D&D 5E [Let's Read] The Delver's Guide to Beast World



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The furry fandom is a popular and well-enduring community that has existed for decades. Untied to any one specific property, furries have delved deeply into creating their own worlds and characters in addition to celebrating existing ones. Even in tabletop there have been worlds centering around people with animalistic qualities, such as Albedo and Ironclaw.

In regards to Dungeons & Dragons, anthropomorphic animals have been around the game’s earliest incarnations, but typically took on the roles of hostile monsters, often low-level cannon fodder or non-magical brutes. While more recent Editions of D&D and spinoff clones have made playable options, the concept of a fur-centric setting in the vein of Ironclaw is overall pretty rare, and existing furry races such as kenku or tabaxi don’t have as much staying power in the game’s conception in comparison to dwarves or elves.

The Delver’s Guide to Beast World was made as a love letter to the furry community, a 5th Edition-compatible setting where bipedal talking animals, from crafty and playful vulpines to patient and gentle ovines, are the dominant peoples of the world. The concept of adventurers, or more popularly known as delvers, are a recent concept created in response to a mysterious phenomenon of an extraplanar Dungeon appearing across the land. Delving crews stay on the move in tricked-out wagons to find and explore new Dungeon incursions.

The book’s introduction opens up with a “Dear Reader” introduction by the author, followed by FAQ and Primers on Beast World to set up some ground rules. To briefly discuss some of them:

Walking animal-like people are known as Beasts, and non-sentient creatures are called animals or “quiet-minded beasts.” Quiet-minded beasts are more or less treated as animals are in the real world. Beasts can reproduce with each other, although their children take on the physical form of one of the parents and not both. The overall technology levels are around the Renaissance, the setting is “high magic” in that spells and magical items are commonly used in most population centers, and the creation of the world was pretty recent, taking place 1365 years ago. Humans exist in the setting, but they are more colloquially known as Brethren and come from another plane of existence known as the Broken World. Fifteen years ago the Brethren governments invaded and failed to take over the Beast World. There is a pantheon of gods, although the most popular one is Pirhoua, the “Beast Mother” who is credited as granting intelligence to the Beasts of the world. The known world is a single continent surrounded by seas with some outlying islands, and it’s unknown whether the world is flat or a globe.


Chapter 1: Delvers and the Dungeon

The first chapter covers the Dungeon and society’s response to it. The Dungeon’s incursions into the Beast World are recent, taking place shortly after the Pilgrimage which is when the survivors of humanity fled the Broken World and settled in the Beast World. Formed from veterans of the recent war, academics interested in studying its workings, and people seeking to get rich and famous from treasure hunting, delvers were drawn from many walks of life. It wasn’t long before their mutual experiences created a distinct subculture and even service industry revolving around “dungeon-delving.” A group of delvers is often known as a crew, commonly sharing a wagon, and multiple wagons and hangers-on make up a caravan. Caravans include delvers and those who support them such as artisans and merchants. The largest caravan is known as Littfeld, which is effectively a mobile town. Caravans serve as a safe haven for delvers on the road, and wagons rarely remain simple for long, becoming enhanced with magical reinforcements and machinery for a variety of needs. Delvers often like to brag about and compare their wagon features in a manner similar to drag racers showing off their rides.

Beyond just the people who directly explore the dungeon, there are supplemental occupations and subcultures who interact with delvers. Scouts are people who collect rumors, conduct research, and search for leads of Dungeon appearances to point Delvers in the right direction. Dungeoneers are a disorganized subculture who believe that the Dungeon is a living creature, and in understanding its behavior can learn more about its essential nature: some dungeoneers believe that establishing communication can open up negotiation with the Dungeon in negating its dangers, to use for their own purposes, or merely for education’s sake.

The strange treasures and odd life forms that come out of the Dungeon, along with the power and talents of Delvers, means that the political powers of the world have taken an interest in them both. Centers of learning are always in need of samples for research, nobles want unique items to show off in their collections, and towns appreciate the appearance of Delvers to keep them safe from dangers, Dungeon-related and otherwise. However, the newness of the subculture means that it doesn’t have the staying power of generations-long dynasties, and the danger of the occupation means that there are precious few true “delver veterans.”


The Dungeon’s true nature is a mystery of the setting, something for the DM to develop for their own games. Beyond this, the Dungeon has some common features: first off it doesn’t abide by the logic of a place meant to be lived in, being closer to the logic of a weird dream or obstacle course for adventurers to overcome than an architect thinking of how its monstrous inhabitants can live and move around in long-term. Basically, think of the dungeons that you see in a lot of video games. Monsters in the Dungeon aren’t willful creatures or sentient, even if they can speak and adopt tactics, as their natures are driven by instinct.

This chapter ends with a brief table of “wealth by level” for PCs, listing the average amount of gold pieces per dungeon delve and total savings per PC delver. This is done for a purpose, as the Delver’s Guide introduces wagons as a new scaling piece of mobile base/equipment for PCs to spend money on, and the wealth per level guidelines were made in line with this.

The chapter ends with 50 leads for potential Dungeon sightings, all sorted by common terrain types.


Chapter 2: Littfeld

This and the next five chapters cover the major regions of Beast World. While mobile, Littfeld is special enough to have its own entry. Being the largest caravan of delvers, it is effectively a mobile town of around 200 people that makes a year-round trip around the major continent of the Beast World. Around half of its population are delvers, but the remaining 50% have never stepped foot inside the Dungeon and are made of family members, loved ones, and workers who help supplement the delving life. The caravan culture makes use of pictogram symbols that are woven into clothes and equipment, their colors and shape telling something about the wearer. One of the appendices in the back of the book has a detailed list of pictograms and how to make one’s own. Here are a few examples:


There’s an informal tax system known as the “spoils due” that is ten percent of money made on each delve, discounting magic items but does include anything of value that can be sold. In exchange, the spoils are used to pay for upkeep on magical maintenance, labor unrelated to delving, and other things that keep the wheels of Littfeld turning so that delvers can focus on what they do best.

To better reinforce the tight-knit community feel, several NPCs with names, pictures, backstories, and personality traits are provided to serve as shopkeepers and important figures. We’ll cover a few of them here. Chief Cullen McGuire is the leader of Littfeld, a happy wolf who doesn’t take life too seriously and is the name and fursona of the main author. Holly is a wolf bartender of Holly’s, a popular gathering point for people to swap tales, gather information, and make deals. Shaman Eunice is an elderly Brethren who sells curios from the Broken World, which are of advanced technology on par with our world’s 1990s. Hugo’s Lifesavers is manned by a fox who sells common adventuring goods. And Lucas and Grier are a rabbit and bear married couple who make regular clothes and specialized garments for adventurers, and often argue over how stylish or practical to make the latter clothes.


All of the above shops have frequencies indicating how often they show up in Littfeld, and some have rotating goods of availability depending on when and where the caravan is located. While Hugo’s Lifesavers covers whatever you can find in the PHB, most other shops have unique items with their own prices and entries.

Thoughts So Far: The Delver’s Guide to Beast World is off to a strong start. While its major selling point is D&D But With Furries, the setting has several unique points to make it stand on its own. Providing a built-in niche for the concept of adventurers is something I like, and making them part of a larger community in the form of caravans is a nice touch. Littfeld in particular is well-fleshed out, and in giving shopkeepers a face and also being mobile helps foster a connection with the economy/service side of adventuring no matter where the PCs go. Supplementary stuff in the form of custom wagons, pictos, scouts, and dungeoneers makes the delver culture feel both real and a growing yet haphazard one, highlighting the fact that it takes some very interesting and eccentric people to willingly journey into monster-filled dungeons.

Join us next time as we cover the Kingdom of Allemance, our first major country in the Beast World!
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Chapter 3: the Kingdom of Allemance

There are some commonalities scattered across the country chapters. Many realms are explicitly modeled off of real-world groups, with sidebars explaining some cultural peculiarities and inspirations. The Delver’s Guide has cultural consultants for such realms, so it’s not entirely written from an outsider’s perspective. With a few exceptions, most regions are multi-species, even if some lands and cultures are more strongly associated with certain kinds of Beasts. Additionally, every land has a brief section on how people worship Pirhoua, who has Three Divine Charges emphasizing what that culture views as her greatest tenets, and also a section on relationships with Delvers. Finally, there’s a list of “What to See in X” that covers a variety of interesting locations for adventure fodder.

Of the various lands of the Beast World, Allemance is the one closest to Western European fantasy cultures. It is a large feudal realm with verdant fields, and its inhabitants are known as Allemagnians, or Alleys for short. Their culture is polychronic, meaning that they often switch between various labors throughout the day in lieu of specific schedules and appointments, and their society is polyamorous in that marriages still happen but people can still have other romantic partners. Children are often raised by an extended family as well as friends in their parent’s social circles. The nobility serves as an exception, for explicit claims of lineage is vital to the aristocracy. Allemance’s government is ruled over by a family of wolves whose eldest daughter traditionally inherits the throne. Queen Sophia Andolesia VI is the current ruler, and while popular she is beginning to come to blows with some unscrupulous lords and ladies taking advantage of serfs. The forest of Glasrún is Fantasy Counterpart Ireland and technically part of the kingdom, although its inhabitants have a bit of a hands-off-relationship with the rest of Allemance. This is due to a Pact made nearly a thousand years ago where a ruler sought to rid himself of having to govern “useless land” north of the Queensriver to anyone brave enough to settle within.

In Allemance, the religion of Pirhoua’s bethels (the faith’s term for a temple) often serve as schooling centers for children, emergency shelter, and other community service functions. Their divine charges include raising large families, encouraging all forms of love and goodwill to others, and to indulge in life’s simple pleasures which is a good excuse for parties and holidays. As for Delvers and the Dungeon, Allemagnians romanticize the adventuring lifestyle and view them as wandering heroes, and ruins from the long-ago Mantle War (a conflict with the northern land of Oria) often serve as common access points to the Dungeon. Vampires are fond of appropriating Dungeon entrances to their own ends, finding value in a sprawling lightless realm.

What to See in Allemance includes 27 locations of note. Some of the more interesting ones include the Crystal Plinth, an abandoned ligonine city whose Dungeon incursion is teeming with invading monsters and forgotten treasures; the realm of Dole which has a beautiful spotless capital but a cruel Baroness; Fort Kingsfang which is located on the Alley-Oric border used to train the Crown Guard; the Isle of Brass and Bronze, a neutral meeting ground for good-aligned dragons and their allies; Lake Reineblest whose soil is being warped by the Dungeon and the various villages along its shores are fiercely debating whether or not to evacuate; Molemill Well, a massive well that connects to the Loamlink, a continental subterranean network used by ligonines to travel through the Beast World’s dark depths; and Uriah’s Wood, a forest home to a sorcerer of the same name who possesses magic that can temporarily return a Beast to their quiet-minded self. For this last entry, many people seek Uriah out in hopes of coming to terms with some troubling memory.


Louvain is the capital of Allemance, a cosmopolitan metropolis at the metaphorical center of the Beast World. The Palace of the Lupine Throne has a garden of fruit trees open to the public every summer, and the Queen holds court on an island in the center of a pond known as the Moonpool Sanctum to hear petitions. Alchemical innovations known as Soda Lamps have created neon lights that are beloved assets for shops advertising their wares. The Night District is the seedy section of town, and the Thieves’ Army (organized crime syndicate made up of outlaws and veterans of the Invader War) operates openly as a barely-legitimate Veteran Union. There’s a growing and thriving industry catering to Delvers, and the latest fashion crazes are either clothes inspired by former civilizations of the Broken World or Delver-inspired “adventurer chic.” We get several detailed vendors here, ranging from Silas the rabbit clothing designer who earned a rivalry from a family of tailor squirrels; a trio of wolves making a living at a tea house who have a Dungeon lead for delvers in the form of a weird door in a house in the city; and a tavern and stagehall known as Twisted Whiskers which is owned by a dragon.


Patrie is the last surviving city of the Brethren, pulled from the Broken World by the goddess Pirhoua herself into Bluebell Valley of Allemance. It is ruled over by Diana, an officer who defected to Allemance’s side during the Invader War, and was granted the title of Baroness. The city is circular, its major districts forming spoke-like divisions, and the architecture is a mixture of old Broken World materials with newer construction from native resources. There is still a lot of empty space, and about a third of the city is still in ruins and being restored (or exploited) by Shamans, scavengers, and adventurers. The Jackals, a species of fey beings, were vital in Patrie’s growth, granting two gifts in the form of a seed (a coffee plant to give Patrie a cash crop) and a ziggurat structure known as the Junction. The Junction is lined with glassy surfaces serving as scrying and teleportation portals to areas all across the Beast World. Reception buildings in major cities link back to the Junction, and most facets link to minor places and are too narrow for a Delver’s wagon to fit through.

Patrie has several major factions attending to its smooth operation: the Dungeon Brigade is a governmental agency that coordinates efforts with Delvers to monitor and defend against Dungeon incursions; the Light of Self is a sect of Aubade (one of the Beast World gods) formed by Brethren who are trying to find a new life in the wake of the Broken World’s abandonment; the Stargazers work at an observatory which they use to record stars in the sky and make celestial maps; the Demitassian Revelers are a club of coffee enthusiasts seeking to pay delvers well for coffee beans brewed in unconventional ways, such as being flash-frozen by a winter wolf’s breath or retrieved partially-digested from the stomach or a mimic; and the Shamans, a majority-Brethren organization of historians dedicated to studying the Broken World and making expeditions into that plane of existence to retrieve objects of cultural significance.

The Light of Self has a large number of transgender and nonbinary members. The writer who came up with the organization is a transgender woman who has a sidebar explaining the creative process and inspiration:

Empowerment said:
In 2006, I was hundreds of miles away from the place I’d grown up. It was my first year away from home, and I was independent for the first time. A friend of mine in college told me she wanted to study GRS or “gender reassignment surgery.” Something exploded in my mind, a question that echoed for years afterward: that’s an option?

My first D&D character was a female monk. My second was a female cleric. My third was a female rogue. In online spaces, I had been presenting as a woman exclusively since I was a teenager. I don’t think I told any of my online friends my birth name, even once. And yet, despite all of this, it took years to connect the dots and see myself as transgender.

When I finally got that chance to step back and explore myself, this new context allowed me to realize that I had been transgender all along. Just shy of four years before we published The Delver’s Guide to Beast World, I started hormone replacement therapy. When I did, the joy that poured into my life was immediate. I had self-actualized. I felt more alive than I ever had before.

I wrote the Light of Self to help others explore these ideas, and see the same beauty in the chance to find one’s true self that I had. I wrote it with the hope that through a game, someone playing in the Beast World would someday stumble on some unrealized truth of their own.
-Lexi Fox


Our section ends with some in-character fiction where a fox child and Brethren child begin an unlikely friendship in the aftermath of the Invader War.

Thoughts So Far: Allemance isn’t exactly doing anything novel when it comes to fantasy settings. It’s your typical feudal realm of rustic idyllic countryside, two big Cities of Adventure, and some interesting dungeon crawls and a wicked aristocrat or two for PCs to thwart or overthrow. But it’s still a strong entry, for it has just a little bit of everything for a DM to develop into something further, and much like Littfeld I like the personalized touch of named NPCs as faces for organizations or vendors for shops and important services. The Brethren city of Patrie is surprisingly cool, showing that even the non-furry race in Beast World still has a unique niche to separate them from the boring, bland humanity of other settings.

Join us next time as we venture into the frozen hinterlands of the Lodge Houses of Oria!



Chapter 4: the Lodge Houses of Oria

North of Allemance is a land of frozen mountains, taigas, and endless stretches of arctic grassland and tundra. Oria is sparsely settled in comparison to other lands of the Beast World, but the Oric people pride themselves on having thrived where others failed to survive. Society is structured around lodge houses, where to conserve firewood and minimize time spent outside, families would gather together into large structures. Lodge houses are led by batkos, who have absolute authority and hold lifelong positions although there are systems to oust them if they earn a community’s ire. Visitors to a lodge house meet with the batko upon arrival in a community, who determine whether they are trusted enough to stay. Lodge houses that grow beyond their sustainability are split into two lodges where one group departs to form another settlement elsewhere. A natural resource known as Summerstone appears in chunks on the mountains, radiating light and heat. They’re a valuable resource for surviving the land’s cruel winters, and many settlements are built in proximity to large formations. Summerstone is regarded as sacred and loses its powers if broken off from the main chunk; thus there are harsh criminal penalties for vandalizing formations.

