Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: D30 DM Companion

New Big Dragon just released their first for sale product, the D30 DM Companion.  In brief it is a book filled with d30 friendly tables to use for any older D&D based game system.  Available in Hard copy for $7.95 or PDF for $3.00.

What's in it?  Take the old Monsters and Treasure assortment books, mash it up with the JG Ready Reference sheets. Then shake until some bits and bobs fall out and publish. For my money it is that good.

What's to like? MORE great random charts all combined into one book!  Room Traps, dungeon debris, mushrooms and molds, instant equipment loads for characters or NPC's, magic items and poisons and much much more. This books works with B/X editions or clones as well as AD&D 1/2 editions or clones.  Quite possibly it would work with DCC RPG, but I do not have my copy yet so I cannot confirm.

What I like is these charts are the sort of core random charts I would want to reference and use frequently in my DM bag of tricks during gaming.  Ready Reference has many more esoteric charts or even campaign level charts...but frankly I never used them frequently.  I guess it is closer to Monster & Treasure Assortment, but it has MUCH MORE variety and as a DM reference book, more overall utility.

I purchased 2 hard copies as I already learned from the need to have a bullpen book after abusing my M&T and Read Ref copies into Duct Tape patched vagabonds.

While I enjoy the book, I do have 2 gripes:

First, I dislike the use of the d30.  That alone ALMOST stopped me from purchasing.  d66 would have been better in my opinion, but it is not a deal breaker-just a prejudice on my part.

Gripe 2 is layout, ALL of the charts are presented in landscape format.  For me this keeps the book from being easy to use at the table while gaming.  Many of the charts are a terrific resource while gaming so this can be a hindrance to my using it as much as I think I would like to during games.

Overall this is a must buy for any DM designing adventures, someone who enjoys random charts and can be recommended to anyone who also needs to give their d30 a proper work out.  Get your copy 

 Inside these 30-something pages you'll find a host of d30-based resources, including:

• super-quick character generation for classed characters,
including: attributes, motivations and equipment/inventory

• general dungeon features, embellishments, debris, and
geological phenomena

• 27,000 mold/slime variants and 27,000 mushroom variants

• monster encounters for levels 1-9 (270 listings)

• single d30 determination for ranges of "no. appearing"

• monster stats for over 175 monsters and 14 types/classes of humans/humanoids

• 900 trap variants based on 6 trap categories

• treasure hordes (by type) in fewer rolls

• 27,000 unique gem-based treasure items

• 27,000 treasure variants of magical weapons and armor

• 27,000 variants of scrolls, potions, wands, staves, and rods

• over 1.45 billion potion variants

• 60 new miscellaneous magic items

+ a master mapping key and a reproducible Dungeon Crawl Worksheet to assist DMs in mapping and stocking the rooms of their dungeons! 

D&D Next: My 1,000 word take