This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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Designed by: JVC Parry, Benoit Be Bernardy

From one of my favorite D&D 5e adventure designers comes Escape from Undergarden a 5th level adventure involving a missing sister, druid fanatics, and a dangerous demiplane.

A missing sister brings the party to the small town of Therral. Dwarf cleric Keyleth hires the adventurers to find her sister Mirrin, a hunter who arrived in the hamlet to track down the legendary Goldenhart stag, but hasn’t returned.

Therral is a lovely town that reminds me of Phandalin (from The Lost Mine of Phandelver), with half a dozen detailed locations with NPCs who have helpful items, useful information, or little side quests.

We soon learn that the town of hunters and loggers has run into problems with a zealous group of druids who guard the nearby Redbark Wood. They call themselves the Deep Root Ring, and they’ve been growing more violent and aggressive.

Refreshingly, the Deep Root Ring (and the Goldenhart) are a bit of a red herring. While the second chapter takes us into the woods, the druids can be dealt with socially, instead of as mindless cultists who need a good whacking (though, that’s always an option!).

Regardless of how the party deals with the druids and their hideout, they find out the bad news: Mirrin was captured and thrown into Undergarden, a dangerous forest demiplane. They’ll have to get in there, find her, and figure out a way to escape.

undergarden chapter 1

Undergarden is a small but densely-packed hex crawl with a dozen locations to explore, including a remorhaz ice cave, a gigantic tree (perfect for spotting other locations!), a miniaturized faery burrow, and a green dragon lair.

What makes Undergarden truly special are its seasons. Near the entrance is a magical sundial that our player characters can use to cycle the entire realm through each of the four seasons.

The seasonal changes are far more than cosmetic. Each season has its own table of encounters (angry dryads in summer, shivering awakened trees in winter), but more importantly, the various adventure sites also change.

The remorhaz may retreat deeper into its cave as the ice melts in summer. The tiny faerie is allergie to pollen, making her weaker in spring. It’s a fun idea, and the party has complete control over it. Thankfully several fast travel faerie rings are scattered around, making it easier for the party to pop back and swap seasons.

The goal is to find four keys, which are guarded by various creatures. Each key is tied to a specific season, making it easier to uncover and extract that key in that particular season. This overarching puzzle helps balance out the hefty combat and exploration that Undergarden throws at you. Combined with the abundance of social opportunities in town (and options with the druids), and you have the makings of a well-balanced adventure.

The only bummer is the ending, or lack thereof! Plugging the four keys into the sundial unlocks the exit, and from there the adventure ends. There’s a page of helpful epilogue notes, but there’s no big final boss battle or stirring confrontation.

It may be a bit problematic that the PCs will probably defeat the big boss, the leader of the druids, before even stepping into Undergarden! The young green dragon is a formidable foe, but also an entirely optional battle. A little reworking could have it swoop in as a final boss, but it would also be interesting to see a final showdown with something new that took advantage of the seasonal theme.

The 50-page adventure is gorgeous to look at, with original artwork and full color battle maps. It also includes half a dozen new creature statblocks, and consumable magic items in the form of magic mushrooms

Escape from Undergarden is seeking funding now on Kickstarter.


  • Superb balance of combat, exploration, and role-playing opportunities.
  • Therral is a lovely small town with enjoyable NPCs.
  • “Evil” druid faction can be dealt with socially, or through combat.
  • Manipulating seasons to alter the entire demiplane is a memorable feature.
  • Professional design and layout, beautiful original artwork, and full color battle maps.


  • Lacks a satisfying climax.

The Verdict: Escape from Undergarden takes a classic forest adventure and injects a well-designed hex crawl demiplane of magic and exploration, while keeping the narrative tightly focused on the players and their choices.

A review copy of “Escape from Undergarden” was provided by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.