Wizards of the Coast D&D
The Underdark is a subterranean wonderland, a vast and twisted labyrinth where fear reigns. It is the home of horrific monsters that have never seen the light of day. It is here that the dark elf Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzoberranzan, casts a foul spell meant to ignite a magical energy that suffuses the Underdark and tears open portals to the demonic Abyss. What steps through surprises even him, and from that moment on, the insanity that pervades the Underdark escalates and threatens to shake the Forgotten Realms to its foundations.
This map by Jason Thompson walks through the events and locations that appear in Out of the Abyss. If you’re currently playing the adventure, be aware it may contain spoilers!
About the Author
Jason Thompson (@mockman) is a comic artist and illustrator. His works include H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Manga: The Complete Guide, King of RPGs (with Victor Hao), The Map of Zombies, and the webcomicThe Stiff at www.mockman.com.
Publication date: 11/26/2015Introduction: Jason Thompson illustrates the misfortunates of a group of adventurers as they navigate the Underdark and play through the story featured in Out of the Abyss.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Her first starring role occurred back in the 1980s. However, the Demon Queen of Fungi’s more recent claim to infamy is as a recurring foe for adventurers in Out of the Abyss.
THE PATH TO THE TEMPLE
Of all the demon lords, Zuggtmoy’s real-world origin might be the most convoluted. It starts with The Temple of Elemental Evil—a megadungeon that Gary Gygax began playtesting in the late 1970s. He had intended it to be a lair for two of his mightiest villains: the spider queen Lolth and the Elder Elemental God. But then David Sutherland used Lolth as the major villain in the adventure Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980), forcing Gygax to rethink his ideas about the temple.
Fortunately, Gygax knew that Sutherland was using Lolth early on, and so he was able to introduce a new villain into his playtests: the fungus queen Zuggtmoy. She was even foreshadowed when the first part of the Temple was published as The Village of Hommlet in 1979. That adventure featured a scarab with the inscription “TZGY”—inspired by Zuggtmoy/Tsuggtmoy (two variant spellings of the demon lord’s name).
The publication of the rest of the Temple of Elemental Evil was rather famously delayed for half a decade. In the meantime, Zuggtmoy was referenced here and there, creating foreshadowing for her eventual appearance. Both editions of The World of Greyhawk campaign setting (in 1980 and 1983) told of ancient battles at the temple and how Zuggtmoy had been imprisoned there. Then Monster Manual II (1983) noted her as one of the rulers of the Abyss.
With the publication of The Temple of Elemental Evil in 1985, these hints were finally fulfilled. Players could now explore the entirety of the massive dungeon, including the sections that acted as Zuggtmoy’s prison. And if they were very unlucky, they might accidentally release her—as Rob Kuntz’s Robilar had done in Gygax’s playtests, following his solo looting of the entire dungeon complex!
Zuggtmoy was just the second demon lord to appear in a D&D adventure, following Lolth’s debut in Queen of the Demonweb Pits. She was a major foe in her first edition AD&D form, with 49 Hit Dice, plenty of spell-like abilities, and even psionics. She ruled over fungus and had two equally disagreeable forms: an old crone and a bulbous puffball mushroom. She was also acknowledged as the ruler of the 222nd layer of the Abyss.
With such a notable history, it would have been easy to expect Zuggtmoy to continue as a powerful presence in the game after the end of the Temple of Elemental Evil adventure. But instead, she largely disappeared for a decade and a half.
Zuggtmoy’s largest role in the years that followed was in Gary Gygax’s Gord the Rogue novels (1985 to 1988). This started with Sea of Death (1987), in which she was one of many demon lords seeking the “theorpart”—a fragment of a legendary evil artifact.
Over at TSR, Zuggtmoy got almost no attention at all. Like most of the demon lords, she was cast out of the game with the publication of second edition AD&D in 1989. In the decade that followed, her name started to reappear, but the references were still minor. The Greyhawk sourcebook Iuz the Evil (1993) briefly detailed the alliance between Iuz and Zuggtmoy that led to the rise of Elemental Evil. References during the same period in the Planescape line were little more than name-dropping. Worse, Planescape’s Planes of Chaos (1994) gave away Zuggtmoy’s home! The ooze-like demon lord Juiblex also got to set up camp on the 222nd layer of the Abyss, mixing fungus and jellies into a foul morass.
Zuggtmoy got a bit more attention in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (2001), one of the earliest adventures for third edition D&D. That adventure answered the question, “What was a fungus demon doing in an elemental temple anyway?” The answer was that Zuggtmoy had been acting as a cat’s-paw for Tharizdun, the insane Chained God. Dragon 285 (July 2001) tied to the adventure by providing more background on the Temple of Elemental Evil and its cult, but Zuggtmoy was a minor part of this, fading away before the new secrets of the cult. Nonetheless, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil marked a new era for a classic villain, and would help to return Zuggtmoy to the heart of D&D lore in the twenty-first century.
