Resource Review: Great Gilded Guilds (Ashley May and Isaac A. L. May): 4.5 Stars
1. Covered or highlighted with gold or a golden color.
2. A pleasing or showy appearance that conceals something
of little worth.
Great Gilded Guilds is an excellent, guide-focused supplement that helps DMs build evil organizations and apply them in their unique settings. While limited in scope and occasionally verbose in style, the content is insightful, high-quality, and absolutely necessary for any Dungeon Master and World Builder who wants to take their settings to a professional and immersive level.
Advice. The advice the Mays give for building your own guild is, overall, very valuable, though at times it can be a lot to get through. Anyone who wants to make their evil organizations realistic, impactful, and immersive should create the core of their idea and then check it against what the Mays put forth: economics, influence, important people, history, and type of business. If your guild meets all these it’s sure be well-constructed and meaningful within your setting and sessions.
Illegal Goods. Great Gilded Guilds presents several new magic items to be used for gambling, as well as nearly a dozen narcotics that you can easily insert into setting. While exceptionally appropriate to be used in your custom guilds, all of these illegal goods can be used in any setting. They are robust and flexible, offering a wide variety of benefits and consequences, and the complexity of the mechanics vary as well. The Dungeon Master is given plenty of tools to work with using relatively little effort on their part. Though this section is comparatively small, it adds a large amount of value and quality to the product.
Guilds. The pre-constructed guilds the authors provide fill a variety of roles and are expertly crafted to the authors’ own standards. Including assassins, the mafia, Lawful Good bounty hunters, and more, these guilds are enough to fill just about any role the DM may need without having to create their own. My favorite is probably the “Moon Shadow”, a guild of secretive Lycanthropic assassins. With a rich historical background narrative and evocative NPC’s at its head, I am excited to insert the “Moon Shadow” into my current and future campaigns. Truly, Isaac and Ashley show their expertise of the craft through these guilds.
Production. While the artwork and other graphic elements of the product are superb, the layout suffers in other areas. Along with the occasionally split paragraph or heading, the beginning of the supplement is nearly eight pages of text walls with little to break it up or make it seem shorter. This only exacerbated the few stylistic problems.
Style. Perhaps mostly do to the fact that this is meant as a guide to guild creation, the beginning of the book often reads as though sitting through a college lecture. Don’t get me wrong, I loved college classes, and all the information was valuable and applicable, but I found a strong urge to skim through the first six or so pages. The language was, at times, overly wordy as well, adding to the notion that some of the writing could be trimmed down a bit. Despite this, the book wouldn’t feel complete or be as valuable without those pages included. It’s less an issue of being poor-quality, and more that the reader should be aware of what they’re about to read.
We loved Great Gilded Guilds and are giving it a rating of 4.5 Stars. It’s recommended for DMs who want to take their world building skills to the “next level” and includes many items and guilds that are easily inserted into any campaign. If you appreciate our reviews and plan to pick up this product, click through to the product page using the picture below.