5e: Amarune’s Almanac Volume 1 – Forests of the Realms, a review.

Today I’m reviewing an upcoming DMsGuild product from a team of DMsGuild creators led by Steve Fidler (author of Prism: Light & Magic, among others; and also a contributor to Infamous Adversaries, which I recently reviewed) The product in question is the inaugural volume of Amarune’s Almanac, a series of books exploring the various biomes of the Forgotten Realms. Amarune’s Almanac Volume 1 is subtitled Forests of the Realms, so we have a pretty clear idea going in what sort of information we’re going to find here!

For the remainder of this review, I’m going to use the acronym AA:FotR as a shorthand for Amarune’s Almanac: Forests of the Realms.

Steve provided me a complimentary copy for the purposes of review so here’s the usual disclaimer: My reviews are honest and unbiased, otherwise what would be the point of them? Free copy or not you can trust me to tell it as I see it.

Please also note that because I received my review copy several weeks before release, it is possible that some of the issues I might note during my review may actually be resolved by the time of release. This review may therefore be updated to reflect any feedback to that effect by the authors.

Amarune’s Almanac: Forests of the Realms


As noted, I received an advance copy for the purpose of this review: AA:FotR is not yet available for sale. If you like what you read here you’ll be able to pick up your copy on Monday, December 2nd. Your purchase will only set you back $9.95 which is a very fair price for 48 pages of content (excluding cover pages, which make it up to 50). As well as useful lore, your purchase price gets you a considerable amount of new game content including player options, a new downtime activity, creature statblocks, and magic items. The production values of the book are of a very high standard. Overall, I consider it to be excellent value.

Furthermore, I’ve been informed that purchase includes a code that will enable you to get future volumes of Amarune’s Almanac for only $7.50.



As mentioned, the standard of AA:FotR is very high. Graphic designer Nathanaël Roux (who also designed the recently reviewed Infamous Adversaries) has done a great job here. The background and borders are attractive, the book is neatly laid out in a two-column format, and supplementary tables are presented in an effective way. The bulk of the text is in a very legible font, while notes from the book’s fictional author and editor mimic handwriting. This is expected, but may be less clear to readers with dyslexia or other issues with font legibility. It should still be readable with some patience. If there is one genuine misstep, I personally think the font used for headings is a poor choice: attractive as cursive may be, it’s often hard to read and that’s the last thing you want in a heading (or in a contents page, where the font also appears). For example, lower case “r” doesn’t really look like very much like an “r”. Where only one appears, the letters around it make the sense of the word clear. But where two “r”s are next to each other,  they resemble a “v”. “Darkberry” could easily be read “Darkbevy”. A similar thing happens with “ir”, and if you’re speed reading it’s possible to miss the dot of the “i”. Thus, “Abeirwood” becomes “Abevwood”.

Art in the book is a mix of high quality colour art and sketches of the kind that might appear in a traveler’s journal, which is an economic choice that works excellent in this book’s format. 

I have little to say on spelling and grammar. The book is excellently written and clearly very well edited. If I have one complaint it’s a minor, perhaps even petty one: the words “As it turns out” appear far too often for my taste. It’s no big deal, I just consider it an unnecessary writing tic. However, it’s possible it’s not a habit of the actual writer but instead part of the “voice” they’ve created for fictional author Amarune! If the latter, then fair enough! But I personally  wish her fictional editor Arclath would have been stricter.



A surprisingly small amount of this book is dedicated to describing actual forests (around 12 pages), while the rest is game content. That’s great news if, like me, your main criteria for whether to purchase a supplement is what new resources it offers DMs and players. But if your first concern is Realms lore, what do you actually get? Let’s take a look.

Amarune (art by Dante Ezio Cifaldi)

The lore sections are supposedly written by Amarune Whitewave, Elminster’s great-great granddaughter. A few seconds worth of research on my part demonstrates that she is an actual character from Realms lore (created by Ed Greenwood, no less, for one of his novels). As is her lover-slash-editor, Arclath. The series conceit is that Amarune and Arclath are travelling the world so that Amarune can try and untangle her memories from those of Elminster, whose mind shared her body for a brief period. During their journey, Amarune has decided to try her hand at travel writing. A chance meeting with Volothamp Geddarm in Port Nyanzaru led to the series finding a wealthy patron willing to publish. Naturally, the author of the Volo’s Guide series couldn’t resist providing an introduction to the almanac.