The Oric cultures are inspired by Scandinavian influences, with the lodge houses being close to Nordic longhouses. There are also Russian influences, such as their national leader being called a Berendey which is named after a shapeshifting bear of Russian folklore. While Oria has been settled for centuries, the modern incarnation of the lodge houses are the result of a war with Allemance back in 1090. The Howling King of that country sought to invade and occupy the “primitive, superstitious lands” of the north to distract from domestic issues. Yelizaveta was an ursine woman and national hero of Oria who was said to have gained powerful magic from the First Elk, the First Bear, and the First Mole. She united the scattered batkos of the land, uniting them into the Houses of Oria and became the first berendey. Oria was able to turn the tide for the next century, although over time both sides grew weary of war before signing a peace agreement in 1205 due to…alcohol.

A peculiar discovery finally tipped the scales. Moles scouting the Loamlink near the Mantle came across a forgotten storeroom underneath a deserted lodge house. Inside, they found dozens of crates filled with grappa. The strong alcohol had been a favorite among Orians, but it required grape skins traded from south Alley vineyards. The distribution of those bottles finally convinced the batkos and berendey to surrender.

On June 1st, 1205, King Gabriel Andolesia and Berendey Yelizaveta met in an open field near Fort Kingsfang. They signed the Mantle Accord, ending the war. In exchange for a century-long payment of reparations, Oria agreed to surrender the lands south of the Mantle. Both homelands drink grappa on this day every year, to remember the misery of war and in a vow not to take up arms again.

Most Oric people are cervine elks, ursines, or ligonines, although rats and Brethren have found a place in society after proving their worth. Oria is famed for its craftspeople; it was Oric artisans who built the original Covenant Forge, massive devices that imbue items with magic from ghosts from the Netherworld, and this is the most common means of creating magic items in the Beast World. In fact, the Stone of Sixth Strengths is a stone slab capable of being ten times as strong, compressive, and elastic as regular stone which allows people to build architectural wonders in Oria and elsewhere, such as the famed Causeway of Arneria.

The religion of Pirhouanism in Oria views the goddess as a deity of creation, learning, and the forge, and communities treat their bethels as forges that are lit all day and night. Their Three Charges encourage the joy of creation in all its forms, encouraging the fruitfulness of education, and passing on one’s knowledge and talents to others. Delvers are all but required to add skis to their wagons when traveling through Oria and have a good negotiator to earn goodwill with the batkos. The Dungeon is frequently found in hidden caverns, worryingly near the more well-traveled roads, and the dangerous monsters known as purple worms are a recent addition to the ecology.


What to See in Oria includes 17 locations, quite a bit less than Allemance. Some of the more interesting places include Edelstann, a sea port which has a large community of Alley immigrants which has caused some friction between them and the native community; Fallensky’s Rest, a druid-guarded cave said to hold a piece of fallen sky and is often menaced by Dungeon monsters; the mole city of Podgorod, which has recently invented the steam engine which shows promise but its prototypes are currently unreliable; Suurin Forge, the most powerful Covenant Forge in the Beast World and also the hidden training center of Oric’s renowned War Mages, who act as both elite soldiers and the country’s secret police; and the lodge of Zaros, whose people are known for universally adopting odd fashion statements every season, and the community is undecided about the large influx of Delvers due to the nearby mountains being home to many suspected Dungeon Sightings.


Jegervalt is known as the House of Houses, the largest settlement in Oria in both size and population. It is a series of tiered levels and tunnels going through Mount Roet, and connects the eastern and western ends of the country. The moles maintain the Loamlink and can burrow into places most other species can’t reach, although recent Dungeon activity has been forcing them out of their subterranean homes. The Tunnel Market is made up of temporary stalls full of oddities and ends, and the Mountain Heart is home to a dense vein of Summerstone that is used to provide sunlight to an underground ecology of farms. A group of hunters known as the Circle of Rage, previously beloved for their heroism, have devolved into crooked criminals and are shaking down honest folk while helping the Thieves’ Army expand their smuggling ring.

Every four years, an event known as the Housemeet is called for where batkos from across the country pay tax to the berendey, and after a month of feasts and celebration the remaining tribute is allocated to the public good of Oria. In addition to serving as a useful social function, it helps strengthen bonds between community leaders, and many foreigners visit Jegervalt during this time as the Housemeet celebrations are enjoyed by all.

Our section ends with brief entries on the Jegervalt Forge and Twin Tusks, the latter being a watering hole with a menu of sample foods and drinks, along with unique named NPCs for each place. The Forge is used for making magic items, and an otter knight of Allemance known as Isella Brock is friends with a restored war mage who built her a magical prosthetic arm.* The Twin Tusks is frequented by Agidel, the descendant of Yelizaveta who doesn’t wish for glory and instead seeks the humble life of a craftswoman, and a Vinyotian lynx known as Niki who after supposedly giving up a life of crime is recruiting Delvers to find and steal a black dragon's hoard.

*It’s a Witch Arm, a magic item that isn’t unique and once per day can add the wielder’s Charisma bonus to melee weapon damage and Strength checks for 1 minute.

Thoughts So Far: Oria is another country that managed to pleasantly surprise me. I’m rather fond of the Summerstone and Stone of Six Strengths, which provide good in-universe explanations for some of the more impractical architecture and population centers for a fantasy world. There’s quite a bit of depth and versatility in local culture to be more than “tough, gruff northerners” you usually see of Fantasy Scandinavia/Russia in other settings.

Join us next time as we set sail for the oligarchic Trade League of Vinyot!



Chapter 5: The Trade League of Vinyot

Note: I forgot to post the sale page for the PDF. You can buy it on Itch.io here.

This seaside nation has 8,000 miles of coastline, making the ocean and its bounty of utmost importance to daily living. Commercial port cities and winds allow for its fleets to sail the fastest of all the nations, and its government is an alliance of merchant companies known as the Trade League. Vinyotian culture encourages looking towards the long-term as well as individual ambition, although there is a bit of a romanticized emphasis on generosity in the form of it “being an investment with good returns,” and people take around two weeks off for funerals on account that having time to grieve is an important aspect of life. Vinyotian businesses are mostly family-operated, often bringing in outside help when the rest of the family cannot contribute to that particular endeavor.

Beyond this, the Trade League’s governance has several commonalities: the head of government in a settlement holds the deed to a town collectively, and is known as the trade lord. The deed can be sold to another which often happens when a trade lord falls into debt, but otherwise they have the freedom to run their city how they want. Beyond this style of governance, there are Mandates passed by the Trade League that affect everyone in the land, and sitting members can vote on proposed mandates. The standing army is made up of sellswords that contract with individual cities, social class is divided into varying levels of workers and business owners with the trade lords at the top. There is systemic prejudice against tenebrine (possum, raccoon) people, whose nocturnal nature has caused other Vinyotians to presume that they’re inclined to criminal behavior and thus withhold jobs and services from them. This causes many tenebrine to engage in operating outside the law or in shifty and thankless jobs, which reinforces people’s prejudice against them. The criminal justice system works on restitution where the wronged party is financially compensated by the wrongdoer in the form of money or labor to pay off the debt.

Vinyotian art is closely intertwined with the faith of Pirhoua, and many artists join bethels which have some of the most beautiful and elaborate sculptures, frescoes, and other works of art. Musicians perform in groups and not solos, and compositions are often worked on for years. Comedy stageplays are popular among all social classes and incorporate common character archetypes from history and culture to tell a greater story. This last cultural detail is inspired by the Commedia dell’arte of Renaissance Italy.

Pirhouanism in Vinyot is given over to airs of propriety, and its bethels spare little expense in making themselves look literally “holier than thou.” The Divine Charges include mercy and taking care of people around you, that wealth is the primary force which one can use to change the world, and to express the goddess’ love in the world by making use of luxurious materials. Delvers operating in Vinyot often reconfigure their wagons to be amphibious, as many Dungeon entrances can be found underwater. The fabled treasures and resources adventuring crews find have earned the interest of many Vinyotians, particularly the lower-class who view the occupation as a secure means of social mobility.


What to See in Vinyot has 29 locations, the most we’ve seen so far in this book. Some of the more interesting places include the Bella Madre, a Venice-like city built upon swirling rivers that converge in a whirlpool upon which a theater is built over; Dungeon Town, the only known place in the Beast World where the Dungeon is perpetually present, and is a semi-permanent encampment of delvers and adventurer-friendly industries whose streets and tunnels are prone to magically changing; the abandoned swamp town of Gonlaro, where a section of collapsed Loamlink resides as well as the personal fortune of the former armadillo foreman and ghosts of townsfolk who couldn’t escape; the Haven of the High Bethel, which is constructed around the last heartleaf tree whose fruits are believed to have been responsible for granting Beasts their willful nature; the Million Souls Overlook, home to a collapsed wizard’s tower contained in a sphere of frozen time; the city of Porta Strega, whose nearby woodlands are home to a large amount of animal ghosts* due to a thin separation between the real world and Netherworld; the city of Southwinds, which was the first to suffer casualties in the Invader War and until recent times refused entry to humans; and Wrightbarrow, a harbor home to the Wrightbarrow Shipping Concern that makes the maritime vessels Vinyot is most famous for, and is paying experienced delvers sweet contracts to live and patrol on the island to keep watch for Dungeon incursions.

*a concept which doesn’t happen elsewhere, for ghosts are copies of willful creatures.

Pristana sits on a peninsula but is more popularly known as a pleasure island due to its surrounding natural beauty and bustling entertainment industry. The Fifth Market is a long concealed attic home to all sorts of criminal enterprises where vendors can escape through trap doors if the authorities are spotted nearby. The Winner’s Square is home to casinos that also host magical entertainment, and Center Street Bank makes use of draconic holographs that serve as magical bills of exchange. Due to the peculiarities of the Draconic language, both the writer and buyer have their identities magically imprinted on it, making it almost impossible to create forgeries. Varasta, the fox god of chaos, has a particular cultural importance here. His first notable influence was when he left a twenty foot pillar of solid gold in a town square to impress a woman, and those who kiss it may be cursed or blessed by him. Secondly, his druidic followers gather in gardens magically transformed into pockets of nature within the city.

Our chapter ends with a write-up of the Chapel of the Faithful, a church-themed casino complete with two new gambling-focused minigames and a writeup of Roza, a tradewind fox who is the champion of an illegal monster fighting ring. There is also the Crystalfox Hotel, a high-class inn complete with an overpriced menu of food and drink, an overqualified raccoon wizard bellhop by the name of Lorenzo who is paying off the debt of his mother who tried to rob the hotel, and Zenon the stage magician who is looking for a crew to steal from a group of trade lords planning to stay at the hotel.


Chapter 6: the Feline Isles of Al’ar

This tropical island chain isn’t part of the continental mainland, located 1,000 miles to the west of Vinyot’s shores. Most of its population is feline, and they are ecologically conscious due to viewing the world as a gift from the Beast Mother. Most of their cities are made up of tent and hammock dwellings and wooden docks, with stone structures being rare, and they make use of crop rotation and wild-sown crops to make foraging a plentiful endeavor. Like Vinyot, maritime occupations are an important part of their culture, and their vessels range from personal sailboats to schooners designed for long voyages. It was Vinyotian sailors who made first contact with Al’ar, and relations were initially positive. However things took a worse turn when platinum deposits were discovered on the islands. Al’ar’s refusal to let them be mined caused the trade lords to go and try mining it anyway, resulting in several small-scale battles. The conflict would soon come to a close when the Vinyotian miners realized they were being used as pawns and didn’t view the risk to life and limb as worth it, so they allied with the cats and delivered a warning to the trade lords that Al’ar wouldn’t be colonized.

The Al’ari are semi-nomadic, pulling up their belongings at the end of the dry season to relocate to another island where they build anew. This is known as a Storm Voyage, for it coincides with the passage of tropical storms that go through the isles in a semi-predictable pattern. Their greatest possessions are wearable jewelry and waterproof scrolls, the latter for being the best means of containing knowledge in the humid climate, and locally-grown spices are also a valued trade commodity. Pigments made from plants are used for colorful textiles and paints which they put on everything, and every year during December the holiday of Foxencat celebrates the Al’ar-Vinyot friendship. The holiday involves painting a feline and vulpine engaged in friendly activities on the side of a mountain; every storm season the rain washes the art away, meaning that the mural is always different year by year.

There are of course pirates, who Al’ari have a sort of nonaggression pact with provided they are compensated and don’t get too violent; attacking migrating ships during a Storm Voyage is universally hated, as the lost resources can doom a community to starvation. Many former pirates have become Delvers, seeking to find fame and fortune in the Dungeon rather than on the high seas. Beyond this, Delvers have a mixed reputation in the isles: on the one hand, they provide useful skills in taking care of monsters and Dungeon incursions, but also bring the outside world closer which can also bring in the positives and negatives of tourism.

Pirhouanism in Al’ar venerates the goddess as one of nature, wandering, and curiosity, and its bethels are dedicated to using divination magic and sea charts for maritime travel. The Divine Charges include spreading goodness through the world by visiting other places, giving back what you can to the natural world after taking from it, and piquancy where culinary skills are valued as an important part of life’s blessings.


What to See in Al’ar is a rather brief section, consisting of 13 locations. Five of those are the largest islands: Aurica holds the world’s largest platinum deposit and mainland pirates often use the place as a stopping point; Dakshin has a jungle home to druids and their quiet-minded pets; Jarik has densely-populated dock towns that feel more like mainland cities; Kandela has an active volcano and Dungeon incursions are feared to agitate it into erupting again; and Sampura has many Dungeon incursions that have forced dock towns to resettle.

Other interesting places include Muraya, a “city of walls” that is located among the porous cliff sides of Sampura; the city of Tempestat, where most natives possess a Windstring magical item which can fill a sail with enough wind to quickly maneuver about the city; and Trebe, or the Three Babes islands, whose center holds a vast mangrove forest rumored to be haunted.

Port Tonoro Is a pirate town and the largest settlement in the region, although it too is mobile due to the Storm Voyage. Its leader is a beloved tiger pirate known as Skull Charlie, and the city’s ill-gotten gains make their way into fence markets for crews looking to get rid of stolen goods. The port has few rules, the most notable being to not attack ships making a Storm Voyage, to warn the lookouts if naval vessels are spotted within a hundred miles, and to not steal from or attack ships that are docked in town. They’re also rather lax about the use of enchantment magic, viewing their use as no great offense provided that those influenced aren’t forced into any permanent decisions.

Our section ends with two establishments and their occupants. The first is Anton’s Shack, owned by a tiger bartender who is a well-traveled sailor and his girlfriend Josie. One of its regulars is Crabman Chris, a fox who was exiled from his town after buying a malfunctioning steam engine from a mole conman to use on a ship during the Storm Voyage. This resulted in the ship capsizing and him being exiled from his community. The other establishment is the Surrender Parlor, owned by a bard known as Jaden who operates what can be most accurately described as an S&M Club. But instead of physical pain, he makes use of enchantment magic that can elicit various mental states in the client.

Thoughts So Far: Vinyot and Al’ar are really good chapters. Both do a good job of explaining interesting factors in local culture and customs, and Al’ar helps weave a sense of verisimilitude regarding how society and resources are shaped by the Storm Voyage. While Al’ar has interesting people and places, I feel that Vinyot has won out in diversity of locations and adventures to be of interest to PCs. There were some elements that stretched my suspension of disbelief, although in that Beast World is meant to be more optimistic than other settings I can find it forgivable. The first is that aspects of Vinyotian greed can be curbed by charity and generosity, and that the Vinyot-Al’ar war was ended simply by the bulk of sailors defecting to the natives’ side. Couldn’t the trade lords just find even more desperate people to replace them, or did they sink too much money into the colonization that it became too costly? I presume the latter.

Join us next time as we complete our terrestrial travels in the Beast World in the United Lands of Arneria!

I backed this but have been holding off on reading it until the physical copy arrives. Unfortunately it was one of several ks fulfilments that got caught in printing/shipping he’ll over the past few months, and I expect it’ll be optimistically another month before I see my copy.




