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Bits of Magicka: Mystic Writings $8.50
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. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: 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.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: A few items seemed too powerful or not powerful enough for the listed EL.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>

[4 of 5 Stars!]