Review by C.J. Bunce
Ten Speed Press has partnered with Wizards of the Coast to begin a new series of adventurer books to get young readers involved with storytelling, fantasy worlds, and role playing games. The Dungeons & Dragons Young Adventurer’s Guide books have everything you need to create your own characters and stories, perfect for kids who aren’t advanced enough in their reading yet or readers not familiar with what D&D fantasy games have to offer. Each lavishly illustrated guide is a primer on the key segments of gameplay or telling any kind of fictional story with friends. About half the dimensions of the traditional D&D books and nearly as thick, these deluxe hardcover editions will fit right along with your 5th Edition books on the shelf should you decide to continue with D&D.
You can start off with Warriors & Weapons, where you’ll learn how to create your own hero and band of adventurers. Begin with one of the fantasy races: robust dwarf, graceful elf, industrious gnome, charismatic half-elf, menacing half-orc, nimble halfling, powerful dragonborn, furtive beaked kenku, agile feline tabaxi, proud tiefling, reptilian tortle–or human. Then learn about the classes: barbarian, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, or rogue. Finally, you’ll assemble your outfit, armor, weaponry, and pack of gear that will help you as you head out into the unknown. Along the way, the authors (Jim Zub, with Stacy King and Andrew Wheeler) describe what you’re doing, how to do it, and why it fits into the story, all spelled out so nearly any level of reader can understand. And you’ll meet classic D&D characters for each of the races and learn what makes them tick.
Fans of the D&D Endless Quest books introduced last year (and reviewed here at borg) will find these new books a few steps more advanced. With each volume of the Dungeons & Dragons Young Adventurer’s Guide you’ll be asked to consider for your story key worldbuilding elements: Who? What? Where? How? When? and Why? The adventure continues in the second volume, Monsters & Creatures. What dangers will your party of heroes face? One-eyed beholder, vampire, owlbear, or sprite? Frost giant, banshee, or dragon? If you’re introducing someone to gaming with these books, think of this volume as a miniature edition of the Monster Manual or Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
Below, take a look at previews of each of the first two volumes in the Adventurer’s Guide series, and a first look at the next volume, Dungeons & Tombs, courtesy of Ten Speed Press:
Marketed to middle grade readers, they will be perfect for young readers who want to learn more about role play, storytelling, and fantasy worlds, and serve as a springboard for older kids to move on to the full adventures of the 5th Edition volumes.
Here is an advance look at the cover art for the fourth volume, Wizards & Spells, coming in March, and available for pre-order now here at Amazon.