Kobold Guide to Magic

OPDKGTME

Add Print/PDF Bundle $29.99

Add Softcover $24.99

Add PDF $14.99

Facebook Twitter Email

Kobolds Work a Little Magic!

The popular and wildly useful Kobold Guide series tackles the biggest subject in fantasy: Magic!

What makes a fantasy fantastic? Magic, of course! Whether it's unearthly beasts, scheming sorcerers, legendary swords or locales that defy logic and physics, a compelling fantasy story needs magical elements. The tricky part is that in order for the story to work, you have to get your reader or player to believe the unbelievable.

The Kobold Guide to Magic takes you behind the scenes to learn the secrets of designing and writing about magic from 20 top fantasy authors and game designers. Find out how to create more compelling, more interesting, and more playable magic at your table or in your stories—with the word from some of the most talented creators working today.

The topics are wide-ranging, from the secrets of Irish magic to tricks of impractical magic, from how to generate a sense of wonder at the gaming table to how to rejigger the teleport spell for stronger adventures to how to sell a character's soul and how to run a game with visions and prophecies. There's even sections on the magic of J.R.R. Tolkien and the tools available to a game master for making magic their own.

The Essential Guide to Magic in Fiction and Games
This essential companion for fantasy gamers and readers alike feature essays by:

  • Wolfgang Baur
  • Clinton Boomer
  • David Chart
  • David "Zeb" Cook
  • James Enge
  • Ed Greenwood
  • Jeff Grubb
  • Kenneth Hite
  • James Jacobs
  • Colin McComb
  • Richard Pett
  • Tim Pratt
  • John Rateliff
  • Thomas Reid
  • Aaron Rosenberg
  • Ken Scholes
  • F. Wesley Schneider
  • Amber E. Scott
  • Willie Walsh
  • Martha Wells
  • Steve Winter
  • and with an introduction by Monte Cook

This latest volume in the best-selling and award-winning series of Kobold Guides tackles the mystery at the heart of the fantasy genre. Improve your game and expand your magical power with the Kobold Guide to Magic!

Praise for Prior Design Guides

"Class is in session . . . The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding SHOULD be considered a textbook on intelligent setting creation." —Dave Hinojosa, The Gaming Gang

"A fantastic resource." —Skyland Games

"While the book is aimed at the RPG crowd, a huge percentage of the material would be just as valuable to an author writing a novel set in an original world...For anyone who's ever had the drive to create a fictional place...The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding will spark some new ideas and help you add the proper doses of verisimilitude and outlandishness." —Ed Grabianowski, i09

"Highly recommended for gaming nerds everywhere." —CityBookReview.com

"If you're an aspiring pro this book is a must. If you're a rules hacker like me, this stuff is solid gold." —Berin Kinsman, UncleBear Media

"A fantastic collection...a solid 5 star rating." —Joshua Gullion, AdventureAWeek.com

"An amazing collection...from some of the best designers and writers creating role-playing game material today." —Brian Fitzpatrick, BlogCritics.org

Product Availability

Print/PDF Bundle:

Will be added to your My Downloads page when your order ships.

Softcover:

Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 7 business days.

This product has been discontinued by the manufacturer or is no longer being carried by our distributor.

PDF:

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

KOBKGTM


See Also:

Sign in to create or edit a product review.


Is there any estimated timeline for this? Even KQ's site merely says "Early in 2014."


This isn't "Deep Magic" with a new name, is it?

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

This is a completely separate book from Deep Magic! It is in the Kobold Guide series, so it is a 6 by 9 inch paperback, like the other guides.

Should be about 160 pages and ships this spring.


Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So, what is it? A book with a bunch spells? Archetypes? Magic systems?

Liberty's Edge

I imagine a more detailed product description and cover image will be here very soon.

Until then ... "The Kobold Guide to Magic takes you behind the scenes to learn the secrets of designing and writing about magic from 20 top fantasy authors and game designers. Find out how to create more compelling, more interesting, and more playable magic at your table or in your stories—with the word from some of the most talented creators working today."

You can click below for some more info!

Kobold Guide to Magic

There are also a number of previews of the book over on the Kobold Press site - here are a few of 'em:

On Teleportation Magic

Keep It Weird

Gender and Magic

Webstore Gninja Minion

Updated product description, and product image coming shortly!

