Reveiw – Deadly Dungeon Doors

Deadly Dungeon Doors by Glen Cooper is 60 pages of… well… exactly what it advertises.

It has a colour cover with a very enticing illustration, a content/credit page, a foreword, and then 54 pages of content, 2 advertisements and a revisions summary. The content is in 2 column format, essentially B&W (there are intermittent ‘splashes’ of colour added in tables), some basic unique B&W artworks, with a nice clean layout. It lacks bookmarks, and for a 60 page electronic book that’s a big comfort omission, requiring the reader to manually navigate the material.

Chapter 1 deals with slight rules variations, and the ‘how to use’ the contents. To be honest while it’s a simplified mechanic I’m not sure it was a needed departure from the 5e core rules. Especially if you are ‘dropping the doors in’ as it advises you, you might very well have differing mechanics in your adventure, which could cause some confusion. If you were prepared to adopt the mechanic wholesale for all objects it might work. For me, I could take it or leave it.

Chapter 2 is a series of roll up tables to creature a truly random, unique door or set of doors. Aspects from size, materials, lock type, traps, level of concealment, quirks and more.

Chapter 3 is a series of tables with pre-generated doors assigned to appropriate various locations. The tables are set up as random rolls, but you could just as easily pick and choose as you like. These are a quick and easy selection tool. It’s a good inclusion.

Appendix A is a fun little flowchart to help you keep track of your creation process, as there are lots of variables.

Appendix B & C are Door Record Sheets to allow you to save and immortalise your creation. You get one larger spacious record sheet I assume for the doors you are really proud of – complete with a diagram box if you are artistically inclined – and a second page that has 2 summary record sections. It’s a neat inclusion that shows a real attention to detail.

Appendix D is a glossary that redirects back to sections of the book and the official rules where they apply. It’s a pretty slick summation, and I can see it being very helpful while using this supplement. The one thing that puzzles me is that it’s not in alphabetical order. If you want to use it you need to scan the table for what you want, then follow further direction in the entry. It’s not as user-friendly as an alphabetical listing would be.

Appendix E contains 13 unique – even by the standards of this supplement – and flavourful doors that range from clever, to deadly, to downright fiendish. Each comes with its own B&W artwork and these are a genuine joy to behold. Some are not suited to a more story driven campaign, but would be right at home in any dungeon or more light-hearted affair. Honestly, this section alone would make this a worthwhile purchase.

Appendix F is a 1 page example of a door created using the material in the book

Appendix G  is a nice little “Rogues Helper” checklist. It presents like fluff but actually reads like crunch, offering genuine game mechanics advice on dealing with doors and traps.

And finally Appendix H is a series of monsters that pretend to be, hide within or are integral to certain doors.

Advertising – While I have no issue with in supplement advertising one of the central pages of the book is a full-page advertisement. Ugh. Ugly and unnecessary. It reminded me of the magazine style advertising of the 80’s and 90’s. In a magazine of unconnected content I could overlook it as part of the transition from one article to the next. In a cohesive book on a single subject it was jarring and really ruined the sense of flow and immersion. It could have been discreetly placed at the back of the book. There is a second advertisement late in the book, but it’s more subtle and collects artwork like a handout, so it’s not so jarring.

Final Rating

There are only a few spelling issues, and none that really jump out. I saw no mechanical mistakes, and offers a range of difficulties meaning it is usable at all levels. It’s a clean book without being pretty, and the art is detailed enough to meet the needs of a rule book. I think some detailed colour art might have propelled it from being a great book to a truly outstanding book, but it’s a minor issue. The lack of bookmarks makes navigation cumbersome, which is also minor, but annoying.

All in all this is an excellent sourcebook and every DM can find something here. As a toolkit it is comprehensive and the plug and play doors are just masterful.

I’d rate it 5 stars for content and 4 stars for presentation, for an overall rating of 4.5 stars

You can get this fantastic book of doors here on DM’s Guild

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