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Pyramid of Shadows review

Written by Expy - Published on September 17, 2008

Pyramid of shadows is the 3rd adventures published by Wizards of the Coast for D&D 4th edition and it completes a trilogy of heroic tier adventure along with Keep on the Shadowfell and Thunderspire Labyrinth. All three adventures can be played as stand-alones or back-to-back.

The adventure module is graded on a red dragon scale (no pun intended) of 0 to 5 – 5 being awesome and 0 being awful.

Classic dungeon crawl rating – 5 red dragons

Once again 4th edition delivers a combat-centric adventure – which is great in my opinion because planning combat encounters, and traps within combat encounters, is what takes the most preparation.

The material in Pyramid of Shadows is also a lot more like classic D&D as I think of it, with enigmas, traps, weird or outright out-of-this-world monsters and NPCs. Sweet.

Fluff rating – 4 red dragons

You’ve got to expect a combat-centric product to be light on the fluff but this adventure module provides a surprising amount of opportunities for roleplaying. The monsters are almost all intelligent beings, and the setting – the pyramid itself – is unique and should please the most curious players. You even have a talking magic item in there!

There are also 10 pages dedicated to art side views of about 15 rooms and a handout too (although you’ll have to make a photocopy to hand it out without mangling your book.)

Red dragon rating – 0 red dragon

Well, not a single red dragon in there. Not a single red dragon in the whole heroic tier series in fact. The Young Red Dragon is a level 7 solo soldier so there’s really no excuse. I hope for more red dragon action in the paragon tier.

This trilogy makes sense rating – 2 red dragons

The links between the three heroic tier adventures published by WOTC are weak. Suggestions are made in all 3 modules to allow DMs run them seamlessly but I think most experienced Dungeon Masters will want to customize the adventure and add their own hooks.

The good thing about this is that you won’t feel like you need to buy all 3 books just because you purchased one of them:

  • Keep on the Shadowfell is great if you want to try the rules without buying the core books.
  • Thunderspire Labyrinth (lvl 4-6) and Pyramid of Shadows (lvl 7-10) both have good production value so if you can only buy one go by level.

Time saver rating – 4 red dragons

Buy Pyramid of ShadowsReading an adventure always takes me forever. And I wouldn’t use a published adventure as my main campain story without modifying it (heavily!) That being said Pyramid of Shadows is still a great time saver because the pyramid, the dungeon, is compartmentalized – it is broken down into groups of rooms. And each group of room is broken down into encounters. It makes the adventure easy to customize or easy to steal bits from and turn them into side-quests for your campaign.

Battlemaps gallore rating – 2 red dragons

The first adventure of the heroic tier series had 6 battle maps (3 two-sided poster maps). Both Thunderspire Labyrinth and Pyramid of Shadow have 1 poster map only. My expectations were set high.

Overall rating – 4 red dragons

I highly recommed Pyramid of Shadows. There’s a lot of great material in it – and the coolness factor of some of the items, new monsters, and setting could make a lasting impression in your campaign.

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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Pyramid of Shadows review, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating » Leave a comment



5 Responses to “Pyramid of Shadows review”
  1. DnDCorner says:

    Thanks for the review. I haven’t had time to go through it myself just yet. I agree that not having the battle maps is a huge set back. In the old (2nd Ed and before) no battle maps wasn’t a big deal, but particularly in 4th edition if you are publishing any kind of pre-made adventure you absolutely need to include a battle grid.

  2. Yax says:

    Well, I wouldn’t say absolutely need to include a battle grid. Even with 6 maps, you’ll have to draw the battle scene for the extra 20 encounters. But it’s nice to have them.

  3. Kane says:

    I read another sites review of this adventure and I have to say, your review is right on par with the other. I am looking forward to this one, becouse of all the wacky room to room weirdness. From what I have read, you might be in a room with 3 feet of snow, battling a white dragon, and then, next door you find yourself in a room with a jungle theme, and it all makes sense! Since I have bought a Chessex battle map, I haven’t felt the burn due to lack of maps, but I will agree that more included in the modules would have been nice.

  4. Gideon says:

    I highly advise anyone with any sense of good DM’ing to stay as far away from this heaping pile of garbage as possible. Zero story, no roleplaying, HUGE holes in the overall adventure (brand new monsters are not explained/detailed or given any sense of what they are). Basically 25 straight fights in a row with no real interconnection.

    The crunch itself is good stock info for putting into future adventures, but the description book is there simply for a good laugh. Mearls and Wyatt should be ashamed of themselves for letting this go to print. Want to see the absolute WORST adventure starting plot hook? Browse this bad boy.

    Very dissappointing whats been coming out for 4th edition. H1 was boring, H2 had potential, H3 is terrible. Stay Away!

  5. DM says:

    I am looking forward to the adventure, I have not played it yet, but we have played h1, h2. My group will be starting it tonight. I agree with poster KANE, with the ever changing rooms that should keep the players on their toes.
    Some of the other related comments are a bit harsh, H1-was very good, H2-OK not as organized (my opinion), H3- looks to be in line with H1. I had no problem folding it into the story line of my campaign.
    From a DM’s point of view the new adventures are well organized and this helps a lot when prepping for a Game night. I use a different solution for the maps; I scan the level maps and project an image onto the table using a laptop. Yea I know… but it works beautifully for miniature play and doesn’t take away the role playing aspect of the game. Before I used a Chessex battle grid, and spent what seemed like hours drawing out the rooms of a dungeon only to have my players to run through it in 5 min.
    Part of being a GOOD DM is incorporating these canned adventures with what your running on the table and or campaign, no amount of information will make up for this. New monster are not a problem, maybe the character might be half challenged by the lack of knowledge about this monster. Adventure modules are not made to help your part Role play better, that’s up to the DM and players alike.
    Just a little note to the entire version purist population out there. If you’re going continue to bash the new version without playing it and for no other reason but to hear yourself complain. Might I suggest you play the old version? Most of my playing group, which have the better of 25 years experience role playing, like the new version. I somehow feel that the WOTC will not be going to back to the old version, so move on.
    P.S. I will be giving future reports on how the players and DM like this adventure as we move through it.

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