Shadmar was a wizard with high aspirations, and ?From the Laboratory of the Mad Wizard Shadmar? gives players and DMs a brief glimpse into who this character was and the mistakes he made. The mistakes are the cursed items he accidentally created, and writers Craig Tidwell and Daniel Deadmarsh have detailed eight of his cursed creations, as well as the ?amulet of creation,? the artifact that gave Shadmar the unasked-for ability to create these items.
Each of these nine items is given an illustration and a brief description, and they?re presented alphabetically. Starting the collection is the aforementioned ?amulet of creation? that, as the name implies, is the amulet Shadmar used to create the cursed items in this .pdf. There is nothing about the amulet?s appearance or even immediate use that would indicate its peculiar creation property to a player. Somewhat vague rules are given for the amulet?s actual use, however, (?It bestows to the wearer all of the metamagic Craft feats as soon as it is worn?), leaving a lot of work to the DM for incorporating this artifact into a game or campaign.
The other items in this supplement suffer the same lack of rule-focus. While most of the items? description do make clear what their particular effect is ? the ?circlet of learning? grants a +15 bonus to its wearer?s Knowledge checks, the ?ring of competence? bestows its PC a 10% experience point bonus, etc. ? exact rules and rulings are missing. ?From the Laboratory...? fails to list item costs or creation requirements. (Oddly, one specific rule regarding the ?circlet of learning? is given; this item adds 1 point to a character?s Insanity Score for every month that the item is worn. Outside of mentioning that a character?s Insanity Score acts as a negative modifier when it comes to skill Wisdom-based skill checks or saves, the Insanity Score is not further explained or mentioned again.)
Despite this lack of rules-material, there is some entertaining reading here. When Shadmar first donned the ?amulet of creation,? he became obsessed with outfitting an adventuring party with powerful magic items that could be used to forever benefit mankind. Some of the items? descriptions ? ?Eli?s shoes? and the ?flute of the farmer,? for example ? give a little backstory for Shadmar and his allies, and what happened to them once they got their hands on these cursed items.
Unfortunately, there isn?t enough rules-material here to make this an overly valuable addition to your game without a bit of work on the DM?s part.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Each item is given a strong "flavor" description, and the included art matches the test extremely well. While there are only nine items here, alphabetizing the items is appreciated. The ideas behind these items, and more importantly, the ideas they may inspire, are strong. Also, this supplement concludes with an excerpt from the SRD, placing the Dungeons & Dragons rules for Cursed Items in this supplement's hands as well.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The rules are not specific enough. While the items are well-described, the actual game rule-specific information is missing. There are no item costs or creation costs listed for any of these items, and this is extremely disappointing.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>
[2 of 5 Stars!]