Product Line: Dungeons and Dragons, d20
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
What it is
This book has expanded rules for arcane spell casters.
It introduces three new arcane classes: Warlock, Warmage, Wu Jen. It has a boatload of new prestige classes, feats, new spells, new magic items and finishes up with some campaign hints for GMs with arcane characters and for GMs running a heavily arcane campaign.
My general impression
Overall, I like this book. Somethings work for me and some don't.
- I like the Warlock but and not too thrilled with the Warmage.
- I've never had much use for prestige classes as a player but some of them will be usefull as a GM.
- Some of the feats are pretty lame but, I suppose, they add flavor.
- Why include the Dragon feats?
- Some descriptions of the metamagic feats have changed. Be warned, Energy Substitution no longer has Sonic as an energy type.
- The sudden metamagic feats are pretty nifty.
- The spells are usefull but there aren't any really compelling spells in the list Though Resist Energy, Mass might be an exception.
- The expanded Spellbook construction rules can be handy.
- None of the magic items are particularly compelling to me.
- The creatures are nice bit, again, not really compelling.
- I suppose that the Arcane Campaigns sections might be usefull for a new GM.
- It does discuss how to deal with some problematic spell abilities: charms, flying, invisibility, scrying, and teleportation.
- Spell Duels: Eh. I suppose that this could work.
- The Epic rules for the new classes are handy if the campaign gets anywhere near that level of power.
I like the Warlock. It seems to be well a balanced alternative. I've gotten one to 5th level in one campaign and it is a good fire support and special opps character (with the charisma and bluff skill, the character can take a rogue or bard's role in social encounters). You should do everything you can to increase the character's chance to hit with his ranged touch attack and stay out of melee.
What doesn't Work
The warmage is problematic. It is too focused for most campaigns. In most noncombat encounters, the character waits on the sidelines. In combat, the GM must stock extra creatures to soak up the huge amount of spell damage the character can dish out. The expanded learning class ability is not that usefull, every few levels you can ad one arcane Invocation spell to your spell list. The trouble is that there aren't many invocations that aren't already on the warmage's spell list. I suppose that abiltiy will become more useful in congunction with the Spell Compendium.