Everything You Need To Know About Quests From The Infinite Staircase, A D&D Adventure Anthology Blast From The Past

While we’ve already heard about the 2024 Core Rulebook, including a new Player Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide, and Monster Manual as part of the D&D 50th Anniversary celebration next month will also mark the release of a new anthology adventure book; Quests From The Infinite Staircase.

Last week we got to sit down and hear from Justice Arman, Senior Game Designer, about what to expect when you get your hands on this new adventure book.

Quests From The Infinte Staircase will be releasing on July 16th with an Early Access release of July 9th. While Early Access has traditionally been two weeks Wizards of the Coast wanted to make sure that players had time to spend with their families over the 4th of July holiday.

A dragon attack from the Level 4 adventure in Quests From The Infinite Staircase, Artwork by Olivier Bernard

“I always try to approach projects with reverence” Arman began “especially if it’s an instance where we’re taking something that has been and taking it forward to be explored by new players.” Arman referenced his work with Planescape as another time that they’ve been 

“I like to think of it as the first adventure for the 2024 rules”

So much of the work as adventures were created was keeping an eye to the future rule changes.

Covers and Artwork

The regular and alternate art covers for Quests From The Infinite Staircase
The Quests From The Infinite Staircase Regular cover art by Syd Mills and Alternate art by Patrick Ganas

On the standard cover you can see Nafas, like Durnan to the Yawning Portal, Nafas is a noble genie and quest giver related to the stories within Quests From The Infinite Staircase. Across the cover you’ll see all kinds of elements related to the different adventures within.

Nafas is also shown on the alternate cover art but with a more etherial look. “You can see the texture on his clothing, the whispyness or air” This artist does a lot with wind and because Nafas is an Air Genie they let him run wild letting him sell the idea of him being an “embodiement of etherial winds.”

What is the Infinite Staircase?

The Infinite Staircase was first introduced in 2nd edition Planescape but it was mentioned more recently in the 2014 DMG. The book opens with a chapter on what the Infinite Staircase is. The staircase is a unique way to travel the multiverse because there’s doorways across this that could lead to anywhere. You just need to happen upon the right doorward to stumble upon the Infinite Staircase

“They could be adventuring in a dungeon, open a doorway, and are greeted by the [Infinite Staircase]”

The chapter on the staircase itself will go over the features of it like how gravity works, or what happens if you fall off it. There are also examples of what doors might look like and where could they lead. Nafas is also introduced in this chapter.

Nafas the genie in his palace within the Infinite Staircase
Artwork showing off the air genie qualities of Nafas from within the Senser of Dreams

The Senser of Dreams is the palace of Nafas where he lives on the Infinite Staircase. He was created when winds from each of the different doors came together spawning him as a noble genie. He’s able to hear the many wishes from across the multiverse and tries to make that a reality. Nafas gets his name from the Persian word for Breath, this leans into his Air Genie qualities but also because he is the “Breath of the Multiverse.”

There is a stat block for Nafas, a CR 23 elemental, and can be used for a Pact of the Noble Genie Warlock or he can be used to gain favor for a Wish spell.

The adventures within this anthology will have the characters meeting Nafas who hears wishes, and you’ll be asked to complete them. Nafas himself can’t leave the Staircase but can ask you to assist, maybe for a reward? Like other anthology adventures you can also use them as stand alone adventures and not use Nafas as a quest giver.

Unlike previous anthology books like Tales From The Yawning Portal, Candlekeep Mysteries, or Keys From The Golden Vault the adventures found in Quests From The Infinite Staircase are multi-level adventures that should take a few sessions to get through. 

The First Adventure: The Lost City (1-4)

The adventure was originally written by Tom Moldvay for the Original Dungeons & Dragons. Where the players meet a strange faction who is trying to restore their former glory, each with their own masks. The three factions that the players meet allow the players to join.

An update for this adventure is that joining these factions is easier, and not something denoted by gender. Players might get tattoos or masks upon joining. Each faction also has multiple stat blocks.

Artwork of the Mages of Usamigaras by Jaqueline Florencio
Artwork of the Mages of Usamigaras by Jaqueline Florencio

Another update is providing additional guidance for the encounters. Many of them have been rebalanced, because of the differences in CR from then to now, as well as reviewing treasure rewards and including new monsters.

When recreating these encounters there was a lot more thought given to the description of places, characters’ motivations, and interaction opportunities with people or places.

The ultimate hook of this adventure is that the party will be trapped in this place and need to work with the different factions to get out, whether that be by working with or against these different cults is up to them.

