By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Rite Publishing is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving 27 pages for the 101 spells. So let’s dive in!
After 4 pages of spell-lists, the new spells are introduced.
4th level has always been a peculiar one for my players and me: With dispel magic and the classic battle-spells like fireball and lightning bolt, 3rd level spells have traditionally been the ones my players anticipated. 4th level on the other hand…has almost always been one of the spell-levels that still has some spells left when the party rests. Subsequently, my players have not been too stoked about this level and thus, I’m hoping for this book to change that. Let’s take a look whether it succeeds and which spells catch my eye, positive and negative.
Among the 101 spells were several that caught my eye, and I’ll endeavour to give you some of the cool concepts contained herein: “Borrow Limb” lets you temporarily use an additional severed limb – creepy, cool, I love it. “Chaotic Blast” is a hasardeurs/chaos mages battle spell and extremely versatile. “Dying Vengeance” is a nice curse for bards.”Fold” temporarily folds you into one square, making this an extremely cool plot/infiltration spell. “Foresight of the Just Warrior” is the first of several extremely cool paladin spells that caught my eye – it is feat-dependant, i.e. it can only be cast if you have power attack, but always makes your attack use the ideal amount of atk/damage exchange. “Hand of Time” speeds time for magic effects, essentially ending them faster – unfortunately also the beneficial ones. For all the people who want their paladin to become martyrs and make their character’s ultimate sacrifice meaningful, we get “Last Act”, which gives you one last round, even when you’re dead, and “True Sacrifice”, which sacrifices your life to resurrect another one. There were also some spells I didn’t care too much for: “Boorishness” drops charisma of a foe to 1, essentially being a “save-or-suck”-spell for bards and sorcerers. “Sonic Blast” is a cone that deals sonic damage and just felt like filler. “Stomach Bloom” lets the target vomit up acid, damaging both him and an adjacent enemy. The damage is evenly divided between both. However, I’m not entirely sure, whether the target receives all the damage when there’s no-one in vomiting range.”Zone of Mishap” potentially makes casters fizzle a lot, but from the description I’m not entirely sure whether the caster is exempt from the spells effect or whether he has to check against his own spell.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any mistakes. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and layout adheres to the two-column-RiP-standard. The b/w-artworks are ok, though I’ve seen more beautiful ones in RiP-books. The quality of the crunch is top and I liked more spells than I didn’t. 4th level becomes much more interesting thanks to this book and especially paladins get a LOT of awesome spells, though I would have loved to see the feat-concept further evolved. In spite of my praise, though, e.g. the 0- or 9th level instalments felt a bit more imaginative to me. Thus, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars – a good book of spells that helps casters make 4th level spells just as exciting as 3rd ones.
101 4th Level Spells is available from: