Wizards of the Coast just released a surprise 156-page Dungeons & Dragons supplement written by the lead designer of the original Baldur's Gate video game that includes tons of classic monster statblocks, high level villain statblocks, and a ton of other information. The new supplement, titled Minsc and Boo's Journal of Villainy, is a nearly full-length tome containing a plethora of resources for DMs to use while building their D&D campaign. The book focuses on the "Heroic Journey," a basic formula that players can use to help craft the wide arcs of a campaign. While every Heroic Journey is different, Minsc and Boo's Journal of Villainy recommends that it includes a starting point (a Hometown), a group patron that provides the party with a common goal, and of course a good overarching villain with some henchmen.
Minsc and Boo's Journal of Villainy is split into five chapters. The first contains overviews of four different hometowns, ranging from Baldur's Gate to the drow city of Ust Natha. The second chapter (and its longest) details 10 different organizations or factions that can serve as a party's group patron. Each organization has two NPCs with full statblocks that can serve as allies, quest givers, or even potential rivals. The third chapter details six campaign villains including classic D&D characters like Bhaal, Cyronax, and Mephistopheles. The fourth chapter contains statblocks on a number of villain henchmen to be used as stepping stones to help the players reach the villain. The final chapter contains a small bestiary of classic monsters, including the phaerimm.
Minsc and Boo's Journal of Villainy is an interesting book for a number of reasons. Ohlen is a Wizards of the Coast employee but does not work on the D&D design team. Instead, he leads the new Archetype Entertainment game studio. Prior to joining Wizards, Ohlen founded a publishing company Arcanum Worlds that published a DMs Guild book about the characters and setting of Baldur's Gate. Since the supplement didn't original from the D&D design team, D&D fans can take the book's canonicity as they like, but the fact remains that Wizards of the Coast just dropped a 150-page D&D supplement on a random Tuesday afternoon.
All proceeds for Minsc and Boo's Journal of Villainy goes towards Extra Life, a popular charity that helps local children's hospitals. A PDF copy costs $14.95 and POD options are also available.