Luck Be a Demon Lady
During the next decade or so, Zuggtmoy got some serious attention that began with a computer game. Troika Games’ 2003 release of The Temple of Elemental Evil revisited the classic dungeon and thus gave Zuggtmoy a new spotlight. The game also reimagined Zuggtmoy as a beautiful fungoid woman—a depiction that was kept for her next major appearance in Dragon 337 (November 2005). That issue featured a “Demonomicon of Iggwilv” article on Zuggtmoy, which provided the best details ever on the demon lady of fungi. It pieced together her history, described her cult, and even detailed the abyssal layer known as the Slime Pits that she and Juiblex now shared. This background was then carried over to Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006).
Zuggtmoy made her fourth edition D&D debut in Demonomicon (2010). In the World Axis cosmology, it was her role as Lady of Decay and Queen of Rot that rose to prominence. However, her most notable fourth edition appearance might have been in Dragon 425 (July 2013), which provided more details than ever on the cult of Elemental Evil—solidifying all the backstory from Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil a decade earlier.
Making her fifth edition D&D appearance in the Rage of Demons storyline season alongside her fellow demon lords, Zuggtmoy appears in Out of the Abyss in a new form as the Demon Queen of Fungi. More at home in the Underdark than most other demon lords, she hatches bold plots that threaten all Faerûn—and which only stouthearted heroes can stop.
About the Author
Shannon Appelcline has been roleplaying since his dad taught him Basic D&D in the early ’80s. He’s the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons, a four-volume history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time.Publication date: 11/23/2015Introduction: Unlike many of her fellow demon lords, Zuggtmoy has been a major D&D villain for decades.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Sword Coast Legends has been out for a month, and we’re looking for your feedback on what you like and what you want to see next. Or, if you’re not playing Sword Coast Legends, take the survey to let us know why. Thanks!
Ranger Survey Results
In our last survey, we asked a number of questions about the ranger class overall and an example of a new ranger class built from scratch, featuring levels one through five. The class was an attempt to get to the root of the dissatisfaction we’ve seen with the ranger, and determine what changes (if any) we should make to the class in the future.
There are two, interesting elements that emerge from the survey. To start with, the 2nd and 3rd edition versions of the ranger were the most well received versions of the class. Those two versions mixed an animal companion with wilderness skills, spellcasting, and a unique fighting style focused on wielding two weapons. 3rd edition added an archery option. They seem to match closest with the ratings given to the design direction outlined in the ranger article. The concept of the wilderness champion and defender along the lines of a paladin isn’t very popular, but people do like a ranger who can survive in the wilderness through a combination of skill and magical abilities.
Given that background, it’s no surprise that a ranger class that de-emphasizes magic and lacks a full-time, in-the-flesh animal companion received fairly poor ratings.
For the next step, we’ll take a pass on designing a ranger that focuses more heavily on the animal companion and makes it a default part of the class. That approach allows much more of the ranger’s core “power budget” to go toward the companion. You can think of that budget as the total effectiveness the class brings to bear, spread out across its class features. The initial 5e design pushed the animal companion into the ranger archetype choice, requiring it to sit atop all of the core class features. By folding that choice into the core class, we have a lot more power to play with.Publication date: 11/19/2015Introduction: D&D adventures have been a part of the game since its inception, but adventures have changed a lot over the years. Looking at the evolution of adventures can provide valuable insight into creating great adventures of your own.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Publication date: 11/18/2015Introduction: Give us your best Underdark NPC, driven mad by the power of one of the Demon lords! We'll take our favorites, have one of our artists whip up images based on your descriptions, and feature them in a future issue of Dragon+. Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
This map features in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, which describes the locations on the map in greater detail.
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Rob talks about what it’s like to work with R.A. Salvatore, his ongoing love affair with the Great Weapon Fighter, and bringing demonic madness into the world of the Forgotten Realms in Neverwinter. Watch your hotbars, folks, Demogorgon is in town.Publication date: 11/17/2015Introduction: Hosts Trevor Kidd and Greg Tito get on the horn with Rob Overmeyer, Executive Producer of Neverwinter at Cryptic Studios, to dish about what’s happening in the Underdark.Tags: Podcastexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_11_17_2015.mp3External url description: Podcast: Neverwinter: Demogorgon is in the House Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
If you have questions for a future installment of Sage Advice, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach me on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford), where I answer questions between installments of this column.Racial Traits
Do the lightfoot halfling and wood elf hiding racial traits allow them to hide while observed? The lightfoot halfling and wood elf traits—Naturally Stealthy and Mask of the Wild—do allow members of those subraces to try to hide in their special circumstances even when observers are nearby. Normally, you can’t hide from someone if you’re in full view. A lightfoot halfling, though, can try to vanish behind a creature that is at least one size larger, and a wood elf can try to hide simply by being in heavy rain, mist, falling snow, foliage, or similar natural phenomena. It’s as if nature itself cloaks a wood elf from prying eyes—even eyes staring right at the elf! Both subraces are capable of hiding in situations unavailable to most other creatures, but neither subrace’s hiding attempt is assured of success; a Dexterity (Stealth) check is required as normal, and an observant foe might later spot a hidden halfling or elf: “I see you behind that guard, you tricksy halfling!”Class Features
Do warlock spells granted by the Expanded Spell List feature count against the number of spells known? The spells granted by that feature aren’t automatically known by a warlock. Those spells are added to the warlock spell list for the character, who can choose them when learning a new warlock spell of the appropriate level. Once learned, such a spell does count against the number of spells the warlock knows.