What I consider to be lore sections includes:

  • The introduction. Amarune uses this chapter to introduce herself, try to define what a forest is, explain the inclusion of jungles in this volume, and talk about the relationship between the Weave (magic) and forests.
  • Locations, which includes descriptions of five forest areas from around the Forgotten Realms: the Adhe Wood, the Jungles of Chult, the High Forest, the Tangled Trees, and the Yuirwood. 

Presenting the lore in this book in the format of travel writing allows its real-world authors to describe the geography they’re detailing as a series of evocative stories, showing the wonder of such places rather than simply listing facts. This is good for inspiring you as you read, but it has its downside. When facts are actually provided they are buried in the text. This means it is not a good reference book at the table, or indeed if you need to keep checking back during planning. The bit of information you want to check could be anywhere in two pages (four columns) worth of lore with no subheadings or any other means of breaking up the content into more manageable chunks. I suggest you read the lore in this book early in the planning stages of whatever session or arc you need the information for, and take notes as you go.

If we consider the Introduction to be chapter 1, then Locations is chapter 3. In between them are the Player Options. Then there is a chapter 4, Between Adventures. Finally, a single appendix split into two section: Beasts and Monsters and Magic Items. To be honest, I find this order a little peculiar. The Player Options and Between Adventures sections are written differently from the rest of the book: in these sections, the actual authors of AA:FotR are talking to you, the actual reader, to communicate new games rules. Elsewhere in the book, Amarune is the voice, communicating lore. I think it’s weird to break up the flow of Amarune’s journal with content that clearly doesn’t belong in it. Frankly, I think all the game content belongs in the almanac’s appendices, thus making a clear distinction between the two types of content.

Order of presentation aside, let’s talk about that game content, because there’s a lot of it:

Player Options

I’m a sucker for new character options, and AA:FotR doesn’t disappoint in this area.

The chapter presents two new archetypes, the Circle of the Grove (a Druid archetype) and the Sylvan Sentinel (a Ranger archetype). Exactly what you’d expect from a book on biomes. So much so, in fact, that their presence feels like a checked box to meet reader expectations of the book and hints that every volume in the almanac will also have the same: Desert biome? Desert druid and desert ranger. Check. The fact is that not all biomes really need new druid and ranger subclass support, particularly in the case of the druid. Existing druid circles cover a lot of the possible themes already. I don’t particularly want to see new archetypes treading old conceptual ground. You know what would be interesting to see in future volumes? Biome-themed archetypes for classes other than the druid and ranger. Off the top of my head: how about a flaying winds fighter (Desert), a shark totem barbarian (Oceans), a frost bloodline Sorcerer descended from Yuki-Onna or other cold-themed fey (Tundra), or a fen stalker rogue (Swamp)? 

The Circle of the Grove

The Circle of the Grove doesn’t sell itself to me on concept alone. I noted already that most if not all biomes already have the Circle of the Land to represent their druidic defenders. Forests are doubly served already: they’ve got the Circle of the Shepherd as well! So conceptually this archetype just isn’t necessary. Let’s see if the mechanics can wow me enough to overlook that.

