The Adventurer's Domestic Handbook
by Lydia Van Hoy, Sadie Lowry, Ciarra Parry, and Kayla Bayens
Oh this was such a fun and wholesome read. I laughed, I cried, I took notes for things to come back to, to implement in my own game. Overall it was just excellent.
So relationships in this book are broken down into two categories; romantic and familial. Each section goes in depth about how to find them, run them and different components that go into each.
This section was pretty short, about two and a half pages, but it still managed to give all the necessary information someone (a DM or a player) would need to engage in romantic relationships during play. Something that I know was immediately helpful for me was the idea of having dates and other activities that aren't of a sexual nature behind the scene instead of having a player go on a date during the session. It seems like common sense but I've always had relationships in my game and have never done a date behind the scenes.
This section was roughly twice as big as the first one and for good reason. There is so much information, and none of it is useless. My favorite part from this section is the information around conception and pregnancy. I'm the type of DM that likes to have answers for as much as I can to make something as realistic as possible so if any players or NPCs ever got pregnant in my game I would sit down and try and figure out the length of a pregnancy based on the person's race and how many kids they might have. That being said I have a hard time with numbers and often can't manage to work out the information that I've hyper-fixated on needing. And just like that one of these problems is solved for me.
Architect Artificer: An Architect specializes in shelter above all, providing protection and safety on the battlefield. This defending power is valued and sought after by
allies—while an Architect is hardly the most versatile or explosive artificer around, they could not be more valuable for the dependability and defense they provide to those they care about.
Okay so I am not the biggest fan of the Artificer in general. Not to say I hate it or think it's unbalanced or wouldn't let someone play one in my setting but something about it just turns me off. That being said the Artificer subclass in this book is one that I like and would actually play or be happy to have in one of my games. I just really like the theme and how it's used to protect people.
Runaway Betrothed: Not all relationships have a happy ending, as you know. Whether it was because of simple incompatibilities or something worse, you left your betrothed waiting for you at the altar. They could have been abusive, had awful parents, expected you to be who you aren’t—or maybe they just weren’t the one for you.
I can't tell you exactly why this is my favorite of the new backgrounds but it is. Actually you know what it is? As soon as I read this background a new character popped into my head. A woman engaged to be married to a man not for love but for political reasons gets the chance to runaway and takes it through. Through their adventures they begin to realize they are in fact not a woman but non-binary and not attracted to men at all.
Any background that creates a new character in my mind that quickly gets the highest of praise from me.
What would a book about romance and family be without some NPCs to potentially romance and build a family with? There is a wide variety of NPCs with a range of different sexualities and genders for players and DMs to choose from.
My favorite by far is Espial, a tiefling alchemist. His tale is sad and plays into themes of being distrusted due to his tiefling nature but also of found camaraderie if not family. The potential adventures associated with him are heart wrenching. If you want to know more you'll have to buy the book and read more for yourself I don't wanna spoil anything. 😉
Okay so there about twenty different ceremonies that cover a variety of situations and player/NPC types. They are all unique and will help flesh out the participants of the ceremony. I have a bunch of favorites but there is one that I want to highlight that legitimately made me cry:
Unbreakable: In the second variation of this ceremony, the couple is instead chained together as they fight each other. Never more than 10 feet apart, they choose to fight in constant close quarters, using whatever abilities they have at their disposal to come out the victor. They are asked the same questions between fights, facing each other as they answer. (Do you swear to be each other’s strength? Do you swear to trust each other foremost? Do you swear to be unbreakable?)
When one of them surrenders, often at the last of their consciousness, the couple leaves the ring together. The victor is given a trophy to drink from amidst cheering and adorned in a thick cloak of furs. Despite being cloaked as victor, they kneel before the surrenderer in front of all and swear, "Every fight after this is for you, and you will never be harmed
by my hand again."
I was so choked up and moved by this I had to tell my own partner about it and even suggested we actually do this for our wedding (in jest...mostly lolol) which of course was shot down almost immediately but it'd still be a great in-game ceremony.
There are a bunch of new items all in theme with family building and romantic relationships. Here is one that I really like:
Armored Papoose: Adventuring with a baby can be tough, but the armored papoose makes it much easier. These are usually used by parents who want to maintain their
adventuring lifestyle while still giving their child the best life possible. The armor plates that come with this papoose can be adjusted in three different ways to best serve the parents’ purposes. During downtime or while roaming the city streets, the papoose armor can be removed. With the armor removed, this acts as a normal papoose with no abilities.
While exploring or in a situation where combat is unlikely, half of the armor plates can be used. This allows your baby to see their environment while being protected from dangers. The half armored papoose gives a +4 bonus to the character’s AC when an attack targets the baby. While in combat, the full armor keeps the baby safely tucked away while still allowing them to breathe. It can be completely concealed with a large cape. The full armor gives a +10 to the character’s AC when an attack targets the baby.
I don't know about all of you but whenever I've thought about a character or NPC having a kid that meant that character/NPC was going to be retired because they had a kid to take care of and of course you can't take that kid adventuring with you it would be too dangerous especially when they are just babies and toddlers, but the Armored Papoose fixes that! Of course the danger isn't non existent but it's a lot easier to have small child with you if it's all armored up.
I really want people to stop wasting time reading this review and go buy this right now. Like right this second. WHY are you still here?? But seriously, this is excellent work, better than anything I would have imagined coming into it. I've only scratched the surface of the contents of this product. There are new feats, rules for apprenticing NPCs and potentially players and rules around running businesses, building a home on land, and being a landlord. Trust me you won't be disappointed when you buy it.