D&D: Acquisitions Incorporated is a wonderful book. The charm and wit leaps off the pages like Funfetti® and the content is presented with the confidence of Prince strutting into a bachelorette party.
I think D&D: Acquisitions Incorporated is a must have for your D&D library.
So I’ll now spend the next 800 words talking about the content in order to hopefully convince you to smash that ‘Buy Now’ button.
Let’s go chapter by chapter.
Chapter 1 of D&D: Acquisitions Incorporated (AI) provides a brief overview of AI itself before closing with a few charts that allow you to quickly generate a franchise for play in your D&D games. The chapter is slight but it’s a great intro for anyone who might be thinking, “What in the Sam Hill tarnation is Acquisitions Incorporated anyway?”
That’s a fair question because relatively few players will come from a background of watching the early AI games, although the popular live shows at various PAX conventions were the first example of huge audiences getting invested into a game of D&D that they weren’t playing and were the precursor to the “live play mania” we find ourselves in today.
I was all-in on watching AI years ago, but I quickly trailed off when they began to launch spin-offs like C-Team, because I have a life and can’t be bothered to watch a gajillion hours of YouTube a week. (Here is a dive into those early years.)
So, how many folks are fairly familiar with the broad strokes of AI like I am, how many are hardcore fans who are current with the storylines and characters, and how many D&D players have no idea who Jim Darkmagic even is? It hardly matters because the book actually does a fine job appealing to all those audiences.
- Casuals like me will enjoy to little nods and winks we recognize while also appreciating the flexibility of the book (more on this later).
- Hardcore Current AI fans will be thrilled to see their favorite characters from YouTube statted out on the page, while also providing the opportunity to create their own adventuring fan-chise® for their home games.
- Newbies will enjoy the player options and downtime rules that can be pilfered, although they’ll certainly become AI fans in the process.
So, you’ve set up an organization for your D&D game. Chapter 2 gives rules, examples, and guidance for how you advance that fan-chise®, including expanding your headquarters.
But you have to pull your weight to work for AI, so the real fun of Chapter 2 are some excellently done job descriptions for positions within the organizations. Have you have been a “documancer” in a D&D game? A “lore monger?” An “occultist?”
Well, polish up the resumé, because AI has a position for you. Downtime has never been so fun in the 40+ year history of D&D.
Chapter 3 is player options! The chapter starts with several new backgrounds, including Rival Intern with the “Inside Informant” feature.
I bring this up because I think a wonderful side benefit of D&D: Acquisitions Incorporated isn’t just that players can create a fully formed organization but that dungeon masters (DMs) can create a rival organization.
Imagine the fun that could be had over the course of a campaign if the players are constantly bumping up against a rival organization that is thwarting their plans or beating them to the punch. This book is a treasure for DMs and I’m pointing that out in the middle of a chapter on player options no less.
Each D&D class also receives some love in the form of player options that offer thematical enhancements. There is also a new race! The verdan must be from later AI games because I’m not familiar, but I loved what I read. It’s another great add from the book.
Chapter 4–The Orrery of the Wanderer–is an adventure that encompasses the back half of the book and takes characters from levels 1-6 in a way that dovetails excellently with the theme of an adventuring organization.
I haven’t played the adventure obviously but I did give it a thorough read. Without spoiling it, I can whole-heartedly confirm that it wonderfully fits with the humorous mishaps that folks expect from AI. I’ll gladly apply as an intern for the adventure.
The book closes with the various Appendixes that are coming for D&D 5th Edition books. Major Acquisitions Incorporated characters are shared as NPCs, new monsters like the AI-iconic Keg Robot are included, and the Battle Balloon and Mechanical Beholder, two well-known AI vehicles, are there.
Casual D&D players will enjoy this book, as the class and company position options are well-implementing and darned entertaining. DMs will love this book for the included adventure or the dragon’s horde of ways it can be pilfered for home-brew games. Longtime Acquisitions Incorporated fans will love this book because it excellently captures the feel and flavor of the games that they’ve watched on YouTube.
The art design is perfect, as the images are fun and colorful. The layout of the book is incredible, as the textures, colors, and design of everything couldn’t be better. The writing is off-the-charts, as the text is not only clear, it’s clever and hilarious as well.
It’s the rare book that attempts to be something for everyone–players and dungeon masters alike–and succeeds with aplomb. Hats off to both the D&D and the Penny Arcade teams.
D&D: Acquisitions Incorporated is gorgeously designed, sharply written, and incredibly funny. In short, it’s exactly on brand. Just like a Acquisitions Incorporated product should be.
Buy D&D: Acquisitions Incorporated here or, better yet, pick it up at your local FLGS.
If you want to watch just one AI episode, I recommend the one below. Chris Perkins is the world’s greatest DM, Scott Kurtz and Mike Krahulik play off one another hilariously, and as far as entertainment value, the 2 hours of this show are more captivating than most movies you’ll watch.
[Disclosure: Wizards of the Coast provided Nerds on Earth with a copy of D&D: Acquisitions Incorporated in exchange for an honest review.]