  • 2nd level features:
    • A list of Circle Spells is provided, but the actual description of the feature is missing. Remember, not all druid circles actually get Circle Spells, so it is a feature that is normally spelled out on a per archetype basis. The absence isn’t too terrible, as you can get the necessary wording from other archetypes, but it ought to be fixed. You shouldn’t need to look anywhere other than your own archetype for all the information you need to play it. Three of the spells on the Circle Spells list are new in this book: sticks to snakes, grasping trees, and soothing stone. All five other Circle Spells are identical to Circle Spells for the Circle of the Land (Forest) which doesn’t really help make the case for the archetype’s separate existence.
    • Grove Beast Forms (or “Grove Beast Fauns”, by my first reading. Sorry to keep harping on about the cursive font, and I’ll stop now, but legibility is important!) lets the druid transform into more powerful beasts. This is a weaker version of the Moon Druid’s Circle Forms. You must choose a beast that dwells in the forest, your max CR is ½, and the max CR scales more slowly. Considering Circle Forms is more powerful and the Moon Druid gets to wild shape at a bonus action at the same level, the Grove Druid’s next 2nd level feature is going to have to be a heavy hitter to compare.
    • Land Transmutation: Grove. You can spend a Wild Shape as an action to immediately grow a magical grove of trees (half your druid level + your Wisdom) which lasts for a few hours (half your druid level).  It’s certainly cool! And in certain contexts, it could be incredibly useful. But considering it costs a precious wild shape and its situational usefulness, it feels relatively weak. I’d like this feature to be of more practical use in combat, such as creating some difficult terrain.
  • 6th level feature:
    • Take Root lets the druid take root in the ground and draw nourishment from the soil. Very cool, very thematic. Long-time readers may remember I gave a similar feature to the Wilderheart Warlock: the 14th level feature Life Thrives implemented the concept as 1/short rest personal healing. The implementation here is different, granting half the druid’s level in temporary hit points continuously for every turn as long as they continue not to move. This is quite powerful, but severely limits the druid’s tactics. Overall I think it’s a fine addition.
  • 10th level feature:
    • Ward of Thorns is another case of great minds thinking alike, having some conceptual crossover with my warlock archetype’s Wilderheart’s Ward! Not that surprising really, there are only so many ways you can express powers over nature, especially if you’re required to give the archetype combat-oriented features. Ward of Thorns grants a nasty reaction to melee attacks, dealing 2d6 piercing damage and reducing the attacker’s speed to 0 for their next turn. They can ignore that effect by willingly taking an additional 2d6 damage, so let’s call it a 3d6 on average, then. This is really quite strong and is more likely to trigger than a regular opportunity attack. If we were in any doubt about an optimal combat style for a Circle of the Grove druid, it’s cleared up now: they’ll be a beast if specced for melee combat casting. They can wade into melee, Take Root, and then punish an aggressor with their Ward of Thorns.
  • 14th level feature:
    • Ally of the Grove lets you animate a tree as a treant as an action, lasting an hour, once per long rest. That’s one hell of a partner for the melee-focused Grove Druid! A treant might seem too powerful a “summon”, but remember that the Circle of the Shepherd’s Faithful Summons can conjure 4 CR 2 Beasts (with approximately the same amount of hit points and more overall damage between them than the treant). Of course, the Shepherd can only do that if reduced to 0 hit points or incapacitated, but on the other hand the Grove Druid needs to actually have access to a tree. It probably balances out, but don’t play a Grove Druid in a campaign where you won’t see many trees!
  • Overall, this seems to be a very strong archetype, though not necessarily overpowered in comparison to some official archetypes. My feeling is that the 2nd level features are comparatively weak but the power difference is made up for by later features. Be prepared to wait a while to really get into the swing of things with this Circle. You’re probably best off building for melee from the start, or else you might find your tactics changing significantly mid-way through your career to suit the strong melee focus of the later features. Note that as written all of the archetype’s features can be used even while you’re in wild shape. I think that’s pretty cool for Take Root and Ward of Thorns, but in my opinion Land Transmutation: Grove and Ally of the Grove too closely resemble complex spells/rituals and should have wording to prevent them being used while in beast form. I haven’t been convinced of the need for this archetype. Still, it looks fun to play and there’s no harm in allowing it as a third option for forest-themed druids, or perhaps using the Grove druid but disallowing one or both of the other options.
A sylvan sentinel (art by Bob Greyvenstein)

Sylvan Sentinel

This is a ranger that has sworn allegiance to fey creatures. That’s a distinct, extremely class-appropriate and so far unexplored concept, at least as far as the Ranger class goes: the Paladin gets something with a similar theme in the Oath of the Ancients. I have a minor quibble here: the Sylvan Sentinel doesn’t actually say it’s a ranger archetype until several paragraphs in (the last few words of its first feature is the first time the word “ranger” shows up in the text). Sure, the introduction to this chapter does explain it. But people skip introductions to get to the good stuff. This needs to be made explicit early. To be honest it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put the intended class for both archetypes in brackets within their subtitles, or have eg. “Ranger archetype” as a subheading. Anyway, the theme of this archetype is great and in hindsight a glaring omission in the ranger’s arsenal of subtypes! I like the idea. Let’s see how it’s executed.

