Animal Adventures: Secrets of Gullet Cove

We were given Secrets of Gullet Cove to review by Steamforged Games. Secrets of Gullet Cove serves as a 5e compatible sourcebook. It has a whopping 227 pages of  lore that is beautifully brought to life with artwork. Dungeons and Dragons can easily be transformed into Dungeons and Doggies and suddenly the world of D&D becomes a lot more whimsical and happy. We will try to discuss the great things that are included in the sourcebook while trying to avoid as many spoilers as possible. In Gullet Cove, animals of all types are suddenly made sentient and allowed free will. They are known as awakened animals and they are at the core of the game. While technically speaking, you do not need to play as an awakened animal, it would be a lot more boring if you didn’t add at least one to your party. (Also, why get a sourcebook for talking animals when you aren’t playing as talking animals?) Who doesn’t want a beagle bard or a grayhound rogue in their party??

You can craft your own awakened dog or cat in Animal Adventures. There are 12 classes to choose from and three sizes for cats and dogs. The classes in Animal Adventures are basically identical to classes in the Players Handbook but with some minor changes as you level up. For example, your barbarian can choose Savage Howl at level 15 as an ability. Savage Howl allows your allied creatures to gain an attack bonus of 1d10 plus your rage bonus AND if your hit points are reduced to 0 you let out a howl that makes any creature that can hear it make an attack immediately. Pretty brutal for a barbarian doggo. Sizes are almost the same as D&D, three main sizes for players. There are Big Dog, Regular Dog and Lap Dog for canines and for felines there are Hefty Cat, Regular Cat and Lap Cat. They each come with different size advantages and ability score increases. There are also different breed abilities which are NOT connected to a specific breed. This works brilliantly as there are so many dog breeds and cat breeds that it would be detrimental if your favorite pooch or kitty was not included in a pre-built class. Everyone has a favorite dog breed and you can tailor your favorite by selecting size and traits. Perhaps you’re partial to beagles and chihuahuas  (like we are) and you want it to have their trademark loud bark/bay. You can simply pick Regular Dog for beagle, Lap Dog for chihuahua, and Incessant Barking as your trait (which basically causes all creatures around you to move 10 feet away from your bark if they fail a wisdom check). There are a lot of lovely options that will surely craft your favorite canine companion or feline friend.

Many dogs and cats to choose from with the Gullet Cove packs!

Since animals have much more keen senses of smell, you also have advantage in smell or sound related tests. It makes sense that a dog can smell and track a scent and can hear things much more acutely than humans, elves and dwarves. Downside is that doggies are colorblind and roll at disadvantage on things related to distinguishing colors. It’s not supposed to be funny but it’s quite comical to come to a situation in which a specific color flower is needed for some magical reason and the dog is not sure which flower to pick. (We all laughed when Donkey did this in Shrek so it’s okay.) It is a cute little way to roleplay a dog/cat and it’s greatly appreciated.

Cat and dog working together towards adventure

The lore in Secrets of Gullet Cove is packed to the brim. It lets you know about the Good Mother, the single being who all dogs acknowledge. It is a being of pure love and tenderness that all dogs seem to be able to sense. If you choose a paladin, this may be who you worship but it does not have to be. There is also many aspects of the Good Mother that you may choose to follow or worship. Cats have fickle and changing tastes when it comes to religion and they may change their minds on worship to fit the circumstances. They may worship trickster gods when young and follow other gods as they age or develop new beliefs.

There is also the existence of the Guilds. The Guilds are factions of all sorts of creatures, including awakened animals. They have been in existence for varying periods of time and some have existed since before Gullet Cove was Gullet Cove. They have their own traditions and their own currency in the form of Guild Marks. These marks are priceless within the Guild they come from. They are a mark that is given to others to show personal debt and are often exchanged for favors, money and jobs. Outside of their own Guilds, the marks are treated sort of like gold pieces, with each guild contesting the value of their own marks. Guilds often get each other’s throats, try to make others look bad but also maintaining a professional attitude towards each other. They understand that each guild is unique and have their own traditions. They are know to also band together and help each other at times. They all serve to protect their own and their beloved Gullet Cove.

The Gullet Cove Gazetteer lets you delve into the history of the land. It is considered a haven for awakened animals and you’ll come to learn the reason why. It will also go into the history of its current government and how it came to be. You will learn about Gullet Coves attempts at anti-corruption and about how each member that is in its council is elected. There are ancient pieces of walls that are still there and there are still myths about the founders of Gullet Cove. It is a dense history that you could spend hours reading and hours developing as you play. As with any RPG you are welcome to change/alter anything to your liking but Gullet Cove is so dense that it’s easy to just start with this established history and go along with it.