Does Quickened Spell allow a sorcerer to cast two spells a round of 1st level or higher? No, the sorcerer must follow the normal rule for casting a bonus action spell and a second spell; the second spell must be a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.
When you use Extra Attack, do you have to use the same weapon for all the attacks? Extra Attack imposes no limitation on what you use for the attacks. You can use regular weapons, improvised weapons, unarmed strikes, or a combination of these options for the attacks.Backgrounds
Can you have more than one background? You can have only one background. It represents key aspects of your life before you embarked on a life of adventure. If none of the backgrounds available matches your character concept, talk with your DM and use the guidelines on page 125 of the Player’s Handbook to customize your own background.Equipment
If you attack with a shield—most likely as an improvised weapon—do you keep the +2 bonus to AC? Attacking with a shield doesn’t deprive you of the bonus to AC.Multiclassing
Can a rogue/monk use Sneak Attack with unarmed strikes? The Sneak Attack feature works with a weapon that has the finesse or ranged property. An unarmed strike isn’t a weapon, so it doesn’t qualify. In contrast, a rogue/monk can use Sneak Attack with a monk weapon, such as a shortsword or a dagger, that has one of the required properties.Feats
Does the Savage Attacker feat work with unarmed strikes? Yes, it does. Savage Attacker benefits melee weapon attacks, and an unarmed strike is a melee weapon attack.Combat
Does surprise happen outside the initiative order as a special surprise round? No, here’s how surprise works.
The first step of any combat is this: the DM determines whether anyone in the combat is surprised (reread “Combat Step by Step” on page 189 of the Player’s Handbook). This determination happens only once during a fight and only at the beginning. In other words, once a fight starts, you can’t be surprised again, although a hidden foe can still gain the normal benefits from being unseen (see “Unseen Attackers and Targets” on page 194 of the Player’s Handbook).
To be surprised, you must be caught off guard, usually because you failed to notice foes being stealthy or you were startled by an enemy with a special ability, such as the gelatinous cube’s Transparent trait, that makes it exceptionally surprising. You can be surprised even if your companions aren’t, and you aren’t surprised if even one of your foes fails to catch you unawares.
If anyone is surprised, no actions are taken yet. First, initiative is rolled as normal. Then, the first round of combat starts, and the unsurprised combatants act in initiative order. A surprised creature can’t move or take an action or a reaction until its first first turn ends (remember that being unable to take an action also means you can’t take a bonus action). In effect, a surprised creature skips its first turn in a fight. Once that turn ends, the creature is no longer surprised.
In short, activity in a combat is always ordered by initiative, whether or not someone is surprised, and after the first found of combat has passed, surprise is no longer a factor. You can still try to hide from your foes and gain the benefits conferred by being hidden, but you don’t deprive your foes of their turns when you do so.
Is the intent that only melee weapon attacks can knock foes unconscious, or can melee spell attacks as well? If you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, you can knock the creature out (PH, 198). That melee attack isn’t restricted to weapons. Even a melee spell attack can be used to knock a creature out.
If you have a feature like Cunning Action or Step of the Wind, can you take the Dash action more than once on your turn? If a bonus action lets you take the Dash action, nothing in the rules prevents you from taking the Dash action with your regular action too. The same principle holds when you use a feature like Action Surge; you could use both of your actions to take the Dash action.Spellcasting
Does planar binding summon the creature to be bound, or is that done separately? Planar binding doesn’t summon a creature. It attempts to bind a creature that is within the spell’s range.
For the spell hail of thorns, does it last for the initial attack or as long as you maintain concentration? Hail of thorns lasts until you hit a creature with a ranged weapon attack or your concentration ends, whichever comes first.Sage Advice Compendium
This month’s questions and answers are now part of the Sage Advice Compendium (version 1.04).Other Resources
Here are other D&D reference documents we have posted on this website.
Player’s Handbook Errata (version 1.1)
D&D Spell List (version 1.01)
Monsters by Challenge Rating (version 1.0)
D&D Monsters by Type (version 1.0)
Magic Items by Rarity (version 1.0)
Conversions to 5th Edition D&D (version 1.0)
Visit the Character Sheets webpage for blank characters sheets, as well as pregenerated characters.About the Author
Jeremy Crawford is the co-lead designer of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. He was the lead designer of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook and one of the leads on the Dungeon Master’s Guide. He has worked on many other D&D books since coming to Wizards of the Coast in 2007. You can reach him on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford).
