I’ve written a good deal about solo adventures already and one thing I hear a lot is concern over binary decisions. Either you open the door or you don’t, for example. While that is an overly simplistic way of viewing solo adventures (and not entirely accurate) I understand the concern. The choices we face in life are myriad and we want that reflected in our roleplaying too. What if I want to just walk away from the door?? This is where The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox can help you.
The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox by Paul Bimler
Writer: Paul Bimler (aka “5E Solo Gamebooks”)
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 167 pages
The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox is a resource for quest generation, random interactions, NPC generation, and even random dungeon generation. It covers both urban and wilderness settings. You will even find advice for roleplaying in the solo format as well as how to deal with monster tactics. Looking for downtime activities for your PC in between sessions? You’ll find it here. The author even includes an entire chapter on an example of solo play using the system contained within this toolbox.
How to use The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox
Giving a complete tutorial on how to use this product is beyond the scope of this review. In summary though, you would present your PC(s) with a question and use the tables contained herein to resolve that question. For example, you could start with deciding whether two PCs had known each other for a long time or had only recently met. Using the question/answer mechanic would have you roll and check that result on one of the provided tables. You simply continue along with this mechanic until you are satisfied. It will provide you with the basic framework and then it’s up to you and your imagination to fill in the details.
Perhaps your two PCs (or more if you feel like it) just met up a few weeks ago when their paths crossed while investigating a stolen tome from a temple devoted to Kiltzi. As they have similar goals, they decided to travel together to increase their chances of success. Now we have a reason for being where we are. But where will we go? What will we do next? Well, that depends. There are several tables we could use to figure that out. We’ve only scratched the surface.
Is that it?
No. Of course not. There is A LOT in this product. But everything is that simple. You can literally roll dice to generate a dungeon. The results will describe how large it is. How quiet, or not, it is. It’ll even help you identify its original purpose and that a “passage goes 15 ft and ends at [a] door”. From there you flip to the Door Table to get the details on that.
As you have no doubt already surmised, there are a lot of tables in this product. And lots of tables means lots of rolling. Furthermore, lots of rolling means lots of referencing. You may roll on several tables when you’re navigating a darkened dungeon that you wouldn’t otherwise need to do if you were playing in a traditional session with a DM describing your surroundings for you. It’s important to realize for a rich and engaging solo session with limitless opportunities that you’ll be making heavy use of the question/answer mechanic. The only way to resolve that mechanic is by chucking dice.
Speaking of DMs
This product is specifically marketed towards the solo gamer, a player who wants to play but cannot find a game for whatever reason. To be sure, The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox is nice for a player. But, if you ask me, it’s a must for a DM. How many of you DMs have been caught standing flat-footed when your friends ask if you can run a session in a couple of hours? You haven’t prepared anything and the one-shots you’ve read you either didn’t like or you’ve already used. Fear no more. Crack open the Toolbox and spend an hour rolling dice and you’ve got an ad hoc adventure ready that your gaming group will likely never know you rushed to throw together at the last minute.
I would say it’s great for the procrastinating dungeon master but that would be silly of me. Dungeon masters never procrastinate…amirite?
This a brief review on an incredibly detailed product. Paul has written a fantastic product that is a great tool for running solo adventures as well as one that is useful for putting together more “traditional” adventures if you’re feeling like letting some random rolls generating something special and unique (or if you’re pushed for time or having a creative block). As with all of his products, the production value is stellar and the design of each and every chapter is well-considered.
At first glance, you may balk at the $14.99 price tag and that’s understandable. But if you consider how many times you will reference this product the value is tremendous. It’s a great looking product and extremely versatile. This should be on your short list to purchase. You don’t have to be a solo enthusiast to get a lot of mileage out of The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox!
- Options aplenty
- Beautifully produced
- Great for more than solo play
- No links within the PDF to other tables/pages
- Easy to go down the rabbit hole with options
Thanks, Paul Bimler, for the review copy of The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox.