Game: Pocket Magica
Publisher: Green Ronin
Review Dated: 24th, March 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 6/10 [ On the ball ]
Total Score: 6
Average Score: 6.00
Pocket Magica is a late triplet. Green Ronin managed wonders with Pocket Grimoire: Arcane and Pocket Grimoire: Divine; two similar books that brought together Arcane and Divine spells from around the d20 publisher spectrum and stuck them together for convenience. It’s convenience that I’m looking for in Pocket Magica. Not entirely convenience I suppose. I’m eyeing the US $14.95 price tag too since that seems to be the value for money you’d expect for this “mini” book. It’s quite appealing.
The book begins with 28 pages of indices. Not bad, huh? They could be better though. The first index is unusual in that it lists special ability beside market price modifier. Thereafter the indices are presented by topic first (Specific Armour and Shields, Cursed Items, Potions, Rings, etc) where the item is listed beside market price. Pocket Magica is concerned with magic items and so the market prices are all measured in vast amounts of gold. The indices list the cheapest items first. There is room for a page number reference on all of the tables but to my annoyance that option’s not taken.
Inside the book proper the magic items are still presented by topic first but alphabetically therein. An entry begins with a description of the item and what it does. It then quotes the item’s source (the DMG, Witch’s Handbook, Spells & Magic, etc), caster level, prerequisites, spellcaster level, market price and cost to create.
There’s quite a range of books that provide source items. There’s the System Reference Document, of course, and 25 others.
– Arms & Amour (Bastion Press)
– Villains (Bastion Press)
– Spells & Magic (Bastion Press)
– Oathbound: Domains of the Forge (Bastion Press)
– Traps & Treachery (Fantasy Flight)
– Seafarer’s Handbook (Fantasy Flight)
– Spells & Spellcraft (Fantasy Flight)
– Arcana: Societies of Magic (Green Ronin)
– The Assassin’s Handbook (Green Ronin)
– Freeport: The City of Adventure (Green Ronin)
– Hammer & Helm (Green Ronin)
– The Shaman’s Handbook (Green Ronin)
– The Witch’s Handbook (Green Ronin)
– Wrath & Rage (Green Ronin)
– Bluffside: City on the Edge (Thunderhead Games / Mystic Eye)
– Dry Lands: Empires of the Dragon Sands (Mystic Eye)
– Hall of Healing: A Bluffside Web Enhancement (Thunderhead Games / Mystic Eye)
– Interludes: Brief Expeditions to Bluffside (Thunderhead Games / Mystic Eye)
– Interludes: Sands of Pain (Thunderhead Games / Mystic Eye)
– Thorn Faerie’s Abode: An Interludes Web Enhancement (Thunderhead Games / Mystic Eye)
– Relics & Rituals (Sword and Sorcery Studio)
And there’s material taken from SKR’s SeanKReynolds.com website too.
(Note: The above isn’t the copyright list. I shamelessly missed out author’s copyrights and included publishing companies instead. That seemed best for the review.)
There are a few of the usual suspects missing there; Malhavoc, Mongoose, Paradigm Concepts, Atlas Games and AEG aren’t there. The token offering from Sword and Sorcery Studio doesn’t look impressive either. That is a long list of contributing publishers and it’s long enough to count as a plus point for the Pocket Magica.
There’s not quite the same pressing demand to have a complete collection of magic items as there is for magic spells. Arcane and Divine spellcasters can go through dozens of different spells and many can pick and choose freely from vast lists. I suspect only the most generous of GMs let their players do that with magic items. The cost of the magic items is the key reference point in the Pocket Magica’s indices but gold point cost isn’t perhaps so important when the GM is putting together an NPC. Perhaps.
A book like Pocket Magica either sinks or swims. We have a swimmer. It would have been better if you could find items you wanted more quickly in the 200+ pages.