This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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Designed by:Christian ZeuchAzzael UlbrinterCassandra MacDonaldGabriel KerrKayla BayensMicah WyattNeverNotDMVall SyreneKai LinderKathleen HarringtonMatthew WulfRyan LangrStuart Broz

You may recognize CZRPG from his amazing tabletop map art, or perhaps from his series of Encounters books on the DMs Guild, including the several I’ve reviewed over the years.

Encounters in the Forgotten Realms combines eight of Christian Zeuch’s previously released Encounters books into one big megabook, and available for print-on-demand for the first time.

This compilation book features the following eight encounter books, each of which are also available separately on the DMs Guild:

All together, there’s over 120 encounters, over 50 statblocks, over 20 magic items, and nearly 100 full color maps (grid and non-gridded versions).

Wait, so does Encounters in the Forgotten Realms add any new content?

Well, no. It features a lovely forward by Ed Greenwood, a uniform layout, and another editing pass, making it the most attractive, complete version of the series — all of which were already very attractive and bursting with content!

Half of the encounter books are designed specifically for their respective 5e campaign adventures: Encounters in Chult (Tomb of Annihilation), Icewind Dale Expanded (Rime of the Frostmaiden), Deeper Descent into Avernus (Descent into Avernus), and Queen’s Hoard Expanded (Hoard of the Dragon Queen). The other half are thematically tied to their regions, but don’t have any ties to the official campaigns.

These encounter books feature two major advantages: ease of use, and awesome map art.

encounters fallen guardian

Each encounter opens with a bullet point list of important information: level range, type (combat, social, etc), a one-sentence overview, and the location. All the most important bits are right there at the beginning. Then I can dive into the encounter itself, which is typically around a page long, and is further organized into possible outcomes and rewards.

The other big thumbs up are the maps: VTT fans, rejoice! Zeuch is a talented map artist, and provides bespoke maps for nearly every single encounter.

Encounters are almost never mapped in official campaigns, and it’s incredibly helpful to have these maps provided, whether it’s a Roc’s cliffside nest in the jungle, an outdoor courthouse in the Feywild, or a deep dragon’s lair in the Underdark.

With over 120 encounters, there’s a huge variety of styles within their respective themes and locations. Icewind Dale Expanded features a better introduction to Vellyne, a creepy usage of an escaped Intellect Devourer preying on a town, and an intriguing investigation into the Zhentarim takeover of Targos. I even used one of the encounters, “Wrath of the Giant” in my own live streamed campaign!

Other highlights include a mimic bridge in the jungles of Chult, a rampaging, awakened infernal engine in Avernus, a light-based puzzle featuring shadow demons in the Underdark, and a full-blown Tier 4 invasion by a naval armada of Asmodeus on Candlekeep.

Not every encounter is a winner, and I like some of the encounter books much more than others (see my ranking below). Since you can purchase all of these separately, if you’re only looking for encounters for a single region or campaign, you may be better off simply grabbing that specific book. But Encounters in the Forgotten Realms is an excellent starter pack (and a good deal bundle!), and having over 100 encounters to peruse is a fantastic resource for any DM or GM.

My ranking of the encounter books:

  1. Encounters in Chult
  2. Encounters in the Feywild
  3. Deeper Descent into Avernus
  4. Icewind Dale Expanded
  5. Encounters in the Underdark
  6. Encounters in Candlekeep
  7. Encounters in Icewind Dale
  8. Queen’s Hoard Expanded


  • Combines eight previously released encounter books with over 120 encounters.
  • Encounters feature a variety of role-playing, combat, exploration, and puzzles.
  • Easy-to-read formatting and layout, organizing encounters by type, level, location, and overview.
  • Nearly 100 full color battle maps by CZRPG!


  • Some encounter books are far better than others, with Queen’s Hoard Expanded and Encounters in Icewind Dale as the weakest links.

The Verdict: If you’ve somehow missed the Encounters series, Encounters in the Forgotten Realms is an excellent starter pack, with dozens of well-organized and easy-to-run encounters and battle maps for familiar locations and major 5e campaign adventures in the most popular D&D setting.

A review copy of “Encounters in the Forgotten Realms” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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