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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More things than you can shake a stick at
In a first for D&D, the equipment book is actually the first non-setting supplement released; this is unusual, as the Arms & Equipment Guide for 2e and 3e were released in the middle of each edition's product cycle.

In this not-terribly-thick book, you'll find exactly two chapters: Gear, and Magic Items. Production values are pretty high, and the artwork is...
Published on September 23, 2008 by Brad Smith

versus
64 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mediocre Tome of Treasures...
...but it depends on what you're looking for. As a DM, i found this book mostly just a huge list of charts for magic items (or pseudo-magic items, the alchemical stuff), most of them recreating the combat conditions we're all familiar with from the PHB: i.e. ongoing fire, acid, thunder, cold damage, Stun, Immobilize, Daze, Save Ends, etc etc.

There is almost...
Published on September 24, 2008 by Amazon Customer


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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More things than you can shake a stick at, September 23, 2008
By 
Brad Smith (Arlington, VA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
In a first for D&D, the equipment book is actually the first non-setting supplement released; this is unusual, as the Arms & Equipment Guide for 2e and 3e were released in the middle of each edition's product cycle.

In this not-terribly-thick book, you'll find exactly two chapters: Gear, and Magic Items. Production values are pretty high, and the artwork is mostly all-new; I don't recall any recycled art. Some pictures are captioned, others are not, which is irritating.

Gear is non-magic items...new weapons, new armor, mounts, vehicles, alchemical items, etc. The weapons are the most detailed, filling weapon group/type combinations left open from the PHB, along with new properties, like Brutal (reroll any weapon damage dice of n value or lower). The armor isn't too different from that released in PHB, but seems better, I haven't quite figured out if they pay for the improvements some other way. The mounts are kind of a mixed bag, they're nice and fantastic, but their carrying capacity is rather limited. Vehicles I haven't looked at too much, and alchemical items seem useful.

Most of the rest of the book deals with magic items, of all the varying types, from the plussed (weapons, armor, amulets, implements) to the random, including more potions. There are a great many of each type, including a boatload of magic weapons. Many old standbys made it in, from the sunblade to the decanter of endless water to the various bags of tricks.

It's nice to have this out so early, when it's most useful. The one main flaw is also a virtue, in that the magic item properties really aren't excessively useful in most cases; many properties are once/day powers that are nice, but limited in utility. On the other hand, this means there aren't going to be One Best Item of each type for a given level, and even if you get kind of a weird item, at the very least you're getting the base enhancement bonus your rolls or values.

One useful inclusion is a "move the magic" ritual, that allows you to move an enchantment from one weapon to another, so if that +2 Sunblade drops on a scimitar, but you want it on a khopesh, you're good to go. There are suggestions on making unique magic items, but nothing specifically crunchy about that, and, of course, there are no new artifacts.

On the whole, a pretty good book. While not absolutely perfect in every way, it's definitely a worthwhile buy for any 4e player or DM.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good addition to the three core books!, January 14, 2009
By 
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
I'm a DM for my group of players new to DnD, and I myself haven't been playing for too long. We are using a small sub-set of the material that Wizards has put out so far, (just the DMG, MM, PHB and this book) in order to solidify the rules of the game for everyone.

I got this book for Christmas and have really enjoyed the additional library of magic items that it affords my PCs. It seems like when you need a weapon that really fits a character (or class, or race or what-have-you....) its in here, and if it isn't you can re-flavor one for your group. I personally prefer to reflavor a weapon/item than to create an entirely new one in order to preserve balance. I'm a software developer by profession and have been into all sorts of gaming for 15 years, it takes a lot of dedicated thought to craft a new item completely from scratch without overpowering it or allowing some sort of exploit. Plus, it really hurts to tell your players you have to nerf something that you gave them after they've figured out an effective maneuver with it.

This book is affordable enough that the gain in balanced items (or examples for the more creative among us) is well worth it.

Get it!

-Clyde
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64 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mediocre Tome of Treasures..., September 24, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
...but it depends on what you're looking for. As a DM, i found this book mostly just a huge list of charts for magic items (or pseudo-magic items, the alchemical stuff), most of them recreating the combat conditions we're all familiar with from the PHB: i.e. ongoing fire, acid, thunder, cold damage, Stun, Immobilize, Daze, Save Ends, etc etc.

There is almost no interesting descriptions, unless you consider the above list interesting. Many people do, in fact.

If you loved the magic item listing in the PHB, and the way magic items were handled in general, you will love the Adventurer's Vault. If you thought that 4e magic items were bland, repetitive, and not as good as the fascinating items that permeated 3rd edition (and earlier) then you won't like this book either. For instance, i'm pretty sure there is no Deck of Many Things in the Adventurers Vault; it's way outside of the point of giving you an advantage in a fight, which is almost solely the focus of magic now.

Nor does it even touch on the topic of Cursed Items, but maybe that is something waiting for the DMG 2.

