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.
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: An Underdark Campaign [BOX SET]
1995 … Carl Sargent … TSR 1125 … ISBN 0786901799
Not sure who did these two pieces, but they’re evocative as well.
David A. Trampier
Monstrous Compendium sheets
All of the new monsters photo’d
DM Cards and Player Handouts
Night Below Printings
EDIT 30 July 2020
I finally got in a later print(?) Night Below set for a photo comparison.
The updated box cover is the only significant difference I can see. The box bottom is mostly the same, except the US/CAN/UK MSRPs got moved into the barcode.
No helpful dates anywhere – not even inside the box – to assist in dating. TSR was hit-n-miss at best about printing notes.
The updated graphics match the format used in 1997’s Tale of the Comet box set.
I’d term the updated cover set as Scarce, not nearly as common as the original format.
See Also: AD&D Monster Cards: Some favorites