Tome of Endless Romance RPG Supplement Review

Tome of Endless Romance – A Love-Fueled Adventure for Game Masters

I read this book cover to cover in two evenings and it’s super unique. The mature themes of love are often overlooked by the major publishers for a variety of reasons: marketing fears that adult subjects might be deemed inappropriate for specific age, avoidance of controversy to opt for the safer route of conventional adventures or simply maximizineg sales by evading touchy subjects. Not this time. It might be actually the first ever supplement that focuses on love, intimacy (meaning: sex) and even darker themes like jealousy and infidelity in a fantasy RPG. And it does a great job at what it promises, delivering mature themes in a superb way. Here’s what you can expect from the book.

Roster of 50 Romantic NPCs

“I yearn for the warmth of your love, but does one so tainted by darkness truly deserve your embrace?”

– Valerie Brimstone

At the core of the Tome of Endless Romance is a roster of 50 Non-Player Characters, all females, each with a distinct personality, quest, and a longing for love. The quests (more of a quest seeds) focus on their backstories and are an easy way to build an entire campaign around them. Some of my favorites are an elven ambassador who works too much, a pit fighter who tries to break free from her brutal existence, a conflicted paladin who saw too much violence, and you can even romance a kenku! That’s so cool!

Two kinds of quotes are provided for each character. The first one is a “regular” quote, and the second marks the moment when the NPC falls in love. I like these quotes, they really add a dimension to the NPCs, and are a help for the GM.

The backstories and quests ranges from humoruous, like the teenage tiefling cast out from hell, because she was too noisy, to adventurous, more in line with the classic DnD, to serious and severe subjects (more on that later). The Game Master can pick up whatever NPCs will work best for his campaign, and with fifty to choose from, the choice is really there.

However the focus on female NPCs (well, it’s eGaymer, right?) might leave some players like me desiring more gender diversity (meaning here “men”). The author promises 50 more male NPCs in the second volume, so that’s great.

Oracles and other Tools for the GM

“A birdwatching on the edge of a white cliff. She points excitedly at the birds above, showing you the variety of avians circling around you. “Is that… a griffon?” she gasps in awe.”

– One of the hundred romantic “Place” oracles – basically a date idea, or a location how and where the players can meet the NPC

The book features about 20 pages full of oracles, along with the extensive examples on how to use them. These oracles are tools for the GM to providing a creative boost to shape romantic stories, with love in focus. If the 50 NPC still aren’t enough, you can craft your own, using these tables shine to create unique personalities, motivations, and backstories, again focusing on female adventurers, as you can see below:

Unlike standard oracles you can find in regular supplements, they don’t focus on classes, quests or items, but rather on backstories regarding love and romance. Very handy in generating adventure ideas, twists, backstories or unpredictability in solo roleplaying when you need that romantic narrative, or just want to bring up an interesting female NPC that will feel alive.

Lore for the GMs

“Ultimately, the witch threw the artifact down into the river. Her own love life had already given her too many headaches, so there was no need for a magical one.”

– Circlet of Feelings

We also get a bit of lore about new minor goddess to use in the campaigns, called Ange, with its organization, leaders, and even a spicy myth. It’s interesting, because it breaks away from the typical D&D god mold, offering a more mature and genuine exploration of divinity. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it certainly isn’t a goddess with a +5 magical whip. Ange actively engages in romantic narratives, and is relatable in a way how she and her church deals with romantic relationships, and the concept of love. Forgotten Realms goddess of love Sune feels underwhelming and boring compared to the Ange, and her cult presents a more realistic take on the complexities of such religion.

There are also eleven rather unique magical items, again steering clear of conventional tropes and focused on love. No magical swords or  rings of casting magic missiles. How about an enchanted nail polish, a circlet that can read minds, but only discerns romantic feelings, or an imp carrying messages for long distance lovers? I find these artifacts wholesome, ununusal and charming and would like to see more of them!

Handling of Mature Themes

There probably should be some trigger warnings, as this book feature some really mature themes too. I must admit I was uncertain about what to expect, but the way the book presents things like infidelity, trauma, addiction, and even sexual violence (one of the backstories is based on R-word) but does so with utmost sensitivity and respect. It’s certainly not written as a shock value. I found these stories to be touching, at least for me. The book doesn’t shy away from exploring the emotional turmoil and scars. These mature narratives are not gratuitous, but are presented with a touch of gravity. I don’t want to spoil too much, but as one of the NPCs says (the bard from the cover):

“Love isn’t always rainbows and sunshine”

Marigold Songweaver

I think the balance between the sensitivity, emotions and respect is great. The language used throughout the book is thoughtful and deliberate, and in some ways a bit sophisticated and mature. It crossess the typical boundaries of tabletop role-playing, and in a good way. This is really not the orc slaying adventure no. 10 000, although there are plenty of orcs, goblins and drows in the quest seeds. The emotional intelligence and narrative of the subjects took me by surprise.

Verdict: It’s great!

Role-playing games can be a medium for nuanced and mature storytelling. This book shows that you can write emotionally deep, thrilling, and also fun RPG supplement about love and romance, possibly the first of its kind. It’s system agnostic, so there’s no conventional statblocks and it should work equally well for DnD, Pathfinder and other fantasy games. 143 pages. Tome of Endless Romance is unique, mature and thrilling RPG supplement like nothing I’ve ever seen!

Availability: (digital $15), Amazon (Softback and hardcover): $25.

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