All art is part of the book and belongs to Darrington Press
After the Green Ronin publication of Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting the people at Critical Role created their own gaming company named Darrington Press. Among the few things that have come out so far from that store is not a reprint, but a remaster of the Critical Role Tal’Dorei setting book, this time called Tal’Dorei Reborn. Today, we’re going to talk a bit about this book and whether you should buy a piece of Matthew Mercer’s imagination turned into a 280 pages book.
Disclaimer: I’ve been given a review copy of the book by Darrington Press, and have not read the previous iteration of the Tal’Dorei Setting book, so I will not be able to compare the two of them.
This book had James Haeck, Hannah Rose, and Matthew Mercer as their lead designers. The first two have participated in many other D&D products in the past, both official and 3rd Party. Additionally, the three of them were the lead designers as well in the previous iteration of the setting. In other words, we can assume they know what they are doing. And just in case you still don’t know who Matt Mercer is, he is one of the most popular voice actors and DMs out there, taking the role of the DM for the Critical Role show. You can find additional information on their website.
About the Setting
While Tal’Dorei started as pretty much a generic D&D setting, it has become something that is much bigger than that. Even though in Campaign 1 of Critical Role many of the names of deities that were said came from the Forgotten Realms setting, these were reinvented for Mercer’s world and given titles that better represent them (while also avoiding copyright infringement). In this book you will find more detailed information about everything you liked from Campaign 1, and even those places that were just mentioned but never gone to. The factions play a very important part in it as well, having huge impact in the history of the world. The world, however, is set after the events from Campaign 1, meaning you get to mess with the aftermath.
What’s in the book
The hit series Critical Role first explored Tal’Dorei, a fantasy-filled land brimming with tales of heroes and wonder, through the epic adventures of Vox Machina. Now, players everywhere can live the magic and stories to rival the beloved show.
Soar on a skyship from the metropolis of Emon to the distant haven of Whitestone, venture into wilderness rife with terrifying monsters and wayward mages, and uncover magic items that range from simple trinkets to the legendary Vestiges of Divergence. Explore dazzling new subclasses and backgrounds in your epic adventures in the world of Exandria and beyond! Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn holds a wealth of playable content, lore, and artwork to inspire. The adventure begins here!
Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn contains everything needed to unlock the rich setting of Tal’Dorei and make it your own:
- A guide to each major region, with story hooks to fuel your campaign: I personally really enjoyed the fact that most places has adventure hooks separated in Tiers of play. Big important places such as Whitestone is ready for almost every tier of play, while others may be made specifically for certain party levels. Player characters can still enter a high level zone… They just won’t be able to be of much help, and a party of lvl16 may be a bit op to help the farmer with the wolves on his farm.
- Expanded character options, including 9 subclasses and 5 backgrounds: The new character options are very varied and unique. As far as I’ve seen they appear to be well tested, which speaks greatly of this starting 3rd party company. We get to see subclasses used in Campaign 2, as well as new original ones like the college of tragedy for the bards. You can see the designers had great fun designing these because you find things such as this on the abilities: “The target takes psychic damage equal to the result, and is plagued with regret for 1 minute. If the target is reduced to 0 hit points during this time and can speak, they are magically compelled to
utter darkly poetic final words before succumbing to their injuries.”. You don’t see things like these in official content, and I’m really glad companies decide to go in this direction!
- Magic items such as the Vestiges of Divergence, legendary artifacts that grow in power with their wielders: Many new legendary magic items, some of which can be seen on Campaign 1 and 2 of Critical Role, with new additions as well! There’s a little something for every class and character option.
- Dozens of creatures, many featured in the Critical Role campaigns: Many new monsters have been added as well, in addition to stat blocks for many of the faction members that play such a big role in the setting. There are many nods to Campaign 2 in these stat blocks and monsters.
- New lore and updated stat blocks for each member of Vox Machina: Do you want to know what happened after we last left our heroes from Campaign 1? This book provides a lot of new info you might be looking for. These are very powerful NPCs to add to your campaign, that will usually play the role of quest givers, but maybe you can find a way for them to confront the party!
- A gorgeous 18”x24” foldout map of the Tal’Dorei continent by cartographer Andy Law: Not much to say here. The art is gorgeous.
Should I buy it?
- If you want to play a campaign set in Tal’Dorei, then it’s definitely a must-buy! You can get a lot of information from watching the streams, but the amount of love that you can find in this book, as well as content you can use for your table make it a necessary addition.
- If you want to support Critical Role, this book is made by them, so it’s a great way to thank them for all the free content they’ve been throwing at us these past… 7 YEARS!
- If you want to run a classical medieval europe inspired setting, but with an extra twist.
- If you are creating a homebrew campaign setting and want inspiration for it. The amount of history, religion, detail to the locations, and factions is outstanding.
- If you are looking for a setting that can easily support all tiers of play (Campaign 1 went from lvls 1 to 20 in this setting, so that’s a great example!)
- If you want to play character focused campaigns, with story playing a very big part.
- If you want to know who is in the Tal’Dorei council.
- If you want to run something that is a bit different from your classical Tolkienesque european medieval fantasy
- If you are just looking for the new character options, but don’t want to mess a little with them to import it to your own setting. Some of these subclasses are very tied to the factions from Tal’Dorei. They can be easily imported to other settings, but it requires a bit of extra work.
This book provides some of the best art I’ve seen in tabletop gaming, period. It certainly looks like the art director knew what they were doing. I really like that there’s a whole index of artists with links to their Twitter and webpages. I would really like to see more companies doing this!
You can find more information about the book by entering its official website: Darrington Press