• Justin Handlin

The Solo Adventurer's Toolbox

Crit Academy is joined by Paul Bimler of 5e Solo Gamebooks. We interview him on his best-selling DMsguild book the Solo Adventurer's Toolbox. A Dungeons and Dragons supplement to designed to be ran by yourself, without the need of a Dungeon Master.

"Want to travel in a world where the fall of the dice can make things appear randomly? Get completely lost in this book with multiple quests and worlds of your choosing, without a DM. This book could even help you worldbuild for your very own campaign."

Sick of not being able to find a game? Have a burning passion for D&D and everything it represents, but no way to indulge that passion in actual gameplay?

5e Solo Gamebooks presents The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox. This book is the result of many months’ work and represents a complete system for generating on-the-fly, detailed, immersive solo adventures. And by solo, we mean true solo, without a dungeon master.

Using this system, paired with 5e mechanics, you can guide your PC or PCs solo through any adventure environment, creating meaningful adventures for them as they journey in the Forgotten Realms (or a campaign setting of your choice).

Main Topic The Solo Adventurer's Toolbox:

Can you tell us about the Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox?

This book was written with the intention of providing a comprehensive method for playing D&D without a dungeon master. Some might argue this goes against the spirit of the game. What are your thoughts on that?

Can you walk us through the process of development and how you came to create such a wonderful tool?

How is it structured?

You mention Journaling, can you tell us a bit about that?

Can you tell us about question/answer mechanics?

How is generating encounters for a solo adventure different from the normal encounter building and by extensions quests?

On the topic of encounters, how do you deal with monster tactics? Without a DM behind the control of the creatures, how do you ensure smart competitive play?( I love the reaction table!)

How do you handle interaction with shopkeepers/merchants and what inventory they carry?

What do you say to players who say the one missing element from solo play is roleplay? How do you roleplay with a bunch of mechanics?

Was this a...solo creation or did you have a crew to help support you?

What kind of challenges did run into?

How did you overcome those challenges?

Would you agree, that while targeted to solo players, the massive collection of tables could be a very valuable tool to a regular DM as well?

Any new secret projects coming up that you can give Crit Nation a little taste of?

Get your copy here!

This episode is brought to you by our generous sponsor, Kobold Press!

Unearthed Tips and Tricks! We bring you new and creative content for you to bring with you on your next adventure.

Character Concept:

Word of Mouth Knowledge

An illiterate bard of lore or another character who focuses on knowledge. All his knowledge of lore and history is from word of mouth. Every secret is shared as a long line of information chained from one person to the next. Adding useless details into the string for added fun.

I heard the secret from Jondin, the loner at the Rushing Bore tavern during a wine tasting. Which was sweets, and you know I don’t like sweets, but there was some Burbontoe that saved the day which was wonderful. He was telling me about this girl of a friend we used to go thieving with, named Roseya, who was the first girl I ever kissed. Though, it was only on the cheek. It was nice though, anyway, she heard it from the thief Draycus whose mother is a maidservant for this big shot Adventurer who is retired now, but is loaded. She told Draycus who told Roseya who told my friend that informed me about the secret at the retired adventurers party over in Waterdeep, who heard it from the spellcaster that was actually there in the crags when it happened!

(kinda like the Tip guy from Ant Man!)

Monster Variant:

Beast Tamer

Origin: Scout


Replace shortsword with a whip.

Replace longbow with a short bow.

New Features:

Tamer Companion:

The beast tamer gains a beast companion that accompanies it on their adventures and is trained to fight alongside the tamer.

The beast obeys the tamers commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on the tamers initiative, though it doesn’t take an action unless the tamer commands it to.

The tamer can use its action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action.

Recommended Pet: Panther - Pounce for lots of control.

Legendary Actions

The beast tamer gains 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. The tamer regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Attack. The beast tamers pet makes one melee attack. (focus on grapple to keep them pinned)

Dash/Disengage/Dodge or Help


100 Monster Hunts-Insert Link

Bounty Advertisement

My ring has been stolen! I chased the thief into the Old Swamp, but quickly turned and ran when the Carrion appeared! It grabbed the bandit with its rubbery tendrils and dragged him into the water's stagnant depths.I am but a poor old man, there is no way I can face such a beast. Any adventurers willing to slay the beast and return my ring to me shall forever have my gratitude. You can End me near the Fountainside Tavern, across the road from the Dilly Dally General Store. Look for a bedroll near the left alleyway, and ask for Greethen.

Quest Details

Greethen is a homeless man living on the streets, who had his late wife's ring stolen from him by a bandit. After following the bandit, he saw him eaten alive by an Otyugh (MM, pg 248).

The Otyugh lurks in the stagnant waters of the Old Swamp, and lures people in by tricking them with deceptive telepathy. The party will find the ring stuck between the creature's teeth.

Magic Item:

Glove of the Augmented Hand

This black glove leather glove is embossed with an image of a floating hand carrying a small dagger.

While wearing this glove, the spell mage hand is augmented. Mage hand spell can now lift up to 20 lbs. Additionally, it can wield a weapon without the heavy or two-handed property. You can use your action command your mage hand to make an attack on a target you can see within range with disadvantage.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Game Masters Stash - Insert Link

Small Spaces

Adventurers are used to 5 foot squares and hallways being the narrowest possibilities. So when you shove them into a tight spot like an ever shrinking tunnel or under a house, their usual approach won’t work.

The fighter becomes no good because there is no room to fight, the stealthy characters has nowhere to hide and with everyone in a single file the wizard in the back is vulnerable. It’s nearly impossible to carry a torch while crawling so characters with darkvision will have to lead others by touch and sound.

The key to using these small spaces to their maximum level is to add fear to an already uncomfortable situation. Maybe they are fleeing something or chasing someone. Have them hear things or see movement just past their vision.

When creating a combat encounter in such a place, it helps to think outside the box and remember anything you throw at them will be harder to fight for the group. Using things like this every so often keeps your players on their toes and deflates any potential big heads.

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Use a solo adventure to build your characters backstory and history in a form that isn’t just written story!

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