A First Look at Dungeons in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

What would a Dungeons & Dragons crossover set be without Dungeons? Luckily, we don’t have to find out, as WotC announced what the Dungeon mechanic would look like today. It’s an interesting one – let’s break it down.

There’s no really concise way to summarize it, since it’s a complicated mechanic, but the comparison with energy (from Kaladesh) isn’t a bad one, as you’re building up very specific resources that work towards a payoff. There are a bunch of cards with “venture into the dungeon”, which means that you can pick from one of three dungeons to adventure into.


Each time you venture, you move through the dungeon, and there’s no backtracking, so you have to take the course you’ve chosen (with some forks along the way). Each room you enter has an effect, and the rewards get better and better, with the final room of the dungeon being the payoff.

There are three dungeons to start with, each an iconic D&D setting (the last campaign I ran IRL was actually the Tomb of Annihilation, and the party did indeed slay the Atropal at the end). The dungeons offer a few different payoffs, and you get the choice of which when you start your adventure. Note that you can’t go to a new dungeon until you’ve completed the one you’re on, so choose wisely. 



Header - Lost Mines of Phandelver

This is the “easiest” dungeon, as it’s not as many levels as the Dungeon of the Mad Mage or as punishing as the Tomb of Annihilation. It generates tokens, either Goblins or Treasure, and ends with a rather tame “draw a card.” Level two in this dungeon is the best one of the three, so this is the best to venture into if you’re not fully committed or have good tokens synergies. We don’t know what the venture cards all look like yet (though we do know some), but this seems like the most likely dungeon to see play in Constructed games.


Header - Tomb of Annihilation

I love the flavor here, as the actual Tomb is filled with tons of traps. This not only punishes both players, but you have the  option to shortcut the dungeon by going through the oubliette. It taxes you by making you discard and sac a bunch of stuff, but in return you get to The Atropal much sooner. That payoff isn’t absurd, but there are cards that reward you for completing dungeons, and making those work could be worth a lot. For example, take a look at Nadaar, Selfless Paladin:


If you have a bunch of cards like this, speedrunning the Tomb could well be worth it.


Header - Dungeon of the Mad Mage

This one is for serious adventurers only. It gives you a variety of minor effects, and takes a full seven ventures to complete, but the payoff is pretty big. Getting to draw three cards and play one for free is huge, and a real reward for finishing the adventure. This seems like the best one for focused venture decks in Limited, and is the one I’m most interested in exploring.


Header - Dungeoneering for Fun and Profit

This looks like a fantastic Limited mechanic – it’s definitely on the (really) complicated side, but it gives you a ton of options for each of your venture cards. You can generate scrys, tokens, life loss and much, much more, making every venture card a super-modal one. That appeals to me, and is reminiscent of Lesson, which was a great mechanic.

In Constructed, it seems a lot harder to pull off, but we’ll see once we find out what the rates are on the rest of the venture cards. All I know is that I’ll be spending plenty of time in these dungeons once Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is released, and I can’t wait to see how that plays out.


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