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Welcome to July’s DMs Guild roundup! Every month I gather together some of the best new releases from the DMs Guild. You won’t find many bestsellers here; the huge amount of new content appearing daily means that lots of great work slips through the cracks. It’s my aim to shed some light on those undiscovered gems, and to give you some fun new things to use in your games that you might not otherwise be aware of.
(With that said, I would be remiss not to at least mention the Tome of Adventures that was released earlier this month. It contains 12 adventures by some of the DMs Guild’s bestselling writers – including M.T. Black and Jeff Stevens – and is sitting tight at #3 in the DMs Guild chart. It’s already a Silver bestseller, and worth your attention. Similarly, Marc Altfuldisch’s Monsters of the Orient is a massive monster manual that has reached the top spot almost immediately upon release and hasn’t moved since.)
This month I’m changing the format of this post very slightly. Many writers on DMs Guild – myself included – make use of Pay What You Want. Personally I’m a huge fan of this model when it works, but there’s no disputing the fact that PWYW titles make very little money for their creators on DMs Guild. I talk about this a lot on Twitter, so in the interests of transparency I’m now going to include the price I paid for every title I include on this list. Since I have limited space to review the titles listed here – a byproduct of the plugin I’m using to display them – I’m going to list put that information first. Think of it as a quick reference guide for everything included this month.
|Title||Price||(Suggested Price if PWYW)||What I Paid|
|The Chapel on the Cliffs||$3.74*||—–||$4.99**|
|The Minotaur’s Bargain||$2.95||—–||$2.95**|
|Secrets of the Scaled Ones: Serpentine Spells||$1.50||—–||$1.50|
|Old School Hacks 2: Player Roles||$2||—–||$4.99***|
|Journey to Chult||PWYW||$1||$1.95|
|Chult Peninsula Map||$4.99||—–||$4.99|
|Bags of Flavour: Trinkets||$1.50*||—–||$2.00|
|Alchemists Fold-Up Minis||PWYW||$0.00||$0.99|
* This title is currently on sale for a reduced price.
** I received a complimentary copy of this title, but paid for it after deciding to include it in the Best Of.
*** This title was listed at a higher price when I bought it. The author reached out to offer me a refund for the difference, but I declined. It’s well worth the price I paid!
The Chapel on the Cliffs by Goblin Stone
The new release from Goblin Stone - the folks behind Banquet of the Damned - is another excellent low-level adventure packed with new monsters, treasures, and some awesome sequences involving more skeletons than you've ever thrown at your party before.
The Totemist by Alex Tanner
I don't often include new classes in this list, because most of the time those new classes would be better served as archetypes of an existing class. When I first saw the Totemist I assumed it would be one of those - why wouldn't it be a Druid Circle? - but I'm happy to admit I was wrong. This is a really interesting take on spellcasting with a lot of flavour a couple of distinct archetypes. It looks pretty well balanced, and I'm looking forward to making use of it.
The Minotaur's Bargain by PB Publishing
Full disclosure; I drew the maps for this adventure. I'm sure you know by now that I wouldn't include it if I didn't think it was great, though. This is a really well-designed, interesting, and - most importantly - fun adventure that takes a criminally underused monster and breathes life into it. Josh Parry's writing is excellent, and I plan to run my group through it as soon as possible. And, if you'll permit my ego to take the reins for a second, it contains some of my best work.
Serpentine Spells by Jeremy Forbing
This is a small collection of 10 new spells and 1 new monster that I think are going to see a lot of use once Tomb of Annihilation comes out and everybody's games turn into jungle crawls. I really like the variety of spells on display here - Fang Trap is a particular favourite - and the Wereserpent is a nice addition to your stock of monsters. Well written, nicely presented, and well balanced.
Old School Hacks 2: Player Roles by Tim Bannock
Each player having their own role in the party beyond their class is something I've always done, and I was surprised to find that that practice seems to have mostly died out in modern versions of the game. This is a really nice primer for new GMs on how to handle player roles - cartographers, quartermasters, rules gurus, etc. - and how to introduce them to your game. It's short and to the point, and I really like it.
