We recently got a review copy of the Dungeonology book by Candlewick Press and Matt Forbeck. It’s a D&D companion book aimed at a setting specific overview of the Forgotten realms and general D&D concepts. Written by Matt Forbeck with an introduction by Ed Greenwood, the book is a pretty interesting and interactive look at the Forgotten Realms and D&D tropes in general.
There are many pop up and interactive elements, including a gigantic map of the sword coast.Some of the elements are just for extra tactile effect and to create interactivity for a younger audience, while some like A Novice’s Spellbook or Volo’s Guide to the Forgotten Realms tucked away in the back provide a level of immersion if you were using it as an in-world supplement.
Art and Design Quality
The art is pulled from current D&D books and will look very familiar to anyone who has pawed through the PHB. I couldn’t distinctly pick out any unique or new art aside from some design elements or some interactive things like the 3D lenticular stuff. That serves the book well if it is used as a stepping stone/introductory element for new players. When they get to the gaming books with rules, things will have a familiar feel. The quality of the book is great, and that isn’t surprising as Candlewick/Templar does this sort of thing regularly with their other “OLOGY” book series.
There are a few interesting ways I can see using this book. It is aimed at being kid friendly, so as a way to introduce a younger child (ages 10 and up suggested on the back) to D&D/fantasy games, it works very well as an enticing and fascinating introduction. For a new player, unfamiliar with D&D tropes or concepts, this is also an incredible overview of the adventuring lifestyle. Sections like The Adventuring Party, Equipment, Magic and Magic Items, and Monsters (just a few), work very well to outline some gaming tropes and concepts in a way that is uncluttered by a need to teach the rules alongside familiarizing with the concepts. I’d liken it to reading the companion guide to a video game and learning about the world without having to learn what buttons do what. It’s more immersive and can help teach some of the less concrete gaming concepts.
One other way I could see using this book is as an in-game prop – something the adventurers find or have access to. There is a plethora of information in the book that would eliminate the “have you ever encountered a mimic, how do you know to check to see if the chest is one?” issues that players who have been playing for a while have. Embracing the concept that the book is the knowledge the players have can provide a good basic grounding for a game that isn’t zero to hero in concept. There are a few things in the book that might spoil published adventures. I found a spoiler for Storm King’s Thunder, a campaign I’m currently a player in, but that is a possibility with any supplemental product like this.
Final Thoughts and Get Our Copy!
Overall, the book is a very interesting concept and a beautiful art piece. For anyone with kids wanting to share the hobby, or anyone wanting to use the book to introduce gaming concepts, it is an excellent purchase. At $25 (currently cheaper on Amazon) it is a decent buy that comes in at far less than other gaming books and has a ton of interesting interactive elements for the price.
The Dungeonlogy book comes out on November 8th, but we’ve got the review copy sent to us and we want to send it to you! Just leave a comment on this post before October 21st and we’ll randomly choose (by dice roll, of course) one of the commenters or one of our Patreon supporters and send them the review copy of Dungeonology.
Update: Congratulations Seannachie! You came up as the winner in the random draw. We took our patreon list and the comment list, assigned them a random order 3 or 4 times to “shuffle the deck” and then rolled the dice (random.org) to get the winner! I’ll be contacting you via email to get shipping details!
I didn’t know WotC is willing to license out 5e books, especially one that uses Forgotten Realms. Have they done this for anything else?
I will be looking for this…if I dont get lucky and win a copy 🙂
looks great. Winning a copy would be great. Gonna have to check it out no matter what.
This book sounds wonderful and like a lot of fun! I am especially excited about the Forgotten Realms content. Reminds me a little bit of the “Dragons” and “Fairy” books with the pop ups and little specials. Always loved those.
Looks pretty sweet!
Can’t wait for this one, looks funny enough to show my players: This is something you all should have read when started adventuring.
I wish that I had something like this when I started playing; I probably wouldn’t have been sacrificed to that artifact.