Publication date: 11/16/2015Introduction: Sage Advice is a monthly column that gives official clarifications of D&D rules. It also sometimes provides reference documents to help your D&D game run smoothly. What’s the first rule of Sage Advice? The Dungeon Master—not this column or the rulebooks—is the game’s adjudicator.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Gather your party from wherever they are in the world and venture forth on an epic D&D adventure!
Fans have great memories of meeting around the kitchen table for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. In D&D in AltspaceVR, you can have that same feeling by getting together with your friends around a 3D tabletop in virtual reality and starting a campaign.
AltspaceVR* allows multiple adventurers and spectators to meet together and interact with and around the game by moving, talking, gesturing, and seeing each other’s reactions as if in the same room.
How do I get started in D&D in VR?
Jump into the Tavern, an AltspaceVR fantasy gathering place, and check out D&D now! Sign in with your existing AltspaceVR account or sign up for a new account. Go to the D&D page, click "start a campaign" and follow the instructions.
You can check posted events for a hosted D&D session you can join. Or try Looking for a Party to find fellow adventurers, or start your own campaign.
I am new to VR, what do I need to know?
D&D is best experienced in full VR, which requires a head mounted display such as Oculus Rift DK2 or HTC Vive. More information about AltspaceVR supported gear and set up can be found on the Learn tab at the top of the altvr.com web site. There is also Support, if needed.
What if I do not have any VR gear?
While not as immersive as full VR, you can experience AltspaceVR and play D&D using your existing computer monitor. AltspaceVR works with most recent Windows and Mac OS X computers.
Find out more about D&D in AltspaceVR.
*AltspaceVR is a social virtual reality company and licensee of D&D. They have created a virtual reality experience with character sheets, figurines, and terrain tiles for fans to build their maps and craft their adventures. Terrain tiles include sets from dungeon, wilderness and city themes. Figurines include well-known monsters such as gelatinous cubes and dragons, as well as heroes of various classes. There is even a set of virtual polyhedral dice so your natural 20’s can be enjoyed by everyone.Publication date: 11/16/2015Introduction: Fans have great memories of meeting around the kitchen table for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. In D&D in AltspaceVR, you can have that same feeling by getting together with your friends around a 3D tabletop in virtual reality and starting a campaign. Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Jared is currently working on the The Late Late Show with James Corden but he’s been a Dungeon Master for far, far longer. He says he likes playing D&D straight in order to get more laughs with his friends, and we talk about how his career in comedy has dovetailed with his love of rolling dice around the table – even if that table is in a very crowded and cluttered one room apartment in New York City.Podcast link: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_11_12_2015.mp3Suscribe link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dungeons-dragons-podcast/id189053885Banner video:
Jared is currently working on the The Late Late Show with James Corden but he’s been a Dungeon Master for far, far longer. He says he likes playing D&D straight in order to get more laughs with his friends, and we talk about how his career in comedy has dovetailed with his love of rolling dice around the table – even if that table is in a very crowded and cluttered one room apartment in New York City.Publication date: 11/12/2015Introduction: Our intrepid hosts Greg Tito and Trevor Kidd pick the brain of stand-up comedian and TV writer, Jared Logan. Tags: Podcastexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_11_12_2015.mp3External url description: Podcast: Late Late Show Writer Jared Logan on Dungeon Mastering Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Find out more about Sword Coast Legends, available on PC, Mac, and Linux. Coming soon to console.Content loading...
Publication date: 11/11/2015Introduction: Sword Coast Legends features an array of adventurers of different races and classes. Find out which character from the video game best matches you! Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
The original score for Sword Coast Legends is composed and produced by Hollywood Music Award-winning and two-time BAFTA nominated composer, Inon Zur. Known for powerful and melodic orchestrations, Zur's critically acclaimed scores have been heard in some of the most popular and well-regarded video games of all time, including Dragon Age: Origins, EverQuest, Fallout 3, Fallout 4, Prince of Persia, and many others.
Players are invited to listen to the end credits song "The Path of Destiny," now on the official Sword Coast Legends YouTube channel. Nominated for Best Song in a Video Game by Hollywood Music in Media Awards, "The Path of Destiny" was written by Inon Zur, Ian Nickus, and co-written and performed by Mimi Page.
"In music, it's all about feeling, describing something you cannot really describe in words," says Inon Zur. "You try to be open to a world that has no explanation, just feeling, just emotion. Sword Coast Legends has a lot of that emotion. The story, the visuals, the whole set-up was very inspirational for me because I came from this world. My first few games were mainly RPGs, and composing the soundtrack for Sword Coast Legends felt like a natural return to form."
Now available for purchase on Steam and other digital distribution platforms, Sword Coast Legends returns players to the lush and vibrant world of the Forgotten Realms with a deep story campaign. Developed by long-time industry veterans in partnership with the Dungeons & Dragons team at Wizards of the Coast, Sword Coast Legends brings the world of Faerûn to life like never before.
Sword Coast Legends also offers players an all-new way to enjoy the time-tested magic of playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends, bringing the roleplaying dynamic between adventurers and a Dungeon Master (DM) to life as a shared storytelling experience. With a first-of-its-kind real-time DM mode, Sword Coast Legends delivers a unique experience in which a Dungeon Master guides players through customizable adventures. Rather than focusing on the adversarial play typical of 4v1 games, the DM mode encourages DMs to engage and empower their players to have more fun in a way that best suits the group's desired experience.
