Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeonology
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Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeonology
Written by Matt Forbeck
Illustrations by Matt Forbeck
Candlewick Press
Release Date: October 21, 2016
Cover Price: $24.99

Once upon a time, I was the manager of a Waldenbooks. It was a magical time that spanned nearly a decade and included some of the greatest moments of my life. I loved discussing books with my patrons and always made time to introduce people to new authors and genres. But far surpassing all of that was watching children discover a love of reading. Some were encouraged by family while others found it on their own. Towards the end of that era, a new type of book was finding its way onto bookshelves across the land: the ‘Ology series. It started simply enough, appealing to the general public with enough interactive items within its pages that it created a niche with readers. Unabated, this trend has diversified enough that we have been given something I never thought I would see: Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeonology, a Forgotten Realms ‘Ology. If I wasn’t forty-six, I would probably squee with delight.

Nevermind, it happened anyway.

Turning what is arguably the greatest role-playing game into a participatory book is no small feat. But it seems that Matt Forbeck was up to the challenge, possibly influenced by his close work with D&D co-founder, the late Gary Gygax. But this is no mere activity book, dear reader. In point of fact, it is a journey; an adventure in how to adventure, if you will. Created with the young player or reader in mind, Dungeonology starts off like a tour guide but quickly makes the rounds with advice and lore that will benefit adventurers of any age.

From building a party to equipping yourself for the journey, this book sets the tone for the quests ahead. We also see a bit of the Forgotten Realms themselves, as the book delves into magic items and the local geography. Exploring the distinction in character classes, as well as the variety of creatures and monsters, will help any player understand the nuances and skills of their chosen character and what they might encounter. There’s even a couple of chapters dedicated to the various heroes and villains that populate Faerun.

As your character seeks fortune and glory, in whatever form it presents itself, they will experience a myriad of adventures and not all of them are safe. You see, in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, courage and heroics stand out. If you are wanting to introduce it to a younger person, this could well be the best path. It’s intriguing and informative, but not overbearingly so. Loaded with data but presented in a fun and interactive way, it will surely please anyone. Because at the end of the day, gamers, from every walk of life, play for fun. It’s moderately priced and could be the one thing that sparks their interest in role-playing games in general and D&D in particular.

And if all that isn’t enough, it’s got a frickin’ Mind Flayer on the cover (and in the book). With that knowledge, why wouldn’t you want this?

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