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Complete Arcane: A Player's Guide to Arcane Magic for all Classes (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying) Hardcover – November 1, 2004

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Baker works as a game designer for the RPG line at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. A New York Times best-selling novel author with Condemnation, he has also authored The City of Ravens and Forsaken House.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; 1St Edition edition (November 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786934352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786934355
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Baker is an award-winning game designer and a best-selling author. He's worked on the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game lines since 1991. Rich traces his D&D experience back to 1979, when he began playing the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game as a 7th-grader. He spent a significant amount of his high school and college years playing D&D at every opportunity, and after serving as a surface warfare officer in the United States Navy, Rich decided to take a shot at working on the game he grew up playing - and so he joined the staff of TSR, Inc., and became a game designer. Rich's list of D&D design credits numbers over 50 game products, including the Origins Award-winning BIRTHRIGHT Campaign Setting, the ALTERNITY Science Fiction Roleplaying Game (which he co-designed with Bill Slavicsek), and the newest edition of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game. He has also served as creative director for the ALTERNITY and FORGOTTEN REALMS game lines. As an author, Rich has published eight fantasy and science fiction novels, including City of Ravens, Forsaken House, and the New York Times bestseller Condemnation. Rich is currently employed as a senior game designer at Wizards of the Coast, Inc., and works every day on new products for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By James Daniel on December 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
First and foremost, this book offers two new core classes and a 3.5 update: the Warlock and the War Mage are both new, and the Wu Jen has been updated from Oriental adventures. Of particular interest are the two new classes and how they balance.

The Warlock doesn't have spells, but invocations, and these invocations are essentially at-will spell-like powers. So instead of the usual spell lists and spell slots, instead of spells, instead of spell points or psionic points, we have the first class completely built on at-will magical abilities. A Warlock at 20th level has only 12 invocations, total. Invocation powers vary from least (duplicating the darkness spell, for example) to dark (duplicating the foresight spell), and are group by four classifications rather than nine levels. (They do have spell level defined for purposes of saving throws and the like.) On top of the invocations, a Warlock comes with extra hit points (d6), gradually increasing damage resistance, and a built-in blasting power that does damage about on par with magic missile (at will, mind you) and can be modified into more powerful variations with invocations. I'm not sure yet whether it is well-balanced, but it appears to be so. I will likely use it as a villain at some point before I allow players access to it.

The War Mage is a rather intriguing design. The spell casting is like a sorcerer's with the same large amounts of spell "slots" per day, and an ability to choose what gets cast when, rather than having prepared spells. The class also gets to wear light armor without taking an arcane casting penalty, and this can be increase to even heavy armor at higher levels if one also spends a feat to improve this ability.
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81 of 91 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL BEAVERS on November 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
this is the latest in the complete series from WOC. The complete arcane introduces us to three wizard types, the Warlock, the Warmage and the Wu Jen. All of these wizards are limited in some way.

The Warlock is generally evil and or chaotic. His abilities come from himself. He picks and choses defenses, attacks and types of invocations to use. He may wear armor and uses a D6 for his hit points. There are levels of invocations that he may use. The Warmage is a remake from the old elves handbook. Humans and half-elves may be warmages and have their own spell list and may wear armor also with the ability to use their intelligence bonus as additional armor damage. The Wu Jen is a remake of the oriental adventures. This wizard has his own spell list and has to take a series of taboos to enable other special abilities.

The prestige class section has some of the prestige classes modified from the older tome and blood book. The Acolyte of the skin, the alienist, the fate spinner and some others make a reappearence modified for 3.5 and other changes. The wild mage from the Forgotten Realms makes an appearance here as well as the mindbender, a mage dedicated to manipulating things.

There are new feats for wizards to check over, like the battle caster which allows you to ignore the arcane spell failure for wearing armor, another allows you to gain an extra slot for a spell, or the ability to do a twin spell, essentially a spell that is cast twice at the same time.

There are new spells of course, there are several levels of orb spells which do acid, cold, electricity, fire or sound. You can also pump up your familiar.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Clay Wendt on December 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Ok, the book is good, but it's certainly not great. Most of what the book has to offer is more for giving your character flavor, and it really won't suit a min-max'er or a power gamer. But, if you're still interested (because you love the arcane classes as much as I do) then read on.

The Book offers several new core classes, each of which have a very unique feel to them. The Warlock is chaotic and/or evil, relying on a limitless supply of "Eldrich Blasts" that serve as her main offensive ability. She manipulates these blasts with invocations, and she gets very few of them. The next is a Wu Jen, which is basically a Wizard with a very oriental feel to it. The spells are more based around elements (Asian, not European) than schools, so it offers a different perspective on magic. The third is the Warmage, which, as the name implies, is a battle ready caster who is great at raining down destruction... and little else. The class offers little in the way of utility, so you could basically consider it to be the arcane equivalent of the barbarian and/or fighter.

The Prestige classes aren't fantastic, but then again, many casters loathe the idea of giving up spell progression for a few neat tricks. Luckily, the Complete Arcane offers a decent set of classes to choose from, a few of which actually let you maintain near-complete progression. Some might not see the tabletop and feel a bit like filler, but then again, it's rare to see an arcane geared prestige class. Over all, I really like the classes the book had to offer.

The feats the book has are, well, pretty damn awesome. I think this is the real shining point of the book.
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