Hello and welcome to our Dragonbane unboxing! This beautiful boxed set just arrived from Free League Publishing and I wanted to share the components and quality with you. There will be a review of the system (including the solo system stretch goal) coming up in a few days.
The box is glossy with beautiful art. The cardboard is thick and sturdy. The back also features beautiful art as well as the component list. The box had tight shrink wrap and was packed in a larger box with bubble wrap and air pillows.
Components were loaded into the box with larger items on the bottom and smaller item packs on top. There was no damage to any of the components and a couple of packets of silica gel were included for moisture control. Standee bases and dice were sealed in their baggies and a game catalog was included in the mix.
The cards were packed in two decks in quick open shrink wrap. There are actually four decks of cards but since three of them are a bit smaller, they packed them together. The largest is the treasure deck, followed by the improvised weapon deck that included weapons found in the forest, a cave, and the inn. The adventure deck holds the hooks for the eleven adventures in the Adventure book. Finally, the initiative deck numbering one through ten. These card decks aid play without a GM but will also reduce work on the GM so that they can focus on their storytelling.
The dice are good quality and cover the standard range of RPG needs. The one and the twenty on each of the d20’s is stylized with the ones being dragons and twenties being demons. Dragons are good, demons are bad owing to roll under nature of this system. However, the design on this is quite good as you can still see the numbers and don’t have to try to remember which symbol means what.
Next we have the meat of the game, the books. The books are perfect bound with matte softcovers with silk laminate for that smooth feel with a little grip. I really love the feel of the books and the art is fantastic. We will give a closer look to what’s inside and the system itself when we do the review. The box contains the rulebook, an adventure book, and a solo rules booklet.
The Rule Book
The rule book is 112 pages and contains everything that is needed to play the game including information for player to create characters, play the game, buy equipment, and improve. The game master’s section includes a bestiary and tables for creating NPC’s, journeys, and adventures.
The Adventure Book
The Adventure book is 166 pages covering eleven adventures that together form a campaign. This book also serves as the world and lore book for the Dragonbane setting. The book contains information on the various locations, NPC’s, and events in the Misty Vale. While this book is meant for the game master, that means that the solo/co-op player can mine it for great resources and even follow the campaign if they’re selective about their reading. It’s full of encounter tables, descriptions of the locations, and NPC backstories. The solo player will have to maintain separation of what they know compared to what their character knows and make the story about how their character learns the information. Co-op players could split the locations or even the NPC’s up so that one may know what’s hidden and act as pseudo-GM for the other player(s).
The Solo Booklet
The publisher created a good twelve page booklet called Alone in Deepfall Breach that serves as a solo campaign as well as guide to playing solo with Dragonbane. Including some rule addendums that give your solo character a better chance to survive, the booklet also includes an oracle table, a spark table, and exploration tables that are a good starting point for playing this game on your own. There are enough tables and variety involved to get a fair sized campaign going while you settle into the rule set and establish your character.
The box holds two double sided matte maps. One is a folded battlemat that has an outdoor grid on one side and a stone floor grid on the other. The grid squares are the standard 1″. I don’t love the fold in the center but the resolution of the images is good. If you do not have another battlemat, this one will serve and the fold will flatten out.
The World Map
The cartographer for this map of the Misty Vale created a beautiful work of art with this matte poster map. Folds notwithstanding, the map has amazing color and detail that bring the world to life. The map displays the adventure locations from the Adventure book but does not have them labelled. There is a copy of the map with labelled adventure sites in the Adventure book.
The Dragonbane Boxed Set comes with ten double-sided character sheets included, five blank and five pregenerated characters. The character sheet is really only one page, so the blank ones really work out to ten sheets available for use. The pregenerated characters have a standard sheet filled out on one side with character art, background, and ability descriptions on the other. These pages are matte and printed on good quality, heavy weight paper.
The punch board standees feature art from the books so they match up perfectly with the bestiary and character portraits. The images show good detail and were printed with high resolution. The manufacturer cut each standee to shape although I wish that they had gotten a little closer to the image with their cuts. The pages were printed with a white background. Each standee has a margin of around 2mm. With the white background, this causes a bit of a jarring contrast with the battlemats and the general tone of this sort of game. With that said, I still love the art and appreciate standees to match the game.
Free League has produced a beautiful, high quality boxed set. I don’t consider any of the components in the set to be superfluous and think it’s a great value. I’m looking forward to diving into the system and sharing the experiences that come of it.
If you are interested in buying the Dragonbane Boxed Set, you can pre-order at the Free League Website.
Thanks for reading and we will see you soon for the Dragonebane system review.