It is nice to see a bit of detail brought to the general spells that have been used for a long time in the game. Behind the Spells is a series of small PDFs that does just that. It takes a single well known spell per issue and gives it background and a context. The spells just did not appear out of no where and this series of books does just that. They explain how these spells were invented and the necessity of circumstance that brought them around. It also gives some rules that allow the spell to be used in different ways and be manipulated by the caster. And then there is usually an alternative spell that is either a derivative or derived from the spell of topic. There is quite a bit of information in these small PDFs.
The series of books is designed by the creative Bret Boyd. It i8s put out by Ronin Arts one of the leaders in the RPG PDF field. The PDF is small only five pages long. The book has no art but has a good if simple layout. And it has book marks which always please me.
Blade Barrier has always been a powerful and iconic divine spell. It is a spell that creates a wall of swirling blades. It is both an attack and defensive spell and one favored by gods of wars. It starts with a little note from the author about how divine spells are created just like arcane spells are. Even though the divine spells gain their power from the gods they are made by mortals.
The history of the spell deals with a human and elf village that was attacked by dark elves. It is a good little tale that shows a use for the spell and some nice tactics to destroy the evil dark elves.
There are two spell secrets tied to the spell Blade Barrier. A Spell Secret is a way to augment what the spell does though it is not automatic requiring a spellcraft roll. The spell secret allows a caster to target specific individuals near the blade barrier with one of the swords that make up the wall. It does not do a lot of damage but can really aid in dealing with foes that just avoid the stationary wall. It can do it once a round for as long as the spell is in effect. The other spell secret deals with the way the spell gets dismissed. Instead of just having the spell end the caster can attempt to have the blade barrier basically explode and catch near by creatures in deadly area effect blast.
There is one variant spell and I like the way the new spell can also be linked to the magical weapon sun blade. The new spell is called Barrier of Sun Blades and is of a higher spell level. It serves as a Blade Barrier though it can do more. It gives off light like a day light spell and once a minute the caster can use it to send off a searing light. It is a well done and versatile high level spell.
Behind the Spells Blade Barrier is another in a strong line of books. It has a good history easily placed into most settings. It has creative and useful ways to be used with the spell secrets and the variant spell is also imaginative and well done.