5 Reasons why Acquisitions Incorporated is the perfect book for any D&D fan
I’ve been waiting so long for this I don’t even know where to begin. It all started with the Penny Arcade Acquisitions Incorporated podcast over ten years ago. Something about listening to Chris Perkins run Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik, and co. through a dungeon-crawly adventure really caught my imagination. I was 24. I should have known better.
That podcast was followed by the first Dungeons & Dragons live game at Pax Prime 2010. By then I knew I wanted a chance to be in that world. But I would have to wait.
Now, sometime later, this Dungeon & Dragons thing seems to have really stuck. So when I found out Penny Arcade (Jerry and Mike) had actually teamed up with WotC to release an Acquisitions Incorporated D&D Book, I just knew I needed it.
The question is: Is it any good? And how could it possibly live up to my astronomically high expectations?
The answer is: Yes, by including everything I wanted and more.
There are so many great things about this book, but here are my top 5.
1. You can set up your own Acquisitions Incorporated franchise.
In the introduction of this book, the authors state the intention with Acquisitions Incorporated was to bring dark office humor to a world of swords and sorcery, and nowhere is this more self-evident than in the first two chapters which describe the ways and means for setting up and growing your very own franchise of Acquisitions Incorporated. At the heart of it, being an Acq-Inc adventuring party is no different from any other traditional one, only there’s more paperwork and potentially a pension scheme.
An Acquisitions Incorporated adventure is founded on the idea that your adventuring party is set up as a franchise of Acq-Inc. Because, why wouldn’t a successful group of heroes like Acquisitions Incorporated franchise out their identity so they could make money while others do the dangerous adventuring for them? It’s kind of like how Subway operates, but with more goblins.
The book includes five tables of critical franchise elements with which to generate your own franchise. I rolled two 10-sided dice, two 8-sided dice, and a 6-sided die, and came up with:
A company whose logo is the name of the franchise’s dead founder elaborately engraved, in my case: Kevon Power. The franchise is based in a creaking wagon that smells of turnips and any kettle used in its kitchen screams when it boils. That sounds about right. The majordomo of this company is a druid that keeps an open door policy for any and all animals seeking shelter and they have a reliable connection of a mysterious broker called “G” who is never wrong. Can you think of a better set up for an adventuring group? Probably, but that doesn’t matter.
But wait, there’s more. Indeed this book is far more than just a simple “franchise set-up wizard.” Chapter 2 is entirely dedicated to the ways in which you build and develop your adventuring franchise, fleshing it out in ways you would never otherwise consider.
Having a franchise and an interesting base of operations really helps D&D players and DMs become invested in a base of operations and delivers a sense of purpose to what can otherwise, at times, be endless, unyielding hack and slash adventuring with no real reason as to why.
2. It includes a great standalone adventure.
Acquisitions Incorporated also includes a standalone adventure, taking players from levels 1-6. So having built your franchise and chosen your designated roles—FYI I am 100% the Hoardsperson for our next campaign—you can use this book to run an adventure that puts you right in the heart of Acquisitions Incorporated lore.
If you’re familiar with the first series arc of Acq-Inc the “C” team, then you’ll instantly recognize some of the narrative and locations of this fun campaign, and it will feel just like being a part of that fabulous world. The story goes on to take you on a round trip of all the most famous places in the Forgotten Realms. From Watereep to Phandelin, to Luskan and back, if you’ve played a 5th edition campaign before, you’ll find somewhere here you recognize.
3. Jim Darkmagic!
With any D&D book you’d expect a range of versatile monsters and NPCs that you, as the dungeon master, have at your disposal to throw at your players whenever you need to fight. And that’s certainly true here. But what you also get is the stat blocks for the whole Acquisitions Incorporated team. D&D royalty reside within these pages and you’ll hardly be able to wait until you can slot Jim Darkmagic seamlessly into your very own campaign.
Included for your delectation are: Omin Dran, Jim Darkmagic, Viari, Morgâen, Donaar Blit’zen, K’thriss Drow’b, and Rosie Beestinger. While it is a shame to have no Binwin Bronzebottom or Aeofel Elromane, what you get for those that are included more than makes up for it.
4. Keg robots.
It’s not just your favorite Acquisitions Incorporated player characters that are included here either: all manner of familiar NPCs like Flabbergast the fussy wizard; vehicles, like the mechanized beholder or the battle balloon; and the famous keg robots from one of Chris Perkin’s live shows, can be found inside.
Because after all, who doesn’t want to include an army of enthusiastic, if slightly unreliable, beer-filled keg robots in their next D&D game? Pro tip: Have them abseil down from a battle balloon into a burning castle filled with dragon cultists. It’s hot.
5. So much new Acquisitions Incorporated content!
As well as everything mentioned above, there are also new player options, a new playable race (the Verdan), new monsters and NPCs, new maps to explore, new factions, new spells… the list goes on.
What’s more, provided in the pages of Chapter 2 is a whole list of brand new downtime activities that your new franchise could be getting up to in between adventures. This is great because usually downtime is an individual player character’s pursuit, but with an Acquisitions Incorporated campaign you have the option to all pull together during your downtime. From modifying and restructuring your franchise headquarters to marketeering, schmoozing, and philanthropic activities, you can really have fun with the options provided in this book. There are even two tables dedicated entirely to Team Building!
More than just including the Acq-Inc content fans would recognize, the team behind this book has built upon that world and deepened the lore, so that you don’t know everything in this book before you read it.
Acquisitions Incorporated delivers more options than any previous WotC offering. This book can be run alongside any of the pre-existing 5th edition campaign books and fitted into the narrative, or run as its own campaign. It’s versatile, but without being too diluted in any one single aspect.
Whether you use the campaign story or not doesn’t really matter. As there’s so much more to this book. Not many D&D tomes offer this volume of material for both players and DMs. And get it so right.
If you’re a DM, why would you not want to have the stat blocks for the entire Acq-Inc team up your sleeve for that moment when your players think they’re safest? And if you’re a player, you can’t help but get carried away looking at all the brand new options for building really interesting—if not totally flawed—new characters and franchises.
Fans of Penny Arcade won’t be disappointed either. The artwork throughout the book compliments the content, and the language used throughout is perfectly reflective of Jerry Holkins’ inimitable style. To be honest, I’m biased. I was going to love this book whatever was in it. I already have the Acquisitions Incorporated Clank Expansion, and it won’t be long until I have Jim Darkmagic’s face tattooed across my chest, but this really is a very good book, and I cannot wait to use it in my on-going Dragon Heist campaign.
Acquisitions Incorporated is a book which simultaneously gives the fans exactly what they want and delivers a whole load of useful, fun, and novel ideas that even non-fans might enjoy.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the Acquisitions Incorporated for review purposes.