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Press Release: WotC announces Rise of the Underdark Campaign!

Rise of the Underdark LogoIt may be the D&D 4E is in its twilight, but at least the WotC Development Team is still churning out some pretty awesome material for 4E before D&D Next comes out.  I have to admit I was pretty excited by the press release I got in the mail yesterday for the upcoming Rise of the Underdark Campaign.

I’ve always been a big fan of Lolth and the Drow in the game, ever since the 1980s and my AD&D days, running the D-series of modules – Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Shrine of the Kuo Toa, and Vault of the Drow – culminating in the assault on Lolth’s plane in Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits!  I’m excited to see how WotC plans to bring the “Drow experience” to the Forgotten Realms, especially with all the cross-over material like Encounters, Lair Assault, and the new Menzoberranzan Campaign Setting!

Here’s the official Press Release from Wizards of the Coast, as well as a link to the Rise of the Underdark Campaign Promotional Video:

April 5, 2012 – RENTON, WAWizards of the Coast today announced that its iconic roleplaying game of fantasy and imagination, Dungeons & Dragons®, is inviting players to explore the notorious drow race and venture into a world immersed in darkness and danger during the Rise of the Underdark™ campaign starting this spring. Fans will get a first look at what is stirring below the surface at PAX East in Boston this weekend (Booth #562).

Mystra, the goddess of arcane magic is dead and Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders is making her bid to seize control.  The drow invasion is about to begin, and adventurers are needed to help stop Lolth from bringing about everlasting darkness to the surface world. With a product line and programs focused on the drow race, D&D® players will get a deep-dive into the events surrounding the Rise of the Underdark and gain access into the minds and lives of the popular race like never before. From a new campaign setting and in-store organized play programs, to novels and other game accessories, this robust suite of offerings will put a fresh spin on players’ campaigns.  D&D fans can also look for new video game content and D&D merchandise to round out their drow experience.

“We are excited to provide players with a drow experience unlike any other with a full suite of products and in-store play offerings,” said Liz Schuh, Head of Publishing & Licensing for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast.  “Players will get an in-depth look at this culture full of trickery and alliances, and get the opportunity to help thwart the evil schemes of the Spider Queen like never before.”

Dungeons & Dragons: Rise of the Underdark offerings include:

  • Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival HandbookOn May 15, players will thrust into darkness with Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook. Adventurers can delve into dungeons, caverns, and other subterranean environments with this indispensable guide. Players will discover new character themes that add depth to their characters’ backstories and equip them with special benefits that will help on their journeys into the Underdark. Dungeon Masters will uncover advice and tips that will shed new light on creating dungeons and exploring the depths of their campaign worlds.

  • D&D Encounters™ – Beginning May 16, players of all levels will be able to gather on Wednesday evenings in local participating game stores around the world to experience the new D&D Encounters: Web of the Spider Queen™ season.  D&D Encounters is the first D&D Organized Play program designed exclusively for weekly play at retail locations worldwide – and this season takes players into the depths of the Underdark to investigate increasing drow activity and what it means for the world above.

  • D&D® Lair Assault Experienced Dungeons & Dragons players worldwide have already been gathering at their local participating game stores as part of the highly tactical D&D Organized Play program called D&D Lair Assault.  The next challenge, Spider Killer™, will kick off on June 1, challenging players to battle against the Rise of the Underdark.