Chapter 7: The United Lands of Arneria

Located in the east of the Beast World, the United Lands of Arneria is a nation of dual identities, different yet bonded by nearly a millennium of friendship. The western half of the realm is a lush rainforest known as the Bat’yan, and the eastern half is a sprawling desert known as the Beylik. An elevated stone road known as the Causeway is its most internationally known feature, spanning over a thousand miles through both lands with entire cities existing upon its foundations. The culture of the Bat’yan is inspired by the Philippines, while the Beylik is inspired by the various cultures comprising the Ottoman Empire. Mice are the predominant Beast in both lands, although ligonine sloths are common in the Bat’yan and bison and desert vulpines have traditionally lived in the Beylik, with armadillos and donkeys commonly found along the Causeway.

The Bat’yan has a decentralized system of government, where local villages known as barangays are run by a datu, whose members are drawn from the upper classes or Pirhouan religious leaders. The closest thing they have to a regional leader is a raja, who is invariably a diviner possessing magic to link the minds of every datu, which is used to speak on behalf of them when dealing with the Beylik. Men and women tend to have more separate social lives divided by the time of day and labor, with women doing more indoors and domestic duties by day, and the men at night, and during the afternoon everyone takes a siesta-like nap to sleep through the hottest parts of the day. The book acknowledges that life can be tough for people who don’t fall in line with traditional gender norms, although there’s encouragement to be understanding for people in the process of figuring themselves out.

The Bat’yan’s greatest threat at the moment is a region of utter darkness known as the Blackwild, which is roamed by demons on the outskirts. Anything entering the void is never seen again, and the paladins of Drapmphine erected a stone wall around it to guard against its dangers. The lands beyond the wall that don’t touch the darkness are known as the Ring of False Blessings, a seemingly-pristine land inhabited by delicious fruits, bodiless singing, and animals and plants with beautiful colors not found naturally among their species.

There are 9 places of interest detailed in the Bat’yan: Castaway Point, a treacherous coastline and isolated port city home to a group of “sea rats” who make it their mission to prevent others from dying among the treacherous waters; Duyan Vale, a Causeway town famed for its delicious foods and rare herbs which are becoming harder to obtain due to Dungeon appearances; Kal’oro Grove, a community in the rainforest home to the Kapre Druids, sloths who are closer to Seelie than mortals and mastered the secrets of immortality; and the strange swamp villages of Mitalu Swamp, who prefer to be left to their own devices and are particularly suspicious of paladins and other people who can detect fiends.

The Beylik is an old land whose harsh environs have encouraged the inhabitants to rely on tried and true means of architecture and resource management. From this, their society was among the first to develop advanced mathematics and a broader culture of learning. Broadgate University is the oldest magical academy in the Beast World, whose scholars invented the creation of crystal-clear glass and the Magic Missile spell. Gems are a popular trade good, and to facilitate their transport a network of roadside inns known as caravanserai were built across the desert.

The Beylik has a more centralized form of government in comparison to the Bat’yan, and is ruled by a figure known as the bey.* Many lower-level government positions come from the bey’s many sons and daughters, who is married to many wives to make their numbers larger than just a few. Beyond his wives and progeny, the bey also has three viziers, the Eye, Star, and Hand of the Bey who have masterful knowledge in certain fields vital to good governance. The current bey is a bison known as Vartan who was leader since before the Invader War and is liked more than his father who ruled the land with a harsh grip.

*The title is consistently lower-case save for one time.

The Beylik has 11 interesting locations detailed: some of the more interesting ones include Glimmerpool, an underground Loamlink city and considered the “ligonine capital” of the Beast World as it is an important religious pilgrimage site to all three of their species; the Omniscient Temple in Harik, dedicated to Yttrus the god of knowledge and secret keepers of the Vessel of Yttrus artifact which was used to terraform the surrounding desert into a more livable region; the Kavrama Mines, whose operations are suffering due to entire sections being compromised by Dungeon appearances; and the Sun Bull Dunes, the hottest place in the Beast World and a place of religious significance to the Aubadism religion, where worshipers enter a trance and venture to a gigantic pillar of black sapphire to smash a piece of it to carry back to civilization.


The Causeway is the primary means of transportation through Arneria, built over a thousand years ago at the end of the Attamek Wars to unite east and west in a symbolic gesture of peace. Before then, even the Beylik wasn’t a united land, and there were many wars that in modern times are remembered as doomed endeavors that only brought misery to everyone.

In addition to transportation, the Causeway serves as a safer method of travel, particularly through the Bat’yan as its roads are above the rainforest canopy and out of reach of most monsters. Hanging gardens, elevators, and aqueducts are used to make living long-term on the elevated roads possible, and due to this Arneria’s common folk are more well-traveled than their peers in other lands.

Pirhouanism in Arneria is a religion that emphasizes self-discipline, its bethels being quiet buildings of quiet introspection. Its three Divine Charges include using one’s labor to make the world livable, encouraging one to think what is best for the community, and order and mercy to ensure that everyone pulls their weight so that nobody is left starving or forgotten.

However, there is another deity who is as popular as Pirhoua in Arneria: Aubade the Sun Bull. They exist with some begrudging tolerance, where it is determined that open warfare would be too costly and so are allowed to exist provided they channel their zeal into more productive means of allowing Arnerians to blow off some steam (violence is viewed as an art form among the Sun Bull’s worshipers). Aubadian chapels are common in most settlements and are tight-knit, having no formal leaders and instead being a gathering of equals.

Far’soro is the capital of Arneria, a Causeway city home to the bey’s Sapphire Palace and located above a harbor that links the ports of distant lands to the United Lands. Although the bey encourages sticking to traditions, Far’soro has adapted well to the influx of foreign Delvers who use the metropolis as a hub for Dungeon operations in the country. The Arnerian General Post Office maintains legions of postal donkeys delivering messages and goods across the Beast World, and a fortress of Dramphinian paladins known as the Moon Needle is dedicated to some secret task their order doesn’t share with others. The Rooftop City is a collection of shanty roofs next to the Causeway where the poor live, and the rivers of Attamek Harbor are swollen with merchants and fences who braved swift currents and eagle-eyed authorities. The mouse Hiraya is the current raja of the Bat’yan, and he and the bey Vartan despite each other. This may seem a problem, but there is a tradition of having friction exist between the rulers of east and west in the belief that both act as a check against each other’s power. The bey’s viziers are thus legally bound to report to the datus if the bey and raja get along too much so that the latter can be replaced.

This seems counterintuitive to me, but I won’t lie in that it creates some great adventuring opportunities.


The Storied Histories League serves as our end-chapter shop/service, although it is more detailed than the prior chapters. The Storied Histories League is but the official stamp of a long-lasting Arnerian cultural tradition, a combination fighter’s guild and theater troupe where members adopt colorful titles and melodramatic stories to engage in mock battles with each other for the purposes of entertaining crowds via a more involved story. Basically, it’s professional wrestling.

Matches can happen anywhere, although the most prestigious rings are in the Far’soro Grand Arena where the reigning Champion has the right to wear a distinctive belt that they can keep for as long as they don’t lose to the many, many other fighters seeking a place at the top. This entry goes over common wrestling tropes such as heels and faces along with the concept of kayfabe, albeit reflavored for the fantasy world tropes of the Beast World. For instance, there are different League divisions tailored to the talents and capabilities of fighters, such as a Spellslinger Division where fighters don’t use weapons and instead engage in “mage duels,” or the Tag Team Division where two combatants share a gimmick and fight together in matches. For gaming groups that prefer all of their PCs to participate, there is a new Delving Crew Division where two teams of four combatants compete against each other.

There are unique rules for kayfabe combat; generally speaking it follows the normal strictures of 5th Edition combat, but the goal of the fight is to gain Stars during a fight, which determines how much the crowd enjoyed the fight. There are a variety of ways to gain and lose stars, and the rules encourage making fights interesting and varied rather than straightforward: for instance, risky near-misses, expertly-landed hits, alternating between different actions and spells, and using Charisma skills to influence the crowd are good ways of building up stars than just trying to knock out or immobilize your opponent.

We also get a sample establishment, the Pit, which is a bar that hosts SHL tournaments, and two unique NPCs include Prince Kemal who is one of the bey’s sons whose real passion is in the sport and not governance, and Umber the Dragon who is actually a bear* and the current reigning Champion. The other establishment is Ramil’s Crate Shop, a jeweler fennec fox who is particularly interested in art from the Dungeon, and two of his employees are interested in getting involved with the delving lifestyle.

*He's called that for his signature dragon horns gesture of raising a hand to one’s forehead with raised index and pinky fingers.

Our chapter ends with an in-universe journal by a Dramphinian paladin chronicling the final years of the Attamek Wars.

Thoughts So Far: I like this chapter, although I feel that it is lacking something I can’t put my finger on in comparison to the prior lands. Although there are locations with Dungeon-related trouble, this is the only chapter that doesn’t have a stand-alone entry for how people treat the Delve, and the discussion of the rival faith of Aubade is pretty bare-bones in explaining why they are at odds with the worshipers of Pirhoua. The next chapter goes into more detail on the gods of the Beast World to help answer these questions, although as this chapter comes first I feel it could’ve used more fleshing out in detail. The professional wrestling minigame rules seem interesting, although I’d have to test them out in actual play to see how well they hold up.

On the plus side, Arneria as a chapter has some pretty strong entries in wondrous locations to visit. The Causeway serves as a convenient means for efficient long-distance travel between locals in the nation, and the named locations in both the Bat’yan and Beylik contain sites of both cultural and adventuring significance.

Join us next time as we go beyond the Beast World in Chapter 8: Cosmology & Religions!
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Part 8: Cosmology & Religions

Note: This was addressed in the Introductory preface, but given this chapter’s contents I feel it’s good to bring up. There are some spells that don’t exist in the Beast World, and several of them are due to both setting conceits and the cosmological framework: awaken, create or destroy water, fabricate, gate, goodberry, guidance, plane shift, raise dead, regenerate, reincarnate, remove curse, resurrection, teleport, teleportation circle, true resurrection, and word of recall. Additionally, spells and abilities that make mention of the core transitive planes (Astral, Ethereal, Shadowfell) instead refer to the Astral Sea. Several of these spell restrictions help encourage the “free-roaming wagon train to the Dungeon” feel of exploration, such as getting rid of teleportation and water/food creation, while the removal of resurrection magic is designed to keep what happens after death a great unknowable.

We covered the known lands of the Beast World in our prior chapters, but what of realities beyond? The setting has its own unique cosmology along with some common laws of reality. We first start out with a more in-depth distinction between quiet-minded and willful creatures: while the major dividing line is intelligence, what makes a creature willful is its ability to be aware of its own identity and what it represents, where it distinguishes itself from others for no other reason than its uniqueness. Additionally, the ability to build observations and thoughts beyond instinct and stimuli are important, such as moral frameworks for living. The ability to change and grow from such observations is also an important aspect of willfulness; while certain creatures may be intelligent, if their natures are locked into an innate mindset or programming then they cannot be willful.

Worlds of reality are usually made up of three forces: Nature is the physical foundation, and Arcana is the “mind” that is the foundation of magic. Divinity takes the form of gods, who are personifications of concepts imagined by willful creatures. Curiously, gods are not willful creatures: they cannot transform or grow, as they see the world in terms of their portfolio and thus can only take actions in line with influencing that aspect. All forms of magic interface with these three forces in some way or another. Natural magic wielded by druids and rangers calls upon the automatic decisions of reality to make Nature express itself, arcane magic takes advantages of Nature’s loopholes by debating Arcana itself to make it “correct the discrepancy” in reality, and the god-given spells of clerics and paladins are derived from a relationship with a deity. Warlocks are considered a special category of their own, their patrons being powerful creatures whose nature and personalities can change over time. This separates them from gods, as they’re believed to be willful. The elemental forces of air, earth, fire, and water are present in all three forces, not pulled from separate elemental planes but from the elements already existing in a world.

There are also different kinds of worlds, which drift aloft in the spacelike Astral Sea connecting them all together through an infinite void. The Absolute Veil is an analogy for extraplanar travel, where one passes through gaps in the fabric to enter other worlds. Material worlds are the most complex of worlds, and include the Beast World, Ancestral Homeland, and the Broken World.* Material worlds have the three forces, although the Broken World’s Arcana has been drained.* Thus, they are the only worlds that can create willful creatures. A solved world is one where reality has settled into a final state that cannot be altered by willful creatures; existing willful creatures lose the ability to procreate, which in turn causes deities to starve or leave. Solved words come about from the actions of willful creatures, and can range from intelligent life being exterminated to destroying the fundamental building blocks of Nature which thus becomes unable to enforce its own rules. The Ancestral Homelands is an example of a Solved world.

*I presume that this is either an error or the Broken World being used as an example was it as a former Material World, for the book also mentions that it contains no Arcana.

Manifested worlds are realities, usually small, created by the hands of others, such as an extradimensional spell made by a spellcaster or a god’s personal retreat. The Dreaming is a Manifested world, created by the thoughts of sleeping creatures. Finally, Coterminous worlds aren’t a category of their own but explain a world that overlaps another on an identical basis. The Netherworld is coterminous with the Beast World, being akin to the Ethereal Plane of core D&D in this regard.

What happens to the souls of those who die is unknown, deities are unwilling to provide any information on the subject, and resurrection magic is virtually unknown. The devotees of Pirhoua teach that the dead live with her in a court of the afterlife, but beyond that there’s a multitude of belief systems with their own answers.

We have d100 tables for spellcasting on other worlds, as non-Material worlds and distance from deities may have side effects. For instance, the Broken World lacks any Arcana at all, and arcane casters must roll on a table with random effects whenever they cast a spell. Spellcasters who gain their magic from a deity require their god to reach through the Absolute Veil, which can have random effects every time they prepare their spells on a long rest. Nature magic is enhanced in the Dreaming, has a chance of not restoring expended spell slots in the Ancestral Homeland, and cannot be regained at all in the Broken World. Finally, warlocks are immune to such randomness, for their patrons aren’t tied to the makeup of a particular world.


The Broken World is the homeland of the Brethren, whose reality began to gradually crumble for unknown reasons. The laws of physics seem to change with little rhyme or reason between regions, resulting in weird landscapes such as the horizon being a jagged line rather than a flat expanse, unbreathable atmospheres, the passage of time being slower or faster than normal, and so on. Travel to the Broken World can be accomplished via a Crossworld Well, a 4th-level magic ritual which acts as the catalyst for a portal requiring a variety of ingredients. There’s even an in-universe ingredient and instructions list for how to cast the spell. Furthermore, a magical suit known as bubble armor is used to safely travel without being exposed to the plane’s effects, creating a magical bubble around the wearer’s head. The bubbles are of limited duration, requiring fuel that is worth 200 gold pieces per 10 minutes of function, and explorers often make use of neckwear that casts the banishment spell on the wearer via command word.

The Broken World itself is virtually lifeless, and so far no explorers have found any concrete animal life save for large shadows moving across the horizon. The environment is deadly enough, being best summed up as a Deck of Many Things but for an entire plane of existence. There’s a new condition known as Exposed that affects those who don’t have an item or effect that explicitly protects against it. We have twelve d6 tables that determine the current natural laws of a region, and they’re quite creative. The Nature of Flora may fill a region with immobilizing choking green spores harmful to exposed creatures, the Nature of Space may turn reality into a two-dimensional plane that grants inhabitants blindsight, the Nature of Sound may cause echoes to be eternal and any instance of thunder damage is repeated ad infinitum in the same space every round, and unique Other Natural Laws may make it so that all creatures and objects are super-fragile with 1 hit point. The book notes that the Broken World is quite dangerous, in that it makes death and fates just as bad to be likely scenarios, reflecting the fact that the characters don’t belong here.

The Astral Sea is the metaplane connecting the known worlds of the setting. And every space in the Beast World has a corresponding location albeit there’s no guarantee that they’ll be the same size. Inhabitants move through the Astral Sea via mentally focusing on a point of reference and “fly” to the point. The Sea is made up of an immaterial substance known as Astra which can be shaped into virtually any material with enough mental discipline in a process known as astralcrafting.

