Eldermancy’s The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns Review
Published on April 23, 2022
From magically autonomous inns to extradimensional, neverending pubs, The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns features all the wondrous watering holes you could ask for.
Thanks to Ghostfire Gaming for sending us the products to review!
Table of Contents
What is The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns?
The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns is a collection of fantastical taverns that can be used in any 5th Edition setting. But make no mistake, these aren’t plain-old, Inn of the Prancing Pony type taverns. All 17 locations featured in this book are unique and fully realized with lore, NPCs, battlemaps, and encounters.
You may know Eldermancy’s products from the collection of cute, low-CR creatures in Stibbles’ Codex of Companions or the new island-hopping campaign setting of Sunken Isles. Ghostfire Gaming, one of the co-creators for this book, has a new Kickstarter campaign named Arora which explores a post-apocalyptic dragon setting where survival and exploration are key. You can check the latest news about Arora on the Ghostfire Gaming website.
As their most successful Kickstarter to date, The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns raised more than $1,500,000 between late 2021 and early 2022. For those looking to pick up this wondrous collection of taverns and inns, as well as any of the cool products that come with it, check out Ghostfire Gaming Store.
You can pick up the PDF for The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns as well as high-quality battlemaps for each tavern for $30 USD. The physical book, on the other hand, will run you $50 USD.
What’s included in The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns?
The book clocks in at 320 pages, and is absolutely jam-packed with amazing content. Here’s a quick bullet-point list of what the book includes:
- 17 fantastical taverns, all with their own unique themes, NPCs, encounters, quests, maps, secrets, and food menu
- 48 stat blocks for friends and foes
- Rules for a card game that uses a standard 52-card deck
Before we get too far into this, I wanted to say this book is exquisitely put together. The art is fantastic, the layout ensures that there is no boring page, and each chapter is well-organized for DMs to find information quickly while playing.
The table below breaks down the different themes of the taverns included in this book, as well as the suggested party level:
|Tavern Name||Theme||Party Level|
|The Wizard’s Watering Hole||Arcane/High Magic||5-10|
|Rail-Away||Steam Engine/Murder Mystery||5-10|
|The Wildaback Tavern||Living Tavern/Ancient Civilizations||13-16|
|The Bloated Bounty||Back Alley/Criminal||11-16|
|The Dancing Horse||Classic Tavern||1-6|
|The Spring of Peace||Desert/Oasis||7-10|
|The Grand Shanty||Pirate/Nautical||5-8|
|The Drunken Treasure||Underwater||1-3|
|The Dungeon of Darkness||Undead||10-14|
|Teapot Temple||Feudal Japan||1-5|
|By the Frost||Norse||8-12|
|The Tavern at Death’s Door||Death||Any|
It’s extremely hard to pick my favorite tavern as they are all interesting in their own way. If I absolutely had to choose, due to my affinity to the Harry Potter series and because I want to add it to a Strixhaven campaign, The Wizard’s Watering Hole gets my vote.
While the locations described in Twisted Taverns can be a fun stop for the night, each tavern includes plenty for the party to do if they would like to interact with guests or join in on the subplots playing out in each tavern. For example, The Wizard’s Watering Hole provides a description of how the tavern operates and a quick overview of each of the rooms. This information arms DMs with enough info to introduce the setting to their players and let them have a bit of fun before their long rest. If players were to delve deeper into the story of the tavern, they would discover a secret lurking behind the wondrous features of the tavern. The events that follow can result in a full dungeon crawl-style encounter, complete with a final boss if the party chooses to get involved.
The only thing that’s really lacking from this book is a way to connect all of the taverns into a single campaign. It would be nice, for the fairly high price point, to be able to play through all of the amazing content featured in this book. Because there are no overarching story hooks for your players to follow, it’s up to the DM to make sure they get their money’s worth from the book by including the taverns into their game world.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is its modularity. The taverns included can provide hours of content in just about any campaign you’re playing because they can easily fit into or be adapted to most settings. If you are interested in playing the official 5th Edition adventures, here’s a quick overview of which taverns would fit best with each setting:
- Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden – By the Frost
- Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos – The Wizard’s Watering Hole
- The Wild Beyond the Witchlight – Treetop Tavern, Fungal Grotto, and The Daydream
- Ghosts of Saltmarsh – The Drunken Treasure and The Grand Shanty
These suggestions are the most obvious synergies with official 5th Edition adventures. Of course, any of the taverns could fit into various locations of your campaign, whether you’re playing in the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, or a homebrew world.
Some taverns include an isometric layout of the tavern which is simply gorgeous. While impractical for use as a battlemap, there is no better way to provide a “one-shot” glance at the tavern for DMs using it as a set piece.
It’s the little things that really help players feel immersed in a setting. Having a curated menu for each tavern is such an excellent touch and will go a long way to help the players picture themselves in their setting.
Extra Twisted Taverns Gear
There are a ton of supplementary products you can pick up along with your copy of Twisted Taverns. Here are some of the highlights from the package Ghostfire Gaming sent me:
These tiles are designed to be used with The Daydream, a tavern consisting of innumerable dining rooms, taprooms, cellars, bedrooms, kitchens, and hallways that create a seemingly endless interdimensional building.
While the tavern can be used in any campaign setting with the contents included in Chapter 17 of the book, the tiles make it something really unique by allowing DMs to create a battlemap of the ever-changing room layouts. Obviously, The Daydream Tiles are meant for a party that plays in-person, but they don’t necessarily require the use of miniatures as coins or tokens can be used to represent players and monsters. The tiles can be drawn like cards from a deck instead of rolling 1d10 to generate the next room as the book suggests.
The most interesting part of The Daydream Tiles to me is they can be used to create a randomly generated dungeon crawl that can be played again and again. If your session has some absences or you weren’t able to prepare enough material for your group, these tiles and the random tables found in Chapter 17 would be all you need to create a fun night of D&D, no matter how many times you play!
Each location in The Seeker’s Guide to Twisted Taverns includes a basic outline of its layout. These outlines consist of a line-based battlemap and a description for each location. If you want to see each location in its full glory, full Tavern Maps are the way to go. They come in both digital and physical versions, making them equally useful for both in-person and online groups. The physical maps are a whopping 30”x30” so make sure you have plenty of space to play if you’re going to be using these!
Each of these maps is illustrated in full color and is extremely detailed. If you’re planning on picking up Twisted Taverns and running at least a couple of taverns with your group, the tavern maps are well worth the price.
The tavern maps can be purchased separately from the PDF, but my suggestion would be to grab the PDF and maps together for $30 USD, instead of $35 USD if you were to buy each separately. If you’re picking up the physical version of Twisted Taverns, you can grab the digital maps if you use a virtual tabletop or the printed version for an extra $21 USD.
What’s the verdict
Twisting Taverns is a magnificent product. It’s a full 320 pages of stellar, ready-to-use content. The idea behind each tavern is engaging and fun, and the book itself is a pleasure to flip through because of the stunning art.
The modularity of the content ensures that it can be used in just about any campaign. Depending on how deep your party dives into the taverns, the content in each can provide about a session or two worth of play. If you use multiple taverns throughout your campaign or over the course of different campaigns, this book starts to pay for itself in the time saved on prep.