Monte Cook's Collected Book of Experimental Might (OGL) Hardcover (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
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Third edition RPG icon Monte Cook comes to Paizo with a new print edition of his popular Books of Experimental Might! Previously available only in electronic form, The Collected Book of Experimental Might contains hundreds of options and new rules meant to inject life into 3.5 fantasy RPG campaigns.
This 144-page hardcover collection of Monte's own house rules includes:
A spell progression system redefining spell levels from 1 to 20
New rules for fighting domains, including Two-Weapon Fighting, Mounted Combat, and Fighting Dirty, as well as techniques based on agility, speed, strength, and intellect—the domains provide new abilities to fighter types willing to devote themselves to a focused path
A retooling of the feat system, with three new concepts—double feats, oblation feats, and uberfeats—and dozens of new choices
Special benefits for choosing a feat as a fighter bonus feat, reinstating the fighter class as the king of feats
New rules for healing and curative magic
Powerful magical disciplines that allow wizards, clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers to have magic always active
The runeblade, a base class that combines magic and martial skill without the need for spells
Additional skills, feats, and combat rules
Dozens of spells and magic items
Inherent within these two books is the idea that characters should be able to keep on adventuring longer than the rules currently allow and that every class can use some extra options for greater playability. Start your own experiment now!
This book combines The Book of Experimental Might and The Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold, and Resolute.
Monte Cook has been working on games professionally for more than 20 years. In that time, he has worked on a variety of games, including Dungeons & Dragons, Rolemaster, Champions, Call of Cthulhu, and Alternity. He designed HeroClix, and co-designed Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, and wrote Planewalker's Handbook, Dead Gods, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil and the Book of Vile Darkness, among many other D&D supplements. In 2001, he founded Malhavoc Press, and over the next few years published titles like the Book of Eldritch Might, Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved, and Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire.
Monte's also published two novels and numerous short stories, as well as a nonfictional but humorous book called the Very, Very Secret Book of Conspiracies.
While I'm not sure how I'm going to swing this into my PFRPG games, I will heartily endorse this product. Monte Cook delivers a thoughtful, well conceived set of alternative rules on a great many things. Spell levels from 1 to 20 alone would be worth the price of admission. Fighter domains easily worth the cover price. Bravo on another fine book, Monte!
The Collected BOXM certainly will remain as one of the greatest game variants to D&D itself, in my opinion, along with Arcana Unearthed, Pathfinder, True20 and others.
The changes are selective but dramatically change the game play. Healing becomes target-based instead of cleric-based, characters get feats every level, spell levels now match character levels (from 1 to 20th level spells), wizards don't run out of magical things to do while still retaining the Vancian magic system as a base for increasing power and abilities.
I think it would have been premature to take Pathfinder as a base since the final rules are not even published. It is, furthermore, totally possible to get a Pathfinder sorcerer concept going with BOXM as a pure Wizard, with the inventive use of some Bloodline feats.
A word of caution, however: this clearly is a game variant destined towards people who are already familiar with the 3.5 rules. The multiplication of feats, spells and other game components makes the game significantly more complex to approach (though easier to play in the end for the initiated). This is not a good product to bring people to gaming, in my opinion.
Now, that said, this is totally awesome. If you were the kind of player or DM interested in thoughtful variants to the base D&D game with Unearthed Arcana, Arcana Unearthed and others, this book is for you.
Before I say why I found this was one of my most disappointing purchases for a long time, I'd like to say that this is a fantastic product; the changes to the rules that it introduces bring a breath of fresh air to 3.5, and more importantly, they are really, really, really cool.
My gripe? Well, gripes actually because there are two.
Firstly that the book addresses changes to 3.5 in such a way as to completely ignore all the brilliant work on Pathfinder. I think it’s pretty safe to say that most discerning gamers have moved from 3.5 to Pathfinder (3.75?) and appreciate the updated character classes presented there. This (brilliant) book also updates (and up-powers, it must be said) the character classes but to implement those changes into my Pathfinder campaign will require too much work. I, for one, buy a book where someone has already done the dirty work of play-testing for me and not to then slog my guts out adapting the rules to fit my game.
My second gripe involves Sorcerers. What has Mr Cook got against Sorcerers? They get a brief mention that says you don’t need them with the new rules, which is fine as far as 3.5 goes but in Pathfinder they are not only way cooler but also add a huge dollop of flavour to a character’s background. Again, Pathfinder is ignored, which is fine for those still playing 3.5 (if they exist) but I'm sure that they are few and far between these days.
So all in all a great book that I could have done with two years ago and if Monte adapts it to take the improvements already presented in the Pathfinder rules into account I’ll probably buy it again but for now it’s just a very good, idea provoking read on the shelf in my loo.
I have just received this book and spent a few hours reading through it. I was in the process of preparing to run Second Darkness under the Beta but not for the playtest. I have found several items that I am considering implementing into the game. The current threads of how to upgrade the higher levels of Fighter should take a moment to read through this book. I like what I have read so far and plan to discuss the changes with my group before running Second Darkness. Thank you to Monte Cook and Paizo. Just my 2 cp.