I… I have a confession…

… I didn’t (really) read any books this month! In my defense, I did buy some, however:

Sharp-eyed readers may be asking, “But… Alis. You already own a copy of the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide! Why did you buy another one?” To which my I will answer, “Because I’m an idiot, and forgot I owned it!” Go me.

Also, big shout out to our illustrious CSFG and Conflux superwoman—and all-round awesome person—Leife Shallcross, whose debut The Beast’s Heart, a) came out this month, b) has an absolutely beautiful cover like holy shit, and c) is a romance told from the POV of the “monster” holy shit it’s my weakness. So, yeah. Everything else is basically on hold while I read that. No lie.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

I guess I did technically read this, by which I mean “skimmed it and grabbed out the bits that would be useful.” Like the SCAG and Volo’s Guide to Monsters, this is another book that mostly focuses on character options and expanded backgrounds and the like. I’m not sure why Wizards has decided to do these books in this kind of pseudo in-universe style—XAG is allegedly “written” by the beholder crime lord Xanathar—as opposed to just calling it, like, the Advanced Game Guide or whatever but, hey. Let’s go with it.

Basically, if you like rolling on tables, this is the book for you. It has random generators for pretty much every aspect of character backstory—from how many parents you had to how many extra-dimensional planes you’ve accidentally fallen into—which I actually quite like. It feels like an effort to move DnD into a more “roleplaying” rather than “rollplaying” space… in the most dice-rolling-est way possible.

As well as advanced character generation, the guide has a hefty section on DM tools, from developing random encounters to tying knots (p. 78) and dealing with downtime. All-in-all, a good addition.

Leigh Alexander, “The Future We Wanted”

Hello, yes, I am a married middle-class white women who grew up on the internet and this short story from Alexander is basically The Thing. Go read it. ⭐

Next up: The Beast’s Heart. 100%.