Game: Power Classes: Hedge Wizard
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Review Dated: 27th, February 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 6/10 [ On the ball ]
Total Score: 6
Average Score: 6.00
Mongoose’s Power Classes are, I think, one of last year’s surprise hits. The books are tiny, too small really to be called books and I’m surprised they’re allowed to claim an ISBN. They’re booklets, 16 thin pages between a card stock cover and stapled together. They’re actually rather robust. The idea behind the power class is value for money. US$2.95 gets you a single new core class, a little crunch dressing in the form of new feats or equipment and nothing else. In other words, just what you need to use the class.
This Hedge Wizard class makes a good attempt at introducing Hedge Wizards to d20. The approach is to give the class unparalleled access to zero level spells, cantrips. A 9th level Hedge Wizard of this power class can cast an unlimited number of cantrips. A footnote says that at this level the Hedge Wizard can effectively spontaneously cast any cantrip that he knows. Wow. Nifty. The same 9th level Hedge Wizard can only cast 1 4th level spell, though. The class is about lots of low level spells and very few high level spells.
I just don’t see the Hedge Wizard as an out and about class very much. A wizard who travels around, adventures, quests and discovers interesting items and lore isn’t a “hedge wizard” any more, even if he started out that way.
The Hedge Wizard can summon a familiar. I’m glad the class inherits this ability. I really can’t imagine a Hedge Wizard without a toad, cat or some other spooky familiar. The ability to summon a familiar is one of the few class abilities that the Hedge Wizard enjoys. On the whole the Hedge Wizard isn’t too short of class abilities but it can go for four levels at a time before the next talent manifests.
I can’t really imagine a Hedge Wizard pouring over an arcane tome in order to cast their spells. Surely that’s the defining difference between Wizards and Hedge Wizards? This Hedge Wizard must use a spell book and begins the game with a spell book with a number of spells modified by Intelligence. Hmm. That’s a bit of a fiddle too; you can’t really have books of spells past down through the family without first coming up with a game explanation as to the variable number of spells. I think there are many workarounds to this problem and so it is not harsh enough to drag the class down into the depths of being unusable.
The Hedge Wizard does more right than it does wrong. I think it’ll also be a piece of cake to use this Hedge Wizard class as the Wizard class in a less heroic fantasy setting than vanilla d20. That’s another gold star for this power class book.
The booklet makes good use of its space. There are ten new zero or first level spells that are only available to the Hedge Wizard, some new feats and then a concluding paragraph on charms.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Hedge Wizard is a poor version of the Wizard class (even though there’s no new Hedge Wizard spell list), the Hedge Wizard is better able to cast the most commonly used spells. I thought the Hedge Wizard would be an attempt too far by the power class series but I was wrong, this class is certainly worthwhile.