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Here’s what to expect from One DnD’s “first adventure book”

Quests from the Infinite Staircase, the next D&D book, promises to marry the old and the new with a catalogue of updated classics.

More details have been revealed about Quests from the Infinite Staircase, the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons anthology that Wizards of the Coast is calling “the first adventure book for the 2024 rules”. In a recent press event, managing game designer Justice Ramin Arman shared more details about the anthology’s six adventures.

Releasing on July 16, Quests from the Infinite Staircase revives six old-school adventures, each of which can be played standalone across three or four sessions. If you want to tie them together, the DnD book offers a setting and quest-giver that will link the adventures. Those are Nafas, the cool but potentially campaign-ending noble genie, and the titular Infinite Staircase itself.

DnD Quests from the Infinite Staircase book covers by Wizards of the Coast

This location has a long history. “The Infinite Staircase is first mentioned in second edition during Planescape”, says Arman. “It was mentioned again more recently in the 2014 Dungeon Master’s Guide.” “It is this extradimensional staircase that winds on an infinite expanse”, he adds. “It has all these doors that lead to every plane, every world, and places that are hard to get to otherwise.”

“What makes it special is that you only have to happen upon the right door to find the infinite staircase”, says Arman. “As a DM, it’s a really easy way to introduce planar travel to your group.” This means travel between key DnD settings like Ravenloft, the Feywild, and the Forgotten Realms has never been easier.

Time can get a little wobbly in inter-planar spaces, and Infinite Staircase is a book that mashes up the old and the new. As well as bringing decades-old adventures to fifth edition, Arman sees the anthology as a celebration of D&D’s fifty years, as well as a flagship book for the new era of One DnD.

Quests for the Infinite Staircase art of a door on the Infinite Staircase

“I always try to approach projects with reverence, especially in these instances where we’re taking something that has been and bringing it forward to be explored by new and returning players”, he says. While Arman says it was important to “preserve the spirit” of the old adventures, “we had an eye on the future to make sure there wasn’t any friction”.

According to Arman, this book is “the bridge between the old and the new” Dungeons and Dragons. “Rather than as the last book with the 2014 rules, I like to think of it as the first adventure book for the 2024 rules.”

Arma says each of the anthology’s adventures was also chosen to show off what D&D has achieved in its half-century of existence. Some are incredibly popular adventures of old, while others are more obscure but still highly influential. Others might be the first time a classic DnD monster appeared.

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The first adventure in the anthology is The Lost City, which is designed for adventurers from levels one to four. We’ve already played some of The Lost City, and it feels very much like an introduction to D&D. According to Arman, “the original adventure was trying to teach new DMs how to be DMs”. While there’s been a lot of rebalancing, this core aim remains.

The Lost City involves finding and exploring the ancient city of Cynidicea, much of which is now underground in a half-buried Ziggurat. On your adventures, “the characters are going to meet these weirdo factions, who are remnants of a bygone civilization, each vying to restore [Cynidicea’s] former glory”.

These joinable factions promise strange roleplay, unique buffs, and animal-themed masks. Deeper in the Ziggurat, a secret, more ominous faction can be found worshiping a huge, supposedly indestructible tentacle monster called Zargon. Arman does not recommend fighting Zargon yet, but “characters of a low level might interact with him and come back to fight him later”.

DnD Quests from the Infinite Staircase art of Derro and zombies moving rocks

Next up is When a Star Falls, “the first adventure in this book that came from the UK TSR team”. As the name implies, you’ll be chasing down a fallen star, as some evil sages want to use its power of prophecy for evil deeds. The adventure runs from levels four to six.

Arman doesn’t share too many details about the plot of the adventure, but its monster stat blocks drop some hints. Players might encounter the Memory Web, a living web that stashes the memories of creatures it kills. They’ll also spot some Derro, Underdark humanoids that are currently busy reanimating the dead for mysterious reasons. And “yes, there are dragons” in this adventure, Arman says.

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Beyond the Crystal Cave was also originally penned by the UK TSR team, and it takes clear inspiration from Shakespeare. You’ll be searching for “two young paramours who absconded from their parents because they didn’t approve of their relationships”.

The levels six to seven adventure takes place in a gorgeous magical garden that feels so much like the Feywild that Wizards of the Coast updated the adventure to take place there. You’ll chat with leprechauns and talking unicorns, and you don’t even have to fight them. “Even back in the 80s, it was ahead of its time in that you could complete the garden section without resorting to combat”, Arman says. “Chris Perkins mentioned that this adventure was the inspiration for The Wild Beyond the Witchlight.”

This domain of delight is ruled over by an Archfey known as The Gardener. The original adventure featured a more traditional Green Man figure, but Arman says “we wanted to play up a Guardian of Nature type Archfey” instead.

DnD Quests from the Infinite Staircase art of a warrior fending off ghouls

This is followed by an adventure called Pharaoh, which was first created by Dragonlance’s Tracy and Laura Hickman. The characters are “beseeched by the ghost of a long-dead pharaoh” who wishes to be freed from a curse. This naturally involves exploring an Egyptian-style pyramid, which Arman says has been made “a little bit more deadly”. Less traditionally, you’ll also visit a boat in the clouds.

As well as upping the challenge, Wizards of the Coast made efforts to make this adventure more inclusive. “We actually reached out to someone who specialized in Ancient Egypt”, Arman explains. Additionally, “we’ve removed some of the more culturally insensitive things or repositioned them to help maintain the spirit of the adventure and make it shine in the best way”.

DnD Quests from the Infinite Staircase art of Drelzna

Adventure four is Lost Caverns of Tscosjcanth, the first half of which was released earlier this year as a tournament adventure. “The two parts you’ll see that weren’t in that one are the wilderness exploration section before the actual dungeon”, Arman says, “and the second half of this dungeon – now you get the greater caverns.” This adventure runs from levels nine to 11.

The witch Tasha (or Igwilv, as she’s called here) is a greater presence in the updated version of the adventure. You’ll also get to meet Drelnza, Tasha’s vampiric daughter.

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Arman says that Expedition to the Barrier Peaks “is probably my favorite adventure” in the anthology. This level 11-13 adventure has a reputation as “the adventure that gave your party laser guns”. It takes place on a crashed space ship, and you’ll meet all kinds of quirky robots. “The characters will get to find all manner of fun futuristic technologies on this adventure”, Arman says.

A lot of tweaks were made to this space age classic. The maps are apparently smaller, and a loose narrative structure has been given the whole thing. “We’ve also moved some of the encounters around to place more memorable encounters in places players are likely to visit.”

This includes encounters in a night club, which we think every space ship should have. “As awesome as the original adventure is, it’s also kind of silly sometimes, and we want to keep that silliness in the new update”, Arman says.

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