Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk stages a return to the first Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set, with players taking to the streets of Phandalin in a new and improved adventure that Lead Designer Amanda Hamon deems to be "perhaps the strangest adventure" the team has written. The new campaign will make its bid to be one of the best D&D books on September 19.
While the book's first third remasters the Lost Mine of Phandelver, Hamon promises that the second two thirds of the campaign "is all brand new content that starts out being a little bit of a strange investigation about strange happenings in Phandalin and becomes stranger and stranger" over the course of the level 1-12 story.
We start off in the idyllic world of Phandalin, then, running through the original starter set quests complete with new art. Understanding what's at stake is key here, Hamon describes how the team wanted to "show what it is the characters are fighting for" before the new horrors of the second and third acts come to pass.
That's where the obelisk comes in. Characters are tasked with retrieving pieces of this giant formidable structure before the bad guys can wield their strange magic in a ritual targeting the very townspeople of this idyllic and iconic land. The exact nature of this green magic remains to be seen though.
A running theme from the art we've seen so far is the element of surprise. There are plenty of monsters and encounters running through the book that appear recognisable at first glance, before quickly descending into something brand new - so expect the unexpected.
D&D Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk is a full length 226 page adventure, due to land in digital format on D&D Beyond on September 5 with physical books available on September 19.