I really like the ideas in this product. I would have given it a better rating, but found the editing and writing to not be very good. I wrote this intro after I wrote my critique, and I feel like I've been a little harsh. In a way, I am, because I make the same mistakes I perceive the author making, and in a sense, I'm being my own worse critic. Enough apology, whatever you get from my comments, I do recommend the product. It is worth my money. Get this product if you want something other than the traditional D&D spell system.
Simply put, this is a d20 port of the very popular magic system from Ars Magica, but it took a really long time for me to understand the system.
Was it the lack of bookmarks in an electronic product?
Was it the poor editing?
Yes, and Yes. I won't say much about bookmarks except to say I feel they are very important. It's an electronic format, expect your customers to use it on their computer.
I judged editing by how quickly I grasped the same game concept that was presented in two game systems. I was already passingly familiar with Ars Magica; I read it once; but suddenly felt there was a huge learning curve to understand EoM.
I think the problems the author faced is that the ideas in the text are very divergent from core d20, and the author wished the ideas to be as accessible as the those found in the Player's Handbook.
What follows are thick, convoluted sentences, and ideas that are mired by verbose expression. There are organization errors which also make the text difficult to grasp.
Ars Magica got to the point when it came to describing spells, EoM doesn't. EoM takes too long explaining concepts that are unchanged from core d20 products, and never succinctly explains its own mechanic. I'm going to restate the entire system in a few sentences, because I like it so much.
Spells are like sentences: Verb + Noun.
EoM has 11 magical verbs, such as Evoke, Charm, Compel.
EoM has 3 magical nouns, Alignment, Creature, Element. The nouns are subdivided into specific alignment types (Good), creatures (Trolls), and elements (Ice).
Mages learn spell lists. A spell list is 1 verb + 1 noun, like Evoke Fire, or Charm Dragon. Mages cast spells by manipulating their spell lists to produce a magical effect.
A simple spell is one spell list + enhancements.
A complex spell is a two or more spell lists + enhancements.
To cast a spell, select your spell list, then enhancements, then spend magic points to determines how potent the spell is.
A summary like this, at the beginning of Chapter 2, would have gone a long way to concisely delivering information to the reader. It would have also reduced redundancy throughout the begining of the chapter. Furthermore, it would have followed a logical progression of delivering ideas. Simple summary, Simple Explanation, Detailed Information. As already stated, too much text was wasted on terminology that was unchanged from core d20. The author was quick to gloss over concepts like Magic Points, because the concept wound be, "familiar to anyone who has played computer RPGs.", but I find it interesting that the author of a traditional pen & paper RPG supplement would assume familiarity of MP from CRPGs, but not core gaming concepts from a game system he is writing about.
<Now that I think about it, "spell list" is a redundant terminology for spell, and it doesn't need to be in the text at all to explain the system. If you replaced "spell list", with spell, you could easily shave off 1/4 the explanatory text. The author is subconsciously aware of this, because chapter 3 is titled Spells, when in actuality it is devoted to Spell Lists.>
Once the basics of spellcasting was written, you could have explained signature spells:
There is an third type of spell called a signature spell. Signature spells can be cast more quickly than simple or complex spells. A signature spell is a specific formula. The formula's spell lists, enhancements, and magic points are fixed, and cannot be changed.
Take this sentence for example.
"Each spell list has multiple ways in which it can be cast, and you only choose the way you want to use it when you actually cast the spell; you don?t have to prepare spells in advance."
The above sentence is a summary of what a spell is, not a spell list. It comes three pages after the introduction to Chapter 2, when you should be presenting the actual mechanics of spell casting, yet it incorrectly appears in the introduction of the subtopic, Spell list.
Why is table 2.1 on page 18, when you are trying to explain the basics of spellcasting.
Page 21 has an orphaned paragraph in the second column under the illustration.
Rules for regaining Magic Points are repeated, verbatim, in two places in the same chapter.