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So What's The Spellbook Like, Anyway? $3.99
Average Rating:5.0 / 5
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So What\'s The Spellbook  Like, Anyway?
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So What's The Spellbook Like, Anyway?
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/20/2012 15:37:21
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=24646.

So What’s The Spellbook Like, Anyway? by Landon Bellavia serves as another sister in the series of ‘So What’ supplements, this time bringing about an open invitation into libraries of grandeur. Whether elaborating upon and imbuing detail into the prized possession of a villainous wizard, populating an ancient arcane study, or even simply seeking to add progressively more intriguing nuances to an adventuring arcanist’s most precious of possessions–the many tables and reference resources herein embark to bring so much more to the scene than ‘You find a spellbook, here are the spells in it.’ Let’s crack the arcane lock, dodge the lightning bolt and summoned spiders and see what’s inside!

OVERALL

So What’s The Spellbook Like, Anyway? is a compelling assemblage of a la carte wonder which wizards and their ilk everywhere are apt to want to get their hands on. Details abound, both clever and bizarre–easily scaled for as much or as little elaboration one is apt to present with a given tome. While the writings and tables herein are ready for random rolling, I feel the real treasure comes in tailoring together stylish and intriguing thematic tomes–and with the nature of the material’s presentation, even players of spell-slinging adventurers could find much inspiration for their personal book. If you’ve ever been disappointed by spellbooks serving as tear-away pages of spells, this one might once again make such tomes a more exciting find!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Raging Swan’s high standards of editing and formatting ensure that the work here is solid and accessible. A clear two and three column layout presents tables and information neatly and is interspersed with nice black and white artwork of tomes; as well, the PDF is well bookmarked for easy reference and the whole should prove very printer-friendly. No complaints here!

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Utilizing So What’s The Spellbook Like, Anyway? will depend largely on just what you’re aiming for–as there are thirteen sections altogether with different tables and functions for detail. If one is keen to put together an ancient and venerable compilation penned by a legendary wizard, the results could easily span a paragraph filled with great detail–while likewise, there are tables present to accommodate quickly generating lightweight books with their spell contents and cost ready to go at a moment’s notice. Much comes down to simply deciding on degrees of detail–particularly since several of the tables presented could apply multiple times to a given tome.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
More than just a collection of random tables, I feel that this supplement could serve as a powerful spellbook construction kit–and in that regard, could be enjoyed by GMs and players alike. Throughout each section are a great many interesting and inspiring offerings both curious and evocative–and really, entertaining to piece together to boot. Because of the scalability of the sections presented, the material is well-suited for everything from fashioning a villain’s iconic volume to outfitting a worldly adventuring wizard or filling out an arcane library with multiple treasured tomes on short notice; the flexibility is considerable.

Overall: 10 out of 10
So What’s The Spellbook Like, Anyway? is an imaginative and well-realized endeavor which author Landon Bellavia has clearly crafted with care. While the supplement can work wonderfully for constructing a random spellbook on the fly, my feeling is that its true value is in offering a great variety of options whether behind the screen or not–it is a fantastic resource which can serve as a toolkit for GMs and players looking for inspiration. I made several spellbooks running the full run of the supplement to see what might result and was entertained and pleased with each–they’re liable to show up at the table before long. For something as iconic as a wizard’s spellbook, scribing nuance and history for such is an excellent goal for added flavor in a given campaign. My hat is off to Landon and Raging Swan both–this is definitely a supplement that I would highly recommend.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
So What's The Spellbook Like, Anyway?
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/28/2012 02:28:15
This pdf is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us a total of 18 pages of content, so what exactly does this installment of the "So what's..."-series cover?

The answer seems simple at first glance. Spellbooks! But is it really that simple? One of the features that has always jarred me about D&D and all its derivatives is the lack of detail regarding magic tomes - take a look at Call of Cthulhu, where the very fabric and how a book is made adds to its character. I realize that the amount of magic present in a setting limits its inherent wonder, but I always strive to add said wonder in my game to any spellbook the PCs stumble across and this pdf is essentially a generator for exactly that task:

From a massive table on spellbook titles, subjects and 12 sample books, we go on to wizard names and epithets as well as some pregenerated wizard names to the truly intriguing components of the pdf: Distinguishing features like small rainbows and ornate brass rivets to spellbook cover materials like aboleth fins and even cover groups are neat: From the makers of the covers to big game-notes and loving mementos of familiars that have had their existence immortalized by becoming the cover of a book, we are in for a plethora f neat ideas that go beyond "Made of an animal", though animals, good creatures and fabric are also covered.

Of course, uncommon types of paper and its condition are also covered in tables: Ever thought about goblin skin vellum, for example? Of course, not only paper, but also the most uncommon types of ink are part of the tables in this pdf. Even cooler, we also get 10 different preparation rituals, including costs, that enable a prospective caster to enhance spells cast from the respective tome via minor magical effects, putting the tome itself rather than its content into the focus - very cool and hopefully an idea that will be expanded upon in a future release or by other 3pps.

Books can also contain maps, poems., notes etc. - all kinds of potential hooks and this pdf does not fail to provide them - ranging from straight adventure hooks to terrible, humorous love poems. Speaking of hooks - the knowledge tables provided add interesting hooks to spellbooks and provide a beleaguered GM with a host of options to entice players into varying adventures and potentially arouse their suspicion regarding the respective contents.

A massive table also offers 5 columns of varying means of protection for an arcanist's most valuable tool, presented by level and including mundane locks as well as dreaded symbol-spells. Random spellbook costs and contents can also be generated and if you don't have the time to do so in-game, no problem: The pdf closes with a smattering of sample spell-books presented by level, from 1 to 13.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's 2-column b/w-2-column-standard and the pdf is fully bookmarked. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-usage and one to be printed out.
I'll come out and say it, if my introduction wasn't ample clue, I'll right out state it: This pdf addresses one of the things that have bugged me about magic and its presentation and does so in a most formidable way. Add to the fact that it can be seen as a vast fluffy generator of coolness and hooks and provides more content for its low price than many comparable releases of the series and we're in for one of the generators in the series that is literally a boon, a blessing and simply an awesome tool for just about any DM out there. Seriously, this one brings the wonders of spellbooks and their very excitement back to the table and, once your players have gotten used to it, will stop them from considering a spellbook as just a list of spells, but rather as its very own entity. My final verdict? 5 stars endzeitgeist seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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