Oh, this looks great, a good introduction to the world of D&D…
This book looks like an adventure in it’s self.
I really wish that I had something like this back in the 90’s… I could use it with my new players.
Wow! It looks pretty cool:) I like the map and letterðŸ˜Š
I totally deserve a copy so I can give it to my group as a player artefact!
This is perfect! When I was a kid the dragonology book was a real boost to get me into fantasy books and movies, and afterwards, D&D. This is a must have, it not only brings forth some childhood memories but also looks like a great tool for any game!
This looks like a great resource for introducing younger audiences to gaming by offering more visual and interactive elements. I might have a use for something like this! 😉
Congratulations Seannachie! You came up as the winner in the random draw. We took our patreon list and the comment list, assigned them a random order 3 or 4 times to “shuffle the deck” and then rolled the dice (random.org) to get the winner! I’ll be contacting you via email to get shipping details!
Thank you very much! I’m very much looking forward to going through this myself, particularly after your review!
I’ve seen a plethora of this kind of “interactive” books out there, about castles, monsters, dragons, etc. It just feels right to have one about D&D… how didn’t we thought about it before?
Thanks for the review! It looks like alot more than I originally thought it would be.
Woohoo, this looks like an incredible product! Consider me in the running for the review copy! Thanks for being so generous!
I have to say the artwork on the 5th edition books is very good. Here’s hoping I win! 🙂
I think this sounds great. I didn’t even know this was on it’s way out this soon. This is fantastic. I would love to own a copy. Oooo I hope I win.
My party would love this! I could use it to introduce the game to my son as well!
Great site, thank you so much for all the wonderful content!!!!
Give give give. Mine mine mine.
Or I’ll just buy one later if I don’t win.
Looks fun to use especially since I’ve begun teaching my nephew to play and will soon be teaching my son, too.
Amazing-looking book. Kids should really be into it.
The Dungeonology book is amazing! Very nicely done and the artwork is awesome! Just started DM-ing (in a Forgotten Realms setting) and I’d really like to own this book.
My 12 year old daughter would love this, as would I. On the extremely rare chance that I’m not the winner of this giveaway, I’ll have to order it for her. Thanks for the review and the chance to win it!
Looks very well done.
Just what I need for my younger counsin (He is currently 2 months old but in a future I want to teach him how to play D&D).
Just comment and I might win a copy? That would be cool.
I’d like to see this done for Greyhawk and PlaneScape settings.
Only 85 comments so far?
Seeing this book on websites, I usually passed it up since I didn’t think it looked or used anything official, but this review has me doing a double-take!
This would be great to add to collection and also help with the current campaign I’m running
Ahh, that would be a great prop for my players aged 8-10.
I was planning to get one of these for my son’s 8-year-old birthday!
What an incredible book! My gamers would love this as a resource!
I’d love to be able to show this to perspective gamers to give them an idea where things could go.
Finally a decent overview. I was finding it very hard to gain any Knowledge of this book. I found People on Reddit calling it a coloring book and was really confused. This actually looks really nice. Not sure if it’s something for my group, but might pick it up. Would have loved this when we were starting out thought.
Thanks for the overview. And thanks for the chance at winning.
Looks like a fun book to share with my kiddos. I’m about to introduce my Daughter to D&D and this would be a fun way to help visualize all of the great things in Forgotten Realms. Her birthday is approaching & I hope to win it! If not, I will have to find it at my FLGS.
I love the direction they’re starting to take the books– this and Volo’s Guide look fantastic.
You had me at ” interactive elements”, but upon seeing the rest… I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!
Great review. I look forward to checking it out in person.
lovely book, looks like something that’d be highly enjoyable to flip through on its own merits
Gotta love the art, thanks for the review!
This looks fantastic.
I’m liking this book. That art is wonderful.
This book looks fantastic.
It’s still 10/20 on the West Coast. Hopefully my hot dice are still in contention!*rolls*
Thank you! As I mentioned, I felt this would be a good product to get younger audiences into gaming and I have a few in mind for just that.