The Düngeonmeister Goblin Quest Coloring Book by Jef Aldrich, Jon Taylor & Zachary Bacus

Follow Along with―and Color―This All-New RPG Fantasy Adventure! (as the tagline goes)

So this is something of a departure from your usual book of role-playing adventure. Most modules/campaign books are just stuffed with stats and info to help the Dungeon Master (or Dungeon Meister, in this case. We’ll just use the standard DM from here on in to reference that) lead their party on a grand tale of derring-do. This adventure-coloring-book is much lighter on detail but gives players way more agency in randomly determining what happens next in the story — if that isn’t a contradiction in terms — often by choosing what to color.

The book also claims that you don’t need a DM to play but I genuinely cannot think of a role-playing system where that would actually succeed. Maybe a solo system like Ironsworn? It’s likely a failure of my imagination that I can’t come up with any alternatives for larger groups. That, however, does lead me to the next selling point of this volume: how it’s set up to be system agnostic. While the default is clearly Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, this adventure is easily adaptable to any high fantasy campaign. The book itself starts you off with four characters: a stalwart dragonborn fighter, a sly halfling rogue, a solemn human paladin and a comical tiefling warlock. They are all named but none have stats, so you have freedom in building their specialties. The book also adds villains and helpers as you go along, again with names and no stats.

What the book does give you in spades are random tables and lots of coloring pages. Each of the five chapters lets you roll for either encounters or loot, and some of the options are truly inspired (tho at least one weapons table is a little too random, IMO.) Still, they add a nice flavor to the ongoing campaign. More intriguing is the ability to color in a page first then match it to the corresponding table, as I mentioned earlier, to see what your aesthetic choices brought you.

My favorite illustrations here are the maps, which are a staple of any good adventure. Giving players the opportunity to color in the maps of their adventures is a really smart choice. I wasn’t as fond of some of the other coloring pages, as the line work varied between too broad and too detailed for me personally, but more hardcore coloring book aficionados than myself will likely not mind. The paper is also good, if not the best quality, which invites players to go ahead and color this up and play instead of treating the volume too preciously, as often happens with campaign books.

Overall, this is a straightforward RPG adventure with a nice coloring-book component that can help fans of the latter (of any age!) get more into tabletop roleplaying. It’s also a fun coloring book for fantasy nerds, and a handy resource for any DM who wants to bring something a little different to the party.

The Düngeonmeister Goblin Quest Coloring Book by Jef Aldrich, Jon Taylor & Zachary Bacus was published October 17 2023 by Adams Media and is available from all good booksellers, including

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