Liberty's Edge

And there everything is in all its glory! :)

In all seriousness, there are some real heavy-hitter authors in this and the essays are just amazing! I can't wait to get my print copy :)


Is there discussion on actual spell design, both in game research as well as actually making new spells? It looks like there might be, but I can't tell for sure.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

This is not a book on mechanics, no. See the excerpts from it published on KoboldPress.com for sample text.


Aha...I am the first to post here since the book has arrived! I was on the Deep Magic thread but am posting here to avoid any and all wrath being thrown around. :)

I have just skimmed through this but I am really impressed. I will have some nice reading to do over spring break. I personally am heading straight to the chapter on selling my soul!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wolfgang, I have to be honest, I couldn't disagree with you more on that chapter on Teleport magic. I'm sorry, but I think you're completely, 100% wrong in your approach. Limiting Teleport and its associated spells isn't "one of the best moves that a GM can make," it's one of the laziest. Yes, Teleport makes overland journeys obsolete. Scry, buff, and teleport is absolutely a problem. But really, anything your PCs can do, a good GM can have his NPCs doing, and more.

How many movies and video games feature nearly instantaneous changes of location, and things just keep on rolling? Any 80s or 90s kid who used a computer in school and is now gaming should get the potential for storylines unlocked by Teleport magic immediately with one name: "Carmen Sandiego". Think about an arcane trickster thief robbing cities blind via scry and teleport. How hard would they be to catch? How awesome would that pursuit be? Teleporting players means teleporting villains, and teleporting villains means all sorts of madness that will have to be stopped by a pack of heroes (or at least mercenaries... or maybe even other villains looking to rob them).

It's not a flaw, it's a feature. The issues surrounding Teleport only limit your game if you let them. If you're able to GM not just around them, but with them and for them, Teleport and its related spells only take games to new heights.

(Don't let my vehement disagreement with this one article dissuade anyone from picking up this book. As a whole it's a bunch of great articles. Well worth the money.)

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yep. I sort of wrote it expecting some honest disagreement, and I have a lot of respect for people who want to deal with scry, buff, and teleport. I'm personally tired of dealing with it, and I'm thinking that its not a feature, it's a flaw of teleport.

It boils down to my enjoyment of adventure tales that require the journey (Sindbad's Golden Voyages, to name one). Teleport sometimes takes that away. You *can* work around it (and that essay makes the point that it's not hard to fix).

But you shouldn't feel required to work around it. Fantasy as a genre doesn't NEED teleport the same way it needs charm person or polymorph.


[Posted first in the DEEP MAGIC thread...]

Just skimmed through the just received Kobold Guide to Magic - an excellent range of approaches and authors.

Personally looking forward to a deeper reading of James Jacobs' chapter on Summoning Steve Winter's chapter on Conjuration; and Richard Pett's chapter on cabal/group spells/magic.

Tim Pratt's chapter was very interesting, as was Martha Wells chapter and Amber Scott's chapter on gender - always an interesting topic and handled admirably.

Thank you Wolfgang for your chapter on Teleportation magic, I haven't read the divination one yet, but from a quick skim I'm sure I will get a lot out of it.

A veritable tome of advice, ideas and conceptual devices for getting more out of magic in your campaign, or even in your fiction.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

Received this as part of Deep Magic KS and just downloaded from that distribution.

It's a varied collection upon my initial look through. Each individual essay should provide a nice parcel for train reading.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Yep. I sort of wrote it expecting some honest disagreement, and I have a lot of respect for people who want to deal with scry, buff, and teleport. I'm personally tired of dealing with it, and I'm thinking that its not a feature, it's a flaw of teleport.

It boils down to my enjoyment of adventure tales that require the journey (Sindbad's Golden Voyages, to name one). Teleport sometimes takes that away. You *can* work around it (and that essay makes the point that it's not hard to fix).

But you shouldn't feel required to work around it. Fantasy as a genre doesn't NEED teleport the same way it needs charm person or polymorph.

Fantasy as a genre? No. But I'd argue it is a pretty fundamental part of higher level D&D or Pathfinder.

It's always seemed to me to be the big "Yeah, that's right, I'm a high level mage now" spell. Clerics and Oracles have Raise Dead, Wizards and Sorcerers have Teleport. Wall of Force and Telekinesis are cool, Cone of Cold has more zip than Fireball, but there's nothing else in the arcane repertoire that's a really big transitional spell, nothing symbolic of a whole new stage of gaming like Teleport. I can see how E6/E8 can have its appeal, not having to deal with the chaos of those powerful spells and the other abilities that come along with them, but it only gains that simplicity by cutting off a whole chunk of the game.

