Hey everybody -
first of all, excuse my silence and the lack of reviews for the last couple of days - I've spent the last week at the WGT in Leipzig and now am back full of vigor to provide some reviews for you.
Some time ago, I said that I'd do all the Rite Publishing 101-spell-books and I'm a man of my word, thus, without further ado, I present to you the missing ones I've glossed over until now.
This pdf is 30 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 26 pages for the spells and comes with a printer-friendly extra version, so let's take a closer look at the spells, shall we?
After 4 pages of spell-lists, we are introduced to the new spells. Adhering to my usual format, I'll mention spells that caught my eye, be it positively or negatively and comment on them to hopefully give you a good overview of the content herein. The first spell that I really enjoyed is "Arboreal Archer" - you imbue a tree with limited intelligence and instruct it to e.g. fire volleys of acorns, branches etc. at enemies - that's one staple of fantasy literature I always wanted druids to be able to do - cool. On the mechanical side, we get curses that counter e.g. "Cat'S Grace", "Bull Strength" etc., finally introducing debuffs for the most common buffing spells at low levels. "Confront Outsider" is a bit problematic for me - I am one of the DMs whose campaigns are focused on research and thus, true names of outsiders are carefully kept secrets. This paladin spell grants a bonus to the paladin by forcing a confrontation with an outsider and forcing it to reveal its true name. While the spell is not bad in any way, I personally won't be able to use it due to the amount of mythology on true names I established. I just wanted to mention this in case you're like me - it won't detract from my final verdict.
"Damage Loins", a magical kick to the groin, is sure to see a lot of use in my campaign, if only for the humorous potential. "Delude Divination" is a godsend for beleaguered GMs who suffer from PCs with a lot of detect spells. "Destabilize Magic" is once again a cool spell for those chaos mages among you - detract 10 from magic DCs and add 1d20 -fun and risky! "Examine Coffin", a spell that let's you glance into a coffin MIGHT be a true time-saver, but might also deprive you of the iconic coffin-burst scene - I'm torn on this one. "Fall up" on the other hand is another spell that just screams "utilize me in creative ways". Nice! "Exploding Critical" adds some force damage to criticals - while not a bad spell, I consider it boring. The same holds true for "Force Club". "Memory Crystal" lets you deposit a memory in a crystal - story-telling gold. On a rules-side, I think conjuring and undead-devouring yellow slime as per the "Necrophage"-spell should also be accessible to druids."Ride Winds" is another iconic addition. "Righteous Armor" lets you summon your armor, which I consider quite lame, as "Rolling Boulder", which lets you conjure a ball of elemental earth to roll over your enemies. "Silent Ray" is simply a ray dealing sonic damage and "Stone burst" is also rather bland. On the other hand, there is a "Support beam"-spell my players will never leave home without - escaping from collapsing dungeons is just too cool.
"Utter Failure" is a cool one-trick pony spell against PCs. "Web shelter" is another cool idea, especially when e.g. under water and lends itself to some nice ideas by the PCs.
Editing is top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Both formatting and layout adhere to the tried-and-true two-column b/w-standard and the artworks are ok. The spells were mostly great, with some truly exceptional and very iconic ones in between. However, I also felt that there are more spells that felt like filler than in other 101-installments. While still being a great book, e.g. 6th or 0-level feels better to me and subsequently my final verdict will be 4 Rudii - a good selection of new spells to add to your campaign.
101 3rd level spells
This pdf is 29 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 25 pages for the spells and comes with a printer-friendly extra version, so let's take a closer look at the spells!
After 4 pages of spell-lists, we get the spells, but before I get to them, I'll elaborate a bit - scarcely a spell level has this influence on gaming. 3rd level. Fireball and Lightning Bolt. Dispel Magic. And I haven't even delved into the curative magic. 3rd level spells have always been a milestone in my games - players suddenly can tackle larger groups, hold their own better against mages and so on. Subsequently, some of the most important and iconic spells can be found at this level and it's hard, very hard to design valid alternatives. Does this file succeed? I'll try to highlight some spells, both positive and negative, that caught my eye in order to give you a good overview of what to expect from this installment of the 101-spells-series.