  • 3rd level features:
    • Sylvan Sentinel Magic: as is typical for some but not all ranger archetypes, you’re going to get a list of one new spell known per spell level to help sell the archetype’s theme. It’s a good and on-brand selection: faerie fire, misty step, plant growth*, conjure woodland beings*, and modify memory. Misty Step in particular ought to be great for a ranger! The two spells marked with an asterisk (*) are already on the ranger’s spell list. From what I can tell official archetypes tend to stray away from doing this and instead offer spells strictly from other class lists. It’s still useful to get these spells for free since it saves you precious spells known, but it might be less useful/fun than getting a spell you’d otherwise never have had access to. Illusion spells from the bard list might make great alternatives: perhaps major image and hallucinatory terrain.
    • Fey Friend: You can speak, read, and write Sylvan. Animals understand you when you speak Sylvan. Fine – but “animal” isn’t a creature type in D&D. I assume it just means beasts, but maybe it also includes monstrosities? This needs to be clarified. Also, you have advantage on Persuasion and Insight when it comes to Fey who are not Evil, but that flips to disadvantage if you ever harm such a creature without first being provoked until you can atone. I think what constitutes being provoked could be clarified here, as a lot is currently left up to DM discretion.
    • Gossamer Strikes: when you have advantage on a melee weapon attack ,you can make one extra attack as part of your Attack action, and you gain a temporary +20 ft. movement until the end of your turn. This feature has unusual reset conditions: short or long rest, but also whenever you roll initiative at the start of combat, or whenever you score a critical hit. The rest conditions are redundant: since the feature can only be used in combat, it’s enough to know it resets when initiative is rolled. I like this feature: it is roughly comparable to the Gloom Stalker’s Dread Ambusher, except it does not do extra damage, it isn’t guaranteed (you must have advantage which could cost you effort or a resource – now you know why you get faerie fire!), and if you’re super lucky you may get to use it more than once per combat.
  • 7th level feature:
    • Glimmering Misdirection: You can spend your reaction to make an attack against you be rolled with disadvantage, then move 10 feet without provoking. This is hugely useful: I’m thinking too huge to be allowed every turn with no limitations on use. It’s roughly equivalent to a +3 to AC once per turn, plus the potential to stop the attacker’s entire Attack action cold if they have too little movement remaining to catch the ranger after they flee. This is quite possible, since a ranger has methods to go faster (longstrider) and to choose or set up their battlefield to slow down their enemies (for instance, see the 8th level feature Land’s Stride, which would allow the Sylvan Sentinel to move freely through difficult terrain, thorny plants, and even dare to risk leading a foe through an entangle spell).
  • 11th level feature:
    • Shimmerdance: Once per turn you can add 1d6 to an attack roll, though you must decide to do so before the DM tells you if you hit or miss. Later in a combat that qualifier becomes pretty moot though as you’ll have figured out the target’s AC (and many DMs tell their players AC anyway). My first instinct was that it was another strong feature but we can again compare to the Gloom Stalker, which can use Stalker’s Flurry to make a whole new attack once per turn if they miss. Compared to that +3.5 to hit seems fine.
  • 15th level feature:
    • Gift of the Faerie: you get fairy wings which you can manifest or dismiss as a bonus action. Fly speed equal to your movement speed so typically 30 feet. This is fine, if anything a little modest for a 15th level feature and archetype capstone.
  • I really like this archetype. It has a clear theme which is interesting, new, and is conveyed well by its features. For the most part I consider it balanced, but I’m concerned that Glimmering Misdirection might be too potent.

Additional Rules

This section presents a couple of rules variants.

