Tartarus: Journey Into the Underworld is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition adventure for 4-6 12th-level characters set in the Greek Underworld of Hades and Tartarus (not the standard D&D underworld). It was created by DnDElise. In Greek mythology, Tartarus is where gods are imprisoned or punished, and it sits below Hades.
Tartarus: A Foundation in Greek Myth
The adventure’s foundation is solidly set in Greek mythology, making Tartarus feel like a living history experience as well as a #DnD adventure. To build to the mythic effect, you play and meet many heroes of Greek mythology, such as Thanatos and Kampe. This is heroic adventuring at its best.
Be forewarned: the Tartarus underworld is a dangerous place. Random encounters are frequent, rest is rare, and the monsters are powerful. But, unlike the typical D&D Hells, not everything here is evil or unforgiving. There are even good creatures here that can benefit you.
The heat, fire, and magma is home to great beasts, but more importantly, it is a stage for a play of escape; and you are the instruments of this challenge.
A Classic Greek Quest
You’ll feel you are on a classic quest, like those of Heracles or Theseus. It is a visceral feeling that roleplaying gamers are drawn to. The names are all familiar, the motifs classic, and the conceit of rescuing a god is epic.
Since this was created as a one-shot, the path in Tartarus is fairly linear, but there are opportunities for side-quests. Some important goals must be achieved to resolve the main story. I did imagine a groundhog day scenario that could take place—but getting puzzle pieces right is part of the fun.
As for the art, the larger pieces harken back to an earlier time—both in our history, and in Dungeons & Dragons. They have a stylized textural flatness, like hand-painted wood, that makes them warm and slightly abstract. The insets are loosely drawn, with inking that reminds of graphic novel art. Some of my favorites are of the items in the adventure – coins, shields, statuettes, etc. The cover features Kampe, who evokes an ethereal heat, while looking back and beckoning you to the adventure. The maps are clearly labeled and are your guide to the underworld. With numerous underwater or portal-like passages, the map is necessary to maintain orientation.
From a game perspective, even though Tartarus is not in a specific setting, it should immediately appeal to anyone who is into the grand (even god-like) feel of Mythic Odysseys of Theros. As a one-shot, if your players want something on a grand scale, Tartarus offers rescuing a god from her kidnapper—and what could be grander than that?!
We’ve reviewed other products by DnDElise:
Tartarus: Journey Into the Underworld contains the main book, an accessible version, and a map pack. Tartarus is $4.95 from DMsGuild
|Elise Cretel||Writer, Producer, Project Lead||@dndelise|
|Lessie Nieves-Paugh||Cover Illustrator||@ribbonotes||@ribbonotes|
|Jacob E Blackmon||Illustrations||@commissionprodigyduc|