Gith Handbook by Patrick & Colin Wilson
The Gith are one of my favourite D&D races, and I'm really happy to see somebody updating them properly for 5e. This includes a racial option for the Gith and a host of class options that seem well-balanced, and there's enough detail here for you to begin to introduce the concept of Spelljamming to your game. And, honestly, why wouldn't you want to do that?
Journey To Chult by Terry Herc
Another short product that does exactly what it sets out to do, providing you with interesting trinkets (we know how I feel about trinkets, right?) and a whole host of adventure hooks and quest ideas to get your party to Chult and give them things to do there while you wait for Tomb of Annihilation. All it's missing is a map, but we'll get to that.
Chult Peninsula Map by Elven Tower
It's no secret that I love Derek Ruiz's work. So much so that even though this directly competes with my own Chult map, I still think it's worth your attention. Derek's map presents Chult as a peninsula rather than an island (when I drew mine I didn't realise it had changed again) and should be perfect for your Tomb of Annihilation needs. Plus it comes with a commercial license for DMs Guild creators.
Goblindependence Day by Broken Knives
A low level adventure that explores what happens when you let goblins loose in a fireworks factory. I'm not sure I really need to say anything else about this. Broken Knives products are always well-written and always look great, and you should definitely check this out.
Fist Weapons by Goblin Ink Press
This introduces a new type of weapon - fist weapons - that go from your basic knuckledusters to more exotic types that deal elemental damage. It's short and sweet, but does a good job of laying out well thought out mechanics to introduce these kinds of weapons to your game. I'm a big fan of it, and I've already been using it in my games.
Finders Keepers by Janek Sielicki
There aren't a whole lot of epic level adventures for 5e, but Sielicki has dived in with both feet first in this massive 60 page adventure. It's well-designed and well-written, and it comes with some great tips for running high level games. The included maps are also really visually striking. Well worth the money.
Bags of Flavour: Trinkets by Dwarves in a Trenchcoat
Yes, another trinkets supplement. I can't get enough of them. Dwarves in a Trenchcoat always go the extra mile with their random roll tables; this is split into multiple types of trinkets (including a section on masks that I'm in love with), all of which are interesting and unusual enough to inspire tons of adventure hooks related to them.
As an added bonus this month, DriveThruRPG are currently having their XMas In July sale. There’s a lot of fantastic things on offer, and I wanted to bring some of them to your attention while the sale is still on.
Tome of Beasts by Kobold Press
I'd feel pretty confident in saying that all GMs have an unhealthy obsession with monsters. In every edition of every RPG I've ever played, monster manuals have been my favourite products. The Tome of Beasts is one of the best - 400 monsters from Kobold Press' back catalogue, all usable in 5e. Enjoy.
The Book of the Tarrasque by Encoded Designs
The Tarrasque is the biggest, baddest monster that most of us never get a chance to actually use. This book will change that for you, because with this much information about the big beast at your fingertips, you'll immediately find an excuse to put it to use.
Weird Adventures by Hydra Cooperative
I'm becoming a huge fan of the work that Hydra Cooperative put out. I've been reading this a lot recently, mining it for ideas and inspiration for all sorts of projects. It's got a really nice pulpy feel to it that puts me in mind of China Mievilla and Jeff Vandermeer at their best. The new monsters are awesome, too.
Kobolds Army Pack by Trash Mob Minis
I've featured Trash Mob paper minis before - and I've featured this pack before - because they're awesome. And now that they're on sale you've got absolutely no reason not to pick them up.
Torchbearer by Burning Wheel
I'm in love with this system and I haven't even had a chance to actually play it yet. Torchbearer focuses a lot on the psychological dangers of adventuring as well as the physical - something that D&D largely ignores - and thematically it really speaks to me. I have visions of running a Darkest Dungeon-esque game using Torchbearer, and I'm really keen to make that happen. Definitely worth looking at.