The ?The Core Specialist Wizard? series is an interesting concept. It is meant to present specialist wizards as a core, 20 level class. They basically try to ?kick it up a notch? by making the specialists more distinctive than is possible with the core system. In this product, the author focuses on the specialist in the conjuration school of magic. This school, as you know, has one of the wider spectrums of influence (only illusion is as overtly broad), but includes summoning, calling (transporting creatures from another plane), healing, teleportation, and creation.
I?ve broken the review up to coincide with each content carrying section of this product.
The ?Specialist and Multi-classing? section simply states the rules for multi-classing any character that uses the proposed variant specialist wizard rules. Mostly, this section seems quite well thought out to ensure consistency with a particular campaign, though, as with most things of this nature, the final word will rest to the individual dungeon masters of the world that have a certain ?flavor? they are striving for.
The ?New Feats? section describes the 7 new feats in the typical feats format. Also included is a table listing the feat name and the prerequisites. Unfortunately, it does not include a short description of the feat?s purpose as can be found in the analogous ?core? table. With only seven new feats, this missing element is not as critical as if there were a few more feats. Six of the feats are ?specialist? feats which have class restrictions of various levels. For example, a prerequisite of two levels in conjurer. Generally, the seven feats can be related to the following areas: creation, general magic, calling, summon/calling, general magic, summon, teleportation. Unfortunately, the healing subschool of conjuration is ignored in the proposed feats. Given the breadth of the conjuration school, I think that there could have been more feats and, certainly, there should have been at least one feat for each subschool of conjuration magic.
?The Conjurer Core Class? section sets out the variant conjurer class in the traditional class format. As is true for each of the products in this line that I have reviewed, I would have liked to have seen a brief discussion of the ways in which the variant conjurer compares to a core ?specialist?. Obviously, anyone can compare them so I am not asking for a simple list of changes. Rather, a brief explanation of the process by which certain abilities were dropped, why certain abilities were changed, why the new content was adopted in the structure that appears would be quite useful. This would be very useful to everyone that uses this product and, as we know gamers are apt to do, decides that this class can be slightly tweaked to make it perfect. Or need to make an adjustment or two to infuse the class with the flavor they are trying to cultivate in their campaign.
The conjurer class itself appears interesting. It has a progression spread across all 20 levels and incorporates a special ability that improves three times after it first appears in the progression. This ability is an interesting application of the new feat introduced earlier in the product related to the summoning subschool. Given the breadth of the conjuration school of magic, I am a little disappointed that the other subschools were not as well developed, or that this product doesn?t contain an additional one or two variations. This should not be seen as taking anything away from the variant conjurer presented, as it is an interesting presentation of a conjurer focused on the summoning subschool.
?The Arsenal Mage PrC? section sets out this prestige class in the traditional class format. The arsenal mage is a conjurer that focuses on the creation of weapons and armor. This focus is achieved by taking the conjuration of weapons, shields, and armor; and turning them into special abilities of the class. The mechanics of these abilities interlock with the magic system used. (Those of you using variant magic systems will likely have to modify this relationship as it relies on the memorization of spells into ?slots? mechanic.) This is an interesting concept and given the popularity of this type of caster, should prove to be well loved in many campaigns.
?The Demonican PrC? section sets out this prestige class in the traditional class format. The demonican is an evil conjurer that focuses on the entrapment and use of Outsiders. This prestige class actually has two special abilities, one of which improves three times over the 10 level progression. These two special abilities in combination allow the demonican to use the Outsider?s natural armor, natural weapons, special qualities, and special attacks. The limitations on the ability seem evenhanded and this class should allow folks to explore another popular fanatasy wizard concept. They provide a fairly extensive list of special abilities which establish the mechanics for assessing the ?cost? (again, assuming the traditional memorization of spell slots magic system) of using particular special abilities.
?The Magic Items? section contains one new magic weapon special ability and two new magic items. The new special ability targets summoned or called creatures. The first magic item is an interesting way of allowing monsters to be summoned, and includes variation to ensure the possibility of summoning any monster that appears on any of the summon monster tables. The second magic item is focused on the teleportation subschool, and would be a wonderful tool for any conjurer considering a quick ?trip?.
Overall this is a good product, though I feel it is incomplete given the breadth of this school of magic. This product could be considered one star higher if you are satisfied with the partial treatment of the conjuration school described above.
To rousing gaming and ample rewards,
- An interesting exploration of certain aspects of the conjuration school of magic.
- The prestige classes stand out as well focused on particular subschools of conjuration.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>:
- Needed to explore the conjuration school of magic more fully.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>