Roll20 Review – Xanathar’s Guide to Everything + Underworld Speculation

The Roll20 bundle includes everything in the published guidebook as well as a level 3 AL module, Underworld Speculation.

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A press review copy of the module was provided. Read more Roll20 Reviews and watch the video reviews on my YouTube channel.

Support my video work via Patreon.

Xanather’s Guide to Everything is an all-encompassing supplement and compendium for both players and DMs, though geared much more towards players. Its biggest feature are new subclasses for every single class, opening a lot more variety and player builds, while also including firm rules on frequent rules questions and options, such as downtime, magic item distribution, and detailed usage for tool proficiencies.

The Roll20 bundle includes everything in the book, as well as an adaptation of an Adventurer’s League module, “Underworld Speculation,” which features the titular beholder in a really fun, unique way. Xanather’s makes for a great addition for any serious Roll20 adventuring group, though its complete lack of monster sheets, tokens, art, and maps also make it the least important.

MAJOR SPOILERS – DM’s only!

The following content is included in the $29.99 Xanathar’s Guide to Everything Bundle:

  • The Underworld Speculation adventure module, which includes:
    • Token Page with 5 NPC tokens.
    • 7 pre-generated level 3 character sheets with matching tokens and artwork.
    • 1 5-ft full DM Map w/ Dynamic Lighting.
    • 1 5-ft player map w/ Dynamic Lighting and tokens.
    • 1 10-ft player map w/ Dynamic Lighting and tokens.
    • 1 random battle map
    • Adventure text divided into three parts.
  • 32 new subclasses
  • Over 90 new spells
  • 50 new Common Magic Items
  • Additional Dungeon Master rules and details, including traps, tool proficiency usage, sleeping, and falling.
  • Compendium sharing can easily be added into any campaign and shared with other players. See here for limitations.

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Xanather’s Guide to Everything was billed as the first major expansion to Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. It’s a supplement to many rules and features from the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide, none of which I would categorize as must-haves, particularly when there’s a wealth of resources and additional content on places like the Dungeon Master’s Guild.

However, the huge number of new subclasses are a fantastic addition that opens up even more fun possibilities for players. Most if not all were provided as free downloads via Unearthed Arcana, but now they’ve been refined, balanced, and legalized for Adventurer’s League play.

Having these subclasses available in Roll20 means you can select them when either leveling up or when making a new character via the Charactermancer (for more on how this works, watch my Charactermancer video).

The charactermancer is great, but it’s also not terribly difficult to simply copy the information manually. The new spells can be directly searched, dragged, and dropped into the new character sheets just like the spells from the Player’s Handbook, again providing a nice, neat shortcut.

Since Xanathar’s doesn’t include any new lore, maps, or creatures, its use for Roll20 is vastly limited. Roll20 responded by including a level 3 Adventurer’s League module, “Underworld Speculation.” This adventure is also freely available to Roll20 Pro and Plus subscribers.

As far as AL adventures go, this one is memorable for its unique setting. The PCs unknowingly wake up in a sandy cave, where a nearby glowing orb asks for aid. The orb is actually the housed sentience of an aboleth that was defeated by the Xanathar long ago. It years for revenge, and so teleports adventurers into its location – the fishbowl home of the Xanathar’s beloved pet fish!

Yep, the entire dungeon is a fish bowl. The PCs don’t even realize it until they emerge from the caves after fending off tentacled previous adventurers and a boss-like giant flail snail. Syglar the fish is gargantuan and can easily eat them, but there’s also loot to be found inside some clams and an underwater castle filled with algaepygmy.

There’s a lot of fun stuff going on, though the ending could be a bit anticlimactic depending on the PC’s actions. The orb will create a pact where it will teleport them out, provided they promise to defeat the Xanathar, which could make for a fun, if very challenging lead into Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. On the other hand the PCs can refuse and attempt to escape themselves by defeating the giant fish and climbing out, which teleports them out as well.

roll20 review

It’s a really fun idea for a simple adventure, even if it’s very likely to end in a TPK (the PCs are fighting underwater the entire time, and underwater combat rules apply). It’s also a fun way to include Xanathar without actually featuring the crime lord himself. And the twist of realizing you’re inside a damn fish tank is just too damn good.

Unfortunately the maps are done in the Dyson Logos style, like much of Wizards of the Coasts’ recent adventures. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I really do not like that art style. It’s especially a bummer because so much of the neat part of this adventure is the physical setting.

“Underworld Speculation” looks like a lot of fun, though Xanather’s Guide to Everything is ultimately the most superfluous purchase you could make when it comes to official D&D products for Roll20.

The Pros:

  • Dozens of new subclasses and spells that are integrated into the Charactermancer and compendium.
  • The included adventure “Underworld Speculation” is a lot of fun, with an incredibly memorable twist.
  • Pre-generated characters have great token art and use new subclasses from XGE.

The Cons:

  • Dyson Logos-style ink maps for “Underworld Speculation” look bad on Roll20.
  • XGE doesn’t include any new maps or creature sheets or tokens that are most useful to Roll20.

The Verdict: “Xanathar’s Guide to Everything” includes lots of useful new options for players and DMs, and The included AL adventure is a lot of fun, but without maps or tokens the content is the least useful of all the roll20 adaptations.

A press review copy of the module was provided. Read more Roll20 Reviews and watch the video reviews on my YouTube channel.

Support my video work via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

2 thoughts on “Roll20 Review – Xanathar’s Guide to Everything + Underworld Speculation”

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