A variant to the Druid’s Spellcasting feature lets the druid swap a spell they have prepared once per short rest by spending 1 minute per spell level in meditation. The new spell must have an “Environment component” that matches the biome the druid is currently in. To understand the concept of Environment components, we have to read ahead to the Spells section on the next page. Environment is a new type of spellcasting component presented in Amarune’s Almanac: “some spells require the caster to be in a specific biome or surrounded by specific terrain”. Got it. What this means is that if you introduce this variant, you’ll only be able to swap in spells that are from this book and others in the series (unless other DMsGuild creators decide to adopt the system too). For now then, you’ll only be able to do it in forests and jungles. I like the idea a lot, though obviously it needs further support to become especially useful.

We’re also presented a variant for the Ranger’s Natural Explorer. In addition to the normal effects of that feature, the ranger can cast up to 4 spells (which they gain at 2nd, 5th, 9th, and 13th levels) which are appropriate to their favoured terrain: in other words, spells from this book. The ranger gets the spells for their first favoured terrain automatically; when they get additional favoured terrains they can swap which set of terrain spells they have every long rest.  Each spell can be cast once per long rest. As written, the wording doesn’t say they are cast without expending one of your spell slots, but I assume that’s meant to be the case.  This is a really good idea but once again won’t become particularly practical until further volumes are released.


This section introduces and explains the concept of an Environment component  and provides 11 new Forest Spells. There’s an excellent table which summarises the spells by level, school, class availability, and whether they can be cast as a ritual.

The actual list of Spells is ordered by spell level, which is not a great choice and I hope the editor reconsiders ordering them alphabetically. I’ll be writing about the spells in the order they currently appear, though I’ll only comment on ones that I think are either particularly cool or may have issues.

Druidic Practice (1st level, ritual) is an equivalent for the Cleric’s Ceremony spell. For a 1st level ritual spell it offers some powerful effects, but limits them in meaningful ways (once per year, once ever, etc.). I think the options are excellent and are pitched about right when compared to Ceremony. However, they may be too much of a mixed bag. See, like all spells Ceremony belongs to a school, which is Abjuration. All of its possible uses can be seen as protective: even the bonus to ability checks for the Coming of Age ritual could be seen as protecting the target from clumsiness and bad luck. Whereas, Druidic Practice is also given the Abjuration school but has a whole grab bag of effects that technically belong to other schools including Divination (Forosnai) and Enchantment (Imbue). The authors may wish to consider that, and either pick rituals that have a thematic thread between them or possibly split some of these effects out into additional spells. Inappropriateness for the school of magic aside I particularly love Forosnai, which can send a willing creature on a spiritual/dream journey. It would step on the toes of higher level divination spells, were it not for the fact that a creature may only take one such journey a year, which must occur in the season of their birth.

Forest Spirit (1st level, Ritual) can animate a small tree or shrub as a very, very weak creature (1 hit point, Strength of 2, and can’t attack). It can perform minor chores for you around the forest, like identifying edible fruits, marking trees, and tracking non-native creatures. It can be cast as a ritual but can’t be abused: since you control a forest spirit with a bonus action you could create as many as you like but you’d still only be able to control one at a time. The spell also ends if you move a forest spirit more than 60 feet away from you.

Woodland Step (1st level) is a strange one, to be honest. It states “you become one with the forest, allowing you to pass through its undergrowth with ease”. However, its effect doesn’t match its fiction or its forest theme. The actual mechanical benefit of the spell is to allow you to move without provoking and make a single melee attack. I would have expected something about ignoring difficult terrain, even when it’s created by magic.

Bestial Reawakening (2nd level) is a resource cheap version of raise dead (1 action instead of 1 hour, 50 gp instead of 500 gp, 2nd level slot instead of 5th level slot). Basically: an easy method to bring back beloved pets. I don’t see why the casting time should be so much quicker than raise dead when it’s essentially the same spell though.

