Hey all, Dani here.
You know, when I planned today’s book review, I wasn’t originally thinking about the fact that it is a Dungeons & Dragons based review, which is silly, because I bought the book to be used by myself and our group’s other Dungeon Masters for session planning.
But, I guess this does work sort of as my first Dungeons & Dragons post. I’m hoping to have a variety of things in this series…from reviews of accessories that could be helpful for players and/or game masters to tips and tricks and ideas for combat, role-play, and more. Basically if it’s something that is related to D&D, it is something that I might cover here…and occasionally I might talk about things that happen in my real-life campaigns…though I might have to be vague on one of the campaigns as my group has me writing the novel series about our adventures so I don’t want to spoil my books before I write and publish them.
Anyway, today is a review for a nice bookish product that might be helpful for dungeon/game masters as they build up their world and/or story, so let’s go ahead and jump into the review.
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Roll & Play: The GM’s Fantasy Toolkit is the ultimate collection of random tables for D&D and fantasy RPGs! The tables in this book are filled with story prompts, character names, loot ideas, random encounters and magic items that will take your campaign to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner game master or have been running sessions for decades, this book is a handy companion to anyone planning campaigns and improvising at the tabletop. The GM’s Fantasy Toolkit’s A5 wire-bound design means it can lie flat and fit snugly behind your GM Screen, with the rest of your gaming essentials.
Chapter 1: People and Quests
Character names and behaviours, ally and villain origin stories, organisation names, campaign ideas and more.
Chapter 2: World Building
Town features and local attractions, rumours, bounty posters, taverns, food and drink, festivals, games and more.
Chapter 3: Journeys and Events
Supernatural patrons, ghosts, dreams, traps, as well as random encounters across a range of environments.
Chapter 4: Combat and Injuries
Melee, ranged and magic critical hit/fail tables, revival side effects, lasting injuries, diseases, blessings and more.
Chapter 5: Items and Rewards
Magic armour, magic weapons, alchemy misfires, potions, scams, plants, books, art pieces, chest fillers and more.
Rating: 5 stars
There are so many useful charts in this book…from character names to random weapons and magic items to loot and other types of rewards or gifts. It’s a treasure trove of information to help with crafting a world or a city or a town. The charts in this book can help set up a few simple job boards for the player characters to look at and choose to take on, to the skeleton of ideas for plots and goals that can last for many sessions.
I loved the layout overall. It was a simple design, which made it easy to follow, and the colors were cheerful and made it all look nice and fun.
I ended up getting the physical book, though there is also a PDF version, and then I added on a free bonus PDF that gave a few more charts to utilize.
There are so many shops out there that create TTRPG aids and accessories like this one and I enjoy exploring them. Now, I know that some tables out there stick to purely what is official from Wizards of the Coast for their 5th Edition D&D setting, but I think there is such a fun wealth of information from third-party sources and it seems a shame to ignore those. Plus, utilizing things like third party monster manuals and alternate backgrounds and class archetypes and such can broaden the world so much more–and let’s be honest, the additional monster manuals is really useful when you’re DMing for someone who is also a DM or who has played for a while and is familiar with most of the official monsters…you can throw them a curveball or two, which is pretty exciting.
I’ll definitely be talking about some of these other third-party resources in future posts, but for now, I’ll leave you with just this short, almost pocket sized, book that can be a nice useful start to more options.