  • Skirmish-Style Game – A new head-to-head miniatures skirmish-style game, Dungeon Command™ will have players assembling warbands and choosing their battlefields as they go head to head in all out war. Releasing July 17, the Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth™ faction pack will include such heroic miniatures as assassin, arachnomancer, sorcerer, spiders and spiderguards. Other Dungeon Command faction packs will become available throughout the year.
  • Charon’s Claw – In this third book of the Neverwinter™ Saga, New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore takes readers back to the city of Gauntlgrym. As the world-famous dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden and his companions return to the ancient dwarven stronghold, they find a small colony of drow. Members of House Xorlarrin and exiles from Menzoberranzan, these drow are trying to establish an independent city free from the rule of House Baenre and its priestesses. Charon’s Claw releases August 7.
  • Campaign Setting & Fortune Cards On August 21, anew campaign setting will provide an in-depth exploration of the greatest drow city in the Dungeons & Dragons® game. Containing all of the information a Dungeon Master needs to run adventures or an entire campaign based in this treacherous city, including descriptions of city locations, drow houses, key organizations, and the precarious political landscape, the Menzoberranzan Campaign Setting also gives players information they need to create characters who are members of drow houses or organizations within Menzoberranzan.  Drow Treachery™ Fortune Cards will provide additional elements of unpredictability that already runs rampant within drow culture to enhance attacks and defenses, or provide other benefits to characters.
  • Novels– 2012 also holds the release of a number of mind-capturing novels from some of D&D’s most beloved and imaginative authors, including:
    • War of the Spider Queen, Volume I (April 3), Richard Lee Byers, Thomas M. Reid, Richard Baker
    • War of the Spider Queen, Volume II (May 1), Lisa Smedman, Philip Athans, Paul S. Kemp
    • And the following ebooks:
    • Spinner of Lies: Sword of the Gods (June 5), Bruce Cordell
    • Prince of Ravens (July 3),  Richard Baker
    • Skein of Shadows (July 3), Marsheila Rockwell
    • Spider and Stone (December), Jaleigh Johnson
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online, Menace of the Underdark™ expansion – This June, the shadow of Lolth has fallen over the Forgotten Realms kingdom of Cormyr, where heroes struggle to stem the unrelenting tide of Drow forces. As the extent of Lolth’s schemes spread to entangle Eberron, the champions of that world must join those of Faerûn to battle this dark threat—and ultimately, the Queen of Spiders herself.

Dungeons & Dragons is the iconic roleplaying game of fantasy and imagination that is part storytelling, part social interaction and part chance.  Visit for more information on the campaign and follow D&D on Facebook and Twitter. You can also look for drow-themed accessories such as cell phone cases, t-shirts and bags!

About The Author

Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.


3 Responses to “Press Release: WotC announces Rise of the Underdark Campaign!”

  1. callin says:

    Underwhelming. I was hoping for some actual 4E material.
    I do not participate in the brick and mortar game play, so the Lair Assault and Encounters are lost on me. And they wouldn’t help me run a 4E Drow campaign.
    I do not play the online game so the MMO version is lost on me. And it wouldn’t help me run a 4E Drow campaign.
    I do not read the books so they are lost on me. And they wouldn’t help me run a 4E Drow campaign.

    The Dungeon Survival book is not geared for any Drow campaign specifically, though it could likely be useful in such an endeavor; and will probably be a good solid product irregardless of any Drow connection.

    That leaves the “campaign” book, Menzoberranzan, which is not really a Drow invasion campaign though it is still capable of running a Drow campaign. While I am looking forward to this book in particular, the entire “Drow Event” is lost on me and overhyped in my opinion, at least as a 4E event.

  2. Hunterian7 says:

    I’m pretty happy to see this release from Wizards. At first I thought Web of the Spider Queen was an actual module release and the Caverns of the Underdark 3-D Adventure Set was a new miniatures game- I was not surprised when the module turned out to be an Encounters release and the 3-D set was by Gale Force 9.

    That being the case- it is still a good, positive plan by WotC. What would be neat is if the three Drow themed Encounter series are continuous and level graded. The first one levels 1-3, the Council of Spiders levels 4-6 and War of Everlasting Darkness levels 7-9. Who knows…

    I’m not interested in Menzoberranzan since its fluff and edition neutral. But, I will not say it isn’t a good release. It’s for others, just not for me. The Dungeon Survival Handbook looks to be a great release (and, perhaps, the last 4th crunch release- ugh). The miniatures game being dice less pretty much rules out solo play- a big strike against it in my book…but it’s good to see minis released (even though they will can it in five months for not meeting Hasbro’s profit margins).

    I’m just hoping there are 4th releases planned after this summer…it is not looking so hot that there will be….stoopid D&D Next.

  3. Mike says:

    I have to agree with callin. How about an actual module?! I don’t participate in Encounters or Lair Assault. I run a home campaign (the way DnD was traditionally played) and although Menzoberranzan will be useful, an actual adventure module would have been nice. Maybe someone can redo D1-D3 like what was done for G1-G3.

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