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Synopsis:

booksIf you are looking to add some extra “loot” or “treasure” for your adventurers in Dungeon’s and Dragons 5e, you will want to check out Books of Knowledge by Jesse Benjamin.  From the description in the beginning of this supplement it explains the following:

“This guide presents non-magical items in the forms of books and tomes, called Books of knowledge, that grant players minor benefits or hindrances meant to further enhance their overall character build.”

Some of the new optional rules that you will see in this supplement revolve around the following:

  • Reading Time – basically how many uninterrupted rests or days that it takes a character to read the book
  • Pre-requisites – for understanding the books subject matter
  • Comprehension Checks – passing a DC check (based on the books rarity) after the specified reading time is completed to see if you successfully obtain the effects
  • Effects – some of the books have lasting effects and others have one time use effects (similar to scrolls)
  • Script (optional) – a d20 table that you can roll to see what language the book is written in.  If a character doesn’t know that language, they won’t be able to read it.

First Impressions:

horse.pngThis supplement stood out to me by giving a Dungeon Master more options to reward players with that are not usually even thought of as a reward.  It details out not only the books (with author and description) but also the new rules in which to utilize these books.

And these books are not just for specific classes, they offer insights into all sorts of topics/subjects and grant special effects to any player in regards to the topic.

Titles Include: “A Guide to Giants”, “Astibelle’s Guide to Divination”, “Equestrian Anatomy”, “Tome of Wand Maintenance”

Full Example:

Art of Axe-Throwing”
Rarity: Uncommon
Author: Hevaehulda Broadgut
Reading time: 3 days
Comprehension check: Acrobatics or Sleight of Hand (hard)
Effects: When you throw a weapon that has the thrown property and that does slashing damage, you may extend the normal range for your throw by an additional 5 feet. The maximum range for that throw remains the same.

Description: A rather tongue-and-cheek approach to dwarven weapon training, this guide offers even the most clumsy aspirant a practical approach towards bettering their dexterous abilities.


Pro’s:

  • Easy to understand rules for using this supplement.
  • Very cool effects to use and hindrances (such as permanent Flaws) potentially obtained.
  • A well thought out table of prices for each of the books by rarity if you want to have shop owners sell them.
  • Random Tables for determining where you might find or award these books.  Differing Tables for shops, merchants, temples, libraries, dungeons, etc.

Con’s:

  • Comprehension Check rules – I do like the idea of making a check after completing reading a book.  But when you fail, the rules state that you cannot try to make another attempt until your next level.  Also, for the ones that only grant you 1 “charge”, you cannot recharge your understanding by doing another comprehension check until your next level as well. This seems harsh to me, as I feel like your players might never get to use them at all in your campaign, or even if they do, the book itself becomes something less special if you have to wait a whole level to get to use it again.  (I am looking at this from a higher level perspective when levels slow down)
  • Some minor misspellings throughout the supplement

Overall Impressions:

skullI think this is a fantastic supplement to add to your games and make a more memorable campaign.  It is only 26 pages long, so it is easy to print and put in with all of your other DM supplements or notes. (Also, its only $1.00 USD)

I could see someone getting alot of use out of this.  Even if you don’t follow the rules in the supplement to a T and just need some interesting names and description of books or tomes that your players can find.

I personally will be using this in my current campaign with my players.  They are currently exploring an ancient library in the “Claws of Madness” campaign setting (by LoreSmyth), so this is perfect for me to give them something special to find and give them each a unique way to building their characters up.


Where to Find It:

You can find this amazing tool on the Dungeon Master’s Guild website HERE.

c1b4c964216d18fe5072ef57d97173d4Books of Knowledge comes packed with:

  • An expansive and entirely new optional system for 5e
  • 100 unique and distinctive books to customize character builds!
  • Treasure tables to easily incorporate books of knowledge into your campaign

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