Currently available for purchase from the official website and Steam, Sword Coast Legends is offered at $39.99. n-Space recently announced that the Sword Coast Legends Rage of Demons DLC, as well as a wide list of community updates designed to improve the experience for adventurers and Dungeon Masters, will be available to all players free of charge. Sword Coast Legends is also scheduled to release on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One in Q1 2016.
To learn more about Sword Coast Legends, please visit the official website at: www.SwordCoast.com. To keep up with the latest updates from the Sword Coast Legends team, follow @SwordCoast and like the official Facebook page. For more in-depth details on Sword Coast Legends, including guides and links to community created content, please visit the official Sword Coast Legends wiki on Gamepedia.
Since its inception 20 years ago, n-Space has been retained to work with some of the largest publishers and biggest licenses in a high-quality work for hire capacity. The Orlando-based studio is now poised to deliver a new level of innovative, top quality games without a traditional publishing partner. With strategic additions of top industry talent combined with its proven team of dedicated professionals, n-Space has experience spanning nearly every genre and on every gaming platform. A scrappy, creative, and tight-knit team, they are driven by their passion for creating memorable game experiences. Sword Coast Legends is the studio's first wholly-owned game and marks n-Space's new independent development direction. www.n-space.com.
It was high time that Juiblex got his due in a D&D adventure, since the loathsome Faceless Lord has long been one of the most evocative demon lords.
Juiblex made his debut in AD&D’s Monster Manual in 1977. There, he was described as “the Faceless Lord” and “the most disgusting and loathsome of all demons”—which is really saying something. Not only was Juiblex a “vast pool of slime”, he also had oozy servitors including black puddings, gray oozes, green slimes, and ochre jellies.
The oozes are one of the most iconic families of D&D monsters, highlighting the deadly environment of the dungeon crawls of the early game. Five of them appeared in original D&D in 1974: the black pudding, the gelatinous cube, the gray ooze, the green slime, and the ochre jelly. New oozes began to proliferate as early as issue 5 of The Strategic Review (the precursor to Dragon magazine) in 1975, which featured the slithering tracker. However, it was Monster Manual II (1983) that first began to organize the oozes. That book did so by imagining foul variations such as the crystal ooze, the deadly puddings (brown, dun, and white), the mustard jelly, the olive slime, and the slime creature. Many more oozes appeared in later years, with Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) first grouping these creatures as “oozes/slimes/jellies.” In 2000, third edition D&D used “ooze” as a creature type, while the fourth edition game made it into a keyword.
Juiblex’s connection to oozes made for an easy link between the Faceless Lord and dungeon adventuring in the first edition AD&D days. He took center stage in the late 1980s, starting with Manual of the Planes (1987), which revealed that he had his own layer of the Abyss made “of living fungus and rot.”
In 1988, the Faceless Lord made minor appearances in two different AD&D modules. Castle Greyhawk (1988) was the less notable of the two because of its farcical nature. There, Juiblex was a hoarder and an unwelcome relative, but his home base was numbered for the first time as the 528th layer of the Abyss. The Realm of Juiblex then made an actual appearance in The Throne of Bloodstone adventure (1988), which featured a magical mystery tour through the homes of many demon lords. Maps and random encounter tables gave the best insight ever into Juiblex’s realm.
THE JELLY CENTER
During the days of second edition AD&D, Juiblex continued to be an iconic presence in the lore of the game, even as he cut back on appearances. Though he was never statted up as a second edition monster, the Monster Mythology supplement (1992) did something more when it revealed Juiblex as a “lost god.” The Faceless Lord received new servitors—the slimy and equally faceless aboleths, introduced back in Monster Manual II—and also a new master, the Elder Elemental God.
Though Juiblex was also mentioned in the Planescape line, he got surprisingly little attention given his importance in the first edition AD&D days. Only one book is of particular note: Planes of Chaos (1994), which claimed that his home was the Slime Pits on the 222nd layer of the Abyss. This was also the layer assigned to Zuggtmoy in The Temple of Elemental Evil (1985)—creating a foundation for animosity between the two demon lords that would come to a head in more recent years.
Juiblex finally gained a starring role in the game with the advent of third edition D&D. Book of Vile Darkness (2002) was the first supplement since the original Monster Manual to give the Faceless Lord a full monster write-up. The Challenge Rating 20 deity was dismissed as one of the “weakest demon lords,” but as a foul monstrosity made of oozes, slimes, and jellies, he remained a terrifying figure. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006) dropped the demon lord to CR 19, even as it acknowledged his ongoing war with Zuggtmoy.
It was in the D&D magazines that Juiblex received the most attention during the third edition era. Dungeon 132 (March 2006) presented “Caverns of the Ooze Lord,” an adventure set in slimy caverns containing a shrine to Juiblex. Though the Faceless Lord didn’t make an appearance in the adventure, it featured plenty of slimes and oozes—many of them new to third edition.
