||The Manual of the Minstrel contains 17 bard-specific spells. It is a brightly-colored book that appears quite useless to non-bard characters, but when a bard uses it, or even approaches it, its supposed power is made quite clear. The drawings inside dissuade non-bards from the text within; the bell attached to the bookmarker rings for bards but ignores other classes. The spells are obvious bard-centric.
Tony DiGerolamo is the writer of ?17 Bard Spells,? and the 7 levels of bard spells are all represented here (although in some cases, there is only one new spell for some of the higher spell levels).
The spells are all certainly playable and usable; most the material is well-balanced, but some spell schools seemed a bit questionable (I don?t know if ?instant hangover? really should belong to the necromancy school).
Some of these spells, especially the earlier-level spells, seemed more annoying than useful. While it certainly may be interesting for a bard to be able to cast ?invitation? and instantly create and send a number of invitations to his or her upcoming performance, I don?t know how often a spell like this would be used in a gaming session. ?Perfect addiction? allows the bard to cause a target to become addicted to an item (food or drink) or activity (like gambling), and while this certainly may produce some interesting in-game scenarios, I don?t know how often a player will chose to use this spell at the table (especially with the accompanying 100 gp cost). (Although I could see how some of these spells could be used by a DM/NPC to interesting result.)
Spells like ?roadside repast,? which creates a feast for the bard and his or her companions, or ?the amazing escape trick,? which allows the bard to instantly teleport to a prepared safe location at the utterance of a trigger word (spoken by someone other than the bard), might be more useful in the hands, or spellbook, of a PC.
?Improvised spell? is one of the final spells in the Manual of the Minstrel. Its description is a bit vague; a bard can use this spell to ?make up a 1st to 3rd level spell on the spot.? There is little direction given to help players and DMs in determining just what a 1st level spell would be, versus a 2nd or 3rd level spell. Something like this is just too open-ended for a structured spellbook.
Overall, ?17 Bard Spells? is a nice package, and if nothing else, can provide the DM with a few ideas for interesting NPC spellcasting.
LIKED: This is a nicely-structured package; The Le Games is notorious for putting together products that are easy to read and use, and "17 Bard Spells" is no exception. And for ease of use, the bard class listing is listed in an appendix at the back of the supplement.
DISLIKED: Some of the clip art artwork has appeared in other gaming supplements, and the type of artwork was inconsistent.
As for the content, I don't know how useful some of this would be for players. "17 Bard Spells" might be better targetted at DMs.
A spell list at the beginning of the supplement and incorporating these spells in the the bard class listing in the supplement would have been appreciated.
[3 of 5 Stars!]