Game Title: Uncaged – Goddesses
Publisher: Uncaged Authors at Dungeon Masters Guild
Authors: Amber Litke, Anthony Beal, Arnout Brokking, Cat Evans, D.E. Chaudron, Dylan Ramsey, Garrett Colón, Grady Wang, Isla Lader, Jackie Yang, Jesse Heinig, Jessica Marcrum, Karren Loomer, Laurie O’Connel,Lee Morgan, Margaret Mae, Matthew Campbell, Michael Reid, Nina Nicole, Sadie Lowry, Steffie de Vaan, and Theo Thourson
Artists: Gwen Bassett, Alaire Racicot, Alex Niederberger, Amelia Ng, Angela O’Hara, Beatriz F. Valverde, Cecilia Nesti, David Markiwsky, DW Dagon, Elaine Ho, Fernando Salvaterra, Flo Young, Gretchen Meinzen, Gwen Bassett, H. “Ink” Kugler, Herman Lau, Jeong Kim, Kari Kawachi, Kata Kemi, Kendal Gates, Lore Evans, Maartje Heere, Margarita Bourkova, Mike Pape, Mina Dupont-Issalys, Morrighan Corbel, Nala J. Wu, Reid Aster, Sabaa Bismil, Saga Mackenzie, Samara Lee, Sejuti Bala, Sonya Henar, and William Hallett
Pages: 297 pages
Genre: Fantasy adventure supplement for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons
MSRP: $42.99 for the hardcover and PDF at DriveThruRPG or $19.99 for the PF alone
The Uncaged Anthology began in 2019, headed by Editor-in-Chief Ashley Warren and supported by a small army of talented writers, artists, editors, and play-testers. The core conceit of Uncaged was the subversion of tropes around some of mythologies most (in)famous female monsters through a decidedly feminist lens. Uncaged was unafraid to tackle psychologically-complex subjects with thought and care while never losing sight of the spirit of adventure.
The book landed with a bang, earning critical acclaim and setting the stage for three sequels. Adventures spanned three tiers of play and while they were not explicitly written as campaigns, the books always encouraged DMs to think creatively about ways the stories could be tied together.
Uncaged unabashedly argued that there was room at the table for everyone and that the once male-dominated tabletop roleplaying space had well outgrown its roots. When the series wrapped in 2020, it was with no small amount of sadness, as its fresh, thoughtful perspective had opened the door to many gamers who would have otherwise never picked up their first D20.
But, much like its adventures, the series had one more trick up its sleeve: its community of creators.
Uncaged: Goddesses sees two new names at the helm. While founder and former Editor-in-Chief Ashley Warren still handles the foreword, it’s David Markiswsky and Gwen Bassett at the helm. Markiwsky and Bassett both have history with the series and their takeover is seamless; the book has all of the wit, polish, love, and care players and DMs have come to expect from the series and the same caliber of high-quality storytelling.
Goddesses Is Uncaged all grown up – its adventures are solidly designed for characters at tier four, levels 17-20. It takes advantage of the more recent additions to the Dungeons & Dragons core book canon, including Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Encouragement is given to let players be creative and celebrate when the “big guns” of magic and other special abilities make their appearance, reminding GMs that it’s all part of the experience.
Though there isn’t always the same sense of subversion as in prior books (though it does focus exclusively on evil- or neutral-aligned goddess from the Faerûnian pantheon), the adventures here nevertheless raise fascinating questions. How do you help a goddess free her people when doing so might also destroy her? What if, rather than choosing sides, you instead negotiate peace between warring deities? What if you scorn them both? There are appropriately high stakes for adventurers in these tales both in gameplay and narrative, giving the series a properly epic sendoff.
Fans of previous entries’ art will be delighted with Goddesses. Bassett’s cover art is staggeringly beautiful while still keeping with the feel of prior entries. The interior art pieces are every bit as gorgeous, ranging from incidental character art, to vertical inserts, to full-page spreads that announce each new section. Layout elements help reinforce the worldfeel while still keeping screen readability as a forefront concern. Admittedly, hotlinking from the table of contents would have been helpful, but that’s a minor concern in the face of the book’s many merits.
Uncaged is a special series, made possible by the love, care, and creativity of its vast creator team. For players and characters who have come up through several adventures from the prior books, this will feel especially meaningful. While some details could have been better expanded upon here and there, Goddesses is a well-deserved victory lap.
Much like the other books in the series, Goddesses, however, won’t be for everyone. If you’re looking for a dungeon crawler, the series won’t scratch that itch. If you’re upset about trigger warnings and safety practices, it also won’t be your cup of tea. However, if you’re looking for emotionally impactful storytelling with challenges befitting truly experienced characters, Goddesses is worth your time.
Uncaged: Goddesses is a delightful bonus capping off an incredible series of books. The authors and artists featured within its pages are the kinds of creatives who make tabletop roleplaying a truly magical experience. Ashley Warren gave the roleplaying community a gift with the inception of the series; David Markiswsky and Gwen Bassett have ensured a grand and proper final installment.
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