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Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings $8.50 $5.95
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings
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Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Scott B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2009 14:52:28
Excellent! Well done. You rock. Beautiful job. Thank's a million.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/25/2007 00:00:00
Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings is a 83 page d20 pdf product and the latest product in Tabletop Adventures' Harried Game Master line of products. Each product in the series aims to reduce the preparation time of those busy DM, and Mystic Writing does this by presenting write-ups of a hundred mystical writing such as scrolls and tomes of magic. The magical writings are arranged according to value as treasure, and provide treasures for Encounter Levels 1 to 20. Each item comes with both a full mechanical write-up of its details, as well as flavorful descriptions and histories.

This product comes as a zip file containing both a screen version of the product and a Rich Text printer-friendly version. The product comes with extensive bookmarks and is also amazingly well indexed, allowing you to find anything quickly and easily by using the detailed index. Artwork is generally good and abundant throughout the product, and the layout and editing good, although there are a few errors here and there that have crept in. Mechanically the product delivers a solid selection of treasures, although perhaps at times slightly more powerful than one would expect at that level. This product is very much a blend of 'The Mother of All Encounter Tables' written by Tabletop Adventures (though published by Necromancer Games) and Tabletop Adventures' 'Bits of' series of products, and in that way slightly different to the traditional 'Bits of' product. Overall, Tabletop Adventures have done a splendid job with this product.

The product is about magical treasures, and in particular those that feature the written word like scrolls and other tomes of magic. Mystic Writings presents one hundred such items for your game, each detailed and flavorful. Each entry for a particular magical item contains a description of its appearance, its properties, its history and also includes the full mechanical details such as costings and caster levels. Magical writings are divided according to Encounter Level, and each EL contains roughly the same amount of magical items, although the lower levels contain slightly more items than the higher levels do. Unfortunately the items don't contain clear sections in the text that distinguish between where one EL ends and another starts, although the bookmarks do help in this regard. Perhaps providing a section or section header for each EL would've made it a little easier to find what you wanted.

The items themselves are very good and there's a variety of interesting and creative, often ingenious items to choose from. The product showcases the utility of the written word when it comes to magic, and inside the pages you'll find everything from scrolls, to cursed items to tomes of magic, to tapestries with magic and much more. Even those items that are purely scrolls are not necessarily just simple spell magical items, but often contain more elaborate magic that gives the item an interesting property. Naturally, as with other parts of the 'Bits of' series, the descriptions of the histories and appearance are top notch. Even if you don't want to use this item for their magical properties, you can certainly make use of the descriptions and histories, just inserting your own properties when you need to.

Following on from the very good magical writings in the product, there are two appendices - one containing a random item generation table, and another containing a number of new spells that are implemented in some of the writings. In addition, and certainly not least, the product also includes item cards for each of the magical items in this product. The items cards are distributed four to a page, and contain only the appearance and properties sections of the item in question. No mechanical details or histories are included, although the properties section naturally describes all the aspects of the items that are required. These are useful for a variety of purposes, and a welcome addition to the product.

This is another lovely product from Tabletop Adventures' that once again showcases their ability to provide interesting write-ups and bits of information for a variety of purposes. The product contains one hundred useful and well described items, sometimes very good in their detail and creativity. Here and there are a number of 'odder' entries (not in a good or bad way, just odd), such as providing scrolls with 9th level wizard spells to 9th or 10th level parties. I think in general it could be said that just because an item has low treasure value, doesn't necessarily mean it's appropriate for use by a lower level party. There are a very few such instances in the product where perhaps the EL should've been a little higher. Overall, though, a splendid product and very useful for any gaming environment.


LIKED: Wonderful descriptions of appearance and history, strongly supported by creative and interesting properties to some of the items. A versatile selection of items incorporating the written word.

DISLIKED: A few minor editing errors here and there, and perhaps one or two of the EL are not entirely appropriate to the level despite the treasure value listing it as such. Section headers would've been helpful to distinguish between different ELs.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/28/2007 00:00:00
Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings is a magic item supplement from Tabletop Adventures, LLC. The zipped file comes with two PDFs (one being a single-page advertisement for the company, the other being the actual product), a Rich Text File, and a text readme file cataloguing everything. The PDF of the book itself is eighty-three pages long, with a page for the cover, another for the credits/legal, one for the table of contents, and one for the OGL. The PDF also has full bookmarks.

The PDF copy of the book has a fairly generous amount of artwork. While the only full color material is the front cover, the interior black and white art is fairly replete. While roughly less than a fourth of the items in this product have an illustration, the artwork is drawn with fairly heavy black lines, providing a lot of shading, and evokes a conservative, old-school feel. Each page also has a very light grey border on alternating sides. Of course, if any of this is too much for your printer to handle, the RTF serves perfectly as a printer-friendly work.

Mystic Writings is innovative, but in a simple way that leaves you wondering why you didn't think of something like this yourself. It contains exactly one hundred magic items, all of which involve writing or scrollwork or some kind. While in some cases this includes a brand new magic item, most of it consists of a scroll with an interesting presentation. For example, one is a scroll containing a large number of high-level spells...hidden inside a teddy bear. Another is a magic scabbard that acts like a scroll, but automatically casts whatever spell is inscribed there on the sword that it holds (and naturally, it comes inscribed with keen edge).

The real value of Mystic Writings isn't in the items themselves, however (though there are plenty of easter eggs tucked away in the pages), but rather is in how they're presented. Each of these one hundred items is given a read-aloud description, as well as an entry for its history before its properties are listed. Best of all though, is how the items are listed in order of what encounter level they'd be appropriate treasure for. Each item has a note in its magic item listing that indicates what EL's worth of treasure it is; the bookmarks even list each such section.

Having said that, canny GMs will note a few things that don't seem to fit quite right. For example, the Explosive Scroll is a scroll scribed with explosive runes on it; not only as a spell, but also as a trap. By itself, that isn't so bad, but it's listed as being appropriate for a 2nd-level group, which could likely result in a TPK.

Two appendices follow the magic items. The first is a table of all of the new items in the book, with percentile columns for the minor, medium, and major items. The second appendix reprints a few spells from Eldritch Sorcery, limiting itself to only those used by a handful of items in the preceding section.

After two different indexes of the new spells (alphabetical by class and by level by class), the book closes out with a series of item cards. Each card contains the description and effect of one item, so that the GM can give it to the players, cutting down on bookkeeping. This doesn't necessarily mean turning over all of the item's information, of course, as things like gold piece value isn't on the cards, and some cursed items have their information altered so that the card doesn't indicate that.

At its core, Mystic Writings isn't so much about new items as it's about interesting ways to present existing items. By using a combination of flavorful (but brief) backgrounds and innovative presentation, what would otherwise be a collection of scrolls is instead an interesting and exciting series of unexpected twists. The next time your PCs are going through the loot of the monster they've just killed, see about giving them some Mystic Writings.



LIKED: The innovative presentation of what are basically just scrolls is very well done, as the combination of light background and different usage makes these items quite interesting. Also, the smattering of new items and other crunch is an added treat.

DISLIKED: A few items seemed too powerful or not powerful enough for the listed EL.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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