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Tome of Adventure Design
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Tome of Adventure Design

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The Tome of Adventure Design

A fantasy adventure game, at its very heart, is about developing an open-ended "story" of the characters. The referee is in charge of the fantasy world, and the players direct the actions of their characters in that fantasy world. Neither the referee nor the group of players has complete control over what's going to happen, and the result is an evolving set of surprises for both the referee and the players. Unlike the players, as the referee and creator of the game world, most of your "work" is done ahead of time. To some degree or other, you have to create the groundwork for the adventure before the game starts. Even though no battle plan survives contact with the enemy - and if you're an experienced referee you know exactly what I mean - the game has to start ... with a starting point. This might just be a vague set of ideas, or it might be as complex as a set of maps with a detailed key and well thought-out encounters for the players to run into.


The Tome of Adventure Design is organized as a series of "books," each one providing resources at every step of the way. The vast majority of the content of each book is made up of random generation tables that we created over a quarter of a century (sigh) for our own use. It shoud be said up front that these are tables for deep design - in other words, most of them are too long, and contain too many unusual or contradictory entries, for use on the spot at the gaming table. There are already many excellent books of tables for use on the fly; the tables in these books are different. They work best as a tool for preparation beforehand, providing relatively vast creative resources for browsing and gathering, rather than quick-use tables designed to provide broad, fast brushstrokes. Our shorter tables tend to deliver cryptic results designed to shock the reader's creativity into filling in the gaps, whereas the longer tables are unusably vast for easy random generation, being designed to shock the reader's creativity into operation by presenting a sea of possibilities.

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Reviews (4)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
Branden Z November 05, 2019 5:47 pm UTC
I see that the covers are very different between Drive Thru product and the one that FGG sells on their website. Is there a difference between content or are they different versions?
Customer avatar
Jean-Francois B April 24, 2020 7:05 pm UTC
The one on FGG website is a reprint with different covers.
Customer avatar
John O May 27, 2019 11:14 am UTC
It's a great product and the PDF is definitely the cheaper option. $260 on Amazon for the hardcopy...
Customer avatar
Chris N April 18, 2019 12:56 pm UTC
I bought this on FGG's site directly, but I want to emphasize that this is *JUST* a book of tables. There is *NO* instruction on how to actually design an adventure. Your DMG / DMG equivalent already includes the kinds of tables that are in this book. You will not find any instruction on how to create an adventure here. Instead, you'll find a lot of tables for creating something disjoint that has no consistency.

Oh, and an obnoxious exaltation of pictures as the only way to start designing an adventure at the start of the book. If the "most prominent adventure designers" cited in the "Creativity" section at the beginning of the book (which is actually a small, curated list of designers who happen to work with Frog God... curious...) can only stea--err, take inspiration from movies--then I question their ability.
Customer avatar
Jennifer C June 13, 2020 10:56 am UTC
I think I must have read a different book to you; I find it very useful and packed full of good ideas.
Customer avatar
Todd S February 20, 2019 2:18 pm UTC
Just FYI, you might want to update the link to your publisher homepage. The security certificate is not valid for the site currently linked ( and modern browsers like Firefox and Chrome are blocking access to it. works though.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H October 07, 2018 7:52 am UTC
How is the ToC for the PDF? This looks like a dense, useful book, but how easy is it to navigate?
Customer avatar
Rn W October 13, 2018 9:16 pm UTC
Just got this recently. The .pdf I downloaded came with very thorough, in-depth bookmarking, so it's quite easy to navigate through the file.
Customer avatar
Craig J August 31, 2018 11:48 am UTC
Is this the same one available on the fgg site as the cover is completely different.
Customer avatar
Timothy B September 10, 2017 9:08 pm UTC
The product description says it's 350 pages, but the PDF is 308 pages. Not a big issue, but you may want to update it.
Customer avatar
Jon S March 22, 2018 3:56 pm UTC
Cheers for that info. I was just trying to work out how much it will cost me to get it printed and bound!
Customer avatar
Travis S March 30, 2018 12:59 am UTC
Also check fgg's site for print+pdf option
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File Last Updated:
September 09, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on March 21, 2012.