The Second Adventure: When A Star Falls – Level 4-6

This is the first adventure in the book that came from the UK TSR team.

The players here are going to retrieve a fallen star to protect the power of prophecy from evil sages. The original kicked off with an encounter with a Memory Web, when it’s slain the memories get released. It’s a neat way of delivering a quest to players even if they just want to kill everything.

Artwork of the Derro and their reanimated corpses by Yuliya Litvinova
Artwork of the Derro and their reanimated corpses performing tasks of manual labor by Yuliya Litvinova

Players will encounter the Derro, a race that is stealing and reanimating corpses, to have them work for them. The adventure will also have the players meet a clan of deep gnomes.

For players who like having the ‘D’ in D&D players will encounter a Dragon at the end of the adventure.

The Third Adventure: Beyond the Crystal Cave – 6-7

Inspired by William Shakespeare the characters are searching for two paramores who didn’t approve of their relationship, very similar to the story of Romeo & Juliet. Back in the 80s it was ahead of its time because you can complete parts of this adventure without any combat.

In the original game the players visit a ‘magical garden’ prior to the invention of the feywild, this has now been updated. Leprechaun’s have been added as denizens of the fey that players will meet. They’ve been updated to be more akin to mushroom people in red clothing.

The doorway that will lead to the Beyond The Crystal Cave Adventure
Reach ‘Beyond the Crystal Cave’ through a garden door (Artwork by Axel Defois) and meet philosophical unicorns (Artwork by Katerina Ladon)

Other fey creatures highlighted include Unicorns. What’s interesting is that these are philosophical unicorns that like to ponder, one even has a pipe.

No combat is very much the approach with this adventure and because of that the DM are given a lot of tools for the kinds of conversations.

The Fourth Adventure: Pharoh – Level 7-9

In this adventure the characters are reached out to by the ghost of a pharoh. They’ve been asked to help break a curse on the Pharoh themselves as well as on the land. The party needs to recover two items. The dungeon here is more deadly. New diagrams have been included to help interpret the pyramid in 3D as well as artwork of the different levels.

For the inclusion review pass WOTC reached out to a historical expert in Ancient Egypt to make sure that while the adventure is in tact some aspects of it have been updated. Along the adventure the party will meet other adventurers, as well as a group who is also looking to see the land return to a more prosperous state.

Boat In The Clouds Is The Final Place You'll Reach in this adventure

A piece of art shown by Titus Lunter, done physically, is of the Pharoh’s boat floating high in the sky.

The Fifth Adventure: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth – Level 9-11

There is a wilderness exploration that will become before the dungeon, then there’s the portion that was included in the tournament version that was released, and then the Greater Caverns. This adventure is tied to a witch who created the Demonomicon. What kinds of weird demons and devils that can be down here

One important encounter is with the daughter of Iggwilv (who D&D fans might be more familiar with calling Tasha), Drelzna There will be over 50 rooms in this adventure, and at level 9 that will take some time…

The Sixth Adventure: Expedition To The Barrier Peaks – Level 11-13

Arman’s favorite adventure tied with From a Star is the final adventure, Expedition To The Barrier Peaks. The design team wanted to make sure to have an interesting location. With Tomb of Horrors taken the second choice was the strange tech adventure.

Characters reach a crashed space ship where they’ll see strange denizens like androids who are training in battle. There is a boxing, martial art, and fencing unit among many others that you’ll be meeting.

Different androids from Expedition To The Barrier Peaks by Kevin Glint
Different androids from Expedition To The Barrier Peaks by Kevin Glint

In creating these robot designs they intentionally went for a more retro aesthetic with rolling around on treads. It’s an awesome adventure “but it’s also kind of silly at times”.

Players will get to find a variety of tech weapons and items. They could be small spaceship trinkets or charge based tech devices. Arman didn’t want to tease too much so didn’t delve further. These charged items will use the energy cell. 

In terms of weapons there will be laser pistols, needler rifles, and new granades. “If you were scared about giving them to your players you can always decrease the number of energy cells they find as a finite resource.”

Different technological weapons that players will have access to in the Expedition To The Barrier Peaks adventure in D&D
Different technological weapons that players will have access to in the Expedition To The Barrier Peaks adventure in D&D

The maps have been updated to be a little bit smaller, some of the encounters have been moved around to make more memorable encounters in places along players paths, new encounters have also been created for some of the interesting locations.

The original adventure structure was pretty… unstructured, but now there is more of a throughline to help the players have a sense of direction.

“I think this one tilts past Spelljammer into full sci-fi” – Arman