Juiblex would return to Dungeon in the fourth edition era, featured as an entry in “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv” series of articles in issue 188 (March 2011). That article was the most complete description of the demon lord to date, and included both his history and information on his contested abyssal layer of Shedaklah.
Juiblex is mentioned in a few other fourth edition supplements. The most notable of these is Demonomicon (2010), which upgraded the demon lord to become controller of two layers of the Abyss: his original 528th layer and the contested 222nd layer. Whether this history will become part of the new lore of the Faceless Lord in the fifth edition era remains to be seen.
Out of the Abyss marks Juiblex’s appearance in the Rage of Demons storyline season (and subtly turns the Faceless Lord from “him” to “it,” as befits its unearthly nature). That adventure echoes the past by giving Juiblex a host of oozy minions—including the memorable “Pudding King” and the servants of an “Oozing Temple” that threaten to overwhelm the adventurers. Some D&D tropes never change!
About the Author
Shannon Appelcline has been roleplaying since his dad taught him Basic D&D in the early ’80s. He’s the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons, a four-volume history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time.Publication date: 11/09/2015Introduction: The destructive conquest sought by Juiblex, the Lord of Slime, weaves its way through the Rage of Demons storyline and Out of the Abyss. Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
The new expansion, “Underdark,” will launch on Tuesday, November 17. Head over to Cryptic’s Underdark Developer Hub to find blogs and get the latest information on the upcoming expansion. Neverwinter: Underdark is inspired by the work of New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore. Check out the video below to learn more about Salvatore’s involvement in the new content.Publication date: 11/05/2015Introduction: Cryptic Studios and Perfect World, in partnership with the Dungeons & Dragons team, are bringing the Rage of Demons story to Neverwinter!Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
After graduating from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology in 1998 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and screenwriting, Jay Turner did what most people looking to break into the games industry did: he upped sticks and moved to California. First landing a gig at Gamepro.com and GamePro magazine, he eventually joined BioWare as an editor in 2004. Building up an impressive CV, he worked on Jade Empire, Dragon Age, a very early version of the Mass Effect script (“It all got tossed out”), and Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, before heading back to Dragon Age.
“ Dragon Age is the closest I’ve come to working on D&D before Sword Coast Legends,” he says. “It was definitely inspired by BioWare’s wish to bring back that Baldur’s Gate feeling. They wanted to make a Game of Thrones/D&D-type title using their own IP, so they could really go wild with it.”
Joining the team working on Mass Effect 2 took Turner to Montreal, where he helped start BioWare’s new studio in that city, before a job as principal writer at Visceral ( Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, Dead Space 3) lured him away
“I then got a call from Dan Tudge at n-Space asking if I wanted to be involved in an awesome D&D game with a Dungeon Master, and would I help write the story? I went pretty crazy over that thought and took the job as principal writer and narrative director.”
What are the first steps in writing the story for a game like Sword Coast Legends?
In this case we had a series of brainstorming sessions with all the key stakeholders in that story: so the executive producer, lead designer, lead engineer, and so forth. It really was a group process. We all put our heads together and thought about what makes a great game story and what aspects we would like to see in it. Our executive producer had some things he wanted to make sure we touched on or areas of the Forgotten Realms that we should send the players to, while the art director had some ideas for environments. Then I went back into my writing cave and made a story with a path that made sense of all of that, with some cool characters and events that would unfold and keep the player interested.
The idea isn’t necessarily to tell the player our story, it’s to give the player something interesting to drive them through the world and through the game. We have to balance the depth and breadth of the story with making sure that the gameplay is going to be fun and that we’re not leading the player by the nose.
Did the story change much during that process?
It’s the old saying that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. I wrote down an outline that was originally very different from what we wound up with. But it started there. We had some review meetings and talked about the characters and started doing some early concept art. In this case we created a whole story outline and a pitch video that we were showing to publishers.
We put it in front of Wizards of the Coast to find out what they were doing with the property. At the time nobody knew what Forgotten Realms in fifth edition was going to look like, except Wizards, and they were still putting it all together. It turned out that the game’s details didn’t fit with where Wizards were taking fifth edition. So we took the themes and the details of that story that we liked and rewrote it to fit their vision. I think it’s a stronger story for it.
What was the collaboration between n-Space and Wizards of the Coast like?
We had to be in close contact with them at all times to make sure that we were all on the same page. They provided us with a document that laid out the kinds of stories and characters they’d like to see: make sure that your characters are diverse, make sure that your stories don’t touch on this or that, and make sure trigger situations don’t go too crazy-dark like the Saw movies! Keep it D&D. From an art point of view, they also had some rules on what kind of range of skin tones a gold dwarf would have versus a shield dwarf, and stuff like that.