For me, i'm going to take a few ideas from this book and just make my own magic items for the players, ones that have more varied abilities. Such as a Wand of Magic Missiles with charges that DOESN'T miss and inflicts 1d4+1 points of damage per charge expended, as well as adding a permanent +1 bonus to the wizard's normal "roll to hit" magic missile. He misses half the time anyway.

Or a Rod of Atrocity for the warlock.

See, the 4e magic items just add some fancy descriptive name to a magic item, then slaps on acid damage, or fire damage, push one square or daze until the end of the next turn, and pretend that it's something special. It's not. It's just the same old effect that can be accomplished hundreds of other ways from spells, powers, exploits, and other magic items.

This is not a bad book and has its uses, but know what you're buying before you purchase it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good supplement making up for a lack of choices, November 4, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
When I first saw the selection of items in the PHB I was appauled at the lack of options for the players, I got the adventurers vault to be able to add more variety and choice to the equipment available in the game. For this purpose, the Adventurer's Vault is perfect. There are hundreds of new items contained within the pages, and as such, it adds to the choices availble for players and GM alike.

That said, there are a lot of strange design decisions that my group cannot figure out why they were made. Some items are virtually unstoppable, while others (with the same cost rating) are difficult to imagine a reason to use. Once again, Wizards places a lot of emphasis on specific story element scenarios (like water breathing, lizard killing, etc.) which brings to mind the years of "I found another useless item!" issue. Sure players can sell items they find, but any more, when I look at the way 4th edition is balanced, I can't say that they support the idea of selling and buying whatever items you want. The balance is geared toward a specific number of USEFUL items for each character per level (or each group per level), making some of the choices in this book very puzzling. Could I, as a DM, really equate the same balance of power to allowing a player to breath underwater, as allowing that same player to deal an extra 10 damage per round? These issues are still not addressed, and now that everything is so carefully mathematical, it makes using a lot of this book difficult.

In the end, if you are looking for more choices, you should get the book. If you are looking for GOOD choices, it's really a toss-up (though it does save the time and effort of custom items).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So many items so little time., December 29, 2008
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
For those of you not in the know about the purpose of this product, Adventurer's Vault is a book made with one purpose and one purpose alone in mind.

Items.

A tremendously stupid, high amount of items, so many to the point you will likely never get the full use out of this book. Ever. This book is a Player's Dream come to life, and either the Dm's favorite bag of treats for the player's or his or her worst nightmare if the player comes to the table getting ready to open the book and say "Can I have?".

I suspect there will be many game tables having this moment, as there are a great deal of items in this book each one I think personally appeals to different tastes (beyond the obvious of "it's an option so duh").

To help you sort the items (and believe me there are a ton of items here.) they give you nice reference tables at the start of each type of item (Sorted by level for your conveinence). This is both a boon and a bane. Could they at least space them out in clusters of four on the tables? Having spaces between the differing levels of items not only would have been a nice touch, but it would have made reading the tables much easier than it is. It's like a gigantic run on chart from the bowels of gamer hell. Seriously Wizards, space the tables please. If you really love us, do this!

Annoyingly not spaced out tables aside, most of the items seem to function as they should at least conceptually speaking there's a couple here and there that raise an eyebrow or two, but it's more or less what you would expect for magic items. (The item that allows you to add your Cha mod to sneak attack damage for example is questionable).

I give this product four stars mostly because of the inane not spaced out properly tables that they have in the book. Otherwise I'd give it five.

Ps the "Alternate Advancement Rules" are just spectacular. Basically what they are, are means to hang onto the same item over your career instead of having to "Go to Magi Mart" or hope you find a new item that you can use in a treasure horde somewhere. The item levels with you is the end result. This can be a result of defeating powerful foes and their energies become trapped in the blades, results of heroic deeds, an item reawakening to it's full potential, just to name a few. It's a really nice touch to include this as actual rules. Especially since I can't stand Magi-Marts 9 times out of 10.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of items..., April 22, 2009
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
...but little pizzaz.

The book is laid out well, taking all the cues from the previous releases in this edition. The result is easy to navigate and offers plenty of new items.

The items are, unfortunately, less than spectacular. There are plenty of items that give lots of little advantages in combat and certainly plenty of effects for weapons and armor. The reason for the middle of the road rating is the lack of big, interesting magic.

This book will give lots of options to help tweak characters or make combat a bit more of a puzzle, but over all, it feels...underwhelming.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alchemy, Mounts and Enchanting Transfers, October 22, 2008
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
How can a DM NOT buy a book chock-full of new magic items and options he can plug into his game, especially at this early stage in the new edition? Well, I figured I had to give it a try, so I did. Not only was I pleasantly surprised, this book has become my number one source for magic items and other PC rewards. But this is not just a book that pumps your players full of super-powerful magics; this book also includes rules for relatively mundane and simple character options that help the game develop a unique flavor and context of its own.

