The Vaults of the Drow, and Lost Worlds Florish INTO THE DARKLANDS
Dec 19, 2010 (Updated Nov 16, 2011)
Review by Mark Vaughan
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Well written, well organized, lushly illustrated, fascinating Gaming Source Book.
Cons:Only 64 pages. Could have been more detailed.
The Bottom Line: This is a must have resource for any Dungeon Master, and a great read for any gamer.
Pathfinder Chronicles: Into the Darklands by James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan
Recommend this product?
What was the game called originally? Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons. Deep dank holes full of secrets and treasure, guarded by monstrosities and horrors undreamed of. In the old days, adventure almost always took place deep underground, and characters were also expert spelunkers. The surface was the boring place where you went to recover from your wounds, and sell your loot.
Now the fine folks at Paizo are exploring the Under Dark of their signature world Gorlian; the Darklands (as they are called) are divided into three sections; Nar-voth, the wild brutal upper reaches, where Derro, Duergar, Troglodytes, and Vegepygmies wage constant warfare for slaves, territory, and just because. Next, the middle layer, Sekamina is oddly, the most "civilized." Here the civilizations of the Drow, Ghouls, Serpentfolk, Skum, and Svirfneblin flourish. This layer is well connected, both by an extensive selection of Primary tunnels, and by the extensive Lake Nirthan. When most tales of the Darklands are told, it is these lands they mean. Trade occurs regularly, even among the deadliest enemies. Here, vast civilizations bloom far from the light of the sun, many of the cities listed with population information and write ups from a paragraph to a page.
But the strangest layers are the deepest; the great vaults. Built by a mysterious vanished race, these vast open caverns contain complete lost worlds; vast primeval jungles inhabited by vanished dinosaurs, or miles of crystalline forest, growing like an outpost of the elemental plane of earth. There is a vast desert, crawling with purple worms inhabited by the lich remnants of a great Drow house (wow, Dune of the Dead!) There is a society of Neolithids, fulfilling the roles of Lovecraftian Dholes, and vast mountains inhabited by Gugs. From Burroughs Pellucidar, to the nightmares of Lovecraft, the vaults are worlds within the world with horrors both gross and subtle, and rewards beyond imagining.
The book details the dangers of the Darklands, from the strange radiations of Caphorite and Blightburn, and even Brain Mold, much beloved of the Derro, and other fungal horrors, and a bestiary detailing such worthies as the Morlocks, and Serpent Men. The inside cover provides a wandering monster chart for all three levels of the Darklands, including what page of what book their stats can be found on, and an index providing a comprehensive list of the denizens with similarly helpful references. All in all, it is a great starting point for those delves deep beneath the surface. What did I notice missing? Well, while Neolithids may rule a civilization, there are no Illythids...no dread mindflayers plotting to extinguish the sun. And ghouls are not just mindless undead, but capable of art, culture, and gaining levels. And another great Lovecraftian monster is back, the Serpent Men. And the Drow don't worship a single goddess, but a collection of demons. In fact, they forbid the worship of gods; demons are more controllable. That's typical for Drow arrogance. What is the net effect of these changes? Well, for one thing, you don't have Greyhawk Mark II or The Forgotten Realms Remembered. It is a new world, with a different set of problems. And that can spark DMs to exploring new possibilities.
How well did they succeed in these tasks? Well, the supplement is only 64 pages, so it is far less detailed than say, Wizard's of the Coasts "Guide to the Underdark." But for what it is, it is very well done, and with further supplements, and Pathfinder Adventures, a complete, detailed picture is built. This is the frame that picture will hang from. This is a must have for any Dungeon Master.
An American Game, an American Company; printed in China....*sigh*....
In fond Memory of Gary Gygax, Father of Dungeons and Dragons.
27 July, 1938 -4 March, 2008
"You enriched my life."
The Pathfinder Series, or Dungeons and Dragons Edition 3.75
Core Rule Book
Advanced Player's Guide
Game Mastery Guide
The Inner Sea World Guide
Guide to the River Kingdoms: A Pathfinder Companion
Dungeons of Golarion
Classic Horrors Revisited
Inner Sea Magic: A Pathfinder Companion
Lords of Chaos: The Book of the Damned, Volume II
Humans of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Undead Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion
Orcs of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
City of Strangers: A Pathfinder Companion
Sargava The Lost Colony: A Pathfinder Companion
Heart of the Jungle: A Pathfinder Companion
Gnomes of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Rule of Fear: Ustalav. A Pathfinder Companion
Cheliax: Empire of Devils: A Pathfinder Companion
Guide to Darkmoon Vale A Pathfinder Companion.
Dragons Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion.
Faction Guide: A Pathfinder Companion
NPC Guide: A Pathfinder Companion
Dungeon Denizens Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion
A Guide To Korvosa: A Pathfinder Companion
Into the Darklands: A Pathfinder Companion
Cities of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Faiths of Purity: A Pathfinder Companion
Rise of the Runelords
The Skinsaw Murders
The Hook Mountain Massacre
The Fortress of the Stone Giants
Shadow in the Sky
Children of the Void
The Armageddon Echo
A Memory of Darkness
Descent Into Midnight
Please look at these Piazo Modules:
The Demon Within
Hungry are the Dead
River of Darkness
Seven Swords of Sin
Gallery of Evil
From Shore to Sea
The Witchwar Legacy
Realm of the Fellnight Queen
Carnival of Tears
The Pact Stone Pyramid
Entombed with the Pharaohs
Treasure of Chimera Cove
Tower of the Last Baron
The Crucible of Chaos
Check out each installment of these Introductory Modules from Wizards of the Coast for Third Edition.
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone.
The Heart of Nightfang Spire
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Keep on the Shadowfell
Dungeon Masters Guide
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