Author Topic: review: Complete Mage  (Read 2401 times)


Eagle Prince

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Re: review: Complete Mage
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2006, 12:42:13 AM »
This book is probably better than Complete Arcane, but I haven't finished reading it let alone used this stuff in a game.  Main fault I think is it kind of suffers from power creep.  Of course the power creep goes both ways, just look at MM III and IV.

The reserve feats are probably alright, but its hard to say because at-will abilities can always lead to abuse.
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Spriggan

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Re: review: Complete Mage
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2007, 06:13:49 PM »
The big thing that I didn't really mention was the Warlock Prestige class that allows for unlimited ranged heals, because at the time I didn't think they were unlimited.
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Eagle Prince

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Re: review: Complete Mage
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 08:45:57 AM »
I was looking at Minor Shapeshift reserve feat.  If you have a polymorph spell in reserve, then you can use a swift action to gain various bonuses, lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell (4 rounds for polymorph).  One gives you temp hp equal to HD.  Temp hit points from the same source don't stack, but still you could use a swift action every round to regain those hp.

I have a cleric with divine vigor from Complete Warrior, it is actually better than this feat, but each use uses up a turn attempt, so I can't use it at will.  That might tip the scales slightly in favor of Minor Shapeshift.  One of the biggest things that might make the reserve feats too good (other than at-will abilities can be problematic at times) is the competence bonus to caster level.  Usually named bonuses don't stack, but if you read in the reserve feat description, it says they stack.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2007, 08:59:52 AM by Eagle Prince »
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Tjaeden

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Re: review: Complete Mage
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2007, 05:30:03 PM »
Other than the first 1/4-1/3 of the book rehashing on what typical evokers have for lunch and what conjurers prefer to wear as underwear, I think this is a worthwile book for any player/DM group.

The reserve feats are hands down a great way to break the normal D&D mode and speed up games (granted, most are for hack 'n' slash adventures, they are generally balanced). 

The magical places as rewards are really interesting, and worth a look.  Too many times players are focused on gold and DM's often forget that Titles and Land are treasure, as well.

I'm not much for prestige classes - as far as casters go, Archmage and Incantatrix pretty much rule day.  Many of the new PrC's are geared for specific campaign functions, which is cool.  The ones in the CM, just like CA, are geared for that function.

The new spells are simply amazing.  It is definately not another list of different colored fireballs.  The new feature of having overlapping spells give added bonuses it great - but the offensive versions are really flavorful.  The only drawback, is that those are not viable for casters with limited spell selection.  However, there are a few spells, when cast twice in a row have an added effect.  Both mechanics are perfect for Wizard and Sorcerer-type classes.

All in all, I give this book a 7/11 (why not 11?) and a must buy for *anyone* who plays *any* kind of casting class.
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Spriggan

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Re: review: Complete Mage
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2007, 06:38:49 PM »
There was too much power-creep and not enough original ideas for me, I really think Wizards is low on ideas so instead of coming out with 4.0 (and rewriting everything) or doing a new setting they're just adding new rules and abilities that aren't balanced with the core rules and I think it will just get worse from here.  There non-setting books are getting so derivative that there's becoming very little reason to buy them and I can't help but think of TSR and what happened to them years ago.
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Tjaeden

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Re: review: Complete Mage
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2007, 08:16:23 PM »
Well, the TSR power-creep came from 2 things.  First, there were at least 3 independent groups of writers, all doing different things.  They never communicated on balance, function, integration, and even design.  The Second thing was the time tables imposed by the big-wigs.  There wasn't enough time to cross-reference material.

Now, everything goes through the same three departments, R&D (basic design stage), the Writing (where "fluff" tends to get added), and Editing.  But the editing department know just as much about the rules as the R&D guys - if not more.  Of course there are some slips, but when is anything perfect?

The things to look forward to in a new D&D book (Complete, Environment, Monster, or Adventure) are the feats, PrC's, spells, and magic items.  New systems - such as Luck feats in Complete Scoundrel - still require DM approval, but they are there, and official.  Whenever I come up with something, my players either groan and take it like green NyQuil, or just ignore it.

New books are balanced within themselves - General Feats are all on the same level.  Tactical, Divine, and Metamagic feats are introduced in new books all the time, and are as varied in usefulness as the core PH feats.  Variant feats (again under DM discretion) are definatly more campaign specific (even FR talent feats are over-powered if you think about it).

The functions - especially of the Complete Mage - of the newer books remains top-notch.  They are *all* written from the standpoint of the reader having ONLY the PH, MM, and DMG.  Given that, there is bound to be repetition. 

As for integration, the Complete Mage does an amazing job meshing with Complete Arcana (stuff for Warlocks), PH (expanded core class options), DMG (PrC's and magic items), and even other books.

As for design, the only think I miss are the "lines" from the PH - I loved those!  But the illustrations are superb (those old 2E soft cover adventures were like cave paintings with boobs).

I think 4.0 is a while away, and WotC has to make some kind of money from D&D.  Tailoring books so that players can use them helps - meaning that even the DM 'scape books have player info in them.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 08:19:53 PM by Tjaeden »
Once I dreamt of death /
now it dreams of me,
And only rats and rotting flesh /
can hear my silent plea...