Sunday, January 4, 2015
Dungeons & Dragons Volume 1: Shadowplague
Publisher/Year: IDW, 2011
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Writer: John Rogers
Collects: Dungeons & Dragons #0-5
This trade follows a band of heroes while they quest for the source of a mysterious dark force that is creating havoc in the world. They must get get to the bottom of the Shadowplague in order to more darkness from spilling into their world.
Orcs, Elves, swords and sorcery, ancient magic and trans-world struggle for power are just a few of the aspects found in this first Volume.
In good D&D fashion each of our heroes has a different race and class. Meet Adric the Human warrior and leader, Bree Three-Hands the Halfling thief, Varis the Elf ranger, Khal Khalundurrin the Dwarf Paladin and Tisha Swornheart the Tiefling Wizard.
Luck is strong with Adric. His plans are notorious for being bad but coming together at the very last second. Bree is a very skilled thief and trap detector, Varis is the resident archer, Kahl is the poet and basically works as the tank of the group and Tisha is the power house. Varis and Kahl also work as the moral compass to Adric's decisions. Its a rich and diverse party indeed.
One night at the tavern Adric's party is just having a drink when all of a sudden zombies break through the floor and all hell breaks loose. From there things get out of control and Adric, with the help of his party, must fight through Orc armies, ancient ghosts, evil dark elves and a myriad of other fantastic creatures.
Dungeons & Dragons Volume 1: Shadowplague is a fun book to read, even more so if you have a natural affinity with the fantasy genre. You don't have to be fluent in D&D lingo or even in the game itself to enjoy this book. It is just a good and fun fantasy book that anyone can enjoy. However having played D&D will give you something extra.
There are many aspects of the game that are present here. Aspects like the class and race of the characters, the dungeons and their traps, the wizard vs sorcerer take on magic, Adric's luck, and many more. But John Rogers does a great job at keeping this under tight reins and accessible for everyone.
Andrea Di Vito is in charge of the art in this book and he does an excellent job at it. The character models are spectacular, the detail in every panel is great. There are some awesome full page panel that are true delights to the eyes. My only complaint, if I can call it that, is that Andrea could have been more adventurous with the panel dynamics.
This hardcover is printed in a bigger size than standard normal trades. This makes the inside art look even more fantastic. This book is a delight to read, to look at and to touch. It also looks great on my shelf.
The final portion of this trade takes scenes from the story and translates them into encounters that an RPG group can use to play out the combat and exploration that the Shadowplague group meets. This is a nice bit of bonus material for folks who play Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition and possibly want to mine the story for their own campaigns.
If you're a fan of Dungeons & Dragons or fantasy, I would definitely recommend adding this trade to your collection.