The Acq Inc handbook for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition has just come out and it is a pretty fantastic book, even for someone like me who does not watch/listen to Acq Inc. Acquisitions Incorporated, as best I understand it, is a live play podcast in which the characters are in the Forgotten Realms, in this campaign it is a little more The Office or Office Space meets adventuring.
I do not like campaigns that are intended to be comedic. I think with the right groups it works, but I would rather go in with a semi-serious campaign as the backbone and then is humor happens at the table it is time to roll with it. With all the said after looking over this book, I might want to go ahead and give a campaign using this book a try. Now for the Review, let’s dive into the Five Things I really love about this book.
Thing One to Love about The Acquisitions Incorporated Handbook For D&D 5e – The Illustrations
This one should be a gimmie since this comes from the guys behind the Penny Arcade comics. They should have a great eye for art and it should really shine. I am not the biggest fan of the PA art, and I think they realized that art style isn’t for everyone so there is a fantastic mix.
I have to say I am partial to the image of the Mechanical Beholder on the TOC page. But, as you go through the book you may find one of your own favorites. The Penny Arcade Art style seems to be the least present in the book. The cover is the PA style you would expect from Mike Krahulik.
There is a litany of amazing artists who have added their creations to the book and this is where my biggest complaint from the book lies. I wish they would credit the artist next to their illustration. If there is one that I love in the book it is hard to find the artist to see if they have prints or anything that I can purchase.
They also do a great job conveying the feeling of the campaign with the illustrations. Just flip to the ‘Playing with Class’ section and the first illustration you are going to see if the barbarian… who is wearing a striped dress shirt with a tie.
Thing Two to Love about The Acquisitions Incorporated Handbook For D&D5e – The Maps
The maps are done by Jared Blando, Jason Engle, Rober Lazzaretti, and Mike Schley. I was already a huge fan of Mike Schley’s work before this book, but I think I have found a few more cartographers to follow as well.
I know picking up on the Maps may be a strange thing to love. But, as a guy who primarily uses miniatures, I love having a great map. And, this book, even if you don’t use them for this campaign, has some amazing maps.
These Maps are amazing, especially the map for the Thorn Enclave. It is such a crazy map with so much going on. This is one, if I was sure who the artist was, I would likely swing over to their site and see if I could get a print or large PDF of for me to print for myself.
There is one map that really stands out to me. I hope WoTC jumps on it and uses in another product that I can buy a poster version of, and that is the Map of the sword coast. It takes a lot of the details from other maps in the Sword Coast and adds a lot of character, including fold marks. This would be a great player handout so that the plays can keep track of their progress.
Thing Three to Love about The Acquisitions Incorporated Handbook for D&D 5e – The Adventures
I stated earlier that I have a distaste for campaigns built around the idea of Humor. The writing in these adventures have humor in them, but they also leave a lot of room for the party to bring their own humor into the game. Which I think is the point, and the writers do an amazing job.
The Adventures are set up in Episodes. There are six episodes and each one is designed to be an entire level of a character’s career.
While I have not gotten a chance to play these adventures after my first reading they all seem fairly level appropriate. Meaning the average party sitting down to play games will have a great time and plenty of challenge, most of the groups I play with have some level of optimization, for groups like that I would suggest upping the difficulty a little bit. If you are DM with a group like that I am sure that you can handle it.
Thing Four to Love about The Acquisitions Incorporated Handbook for D&D 5e – The Stat Blocks
I love to play D&D and when I am a Dungeon Master I love having a crap ton of stat blocks. Some of these monsters fit better in a dungeon crawl than a city campaign and vice versa, but either way, you should find something to help your roleplaying game session out.
The Appendix starts out with some stat blocks for important characters that may come up in your D&D Game. Omin Dran, Jim Darkmagic, Viari, Morgaen, Flabergast, Donaar Blit’zen, K’Thriss Drow’b, Rosie Beestinger and more all make their way into these stat blocks, so you will be ready to bring them into your role-playing game.
I think the most interesting stat block is not with the NPCs or the Monsters, but something that you won’t find in the monster manual — The Vehicles. The Vehicles include a Battle Ballon, which is an airship with a giant hot air balloon keeping it afloat and the Mechanical Beholder. The Mechanical beholder is a large robot beholder that can carry up to six folks, this is a great boon to a party, but also a lot of fun for the villain.
Thing Five to Love about The Acquisitions Incorporated Handbook for D&D 5e – The Community
The love that this book and this series and well everything about Acquisitions Inc has been great for the hobby. I love seeing all these streams popping up with folks playing with their own Acq. Inc. Franchise.
There is something about Acq. Inc. that I feel has really elevated the game that Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson made for us so long ago. Even if I don’t ever do any dice rolling for an Acq. Inc. franchise I cannot thank this group and Wizards of The Coast enough for providing something that has really helped to level up this community. Maybe I’ll even try to catch one of the live shows at PAX or PAX East