Reign of Elemental Evil - Capturing an Old-School Dungeon Crawl
The Temple of Elemental Evil is one of the most widely known modules ever created for D&D. Written by Gary Gygax and Frank Mentzer it was originally designed as an adventure for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and took place in the World of Greyhawk. Released in 1985 ToEE set the standard for massive modules.
Fast forward 30 years and the Temple of Elemental Evil has been resurrected thanks to a marketing strategy from Wizards of the Coast that started last year with Tyranny of Dragons. With the release of Fifth Edition (5e) D&D Wizards aligned the majority of their licensees to create products that supported the Tyranny of Dragons campaign. WizKids was involved with their miniatures, Kobold Press contributed to game modules, even Cryptic created the module Tyranny of Dragons for their MMORPG Neverwinter. Internally WotC supported this season with their books and live play at stores with the adventure league. Noticeably absent from all of this was Turbine with any content for DDO.
At the start of March WotC switched from Tyranny of Dragons to Elemental Evil. At that time the adventure league began their new campaign, the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure manual was released by WotC with the help of Sasquatch game studio, and Turbine released update 25 Reign of Elemental Evil. The crown jewel of this update is the new dungeon the Temple of Elemental Evil which is the biggest released to date for DDO.
Besides being the largest dungeon in the game, the Temple of Elemental Evil is guest Dungeon Mastered by geek culture icon Wil Wheaton. While Wil does a great job with his show Tabletop and an equally nice job narrating Ready Player One his narration as the DM feels a little fllat. This is counteracted, however, by little bits of out of character narrative from Wil the design team has placed around the dungeon. As you find these talking points Wil explains how he was introduced to the Temple of Elemental Evil and what it has meant to him over the years.
Besides playing though the first part of the dungeon this weekend I had the chance to get some questions answered by the DDO team. I asked about the work they did on this adventure and what it was like to convert a module of this status into their game. Read on to find out what they had to say.