We had to meet their guidelines but at the end of the day they gave us a lot of free reign to make the story we wanted to tell. And we did get the lowdown on what’s happening in Luskan at that point in time and what the major players in the Forgotten Realms are up to, so that we didn’t do something that Drizzt is supposed to do in his novel, or claim that Luskan is a fluffy town full of unicorns and rainbows when it’s actually a pirate town after the Sundering. So there was a lot of back and forth. We even created a faction called the Gilded Eye and Wizards liked it so much they said they plan to make it canon. So it was a two-way street.
Was it good to see Wizards of the Coast embrace what you had created?
Even more exciting, Wizards was at the PAX event and its Rage of Demons booth had all the canon demon lords who have been there since the original days when Ed Greenwood created the Forgotten Realms. So there was Jubilex and Demogorgon and all those well-known demon princes. Right among all these major A-list celebrities was Belaphoss, the character we created for our game, looking like he’d grown up. It was really nice because we’ve had our heads down making the game and we didn’t know what’s getting out there and what wasn’t. Seeing what we created for our little game showing up in official D&D products is huge for us. We’re just a bunch of old D&D geeks.
How important was it to even have a standalone story, as a big part of Sword Coast Legends will be the ability for Dungeon Masters to create their own stories?
We’ve always had two main visions for the game. The first core vision was to bring the feeling of playing D&D at the table to a videogame. So all the bantering, laughing, taunting, and complaining about the DM, we wanted all that to feature in the game and I think that comes across really strongly in the DM mode.
The other vision was to have a good single-player story that made you feel as if your character was part of the world, like people did when they were playing Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale or even Dragon Age: Origins. We wanted to harken back to that nostalgic feeling of playing a story campaign in a classic D&D videogame, but update it with all the modern gameplay conveniences that people have come to expect.
Will downloadable content (DLC) be a big part of the game?
More than just DLC, the vision is to have ongoing support of the product, but story content is definitely a major part of the DLC. In addition, content drops will include new classes, races, and items, and we’ll be updating the DM tools. Not all of that stuff will cost the players anything, and if we’re improving an existing DM feature we might just patch that in. We’re planning to support the game as long as people want to keep playing it.
The Neverwinter MMORPG videogame supports the big D&D campaigns, such as Elemental Evil and Rage of Demons. Will Sword Coast Legends follow the same path?
So far we’ve created our own content that aligns with those stories. Our storyline deals with a big demon named Belaphoss, which you may extrapolate was somewhat inspired by Rage of Demons. We’ll work alongside Wizards and align our product with them where it makes sense. We don’t necessarily have an imperative to match what they’re doing one for one but it’s better for everyone if we can lean on each other.
You’ve created a whole set of characters for the game. What went into that and did those ideas get changed along the way as well?
I’ve worked on past games where the whole roster of companions were invented. The idea is you need a fighter, a mage, a cleric, a ranger, and so on, and they are created independently and then fitted into the story. And as we were writing Sword Coast Legends we knew there were two or three characters that were important enough to that story that it would be good to have them around for the whole game, so they were created specifically to be companions for the player.
With others we realised they were actually very compelling characters so we expanded their roles to make them into companions. It’s almost like you run into an NPC in the tabletop roleplaying game and you like them so much you ask them to join your party. Wizards is actually very excited about our companion characters and getting them involved in things, and our cleric Illydia is going to be on the cover of the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.
Have you included any famous D&D characters?
Working with famous characters in the Forgotten Realms is tricky because there’s so many cooks in the kitchen for those. For example, if we want to use Bruenor Battlehammer we need to know exactly what R.A. Salvatore is planning to do with him at any given moment. So for the core game we are obviously going to be in the same universe as those guys but you may not see famous people taking major roles. We did announce one particular Forgotten Realms celebrity who will be showing up in the Rage of Demons DLC, wielding two scimitars.
As Wizards have seen the fantastic job we’re doing, they’ve started saying they’re willing for us to use more characters. That’s a really great feeling because a lot of times in licensed products you have to fight tooth and nail to get access to those. There are some situations where you meet up with a character who might be mentioned in the Out of the Abyss book and Wizards were like, “If you want to, you can have the players fight them and kill them.” Wizards felt confident letting us have fun in their playground, which was really cool.
Sword Coast Legends launches on October 20, 2015 for PC, Mac, and Linux. It has also been announced for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.Publication date: 11/04/2015Introduction: From an early Mass Effect mauling to hanging with A-list demon lords, Sword Coast Legends’s narrative director Jay Turner shares his journey.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Two new fighting styles for fighters, paladins, and rangers; the Deep Stalker ranger archetype; the shadow sorcerer; and the warlock pact of the Undying Light all offer exciting options for adventuring in the endless gloom of the Underdark.
You can think of the material presented in this series as similar to the first wave of the fifth edition playtest. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not fully tempered by playtests and design iterations. They are highly volatile and might be unstable; if you use them, be ready to rule on any issues that come up. They’re written in pencil, not ink. For these reasons, material in this column is not legal in D&D Organized Play events.