"Accelerate Decay" is a spell that damages ancient creatures like vampires usually up to 10d6 damage, 20d6 to particularly ancient creatures and suppresses their fast healing for 24 hours. While only applicable to rare creatures, I think that no 3rd level spell should deal that much damage AND suppress the enemies primary means of recovery. "Airsphere" on the other hand is a spell I sorely missed in 3.5 and sees the return of a sphere of breathable air. However, I also have a problem with this spell - it automatically counter dragon's breath (which dispels it, but still). That means that a great wyrm breath can be negated by a 3rd level spell. Not going to happen in my campaign. "Blinding Ash" is a cool twist on obscuring mist with a bit of damage added. In the "Chilling Mist"-spell, which is a cool idea, there seems to be a discrepancy between fluff and crunch, making it hard to use. "Counterattack" lets you hit back at full BAB any time an opponent makes a melee attack against you. If you use a gish-class, this spell might be gold, but DMs ought to take heed - in some encounters this can be very powerful. "Curse of Capturing" transforms all damage the target deals to non-lethal. A great way to annoy players of the Belkar-mindset. "Curse of Item Rebellion" curses an item, turning e.g. a +3 sword into a -3 one etc.. Sorry, I don't like this particular curse - I lacks the "insult TO injury"-component I look for in curses. rather, it's only an insult. "Filch" is a great trickster spell that teleports unattended items either to you or a location in range you can designate. "Force Marbles" are also a great idea for iconic escapes and cool climbing helper. "Secret Speech" conceals messages in regular speech, which makes for some really nasty ideas. "Summon Firearm" lets you conjure your personal crossbow/firearm, locked and loaded, to you. It feels a bit weak for 3rd level. I should probably note that fans of the often-neglected water magic get several nice spells that deal non-lethal damage and control the terrain.
Editing is ok, I didn't notice typos or glitches, but the spell "Chilling Mist" suffers from some formatting/editing problems. Layout adheres to the tried and true rite publishing two-column standard and the b/w-artwork is ok. I get that competing with easily some of the most iconic spells is hard, but in contrast to the other 101-books, I felt that this one was rather feeling uninspired - there are several deal x damage + minor effect z-spells in here, when the space would have been better suited for some non-combative or creative spells that deal with terrain control or even other spells - after all, we already have some of the most iconic combat spells, haven't we? All in all, this one felt like the weakest installment of the 101 series, my final verdict will be 3.5 Rudii.
This pdf is 34 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 30 pages for the spells, so let's take a closer look at the spells, shall we?
7th level is traditionally the level that introduces what I like to call "High Magic", i.e. spells that only specialists, primary casters, can cast and subsequently I expect something beyond useful or cool spells, but rather magic that clearly distinguishes the caster as a master of his craft.
In accordance with my format for 101-spell-reviews, I'll once again mention select spells which I considered cool and ones I didn't like, hopefully providing a nice overview of the book.
After 3 pages of spell-lists we get the spells, so let's check them out! The first spell I found that I really liked is a debuff/buff-spell called "Calculated Anger", which grants barbarian-like rage bonuses to allies and penalizes the enemies with uncontrollable anger. "Consume Item" destroys magic items via touch and grants you temporary HP - your PCs will hate this spell and I love it! One of the coolest spells in the book, though, has to be "Copycat": You can replicate a spell of 6th level or lower cast by before by any caster in the encounter it is cast, complete with variable casting times dependant on the casting time of the original spell.
Once again, the series also features some nice curse-spells: "Bestow Greater Curse" felt rather uninspired - especially in direct contrast with the "Scourge"-curse (also in this book): While the latter comes with great sample curses, the former is only a bland set of penalties. "Curse Greater Ability" is a spell that, while not bad per se, I didn't like: It prevents a foe from using one ability. While not bad, it is dependent on meta-game-knowledge and subsequently not my cup of tea. One of the cool spells, fluff-wise, is "Dragon's Teeth Warriors", creating clay golems from dragon's teeth planted in the ground. "Earth and Fire" also rocks - it deals damage AND modifies effects in the area of the spell, adding e.g. bludgeoning damage to fire spells. Awesome idea, I would have loved to see more like that. "Explosive Dispel" is also nice - dispel and damage in one fell swoop.
For the dragon-fans, there is "Flames of the Dragon's Fury", a spell that grants you a fear-aura, natural armor and the ability to use draconic breath (which shortens the spell's duration) - great and iconic spell! "Ward of Vaults" and "Haunted Grounds" are also nice spells, making locations more hostile to intruders and offering several nice ideas. When I read "Monstrous Lore", I thought I'd hate the spell: It tells the players the abilities of a monster via its parts or scat. However, it only delivers the names of the abilities, not what they do, potentially giving the DM some leeway. "Rage of the Red Dragon" is a good example for a wasted chance - it's just a combination of "Form of the Dragon I" and "Rage". Especially in contrast to the "Flames of the Dragon's Fury"-spell, this felt rather bland. For the rather sadistic guys like yours truly, there's also a great spell "Mass Unstable Form" temporarily polymorphs the victims into living, amorphous blobs. The best spell, though, has to be "Steal the Painful Memory", which removes a certain event from the collective knowledge of a large area, but also creates a piece of evidence - once the evidence is destroyed, the knowledge returns to the people. AWESOME!
Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed one glitch, not enough to detract from the final score. Layout adheres to the classic b/w-two-column standard and the artworks are ok. On a design note, there are almost no spells I didn't like and I gave some examples of cool spells. However, in contrast to e.g. 6th, 9th and 0-level, I didn't notice that many "OMG-HOW-COOL"-spells. Thus, my final verdict will be 4.5 Rudii, concluding my reviews of 1010 spells on a rather high note.
All right, that's it for now!
As always, thank you for reading my ramblings, Endzeitgeist out!