Legends of Sorcery
Legends of Sorcery continues a very strong product like of historical fantasy. RPGObjects other books in the line have covered the Dark Ages, Arthurian legends, and to the land of the Samurais. They have really captured the historical genre that I and others really enjoy. Legends of Sorcery takes us into the more magical side of things. This book covers new rules for a more skill based spell casting system, eleven new spell oriented classes, and feats and other options on this over all theme.
Legends of Sorcery is by Charles Rice. It is a sixty four page PDF that has full book marks and comes in a printer friendly version. The layout like most RPGObject books is very well done. The art by Joseph Wigfield is very nicely done black and white pictures.
The book starts with the skill system for casting spells. I really like this. The DCs of the spells can get high and there are plenty of ways to get negatives to the skill roll. But depending on how much the roll is missed by the spell can go off the caster just suffers a little damage or gets exhausted or something. It is not a clear cut success failure there are ways to cast the spell but not have it go off perfectly. I really like this aspect of the system. Spell failure for armor has been removed and the armor check penalty is now doubled and effects the skill roll for spells with somatic components. That is a nice simple way and eliminates the need for an extra roll. Each spell casting class gets a Base Magic Bonus much like a Base Attack Bonus. The Base Magic Bonus also serves as one?s caster level. In the high magic worlds of normal Dungeons and Dragons I think one might need to reduce the caster levels of some of the classes if this system is adopted or else the classes could really potentially cast a lot of spells without much fear of a failure. This type of system can allow for a lot of low level spells to be cast in a day but make it pretty darn difficult to get the higher level ones. Also, there is nothing stopping a caster from trying a high level spell that they would not be able to cast in normal D&D.
When using the classes first a DM needs to choose for a low, medium, or high level of magic. A low magical setting features only certain classes that can cast up to third level spells. They have other abilities to make up for their limited magical abilities. Medium level magic classes feature the classes from the low level magic as well as classes that can take advantage of ritual castings and other ways to cast powerful spells at a risk. High magic settings features the classes from the Players Handbook except for the Sorcerer as the skill magic system replaces the need for a separate spontaneous caster.
The Alchemist is the first of the low magic classes. It really presents a character that has the ability to create things like acids, poisons, potions, and other things of this nature. The gains a lot of skill points and really is well defined with many interesting abilities. If one wanted to use this in a more traditional D&D game like one that used that casting system instead of the skill based one here; all that needs to be done is adding a spells per day her e similar to what a Ranger or Paladin has. It would be a bit weaker then the PHB classes, but would make a more interesting character then the NPC classes.
The Artificer is more of a magical warrior. They excel at the creation of magical arms and armor. This is a nice and balanced class that allows a character to create and use his own items with skill and ability. Like the Alchemist it is a class that with some boosts could be a good addition to a normal D&D game.
The Holy man is another low magic class that focuses on healing and the destruction of undead. His abilities are a little more what people are familiar with like the turn undead and smite abilities. And again like the other two a class that can be used in normal D&D with a little bit of a boost. It can make a very interesting alternate to the Paladin in such games.
The Naturalist is much like the Ranger. They get different abilities and it is a bit more focused on the magic then having the magic feel like an add on like the ranger can at times. They have track and woodland stride and favored terrain abilities. It has some unique abilities like Soothe the Savage beast which is a nice version of Wild Empathy that depends on the animal making a will save instead of the character with a skill check.
The Sage is the last of the low magic classes presented here. This is my favorite of the low magic classes in this book. This is also truly a sage, a master of knowledge and learning. The character gets a lot of neat abilities dealing with knowledge and languages. This is a very well crafted class and easily one I would like to both use and play. The sage automatically can read any scroll, gains scribe scroll as a bonus feat, and gains a variety of abilities that the character can choose from.
The medium magic casters have a stronger magical ability so the classes offer a little less in abilities. They are still for the most part more interesting then the spell casters in the players Handbook. That?s really the strength of all the classes in this book. They have just enough definition for players to understand the role of the class but are flexible enough to really cover quite a bit of different kid of characters. This is one book that the more I read it and the more I explored the possibilities of these classes the more I really liked the book.
The first medium magic class is the Elementalist. It is one class that covers each of the elements so a Fire caster will be a bit different from the earth caster. It is a nice class of ability that fit the elements. Nothing here really leaped off the page at me, but it will be a fun class to play.
The Hermit is one of the more powerful healers on will find. And any class that has an ability called Leeches that aids in magical healing is good in my book. The leeches are the living creature and it is not like the Hermit leeches strength form one to another as one might think from an ability just called Leech. The character also has the ability to fast to aid him in using Knowledge divination. That is a new knowledge skill presented in this book that gets covered later in this review. This will make for a fun player or NPC in a game.
The Monk I think is a nice replacement for the regular monk. This one has no unarmed damage or special ACs bonuses. It does cast spells like every class in this book and the abilities are more of a western monastery oriented monk.
The last four classes are the Pagan Priest, the Priest, the Seer, and the Trickster. These are pretty easy to imagine as the names are very fitting to the abilities they have. As with all these classes they can be used in the more traditional D&D games with a nice spells per day casting table like the Bard uses or if one wants to give them even more power use the Cleric or Wizard table. That is one of the nice things about these classes the spell casting is easy to adapt to another system that is close to this one. While Legends of Sorcery has a magic system that has a very different feel it keeps the spell level of the spells and does not alter that making it very easy to move from one system to another.
There is a nice sidebar for using this with the other Legends of books RPGObjects that has written. There is also suggested rules for which classes from the PHB and DMG would be low, medium, or high magic casters.
The game sues Knowledge arcane or Knowledge religion as the casting skill depending on the type of caster the class is. There is also the skill Knowledge Astrology/ Divination that really allows a character to have an idea of what the future holds. It mostly deals with predicting weather and knowing someone?s destiny.
There are some nice magical options presented here as well. The first is the idea of Black and White magic. Black magic is evil and anyone can with magical powers can cast these spells but with repercussions. There is a variant on this of Demonic Magic making it so a demon may eventually be able to claim the soul of someone who goes into Black magic.
Other options include freeform magic verse spell list magic. Spell list magic is what most people know as classes can only learn spells on their class list. In the free form variant all one needs to do is come in contact with the spell and be able to learn it. .
Finally there is the spell lists for all the classes and the descriptions of the new spells.
Legends of Sorcery is a very nice collection of creative classes mixed with a fun and easily usable different magic system. It changes enough to make spell casting feel and act differently while at the same time making it easy to be used with the other thousand d20 books out there that use the more traditional spell casting system. It is a rare product that changes so much but at the same time is so easily usable.
<b>LIKED</b>: How easy it is to use these rules, the versatility it gives spellcasters, and ease of using it with other books<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[5 of 5 Stars!]