Bats are native inhabitants of the Astral Sea, who made contact with the Beast World last year, and they make use of astralcrafting to build mazelike cities with lighthouses to serve as flying waypoints. As astra can also be turned into edible substances, so bats and other inhabitants do not have to worry about starving to death. Astra’s major limit is that it can only exist in the Astral Sea, so objects made out of it fade when taken to another plane of existence. We have two pages of rules for Astralcrafting too, covering what kinds of items and structures you can make from it as well as their game mechanics (hit point, AC, duration, etc) when relevant.


The Ancestral Homeland is a Solved World and the birthplace of dragons and kobolds. Reality is made up of disc-shaped regions each ruled over by a single dragon who determines the physical functions of their region. Long ago dragonkind altered the laws of their reality to have perfect control over their domains at the cost of being able to travel outside their home domains. This turned the Ancestral Homeland into a Solved world, the dragons becoming prisoner-kings of their own lands. The surviving dragons are incredibly powerful, with even the youngest among them were elderly wyrms before the creation of the Beast World. There were wyrms who for various reasons found this alteration to be a mistake or not to their liking, and escaped in time before the world was completely solved. After sailing the Astral Sea for an unknown length of time, they found themselves in the Beast World. The dragon refugees were allowed to settle by the gods in exchange for having limits placed on their power. As they could reproduce and ensure worthy inheritors of their greatness, this was a worthy trade-off.

As for the dragons still in the Ancestral Homeland, they too desired a means of creating progeny, and via contact with each other at the edges of their circles they engaged in a ritual to find a temporary loophole and create willful life from nothing. This was half-successful: they created kobolds, who weren’t willful but capable of moving beyond their parent dragons’ regions, swelling to tens of trillions and burrowing massive hive-tunnels through the realms. When gathered in large enough numbers kobolds could act with machine-like precision, entering something akin to a hive-mind like trance which effectively works as a growing intellect for the purposes of working together. Those kobolds who managed to find their way to the Beast World had a rare few become willful, gaining names and languages.

The Dreaming is a reality that exists at the behest of sleeping creatures in the Beast World, shaped by magic into a mental landscape of individual dreams being less like locations and more akin to collections of memories and emotions. Its permanent inhabitants are the Seelie Court, the slumbering gods of an old solved world, whose resting place is a city that appears in every dream in the Beast World. Although it is often in the distance and can take different forms and shapes, the Seelie Court is as much a fact of life as the sky being blue. Travel to the Dreaming can be accomplished via the Daisy Walk, a 2nd level spell that has the caster fall asleep into a lucid dream where they enter the dream of another creature. Casting the spell at higher levels grants more benefits, such as letting other targets enter the lucid dream state with the caster or the ability to obscure oneself from the memories of the target dreamer.

The Netherworld is a Coterminous world, a pale mirror to the Beast World. Its objects are hazy and dull, and sounds are slower and distorted. The Netherworld is inhabited by ghosts, who aren’t the spirits of the departed but rather copies of willful creatures, often coming into existence from strong emotions or persistent repetition of an activity or concept that “solidifies” the ghosts into the Netherworld.

Ghosts are a vital resource in the Beast World, as simply being aware of their presence gives them more cohesion to continue existing, and thus ghosts crave attention like living creatures crave sustenance. While ghosts can appear as faithful copies of people, they rarely have the memories and talents of their creator in the Beast World. Magic items are created by finding its counterpart in the Netherworld and convincing a ghost to inhabit it via a Covenant Forge, allowing the ghost to become one with it and thus gaining a prolonged existence. The forge user and ghost often negotiate contracts, and those who specialize in communicating with ghosts are known as witches. We also get a new magic item, the Netherworld Intrusion Ritual Kit, that allows the user to create a double-image of themselves into the Netherworld.


Deities is our final section of Chapter 8, providing us with 8 gods of the Beast World. We start things off with an in-universe text on how the Beast World came to be: Varasta found a new world whose only inhabitants, the Seelie, were weak and slumbering. Seeking to find a fun new place for mischief, he manipulated his fellow deities into transforming the world into a living reborn one with willful creatures. They all found something of interest in this world, and Pirhoua made a deal with the Seelie to uplift the quiet-minded beasts into willful creatures, with the promise that she’d teach one of the uplifted species about the Seelie (the Jackals) and who would then have a role in helping shape the world. Veronette, Pirhoua’s spiteful sister, and Aubade, her head-strong brother, grew jealous of her and threatened to destroy the world if they didn’t have a place at the table. Varasta managed to quell their threats with a wager, where each would attempt to win over the newly-created Beasts with their own ways, and Dramphine and Yttrus would act as impartial judges. And thus, the various gods of the Beast World continued to play this cosmic game, and Varasta now had a whole new world of possibilities in which to have fun.

One thing to note about the gods of the Beast World is that they have no listed alignments or domains. Instead, the text outlines their dogma and nature. That being said, the text all but says that Pirhoua is Good-aligned, Dramphine is Lawful Good, Veronette is Evil-aligned, and Varasta is almost certainly Chaotic. Not all gods necessarily have clerics, either: the majority of Dramphine’s worshipers are paladins, and that class is closer to classic D&D where the only allowed alignment is Lawful Good. The Ghost God only deals with Warlocks, and anyone practicing necromancy of the undead-making kind has to make a deal with Veronette in order to master those forbidden arts. The Seelie can make warlock pacts with Jackals, their dreaming state somehow granting them both the benefits of godhood and patronage.

Pirhoua, the Beast Mother is the most popular deity in the Beast World, commonly appearing as a bovine woman. She encourages virtues of cooperation, mercy, and forgiveness as the best paths to making a better world. They aren’t necessarily pacifists, although the “vanquishing evil” aspect of holiness is better known among Dramphine’s followers.

Dramphine, the Moon Wolf is the goddess of justice, the moon, and destroying supernatural evils. If Pirhouans knit wounded flesh together, than Dramphinians are the scalpels that excise tumors. It is said that the moon is Dramphine carrying a lantern as she travels the night, and like Pirhoua she too has Three Divine Charges. The first charge is the eradication of Unnature, their term for demons and undead and a manifestation of Veronette’s corruption of the Arcana. The second charge is to act as judges of mortal deeds, and paladins have jurisdiction to act as law enforcement in every land in the Beast World save Oric. The third charge is one of just rebellion, where the Moon Wolf permits her paladins to intervene, by force if necessary, against systemic injustices and tyrants who abuse their oaths of protection against their citizenry.

Aubade, the Sun Bull is the god of the sun, holding sway over various passions from art to violence. The sun is said to be his watchful eye looking down upon mortals, and in lieu of Divine Charges he encourages his faithful to find their own inner lights. Thus his only universal commandment is to live life to the fullest, and a mental state known as Sunblood occurs among his worshipers in their most extreme emotional states. While many have used Aubade’s example to good ends, there are those who used his teachings to indulge in violent and selfish ends, who are responsible for giving the Sun Bull a reputation as a god of slaughter.

Yttrus, the Knowing Mouse is the genderless deity of knowledge, whose achieved omniscience has given them a dispassionate view of reality for they know where all paths lead. While they are revered by the scholarly-inclined, there are only a few dozen “true Yttrusians” who dedicate themselves to understanding the god. First, one must dedicate years of study to different academic practices, calculating cosmic forces into a final data point through which Yttrus is understood. The Knowing Mouse’s only active duty is to act as a Guardian of time, where mages who try to alter the fundamental flow of time are given a warning in the form of an explosive sound that harms their mind. Further violations see the perpetrator hunted by Yttrus’ sphinx and mummy agents. Mummies are the sole undead who Veronette doesn’t hold sway over, instead being Yttrusian wizards made immortal.

The Seelie, the Dreaming Court were the gods of the world that existed before the Beast World. They live within the Seelie Court of the Dreaming, eternally asleep and whose minds reach out to the jackals who serve their will. Other species can also worship them, although thus far only the jackals have been permitted into their Court. The Seelie have three Divine Charges: the first is that the Jackals are their chosen people, the second is to preserve the legacy of the world that came before in hidden places and treasured texts throughout the Beast World, and the third is to act only until the correct response is as clear as possible.

Veronette, the Spiteful Sister is the quintessential evil deity of the Beast World’s pantheon. She does not wish to rule the world, only to watch it burn and tear down everything Pirhoua built. Those who worship her are the types who are consumed by hate and the desire for harm, or the misguided belief that they can use her power for a better end. She spread the art of necromancy to such doomed souls, and mindless undead who aren’t kept in control inevitably harm others due to Veronette effectively giving them permission to destroy their creators. Sentient undead lose their free will, becoming little more than puppets of the wicked goddess.

Varasta, Handsome Idiot Dice Fox is perhaps the closest a deity can get to becoming a willful creature, for his portfolio of chaos allows him a wide domain of influence. He often takes the form of a tradewind vulpine in the Beast World, and unlike the other gods he can visit mortals and mingle among them, having a fondness for making various kinds of bets as a sort of cosmic bookkeeper. His three Divine Charges aren’t really edicts of conduct so much as explanations for his own behavior, where his only real edict has him act as someone earnestly willing to hear and negotiate the terms of any bet or contract. He becomes a deity of nature every day after 2 AM, representing the chaos of the wilderness and venerated by many (but not all) druids. Varasta holds in his breast pocket an envelope recording the odds of the bet between the sibling deities, and if any mortal were to read it it would collectively unravel the minds of every willful Beast. Sometimes he’s lost the envelope, but thankfully he managed to recover it each time.

The Ghost God is like the Seelie in being a collection of deities rather than a single entity. In this case, they are the remaining memories of the gods of the Broken World, unable to save their reality and died in the wake of its gradual unmaking. Living on as the will of a pantheon to survive, the Ghost God forges a bond with warlocks in the Beast World. Its three Divine Charges are to remember the Broken World and to spread the god’s name, to scavenge the Broken World for whatever can be found and saved, and to use objects from the Broken World as a means of continuing the memory.

The other deities have mixed feelings about the Ghost God. Pirhoua pities it and helps it to continue existing, Dramphine recognizes that it is not undead and tolerates it, Yttrus has no strong opinion like with everything else, while Varasta and Aubade are creeped out by it. Only Veronette truly hates the Ghost God due to Pirhoua being friendly with it.

Thoughts So Far: I like how the cosmology is both detailed and different enough from core D&D while also feeling internally consistent with its own self-imposed rules. The explanation of willful creatures is a good means of determining sapience and the capability for change, and also explains why a seemingly intelligent construct or Dungeon monster isn’t actually “willful.” Additionally, it explains why deities care about mortal followers, given that their loss will fundamentally break the Divinity pillar of many worlds.

When it comes to the planes of existence, my favorites are the Broken World and Ancestral Homelands in terms of themes and being interesting places for PCs to explore. The Astral Sea, Dreaming, and Netherworld feel rather barren in comparison, with the Netherworld being less a place and more an explanation of how magic items are created and powered in the Beast World. That being said, I feel that travel in the Broken World is too expensive. While meant to have a feel of unreachability, the bubble armor’s fuel source could be knocked down a peg or two: for a party of four to stay in the Broken World for an hour, they would need 4,800 gold pieces worth of fuel before they risk exposure.

The deities work in being a rather tightly-themed pantheon whose history and workings are bound up in the setting. I do like the fact that they aren’t just for clerics and can empower worshipers in various ways, and their portfolios cover a broad range of concepts for most characters. Dramphine and Aubade cover the warrior aspects, Pirhoua your mercy/life “goodly good” faith, Yttrus and Varasta cover knowledge and trickery (and nature), and Veronette serves as your all-purpose evil/forbidden magic deity. I can see just about every official Cleric domain fitting under one of them in some way. As for weak points, the lack of certain spells in the Beast World means that certain classes will need to have bonus spells swapped out. In particular, Raise Dead for the Grave and Life domains and Fabricate for the Forge domain come to mind. Additionally, paladins being Lawful Good is a bit of a subjective taste, as 5th Edition explicitly attempted to decouple the class (and by extension the rest of the game) from alignment.

Join us next time as we meet the setting’s power players in Chapter 9: Factions of the Beast World!



Chapter 9: Factions of the Beast World

The prior chapters have covered the groups and societies specific to nations, along with Delver culture in general. This chapter focuses on groups who aren’t limited to one region but still have a prominent role in the Beast World.

The Motherguard are an order of Dramphinian paladins dedicated to hunting demons and undead above and beyond regular paladins whose duties typically reflect a broader range of smiting evil. Their single-minded dedication doesn’t leave much room for variance: their organization only recruits people who identify as women, they must not be in a relationship or have children as dependents can distract from the mission, and they prioritize the killing of Unnature’s enablers rather than risk them continuing to do evil via a false surrender. They may allow an evil person to live if doing so means they can destroy a greater evil.

The Shamans are a mostly-Brethren organization of historians and preservers of human culture. The unraveling of the Broken World didn’t happen suddenly, but was a gradual process over generations; the Shamans' precursors were those that grew aware of what was being lost and what would be lost, creating isolated enclaves and exploring the dangerously-changing landscape to save who and what they could. Now that humanity lives on in the Beast World, their dedication is stronger than ever to preserve their culture.

The exact causes of the Broken World’s deterioration is unknown, but several side effects contributed to the loss of Brethren history: the loss of skilled technicians and resources for creating their world’s technology, combined with magic robbing knowledge of most of their languages, reduced much of their culture to skills used for survival. While written languages can be found in the Broken World, the unstable natural laws means that even magical attempts of discerning the texts fail. As of now, shamans are the ones best capable of understanding Broken World items, which are popularly known as curios in the Beast World and tend to be things light enough for survivors to carry.


The Thieves’ Army grew out of the Invader War, which touched the lives of virtually every inhabitant in the Beast World. It wasn’t just the leaders of nations and soldiers who found themselves fighting the Brethren, but also the dregs of society defending a home that didn’t necessarily want them. Smugglers, pirates, gangsters, and other criminal malcontents had useful skills in hindering the extraplanar occupation, and their various organizations banded together under a greater Thieves’ Army. But now the war is done, and they went back to their old lives, now stronger than before.

The Thieves’ Army operates like a more “civilized” organized crime syndicate. They recruit among poor and disenfranchised groups, including even Brethren, offering them food and shelter in exchange for service, and they create dependents out of local legitimate businesses by paying off their debts and loans. Overt “street crime” like muggings are discouraged, for they give a negative reputation as they still rely on public goodwill for their roles in the Invader War. There is one line the Thieves’ Army won’t cross, and that is slave trafficking; the more violent criminals are given an outlet via a “Special Section” to hunt down and murder slavers, and as a result of these hard-edged methods outright slavery is extremely rare in the Beast World.

Sunset Lounge is an exclusive and secret club headquartered in the Astral Sea, counting among its number some of the most famous and powerful individuals in the Beast World. Their members rarely arrive in person, instead having proxies or magical projections interacting with each other at this neutral ground, and entry to the Lounge is via a magical invitation card that can summon a submersible within the nearest body of water to transport the holder.

The Sunset Lounge is a high-class place with all manner of diversions, but their entertainments are far stranger than your regular “rich people games.” Chess is played by trained animals on giant boards, fighting rings have dueling golems controlled by contestants, and one famous mixer had a contest where every guest was polymorphed into a peasant named Ned, where Ned would win the title of nobility if nobody could correctly guess his identity.

Ferals are an anti-Brethren hate group that has not forgotten nor forgiven the death and destruction wrought by the Invader War. They believe that humans are still plotting their destruction, as soldiers-in-disguise adopting the role of civilians in order to stage a second war once everyone’s guard is down. And like many real-life bigots they engage in the act of projection by doing exactly what they accuse their enemies of doing. Ferals put on more respectable faces in public, but don iron masks when they seek to perform more violent acts of terrorism.

Beyond decentralized acts of violence, the most lasting legacy of the Ferals is the invention of lycanthropy, where a scholar in Beylik created a disease that could turn humans into rampaging monsters and was fatal to Beasts who became infected. One town with a Brethren minority was to serve as a testing ground, with the hopes that the Beasts would purge the humans out of a sense of grim necessity. Instead, the townsfolk took pity on the first lycanthrope when it was found they had no memory or control of their actions, and other infected humans fled the town to avoid hurting others. Lycanthropy has since sprung up throughout Arneria and is now spreading to other lands.

