Jan 19, 2010

Book Review: The Dungeon Alphabet

The other day I was in my FLGS, looking at the New Stuff rack. It's the first step in my ritual which usually takes me around the store, looking at d20, 3.5, and 4e books (in that order) before finishing up at the miniature rack with all those great Reaper minis that I don't have the time, or talent to paint.

Anyway, while looking over the new products, I was pleasantly surprised to see something called The Dungeon Alphabet by Michael Curtis. It was new product, but had a great old-school cover (and I'm talking Erol Otus-old, not Jeff Easley-2nd-edition-old), and an even older-school price tag. At $9.99 for a hardback book, I certainly had to check this out. The store shrink wraps everything meaning I had to wait to get home before paging though it and also putting a strain on "F" of FLGS.

The book clocks in at 48 pages, with a couple used for the TOC and other product advertising, and features a color cover by Erol. The interior is black and white with a ton of old-school-styled illustrations. But nostalgia aside, the book is chock full of tables, like 100 different book titles, 3d20 different magical devices, or 30 different traps.

All the info in the book is system neutral, so it can apply to any edition of D&D (or, dare I say, any non-WotC/TSR fantasy roleplaying game). As a DM, I might see myself using this at the game table on the spur of the moment, but I see the greater value in using this as inspiration during planning. I know the next time I start fleshing out a dungeon, I'll be looking over my copy of The Dungeon Alphabet for fresh ideas (wow, sorry for the cover-blurb).

Hopefully this will be the first in a line of similarly inspired books. If so, I know I'll be back for more!