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Workout like a D&D character with the Manual of Gainful Exercise

Increase your strength and dexterity!

The front cover of The Manual of Gainful Exercise by Steve Huynh.
Image credit: Steve Huynh

A supplement inspired by Dungeons & Dragons subclasses will help readers to workout.

The Manual of Gainful Exercise is a digital guide to exercising that takes inspiration from the many subclasses of D&D history. Designed to be used in a commercial gym or with a selection of workout equipment – such as kettlebells, dumbbells, resistance bands, pull-up bars and rowing machines – the guide takes ideas from the popular tabletop roleplaying game and translates them into a series of exercise routines for players and game masters who want to sweat. Despite the equipment requirements, the manual does provide some ideas for alternatives should readers not have access to a gym or do not own exercise equipment.

The exercises themselves are split into three separate categories depending on the kind of workout they provide, whether readers want a power-lifting style routine, a cardio-intense workout or something that boosts flexibility and relaxes. If they’re still not able to decide, readers can roll a d119 – if that exists – and do the workout attached to whatever they’ve rolled. With the PDF downloaded, players are free to skip to their desired workout by selecting the associated number within a table listing every workout.

Those barbarians embarking on the path of the berserker can expect to be pumping iron with timed push-presses, whilst bards for the college of valour will be practicing their handstand abilities. The death domain of the cleric lives up to its name by making its reader do rounds of burpees, meanwhile the druid: circle of the land sees challengers running laps on a treadmill. Each subclass exercise comes with a challenge rating designed to communicate the difficulty of each routine, with one being the easiest and 20 being the most difficult. Readers are encouraged to lower the intensity of their workout if they feel themselves getting dizzy or are seriously uncomfortable.

The aim of the Manual of Gainful Exercise isn’t to have readers exhaust or overexert themselves, or to achieve a six-pack or sudden transformation. Instead, readers are encouraged to use the fantasy RPG -inspired guide as a fun way to feel healthier, release dopamine, manage stress and/or achieve obtainable and realistic goals. The guide provides advice to beginners to exercise and modifications to suit a variety of different readers.

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The Manual of Gainful Exercise was created by Steve Huynh, co-host of The Asians Represent Podcast – a roleplaying game-themed podcast that has won two Ennie awards, the highest achievement in the industry of TTRPGs – Olympic lifter and fitness enthusiast.

Readers can get their hands on a copy of The Manual of Gainful Exercise on the Dungeon Masters Guild website for $3.66 (£3). Coupons that offer up to 100% off the asking price for the PDF are available for those readers who need financial support.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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