This is a PDF I won from a small contest on EN World. I have not seen anything of the series but I heard good things on them from people. It really is a cool and creative idea. The spells had to be invented by someone and this series answers just who that was for a few of the spells.
Behind the Spell: Shield is a PDF by Bret Boyd. It is produced through Ronin Arts one of the leaders in the PDF market. The PDF is small only being five pages. The lay out is nice and simple and there is no art in the book not that it needs it. The product is book marked and that is good as not many people seem to book mark the five page PDFs.
Behind the Spell Shield instantly connects itself with the Magic Missile PDf in the same series. However, one does not need that to understand the things going on here and that is good since I do not have it. But Bret Boyd takes a logical leap forward that since Shield protects from Magic Missile the creation of the spells would be connected in some way. The book is presented as someone doing research and discovering who in fact invented this spell. It is not just a simple statement of who did it but also the circumstances and events that lead to it. In this case it is the grandson of the Wizard who invented Magic Missile and he eventually created Shield to help remove himself from the famous shadow of his relative. There is intrigue and adventure idea in there though not exactly written as so.
The book not only has a pair of new versions of the Shield spell but also ways to use the Shield spell. There are some rules to allow the Shield spell to not only negate Magic Missiles but to also reflect the magic missiles possible back at the caster. That is really cool. Another option has the Shield leave you and basically perform a Bull Rush against foes. And the final option allows one to negate a different low level spells besides Magic Missile. This is great stuff. I love the versatility and creativeness of this.
The book also has a pair of new versions of Shield. The first is really cool allowing the Shield to act as a window to be used with detection spells. That is very cool. The other one basically combines the Shield with a Lesser Globe of Invulnerability. This spell I did not find as creative but it is obviously useful.
Behind the Spells: Shield is a lot better then I was expecting. Bret Boyd can write and has good creative ideas. As with many short PDFs it leaves the reader wanting more and I would love to see another three hundred spells given this type of detail and respect. Obviously that is not going to happen. Behind the Spell Shield is a great way to take a new look at an old standby spell that people have been using for over twenty years.