Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product as part of a kickstarter.
This review is for Deep Magic: Dragon Magic, which by premise alone seems rather impressive. And immediately upon flipping to the first few pages, it is clear that this product contains some amazing dragon themed character options. First off is the Dragon Mage arcane tradition, which allows a wizard to emulate the powers of a dragon in various different iterations. You start out being able to wear an illusory dragon mask that gives you a bite attack, and eventually get things like wings and a tail that give you an amazing ability to affect the battlefield.
While this is a departure from other wizard archetypes in that it isn't as spell focused, these dragon powers offer an amazing variety of options to a wizard, but keep it interesting enough that they don't necessarily compete with spells, though the effects do use spell slots to power them. And while the dragon mask ability at level 2 does make you choose between offensive spells and viability in melee, the choice is an interesting one that is especially important at the low levels when a wizard may feel less useful (and probably more vulnerable) until they get a wider array of spells. Speaking to the various dragon based powers that you can select from at higher levels, the implementation was inspired. I was very impressed at how the archetype gave you more powers, but made them distinct, and with a very limited exception, made them exclusive to each other. This does not give a significant boost to the wizard over other archetypes, and instead grants an amazing toolbox that speaks to the nature of wizardry in D&D.
There are a number of feats that supplement the powers of the Dragon Mage specifically, while also giving a number of feats that are not tied to the arcane tradition and instead are just darn good well balanced feats.
As a slight departure from the other 5e deep magic products that I have reviewed, the spell section is NOT directly tied to the wizard archetype, and instead offers a plethora of spells that dealt with dragons as a theme. There are spells that mirrored some dragon abilities, spells that are antithetical to dragons, and spells that just plain evoke a draconic theme. This was a refreshing change, in that I love variety in spells without dedicating myself to a specific archetype. The balance for the spells is excellent, and I did not notice any glitches. This product complements the Deep Magic line perfectly, and is a robust and amazing addition to a wizards arsenal that will go in my list of must haves for future reference.
5 stars and the royal seal.
Disclosure: There is no need for disclosure this time!
Elven High Magic is a wonderful and short product that discusses the magic that elves weave to create amazing effects. The books is 11 pages, with 2 pages for the front and back cover, 1 page for OGL, 1 page for credits, and 7 pages for content. The book is conveniently bookmarked, but hardly needs it.
First off, this book is gorgeous, and the art is in harmony with the content of the book. Despite this, the spell section is sparse, but I know enough about publishing to know that it would be a pain to do even a few pictures for a spell section when the product is supposed to be small like this product is, so no worries there. Plus I imagine that an eventual spell compilation will have much more art.
As for the content, this book seems to be less a treatise of elven magic and more of a showcase of a specific wizard archetype. Although the spells within are interesting and balanced, they are really meant to be used by a wizard school to get the maximum benefit. While this is a great concept, it doesn’t feel like a robust entry into the Deep Magic product line. Most of the other products we have gotten come with things like feats and alternate methods of entry into a given subject, such as the Angelic Seals product.
That said, it only makes the scope of the product slightly more narrow than I would have liked. On its own, this is an amazing product, and I just happen to love Elven Wizards very specifically! Would I take this and use it in my games? Most assuredly! This Wizard school, for admittedly selfish reasons, is tied for first place on my list of wizard schools I’d like to try!
And as for the spells themselves, they are amazing. The mechanic that keeps them from being completely broken allows them to be even and reasonable, but I do have to question if they are TOO amazing when used with the included Wizard School. Some of the effects are simply amazing, and although I’d love to have access to them, the GM in me would be remiss to allow it. That said, I would probably personally tweak the spells in question to require specific an expensive material components in addition to their current requirements.
Ultimately, I love this product, and I can see how it fits in well towards the greater scope of Deep Magic. It inhabits a special space that can be tweaked and prodded by a cunning GM to create a number of amazing stories. The tools provided by this product are a wonderful resource that might fill a niche, but fill it quite well. Save for a few matters of preference, such as a feat that might let you access the special magic in this book, I heartily recommend Deep Magic: Elven Magic
4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.
Disclosure: I received this product as a gift from the publisher as part of a holiday promotion.
Angelic Seals is part of the "Deep Magic" product line, the illustrious set of books that sets out to expand the magical options for various systems. In this case, it is a 5th edition product, and a much needed one. It weighs in at 11 pages, with 4 pages dedicated to the cover, credits page, legal info and back cover. That leaves us with 7 pages of actual material which is well used. Formatting is the standard two column format.
