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.

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!


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

Choose one instead of a thing from the normal trinket list

1d10 + 1d20
Result Item
2-9 zilch :(
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.


Crafting is an important part of regular life in the Underdark, since resources are so scarce. Many get by on make-shift items. More succinct crafting rules will be put here when I get my ass around to making them.

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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