The Rule of Cool, a guest post by Madeleine Roux

My first interaction with the world of Dungeons & Dragons came early—I was a young girl, stealing my older brother’s Monster Manual to flip through the bright, illustrated pages with my fingers spread over my eyes. The Beholder was one of the scariest things I had ever seen. (Genuinely, nothing needs that many eyes or tentacles!!!) But I was also fascinated, maybe even mildly obsessed with the wide range of creatures, spooky and otherwise, in the book. I got out of my tracing paper and started to learn the shapes and details of these monsters, committing them to memory so I could then draw them later all over the brown paper bags tightly enfolding my school textbooks.

It’s probably no surprise that a few decades later I would wind up developing a series for THE Dungeons & Dragons all about misfit monsters and misfit humans. Many of these tabletop roleplaying games, with their dense, thick books of rules and lore, seem totally unapproachable. Intimidating. With the D&D Dungeon Academy books, I’m trying to remove that barrier of intimidation. At the heart of these books (First with Dungeon Academy: No Humans Allowed! and now with the sequel, Tourney of Terror) there lies a simple concept: The quirk that makes you an outcast can ultimately become your greatest strength.