When it comes to D&D books on Amazon, Matt Davids is a legend. As someone who also publishes tabletop RPG books on Amazon, I’ve been watching him for quite some time. Not only has he built a thriving business selling books, he also runs the very popular Dice Geeks website.
This is my attempt at a review of the first of his massive 21 book tabletop supplement collection on Amazon. Grab a drink, get some food and let’s get started:
The Book of Random Tables Review
Well loved (and reviewed over 1,000 times on Amazon) The Book of Random Tables by Matt Davids is roughly fifty pages of tables that are designed to help the tabletop gamer. The descriptions are simple as is the layout of the pages, and it is easy to find what you need in a hurry.
I find it helpful to have a table right where I need it in order to come up with details on the fly as many of my games tend to be very improvisational in nature. Tables like the one that gives me a list of 100+ names that are designed to give my players a feeling of dread are great for those moments when you need to come up with something on the fly and you’ve got nothing.
The two main sections of the book (the meat, if you will) are the Items and Things section and the Encounters section. In the first, you’ll find things like Items Found in a Wizard’s Tower and Items Found in a Noble’s Bedchamber (classic D100 list!). You’ll also find Mountain encounters, swamp encounters, forest encounters, and more. Overall, there are 25 unique D100 tables in this book.
What really makes this book well-loved is that it’s such a value for the price. Some of the books like this one reminds me of are the old Dungeons & Dragons supplement books like the DMG with lists of denizens, treasures, and magic items. The thing that I really like about The Book of Random Tables is that it’s done in a sort of throwback style, which is very popular right now. Prices have only increased on those old supplement books, so it’s nice for new material.
Some of the lists are more helpful than others and the same can be said for the style of the book itself. It’s not super fancy, but it doesn’t have to be. This is a great buy for anyone who wants to get more mileage out of their D&D campaigns. The creativity that went into this book is apparent and it’s one I recommend for any player or DM. (What’s really cool is that the author runs a dice website where you can get dice for his random tables!)
Overall, the Book of Random Tables is well worth the relatively small price you’ll pay for it. It’s a great investment for anyone who plays tabletop RPGs and at the very least it will get your creative juices flowing. The interior pages are well designed and it has a bit of style and swagger to the design that I find very appealing. Highly recommended.
The size and feel of the book are like a well-worn Spellbook. It feels right in my hands, and the size is perfect for sitting on the table right where I need it. The layout is great and I appreciate that some of the lists have a little more flavor (like the lists of stuff found in a Ship Captain’s Quarters.) If you don’t want to do the random thing, it’s still a great resource for DMs that will sprout seeds of ideas you can build on.
I look forward to reviewing the rest of the books in this series.