Dungeon Alphabet Review – Expanded 3rd Printing
I’ve been a big fan of Goodman Games for some time, especially since they came out with Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, but before they galvanized the OSR movement, they created some great system-neutral supplements and resources such as PC Pearls, GM Gems, and the awesome Dungeon Alphabet.
Recently they released an expanded third edition of the popular supplement complete with new art, new entries for some letters, and a limited edition gold foil cover. I had previously owned a PDF of the original alphabet, and had raved about it earlier, but with a new expanded limited edition, it was enough for me to make space on my gaming shelves for a print edition.
For those of you not familiar with the concept, the dungeon alphabet has an entry for each letter of the alphabet detailing common features found in dungeons, and provides a table of randomized variables. Its like a random treasure table, but randomizes everything a party would come across in a typical dungeon crawl.
New entries in the expanded edition include: A is also for Adventurers, B is also for Battles, D is also for Dragons, M is also for Maps, P is also for Potions, R is also for Relics, S is also for Stairs, and T is also for Treasure Chests.
This book is filled with inspiration to turn what could normally be a mundane encounter in to something truly memorable. Normally when the heroes find a map, it usually takes the form of ink on parchment and maybe an X that marks the spot. By contrast, here is an entry from M is also for Maps: “The map is in liquid form. Contained in a plain glass bottle, this odd liquid must be sipped to gain the benefits of the map. Each time a small amount of liquid is consumed, the drinker receives an accurate mental picture of the dungeon (or simply their immediate surroundings). This cerebral image is fleeting, lasting no more than a minute or so before fading from the drinker’s mind. In order to make longer use of the liquid map, he must either quickly sketch a copy (and perhaps make errors in his haste) or sample from the bottle regularly and risk running out of the cartigraphical fluid at a crucial moment.” WOW! That is just one of the twelve entries on the maps page.
Some of the pages have multiple tables, or tables within tables allowing for nearly endless combinations, or you can just read them all and pick the one that makes the most sense for the dungeon theme you are trying to create. The price for the gold foil collector’s edition is a bit steep at $29.99, but hey, it’s for collectors. The regular print edition is $19.99, and the PDF is worth every penny at $7.99. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for the dungeon master looking to get the creative juices flowing, and keep their players guessing!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some dungeons to build…