Vampires are different in the Beast World, namely in that they are Fiends rather than Undead. Their origin dates back several hundred years when some upper-class hobbyists sought out immortality by trafficking with demons, who possessed their bodies after a fell ritual. Most vampires today belong to or stem from this foul origin, invariably being well-connected masterminds who had generations worth of plots and schemes to build upon. In spite of their power, every vampire struggles against the demon within, who has no pretense of civility and wishes more than anything to ruin all of existence. Due to this, many vampires seek out an “archenemy” in the form of a heroic person, playing out a parody of a storybook tale but one where the vampire seeks to quench every trace of life and goodness from their chosen foe. The Intruders, or demons inhabiting their body, reward the defeat of an Archenemy with indescribable euphoria. Vampires can reproduce, and while their children thankfully don’t bear demonic possession they still require blood for sustenance. Such progeny are known as fiend-vessel spawn, and unlike vampires they can run the gamut of alignments although many are evil.

We have several stats for vampires and their ilk: Fiend-Inhabited Vampires are a variation of the standard one, being equally powerful with many of the same features but whose unique features are more suitably shadow-themed or demonic. For example, they change into a shadow instead of gaseous mist, have a weakness where they can be Charmed by a sphere of annihilation, and they summon batwolves instead of wolves, bats, and rats. Intruders are CR 1 creatures who inhabit the bodies of vampires, and they don’t have any threatening abilities or actions of their own save the ability to inhabit the bodies of willing creatures to turn into vampires as well as take control of the vampires they inhabit if they go without drinking blood for 3 days or otherwise damage themselves. Batwolves are CR 2 monsters who are basically flying vampire dogs which can shapechange between a bat, a mastiff, or their true form. Finally, Fiend-Vessel Spawn are CR 5 fiends who are basically less powerful vampires, with their major abilities of note being able to regenerate hit points and a draining bite and claw attacks.


Laurent and the Ecclesiasts are an alliance of those who would otherwise be foes directing their mutual hatred towards a shared enemy. Laurent, the Dread Advisor, is a wolf lich who disguised his true nature and wormed his way into the court of an Allemagnian queen. During the Invader War he secretly met with the Invader Kings, offering to help the occupation in exchange for experimental subjects to enhance his necromantic knowledge. As the war started to turn against the Brethren, Laurent recruited the leaders of the Broken World most loyal to him into his tower. He melds the bodies and minds of helpless Beasts into their human forms, making them powerful mage-warriors in their own right. These souls are known as the Ecclesiasts, and with the Invader War over they view Laurent as their true master. However, known only to Laurent and a rare handful, one Invader King still survives in an unknown location, and he and Laurent regularly communicate.

Laurent has the stats of a lich, although his secret tower has its own unique lair actions appropriate to a necromantic mad scientist. We also have stats for three different kinds of Ecclesiasts. Their Challenge Ratings are pretty high, being 8, 12, and 16 and their roles in battle can be summed up as necromantic gishes. They fight primarily with greatswords and can let loose necromantic ranged attacks, and they can cast up to two related spells with one action, which include combinations such as Heal and Harm, Cloudkill and Flame Strike, and Fireball and Blight.

Thoughts So Far: I don’t have overall thoughts on this chapter so much as individual thoughts on the organizations. About half of the groups are “PC friendly” in having aims that would align with delving crews or certain classes. The Motherguard and Shamans are ones who would have plot hooks relevant to many adventurers, and the Thieves’ Army can serve as an origin or contact for a Rogue/criminal PC who still wants to have a sense of “honor.” For that reason the Shamans and Thieves’ Army are my favorites.

The Sunset Lounge isn’t an organization with an explicit goal so much as a strange and whimsical place the PCs would go to in order to make contact with a powerful figure, so its use in a campaign can vary but is pretty broad. The Ferals, Vampires, and Ecclesiasts are unambiguously villainous entrees. I like how the Ferals and Ecclesiasts represent two toxic sides of the outcome of the Invader War, although the Ferals may be a bit one-and-done in what kinds of plots they can be used: “protect Brethren communities from violent bigots.”

I’m a bit mum on vampires. The author does explain why he changed the creature type to give them more of a unique niche in the world: there’s already a bevy of predatory undead archetypes, and he wanted there to be a demon-worshiping analogue to liches rather than having two “powerful undead” types for mortals to become. Still, I feel that the stat blocks could’ve instead been “use vampire, but with X” rather than a full-page entry, which could’ve easily gone to fleshing out the existing factions further.

For that reason the Ecclesiasts are my favorite villainous faction.

Join us next time as we finally get to the playable furry options in Chapter 10: Species!



Chapter 10: Species

We’re at the chapter that really gets into the crunchy bits for furry role-play, with 18 unique species and their various subspecies and cultural traits. The species of Beast World are similar to the concept of race in other 5th Edition settings, albeit with some changes: the species serves as the main race (for instance, murine covers rodents), then there are subspecies (in the vulpine example, there are mice and rats), and finally a homeland which grants abilities based on a character’s culture and upbringing rather than being explicitly biological. These do not supersede or replace a character’s background. To give a core race analogy, an elf’s weapon proficiencies would be considered a homeland trait, while their darkvision would be a species trait.

Every playable species in the Beast World is some variety of mammal, with dragons and kobolds being the reptilian exceptions. This is pretty inline with the most popular kinds of fursonas, where after hybrid combinations the most popular species are various kinds of canines and felines with dragons being number 5. As Beast World inhabitants “breed true” when having children, hybrids aren’t an option, which may be regrettable for those with fursonas of that type, but understandable given how complicated it would make options.

The book also has a handy sidebar for creating one’s own species not covered in the book. It isn’t a detailed system, but rather gives some broad guidelines to keep them relatively balanced.


There aren’t really “racial languages” in the Beast World, even if certain species are more common in certain regions. The Common tongue is a magical language which was designed during the earliest history of the Beast World to enable interspecies communication, and even the Brethren were able to master its use nearly instantly. But there still exist other languages, which mostly map up to the major countries along with counterparts and naming conventions of real-world cultures: for example, Allemance is French, Glasrúnish is Irish, Al’ar is Caribbean with some post-Colonial Portuguese, Carib, and Indian names, Draconic is Greco-Roman, and so on. Monstrous languages exist as Dungeon inhabitants.

I will not be going over every trait of a species, but rather highlighting some of the more interesting or iconic parts. I will also be giving my brief thoughts on each species’ utility for builds. One interesting thing to note among the species is that Darkvision is very rare. Only the Tenebrine species and Mole subspecies of Ligonine have it, and Murines have low-light vision where they can treat dim light as bright light. Some species still have special “greater than human” senses, such as vulpines being able to detect magnetic north and bats being able to see echoes of ethereal creatures and blindsense in the Astral Sea, but torches and lamp oil will be a pretty important commodity in Beast World parties more so than in core 5th Edition. Additionally, all of the species have the humanoid type, save for Jackals which are fey and Dragons which are…well, dragons.

Bovines are physically-imposing people who have a natural connection with the Beast World’s plant life. Their traits reflect this, such as the species gaining advantage on melee attacks if they move at least 10 feet towards a creature they’re attacking, or the bison subspecies being able to wield two-handed weapons in one hand and treating versatile weapons as being two-handed even when wielded in one hand. They can touch a plant to communicate with it for 1 minute and learn about what it sensed nearby. Their homelands reflect how their people adapted to the needs of their particular regions, such as Vinyotians being hired for muscle at businesses which grants them proficiency in Perception and one gaming set, or Oric bovines having the ability to repair broken magical items with cost and DC based on rarity.

Thoughts: It goes without saying that bovines encourage the player to go for melee builds. A bison doesn’t have to sacrifice the defensiveness of a shield in order to use a heavy weapon, and the advantage on a charge attack can be easily exploited to get Sneak Attack as a Rogue. The plant whisperer ability has some creative uses, such as carrying around a “pet plant” to pick up on things the party might miss or gift one to a person they wish to spy on.


Canines are a widespread species, with dogs being found in every region but most wolves live in Allemance. Their species traits are pretty broad, including +2 Charisma, advantage on Survival checks when tracking, and advantage on saves vs ingested poisons. They are natural team players, with wolves having a limited form of Pack Tactics where they gain advantage on attack rolls if they and at least 2 allies are adjacent to the target, and +2 on Charisma checks if within the presence of at least 3 allies. Dogs, by contrast, have advantage on attack rolls when they’re fighting 2 hostile creatures adjacent to each other, and their keen ears give them +1d4 on initiative rolls and advantage on Dexterity saves vs magical traps and spells when surprised. Their homelands reflect their particular peoples’ history in the region, such as Allemance soldiers being trained in backswings which once per round grants a free 1d4+ STR or DEX base weapon damage attack if they miss with a melee attack.

Thoughts: Wolves really shine if you have at least two other PCs or allies who engage in melee, and their ability score increases encourage Charisma-based martials such as Valor Bards and Paladins. The dog’s advantage on attack alternative works well with a reach weapon and appropriate feats, in that a target’s ally may provoke an opportunity attack should they try to move away and thus deny the advantage. Bonuses on initiative rolls are good for just about anyone.

Celerines are rabbits and squirrels, innately magical people who prefer to live in the big cities and keep up with the latest artistic trends. Their base species hews towards being agile, such as a 35 foot base walking speed and are immune to being surprised as long as they’re conscious. Rabbits begin play with the Prestidigitation cantrip, and squirrels can climb vertical surfaces as part of their movement. Their homeland traits determine how their particular culture learned to shape their inherent magic, such as Arnerian celerines being able to grant themselves and adjacent allies a speed boost for one minute once per long rest.

Thoughts: Prestidigitation is one of the more useful cantrips, and vertical movement is nice but kind of peters off at higher levels when Spider Climb, flight, and the like become more common. The Oria trait’s restraining tentacles are a good means of crowd control, and Vinyot’s personal aura of silence is good for shutting down enemy spellcasters if the celerine has some means of preventing movement (like grappling).

Cervines are elk, which is also their only listed subspecies, and most of them are native to Oria. Although they may seem introverted, they have a great curiosity for the world, leading quite a few to explore beyond the snowy north. Their species and subspecies traits encourage them towards gish builds, where they have a hoof and/or gore* natural weapon attack and can treat either their eyes or their antlers as an innate spellcasting focus. Their homeland traits can trace back generations to some esteemed individual or group who made a name for themselves in new lands, such as Al’ari cervines having arrived as cultural ambassadors, being proficient with two artisan or musical instrument tools and can knock enemies prone with their natural weapons while charging.

*Some cervine have antlers, some don’t, and unlike the real world it’s not split by biological sex.

Thoughts: Treating your eyes or antlers as a spellcsting focus frees up one’s hands to hold other things, making them good martial casters. Neither their species nor subspecies gains a bonus to any mental abilities, which is kind of a loss. The Vinyot homeland trait can be used on the party’s wagon to help reduce damage and deal more damage when ramming, which is good for Ironaxle wagons.

Equines are born to move, and horses and donkeys alike hail from nomadic cultures. Both the species and subspecies traits have features centered around movement, such as the horse being able to double their movement speeds (not just base walking, which is 35 for equines) during the first round of combat and donkeys being able to sleep for 4 hours and continue walking even when nonmagically asleep. Donkeys also make for good mages, for they have advantage on Constitution saves to maintain concentration on a spell. Their homelands reflect things they picked up on the road, such as Vinyotian pilgrims who are proficient in Religion and learned how to hide ciphers within written documents.

Thoughts: The base species has +2 to Wisdom, which strongly pushes them towards being a Cleric, Druid, Monk, or Ranger. The horse subspecies’ special stomp attack (move through an enemy square, damage and knock them prone) counts as an unarmed attack, which should mean that as a monk its base weapon damage die can increase with level. Donkeys as mentioned before are good for Concentration spells although their sleepwalking trait is of more limited use.


Felines were born in Al’ar, and even those who moved to other lands still carry with them nearly a millennium of island culture. Unlike dogs they are choosier in who they befriend and associate with, and even among good company they still prize having some “alone time” every now and then. The species is predictably agile, such as treating their Strength score as 6 points higher for jump distances and a 35 foot movement speed, but have some supernatural traits such as being immune to divination spells lower than 6th level and being more aware of their surroundings while asleep. The Chikitu subspecies represents smaller felines and gain the benefits of Dodge whenever they take the Dash action,* while the Grandi represent tigers and other big cats and have a cleavelike ability where they gain a free melee weapon attack if they drop a creature to 0 hit points with a melee weapon. Homeland traits represent how they adapted to a more inland lifestyle if away from Al’ar, such as Allemagne (Alley Cats) having a climb speed if they can brace against two parallel walls and being proficient in brewer’s supplies.

*The text could afford to be a bit clearer, as one could ask if a Feline Rogue using Cunning Action could thus Dash and Dodge during the same turn, which would be really powerful.

Thoughts: Felines are heavily pushed towards the physical classes, in that only Chikitus gain a mental ability score increase and that is from Wisdom. As mentioned above the Chikitu’s Dash may be powerful depending on how it’s read, and Oria’s Cat Got Your Tongue can be useful for shutting down an enemy spellcaster; the only downside is that the DC is low (8 + proficiency bonus) and they use their primary casting stat to save.

Laetines are ferrets and otters, one of the Small-sized races who share flexible bodies and curious and inventive mindsets. They make for good Artificers and Wizards, with the species granting a +2 Intelligence, and their noodly bodies treat their size as Tiny for determining where they can fit and squeeze into. Otters have a swim speed and can hold their breath for 15 minutes and add double proficiency bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence checks when using ropes, while Ferrets have adaptable minds which lets them become proficient in their choice of one of four sensory-based skills (Insight, Investigation, Perception, Survival) every long rest. Their homeland traits reflect expertise in some local industry, such as an Orian architect capable of performing a falling rubble-based AoE when hitting the weak point of a structure or Al’ari laetines being proficient with nets and are capable of building ones with higher escape DC and AC for purposes of breaking free.

Thoughts: The noodle body has all sorts of creative applications, as Tiny is the smallest size category in 5th Edition. The otter’s double proficiency on rope isn’t so hot, although the ferret's bonus skill proficiency is nice if not exactly amazing. Oria’s AoE rubble is perhaps the most potent ability, although Vinyot’s jury-rig effects can also be useful albeit a bit situational.

Ligonines are a bit of an exception for the species, as instead of being linked by similar physical features or ancestries they are instead linked by those who live in the highest and lowest places of the Beast World. They have three species, being armadillos, moles, and sloths. The ligonines help maintain the Loamlink network of subterranean tunnels running throughout the Beast World, which they allow others to use although most people find them inconvenient to travel. The eruption of the Dungeon in recent years has been disastrous for the species, who have memories of those lost from their appearance.

The main species traits are brief and reactive, granting +2 Constitution and adding proficiency bonuses to mental ability checks that aren’t skills. Moles are built for underground travel, such as a burrow speed, darkvision, and once per short or long rest can grant themselves tremorsense. Armadillos have mobility and defensive-minded traits, such as a natural armor of 14 plus Dexterity bonus, and can curl up into a defensive ball that lets them move twice as fast while dashing and subtracting 3 points of nonmagical physical damage whenever they Dash, Disengage, or Dodge. Sloths are built for melee, having a Climbing speed, claw natural weapons, treat their unarmed reach as being 5 feet longer than normal, and have advantage on their first Strength or Dexterity contested ability check they make against a creature if they haven’t moved that round or used their bonus action or reaction. Homeland traits are different, being based on whether they spent their lives underground, on the surface, or in the forested canopies.

Thoughts: The subspecies are different enough they may as well be treated as their own entries. Moles are basically the dwarves of the setting, and being one of the few races with darkvision they do not need to rely on light sources or magic to function in the dark, which is very useful. Armadillo rogues are quite potent, as they can go really fast when using the Dash action and two out of three actions that trigger their defensive ball are Rogue Cunning Actions. Sloths are pretty good for grapple and shove builds, as they have reliable means of gaining advantage provided that the enemy doesn’t move away from them.


