DISCLAIMER: I was not paid for this review, nor was I given the content for review.
In the midst of a D&D game invariably players will ask for information that has never occurred to the DM. “What’s the name of the tailor’s?” “How much would it cost to buy a giant badger?” Things that, to the DM planning the game, had never caused a blip on the radar. Because, well, who cares what the tailor shop is called? Players apparently, doubly so those who have a bit of downtime and some gold in their pouches from the most recent adventure. And this is where the Between Adventures Handbook by Andrew Cawood & Cawood Publishing comes in handy.
The Between Adventures Handbook has tables, lots and lots of tables that a DM can roll on in any given situation and come up with an answer. The tailor shop is called Stitches for Witches, by the way. There is a table for exotic mounts including their cost, speed and carrying capacity and 2 tables just for horses that includes the type (gelding, mare, or stallion), colour, name, size and traits. If your players need to buy a horse, why not give them Vertigo, a chestnut mare that won’t go over bridges? After that there is the section for encounters including several random events tables, rumours, carousing, pickpocketing (great for when the rogue decides to go, well, rogue and start stealing from the locals), and a rural and wilderness encounter tables.
Where this supplement really shines though is in the NPC and Stores sections. In an instant you can have several NPCs for the players to interact with including their characteristics and stats. All this with just a couple of dice rolls. There’s even tables for hirelings of various levels. The stores section has fully fleshed out shops that includes descriptions, staff, the languages spoken and a list of inventory. To me this is probably the most useful part of this book. During a game, especially shopping episodes my players are constantly asking to go to shops I have never thought of, which means I have to come up with NPCs, shops and inventory at the drop of a hat. This book does it for me. And the shop names are so damn entertaining, The Hoard of Gord I imagine is some small town northern Ontario tackle shop run by Gord a 2nd level neutral evil Barbarian or the Iron Maidens and armour shop run by Laurena a 4th level chaotic evil fighter.
I wish I had found this book sooner. For just under $3 USD you can’t go wrong. I’m going to end up using it on a regular basis, probably while I create adventures as well as when I need something on a whim. Andrew Cawood has done a great job creating random tables for DMs to roll on to save themselves from the bizarre requests of players that invariably make the dungeon master scramble for an answer. It’s a very no frills supplement. It isn’t filled with art or needless fluff, just what you need to run those games where you have nothing planned between adventures. I could literally run a decent 3 hour session using nothing but this book.
In the end if you want to save some time coming up with shops for your town, or you need a quick encounter or random event, or you haven’t come up with anything between adventures then you need this. If you’re like me and you love random tables it’s almost an essential document, and a good trick to have up your sleeve. It’s worth more than the price of admission just for it’s usefulness and the creativity that went into it. Andrew Cawood did all this work creating shops and tables so you don’t have to and you can focus on trying to kill your players.
To pick up a copy of the Between Adventures Handbook go to DMs Guild here.
Also check out Andrew Cawood’s site worldofmyrr.com to find out more of the things he is working on and his other supplements.
If you have used this supplement or others like it let me know in the comments.