The Compendium of Written Works: Faerun
by Robyn Nix, Steve Fidler, Ashton Duncan, and Lydia Van Hoy
When I first opened the book, I was expecting each book blurb to be the size of like your standard Skyrim book, which I am not against reading, but I am not always in the mood for sitting down and reading a short story when I’m prepping for a game. I was pleasantly surprised that the blurbs were really short a few sentence for the description and then into any potential mechanical bonuses.
There are over 50 pre-made books in this supplement spread between non-fiction and fiction and covering a variety of topics like creatures, skills, travel, religion, magic and more.
Non-Fiction Written Works
This old tome has a damaged spine and is barely intact. Some pages are torn or creased. The parchment is yellowed from age.
Length & Reading Time. 327 pages. 17 downtime hours.
Completion Benefit. You deal an additional +1 damage per your character level to aberrations. The damage type is determined by whatever weapon, spell, or other source of damage that you use to deal this damage to an aberration.
Okay so I both like this book and have some worries about it. The title is really good, very evocative in my opinion and as far as the time required it like the rest of the books seems perfectly reasonable for the number of pages. I like that it gives a tactical advantage against aberrations, in my mind I would tell my player’s that they know the weak points of these creatures and are able to deal damaging blows.
Now my concern is there’s no limit to this. So let’s say a 10th level player gets this book and reads it. Every round they do damage to an aberration it’s an additional 10 points of damage, which might not seem like a lot but it stacks as we all know. I would just caution anyone that is planning on using this book – or a book like it to consider that fact when you drop it in your game. That being said I like it and will be utilizing the format at the very least in a campaign I am running right now.
Valorous and Vanquished, the Dead Heroes of Faerûn
A history textbook describing the lives, adventures, and deaths of various heroes throughout the history of Faerûn.
Length & Reading Time. 247 pages, 13 downtime hours.
Completion Benefit. When you roll a death saving throw, you can choose to roll 1d8 and add the result to your death saving throw. Once you have chosen to use this ability, you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest.
So again with a really good title and a good reading length. So on the one hand I really like this ability giving a player or players a little boost with their death saving throws and since it’s only once per long rest it isn’t broke or anything. My only issue with this is I don’t know how I would explain why they get that benefit from reading a book. I don’t necessarily need to be able to explain that, but it is something that is high on my lists of things I like to be able to do.
The Tale of Lolth
This book details Lolth, the drow goddess. It describes her portfolio, drow practices, rituals, and worship. The ink of this book is only visible in darkness. For every hour that the book spends in direct sunlight, roll a d6. On a result of 6, the book takes 1 point of damage. The book has 6 hit points for the purposes of determining whether it is destroyed by sunlight.
Length & Reading Time. 81 pages, 4 downtime hours.
Completion Benefit. You have advantage on skill checks related to recalling information about Lolth or the worship of Lolth. Additionally, you may choose Lolth as your deity (such as becoming a cleric of Lolth) or you may choose Lolth as your patron for warlock features.
Okay so the title isn’t bad but just isn’t a great as my other favorites, but I don’t know if I would have come up with something better so, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I’m a big proponent of there being in game reasons for player decisions. It’s one of the reasons I removed the ability score requirements for multi-classing and made there have to be an in-game reason for it happening. The Tale of Lolth would satisfy an in-game reason for an “odd” character to start following Lolth
Magic That I Have Tasted
This book is a cross between a cookbook and a spellbook. It contains recipes for making all sorts of whimsical pastries with very minor magical effects.
Length & Reading Time. 72 pages, 4 downtime hours.
Completion Benefit. You have advantage on ability checks related to making the pastries listed on the chart below. You must be a spellcaster in order to create the pastries with the magical effects. If you are not a spellcaster, you can create the pastries, but they do not have any magical effects.
I love this book! It’s my favorite of them all. I am a big fan of food in dungeons and dragons as a vehicle for culture and other avenues of knowledge for my players to learn and adding magic to the food is just gonna make it even better. My only thing about this is I would have loved if ingredients were included for ease, but it doesn’t detract from the book itself.
Fiction Written Works
So the fiction works don’t give any mechanical bonuses, but they add breath and depth to the world and all look like pretty fun reads. One in particular which would be a nice little easter egg for players is Eberronicon: A Pocket Guide to the World:
This unusual tome bears markings and symbols unfamiliar to most scholars, and, as such, it has been deemed a work of fanciful fiction. Surely, the machinations described here are beyond even the designs of the artificers of Lantan and brilliant magical minds of Halruaa. Even the dragons of this world bear little resemblance to those who hunt the night skies of Toril.
Creating Books, Libraries and More
Okay so this section is pretty self-explanatory. You’re given a number of tables to roll on to help you figure out what your book is about, how big it is etc. Something I really like is that there’s explanations next to the difference sections and even book types so that you can make the best decision when it comes to the characteristics of the book.
I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s in this book and even if you don’t use a single book out of here – which I really doubt will be the case, but you never know – it’s still perfect for ideas on how to make your own stuff. I’ve got two grand buildings of knowledge that I am gonna have to create books for and this is gonna make that so much easier.