From the Laboratory of the Mad Wizard Shadmar is a short book of magic items from Nitehawk Interactive. Despite the curious lack of the d20 logo on the front cover (it does appear on the back cover), this is a product meant for Fantasy d20 use. The zipped file of the product is just under 7.8 megabytes, while the PDF file it contains is just under 8.2 meg. The product has bookmarks and a table of contents.
The single file is 15 pages long, including both front and back covers, a credits page, table of contents, and a total of two pages for the OGL and some ads, leaving nine pages of the product devoted to game material. The covers are both full-color, as is almost all of the interior artwork. No printer-friendly version of the product is given.
From the Laboratory of the Mad Wizard Shadmar details nine magic items, all made by the wizard Shadmar. The theme here is that each item is, in fact cursed, granting a drawback that usually negates any benefit the item may bestow (in fact, the first item is a cursed artifact, in that spellcasters who wear it are suddenly adept at making magic items?which are also cursed). While this sounds like a good idea for a book, this particular work suffers quite a bit in execution.
For one thing, none of the items are given the usual magic item statistics. None have listings for their aura, caster level, market price, or feats and spells needed to create. What?s more, several odd errors creep into products, such as the Amulet of Creation (the aforementioned cursed artifact) saying it grants ?all of the metamagic Craft feats? to the wearer. Likewise, the Circlet of the Learned says that the victim who wears it ?gains one point to his Insanity score.? While the remainder of the text makes it possible to infer what this does, it?s still something tossed out there with no prior explanation.
After the magic items are given, four brief adventure hooks using various cursed items are given. Following that are three pages on ?generic? cursed items, reprinted here from the SRD.
Altogether, From the Laboratory of the Mad Wizard Shadmar is a product with a good idea, but which didn?t expound on that idea well. Several basic aspects of Fantasy d20 magic items were ignored, and it hurts the product as a result. This is a shame, since clever GMs will see the beauty of how this book could have been so much more. Altogether, this book seems to be something of a cursed object in and of itself.
<b>LIKED</b>: The idea behind this book, that of a cursed artifact that got the wearer to craft items that (unknowingly) are cursed themselves, was innovative and amusing.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: None of the items had the requisite d20 magic item information given, largely undercutting using this as further inspiration for related cursed items. It would also have been nice to have a printer-friendly version of the book available.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>
[2 of 5 Stars!]