Mine of Phandelver, a petite little adventure book that came bundled with the original Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set. Now, nearly 10 years after its original publication, it’s back to finish the job. Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk, a full-sized 226-page adventure, arrives on Sept. 19.

Wizards hasn’t said much about Phandelver and Below, and the publisher maintained that air of secrecy during a special press briefing held in August. But we do know that roughly one-third of the book is a remaster of the original adventure, with the rest being given over to new content. The main goal in that early portion of the book, said lead designer Amanda Hamon, was to give the adventure more richness and detail for Dungeon Masters to share with their players. The last two-thirds is when all hell breaks loose.

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A mountain town nestled in a valley. Two men receive bread from a dwarf women in the foreground. The sky is blue. Key art from D&D’s Phandelver and Below.

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Image: Kent Davis/Wizards of the Coast

“We wanted to show, at the beginning of the book, what it looks like before all of these things happen,” Hamon said, “before the villains target this town, before this ritual occurs, before any horrors befall this area. We wanted to show DMs, who could then show players, what it’s like and where it is that the characters are fighting for, what they’re trying to preserve and what they’re trying to go back to.”

After this mysterious ritual, idyllic images from the bucolic town of Phandalin subside. In their place is a series of monstrosities, each more fearsome than the next.

Wizards shared images of a corrupted cow, magic-wielding goblins, and a flesh meld — a horrific creature whose fleshy bits appear to be held together with bone toggles, like a giant piece of animated, snakelike clothing.

Like all new D&D adventures, this one is being sold at a premium price online bundled with a digital version of the same material for $69.95. Those who pre-order the material will get $10 off, and will be able to access the digital version on Sept. 5, two weeks before the physical release. A collectible cover will be available only at local game shops, but the book is also available from Amazon. If you’d like a taste before then, the original adventure is still available for free on D&D Beyond.

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