First of all, the art and layout for this book are excellent, as is standard for Kobold Press. The introduction to the book is great as well, presenting a strong case for the premise of the book; Angelic firmament magic that taps into the nature of creation to protect. The book excels at giving you a robust if concise bit of angelic magic that brims with thematic flavor and well measured rules. This book will be useful to you even if you don't want angel magic, but be prepared as it is heavy on defensive magic.
The book is divided, short as it is, into three segments. First we are introduced to angelic seals, a pseudo-spell like concept that allows you to evoke powerful effects through symbols and holy words. We start with a sidebar that introduces feats that act as a gateway to the angelic seals, as well as a whole Arcane Tradition that brings Wizards fully into the use of angelic seals. I am actually impressed that Wizards were chosen over a more obvious choice like Paladins, Clerics, or even Warlocks, as Wizards are rarely combined with religious motifs, and the combination here was done very well.
Regarding the feats, there are two. First we have "Heavenly Scribe". It is a good solid feat, in line with the feats that grant access to magic, allowing you to choose an angelic seal that grants you some magical ability. What is unfortunate is that it does not grant the "Greater Seal" ability that many of the specific angelic seals have. Even if there was a second feat that unlocked that ability, it would have been nice to see.
Second we have the "Heaven's Chosen" feat, which is an interesting design choice. It is set up as a not as good as "Lucky feat, but there are a few things at play here. First of all, "Heaven's Chosen" allows a reroll once per long rest, and the reroll can ignore things like disadvantage. This is different from the "Lucky" which gives you 3 luck points, but asks you to use them before a roll is made. Add to that the fact that the "Lucky" feat is not in the SRD, and the charm of "Heaven's Chosen" is apparent. It is quite likely that you will see much use of it on dangerous saving throw rolls that could change the course of a fight.
Now for the Arcane Tradition, called Angelic Scribe, is a further inculcation into the angelic seals presented, and acts nearly as a frame to the mechanic, since it can choose multiple seals and gains deeper access to their powers. You get access to two seals to at level 2, and gain more seals as you gain levels in your Wizard class, making the growth of this archetype very neatly distributed.
At 6th level you gain a Warding Seal, which acts as a slightly modified Magic Circle that covers a large area. The one problem I saw was that the area that it can cover is confusing. It can either cover a 22 foot cube, or an area of 11,000 cubic feet if it is inside of a building. This seems confusing and arbitrary, but I can't necessarily think of a better way to express that it can protect an entire small building. The effect is neat and thematically appropriate though, and does its job by keeping evil things out.
At 10th level you can access the greater seal powers, which greatly expands the powers available to you, giving the wizard a nice repertoire of abilities from which to choose. You can only do so twice per short or long rest, so it doesn't do anything so drastic as to compete with your spell selection.
At 14th level, you gain the Angelic Wrath ability, which lets you and your allies deal radiant damage. In addition, you gain the ability to cast a spell that summons celestials, which is thematic but not overpowered.
Overall, this archetype is solid and impressive, giving a whole new flavor to the Wizard that can match a specific character build or character backstory. The idea of a wizard that studies angelic writing as a path to magic is fascinating and inspiring.
As for the angelic seals themselves, they are something of a mixed bag. They offer a lot of variety, but they are not internally balanced against each other. Some are clearly better than others, making the seal selection somewhat less impressive.
One issue that crops up is that the angelic seals sometimes refer to your Wizard level. As non-wizards can access it by way of feat, I wonder what their effective wizard level might be.
But now onto spells. Overall the spells presented are well build, but there are many concentration spells, making each of these spells a critical choice for preparation and casting. While this does not make them bad, it makes sense to have them be wizard spells, given that a wizard is made to make spell choices and think critically about what spells they prepare. The spells are available to clerics, paladins, and warlocks though, making the spell selection for them much more important and necessitating precision when doing so, especially for paladins and warlocks. That said, the spells are amazing enough to make the choice a tough one, but a good one. As a warlock for instance, I may only want one or possible two of these spells as known spells any one time.
The first spell is angelic guardian, which is very potent and impressive, and grants an armor class bonus that can be dismissed to grant a reroll on a Dexterity save. This bolsters its utility, and the ability to cast it on others is excellent.
The benediction cantrip is another great spell, giving a small modicum of damage mitigation. It is concentration, so it doesn't work if you have other spells, but it is a great holdout. It would make a great spell for non-spellcasters that gain cantrips through other means (such as high elves).
Blade of wrath is awesome and thematically appropriate. Golden sword that deals radiant and fire damage. What's not to like? This is the paladin spell that we didn't know we desperately needed.
Blazing chariot is an impressive spell that creates a flying vehicle! The spell lasts for an hour, and discourages attackers by burning them. The spell itself has excellent and thorough rules for use that make me want to run a chase scene with it.
Blessed halo is a good spell and very useful for various things. It creates light, grants limited healing, and lets you get advantage on Charisma checks against other good creatures. A solid 2nd level spell.
Deva's wings is just thematically very cool. The imagery is amazing. You fly, and can attack with your wings.
The seal of sanctuary spells, like the Warding Seal class feature, seem to be just greater versions of magic circle. I'm not sure how I feel about this, and I can see why these effects exist; they aren't unnecessary. I just wish that they had implemented magic circle as an abbreviated way of saying what the effects do, instead of creating an entirely new effect from scratch each time that does effectively the same thing. Odd quibble, I know. It also seems odd that these higher level spells have hit points that, once depleted, end the spell (specifically, the seal used to power the spell) which makes them slightly more vulnerable than the aforementioned magic circle, but again I don't know how these must play out in playtests and such.
Heavenly crown is an awesome spell that harkens to the Warlord class of 4th edition, and does a lot to play into a tactical mindset. There is some good use of action economy here that is excellently balanced.
Quintessence is a bad ass spell that seems to mirror various Paladin 20th level archetype features, but does it well. It seems to fit an 8th level spell pretty well. Again, the balance is in its concentration duration.
And that's the book!
Final thoughts: This book does exactly what it set out to do, which is to create a slew of angelic powers and spells that evoke the sense that you are tapping into a divine power for the sake of good. The imagery is excellent, the powers are all pretty well balanced, and the spells and seals are all varied enough to justify a small supplement dedicated to the concept. There are some hiccups here, but there were no major errors or problems that I saw, and I can't say that the hiccups detract from either my enjoyment of the book, nor the utility of the contents. This is a solid 5 star product
An Elven Wizard King review- elvenwizardking.wordpress.com
First of all, let me start by saying that Kobold Press always puts out some amazing books in terms of layout, art, and presentation. though I did not put on my editor hat, I didn't notice any grammatical errors, and the book itself is beautiful. It is a shame that the book is so short, or I would want to order it as a print item. I hope to see a compilation in the future that might come in a hardback perhaps?
Now onto the meat of the review. This is a very interesting book, and has some strong implications for magic through feat selection. Given the precedent for magic through feats (PHB feats: Magic Initiatve, and Ritual Caster), these spells seem on par, giving a very different and curiously intricate venue for either giving magic to classes that do not have it, or bolstering those that do. I would presume that a magic using class would be less likely to take them, and fighters more likely, given their abundance of feat options. This is exciting, and makes me want to make some kind of Runic Viking fighter.
The runes themselves all seem well done, and somewhat narrow in scope. This focus makes them good for cherry picking, especially as some have a shallow but wide utility, making the rune selection less about bonuses and more about a character's personality.
The runic mastery abilities, learned through another feat, are far more powerful, and represent a path to power that requires great investment on the part of the player. The structure of this power acquisition is ingenious, and shows a lot of forethought and great design acumen.
There are a bevy of new spells as well that complement the runic powers in theme. I think I have the most issues with this section, and the spells themselves are oddly balanced, usually not being powerful enough, or having effects that don't make sense (e.g. extending the range of a spell using 5 ft increments per spell level, or having a 4th level spell to break objects that is on par with the 2nd level spell shatter). Some spells are so specialized that they seem aimed at NPCs or very specialized casters (which makes classes like Bards, Rangers, and Sorcerers unlikely to take them). Many of the 1st level effects seem almost meant for cantrip effects, and are not on par with the 5th edition design model of having 1st level spells be more effective than their 3rd edition counterparts. It is almost as if these spells were directly moved from their Pathfinder version, and as I have not had a chance to look at the Pathfinder verison of Deep Magic, I can only assume this to be the case.
Many of the spells are good and well balanced by 5th edition standards, but enough of them are not that it seems like this product could use a revision specific to the spells.
The magic items are rather interesting and well done by my reckoning. I would love to use them in my campaigns.