Sticks to Snakes (2nd level Ritual) is your jam if you like sticks but you love snakes, I guess. This was actually a spell in 1st and 2nd edition that has been converted, so perhaps that’s also the case with some of the other spells in this book? Anyway, you turn a stick into a giant constrictor snake for up to 10 minutes (concentration). At higher levels you can transform one additional stick per spell slot level. Sure. You can also cast the spell again to immediately turns snakes within 20 feet of you created by this spell back into sticks. It isn’t 100% clear to me whether this only works on your casting of the spell, or if this would work to undo the casting of another spellcaster. In my opinion this spell should not be a ritual. There’s a simple test for ritual spells: if it has combat application, it isn’t ritual appropriate. Giant poisonous snakes may only be CR ¼, but they can still do quite a lot of damage. I’d say if you take away the Ritual component from this spell it’s a better fit for 1st level.

Grasping Trees (3rd level). This one’s super cool. Each turn for a minute (concentration) you can have any tree you can see restrain a creature within 10 feet of the tree (The creature gets a Strength save to avoid/free itself). That’s your Action. As a Bonus Action, you can also have a tree you can see give a creature within 10 feet a good smacking. Naturally, you’d normally want this to be the same tree that restrained a creature, or another nearby tree, to benefit from the advantage on attack rolls caused by that condition. But I like that it doesn’t have to be, giving you more tactical options.

Heart of the Forest (4th level). You become one with the forest, meaning you are unable to get lost and you can’t be tracked. You also know roughly where every creature in the forest is but can’t determine creature types and though you get a rough sense of size large groups of creatures in a cluster may be mistaken for single larger creatures. I’m not a fan of this for the same reason I dislike the ranger’s Primeval Awareness class feature. Large scale detection features are a pain in the arse. Primeval Awareness has an area of up to 6 miles in radius. That’s so huge. This spell doesn’t even specify a range, it’s just “the forest”. Forests can be reaaaally big, y’all. An area of these magnitudes is going to be absolutely thronging with creatures, most of which are entirely unrelated to the events of the adventure. Does the DM think about what else lives in the forest in advance? That’s a lot of work. Do they make them up on the spot? That’s a lot of stress at the table. Either way, mentioning them may risk sending the players on a wild goose chase unrelated to their current adventure, which seems a poor reward for using a rare resource like a 4th-level spell slot. Should the DM just not mention any creature that isn’t plot relevant, and end up making the region seem oddly dead, not part of a living world? It’s a whole mess and I’d personally choose to excise all such features from the game, not add more. That aside, I just don’t think this spell is very good for a 4th level spell slot: you don’t really get any meaningful information unless you already know for a fact you’re looking for a big creature or large group, which shouldn’t be that hard to track anyway. I’m also not convinced it needs to be on the Ranger list as it’s of even less value to them. They’re already fairly unlikely to get lost, quite good at hiding their tracks, and they have Primeval Awareness for detecting most creatures worthy of note.

Soothing Stone (4th level Ritual). You can infuse a gemstone with healing energy, which restores 6d4 + 6 hit points. You can only have one at a time. I would normally be against giving healing away as a ritual, were it not for the fact that it’s sort of like buying and using a healing potion: in fact, I assume this was the designer’s thought process since infusing the gemstone costs exactly 3 times the price of a Potion of Healing, and cures exactly three times the hit points. However, that logic doesn’t quite cut it. With the stone, you can cure a creature with a single bonus action what would normally take 3 potions over the course of 3 actions. Plus you can create it yourself over an hour rather than having to go shopping. The gold consumed by this spell needs to be considerably higher to reflect the massive boost to convenience it represents.

Bulwark of Irritants (8th level). This is gonna squick some people out. You’re covered in a layer of insects (it says 100 but honestly, for complete coverage there ought to be far more crawling all over you…) granting you a buffer of 100 temporary hit points and immunity to poison and diseases. As you lose temporary hit points you start gaining increased cover. The spell doesn’t really explain why but my guess is what’s supposed to be happening in the fiction is clouds of insects buzzing up into the air, helping to obfuscate you. The ability to spend a reaction once per round to halve an attack that would deal 50+ damage seems unnecessary fiddly. -25 (or more) hit points is a super good value use of a reaction, so most rounds it’s almost a given it will be saved for use this way. I’d consider removing this bit, increasing the temporary hit points a bit more, and calling it good.

