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Complete Mage: A Player's Guide to All Things Arcane (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying) Hardcover – October 10, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786939370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786939374
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

On March 22, 1974, Ari Marmell was hatched out of an egg laid by a rooster on the night of the full moon. Due a mix-up, he wound up in the infant ward at a hospital in New York, where he was claimed as a (relatively) normal human and taken home. He and his family fled New York barely a year later, either because his father received a job offer in Houston, or because they were chased by angry mobs with pitchforks; reports are unclear.

For the next 27 years, Ari lived in Houston. His father told him bedtime stories when he was in preschool and kindergarten, stories without which he might never have become a writer. He received his first roleplaying game--the red Dungeons & Dragons boxed set--at age 9, and the AD&D Players Handbook followed less than a year later. He spent very little time on class work or studies for the next, oh, 13 years, instead spending his efforts on far more important things like fighting orcs, riding dragons, and rescuing extremely beautiful princesses.

Ari went to college at the University of Houston. He began in the Psychology program, but quickly changed his major to Creative Writing. It was in the first week of class that he met his wife-to-be, who goes by the name of George. (No, it's not short for Georgia, Georgette, Georgiana, or anything else that could possibly make sense.) It was also in college that he wrote his first novel, one that he is now determined will never see the light of day, and charitably calls a "learning experience."

In short, Ari graduated in late '96, married George in March of 1997, honeymooned in New Orleans, worked several jobs he hated for the next several years, and quit the last of them in 2000 due to ongoing health issues. During this time, he wrote four more novels, two of which are actually pretty decent. It was also during this time that he managed to break into the roleplaying industry, having attracted the attention of Justin Achilli (developer of Vampire: The Masquerade) with a project submission inspired by his trip to New Orleans.

He and George moved to Austin in mid-2001 so George could attend graduate school while Ari continued to work as a freelance writer. They live there today, along with a large orange cat named Leloo and a smaller gray cat named Pippin who seems unable to grasp the notion that strings, ribbons, and plastic bags do not make up a viable part of the food chain. His first published novel, Gehenna: The Final Night, appeared on shelves in January of 2004.

Today, Ari is shifting his focus from freelancing to more fiction and novel-writing. His second novel, Agents of Artifice, was released by Wizards of the Coast in February of '09. His third novel, The Conqueror's Shadow, was released by Spectra in February 2010. (This was his first published non-tie-in novel.)

Ari's forthcoming novels include The Warlord's Legacy (Spectra, early 2011), the Goblin Corps (Pyr Books mid- to late 2011), and Household Gods (Pyr Books, 2012). You can learn more about him, and keep up with his news and release schedule, at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 79 people found the following review helpful By M. Todd Sterrett on November 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Complete Mage is full of interesting tidbits from the feats to the prestige classes to the items and spell. Like the first four "Complete" books it contains ways of adding something, in this case Arcane Magic, to many different kinds of characters. Unlike earlier books though there are no additional base classes.

The first section of the book offers advice on mages and how to play them. Some of the advice is interesting and useful ... but some of it is outright bad. If you are new to playing mages I would speak with a more experienced player before blinding following something you read here.

Next up are the feats. This section offers some really fun things but by far the biggest innovation is the concept of "Reserve" feats. These feats add staying power to arcanists. These feats grant an arcane spellcaster the ability to use an at will supernatural ability as long as they have a spell of a certain type memorized. The higher level the spell the more powerful the ability is. So the spellcaster can use the ability granted by the feat through an adventuring day ... until he is forced to cast the spell that powers it, and even then they will get a small bonus from the feat. Essentially casters get to have their cake and eat it too with these feats. For those games where casters are always running out of spells these feats are great! There are plenty of other feats too, including one that speeds up metamagic use for spontaneous casters, one that enables casting while holding a weapon in hand, some Wu Jen specific feats, and more. The heritage feats, especially the Fey Heritage feats bear mention. They aren't as well developed as the Dragon Heritage feats are now but there is some good stuff here.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. Bottema on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Reading the first chapter, I was pleasantly surprised to see how the fundamentals are laid down; a quick overview of the differences between arcane magic, divine and innate magic. Then some slightly more in depth than Player's Guide articles on the various spellschools and finally very nice to read the various archetypes. I especially liked the miniguides that accompanied the archetypes, which explain why you should or shouldn't select certain spells or feats. Very nice for me anyway, because I'm not too experienced and the thought processes described really helped me think for myself.

An intriguing chapter 2 'Character Options' has a section 'Alternative Class Features' which describes how you can modify and augment some specific class. For example there's an alternative class feature called 'Spell Sense' for barbarians or rogues that allows you to swap the trap sense class features for an extra dodge bonus to your AC against spells. It adds some more options for you as player.

Then there's a section about a new type of feat: the Reserve Feat. Ofcourse the other types are still described - like heritage and tactical feats - and added feats for, but reserve feats are feats that provide secondary effects for spells you carry. For example "Acidic Splatter" allows you to cast a lower level orb of acid as long as you have an 2nd+ level acidic spell available to cast. There are various kinds of secondary effects for different feats way (including traveling plains at will). In addition to this secondary effect, most reserve feats add an extra competence bonus for castingtype-related spells. The general idea behind reserve feats is to be able to use your innate magical potential in more encounters without using your spell slots with every cast.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Papp Bela on March 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sincerely I hoped not too much for this book. There was a Complete Arcane already, and much more about wizards/sorcerers in other books. But it suprised me with some new concept, mostly in the feats section. The reserve feats are good for wizards to add them more "long-term usability" in adventures, and tactical feats have their - albeit more special - uses as well. Some prestige classes are good extensions too (master specialist for example), so all in all its a much better book than I anticipated, maybe better than Complete Arcane was.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Theo on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has some great and really useful stuff that will enrich your campaign. But at the same time, it's not without its flaws and could definitely have used some better, more pro-active editing. I'll have more to say on both fronts in a moment, but first you really need to know that:

1. This is a game supplement for 3rd/3.5 edition Dungeons & Dragons. If you're looking for something compatible with the most recent edition of the game, look elsewhere.

2. Beyond just requiring you to have the core rulebooks, much of this volume assumes that you have access to the Complete Arcane, which was released two years earlier. So if you don't already own (or otherwise have access to) the Complete Arcane, you should definitely get a hold of that volume first.

Okay. That said, what's so great about this volume: The Complete Mage?

Well, number one on my list would be that it includes three great new prestige classes that are specifically geared towards the warlock class, which was first introduced in the Complete Arcane. My favorites would probably be the eldritch theurge, a kind of warlock/arcane spellcaster hybrid; and the eldritch disciple, a warlock/divine spellcaster hybrid. I do have one minor quibble here though: "theurge" does not entirely make sense as a name for the warlock/arcane spellcaster, since "theurgy" actually means divine magic. But that truly is a minor quibble, so it's hardly a deal breaker.

Without wanting this review to degenerate into a list of features, it's also worth noting that there's heaps of other great, playable stuff in this tome.
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