Out of the Box is a large tome of 55 encounters for the Dungeon Master that can be incorporated into your D&D 5th edition campaign. The lead designer is Mike Gould and the work he did was top-notch. The book has contributing input from Ted Adams, Jacob Budz, David Friant, James Introcaso, CJ Leung, Lysa Penrose, Guy Sclanders, Doug Vehovec.
There is a lot of usefulness with this book for your D&D 5th edition games. There are 200 pages from cover to cover of information for the Dungeon Master in their games. What you will find inside are 55 descriptive encounters along with an index for monsters and items. Here is the blurb from Nerdarchy:
OUT OF THE BOX picks up where the adventure takes off and puts 55 dynamic scenarios in your hands, ready at any moment to engage and challenge players and their characters. In worlds of adventure across the multiverse, magic, mysteries and monsters await bold explorers. When heroes step into the unknown, you’ll have everything you need to reward curiosity with clever puzzles, compelling antagonists, design insights and guidance for introducing each encounter — plus what to do when players think out of the box and intriguing encounter elements become the whole campaign!
Encounters are written and designed for more than providing easy to use scenarios to energize your game session. Many encounters give tools and examples for solving common issues like players who miss a game session, encouraging collaborative roleplaying and storytelling, and promoting group teamwork and problem-solving.
Adventure awaits around every turn — be ready for anything to emerge from Out of the Box!
So what was it like using the book?
“Encounters for 5th Edition you can drop right into your game!” I wanted an encounter for a tavern and did a word search in the PDF for “tavern” and there were 6 hits. From there I found the encounters “Dinner Party”, “Girl with the Dragon SNAFU”, and “Keeper’s Teavern”. For each, there is a map for a tavern for your use. And then after reading through the description, it was not difficult to incorporate this encounter into a game. I chose the Keeper’s Teavern that introduces the Keeper. A possible recurring character that you can use over and over. This also introduces “Grudd’s Tea of the Multiverse” served by the Keeper. The random effects can be found in the appendix.
I was hoping for a descriptive index that would help me find specific encounters. This would be difficult with the printed version. But with 55, it wasn’t too difficult to read through to find something or remember what I had read beforehand. I do think a few charts or an index would have been helpful because when I pull this book down from the electronic shelf in the future, it will take some effort to find what I need. If I had a printed copy then I would need to create a chart and add tabs in the pages for the encounters.
The scenarios are fairly easy to use and very well written. I liked the content of each of the encounters, and I could see taking any one of them to create the foundation and start of a short campaign. Once I picked one there is an information box that gives you a quick overview of the adventure with the level, type. Here is an example from “All that Glitters.” I am hoping this was a homage to Led Zeppelin.
There are some nice isometric layouts for encounters like the one for “Pay to Play.” As some encounters have very artistic drawings and maps, I liked these 3D depictions of encounters because they help me visualize how to describe and set up what the players are going to see as they walk into the situation. Overall, a very nice book to have and use when needed for a quick encounter to add to your campaign.
You can find more information then go to https://nerdarchy.com. There is a store on their site that you can pre-order the book here – https://nerdarchy.com/product/out-of-the-box-encounters-for-5th-edition-hardcover