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Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Xanathar’s Guide To Everything
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Dungeons & Dragons: Xanathar’s Guide To Everything
Hardcover
D&D Accessory
Wizards of the Coast
Release Date: November 21, 2017

Creating magic as they always do, the creative team at Wizards of the Coast has deemed the world worthy of a new guide book. Xanathar’s Guide To Everything is an essential addition to the world’s greatest roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons! And better yet, at least for me, these great folks sent me not just an advance copy but they, in fact, sent me two! One of each cover. But enough of my shameless bragging, let me tell you about this newest release!

This tome is comprised of almost 200 pages of lore, ranging from arcane spells and items to specialization and options within character classes. This is in addition to the additional material presented for Dungeon Masters. In fact, the supplemental book is broken into three primary parts with two additional appendices. So much is packed within these pages that I will probably not even begin to do it justice. Nevertheless, I will do my best.

The first chapter is dedicated wholly to Characters, not just the classes and sub-classes but also backgrounds, personas, and even their physical appearance. Nothing is mandated, allowing for a unique character for the player. Instead, options are given as a random designation or even just as a point of reference. The sub-classes are even broken down into smaller sections to allow for special circumstances to dictate special abilities or powers. Every specialized skill allows the player to customize their character far beyond anything previously available in the Player’s Handbook. The different races are also explored slightly by allowing additional feats based upon the player’s choice of playable races.

Next up is a section for the Dungeon Masters as it deals with the mechanics and logistics of the game. There are many pieces touched upon here, but the ones that stand out are ones that effect the overall play of the game. Exploring the concept of rest or sleep and how it impacts the skills of the character is an excellent refinement. So, too, is the breakdown of random encounters based on terrain and locale. A deep dive into traps serves to create more accountability for actions during game play. But perhaps the most important factor is the one that focuses on the more mundane: how and why player characters interact with non-player characters; speaking to both the hazards and the benefits of everything from buying magic items to creating scrolls for the arcane crowd. The added bonus to that is the breakdown of what and where magical items might be encountered in a realistic, metaphorically speaking, fashion.

The last of the chapters is about Spells. This is the smallest of the three primary sections and is broken into class lists. each and every one of these is new to this edition of the game. Enhancing and expanding the spell repertoire of any spell caster will add even more fun and excitement to anyone playing one of the applicable character classes. The one thing that I found difficult here was that the descriptions for them all were presented in a single, alphabetical list. I find myself flipping back and forth as I searched for individual spells.

I mentioned a couple of appendices earlier and they deal less with the actual game than they do with the concept of it. I was pleased to find that special attention was given to the perception of a role playing game from the player’s vantage point. Consistently, I read that the purpose of this Campaign-style game and all the core rules was to have fun. Speaking to participation and teamwork, the first appendix is really meant to reinforce the fundamentals of why we all play. The other added section is strictly about Names, broken down names and commonality. The most intriguing part for me was the inclusion of human names that are arranged by indigenous areas and countries of Earth.

All in all, this is a treasure trove of information, a regular unearthed arcana, pun intended. I was thrilled to receive it but that excitement was doubled, in truth, because the good folks sent me both covers of the book. I would give one away but I have no idea which one I would prefer! Speaking of, the gamer in your life will appreciate either one, I am quite sure. With the holidays coming up fast, this is one of the best gifts you could possible get for anyone who plays Dungeons & Dragons. Do not delay, grab your copy today!

Explore a wealth of new rules options for both players and Dungeon Masters in this supplement for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
The beholder Xanathar—Waterdeep’s most infamous crime lord—is known to hoard information on friend and foe alike. The beholder catalogs lore about adventurers and ponders methods to thwart them. Its twisted mind imagines that it can eventually record everything!

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is the first major expansion for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, offering new rules and story options:

• Over twenty-five new subclasses for the character classes in the Player’s Handbook, including the Cavalier for the fighter, the Circle of Dreams for the druid, the Horizon Walker for the ranger, and many more
• Dozens of new spells, a collection of racial feats, and a system to give your character a randomized backstory
• A variety of tools that provide Dungeon Masters fresh ways to use traps, magic items, downtime activities, and more—all designed to enhance a D&D campaign and push it in new directions

Amid all this expansion material, Xanathar offers bizarre observations about whatever its eyestalks happen to glimpse. Pray they don’t come to rest on you.

Beauty and guile are in the eyes of the beholder!

D&D Xanathar's Guide to Everything

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