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.


Night Below box set 12 b

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

Check Wayne’s Books Inventory

Check eBay

These box sets are now collector items, with collector prices. Gamers: If you just want to run a Spelljammer game, DriveThruRPG is your go-to. You can buy in PDF ($10 – as of this writing), Paperback reprint ($16), and Hardcover ($21)

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.


The Books

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

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Night Below Book 1 credits
David Trampier and Erol Otus!!
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Also noted in the credits is artist Arnie Swekel who is recently becoming a favorite of mine
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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.
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Some early Erol Otus art

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

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

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David A. Trampier

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Night Below Book 3 detail
Book III, The Sunless Sea

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Trampier’s Mindflayer
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City of Shaboath


Monstrous Compendium sheets

All of the new monsters photo’d

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Aboleth Savant
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Rockseer Elf
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Ixitxachitl (Ixzan)
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Giant Moray Eel
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Shaboath Golem

DM Cards and Player Handouts

A sampling

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The Maps

A sampling

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

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

Check Wayne’s Books Inventory

Check eBay

These box sets are now collector items, with collector prices. Gamers: If you just want to run a Spelljammer game, DriveThruRPG is your go-to. You can buy in PDF ($10 – as of this writing), Paperback reprint ($16), and Hardcover ($21)

Links to Amazon, DriveThru, eBay are affiliate links of course. I get a few coins and its costs you nothing. Thanks!


Night Below Printings

EDIT 30 July 2020

I finally got in a later print(?) Night Below set for a photo comparison.

Night Below printings
Initial (Nov 1995), hybrid (updated books), and later print

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.

Night Below 2nd prt w Tale of the Comet

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

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