By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Rite Publishing is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 18 pages of content for forgotten magic items.
What are forgotten magic items, you ask? Have adventurer’s left them behind while looting? No, essentially this book is about options. Options that not only might change how you might look at magic items, but also cater to different playstyles and go beyond what you’d usually expect from your magic loot. But enough of vague rambling, let’s place these new options under closer scrutiny, shall we?
The pdf begins, as any such pdf should, with a short discussion and pieces of advice on how to integrate the items herein into your campaign by using a simple system that places you as the DM in control of the availability of the knowledge about them and their spread before providing some basic information on iron, mithral and adamantine vials before delving into the first quite intriguing alternate rule: Overloading potions. By adding a reagent (that costs 5gp per spell-level of the potion), you can make the potion a kind of makeshift throwing weapon/bomb with an additional minor detrimental effect based on the school of the overloaded potion’s spell. We also get a new item to carry overloading powder and 2 new feats expanding upon the mechanic, finally making potions a bit more versatile. The bomber-archetype for the rogue, while nice and focused on the new mechanic, is a bit uncomfortably close to the alchemist for my tastes, who will, at least in my games, have exclusive access to this option. When compared to this rather massive modification on how a class of items can work, contingency potions almost feel mundane: They work like you would expect them to, by drinking them and picturing a contingency that will trigger them. A feat lets you have two potion contingencies in effect at once.
Now that we’ve covered enchanted potions, what about their containers, the flasks? A new item-class is introduced along-side two feats that let you add up to two properties to an enchanted flask in addition to the first one.14 possible enchantments are provided and range from making the contents cool (a boon for dwarves everywhere) to the option of spraying the content like a hose. While this seems rather mundane, the example given is rather intriguing: If you put a potion of cure light wounds into a flask enchanted with magic hose and showering magic, you can point it at a target and heal not only the direct target, but also everyone in the 5-ft. splash-range. The possibilities are quite exciting and it is one of these design that make you wonder why you haven’t had the idea yourself. Neat!
Next up are scrolls and two new feats offer some long overdue options: Substituting your own casting ability modifier and, for a price, even your own caster level when casting from a scroll. Moreover, we get more scrolls, i.e. scrolls that can be used by anyone who can make an int-check of 10+ level of spell. Good idea, although I’m not sold on the name. Cognizaid-scrolls grant you a benefit to knowledge checks or re-rolling them, which makes for a great way to recycle spare scrolls you won’t use. The ritual to transform a regular scroll into a cognizaid is sufficiently cheap to make this a viable option. Ever wanted to make your own sorcerous origami servants out of scrolls? The Arcanami (supported by a feat and a bloodline) make this possible as well.
Dweomer Sigil scrolls are interesting in that they modify other spells being cast while holding them. And yeah, they are not used up by the casting, making them permanent items that add interesting effects ranging from elementally-infusing summoned monsters, dimming lights, changing the area of effect to a telekinetic ram-like effect to making illusions harder to disbelieve. We get 32 dweomer sigil scrolls.
The final new category of items is the section on Cruth Galdr-runes, which is evidently by the description of them, inspired by old norse staves. To support the runes, we get a new kind of dagger to carve runes, the athame, a new item creation feat and a new subdomain for the rune-domain. Cruth Galdr-runes take up a selection of 5’x5′ squares depending on the rune and every square on the floor/an object can only contain one rune. You can try to actively disrupt the effect of a rune by obscuring its shape or simply using the erase or dispel magic spells. The runes are rather interesting in that they reward preparation and take quite a lot of time to draw. However, their effects are rather interesting – from a kind of fort that fires force missiles at foes to creating wall of force-like bridges, they offer some interesting possibilities. Some of them also come with subsumed effects that can be triggered by burning out the rune in one activation. We get 16 Cruth Galdr-runes along a new feat to carve them faster.
The pdf loses by providing us with an artefact-level athame and convenient tables for the market prices of the items in this pdf.
Editing and formatting are good, I did notice some relics like “*”s and minor punctuation glitches, though none impeded my ability to comprehend the new rules, which is a necessity in a crunch-focused book like this. Layout adheres to a full-color 2-column standard and the artworks are neat. The pdf is fully bookmarked. This pdf caught me by surprise, to be honest. I expected some items in the vein of the Loot 4 Less-line by SGG and instead got new definitions of what magic items can do, a whole array of added possibilities for magic items. The boxes that explain design decisions and their intentions and the concise, easily understandable writing of author Will McCardell makes these rather hefty modifications easily comprehensible.
I already mentioned it: This pdf is all about options and, depending on the magic-niveau of your campaign you can scavenge alternate rules and or easily customize the components for your game, making this an innovative resource that is very easy to implement into a running campaign, offering maximum flexibility. This pdf essentially is a humble tome that offers a wide variety of options that reminded me pleasantly of e.g. spagyric devices and similar modifications. There are not that many crunch-heavy books that mostly omit fluff and still make for awesome reads, but this is one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the options contained herein and have, apart from the minor editing glitches but one complaint: I would have loved to see more options for e.g. Dweomer Sigil scrolls and Cruth Galdr-runes. Thus, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 an a hearty recommendation for all of you who want to add more options to their items and redefine what scrolls, potions and runes mean for you.
The Secrets of Forgotten Magic Items is available from: