Categorized | RPGs

Phandelever and Below The Shattered Obelisk Review

Posted on September 25, 2023 by Flames

    Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk is a campaign supplement for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition that recently debuted in September 2023. Geared for DMs, the supplement builds off of The Lost Mine of Phandelver included in the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set. That same adventure is reprinted in this supplement as well, and it’s worth nothing that the material has been slightly edited to better fit the campaign. The monsters from Chapters 1 through 4 are not included in the Bestiary, however, so if you require rules for non-named NPCs and creatures along with common magic items, you’ll need a copy of the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

    The new material begins in Chapter 5: Paths of Peril. At Level 5, the adventurers return to Phandalin and find a city besieged by goblins. This new enemy is depicted in the cover art and full-page chapter introduction as well. In this chapter, there’s enough material–maps, locations, terrain, NPCs, sidequests, and run-ins with fan favorites like Daisy the Cow–for the heroes to advance to level seven. The style of writing and chapter structure is very similar to what you’ll find in the Lost Mine of Phandelver; the structure and style are strongly continuous from the debut adventure, presenting a seamless experience.

    In Chapter 6: The Shattered Obelisk, the campaign’s subtitle and mystery emerges, taking the players from 7th to 9th level in the Starmetal Hills. It should be noted that the cover art and campaign book’s depiction doesn’t spoil the story’s thrust. With dire stakes introduced that affects the future of Phandelver and all its citizens, the plight of the adventurers shifts away from dungeons to press against the edges of realms hostile to most mortals. When the adventure concludes in Chapter 8: Beyond a Lightless Star, the heroes begin at level l0 to decide Phandelver’s fate.

    As a campaign, the story offers multiple opportunities for side quests while setting the stakes high. To avoid spoilers, the theme is much darker, bordering on horror, and is a timely addition to the line if you’re hoping to find a Halloween-appropriate game. There is a lot of content for the players to explore that opens up adventuring possibilities without being repetitive. That said, players who have been adventuring since they first played the Lost Mine of Phandelver in 2014 may need encounter adjustments for higher levels. Luckily, the encounters are easy to scale.

    In the appendices, DM’s will find new creatures and magic items featured in chapters five through ten along with a detailed, two-sided map. The map, unfortunately, isn’t player-facing because the locations and secrets are revealed, giving the DM a clear depiction of the campaign. Since the other side contains smaller maps found throughout the book, it’d be neat to see a double-sided map in the future that has a labelled and a non-labelled version. Adding full-page, non-labelled maps in the appendix for the smaller locations would be ideal as well, because the Wizards team excels at making interesting locations and adding evocative art to ensure an adventuring party’s mood is set.

    Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk has a list price of $59.95. The campaign supplement is available on and wherever games and books are sold. The story is an excellent campaign for the first-time DM, but it’s also a mind-bending adventure that allows players to face nightmares and emerge the heroes in a way they might not expect. With puzzles to solve and dungeons to crawl, Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk rallies adventurers and tests their expectations. If possible, avoid spoilers to ensure that the twists and surprises can be part of their experience.

    A review copy of Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk was provided to by Wizards of the Coast. This review was written by Allie Brooks and has been published with the author’s permission.

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