||(UPDATE: Within days of this initial review, The Le Games found and corrected the formatting errors referenced in this review. While I've not changed the review, I do want to express my admiration of The Le Games for finding and correcting these mistakes.)
"17 Necromancer Spells" is another installment in The Le Games' popular 17 Series. After a too-brief introduction that falsely promises 18 new necromancy spells, writer Tony DiGerolamo introduces us to a magic item called the skin of the bone keeper. Traditionally, The Le Games includes more than the titular offerings in their 17 Series, so this one magic item isn't quite of place. It is designed with the necromancer in mind, and rather than strictly offering a new special ability or enhanced spell-casting options (although a GM's Option for adding additional spell casting is mentioned), the skin of the bone keeper offers a unique character enhancement in the form of gaining experience points. Unfortunately, a price for this item is not included.
The spells run the gamut from 0-level spells, or cantrips, to one concluding 9th-level spell. Obviously, with the uneven numbers involved (17 spell listings and 9 spell levels, excluding the cantrips), it's impossible to have an equal number of spells per level, but the spells do seem to progress rather well as they increase in level and potency. A necromancer could easily add these spells to his or her spellbook without suffering from being overpowered; the creators of "17 Necromancy Spells" worked hard to balance their spells and make them easy-to-insert into the core Dungeons & Dragons spell listings. Spells that deserve special mention include "gusher of blood" (a 2nd-level spell) which allows the necromancer to cut him- or herself to create a spray of blood that does no damage to its victim, but rather blinds him or her; "sleep of the grave" (a 6th-level spell) that grants the necromancer restful and restorative sleep granting accelerated hit point recovery in a grave; and "flesh shape" (a 7th-level spell) that, with a touch, grants the necromancer the ability to change the appearance, and Strength, Constitution and Dexterity, of a specific individual (which, as the text points out, would useful in that the necromancer could cast this on a zombie, making the undead appear as the necromancer him- or herself, and then faking his or her own death!). As these examples show, not all of the spells are blatantly offensive spells, and I like that a great deal.
However, the layout of ?17 Necromancer Spells' is a bit distracting. It follows the format of other installments in the 17 Series - two columns per page - but it feels as if more care could have been taken in keeping like-leveled spells on the same page or even keeping spell titles from being placed at the bottom of the column preceding the actual spell description. Additionally, the missing 18th spell promised in the introduction seems to have been truncated somehow. Page 6 ends with the closing description of the 4th-level spell "drain youth," but Page 7 opens in what appears to be mid-spell description for a spell that may have something to do with preserving limbs. This is an awkward bit of formatting and editing that overshadows some of more nit-picky yet present incorrect elements - not italicizing all spell names, capitalizing some words that shouldn't be, etc.
The spells themselves in "17 Necromancer Spells" are well thought out and well written, but the presentation causes the entire book to suffer.
LIKED: The spells are unique and offer a great deal of flavor and versatility to your necromancer class. Also, The Le Games seems committed to supporting their products after their initial release, as evidenced by their quick correction of the Portrait version of "17 Necromancer Spells."
DISLIKED: There are still some minor formatting issues, and while "17 Necromancer Spells" follows the same layout of The Le's other products in their 17 Series, the page breaks and column layout could have been presented in a more uniform way.
[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]
[4 of 5 Stars!]