Between Adventures

It might not seem it since I’m not going to write a lot about this section compared to my deep analysis of the character options, but I want to make clear that it’s actually my favourite part of AA:FotR! There’s a new downtime activity: Gathering Plants Expedition. I believe this activity could easily be adapted to model other kinds of gathering. There is also a list of 20 flora including flowers, fruits, and trees useful for lumber. The flora are described and their special features explained, and tables show their sale values and in which regions of the Forgotten Realms each flora might be found. It’s a really well thought out and useful section!

The Regional Flora table


The appendix is split into two sections: Beasts and Monsters, and Magic Items.

Beasts and Monsters

This section includes 10 new statblocks, most of which are beasts. There is also another extremely useful table (the table game is strong in this book) which shows which regions of the Realms each monster is native to.

New beasts in this book include:

  • The CR 2 cooshee (very stealthy forest-dwelling hounds bred by elves)
  • The CR 5 giant armadillo (exactly what you’d expect)
  • The CR 3 gore boar (particularly large and bloodthirsty examples of their kind)
  • the CR ½ ironwoodpecker (able to peck through ironwood – and armour – with ease)
  • The CR 5 kermode bear (a “spirit bear” which can phase between the material ethereal planes)
  • The CR 2 moss bear (has a symbiotic relationship with which gains temporary hit points in sunlight)
  • The CR 4 redwood crawler (a huge woodlouse-like creature)
  • The CR 3 silverback ape
  • All in all, this book is a massive boon to Circle of the Moon druids.

Other creatures include:

  • The CR 9 hangman tree, a subtropical plant creature which hauls creatures up into its boughs with noose-like vines and drops them into a central maw.
  • The CR 4 white stag, a celestial often set to guarding forests by nature deities.

A nice feature of this section is that the description of a creature includes a paragraph on valuable substances or materials which might be harvested from them.

Magic Items

There are 9 (edit: there are, in fact, 10) magic items which are all wondrous items except for one shield.  They are mostly rare and very rare, with a couple of uncommon items and a single legendary (the shield). I won’t explain what all the items do, but suffice it to say they are extremely cool and in my opinion the designers have pitched the rarity levels just right. I’m sure you’ll really enjoy adding any of the items here to your game.

Magic items (art by Shiah “Cinder” Irgangladen)

One small quibble over wording in this section: The Rootshape Gauntlets have an effect that triggers “on a critical failure with any weapon created this way”. “Critical failure” is not a term used in the D&D rules. This could cause some confusion, and should be changed to “If the d20 roll for an attack you make with this weapon is a 1”, which would be consistent with the wording under Making an Attack in the PHB.


There is no index, but the contents page is thorough and includes all the specific spells, monsters, etc. that you might wish to find. There’s no problem here.


Final Thoughts and Rating

+ + =    
17 out of 20! A superb hit.

To summarise the biggest issues (in my opinion):

  • I think the chapters could be reordered more effectively to suit the format.
  • The lore sections, while excellent, would benefit from better organisation so that it’s easier to navigate to information you want to refer back to.
  • Some of the character options may need revisions for balance. This is not a major concern to me as it’s a given for any publication – not even official releases by Wizards of the Coast are entirely without issue. One of the great things about PDFs is that it’s a heck of a lot easier to implement any revisions than in print, a major strength of DMsGuild and OGL products compared to official releases that many consumers overlook.
  • I think the graphic designer should consider an alternative font for headings.

If these are the worst that can be said about this product then the creative team behind AA:FotR have done an excellent job, and they should be very proud of what they’ve put together. There is so much that’s good within the 50 pages of this book: well researched and evocatively presented lore, a bevy of mostly balanced and fun new character options, a great list of flora, some brilliant new creatures, and a selection of truly intriguing magic items. And great design: Nathanaël, if you’re reading this I know I keep giving you a hard time about fonts in my recent reviews. I want you to know that I see everything else you’re doing and it is solid work. Especially the tables. Oh lordy, the tables in this book. They’re chef’s kiss-level good (see the preview of the flora table earlier in this review!).

The final word: Amarune’s Almanac: Forests of the Realms is an excellent addition to any DM’s library, and based on what I’ve seen here I can’t wait to see where Amarune takes us next time! Pick up your own copy on DMsGuild from the 2nd of December.