We recently got a review copy of the Dungeonology book by Candlewick Press and Matt Forbeck. It’s a D&D companion book aimed at a setting specific overview of the Forgotten realms and general D&D concepts. Written by Matt Forbeck with an introduction by Ed Greenwood, the book is a pretty interesting and interactive look at the Forgotten Realms and D&D tropes in general.

There are many pop up and interactive elements, including a gigantic map of the sword coast.Some of the elements are just for extra tactile effect and to create interactivity for a younger audience, while some like A Novice’s Spellbook or Volo’s Guide to the Forgotten Realms tucked away in the back provide a level of immersion if you were using it as an in-world supplement.

Art and Design Quality

The art is pulled from current D&D books and will look very familiar to anyone who has pawed through the PHB. I couldn’t distinctly pick out any unique or new art aside from some design elements or some interactive things like the 3D lenticular stuff. That serves the book well if it is used as a stepping stone/introductory element for new players. When they get to the gaming books with rules, things will have a familiar feel. The quality of the book is great, and that isn’t surprising as Candlewick/Templar does this sort of thing regularly with their other “OLOGY” book series.


There are a few interesting ways I can see using this book. It is aimed at being kid friendly, so as a way to introduce a younger child (ages 10 and up suggested on the back) to D&D/fantasy games, it works very well as an enticing and fascinating introduction. For a new player, unfamiliar with D&D tropes or concepts, this is also an incredible overview of the adventuring lifestyle. Sections like The Adventuring Party, Equipment, Magic and Magic Items, and Monsters (just a few), work very well to outline some gaming tropes and concepts in a way that is uncluttered by a need to teach the rules alongside familiarizing with the concepts. I’d liken it to reading the companion guide to a video game and learning about the world without having to learn what buttons do what. It’s more immersive and can help teach some of the less concrete gaming concepts.

One other way I could see using this book is as an in-game prop — something the adventurers find or have access to. There is a plethora of information in the book that would eliminate the “have you ever encountered a mimic, how do you know to check to see if the chest is one?” issues that players who have been playing for a while have. Embracing the concept that the book is the knowledge the players have can provide a good basic grounding for a game that isn’t zero to hero in concept. There are a few things in the book that might spoil published adventures. I found a spoiler for Storm King’s Thunder, a campaign I’m currently a player in, but that is a possibility with any supplemental product like this.

Final Thoughts and Get Our Copy!

Overall, the book is a very interesting concept and a beautiful art piece. For anyone with kids wanting to share the hobby, or anyone wanting to use the book to introduce gaming concepts, it is an excellent purchase. At $25 (currently cheaper on Amazon) it is a decent buy that comes in at far less than other gaming books and has a ton of interesting interactive elements for the price.

The Dungeonlogy book comes out on November 8th, but we’ve got the review copy sent to us and we want to send it to you! Just leave a comment on this post before October 21st and we’ll randomly choose (by dice roll, of course) one of the commenters or one of our Patreon supporters and send them the review copy of Dungeonology.


Update: Congratulations Seannachie! You came up as the winner in the random draw. We took our patreon list and the comment list, assigned them a random order 3 or 4 times to “shuffle the deck” and then rolled the dice (random.org) to get the winner! I’ll be contacting you via email to get shipping details!


108 replies
  1. avantman42
    avantman42 says:

    My son has the pirateology book, which is very cool. I suspect he’d love this, and it’d be a useful tool in his continued education in RPGs 🙂

    • Roxysteve
      Roxysteve says:

      I *hope* you corrected the beyond stupid note that came re: using the compass, in which the reader was instructed to “reverse the reading” when in the southern hemisphere.

      How anyone capable of publishing a book could be so bloody ignorant as to not know how a compass works is beyond me.

      One can only hope that the perpetrator is lost at sea with a compass one day and spends his/her last days oscillating back and forth across the equator.

      • avantman42
        avantman42 says:

        I hadn’t noticed that, but I’ll be sure to make sure he knows better than that!

        He’s getting a watch for his birthday in a few days, I intend to show him how to use it to find north 🙂

  2. Middlekingdoms
    Middlekingdoms says:

    There needs to be more of this kind of stuff. Immersive props used to be a great part of old Tabletop and PC games back in the 80’s, I’ll never understand why it never continued.

