By the mid-90s, TSR was financially struggling. They threw every idea into play and dropped under-performing product lines.

I’ve heard it said that TSR published nothing of merit in the 90s. In many cases, I’d have to agree (Spellfire cards and Dragon Dice come to mind). But they also released Planescape and Birthright, which were both clever and creative in my opinion.

The Night Below box set also came out at that time. I remember being astonished at a campaign starting out characters at relatively low level in an Underdark campaign, which was usually the playground of high-level PCs.

It’s a beautiful set, with a lot of callbacks to old school AD&D. I’ve got some eye candy photos further down.

I’m not the only one impressed with Night Below. Original sets go for big bucks these days. If you’re reluctant to spend that kind of money, DriveThruRPG has Night Below available in PDF, and reprints in both paperback and hardcover.

 

Night Below in inventory at Wayne’s Books

 

Night Below at DriveThruRPG

The DTRPG page for Night Below also has some great behind-the-scenes history by Shannon Appelcline, including the disappearance of the author, and links to the Greyhawk campaign setting.


Night Below box set 12 b

Night Below: An Underdark Campaign [BOX SET]
1995 … Carl Sargent … TSR 1125 … ISBN 0786901799

The Books

Night Below Book 1 detail
Book I, The Evils of Haranshire

DSCN5771

Night Below Book 1 credits
David Trampier and Erol Otus!!
DSCN5772
Also noted in the credits is artist Arnie Swekel who is recently becoming a favorite of mine
DSCN5773
David A. Trampier inked some of the most iconic early AD&D art. He passed away years ago, and it is just wonderful to see his work again, and credited properly.
DSCN5776
Some early Erol Otus art

DSCN5774

Not sure who did these two pieces, but they’re evocative as well.

DSCN5777

 


Night Below Book 2 detail
Book II, Perils of the Underdark

DSCN5781

DSCN5784

David A. Trampier

DSCN5786

 


Night Below Book 3 detail
Book III, The Sunless Sea

DSCN5794

DSCN5795

DSCN5796
Trampier’s Mindflayer
DSCN5797
City of Shaboath

 


Monstrous Compendium sheets

All of the new monsters photo’d

DSCN5799
Aboleth Savant
DSCN5800
Rockseer Elf
DSCN5801
Ixitxachitl (Ixzan)
DSCN5802
Giant Moray Eel
DSCN5803
Shaboath Golem

 


DM Cards and Player Handouts

A sampling

DSCN5804

DSCN5805

DSCN5806

DSCN5808

 


The Maps

A sampling

DSCN5753

DSCN5757

DSCN5758
If your party likes to check for secret doors, this is the map for them

DSCN5760

DSCN5766

DSCN5768
The Sunless Sea, a link to the D-series classic Descent modules

 


Night Below in inventory at Wayne’s Books

 

Night Below at DriveThruRPG

 


See Also: AD&D Monster Cards: Some favorites

D&D hardcovers: Expedition series

Free City of Greyhawk: Hand-drawn map

Spelljammer: Confrontation with a neogi and its umber hulk servitors

Council of Wyrms: THE OLD SCHOOL DRAGONS