In July, I received the opportunity to review the first two books in the Young Adventurer’s Guide series. I’ve waited ever since for the chance to pick up the remaining books in the series and, as luck would have it, Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeons & Tombs recently crossed my desk.
Dungeons & Tombs, like its predecessors, is written to strip away the complexities of D&D and focus on the core concepts that make up the game. Coming in at a mere 100 pages, this book is a quick dissection of what makes a good dungeon in the titular Dungeons & Dragons setting. By calling up a few classic examples from D&D lore, presenting monsters that could inhabit them (including the mimic which I felt was sorely missing from Monsters & Creatures), and even giving examples of how to build a dungeon, this book serves as a crash course in the Dungeon Master experience.
The writing of Dungeons & Tombs is the same tight structure that I appreciated in the earlier installments. Jim Zub, the author, has this remarkable talent for writing simply without feeling like he’s speaking down to the reader, which is especially important when writing for younger audiences. Despite this, I found the writing this time around a little drier than the previous books. Then again, crumbling ruins and underground caves might just lack the same dramatic appeal as knights and dragons.
The artwork is still top notch, and this time around brings with it the added bonus of being comprised primarily of beautiful landscape shots. The bestiary contained within does have its own fair share of beautiful art; the Water Elemental Myrmidon is a particular beauty. Dungeons & Tombs really flexes one of the biggest advantages D&D has over other tabletop systems which is its vast array of incredible artists practically falling over themselves to provide visual intrigue to the world.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeons & Tombs is a strong addition to the Young Adventurer’s Guide series. The book stands on its own as an introduction to dungeon crafting, but its greatest value will be as part of a set. Collectively, these books make for a beautiful introduction to the world of fantasy gaming and, as I said back in July, would make an effective tool even for older audiences who were less than familiar with the tropes and ideas of tabletop fantasy. I’d recommend the entire set!
Creative Team: Jim Zub (Author), Stacy King (Author), Andrew Wheeler (Author)
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Click here to purchase.