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Designed by: RPGPapercrafts
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Books are often a source of mystery and intrigue, particularly in fantasy worlds full of arcane spellbooks and infernal rituals. “Books & Libraries” goes far beyond filling out a few sample lore books and spellbooks, however, creating a huge variety of scholarly loot, devious traps, and even extradimensional history books.
The vast new trove of books are divided into the following categories: lore, skill guides, religious texts, traps (including mimics), arcane (including spellbooks), codices, eldritch volumes, planar novels, and sentient books. Whew! Needless to say there’s a ton of content here to fill out any kind of library, let alone add plenty of new book-based options for loot tables.
Lore books offer d100 tables of humorous tongue-in-cheek book titles and descriptions, in case you need to scramble while your PCs peruse a bookshelf. Skill guides offer potential permanent bonuses to skills, while trap books come in multiple flavors, including teeth-thrashing mimics, spell snares, and subliminal books, which work similarly to the Suggestion spell or a long-term madness effect.
I was most impressed with the way many of the books combine interesting role-playing moments and lore with in-game mechanical benefits and abilities. Illuminated manuscripts can be used with prayer to provide divine bonuses – as long as the PC adheres to their chosen god or goddess. Eldritch Volumes are dripping with horror, providing access to evil rituals that provide some bonuses, at the cost of incurring madness effects. Planar novels allow the PCs to travel into an extradimensional book realm. The two examples, a history book detailing a siege and an educational book on spell usage, look like a lot of fun and could be spun out into entire sessions.
The only weak link in the entire supplement are the libraries. The library section is all of two pages, and mostly provides a list of famous libraries in the Forgotten Realms, as well as some exotic library locations. I was expecting some maps, or at least more detailed examples and templates, especially given how detailed the books are.
- Extensive details on magical and mundane books to fill out D&D libraries and scholarly loot.
- Large variety of book types, including mimics, spellbooks, skill guides, traps, and dimensional gateways.
- Many of the books expertly combine interesting role-playing moments and areas with thematic benefits and detriments.
- The library section is comparatively weak, mostly listing famous libraries of the Forgotten Realms.
The Verdict: “Books and Libraries” not only provides a fantastic resource to fill out a library or shop, but also introduces several fascinating new book-based magical features and ideas to make books exciting rewards as well as dangerous threats.
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