Reviews of 'Complete Arcane'
Reviews of 'Complete Arcane'
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Complete Arcane is another tome in a series of player's guides that focus on a particular aspect of the D&D game across all classes. Like Complete Warrior and Complete Divine, Complete Arcane is not without its faults, but it does provide some good information about the various options available to arcane spellcasters and non-spellcasters alike.
There are three new base classes in Complete Arcane: the Warlock, the Warmage and the Wu Jen, introduced in the first chapter. The warlock is an arcane spellcaster that uses eldritch blasts of energy instead of actual spells, and can apply new feats and class features to change the shape, size, strength, and type of blast that is sent forth. The Warmage is an arcane spellcaster that has endured a great deal of military training and has a focus on battlefield magic. The Wu Jen is a mysterious wizard of the eastern tradition, focused on the core elements of eastern philosophy. All three classes provide a nice change from the more traditional sorcerer/wizard core classes presented in the Player's Handbook.
Chapter two of Complete Arcane details the various arcane prestige classes and comprises roughly a third of the book. Most of the PRCs are perfect for characters that already cast arcane spells, though there are classes that are really tailored to primarily non-spellcasting characters, such as the Suel arcanamach (mage slayer), or the Enlightened Fist, which is perfect for a monk character. The prestige classes are grouped into roughly five categories: transformational (such as turning into a fiend over time), full caster, unique capability, alternate caster, or non-caster classes.
The third and fourth chapters cover feats and new spells, respectively. Naturally, the feats are tailored to arcane spellcasters—from Pierce Magical Protection and Repeat Spell to weapon focus and specialization with ranged and touch attack spells. Likewise, there are new spells for some of the base classes presented in the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Player's Handbook, as well as new invocations specifically for the Warlock and the other base classes presented in Complete Arcane.
Chapter five introduces new magic items, as well as a detailed section on using spellbooks and a discussion about alternate magic items (using tiles instead of potions, for example). New arcane monsters and templates follow in chapter six, although there isn't really anything terribly interesting to speak of here except the psuedonatural monsters appropriate for the Alienist prestige class.
The final chapter is particularly useful, as it covers arcane campaigns and discusses some of the challenges for a DM running an arcane campaign, running adventures with parties comprised almost entirely of magic users, and presents world views and outlook for the various spellcasting classes, as well as the specialist wizards and their role in the game.
While much of the material in Complete Arcane has been recycled from other products (Dragon Magazine, The Miniatures Handbook, Wizards.com articles, Tome and Blood, and Oriental Adventures, to name a few), the product will be a valuable addition to any player or DM's library—moreso if the sources mentioned here are not already a part of it. Complete Arcane is also a good addition to a Dragonlance player or DM's library, although other books (notably Towers of High Sorcery, by Sovereign Press) probably should take a higher priority over the rules presented in Complete Arcane.
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