DMs Guild Review – The Babbling Wizard’s Guide to Reality

Tables upon tables of spells, subclasses, and items, including dozens of new encounter tables.

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Designed by: Babbling Wizard

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It’s been six years since the release of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. We’ve had well over a dozen official 5e campaign books, supplements, and sourcebooks, and it can be tricky to keep track of it all. The Babbling Wizard’s Guide to Reality combines several books worth of content into updated tables of races, subclasses, magic items, and encounters, with an emphasis on creating dozens of new random encounter tables.

The Guide to Reality includes over 160 pages divided into four parts, but very little of it is actually new content. It mostly lists information that’s already available in various official publications, including later supplements like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, though it does try to present the information in useful ways, like a table of NPCs, organized by challenge rating and by areas they may be found in, such as temples, castles, and bandit hideouts.

At the time of this review it lacks the new content from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and on the adventure side, only includes content from the two Tyranny of Dragons books. The supplement is designed as a living document that will be updated with more content, though it’s still strange that older 5e adventures (which include new monsters, items, etc) that released three, four, or five years ago aren’t yet included.

Part one lists character options like races, subclasses, feats, and spells. In the internet age this information is already readily available, though having a table of familiars that includes the variants from Volo’s Guide to Monsters can be helpful. For some reason the list of spells (by class and level) were not given the purple table treatment as the other tables, and looks like an unattractive index without the page numbers.

Part two includes tables of magic items, weapons and armor, adventure hooks, and traps. The magic item tables are barely updated from the original Dungeon Master’s Guide, throwing in the extra Common magic items from Xanthar’s – though I did like the new cursed item effects table. The list of traps is more useful, as we don’t have a well-organized table of traps in the DMG (and the designer provides a few new ones).

The adventure hooks finally provide some new content, but it’s a bit lacking. Adventure Hooks are usually a few sentences that set up a (hopefully intriguing) adventure, giving the players motivation to go somewhere and do a thing.

These hooks are more like world-building random encounters and flavoring, like meteor showers, a frozen body, severed heads on poles, or an earthquake. They’re organized by region and can be useful to fill out travel sequences, but I’m not sure I would count them as adventure hooks.

Part two also includes a sample level one adventure. On the one hand an adventure in a supplement is a pleasant surprise. On the other hand, it’s a boring, generic dungeon crawl. I know level one adventures can be limiting, and this one at least attempts to create an interesting set-up, with an imposter priest who swindles a town and makes off with the money.

But when the adventure begins, the heroes are simply hired to go to the villain’s lair, which includes a couple rooms, several cultists, the cliché room full of sarcophagi that releases skeletons, and a boss fight with the priest whose nefarious plans involve… making zombies.

On the plus side we’re given a full color grid battle map. The designer goes even further by providing the actual dungeon pieces, like hallways and rooms, to create our own modular dungeons. Nice!

Parts three and four are all about the monsters, with part three focusing on humanoid NPCs and part four covering monsters. Over a third of the total supplement lists pages and pages of encounter tables. Over 60 pages of monster encounters for every region, setting, and dungeon lair you could think of.

I’m not being hyperbolic. Yes there are encounter tables for oceans, tundra, deserts, and swamp, as in Xanathar’s (though the tables here are much, much larger). But we also have tables for Sahuagin raiding parties, kobold lairs, mind flayer sanctums, and fire giant strongholds.

What about places outside the material plane? How about the Shadowfell, the Ethereal Plane, and the Elemental Planes. How about The Infinite Battlefield of Acheron, the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, and all nine layers of the abyss?  These aren’t simply d10 tables either, each is a d100 with over 20 different monster encounters, organized by challenge rating.

I don’t roll for random encounters in my campaigns, so random encounter tables don’t help me as much as scripted encounters (which many 5e campaign books provide). But what does help are lists of monsters by region and CR, creating a quick at-a-glance method of populating a lair or a section of dangerous overland travel.

If encounter tables aren’t of use to you, The Babbling Wizard’s Guide to Reality doesn’t have much else to offer. It’s nice having all the officially published content organized into tables, but it’s also not hard to find that same information online, and I would have been more impressed had it at least included all the 5e campaign adventure content up through this year, instead of only the five year old Tyranny of Dragons.

Pros:

  • Over 60 pages of encounter tables for every type of environment and dungeon.
  • New Cursed Item Effects table.
  • Adventure includes full color grid battle map with modular tiles.

Cons:

  • Lacks new content (mostly aggregates existing content).
  • Extremely generic level 1 dungeon.

The Verdict: The Babbling Wizard mostly relies on, and combines existing 5e content to build dozens of helpful tables, including monster encounters for every kind of dungeon and location you could ever want.

This review has been sponsored 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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