Mechanically, I get it. Once you're adding more to a die roll than the die has sides, it's less about randomness and more about number crunching, so the flexibility (and fun?) of the game starts to ebb. There are plenty of ways to break the game, and yes, if abused, Teleport is certainly one of those. But for me, both as a player and a GM, Teleport has been the key that unlocked that upper echelon for the PCs and the game they were in.

Contributor

I'm just downloading a copy, I have a need to read the ideas some of these wonderful folk have on different aspects of magic. As someone mentioned, there are some mightily bright and twisted minds floating (or is that slithering) around in this mighty tome, what they come up with will be intriguing and thought-provoking.

The discussion about teleport is a great example of taking a different view on magic and I can see both takes being very valid. This tome is bloated with ideas to float about and consider, but ultimately it's your choice as GM to pick and choose and savour.

Whatever strange and twisted things James has come up with on summoning is going into my game, I know that much for sure, the man's demented:)

Huzzah!
Rich

Editor-in-Chief

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Mike Franke wrote:
I personally am heading straight to the chapter on selling my soul!

Rightly so! That's my chapter and includes the second best advice I can give practical-minded future immortals and devil-may-care despots! Win eternal power and influence semi-gods with such irrefutable tips as:

* How to untethered a ratty soul from your gross meat-body!

* Determining (and increasing!) the value of your mortal essence!

* Finding agents you can absolutely, always, 100% trust to give you fair value for your afterlife!

* Tips to assure you'll never, ever, ever, need (or want!) a hereafter!

* Phenomenal rewards vastly outweighing pedestrian mortal taboos.

* Practical ways to make your most depraved—er, LORDLY—dreams come true!

* And Much, MUCH more!

Act fast! Before the soul market's flooded with the tarnished essences of everyone who bought the Kobold Guide to Magic first!

Paizo Employee

6 people marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Mike Franke wrote:
I personally am heading straight to the chapter on selling my soul!

Rightly so! That's my chapter and includes the second best advice I can give practical-minded future immortals and devil-may-care despots! Win eternal power and influence semi-gods with such irrefutable tips as:

* How to untethered a ratty soul from your gross meat-body!

* Determining (and increasing!) the value of your mortal essence!

* Finding agents you can absolutely, always, 100% trust to give you fair value for your afterlife!

* Tips to assure you'll never, ever, ever, need (or want!) a hereafter!

* Phenomenal rewards vastly outweighing pedestrian mortal taboos.

* Practical ways to make your most depraved—er, LORDLY—dreams come true!

* And Much, MUCH more!

Act fast! Before the soul market's flooded with the tarnished essences of everyone who bought the Kobold Guide to Magic first!

At the home office, we deal in...futures. I'd like to make a deal with you. In exchange for all you desire, I promise I won't ask for anything you'll need for as long as you live. Now what could be more fair than that?


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Yep. I sort of wrote it expecting some honest disagreement, and I have a lot of respect for people who want to deal with scry, buff, and teleport. I'm personally tired of dealing with it, and I'm thinking that its not a feature, it's a flaw of teleport.

It boils down to my enjoyment of adventure tales that require the journey (Sindbad's Golden Voyages, to name one). Teleport sometimes takes that away. You *can* work around it (and that essay makes the point that it's not hard to fix).

But you shouldn't feel required to work around it. Fantasy as a genre doesn't NEED teleport the same way it needs charm person or polymorph.

Scry Buff Teleport often hinges on a misapplication of Teleport and not enough secrecy or other defensive countermeasures for villains.
Quote:
Personally, my ruling is that if you’re only ever viewing a location via scrying, your teleportation chance is never better than “viewed once” because the teleport spell specifically calls out that using scrying counts for this effect.

See Alex Augunas' blog entry.

It makes for an interesting high level spying and counter spying theme. Also Teleport mishaps.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Yep. I sort of wrote it expecting some honest disagreement, and I have a lot of respect for people who want to deal with scry, buff, and teleport. I'm personally tired of dealing with it, and I'm thinking that its not a feature, it's a flaw of teleport.

It boils down to my enjoyment of adventure tales that require the journey (Sindbad's Golden Voyages, to name one). Teleport sometimes takes that away. You *can* work around it (and that essay makes the point that it's not hard to fix).

But you shouldn't feel required to work around it. Fantasy as a genre doesn't NEED teleport the same way it needs charm person or polymorph.