There is a great list of magical items for both dog dungeoneers and feline adventurers. Some can be used by any class while others require specific classes, just like any magical items. The wonderful thing about these items, while trying to avoid spoilers, is that they fit cats and dogs so well it’s curious as to why Wizards of the Coast hasn’t done something similar. The items for dogs tend to be items that are extremely simple and helpful to everyone. Dogs are known as man’s best friend and the items certainly show that they have this in mind when designing their magical items. Bowls that will continuously fill with fresh food to share or blankets to quickly take a long rest are fitting for our dogs as they love to do these things. Cats tend to be a bit more private about their magical items and their items include infinitely rolling yarn (which can be extremely helpful) and a box that can easily shelter 10 animals and repel anyone who is unwelcome from entering. There is also a list of items that are for general use and are not specifically for cats or dogs. The items are very interesting but aren’t as cute or charming as their specific species counterparts. The New Flesh is a creepy patch of human flesh with an eye in the center that can be attached to walls, floors ceilings and the like, and when attuned the user can see what the eye sees. Very creepy and odd.


The bestiary and NPCs (non-playable characters) included will allow you to play through the adventures provided and create your own campaigns. They contain several new creatures that can easily be ported to your regular D&D campaign to spice things up. The NPCs have a short back story, stat blocks and some personality traits that will make it easy for DMs to roleplay. There are tieflings, dwarves, cats, dogs and a few other species included so if you really wanted to gut the sourcebook for non-animal characters you are in luck. But again, why wouldn’t you want to use animals in your campaign??

There are a total 5 pre-built adventures included in Secrets of Gullet Cove. The adventures are meant to be played as a continuous campaign but can also be one shots. It will not be as good for the story as one shots, as the storyline goes from adventure to adventure but it is not very difficult to change each adventure into one-shots. The adventures included are a little cheesy and G-rated. The sourcebook itself states that Animal Adventures should be thought of as a Pixar movie. The adventures contained feel very much so like a Pixar movie. They contain characters and elements which can feel a bit at odds with the history provided in the lore. The animals steal, cheat, lie, live a life of piracy and we are supposed to believe that they are all sweet creatures that wouldn’t hurt a fly. The history of Gullet Cove goes into how there is still some discrimination against awakened animals but the provided adventures very rarely discuss this and instead it feels like awakened animals are just like any other race and class. This is not to say that the adventures are badly written; the adventures provided are still fun and wholesome and can provide hours of entertainment, especially if you want to introduce smaller children to the world of RPGs.

As always Steamforged miniatures are extremely detailed and well crafted. The adventures can really come to life with the minis. The rataclysm is a sight to behold and the cats and dogs are so detailed you wish you could dress up your pups and kittens so cutely. Each figure is able to painted without need for being primed and each figure has enough detail and texture to hold just enough paint to actually look how it’s supposed to. The fur will look like fur instead of a singular patch of color etc. The great thing about any of these minis is that they’re 5e compatible and scaled appropriately. So movement rules can easily be applied and there is no need for changing/tweaking rules.

The rataclysm. Amazing artwork and figurine.

Overall, Secrets of Gullet Cove serves as a sourcebook to get your fix of including animals into your D&D campaigns. If that is what you are after then this is the perfect sourcebook for you. You can easily include Saint Bernards, Labs, Sphinxes and Chihuahuas into your party. If you’re looking for a new area to explore with your established party, this is a great tool as well. You can come in with your established party and just start an adventure with little additional effort. There are plenty of NPCs so if your players do not want to role-play an awakened animal, the DM can be their guide in Gullet Cove. For DMs it includes a guide for how to run Animal Adventures campaigns and how to keep things light and cheerful. However, if you’re looking for dark, gritty and grim adventures then you’re out of luck. You can still run the game like this but it just doesn’t work very well. It would be like watching a Disney movie while expecting the mayhem of The Purge. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense. It can still be done since it is an RPG and all things are possible in an RPG, but it just feels wrong. These are adorable little cats and dogs that can suddenly talk and perform amazing feats, why would you not want them to be happy little creatures that can perhaps be beaten but not bruised? Animal Adventures can be extremely fun with kids as kids are already in the Disney movie mode. If you are looking to play D&D with younger kids or fans of Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks, then this is the perfect sourcebook.

Language Barrier Playability: Don’t even try. This would be impossible to play with a language barrier unless you’re absolutely prepared to translate an entire book, every conversation, every rule and everything that everyone says.

Replayability: Infinite. The sourcebook provides enough material to come up with your own campaigns and adventures so the gameplay is potentially infinite.

Artwork: Beautiful. The artwork really immerses you in the world of Animal Adventures. Colors are bright, animals are smiling and wearing adventuring gear. Half-orcs and tieflings lurk in the pages and share the same brightness and happiness as their four legged counterparts.

Strategy: Not applicable. This is an RPG so it can include strategy but it is not essential to gameplay.

Quality: Excellent. The sourcebook is very well made, high gloss pages, I was unable to find any typos (which is rare for even short instruction manuals!) The minis are also extremely detailed and well made.

Instruction Manual: Excellent. The whole book is a giant instruction manual and it is very well made.

Organization: The minis all have their place in the boxes and are easily stored. The Secrets of Gullet Cove sourcebook is a book so it will fit anywhere books can fit. They both take up minimal shelf space but if we’re being nitpicky, the boxes for the minis could potentially be smaller if you choose to keep the boxes to display.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s