Murines are the rodents of the Beast World. Both mice and rats called Arneria their home, but the rats moved en masse to other lands after losing their ability of silent speech that mice still possess. Rats are famous for starting and operating the first independent newspapers of the Beast World, motivated to keep in touch with friends and family across vast distances. The species main traits are rather interesting, including the aforementioned low-light vision and also being “mazeproof” in being able to retrace their steps over the last 7 days. The mice subspecies can communicate via subtle nonverbal cues with other mice, and can expend a spell slot* as a reaction if a creature would ordinarily lose concentration on a spell in order to maintain it. Rats can go for twice as long without food and water, and once per long rest as a reaction to seeing a spell cast within 60 feet they can cause the spell to affect them as well. Mice follow typical homeland traits separated by country, although the rats are an exception: in having spent generations living among others for much of their history, they can choose their homeland trait from any non-murine species list. Those living in Arneria can choose Blackwild Feedback, which is the result of a magical catastrophe that robbed them of silent speech, where as a reaction once per long rest can gain resistance to necrotic damage until the start of their next turn.

*slot level equal to the spell at risk.

Thoughts: Rodents are very good team players; mice can help maintain concentration effects, and rats can turn single-target beneficial spells into multi-target ones benefiting themselves as well. Arnerian mice’s homeland trait can let them teach their voiceless speech to non-mice allies, and use the Help action at range with them which is a pretty strong ability. The rat’s basic homeland trait is rather underwhelming as necrotic isn’t a super-common damage type, which likely means they’ll choose some other species’ homeland trait instead.

Ovines are another single subspecies entry, representing sheep who have a reputation for being gentle and patient. Their people inherited the ability to communicate with quiet-minded beasts, a peculiar gift from Pirhoua. As a result, sheep are more likely than others to be vegetarians, and work well as shepherds and in other occupations involving animal husbandry. The bulk of their traits come from their species, which include being able to communicate with creatures of the Beast type, can cast Animal Messenger once per long rest, a climbing speed of 15 feet, and are capable of eating any form of green vegetation. The sheep subspecies causes their wool to deal +1d4 lightning damage whenever they make an attack that does damage of the same type. Their homelands exhibit various interpretations of their green thumbs and sagely natures, such as Allemance ovines being able to do a trip attack with reach weapons that can knock a target prone on a failed Strength or Dexterity save, or Al’ari ovines capable of affecting multiple targets with their Animal Messenger if the animals in question live in water.

Thoughts: Most of the ovine’s features are rather underwhelming and strongly push them towards specific archetypes. The lightning wool’s bonus damage only works with a specific damage type, encouraging them to pick up Shocking Grasp or related spells, and even then +1d4 isn’t a whole lot. The perpetual beast speech is perhaps the most broad ability, although its utility will depend on DM Fiat.

This is getting to be a long post, so will continue in Part 2.
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So unless they're in part 2, no marsupials or monotremes? [sad Australian face...]

Bovines are physically-imposing people who have a natural connection with the Beast World’s plant life. Their traits reflect this, such as the species gaining advantage on melee attacks if they move at least 10 feet towards a creature they’re attacking, or the bison subspecies being able to wield two-handed weapons in one hand and treating versatile weapons as being two-handed even when wielded in one hand.

I've seen this racial ability before in 3pp material, notably in the Ogrun from Iron Kingdoms. I don't think it's remotely balanced and I'd never allow it at table. It's a massive power boost to two-weapon fighters in particular, and I'm not even much of a character optimiser - there's probably some truly gross combinations that a dedicated minmaxer could spring on their unsuspecting DM.

Oh, and I strongly suspect that any/all of the weapons table, Versatile weapons, and the two-weapon fighting rules are in line to be changed come 5.5e, so it's anyone's guess how this will all hang together then. Though of course this project started development long before 5.5 was announced, so there's not much that Heartleaf could have done about that.



Tenebrines are raccoons and possums, Beasts who are traditionally active during the night. Their people can be found everywhere in appreciable numbers in the Beast World, but are the most common in Vinyot’s cities. They greatly prefer urban centers over rural areas, having an indescribable love for cities for which they feel truly alive during nightfall. Their main species has darkvision, are immune to diseases both magical and nonmagical, and when in a settlement of at least 10,000 people they can reroll an attack, ability check, or saving throw once per long rest. Raccoons have great tactile senses, having advantage on checks to open locks if they previously felt the teeth of a key used to open it and automatically open locks they successfully opened before, while possums can use their tails as a bonus action to knock a target prone with a contested Athletics or Acrobatics vs the target’s Strength save along with dealing +1d4 damage to prone opponents. Their homeland traits are in line with the large population centers of their region, such as Oric tenebrines being trained by War Mages. This gives them double proficiency when using Stealth to blend in with crowds, and attacks they make with daggers and shortswords while hidden and can delay their damage and the target noticing for 1 round.

Thoughts: The raccoon’s lockpicking bonus feels too situational to be useful, but the possum’s tail trip attack is really good for just about any build that relies on melee combat. They also have Darkvision, which makes them good scouts in dungeons and other light-poor environments. Their homeland traits are pretty situational and of limited utility save for certain kinds of adventures.

Ursines are a strong people who have been divinely blessed with long memories. They are most common in Oria, and their culture places a high degree on honor and bringing pride to the family name via trophies and titles from great deeds and competitions. They are a single subspecies race, that being Bear. They have eidetic memories which allow them to accurately recall anything they’ve seen, and can commit spells they witnessed to memory which in the case of being used to copy what they witnessed into spellbooks can be done at a library or university within 7 days and an Arcana check. Their subspecies trait is more physical, allowing them to spend Hit Dice upon rolling initiative to add the results (not modified by Constitution) as temporary hit points for 10 minutes. Their homeland traits reflect how they committed their strong minds to use, such as Allemagnian usrine substituting their Intelligence in place of Charisma for Performance and Persuasion, and once per long rest can grant a nearby ally a second save vs charming effects via an encouraging word.

Thoughts: The ursine’s amazing memory is great for wizards, and their subspecies even has a +1 Intelligence bonus. Ironically none of their species or homeland traits are specifically combat-related, with Arneria being the exception (proficient with war picks and deal +2d6 piercing if you hit a creature during the first round of combat). This pushes them more into being brainy mages. Trading out Hit Dice for temporary hit points can be useful to extend their survivability if a short rest isn’t guaranteed.


Vulpines are tradewind (red) foxes and desert fennecs, their traditional homelands being Vinyot and Beylik respectively. Both people are known for their cleverness and seemingly-supernatural senses to monitor instances of cause and effect. The base species can discern the direction of north at any time, can make an Intelligence saving throw to extend a concentration spell beyond its normal duration with a newer, more difficult save every round after, and once per long rest can make an Intelligence check to gain information from the GM about the result of an action when presented with multiple choices. Tradewind foxes are capable of detecting illusions as a bonus action and have advantage on Investigation checks to suss them out, along with substituting an Intelligence save with a Dexterity save once per long rest. Desert foxes who don’t move for an hour can sense any creature within a 90 foot radius arriving in the area, and can choose to wake up upon such a creature’s arrival. Their homeland traits draw upon their innate senses and cleverness, such as a Vinyotian fox having a limited number of “emergency fund” gold pieces if unable to access their main source of wealth and can use any combination of ability and skill for the purposes of negotiating costs and services. An example used is a fox using Intelligence (Athletics) to give a merchant advice for a diet regimen in order to get a better deal on food.

Thoughts: The desert fox’s senses effectively act as a nonmagical alarm spell, and their Intelligence bonus pushes them towards being wizards, artificers, or eldritch knights/arcane tricksters. Their deduction abilities are broadly useful for just about any character concept, although several of their homeland traits are rather situational.

Bats are the newest species to the Beast World, where one of their number against all odds managed to find said world afloat in the Astral Sea. Their existence has been of great curiosity to the other civilizations, for the Astral Sea isn’t known to have any quiet-minded bats, and the bats themselves were initially unaware of other gods and don’t worship any of their own. They’re the only willful species in that plane, and due to their natural talent at Astralcraft they do not want for space nor resources. So without having to spend much of their existence to survive, they prioritize the arts and shaping astra into aesthetically pleasing shapes and patterns. And while they can track time, bats don’t have a cultural concept of history, having skills passed down by parents and caring mostly about firsthand knowledge. Those bats who do go to the Beast World are curious explorers, arriving in a portal at the Junction in the city of Patrae.

Bats have no subspecies, and their only homeland trait is the Astral Sea. Those not in the Astral Sea have a cheiropocket, an extradimensional space connected to the membrane of their wings which they can use to store nonliving objects, and have a glide speed outside the Astral Sea but a flying speed while in it. A limited number of times per long rest they can create a supersonic shriek which in the Beast World causes creatures of the Astral Sea to be visible to them, but gain blindsense out to 120 feet while in the Astral Sea. Finally, their sole homeland trait lets them add their proficiency bonus to Astralcrafting checks, and they also know the Charles’ Chunk cantrip which basically lets them summon a piece of solid Arcana they can reshape to a limited extent.

Thoughts: Overall, the bat species is kind of underwhelming unless the DM makes heavy use of invisible extraplanar beings and adventures in the Astral Sea. The cheiropocket is the kind of thing that would be most useful in a game where encumbrance matters, although by the time the party gets a Bag of Holding (or can make one as an Artificer) it may peter off.

Brethren are a new but incredibly populous race, comprising 33% of willful creatures in the Beast World.* Twelve years ago almost all of them lived in the Broken World, but after that the survivors were rescued by Pirhoua to relocate into the Beast World. The Brethren soldiers who fought in the Invader Wars were forced to labor for seven years as reparations, being given tattoos as a mark of shame and are colloquially known as Reparators. Although there are still old wounds of those dark times, most Brethren have integrated into the wider society of the Beast World with the younger generations having never known life in the Broken World.

*This makes me wonder how the continent’s resources were able to adequately handle this huge population explosion. The book does explain it as the Jackals helping them out with magic and new engineering techniques, but it’s still a notable amount.

Brethren use the traits of Variant Humans from the Player’s Handbook. However, their homeland trait is the Broken World, giving them a curio for free. Curios tend to be handheld objects with a technology level akin to 1990s Earth, although some more advanced curios exist such as a solar-powered toaster. Generally speaking, curios that mimic the effects of a cantrip can operate indefinitely, but ones that mimic a 1st-level spell can be used once before needing to be recharged by switching out batteries (which are known as acid buttons). Acid buttons are also renewable, recharging when plugged into a curio after 8 hours of exposure to sunlight.

Thoughts: Just like the core rules, Brethrens are a great option in terms of power and versatility. On top of their bonus feat, they also get what is effectively a bonus cantrip or long rest-based 1st level spell.

Kobolds, particularly willful kobolds, are another of the newer guests of the Beast World, a lucky few having escaped notice of their draconic masters in the Ancestral Homeland. Generally speaking, a kobold is most likely to become willful when they gather in large numbers, as the mental enhancement of their minds coming together provides that special something to achieve self-awareness. There’s believed to be under a thousand named kobolds in the Beast World, and most others don’t know what to make of them or their simple-minded peers. In terms of stats kobolds are great at getting their hands on all sorts of things, letting them steal non-held objects from enemies in combat as a reaction to being attacked via Sleight of Hand. Additionally, they gain +1 to +5 on an ability check they don’t have existing bonuses on besides their ability modifier. This number is dependent on how many other kobolds are within 60 feet. Finally, they have no subspecies or homeland traits, instead having a lineage related to their draconic creators where they reduce damage taken from an elemental type chosen at character creation by 1d6 to 3d6 depending on their level.

Thoughts: Kobolds are rather underwhelming in that their most potentially powerful feature is one that really only works if you have a party of kobolds or kobold allies following you around. And even then, it won’t apply to checks you’re proficient in so it won’t be aiding the things at which you’re actually skilled. The damage reduction against a specific energy type probably won’t come up often unless you pick fire, and the “combat pickpocketing” may be highly situational in usefulness as it can’t be used to disarm an item the target is holding.


The next two races are rather interesting in that they were explicitly made to be more powerful than the others, given that they have special places in the history of the Beast World. The book has a sidebar explaining to take caution with the power discrepancy, but also mentions doing lots of playtesting to ensure they don’t trivialize encounters either.

Jackals are the rarest species in the Beast World, long believed to be mythical creatures. They made their existence known at the end of the Invader War, with hundreds of jackals appearing to help resettle millions of brethren into the new world. Although they have worked as envoys and engineers for doing this monumental task, much about their culture and even their home cities are still kept secret, shrouded in ancient illusions. Jackals have a reputation for acting slowly and for being exceedingly polite and formal. Still, they do have leisurely activities, and one of their more famous games that has recently spread to the Beast World is the Three Acres War, a cross between a tabletop wargame and LARP whose players (mostly Jackals) organize conventions to meet up and play.

Jackals have no subspecies nor homeland traits. They are unique among the species in that they have a net +6 to ability scores, with +2 in Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom. Their immortal natures make them immune to age-based effects, and have double proficiency in one set of artisan’s tools and one of the knowledge-based skills (Medicine and all Intelligence-based ones save Investigation). They also can treat one non-heavy martial melee weapon as having the finesse and thrown property. They also get some bonus spells reflecting their connection to the Arcana, gaining Eldritch Blast, two wizard ritual spells, and once per long rest can cast the Dream spell that can additionally make the target forget about the Jackal’s presence if they fail an Intelligence saving throw.

Thoughts: Being able to treat a single non-heavy weapon as finesseable really opens up a lot of options, and there’s a variety of useful ritual spells. Alarm, Find Familiar, Identify, and Unseen Servant are pretty good choices. While the free Eldritch Blast may look tempting for a Warlock dip, Agonizing Blast still explicitly calls out Charisma which is a downside. Their more powerful version of Dream is pretty good, as it can really mess with a target by interrupting their rest if they get unlucky on a save; not something of great use in traditional battles and dungeon crawls, but can be useful for more intrigue-based campaigns.


Dragons come in two varieties. Those elder wyrms still in the Ancestral Homeland and those eldest who escaped are closer gamewise to Monster Manual dragons, and the descendants of those who resettled in the Beast World are a better representation of the playable options. While the latter may be Medium size, they still possess the might of the creatures that bear their name. Newborn dragons have translucent skin and become metallic or chromatic based on the moral choices they make in life, which are their subspecies. Their lineage is their homeland trait equivalent, which is based on the environment of their parents’ lairs.

In terms of stats dragons gain +2 to a single ability score of their choice, and have +3 to another ability score depending on their subspecies. They are the only species besides bats to have a natural flying speed, and unlike bats have no restriction on when it can be used. They have natural weapons and natural armor which make them formidable foes even without equipment, and the maximum for all of their ability scores is 22.

There are five subspecies, each of which have a metallic and chromatic type to which I assume most readers are familiar. Each subspecies grants +3 to a relevant ability score, proficiency in two skills or appropriate tools, and one 1st level spell at 1st level and a unique kind of dragon magic spell that only dragons can learn at 5th level. The subspecies are Monarch (all about impressing people with your sheer presence), Bulwark (bulky scales to better protect you), Dancing (agile movement and fine-tuned breath weapon shapes), Scholar (skills and spells for knowing and identifying stuff plus limited Metamagic options), and Whispering (social knowledge, can hear through stone and solid barriers and have venomous claws). The lineage options determine a dragon’s breath weapon, special movement modes beyond just flight, and what damage type they are resistant towards. The breath weapons are the most notable feature, being pretty powerful effects of various shapes and ranges whose uses per long rest are based on their proficiency bonus. Most breath weapons have a secondary effect beyond damage, such as a Glacier lineage’s cold breath being capable of creating solid cubes of ice, or Cove’s acid breath dealing half damage to targets adjacent to the primary target.

Thoughts: As the book says, dragons are really powerful. The most powerful species in this book, I might add. There’s enough subspecies and lineage combinations to make them good at just about every role, and their breath weapons are effectively free uses of powerful AoE damaging spells that scale with level. Add a fly speed on top of that and you really can’t go wrong in picking them.

Thoughts So Far: While it’s virtually impossible to do a holistic overview of every anthropomorphic creature type, this chapter did a good job at giving stats for the more popular species. I also like the separation between biological abilities and more cultural homeland traits, and the latter had several options which played against type so many of the animals aren’t pigeonholed into certain predetermined roles. The setting is rather mammal-heavy, and I feel that a few of the choices are a bit unbalanced. That being said, I felt that most of the “races” had some features and roles at which they could excel, and with 18 main species there’s more than enough options to not feel sparse.

