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Ruins of Undermountain II: The Deep Levels (2e) $9.99
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Zachary B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2020 22:47:22

So I'll throw a quick review of the PoD up for anyone interested. As usual with these things, the box contents are all scanned and put into page formats at the back of the book. In most cases for these box sets, that means they're mostly useless. In this case, the layout was pretty good, as the maps were oriented in such a way that you can hold open the book and view the level maps quite easily; the quality is surprisingly good on mine, and I'm able to make out the lettering and symbols on the maps. I'd still like to try and get the maps custom printed, but for now, having them as double-page spreads at the back of the book is perfectly fine, considering they're not advertising a recreation of the classic box sets or anything- it works well enough for my purposes. [edit: I just wanted to clarify that the maps are printed in a way that they're NOT split across pages; the level maps are half-per-page, but they're on pages right next to each other so it's very easy to view the whole level without flipping back and forth.]

I've heard mixed things about some of the scan quality, and how some of those old books do not translate well to PoD simply because of the shades of the background or the lightness of the font. This is not the case with this one, or with the Elminster's Ecologies, Cult of the Dragon, or Temple of Elemental Evil that I purchased. They're all legible and perfectly readable.

My only complaint is that the book- like almost every other softcover PoD I've ordered- arrived damaged. There is a not-insignificant bend at the top right corner of the spine, like it was crumpled or something. This has happened every single time I've ordered a softcover from DTRPG, and I'm not sure it's worth it anymore, at some of the prices I'm paying. Like the Elminster's Ecologies? For a little bit more money, I could buy the original box set in great condition.

The actual content here is, of course, fantastic. I'm not really keen on the metallic, computer-type AI beings, so I might just nix that from my campaign when I run it; just not really the style I'm looking for in a fantasy RPG. I also got really tired of the dumb puns for each and every room key. But aside from those minor complaints, it's a wonderful- if not required- resource if you're wanting to run a party through the lower depths of Undermountain. Overall, there seems to be less content than the original box set (which I own), but it could also just be that the book format is skewing my perception.

I would reccomend this PoD, if only because the content is great, and the damage my copies seem to sustain might just be an anomaly regarding the particular printing service they use that is close to my location. Undermountain is one of the most intense and high-adrenaline dungeons you can run for a group, and it's status as a near-mythical setting is well-deserved.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Ruins of Undermountain II: The Deep Levels (2e)
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