Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mystery Box (Nerzugal's Dungeon Master's Toolkit)

Hey Folks, we’re putting together another one of our mystery box series.  Today we’re looking at something a little bit different.  Today we have a DM’s Guild supplement created by a community member.  This supplement, written by Nerzugal, features a host of useful tools and options for a Dungeon Master.  The aptly named Dungeon Master’s Toolkit has five primary resources that a Dungeon Master can utilize in his or her game.  We’re going to look at this a little differently than we do with adventures, and we’re going to break down the sections and talk about what you can find in each.  

Random Tables

For the DM who’s looking for an outburst of random fun, the Toolkit includes a variety of random tables.  There’s a random encounter table that includes a variety of creative options (my personal favorite is the Random Disaster option).  Also included are 8 percentile tables for applying positive and negative quirks to magical items.  With some creative dice rolls, you can create memorable magical items that your players will remember for quite a while.  


Personally i am not a fan of puzzles for a variety of reasons, but this section does include several puzzle ideas that can either be dropped directly into an adventure design or extrapolate for players who’ve encountered them before.  The puzzles range in complexity from some simple number work to more complex logic puzzles.  Every puzzle is diagrammed for the benefit of the Dungeon Master, and from the puzzle descriptions you should be able to create diagrams for the players.  

One Shots

These are short adventures that you can use to fill an evening in an existing campaign, kickstart a new one, or just show your friends how to play Dungeons and Dragons.  These are nice and short adventures you can get through in a single evening and are excellent interludes to give you a break in your current campaign. Each of these one shots has a suggested level range and are generic enough that you can slot them into whatever setting you’re playing in with little effort


Maps can be a very handy resource for a DM looking to place an encounter (or an entire adventure).  The inclusion of pre-drawn maps (with rough outlines for scale) are probably my favorite thing about this entire kit.  I can take the shell of any one of these maps and fill it with an adventure of my own creation.  The existence of that shell means that i have the lines that i need to color within to build the adventure, and that means that i can focus on the encounters and the things that are going into the adventure rather than worrying about drawing a map.  


The final section of this toolkit contains four complete dungeons fleshed out with encounters and treasure.  They’ve each got a suggested level range and are ready to be played as is.  You shouldn’t have to make any adjustments (except for figuring out where they are in your game world).  Each one of these could be used in a similar manner to the One Shots, but they have a lot more going in inside each one.  

What I like about this Tool Kit

The Author has put a lot of resources into a small package.  In 100 pages,  the Author has presented a host of maps, dungeons, and one shots.  With those resources alone a DM can keep his players busy for weeks or months as they prepare a larger campaign.  The addition of the random tables and puzzles also gives a DM a lot of customization options for making everything feel unique.  It’s an excellent resource and gives the DM a lot of places to start planning and working from.  

Issues with the Toolkit

I have two primary concerns with this product.  First, some of the random encounters on the random encounter table either reference another random encounter table of the DM’s own devising (like a medium difficulty encounter occurs), which means that the DM has to do more prepwork to be able to use this one.  Further, the random encounter table has some random encounters are vaguely defined on how they work (like a Natural Disaster strikes!).  A DM may not have notes ready for what happens with a volcanic eruption in their notes.  The other issue i have is that three of the dungeons don’t have maps.  We’ve seen that this author knows how to put maps together and has done a fine job of doing so in earlier areas, so the lack of inclusion of maps for those dungeons seems like a glaring omission.  
These are very minor issues and they don’t detract from the overall value of the toolkit as a resource for the DM.


The DM’s Toolkit is a tremendous resource for the DM who either hasn’t had enough time to plan out a session, or who’s looking for a bit of variety.  The Dungeons are fully formed adventure areas for players to explore, and the One Shots can easily fill an evening to give everyone a break from the current story.  The Maps are basically blank canvasses for a DM to express their creative adventure building ideas.  The Puzzles are very clever and scale in complexity.  Finally, i do like the ideas that can crop up from the Random Encounter tables, and you can customise magical items for days with the random effects tables.  Overall,  I give this resource 5 stars, and i enjoy Nerzugal’s work.  The issues i have with this product are minor, and are not things that should keep this from being a very handy resource for the Dungeon Master.
That’s our review of The DM’s Toolkit, from Nerzugal.  You can find it on the DM’s Guild at  I am an affiliate with the DM’s Guild, and if you’d like me to take a look at your products/add ons/ideas find me on twitter at @ZardozIndustry

Game On, Game Fans

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