Join us next time as we explore new and existing options of might and magic in Chapter 11: Classes!


So unless they're in part 2, no marsupials or monotremes? [sad Australian face...]

I've seen this racial ability before in 3pp material, notably in the Ogrun from Iron Kingdoms. I don't think it's remotely balanced and I'd never allow it at table. It's a massive power boost to two-weapon fighters in particular, and I'm not even much of a character optimiser - there's probably some truly gross combinations that a dedicated minmaxer could spring on their unsuspecting DM.

Oh, and I strongly suspect that any/all of the weapons table, Versatile weapons, and the two-weapon fighting rules are in line to be changed come 5.5e, so it's anyone's guess how this will all hang together then. Though of course this project started development long before 5.5 was announced, so there's not much that Heartleaf could have done about that.

Sadly, there isn't much in the way of representation Down Under.

Edit: Opossums are marsupials, but they're not native to Australia.

There is part of me that would like to try a deeper dive on sussing out the optimization potential of the various races, although I feel that is better served as its own project vs a more general review.
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Chapter 11: Classes

This chapter is rather self-explanatory: it goes over how the various classes fit into the Beast World along with a new subclass for each of them. Artificer is an exception, for that class isn’t OGL.

Barbarians aren’t technologically-primitive warriors too undisciplined to learn more “proper” fighting styles. In the Beast World, they come from all walks of life, but what unites them is harnessing a rage that is a form of ego death which strips away part of their willful nature in order to focus on sheer might and power. The Path of Thought’s Tremor is a representation of this trance, and its features initially include explicitly physical abilities such as adding one’s Constitution modifier to melee damage on the first 1-2 hits when raging depending on level, doing bonus psychic damage on a critical hit, and at higher levels levels gain preternatural senses such as always active tremorsense and being able to form a Telepathic Bond when raging.

Thoughts: Flavorwise I like how the setting is divorcing the Barbarian class from the unfortunate implications of technologically primitive people being prone to anger and lacking knowledge in more “refined” forms of combat. As for the subclass, Strength and Constitution are almost always going to be the highest ability scores of the Barbarian, so this subclass makes them better at doing what they do best: damage. The tremorsense feature is permanent and isn’t dependent on raging, so it also turns the Barbarian into a rather good scout/“ghost-slayer.”

Bards interpret the power of Arcana as a Universal Symphony of rhythm connecting all facets of creation, and influence this force by eliciting emotion from magic itself. Bards in the Beast World are evenly split between learning their powers via formal colleges vs informal self-taught techniques. The College of Witches specializes in using magic to gain influence over the ghosts of the Netherworld. Initially they can call a ghost into service for one hour that acts as a harmless scout, and can attract a limited number of ghosts to haunt creatures or objects as part of a long rest. These latter kinds of ghosts have Essences which provide minor bonuses and features to creatures or objects they haunt for 1 minute via Bardic Inspiration, such as the Scoundrel granting a bonus to ability checks and +1d6 force damage on a hit. At higher levels they can temporarily learn spells they don’t know from ghosts as part of a long rest, and can create ghosts from dying humanoids to perform special actions the creature possesses.

Thoughts: The ghost scout is like a more limited version of the Echo Knight’s phantom double, but even then it can be useful for scouting purposes. The class feature doesn’t explicitly say that it is incorporeal, so that makes it less powerful it may initially sound. The ability to learn bonus bard spells is extremely strong; unlike the Lore Bard they can only learn from their own class’ spell list, but they can learn a much higher number in being equal to half their bard level minus one. The capstone ability can be abusable a la the Bag of Rats trick, but the text does mention that creatures who know they will be resurrected via Revivify will not produce a ghost. Overall a really strong subclass.

Clerics serve the various gods of the Beast World (and potentially in worlds beyond), and Pirhoua has the most clerics due to having a close motherly bond with her creations. The Mercy domain represents those souls who seek to to turn the defeated to a brighter path and bring down death as a last resort. At 1st level they are proficient in Persuasion and have a longer-range multitarget Sanctuary, their Channel Divinity can negate the damage from a melee attack as a reaction, and at higher levels they can bestow providence on themselves or a friendly creature (treat a d20 roll as a 15) whenever a hostile creature surrenders or dissolves hostilities. At higher levels they can have all of their damaging spells be nonlethal in nature, and at 17th level has their Sanctuary cause attackers to autofail Wisdom saves when they attack the spell’s target.

Thoughts: The thing with the Mercy domain is that a player who chooses it is communicating that they want to play a particular type of game, one that would require more input from fellow players than other subclass options. While there is no penalty for choosing violence, a fair amount of its features revolve around avoiding death and being reactive rather than proactive. The book does mention these considerations in a sidebar to an extent, but its usefulness will really depend on the DM as much as the player.


Druids most commonly live in forests and spend their whole lives in the shadows of the trees. They are organized into circles who induct members by burying them alive beneath a tree, after which they are reborn in a seed pod. Druids are horrified at the Dungeon’s existence, viewing it as an affront to nature, swelling the ranks of Delvers with their kind.

The Circle of the Wild Card represents those druids who follow Varasta’s example and emphasize nature’s unpredictability. Their main feature involves crafting a special deck of magical Wild Cards which can be randomly drawn from a limited number of times per long rest based on their level. At higher levels they gain features to better control the odds at what card results they get. There are 23 different card results, and include a variety of features such as summoning a scimitar of moonlight that can be used in melee or expel a slash of light as a ranged attack, one where the druid and their allied creatures can communicate as though they were adjacent to each other for the next 8 hours, can turn their body incorporeal for 1 minute, and growing magical fruits which cause those who eat them to recover the maximum possible die results from healing spells.

Thoughts: The good thing about this subclass is that when you draw a card, you don’t have to immediately activate its powers, instead being any time until the next long rest. Barring a few exceptions you can’t use the cards or have the ability persist while you’re wildshaped, which thus makes the Wild Card druid more of a “classical caster.” The deck’s randomization and wide abilities hurt it a bit in that you can’t always guarantee you’ll get exactly what you need, although given you can “hold onto” a card’s use this lets you save it up for the right moment much like prepared spells.

Fighters are the most varied of adventurers, reflecting a diverse array of combat styles across countless cultures. Most fighters who were old enough fought in the Invader War, and many who survived became Delvers upon discovery of the Dungeon. The Main Event martial archetype reflects a professional wrestler of the Storied Histories League, who mixes special moves and grapples with showmanship. Their main ability involves generating points known as Heat, which have a variety of ways to be gained such as an ally hitting an enemy you have grappled or successfully hitting with an attack roll that has disadvantage. At higher levels the subclass grants them additional ways to gain Heat. Heat can be spent on special moves known as Spots, such as Hot Tag where you touch a creature which then uses its reaction to move and melee attack a target, or Clothesline where you spend a reaction to make a melee attack against a creature entering your reach and reducing their speed to 0 feet while knocking them prone. Gimmicks are basically more advanced Spots, which include passive effects as well as a more powerful Finisher move.

Thoughts: One cannot help but draw comparisons to the Battlemaster Fighter in that both subclasses learn special moves as they level up. However, unlike the Battlemaster Fighter the Main Event requires generating Heat before they can be used as opposed to automatically using them, and Heat is lost as soon as the battle is over and must be built up again during the next battle. As such it is a less attractive choice in its abilities being more situational.

Monks aren’t formal mystical fighters performing rote exercises and meditation to achieve enlightenment. Or at least, that is but one of many possible ways of mastering themselves. What unites monks is discovery of a process where they separate themselves from the world, glancing at hidden truths impossible to understand via conventional perception. The Way of the Kidney Punch are those who glanced upon a rather controversial truth, that to win fights is the greatest goal. They start out with being able to make a special Kidney Punch unarmed attack by spending ki, imposing one level of Exhaustion on the target if they fail a Constitution save. At higher levels they can reduce the damage of incoming melee attacks in much the same way Deflect Missiles works for ranged attacks, can waive the ki point requirement for Kidney Punches if they hit with their first unarmed strike in a Flurry of Blows, and at 17th level they can gain additional unarmed strikes by spending 3 ki points per bonus attack.

Thoughts: Being able to “deflect melee blows” is an extremely useful ability, as most monks will be punching up close. Although still requiring a reaction to activate, it makes Kidney Punch Monks reliable tanks when engaging 1 on 1. Exhaustion is a pretty good condition to inflict on enemies, although requiring a Constitution save means that a lot of big monsters will be resistant to it.


Paladins are those empowered by appropriate gods to use their might and skills to make the world a better place. They have high standards to live up to, but it is these standards which have communities place their trust in them in the first place. Before the Dungeon’s arrival undead and demons could only enter the Beast World by those making offers to Veronette, but the Dungeon provides a worrying new way for such creatures to menace mortals. This has caused paladins to take an intense interest in the Delve.

The Oath of Revolution Paladins are the checks and balances against the political leaders of the Beast World, having sworn oaths to empower and uplift the meek of the earth. Their bonus spells tend towards divinatory aims, such as Comprehend Languages, Speak with Dead, and Scrying. Their channel divinity can force a target to kneel prone for 1 minute and answer questions truthfully for the duration (can save each round to end the effect), as well as an Evincive Strike they can make the result of a d20 attack roll they just made usable by friendly creatures in treating it as their own attack roll until the start of their next turn. At higher levels they get an aura granting a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls to friendly creatures (up to a mile at 18th level), can detect lies and become immune to charm, and at 20th level can sing a song granting them free uses of Divine Word, a fly speed, and allied creatures can reroll the result of a d20 roll once.

Thoughts: This is what I’d call a role-play heavy class, in that it emphasizes more non-combat and investigative abilities for the paladin. The Channel Divinity is kind of weak in that there are spells like Hold Person, Entangle, and Zone of Truth which can achieve similar effects but require spell slots rather than being one use per rest. The Evincive Strike is so-so. If you crit with it, then you can share the benefits with nearby allies; parties with rogues and mages with spells requiring attack rolls will see a very nice boost to their damage when this occurs. But as you must declare your use of the strike before making the roll, this is rather unreliable and is thus better used to ensure that party members are guaranteed to hit a well-defended opponent instead.

Rangers are the protectors of the road and its travelers, learning the magic of the wilds to better protect both it and the civilized world from each other. The Carrion Master ranger archetype are those doomed souls who decide to enter into a pact with Veronette. Their bonus spells are appropriately necromantic, such as False Life, Animate Dead, and Death Ward, their magic can affect undead as though they were of the Beast type, and they have the ability to transform a corpse of a Beast type creature into a Carrion Companion which is like an animal companion but undead. Every long rest the Ranger can choose a different carrion companion provided they have access to an appropriate corpse, and there are different stat blocks with their own special abilities and attacks. At higher levels they can turn the corpses of Humanoid and Beast type creatures into zombies, choose from more powerful stat blocks for their Carrion Companion, can graft body parts onto said companion to give them new abilities such as a scorpion sting or wings for a fly speed, and at 15th level the ranger can gain some of the benefits of being undead for a short time and they can order commands to their companion and undead without spending a bonus action.

Thoughts: This subclass immediately invites comparisons to the Beastmaster Ranger, but I’ll be comparing it to the revised version on account that the original is nigh useless. The Carrion Master’s companion can be easily revived and/or replaced if destroyed, and combined with raising undead they have a reliable supply of meat shields although by the time they get these features regular zombies and skeletons are pretty weak companions. Conjure Animals is a more reliable means of generating meat shields to be honest, although raising zombies isn’t limited-use which works in its favor.* The carrion companion stat blocks have a few clear winners, which tend to be the higher-level ones: ghoul-touched have paralytic claws much like the monster, but have a weak non-increasing DC 10 Constitution save, and the mummy-touch has a dreadful glare ranged attack that can impose the frightened condition. As such, it’s a rather strong subclass due to the action economy.

*They’re still limited in how many zombies they can raise.

Rogues come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but are united by those who prefer finesse and panache as problem-solving tools, ranging from conventional criminals to smooth-talking politicians. This entry talks briefly about crime in the Beast World, notably that prisons are rare as punitive justice is the exception rather than the norm, and legal penalties vary ranging from hard labor to tattoos marking criminals as a felon.

Fell Infiltrators are those rogues who learn and use the powers of demons to better fight them…or so they say. Initially they gain proficiency in Religion and fiendish languages, and for a number of hours based on their rogue level can take the form of a demon which grants them a variety of benefits, such as turning the Sneak Attack dice into d8s instead of d6s, resistance to cold and poison (damage and condition), and darkvision. They can also generate an aura of silence on a creature they deal Sneak Attack damage towards until the end of their next turn once per short or long rest. At higher levels they gain features such as becoming immune to Zone of Truth and being able to shield themselves and nearby allies against divination spells, and can inscribe demonic sigils into objects and creatures with a variety of effects such as rotting away from necrotic damage each round.

Thoughts: Increasing your Sneak Attack damage is a very attractive option, and given the rarity of Darkvision among species this helps the Rogue act as a competent scout in nocturnal and dungeon-like environments. The downside is more role-play related as fiends and fiendish-looking creatures are as disliked in the Beast World as they are in other campaign settings; perhaps even more so, as tieflings aren’t a “common race.” The higher-level abilities are more situational, particularly the sigils and immunity to specific spells. As its lower level features are broadly useful, this is a dip-friendly subclass.

Sorcerers are those with inborn arcane magic, not necessarily from ancestry but being born in a magic-rich environment or influenced by a force manipulating the fundamentals of Arcana. If anything, sorcerers are extra real in that they create magic through their own existence, and the world attempts to overcorrect them. The Frosturn Eclipse sorcerous origin are those who follow Aubade’s example and use the state of Sunblood to enhance their magic. They are Muscle Wizards, using Strength instead of Charisma for their spells and abilities, and gain proficiency in light armor and Aubade’s trademark war pick and morningstar. They also have abilities that encourage them to fight in melee, such as ignoring disadvantage on ranged spell attacks when adjacent to a hostile target and can spend sorcery points to continue staying conscious if reduced to 0 hit points. At higher levels they gain Extra Attack and can enter a special state known as Eclipse if they deal fire or cold damage to an adjacent enemy, which has several of the benefits of Haste plus dealing additional damage with melee attacks and gaining temporary hit points. Their 14th and 18th level abilities grant them the Penetrating Spell metamagic option (downgrade immunity to resistance and resistance to normal) and can cast a cantrip in place of a weapon attack.

Thoughts: Dispensing Charisma to use Strength makes this subclass an attractive choice for melee-focused builds that aren’t Valor Bards and Paladins. However, multiclassing may be more or less required to get the full benefits, as being proficient with just light armor and a puny d6 Hit Die makes the Frostburn Eclipse Sorcerer a surprisingly fragile fighter. Staying conscious at 0 hit points isn’t as attractive an option given that sorcery points are a precious resource, and a party with Healing Word can reliably get you back into the waking world if the group needs you up and running.

Warlocks gain their magic from patrons, creatures that don’t fit within the cosmic understanding of gods and mortals. As such, many people are suspicious of warlocks, leading many to believe that their powers come from demons…which can be true or not true depending on the warlock in question. Patrons can differ in personality and goals, but their alien minds make for strained relationships between them and their servants, often expressing impatience due to a different perception of time.

Warlocks with the Ghost God as their patron were chosen from a young age, expressed in unpleasant ways such as migraines and nightmares as a result of the pseudo-deity calling from across the cosmos. Their bonus spells don’t really have any consistent theme and include such options as Enlarge/Reduce, Sending, Confusion, Geas, and Fabricate. Hey, I thought that last one wasn’t available! Initially they can shift into the Broken World while holding an object bearing their likeness and are immune to the negative effects of that plane’s environment. They can also gather material during a long rest in the Broken World that adds +1 to their spell attack rolls and save DCs of warlock spells. At higher levels they can twist space and time as a bonus action a limited number of times per long rest to teleport or force creatures to spend extra movement, can create a 120 foot cube of safe space in the Broken World, empower an NPC to become a 1st level Ghost God Warlock who gains a level every time you do, and at 14th level once per long rest can cast Banishment on multiple targets to send them to the Broken World.

