Honestly I wasn’t sure how well I’d receive this book when I first saw it. The price was high and there was a large thread defending the reasons for the pricing. In the end I’m very glad I took the chance with this book. If you have the cash to spend, and are looking for some unique and flavorful necromancy spells this is definitely a good buy.
Alright, so onto the meat of the review.
Like Grimoire Facilitas this book is presented in a 2 column format in sepia, and is fully bookmarked. It runs 37 pages long including 1 page for the cover, 1 page for the SRD, and 1 page for the editorial. In total it contains 90 spells including the variants of 7 of them leaving you with a total of 80 unique spells. At 4.99 it is a bit pricy, although this can be offset a bit by purchasing it via subscription ($3.99) direct from their website during the month of March.
The book focuses on the school of necromancy and provides new spells for every basic magic using class sans paladin (although they include antipaladin). They have a roughly even spread of spells for each spell level including a few new cantrips/orisons.
As I said the book focuses on necromancy, but doesn’t tunnel vision the unlife aspect. It truly gives the impression of necromancy being the school to manipulate life force with spells such as rejuvenate and vitiate which can decrease or increase your age respectively.
Of course it wouldn’t be necromancy without spells that focus on undead such as life to undeath a high level spell that damages a foe and allows you to raise them as an undead creature within a few rounds, assuming you kill them with said spell.
Then there are spells like conversion and black fang which work as buffing spells, but maintain the feeling that you’re manipulating life energies and doesn’t step on transmutation with the tradeoffs you make for casting them.
My favorite spell, hands down, is undying resolve a 9th level spell available only to witches which calls forth your recently dead and dying allies to one final round of glorious combat.
Perhaps it was just my PDF, but there are a few different places where the text feels cluttered making it hard to read at a glance. Nothing major and doesn’t cause more than a few moments of extra time spent reading, but can be annoying.
Some of the spells feel like my players would simply never take them. This isn’t a knock against the creativity and usefulness of the spells, it’s just that some of them seem much better suited for NPCs than PCs. Their desirability may vary wildly depending on your gaming group.
As I said in the start it is expensive for the amount you’re getting, this just can’t be avoided. Now is it worth the price? I certainly think so (especially if you can pick it up cheaper via subscription), but as always your results may vary.
The Pretty (no ugly to be had here):
As I read through the book a few spells initially struck me as being a bit on the overpowered side, and then a few more on the “Oh god. I can’t let my players see these”. After carefully going back through the spells in question and comparing them to spells of similar levels I’ve come to realize that they are mostly pretty well balanced with the drawbacks for higher power existing, even if not readily apparent in all cases. Of course you may wish to adjust as you see fit, but in my time with them I wasn’t able to see anything that would be too disruptive.
In total i give it 4.5 stars rounded down to 4. With that said i do feel the need to share a tad more. This book was enough for me to go back and buy their conjuration book, Grimoire Facilitas, at full price, and to engender me with enough respect to maintain an active subscription to their books via there website.
If you’re looking for some necromancy spells to give your BBEG that evil feel; this book has them. If you want some fun necromancy spells for your players; the book has those too. If you want some very iconic feeling necromancy spells… well I imagine you get the idea by now.