The conditions are great, as I have felt like 5th edition's current conditions list is lacking for certain situations. I love the concept of hypothermia as it deviates from just defaulting to exhaustion, and makes the cold really matter more than just being a throwaway occasional Constitution saving throw. The cold should matter, and this condition makes it very prominently dangerous.
Two monsters are included, one a reprint from Tome of Beasts (the Vaettir) and one is new (the Tupilak Golem). The Vaettir is included as it is relevant to the spells and runes from this book, and the Tupilak golem is a welcome addition and a very neat monster that I can't wait to use. Both are done very well, and make masterful use of the rules.
Overall, I am very happy with this book, though I am hopeful to see if the issue with the spells may be addressed in the future. As it is, I can use them, but I intend to modify them perhaps for my purposes. This is a solid book, and you can't really beat the price. If you like the concept of rune magic, this is an excellent resource. If you like things Norse and cold, this is also an excellent resource. Don't cast off on your viking longship without it!
I give this product 4 stars.
So, rather than post when I review a 5th edition product on the 3pp product discussion forum, I will do so here. I have begun to do many reviews, and my intended focus for the last few months has been on 5th edition. So, let me briefly post here the products that I have reviewed.
So far, I only have 3 reviews, but that is set to change.
Jon Brazer Enterprises-
I want to start a thread where people (publishers or fans) can point to published adventures and maybe even showcase them.
There are a lot of adventures out now that are more in the module category, but there are also a number of pending long form adventures that are either in some development or kickstarter phase, or have just begun to be published.
Let me start.
Goodman Games seems to have some good offerings, and though I have not yet reviewed any (I might seek to remedy that when I get through my current backlog), I can let you know how excellent they are. I've been pretty fond of Goodman Games from the 3.5 era, so I expect good things.
Jon Brazer Enterprisesp has a small but amazing selection of adventures, with promises of more to come. Though I have yet to review these adventures (I have them and have read them and will review very soon), they are brimming with new options, creatures, useful stat blocks, magic items, and brilliant ideas. This company continues to impress the hell out of me.
Frog God Games seems to have a robust selection of shorter adventures. I am very much interested in seeing what they have to offer, but again I have not seen them. If their reputation (and Rappan Athuk) preceed them, these products will no doubt be of high quality.
There are also a number of products not yet available on the Paizo site. The following are also unfamiliar to me, outside of the fact that I've seen their kickstarters and product pages on RPGNow.
Dan Hass Endeavors seems to have a rather impressive amount of adventures, frequent kickstarters (wherein you can pledge up and get nearly all of the back issues), and ongoing adventure path-esque products that seem to promise years of play. I hope to know more about it soon.
Dan Coleman Productions seems to be another good source of adventures that, while not connected in an AP format, seem to be impressive in their scope. Again, I can't speak from first hand experience, but it's worth a look.
That's all for me for right now, but I encourage you all to add to this list!
So, I am trying to figure out what official rules there might be for identifying monsters and their weaknesses, or if there are none, what you guys do for house rules.
3.5 et al used to employ various knowledge skills for various monsters (dungeoneering, planes, etc).
5e of course has a truncated list of skills.
So how do you guys handle it? Do you just assume that players have to learn about monster abilities and such?
I am published again! My new product is short but awesome, and is all about new occult rituals spells for 5th edition, as well as how they can be used by non spell casters (sometimes with disastrous results). Please enjoy.
I've decided to focus on things that are not as philosophical on my blog.
I want to do more gaming content, and keep my philosophy to a shorter format. My hope is to do posts more often, and shorter. I think I re-evaluated the medium of blogging and decided that this is a better fit for what I want to write.
My philosophy will find a home elsewhere, but that's a post for another day.
Each post will have a weekday theme (Monday Mayhem, Off Topic Tuesday, etc) but I will attempt to post something under 500 words each week day.
I won't oversell or over explain this; I wrote a setting a long time ago for a game company that no longer publishes material.
Instead of trashing the whole thing, I want to share it both to refine it and sharpen my skills, and contribute to a great creative community. Please follow the link to my free setting, and feel free to tell me what you think.
Though there is nothing specifically 5th edition about it yet, I will be posting new races and some other fun material related to this setting. Likely before the end of the week.
So far, I have seen that a vast majority of releases from 5th edition, including kickstarters and OBS offerings, have been adventures.
There is very little in the way of player options, monsters, or settings (Thule and Legendary Planet notwithstanding).
Are adventures easier in a legal sense? If so, are publishers simply shy about providing other material? What are your thoughts?