Thoughts: Being able to add +1 to spell attacks and save DCs is already a strong bonus, and as it costs virtually nothing there’s no real downside to it either. Getting an NPC warlock who levels up with you may be good depending on how they’re built, although as they are 9 levels lower you’re most likely going to keep them out of combat and rely on more utility talents. Being immune to the Broken World’s environmental dangers and ability to set up a safe zone will only be of use if the DM decides to have adventures centering around exploring that plane. As a result, the most useful features of the Ghost God Warlock come in at the early levels, making it another very dip-friendly option.


Wizards are scholarly mages who use spellbooks to perform mental exercises, holding a thought in their minds to be released as a spell at a later time. The Somnomancy arcane tradition was created by sloths studying the Dreaming, realizing that the plane’s connection to the thoughts of all living creatures can allow them to bestow the powers of wizardry onto others. Initially they cannot be magically put to sleep and recover one level of exhaustion on a short rest instead of a long one, and during a long rest gain bonus spell slots that they can only use in granting to other creatures albeit they use the wizard’s attack bonus and save DC. At higher levels they can make it so that such shared spells can be cast as a bonus action if they’re normally cast as an action, can fall unconscious* as a bonus action to gain blindsight to 60 feet, and at 14th level they can create a remote sensor they can view through while in such an unconscious state.

*Same as the condition, but with less penalties.

Thoughts: Sharing spell slots is by far the most broadly useful and potentially abusable ability. While the number and level of spell slots is dependent on your Wizard level, the text doesn’t specify that the spells have to be Wizard spells, which opens up some interesting multiclass combinations. And even just with Wizard spells, there are some nice choices: you can’t really go wrong in giving the Shield spell to your allies, and letting fellow party members share the load in maintaining Concentration spells themselves rather than relying on you opens up a lot of possibilities.

Thoughts So Far: For the subclasses that are mechanically powerful and effective in conjunction with their parent class, the winners are the Thought’s Tremor Barbarian, Witch Bard, Kidney Punch Monk, Carrion Master Ranger, and Somnomancy Wizard. These subclasses all have good abilities in both low levels and high. The Fell Infiltrator Rogue and Ghost God Warlock suffer in that their best abilities are at the earliest levels, leaving the higher level ones feeling too little, too late. The Wild Card Druid is hard to judge at a glance without seeing it in play given its random nature, and the Main Event Fighter, Revolution Paladin, and Frostburn Eclipse Sorcerer feel the weakest of the lot. The Fighter in that the Battlemaster archetype feels more reliable and broad, and the Paladin and Sorcerer in not really synergizing with their main class’ strengths.

Join us next time as we learn about the delving crews’ homes on wheels in Chapter 12: Wagon Customization!



Chapter 12: Wagon Customization

”You’ll come for the beasts, but you’ll stay for the wagons.” The delver’s primary mode of transport isn’t just for getting to Point A to Point B: it’s a combination vehicle, base of operations, mobile weapons platform, and depending on the customizations can be all sorts of other things. The rules for wagons are in-depth in this chapter, from using them in combat and races to buying enhancements for them.

Delver wagons are special objects with their own rules: like PCs they gain levels in line with the party, which determines their hit points, Maneuverability (a special stat which can be spent to do fancy movement-based abilities), Adaptability (special stat that can be spent for a variety of things such as rerolling a drive check or making swift repairs), and the number of Attachments (basically customized enhancements) that can be placed onto the wagon. The rules are pretty detailed, ranging from existing and new Conditions that can affect the wagon’s function, special Drive checks for driving the wagon, and making repairs to the wagon via wainwright tools due to damage and Conditions. Draught is a term for animals, steam engines, or other things responsible for a wagon’s locomotion. With the aid of druids and rangers, all wagons are built with something known as a Ranger Fetish that safeguards draughts from harm. While a draught is hitched to a wagon, they are not treated as creatures and cannot be specifically targeted by attacks or effects that affect one creature.

The book notes that single-hand reins (for Drive checks) and wainwright’s tools (used to repair wagons) are tool checks, and suggests giving PCs free proficiency in one of them if the campaign plans on using wagon rules often. This is twofold, to prevent a “proficiency tax” for an important ability, and also making them not skills prevents Bards, Rogues, and characters with the Skill Expert feat from dominating wagon encounters. The book does mention as an optional rule to fold tinker’s tools into wainwright tools and land vehicles into single-hand reins if the DM would prefer to focus on existing tool proficiencies.


There are three broad types of wagons that serve as “classes,” which provide their own unique benefits based on level. They do not have to be purchased like other attachments and are unique to that type alone. Windsprinters are sleek, swift wagons that prioritize maneuverability and speed but are the most fragile type: their special features include things such as +2 on Drive checks made to race, ignoring difficult terrain, and gaining Jackal-Reared Axe Beaks as special draughts which are the fastest known mounts in the Beast World. Ironaxles are slow, sturdy wagons built to dish out and withstand punishment, and their special features include a ram attack, gaining resistance to damage from nonmagical attacks, and a steam engine as a special draught. Rocksteadies are built for versatility and reliability: their special features include being able to make repair patches no matter where you are on the wagon (normally you have to do so at the service hatch), delaying the negative effects of a breakdown (the “bloodied” condition for wagons), and can gain a pair of autotrotter draughts that can act on their own like programmed constructs and store spells to be released at a later time.

On top of their practical functions, wagons provide a useful service for 5th Edition gaming groups: they give PCs something to spend money on! Wagons require gold pieces to gain levels, and on top of that attachments that customize the wagon also cost gold. It’s for this reason that a suggested “wealth by level” table was made based on dungeon delves and funds saved up. Special additions known as attachments can be added to wagons. It’s not enough to have the gold, for attachments are separated into Grades which can only be taken by wagons of sufficient level, and they also take up physical space so you’re also limited to space (measured in cubic feet) as well as weight. Some attachments can only be taken by certain wagon types: for instance, the cannon weapon can only be installed on an Ironaxle.


Components are the first type of attachment, usually having abilities which require them to be used in order to gain their function. They include such options as various types of weapons such as ballistae and cannons, a quick-retract winch which if attached to a character allows them to be pulled to the wagon’s roof for no movement cost, metamagic crystals which if touched provide free sorcery points to apply to a metamagic ability possessed by the crystal, soul orbs fueled by ki points that let the user create a distant image double they can attack through as if physically present, and a speed mirage which can create illusory duplicates of the wagon when Maneuverability is spent to gain extra movement.

Fittings are the second type of attachment, being passive or persistent effects. They include such options as an intruder chime that lets out a loud warning when certain creatures not specified as “safe” get adjacent to the wagon, a block of privacy to soundproof the wagon’s walls, an auto-raft and sail that allows the wagon to cross bodies of water, and tremor caps which give tremorsense to the wagon’s inhabitants if the vehicle is in contact with the ground.

There is one interesting attachment that defies the magical restrictions of the Beast World. Eighty-Eights are four wheels which contain one quarter of a teleportation circle, and as a reaction the driver can imagine a location the wagon has been to before and teleport to said location. As this attachment is a high Grade, functions only once a week, isn’t pinpoint perfect, and works well with the primary function of wagons (to travel) I can let this one slide.

Last but not least, Furnishings aren't attachments in that they aren’t limited by wagon level, but are mostly cosmetic features. They’re usually things that make wagons more comfortable spaces to live in, such as beds, storage spaces such as safes and crates, light sources such as oil lamps or permanent dancing lights cantrips, fold-out patios, built-in plumbing systems such as water tanks and baths, and work stations for various types of tool proficiencies.

For delving crews that have a lot of gold but are low on space, they can purchase extraspatial cubes that add more physical space within a wagon. The cubes’ prices increase exponentially, being affordable for just a few cubes but going into the thousands when you approach and exceed double digits. Extraspatial cubes are actually the product of the Broken World, with the cubes reaching into that plane’s existence to pull its space into them. Which sounds rather dangerous, although there are no negative side effects to using them in the rules.

Our section on wagons proper ends with stats for unhitched draught types. They aren’t anything to write home about, with dire horses known as Draydrivers being the default type and steam engines being huge objects instead of creatures.


Wagon Encounters provide new rules and alterations designed in mind with vehicular play. The first rule, Enormous Enemies, is a special addition to all creatures that are naturally Huge and Gargantuan, where they take less damage from Large and smaller creatures until reduced to half their hit points, and automatically crit when attacking creatures in melee if the target is one size smaller. Most wagon weapons ignore Enormous creatures’ damage reduction, so this encourages gaming groups to use wagon weapons when fighting big enemies.

Mobile Encounters are a new encounter type representing larger-scale events such as races and battlefield skirmishes where tracking individual feet is impractical. Squares of terrain are expanded from 5 feet by 5 feet into 120 feet squares called “grounds.” Friendly creatures on the same ground collectively move and act as a “force.” There are new special actions, such as Scout where a creature can learn about hidden threats and creatures in nearby Grounds on an opposed Perception vs Stealth check, or Entrench which must be performed collectively and grants all members of a force cover until they spend movement. Movement and range involving attackers and targets are more fluid, represented as speed in grounds. For melee fighters and those who prefer to battle up close, there’s a special action known as Pass where spending a ground of movement plus contested Dexterity or Drive checks can narrow the gap and allow for advantage on melee attacks and opportunity attacks for the winning side.

We also have unique rules for racing, which are treated as a Condition where all focus is spent on movement and one can maintain this condition a number of minutes based on Constitution before suffering exhaustion. Rallies are a sample encounter for such races along with other events taking place on a straight path, and we have example rules along with visuals for how a rally may go down:


Our final new rule is for Hordes, where many enemies are combined into a single force resolving actions collectively. A horde is a group of creatures acting together, and are typically used in concert with Mobile Encounters. There are three different horde types based on number: Ambush, Unit, and Mob. The larger types have more creatures and thus more potential attacks, but cannot take certain actions due to their size, such as hiding. Attacks are resolved based on the target’s AC minus the attack bonus of an attack type, which determines the number of attacks that hit. Hordes targeting wagons split their attacks based on wagon locations. Hordes can suffer morale losses, where they must make a saving throw based on the number of creatures killed, and on a failed save half their number will flee and scatter.

This sounds like quite the number of rules, right? Well this chapter thankfully ends in a Quick Reference covering them all, easily turned into handouts for gaming groups!

Thoughts So Far: The rules for wagons are involved to the point that I feel that I’d need to see them in actual play to find out how they work in practice. That being said, I do like how the authors didn’t scrimp on details in making wagons a useful feature for games. The vehicle weapons in particular have good damage, range, and debuffs to make relying on them in battle a viable option, and attachments such as Metamagic Crystals and Soul Orbs directly enhance existing capabilities and class features. PCs will surely appreciate wagons for being more than a simple house on wheels.

None of the rules are setting-specific, meaning that they can be transplanted into non-Beast World campaigns easily enough. I am a bit wary about the Enormous Enemies rule: such creatures tend to be pretty powerful already, and there will be times when parties run afoul of dinosaurs, giants, and other such creatures away from their wagon such as inside a dungeon. It’s another rule that ends up punishing melee characters, who will be the most likely to get critted in battles with them.

Join us next time as we finish this book in Chapter 13: Magic Items & Spells and the Appendices!



Chapter 13: Magic Items & Spells

It wouldn’t be a proper high magic setting without a chapter full of eldritch loot and tricks! This chapter is relatively short at 11 pages, but these pages are packed with 18 magic items and 27 new spells, so you get quite a lot in spite of its brevity.

Of the magic items, about 11 require attunement, and two of them can only be used by a limited number of classes. They range from common magical tools used by Delvers and people of the Beast World, to famous legendary items that have their own place in history. 6 of the magic items are legendary rarity, 4 are uncommon, 4 are rare, 3 are very rare, and one’s rarity varies depending upon the level of spell it can absorb (the Self-Teaching Scroll). Odd that we have none which are common…well, besides the Stone of Six Strengths which isn’t technically part of this chapter.

Some of the more interesting items include the Blanket of Safekeeping (teleports the attuned character to a bed it is spread across when they take damage), the Carrion Staff (a legendary item of Veronette that can spend charges to create undead beings but can “lie” about how many charges it restores due to the goddess’ spiteful ways), Jyristä the Lightning Blade of Oria (first item made in a covenant forge, +3 longsword that deals bonus lightning damage and can absorb and channel lightning attacks into it to supercharge melee attacks), Lantern of Nature’s Unveiling (undead, fiends, and creatures under their influence have black halos when within its light), Scrolls of Self-Teaching (wielder can spend a reaction to divert a spell cast on them into the spell scroll), Soil of Fecundity (plant-like teapot which can pour out emerald dust that makes farmland super-fertile), and Wiletaper the Contract Candle of Vinyot (candle used to enforce the most important contracts in the Beast World, has two creatures magically bound to an agreement with a variety of contingency-like effects regarding the contract’s enforcement/breach).

The spells are a different story: 11 are cantrips, 9 are 1st through 3rd level, and 5 are 6th to 9th level. So we have a bit of high-level magic, but an awful lot of easily-accessible spells. The more interesting spells include Borrow Concentration (4th level, shift the concentration restriction of a spell you’re maintaining to a friendly humanoid), Enthrall (9th level, permanently charm a humanoid and maintain a telepathic link with them), Forecast Harvest (1st level, learn qualities about nearby soil and the state of herd animals), Inflict Empathy (3rd level, target is charmed as long as you and your allies don’t attack it as they reflect on the harm they caused in the past), Mannequin Mage (9th level, friendly targets gains spell slots of a 7th level wizard which they can use to cast spells you prepared for an hour), Moment of Resolve (cantrip cast as bonus action, damage can’t break concentration on a spell until the end of your next turn), Provoke Hiccup (1st level, cast as a reaction and target must make a Charisma save to cast a spell with a verbal component), Stagecraft (cantrip, basically bardic prestidigitation/thaumaturgy that does things such as recording and play ingback a performance you do, or a magical camera transcribing whatever you see onto a sheet of blank paper), and Swift Invisibility (1st level, as Invisibility but cast as a bonus action, duration is one round, and doesn’t require concentration).



The final pages of our book end in four appendices. Only one appendix is of any notable length, having brief discussions and random tables for why your gaming group’s party of delvers decided to meet up together, along with some sample adventure hooks and common means of how delvers split up loot and magical items. Nothing exactly extraordinary. The remaining appendices include how to make pictos that were discussed way back in Chapter 2, an index of names and terms, and a character sheet for wagons including a pseudo-map for placement of components and the physical makeup of the vehicle.

Thoughts So Far: I like how the magic items include a range of unique treasures, ones practical to the adventuring lifestyle, and those more broadly reflective of regular life in a high magic setting. I would have preferred all of the magic items in the book to be located here, as some are spread out in prior chapters such as the Bubble Armor in Cosmology & Religions or the Stone of Six Strengths in Oria.

As for the magical spells, there are quite a few that are pretty powerful in being broad, although they have some built-in limitations. Borrow Concentration is pretty potent, but as it ends if you cast the same spell it is used for concentrating again, meaning you can’t do things like give every party member the benefits of Divine Word. Moment of Resolve lets you ignore damage for concentrating on a spell, but as it’s a cantrip with a bonus action you cannot cast any other “real spell” on the turn you cast it which makes it less useful for non-primary mages. It’s cleric-only, so the clerics most likely to use it are going to be warpriest types. Enthrall may seem potent, but as it can only affect Humanoids and even then only one at a time it is rather lacking in comparison to more broad spells of that level such as Shapechange, True Resurrection, and Wish. Swift Invisibility is a useful way to gain advantage on an attack or to quickly hide. And like Forecast Harvest, there are a number of spells that may not be immediately useful to typical adventuring crews but help flesh out the “practical magic” side of life in the Beast World. Overall I like this chapter.

Final Thoughts: There are many things to like about the Delver’s Guide to Beast World. It is a fully-imagined setting with a built-in rationale for the adventuring lifestyle, has unique things to set it apart from other settings on the market such as customizable wagons and humans being the exception rather than the norm, manages a good balance between macro-level surveys of realms and regions while having enough of a personal touch in the form of interesting NPCs and their establishments, and the author’s love and respect for the fandom he is part of shows through in his work. The new mechanical options have some unbalanced options here and there, but enough of the material looks steady enough to be usable in most games. It is for these reasons I highly recommend the Delver’s Guide to Beast World, be you a furry or a furless outsider!

Epic Threats

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