Spell Compendium

Spell Compendium is a book for D&D 3.5. It does what it says on the cover: it’s a big collection of spells, from lots of previous D&D books, revised and updated to deal with problems found after publication. There are a lot of interesting ideas in it.

A couple of things struck me. The first, entirely internal to the game, was that druids got a fair number of useful attack spells at the same level as wizards and sorcerers. However, druids also get better attacks, better saves, better hit dice, and cool powers; their spells should be consistently weaker than those of wizards and sorcerers, or the game is unbalanced. This is most likely something that will be fully addressed in D&D 4; it would be rather difficult to do it retroactively for third edition.

The other is more general. D&D is very good at what it does. What it does is also pretty close to something I’m interested in seeing done, and done well. I really like a number of D&D settings, for example, and there are many things about the rules that I also like. However, it just misses being what I would really like to see, and does so on a fundamental level. I occasionally toy with revising the rules (with the Open Game License, you can do that for D&D 3), but the number of revisions it would need builds up and up, and I realise that I would be better off just writing another game. Of course, if I do that, I have to make it very different from D&D, or why bother?

So, D&D is rather irritating. It’s very close to something I would like to play, but not quite there. It’s close enough that I keep going back to it and fiddling with it, but far enough away that the fiddling never quite works. I have no doubt that I’ll continue fiddling with it for quite some time. After all, I enjoy myself while I’m doing that.

Oh yes, this book. If you want a big book of spells for D&D 3.5, this is the book for you. As far as I could tell, it does that job well.

Posted in Books, Roleplaying.

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