DMs Guild Review – Adaptable NPCs II

Over 100 humanoid (and humanoid-adjacent) statblocks, along with 12 drop-in dungeons.

DMs Guild Review

A review copy of “Adaptable NPCs II” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Grim Press (Trevor Armstrong, Jeffrey Fischer)

Adaptable NPCs II is a very much a sequel, expanding on Adaptable NPCs with even more NPC statblocks with picture art and tokens, and another dozen drop-in dungeons with full color battlemaps.

Adaptable NPCs II features 110 new NPC statblocks and 12 drop-in dungeons. When I see “NPC” I think of generic humanoids, like the kinds found in the back of the Monster Manual. Guards, Mages, Bandits, Cultists, etc.

That’s what’s mostly what you’ll find here, with the much more interesting Hollowed Soul, Mage Hunter, and Immolation Archer. Over 80 of the NPCs are between CR 1/8 and CR 10, which feels appropriate when dealing with humanoids who are more defined by their class or spells than monstrous features, though you’ll also find a handful of undead, elementals, and constructs as well.

Like the first Adaptable NPCs, the sequel includes a statblock, a few paragraphs of description, and full color artwork courtesy of Deviantart in a professional, well-organized layout where each NPC takes up a single page.

I love seeing lots of character artwork but mileage will definitely vary. I found many of the art far too dark and muddy. The complaint I had about every female character drawn as a sexpot in the first one has mostly been solved by eliminating almost all female characters this time around. That’s not exactly an ideal solution.

dms guild review

The NPCs include a solid mix of simple quest-givers like the Deserter and the Bungling Burglar, party companions like the Expedition Leader and Herbalist, minions like the Avaricious Sellsword and Frozen Disciple, and potential bosses like the Depraved Queen, Frigid Abysswalker, and the Plague Bearer.

The Frigid Abysswalker is a great example of the straightforward NPC design used throughout the supplement. It’s basically an ice-themed warlock with Ray of Frost, Conjure Water Elemental, Ice Storm, Slow, Mirror Image, etc, along with an ice mephit familiar, a cold damage Eldritch Blast and a re-themed Hellish Rebuke that deals, well, take a wild guess.

You’ll also recognize some familiar statblocks. If Adaptable NPCs created several statblocks out of NPC-versions of player characters, then the sequel does the same with the expanded classes from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, including a Gloom Stalker, Oathbreaker, and Hexblade and Undying Warlocks.

The 12 new drop-in dungeons are designed as single-page dungeon crawls utilizing many of the NPCs found in the supplement. Again, they’re designed exactly the same way as the first supplement, with full color grid battle maps (with separate DM and player map handouts).

Dungeons range from a battle between angels and demons over a river of lava to hordes of undead in a swampy cave grotto. Most are designed as very simple hack and slash gauntlets, with little in the way of role-playing, puzzles, or traps.

The murder mystery surrounding The Queen’s Court dungeon tries to at least make things a bit more interesting, but without a timeline of events, or dialogue, or role-playing notes, it fails to expand beyond the combat-heavy scope of these dungeons.

On the other hand, it’s amazing that we’re given full dungeon designs in a statblock supplement, and for the most part they do a solid job showcasing the best new NPCs the supplement has to offer. Like any good sequel, Adaptable NPCs II does everything the first one does, but better.

Pros:

  • Over 100 NPC statblocks with art and tokens for VTTs.
  • Huge variety of styles including silly (Bungling Burglar, Aging Hero), familiar (Gloom Stalker, Hexblade) and original (Crystal Seer, Plague Bearer).
  • 12 drop-in, single-page dungeons with full-color battle maps that utilize the new NPCs.
  • Separate DM and Player battle maps.

Cons:

  • Dungeons are heavily combat-focused.

The Verdict: Adaptable NPCs II features even more interesting NPC statblocks and fun drop-in dungeons to compliment any D&D campaign.

A review copy of “Adaptable NPCs II” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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