I'm 100% in agreement with you and have felt this way for years. Glad to find out that I'm not alone in that assessment.

I loved the article and this book is fantastic!


Kvantum wrote:

Fantasy as a genre? No. But I'd argue it is a pretty fundamental part of higher level D&D or Pathfinder.

And therein lies the problem. In almost 30 years of gaming, no player has come to my game hoping to emulate "D&D Fantasy", they're drawn in by other fantasy influences. I understand that many people want their "D&Disms" preserved - teleport, raise dead, Christmas-tree effect, etc. But there are plenty of people that want to emulate fantasy as depicted in film, books, and other media that don't require those things. Those features are another person's "bugs" and given how the game has historically leaned much more closely to the lower end of play (1-10) vs. higher-level/epic/mythic (11-20) in terms of product support publishers are certainly aware that these elements are problematic to many groups.

The culmination of this problem is the forced conceit that a player must go from "zero to demigod". RPG fans of crunch heavy systems such as D&D or Pathfinder want robust character development options but not everyone wants the game to make campaign-shaking shifts as the character develops.

And I'll be honest, it's these kind of "the game's always had them; the scope of the campaign has to change" elements are the biggest reason I start becoming disenchanted with d20 games and start looking at other RPGs that don't force my campaigns down this path. I hate it, because I really love Pathfinder, but ultimately I want my campaigns to be fun and evoke the fantasy influences that inspired them - not be its own fantasy sub-genre. Pathfinder is still my go-to fantasy game and likely always will be, but I'm tinkering with how to tone down the elements I dislike but there are some games that are tempting with their ability to emulate any kind of fantasy instead of "D&D/Pathfinder sub-genre fantasy".

YMMV.

Liberty's Edge

Kobold Guide to Magic #8 on the Paizo Top Selling Print Products From Other Companies list

AND

#6 on Paizo's Top Downloads From Other Companies list!

All without a single review ... he said, cleverly hinting that it would be great to see some Kobold Guide to Magic reviews :)

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Sometimes there are reviews. Sometimes not so much.

I was very pleased that the book features a LOT of Paizo contributors, especially James Jacobs, Wes Schneider, and novelist Tim Pratt, who have not been in prior volumes. Seems like they all had good ideas to share.


Friendly Local Contract Devil wrote:
At the home office, we deal in...futures. I'd like to make a deal with you. In exchange for all you desire, I promise I won't ask for anything you'll need for as long as you live. Now what could be more fair than that?

Taken as read, that's a remarkably good deal, because your side of the bargain consists entirely of promising not to ask for stuff until a certain point. Once that point comes, you can ask all you like!

...of course, before I signed anything, I'd want to go over the document with an electron microscope.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
BPorter wrote:

Lots of good stuff.

I feel similarly to you. Disclaimer: this is not edition warring. I personally found the 4e smoothed out some of the problems you mentioned. You could take a look at some of it's ideas. 4e was a little heavy handed.

One of my house rules comes from it however. Teleport only allows you to arrive at a teleport circle.

Paizo Employee

Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Friendly Local Contract Devil wrote:
At the home office, we deal in...futures. I'd like to make a deal with you. In exchange for all you desire, I promise I won't ask for anything you'll need for as long as you live. Now what could be more fair than that?

Taken as read, that's a remarkably good deal, because your side of the bargain consists entirely of promising not to ask for stuff until a certain point. Once that point comes, you can ask all you like!

...of course, before I signed anything, I'd want to go over the document with an electron microscope.

Ah prepositional attachment, one of my dearest and most passionate loves.

Liberty's Edge

Hey everyone - the Kobold Guide to Magic has been nominated for an Ennie! Please be sure to head over and vote!

The 2014 ENnies Voting Booth is Now Live!.

While you're at it, be sure to cast a vote for Kobold Press - Favorite Publisher :)

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Really extremely pleased that this book got a nomination. It's loaded with good material from very savvy designers and writers.

I'd appreciate your vote in the Best Aid/Accessory Category!


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Really extremely pleased that this book got a nomination. It's loaded with good material from very savvy designers and writers.

I'd appreciate your vote in the Best Aid/Accessory Category!

Done!

Liberty's Edge

BPorter wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Really extremely pleased that this book got a nomination. It's loaded with good material from very savvy designers and writers.

I'd appreciate your vote in the Best Aid/Accessory Category!

Done!

Thank you sir!

Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Kobold Guide to Magic All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.