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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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Top Customer Reviews
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. It includes a lot of new and extremely creative feats, as well as prestige classes for a wide range of arcane magic users. Finally, as you might expect, it also includes a hearty serving of new spells and invocations for spellcasters and warlocks respectively. And (to the best of my knowledge) all of this is actually new stuff too; or at least, it was at the time this book was published. Unlike the Complete Arcane, this book doesn't include repackaged material from older supplements like Tome and Blood. So long story short, if you're keen on 3.5 ed. D&D and you like arcane magic, this is definitely a book you're going to want to own.
But... it's not perfect. As I said in the beginning, it could've used some better editing. There were, for example, a few spell descriptions I had to read through several times before I finally worked out what the writers were trying to tell me. I'd also add that some of the new spells and warlock invocations introduced did seem a bit underpowered. Underpowering the PC's will ruin a game just as surely as overpowering them. The only real difference is that at least overpowered PC's get to have a bit of fun while they're ruining things.
The worst example of this tendency towards underpowering the spells and invocations might well be a Dark Eldritch Essence called "Blinding Blast". For those unfamiliar, Dark powers are supposed to represent a warlock's most potent abilities. Eldritch Essences are abilities that "add on" to a warlock's already moderately potent eldritch blast ability. So to keep the totality balanced, they do have to be dialed back a bit. Yet even so, representing the absolute apex of warlock power, a Dark Eldritch Essence should still pack a bit of a wallop. But all this one does is force the victim to make a Will save or be stunned for one round. Yep, that's it: save or be stunned for A WHOLE ROUND. Gee, I bet you're really hoping that you don't run into that one in a dark dungeon, huh?
There's underpowered and then there's just plain ridiculous.
So... Yes, this book could definitely have used some better editing. But for all its flaws, it also contains a lot of really good, playable stuff.
The bottom line? I'd definitely rate this one as a buy.
11 new different prestiges choices
125 new spells
71 new feats
7 new rings
14 new rods
8 new staffs
15 new wonderous its