  3. Tlalchitonatiuh
    Tlalchitonatiuh says:

    This totally walks lockstep with my obsession with props and bonus interactive fiddly bits haha. Totally can’t wait for this to come out.

    • John Arcadian
      John Arcadian says:

      Not likely from our end. We got the review copy straight from Candlewick Press. I know Matt is often at Gencon as a convention, and you might be able to get a copy signed if you track him down there or at another convention.

  4. Roxysteve
    Roxysteve says:

    I’ll probably buy a copy if I don’t win this one. I don’t have any experience with the Forgotten Realms setting, but the “scrapbook” build is too alluring to ignore.

    A thing of visual beauty.

  5. BryanB
    BryanB says:

    Looks like a nice book.

    Okay dice gods…. now is the chance to redeem yourself for being such fickle $#@%!@#!

  6. Dhomal
    Dhomal says:

    Well, Anything Realms related, especially if it has a map, is a plus!

    If I do not win, I will have to take a peek at it in the store beforehand.

    Curious, did the review copy come shrink-wrapped? Might give me a clue how difficult it may be to peruse it locally.

  7. Aristo
    Aristo says:

    I’d love to get my hands on this! It seems like a very cool release that newer role players and lore geeks alike can enjoy! The price tag is very reasonable for a book like this, with all of its fold-outs and extras. For folks who are more inclined towards visual and tangible stimulation, the contents are sure to please. A low cost intro to Forgotten Realms and great collector’s piece!

  8. Courtney13
    Courtney13 says:

    This book sounds wonderful and like a lot of fun! I am especially excited about the Forgotten Realms content. Reminds me a little bit of the “Dragons” and “Fairy” books with the pop ups and little specials. Always loved those.

  9. Ben Eastman
    Ben Eastman says:

    I wish that I had something like this when I started playing; I probably wouldn’t have been sacrificed to that artifact.

  10. Pedro Cunha
    Pedro Cunha says:

    This is perfect! When I was a kid the dragonology book was a real boost to get me into fantasy books and movies, and afterwards, D&D. This is a must have, it not only brings forth some childhood memories but also looks like a great tool for any game!

  11. Seannachie
    Seannachie says:

    This looks like a great resource for introducing younger audiences to gaming by offering more visual and interactive elements. I might have a use for something like this! 😉

    • John Arcadian
      John Arcadian says:

      Congratulations Seannachie! You came up as the winner in the random draw. We took our patreon list and the comment list, assigned them a random order 3 or 4 times to “shuffle the deck” and then rolled the dice (random.org) to get the winner! I’ll be contacting you via email to get shipping details!

      • Seannachie
        Seannachie says:

        Thank you very much! I’m very much looking forward to going through this myself, particularly after your review!

  12. erekibeon
    erekibeon says:

    I’ve seen a plethora of this kind of “interactive” books out there, about castles, monsters, dragons, etc. It just feels right to have one about D&D… how didn’t we thought about it before?

  13. Michael O'Connor
    Michael O'Connor says:

    Give give give. Mine mine mine.

    Or I’ll just buy one later if I don’t win.
    Looks fun to use especially since I’ve begun teaching my nephew to play and will soon be teaching my son, too.

  14. CristiQ
    CristiQ says:

    The Dungeonology book is amazing! Very nicely done and the artwork is awesome! Just started DM-ing (in a Forgotten Realms setting) and I’d really like to own this book.

  15. David Telford
    David Telford says:

    My 12 year old daughter would love this, as would I. On the extremely rare chance that I’m not the winner of this giveaway, I’ll have to order it for her. Thanks for the review and the chance to win it!

  16. Fritz 2143
    Fritz 2143 says:

    Only 85 comments so far?
    Seeing this book on websites, I usually passed it up since I didn’t think it looked or used anything official, but this review has me doing a double-take!

  17. vipLink
    vipLink says:

    Finally a decent overview. I was finding it very hard to gain any Knowledge of this book. I found People on Reddit calling it a coloring book and was really confused. This actually looks really nice. Not sure if it’s something for my group, but might pick it up. Would have loved this when we were starting out thought.

    Thanks for the overview. And thanks for the chance at winning.

  18. Chris Williams
    Chris Williams says:

    Looks like a fun book to share with my kiddos. I’m about to introduce my Daughter to D&D and this would be a fun way to help visualize all of the great things in Forgotten Realms. Her birthday is approaching & I hope to win it! If not, I will have to find it at my FLGS.

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