D&D’s new Phandelver & Below is the “strangest adventure” yet say creators

Jessica Filby
Dungeons & Dragons The Shattered ObeliskWizards of The Coast

During a press conference, Wizards of the Coast revealed that the upcoming Phandelver & Below: The Shattered Obelisk is their “strangest adventure” yet, propelling players and DMs into a world inspired by classic adventures and unmissable eldritch horror.

2023 has been an impressive year for Dungeons & Dragons, with the highly praised release of Glory of the Giants, the popular Keys From The Golden Vault, and the soon-to-come-out adventure Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk acting as its next major release.

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Recently, Wizards of the Coast held a press conference, detailing more exciting features present in Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk, labeling it the “strangest adventure we’ve ever written” and detailing all the exciting features coming to players and DMs soon.

A classical remaster of epic proportions

Dungeons & Dragons The Shattered Obelisk alt coverWizards of The Coast
The alt cover is already one of the best parts of the book.

Fans of previous D&D adventures may recognize the world of Phandalin, and even the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign from 2014. Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk is essentially a remaster of this popular campaign, at least in the first third. The other parts are entirely new and take on a rather creepy story.

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Ultimately, this is a new step for WoTC, exploring a previously loved story and enabling players to delve back into the beautiful yet slightly unsettling town of Phandalin. However, the remaster isn’t just a repeat of the previous campaigns’ popular quests, instead adding a tinge of horror, classic themes the game has adopted over the last few years, and so much more.

One of the most interesting elements is the TTRPG’s revisit to a classic dungeon crawl, something that recent adventures seem to have left out. Once again, D&D is allowing players the chance to explore, deal in an open-world story, and also explore those classic dungeon crawls many know and absolutely adore.

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On top of this, the book features consumable items, brand-new magic, and some extremely unsettling creatures for your DM to throw at you, along with the incredibly expansive yet easy-to-digest storyline.

Eldritch horror inspirations

Dungeons & Dragons mutated CloakerWizards of The Coast
This mutated Cloaker will undoubtedly be in players’ nightmares.

Perhaps the most unique element of this adventure is the focus on Eldritch horror inspirations and the overwhelming elements of both creepy and unsettling laced throughout each character, location, and the general story.

The inspirations are clear to see from the frankly stunning alt cover, and that’s without mentioning the new take on Goblins the story presents or the underlying danger lying under everything you fight, explore and try to speak to.

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The Eldritch horror is most prolific in the added monsters, featuring things straight out of a Lovecraftian book or really any other mind with a talent for the macabre and the obscure. From creatures with thousands of eyes, more teeth than is reasonably necessary, or a mutated Cloaker, there is no denying players are in for a memorable adventure that they may just remember in their nightmares after the sessions.

D&D’s “strangest adventure” ever written

Dungeons & Dragons The Shattered Obelisk party battleWizards of The Coast
The battles will certainly be intense in this book.

Combining the classic remaster and Eldritch inspirations, few elements rang as true as when the designers stated that Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk was the “strangest adventure we’ve ever written.”

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The lead designer, Amanda Hamon went on to explain how: “In Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk, players are immersed in a story that gets stranger and becomes more ominous as the adventure goes on,” proving just how intense the adventure is likely to get.

Along with all the new features and creatures, WoTC hasn’t lost their traditional routes, explaining how, in the story, “the characters must race against the clock to save this beloved town against classic D&D villains we’ve given a fresh, terrifying twist.” This highlights how veteran players will still be able to battle those creatures they know and love, but without it being too repetitive and still allowing the unexpected to take hold.

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Despite its remastered roots, Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk will be a new step for Dungeons & Dragons, introducing a longed-for genre to the ever-increasing playerbase.

Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk releases on September 19, 2023.

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About The Author

Based in Cumbria, England, Jessica is a Senior Games Writer who joined Dexerto after stints at Game Rant and The Gamer. You can find her covering everything from Minecraft, CoD, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Pokemon Go and more. You can contact Jessica at jessica.filby@dexerto.com