Mounts are given the attention they deserve. New options for mounts are provided including some very mundane choices (camels, etc.) and some fantastic ones skeletal horses, dire sharks or triceratopses anyone?). Rules for vehicles are present and whether those are longships or airships, they really give you a good idea not only of how these can be useful in your game, but how they can add a distinct flavor to your combat encounters.

Alchemy, in my mind, is the knock-down, drag-out winner of the "best bit of rules crunch introduced in this book" award. Finally! Something other than rituals for my wizard and cleric to excel at! (Actually, in my game, it will likely be one of the two rangers who picks this one up.) Whether it's poisons, traps, grenades (Alchemist's Fire, anyone?) or potions, Alchemy has a lot to offer. I really hope they continue to expand alchemical options in the next volume of Adventurer's Vault.

As for the magic items, yeah, they're great. And you'll find a lot of neat stuff in here, including some things you might not have thought you'd see, Including: magic items for your animal companion or mount, magic item mounts (figurines of wonderous power) that never have to feed or sleep (but have very, very low hp to offset their obvious usefulness), new potions that don't use up healing surges (but most still do), whetstones (providing a temporary encounter bonus to a weapon's usefulness), reagents (I really thought they'd be done with these after 3.5e's Unearthed Arcana) and other one-use magic items (an easy way for a DM to round-out a treasure hoard with something that will be of limited use to his PCs).

The section on making and improving magic items in Appendix 1 is super-useful, too. It contains a ritual that vied closely with Alchemy for that "most useful..." award I mentioned earlier: Transfer Enchantment. Ever find the right enchantment on the wrong armor? Maybe you wanted blackiron plate but only got blackiron scale? Now, a short ritual can move that enchantment from one item to another of the same type. Wow.

In short, great book. I'd really like to see more books like this.

My only gripe is that the editing is not what it could have been. I keep catching typos (like "telepot;" look for it, it's in there) and things that vary from their description on the list of magic items to the actual write-up of the item. Use common sense here: give "telepot" back its "r" and use the stats as they appear in the stat block, not in the list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok... New weapons, armor and more detailed... mounts?, June 2, 2009
By 
A. Block "Nominrath" (Apple Valley, California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
Overall, it's only an ok addition to what's already in place. Personally, I don't find too many of the magic items (in both the Player's Handbook and this book) too overwhelming... even the high level ones.

The new weapons and armor are welcome, as are the vehicles and mounts, but I have one question... Where are the more mundane speciality items? Where are things like a spyglass or manacles? Or how about the medusa must-have, a mirror? What about locks?

The Alchemical items are a definite plus, though.

Bottom line is; do you have to have this book? No. Is it useful? Can be. Is it worth it? If you have the extra dough for it.

Nominrath
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderous Diversity, September 18, 2008
By 
Liz "nizkateth" (ME, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
It's nice now to have a very big list of new options for both mundane and magic items. However, I am even more pleased to see the return of mount-items such as horseshoes of speed. I find the vehicle rules to also be very interesting, and a nice addition. And getting alchemy as an option, potentially instead of ritual casting, is also very nice.

As I expected, the longer 4e is going, the more diverse options they are getting a chance to put in. The corebooks might have seemed a bit limiting at times, but they are the core books only. Can't really compare that to the expanse of info from 3.x or earlier editions. Looking forward to seeing what books like Martial Power bring as well.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very "slick!" (almost), September 18, 2008
By 
This review is from: Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (Hardcover)
There are many things I like about this book, and a few things that bug me (hence the 4 stars instead of 5).

What they did right:
They added alchemy, and made it much like rituals. This gives much more diversity to the character builds. I love that. Alchemy is a more 'mundane' way of adding cool elements to the game. Rituals (although can be performed by anyone) makes much more sense in the hands of wizards, clerics, warlocks, and such. And Alchemy makes more sense for rogues, and the martial classes... since it deals with potions and poisons.

They added a ritual that allows the transfer of magic from one item to another. If someone finds really cool large armor, but the little halfling wants to use it, well now she can. This is not a wow, because as a DM I already made something like that up... but still, now its in writing.

There are many very cool magic items, vehicles, weapons, armor... you name it, it's here.

Ok, why the loss of a star? I was looking for level 2 armor (this was my first look into the book) and I found that "SLICK" armor is listed in the list of magic armor as category "chain, scale, plate." So I read the description and find that it gives a bonus to acrobatics checks for escape actions... I'm thinking 'chain, plate, and scale armor for acrobatics checks?' Then I see that it should have REALLY been classified under 'cloth, leather, and hide.' THAT makes more sense. So it was correct in the description, but not in the table. I don't know how many mistakes this book has, but it was the first item I looked for and it had a mistakes.
EDIT: I didn't mention that there are several mistakes like this. I wouldn't downgrade a review for just one.

Anyway, the book is by-and-large awesome...but has a few mistakes.
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Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement
Adventurer's Vault: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement by Chris Sims (Hardcover - September 16, 2008)
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