The material presented in Unearthed Arcana will range from mechanics that we expect one day to publish in a supplement to house rules from our home campaigns that we want to share, from core system options to setting-specific material. Once it’s out there, you can expect us to check in with you to see how it’s working out and what we can do to improve it.Publication date: 11/02/2015Introduction: This month’s installment of Unearthed Arcana features a number of new character options ideal for an Underdark campaign.Tags: FeaturesUnearthed Arcanaexternal_urls: External url: https://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/02_UA_Underdark_Characters.pdfExternal url description: UNEARTHED ARCANA: LIGHT, DARK, UNDERDARK! Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Recorded on October 20th, launch day for the game, Ash and Ross get a little silly in this episode talking about how the Sword Coast Legends team made an old fashioned D&D story, how the Dungeon Master Mode aims to digitally recreate the tabletop experience, and what exactly a technical director does in game development. You’ll also hear the crazy story of how Ross went to test a small game in Edmonton, Canada one day and ended up working on some of the most iconic RPGs ever made, from Baldur’s Gate to Dragon Age: Origins and now Sword Coast Legends.Publication date: 10/29/2015Introduction: Hosts Greg Tito and Trevor Kidd speak to two of the awesome folks behind Sword Coast Legends, community manager Ash Seville and Ross Gardner, Technical Director.Tags: Podcastexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_10_29_2015.mp3External url description: Podcast: Sword Coast Legends Launch Day Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
So imagine my delight when I heard that Zuggtmoy would be getting married in Out of the Abyss! And to top it all off, I hear the groom is a real fun guy.
As a geek who loves a good party, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make Zuggtmoy’s wedding into something special. If you plan on incorporating the wedding into your Rage of Demons campaign, try some of these activities to make the party come alive for your players!
When the characters find out about the wedding in the game, hand the players a wedding invitation in real life. This can give them the information they need (location, date, and time) to crash the event, and will set the tone for other interactive wedding elements.
Turn your home into a forest setting meant for a wedding with just a couple of quick decorations. Hang green and brown streamers from the walls to create the feel of moss and plants, and place vases or mason jars full of ferns and greens around the room. String up small white Christmas lights to add a bit of sparkle and flair. (Check out a variety of décor ideas on Pinterest!)
Take a quick break from the campaign to serve a wedding-worthy meal. Start with a fresh salad made of spring greens, mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and your favorite vinaigrette. Serve the salad with a crusty baguette and some truffle-infused butter. Then bring out the main course of portobello “steaks.”
When dinner is done, end the night with cake. (It’s a wedding. Cake is mandatory.)
After dinner, tell your players that there’s a bouquet toss. Put together an arrangement of inexpensive greenery or weeds, and then toss it. But unlike with a traditional toss, the winner isn’t the next person to get married. Instead, that player’s character takes 5 points of damage from Zuggtmoy. Whoops!
At the end of the session, give your players a wedding favor of truffle salt. It’s easy to make, though a bit expensive. Using a microplane grater, just grate a black truffle and mix with salt, using a 10-parts-salt-to-1-part-truffle ratio. Let it sit for a few days, then pack it into small glass containers and give it to your friends!
Looking for something a bit cheaper? You can also make a shiitake mushroom salt. Both varieties are delicious on popcorn, fries, eggs, pasta, potatoes, and meats.
Need more ideas and inspiration? Check out Zuggtmoy’s Wedding Pinterest Board! We’ll be pinning everything a demon lord would need to throw the wedding of the century. See you there!
About the Author
Tara Theoharis is the creator of The Geeky Hostess, a geek party and recipe site and brand. When she's not coming up with weird cupcake flavors and punny foods, she spends her time playing tabletop games, attending cons, and binge-watching TV.Publication date: 10/28/2015Introduction: There is nothing I love more than a wedding. The cake, the dancing, the demon lords, the bridesmaids created out of mushrooms—it’s all so beautiful and magical. Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray and Orion Acaba from Geek & Sundry’s live D&D show Critical Role call in to chat with hosts Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble. After we trade stories of our respective Extra Life extravaganzas, we talk about how the Critical Role group formed around a cast-member’s wish to try tabletop RPGs and how that fateful birthday party spawned the popular Twitch show. Experienced voice actors in video games all, our guests also gave a little insight into the working life behind the mic and the negotiations for safer conditions for vocal talent. Those orcs aren’t going to voice themselves!Publication date: 10/22/2015Introduction: Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray and Orion Acaba from Geek & Sundry’s live D&D show Critical Role call in to chat with hosts Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble. Tags: Podcastexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_10_22_2015.mp3External url description: Podcast: Critical Role on Livestreaming D&D Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray and Orion Acaba from Geek & Sundry’s live D&D show Critical Role call in to chat with hosts Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble. After we trade stories of our respective Extra Life extravaganzas, we talk about how the Critical Role group formed around a cast-member’s wish to try tabletop RPGs and how that fateful birthday party spawned the popular Twitch show. Experienced voice actors in video games all, our guests also gave a little insight into the working life behind the mic and the negotiations for safer conditions for vocal talent. Those orcs aren’t going to voice themselves!Podcast link: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_10_22_2015.mp3Suscribe link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dungeons-dragons-podcast/id189053885Banner video: