Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: The Wild Beyond The Witchlight
Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 at 10:00 am
Dungeons & Dragons: The Wild Beyond The Witchlight Hardcover
Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Long time, no read, dear readers. I hope you have been handling this ever-present pandemic with stoic resolve and are doing your part to quash it as quickly as possible. I know not your feelings on the matter, but I personally am desperate to attend a convention or two in the near future. Now, having said that, Wizards Of The Coast has been kind enough to tease me with new material just in time for my favorite holiday, Halloween! And what goes better with a spooky holiday than a twisted adventure into a shadowy realm? Therefore, let me give you a bit of info about the new Dungeons & Dragons book, The Wild Beyond The Witchlight.
The book itself is set up like most of the supplemental accessories with an introduction, a breakdown of how to set up the characters, the adventure, and then companion indexes for reference. As with all introductions, this one is geared towards setting the stage. The differences here are that while you are given to understand there are big baddies around that could pose a threat, not everything is malevolent. In fact, as crazy as the basis for the tome might be, it is really geared towards a more lighthearted trek, not necessarily the “evil is everywhere” concept you will find elsewhere. I grew up in the old days of hack and slash role playing games, for Basic and Advanced D&D was all about plowing through your opponent, with few exceptions. In this particular module, however, players will be rewarded with experience based on how accomplish goals and the discoveries they make. So, a different type of party might be more beneficial; magi and those of the roguish variety may fare better than others.
All things come to be as the characters pass into and through the Witchlight Carnival, kooky and twisted in its own way. Full of colorful non-player characters with quite distinct personalities, this roving motley crew is an adventure unto itself. But oddly enough, the vast majority of the text is about the realm of Prismeer. Once a united land, it is now a split domain consisting of Hither, Thither, and Yon. And as the carnival only appears every eight years, the party must make the most of their encounters prior to entering this fey realm. Once there, the three principalities have little in common, though artifacts and spells are similar throughout. Fun Fact: there are items call Feywild Trinkets and one of them is literally a semi-magical version of a Woodwick candle; it crackles like a bonfire when lit!
Without divulging too much, let me just say that the realm of Hither is a swampy mess and home to a shanty town called Downfall. Whereas Thither is a rotting woodland that becomes ever more terrible as you approach the town of Loomlurch. The final area, Yon, is a landscape comprised mainly of mountains beneath a gloomy, cloudy sky. In these lands you will discover magical cauldrons, denizens of every possible design, including some new to the game. Each part of the land is an adventure all its own, with goals and tasks that must be completed. As the players move forward, they grow in strength and abilities, ever preparing for what lies beyond.
Two new character races, new backgrounds, and unique magical items are a few things to entice players to follow your lead. But wicked faces and characters from the past are re-imagined for this new incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons, making old enemies new again. Long time players will rejoice at some of the NPCs that show up here, though new gamers will enjoy it just as much. A nice double-sided poster, some role playing cards, and a necessary Story Tracker are all in this book, ready to make the game play that much easier and fun.
All in all, this book takes some bold moves and throws in some whimsy to create a spectacularly entertaining world. I encourage any DMs to really absorb this information, as the game will be far more robust with a greater understanding of the characters herein. And once the players have exhausted the premade tale, there is so much room for more. Thanks for reading and I hope you find it to your liking. I mean, once you see Snicker-snack and the darklings, why wouldn’t you?