So we've seen a lot of talk concerning the conversion of adventure paths, but not as much about the appropriation of modules.
I recently ran the Retribution adventure by Raging Swan, and thoroughly enjoyed it, leaving me to wonder what other modules might be good to convert.
I've been eying some of the older modules as well, and I imagine them to be even easier to convert than newer products, especially in paring down treasures. What do you all think? Any experiences with classic modules?
I thought that this was relevant, so I have here a blog post about running my kids on 5th edition. It may be old hat by now, but we've had a blast with it. We went from Pathfinder to 5th, and the transition could not have been smoother or more successful. I'd say more, but the blog says it all.
Do any of you run campaigns for your children?
So I now expand the topic first discussed in the "unexpected problems thread to this topic, which begs exploration.
It seems quite clear that the hit dice healing through short rests does much to alleviate a cleric's usual duties in keeping the party in good health.
But I have heard the opinion expressed that the mechanic in question also makes it difficult for some encounter dynamics, and thus is not as well regarded by all game masters.
What are your opinions on this matter?
In the interest of being thorough, I would like to hear of any experiences playung 5th edition that were pleasant surprises. Rules or lack thereof that made a game smoother and more fun, etc.
What say you?
(Confound it, trying to post through a tablet has become too consternating. Thread title fixed)
Well, ok, my blog is not even close to being only about reviews. However, I have had a lot of success with reviewing, and am interested in sharing them. To date, all of my reviews have been 3pp products, and I intend to keep it that way for the foreseeable future, unless I become some famous rpg critic.
That having been said, I would like to share my blog reviews here to help both my blog, and by extension the reviews that I provide for people.
Feel free also to use this thread for any questions, requests for reviews, or whatever else comes to mind related to my reviewing of game product. Thank you.
Sorry to bother, but I want to ask about the possibility of having my account name changed from Lantis to Lorathorn. I started an account a long time ago, then came back and started posting. I only realized the 10 post limit on name changes after I decided to change my name. If this cannot be done, I understand, but I figured that it wouldn't hurt to ask.
While this may seem an inane question, I asked myself this morning, what would it look like to raise an elven infant? Half-elves too, for that matter.
To the point of an elven infant, if they do not sleep, do they know to meditate? What kind of care do they require? When do they first walk?
It makes me ponder an elven orphan in a human orphanage, reaching childhood just as their first round of caretakers retire. How isolated would that poor child be?
It is a curious point to ponder.
I was thinking about ordering the gargantuan green dragon during the sale, but when I do, it charges me 40+ dollars in shipping, and lists 4 items. I changed the quantity a few times, even changing it to 2 to see if that would fix the problem, but for some reason it keeps thinking that I am ordering 4 of them. Thank you for your time.
So I was mistaken on there not being any painting advice threads, so I redacted my previous thread. However, I thought I might put it to you all to see what might be the most economical way to purchase painting supplies.
Do you recommend the Reaper learn to paint kits? Will any acrylic paint do? What kind of brushes are best? I realize that many of these questions may just be answered by the various guides, but I thought that perhaps a consensus approach would help me decide on where to start, and to get a bit more of a dialogue about best approaches and what not.
So, my kids have gravitated towards 4th edition. For whatever reason, they seem to like it, and I find myself wondering if there are any free or low priced resources. As 4th ed is not as open as say, Paizo or 3.5, I know there aren't as many options available fo.
I know that they have recently begun putting the D&D Insider issues of Dungeon and Dragon on RPG Drive Thru. Does anyone know if these are worth the time and money?
Also, are there any other anthology/low priced resources that any of you might have used and liked?
I have made a poison for a campaign I am playing in, and we could not settle on a DC for the poison, or a cost. Here is how it was presented as written. Let me know what you all think, and how I should tweak it.
This poison is made from the glands of an otherworldly creature. The larval stage of this creature makes use of a neural connection with the victim, controlling them like a puppet. This poison then merely mimics the chemicals meant to deaden the nerves for the victim, so as to minimize the struggle for control for the body.
This poison acts quickly, requiring a DC 18 Fortitude save the moment it is introduced tot eh blood stream. On a success, the victim becomes shaken. On a failure, they become staggered. The condition lasts 6 rounds, with each round allowing a saving throw. A successful save can either upgrade from staggered to shaken, or remove the shaken condition. After the initial two rounds, failure will not worsen the victim's condition.
So what do you think? Any advice is appreciated.