AC11: The Book of Wondrous Inventions (1987)

I suspect that AC11: The Book of Wondrous Inventions (1987) is divisive. It is, as the title indicates, a book of inventions. Gnomish inventions.

Gnomes are kind of weird in basic D&D. They exist, but they aren’t playable. The only stats you get for them are in the monster section. Aside of that, I’m not sure gnomes really show up at all in greater detail until this book. And here they have far more in common with the tinker gnomes of Dragonlance and Spelljammer than the gnomes elsewhere in AD&D. And, while I like the tinker gnomes and the idea of gnomes generally loving machinery, these gnomes seem a bit much. Just about everything in this book feels…silly. I don’t love silly.

Well, I mean, I like some silly. Miniature giant space hamsters are great. Bard-in-a-box, a thing that is essentially a boom box? No. Flying machines? Sure! A dishwasher that is powered by a black pudding? No. Earthshaker is ridiculous in the best possible way, but the carrion crawler pulled Dungeon Cleaner is just daft. Maybe I’m just dour though.

But not really. There are a bunch of similarly silly D&D books around this time (Castle Greyhawk, Gargoyle, Child’s Play, etc.) and all of them leave me frowning. At least they got Jim Holloway on art. He salvages things a bit.

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