Additional Rules for Out of the Abyss

Starting a character

These rules are very important! Keep these in mind when rolling up new characters.

1. You do not get starting gold, only the equipment your class starts with.
2. Try to play something fun; the Underdark is like Alice in Wonderland on crack.
3. All character types are suited to this campaign.
4. Given that this campaign is based around escaping the underdark, players must have this as part of their backstory (or, at least, how they managed to find themselves in the underdark). Character races that come from the underdark are acceptable but should be played cautiously.
5. You may start your character's level to match that of the current lowest member of the party.
6. Use the standard array for your character's stats *or* roll 3d6.

Additonal Features

Underdark Experience

You're no casual visitor to the underdark, but instead have spent considerable time there learning its ways. You are familiar with the various races of civilizations and settlements of the Underdark, as well as its major routes for travel. If you fail an intelligence check to recall some piece of underdark lore, you know a source you could consult for the answer unless the DM rules that the lore is unknown.

Node Sensitivity
Prerequisite: the ability to cast at least one spell

Earth nodes are powerful locations where streams of magic in the world intersect. In ancient times, many were able to draw upon these locations for the casting of powerful magic and travel but now only a few retain this gift. These nodes are scattered rarely throughout the realms, especially in the Underdark.

When in the presence of an earth node, you gain the following benefits:

  • You are able to sense when you are within 100' of an earth node and can assess its power.
  • You can make an arcana check to add the power level of the earth node to your spell's level when casting a spell (i.e. a fireball using a 3-power node is cast using 11d6, not 8d6). The difficulty of harnessing an earth node's power varies, and failure leads to a failed casting.
  • You are able to successfully teleport between known stones without a teleportation roll.
  • Drawing on the stone's power, once per day you are gifted a free casting of a spell (without expending a spell slot) equal to your spell caster level or lower:
Caster level Spell
1 Earth Tremor
2 Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp
3 Meld Into Stone
4 Stoneskin
5 Wall of Stone
6 Investiture of Stone
7 Flesh to Stone
8 Earthquake
9 Imprisonment

Substitute bonds

Using these bonds should be considered carefully, as if you have something that ties you solidly to the Underdark, it may implicate you in manners that will either cancel your bond or put you at odds with the party. Consult the DM if you have and concerns!

1d10 Bond
1. You were once lost in the Underdark, and a group of kuo-toa helped you find your way out. You learned that there are kindly folk even among the otherwise mad race, and remain indebted to them for their aid.
2. You once had the opportunity to meet a circle of myconids. They offered you shelter and a chance to "meld" using their telepathic spores, and you have yearned ever since to repeat that experience.
3. One of your best friends in your youth was Morista Malkin, a shield dwarf and member of the Emerald Enclave. Though you haven't seen her in years, you heard she found her way to the reclaimed dwarf hold of Gauntlgrym.
4. You once worked for Davra Jassur, a Zhentarim "troubleshooter" recruiting promising new talent for the Black Network. She helped you get your start as an adventurer, and you owe her for that.
5. You have long had a curious recurring dream about visiting a vaulted stone library in the depths of the Underdark, and desire to seek it out.
6. You studied with a deep gnome alchemist and miner named Kazzook Pickshine, who saved your life once when an experiment went awry. Last you heard, his family controlled some of the largest mines in the deep gnome settlement of Blingdenstone.
7. What little you know about the underdark, you learned from living and fighting alongside the Feldrun clan of dwarves. You swore an honor debt to the clan before they joined the forces retaking Gauntlgrym and established themselves there.
8. Years ago, a vicious noble named Ghazrim DuLoc was implicated in the death of someone you cared about. The crime was covered up though, and DuLoc disappeared. Rumor has it that the Zhentarim aided his escape, but you've sworngto find him one day.
9. Years ago, you lost people you loved in a raid by creatures from the Underdark. They disappeared without a trace, either slain or taken into the depths, and you've always wondered whether they might still be alive and held as prisoners.
10. You know the dwarf hold of Gauntlgrym well, having fought alongside the dwarves to help recliam it. King Bruenor Battlehammer personally congratulated you on your valor, and you know the price the dwarves paid in blood to regain their home.

Scavenged Possessions

You can choose these instead of a thing from the normal trinket list.

1d10 + 1d20
Result Item
2-9 Roll twice
10-12 1 gold coin
13-15 A living spider (tarantula sized)
16-18 5' of silk rope
19-21 Flawed obsidian gemstone worth 10 gp
22-24 A rusted iron bar, could be used as a club
25-27 Flint shiv, used as a dagger
28-30 a single crossbow bolt coated in poison

House Rules


A new character to the game (whether a new player or not) starts at the level of the lowest member of the party. For example, if Billy is the lowest at level 3 with 2,000 experience, then the new player Joey would start at level 3 with 900 experience.

Ask on the facebook group if you need to know what level to make a new character at.

Saving throws

Characters will be making saving throws often in the Underdark, as the environment is very hostile. For gaming and metagaming purposes, not all of these saving throws will be made by the player, and players should expect that they won't understand the source or reasoning of all saving throws.

Overland Travel

Travel in the Underdark is extremely difficult, as the tunnels are constantly in a state of flux: natural events like cave-ins, monsters, wizards, and magical effects open and close tunnels frequently. Even the most experienced people take a long time getting to their destination; this is reflected in the increased travel time. The DM will prompt individuals for a few kinds of rolls during travel: 2d6 to determine light levels, 1d20 to determine encounters, and a navigation (wisdom) saving throw to make sure you stay on course.

Accepting Loss

Life comes and goes in the Underdark with frightening ease, as easily as items and money are parted from adventurers. Since 5e characters take a long time to roll up, please ensure you make a character in advance and give the DM a heads-up about them so the campaign can flow well.


This module depends on a sense of wonder as much as it does fear and confusion. Metagaming (in the form of reading the module, looking at DM notes, looking up monsters you're fighting, etc.) is not only super lame but may earn you some unwanted attention from the DM and in-game. Just don't metagame, friends!

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