DMs Guild Review – Vault of Magic

Over 50 magic items and over a dozen new spells.

A review copy of “Vault of Magic” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Marco Bertini and Marco Fossati

We can always use more magic items, particularly on the lower end of the power spectrum, the commons and uncommons. Vault of Magic includes over 50 magic items, along with a little over a dozen new spells. The artwork and overall visual presentation is excellent, but the actual content left me wanting more.

Vault of Magic features a professional design and layout that looks like it could’ve been published from Wizards of the Coast, including a gorgeous cover by Matt Forsyth and several full page pictures. I love having quality artwork for magic items, though I wish they were included here as separate player handouts.

Sadly none of these items have any written descriptions, lore, or flavor text whatsoever. They exist as pure function, and most of them fall short of that as well. Too many items follow the simple path of item + spell, which is neither creative nor interesting. Armor of Fear is +1 armor that lets you cast the Fear spell once per day. Necklace of Night Seeing grants Darkvision. The Shield of Cure Wounds, well, you can probably guess.

There are a few interesting items to be found, such as the Shadowcloak that can cast Darkness or summon a Shadow, or the Shield of Electricity that you can charge up, then discharge with a massive blast once attacked. I loved seeing lots of artwork on every page but too many of the items weren’t very interesting.

dms guild review

I also question the balance in some of the items’ rarity. Very few items in the Player’s Handbook are rated at the common level. More were added in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, declaring that common magic items are mostly there for flavor, like a cloak that billows even without wind. But here I’m seeing common potions that grant levitation, Freedom of Movement, darkvision, or boost a stat to 18 for 1 minute.

I wasn’t terribly impressed by the new spells either. Like the magic items there’s no real theme here, just a handful of mostly low level spells for each class. Most of them are weird and highly situational, like detecting running water, summoning a shady palm tree, making undead fearless, and warning forest critters in a 1 mile radius. They’re certainly more creative than the magic items but I struggled to think of when anyone would care to use them.

I liked the Shadow Armor spell for granting a bunch of temporary hit points in the form of a summoned shadow with a free reactionary auto-attack, and the Thunderlance spell can be charged up if you happen to be struck by Magic Missile while holding it. And one could always use more arms courtesy of the Battlearms spell.

The artistic layout and organization is absolutely perfect, but I was hard-pressed to find the few items and spells I thought were interesting.

Pros:

  • Over 50 new magic items and over a dozen new spells.
  • Tons of great item and stock art.
  • Excellent layout and organization.

Cons:

  • Most magic items simply grant the use of a spell.
  • Questionable rarity balance for items.
  • Most spells are extremely situational.

The Verdict: Excellent art and professional layout elevate the otherwise by-the-numbers magic items found in Vault of Magic.

A review copy of “Vault of Magic” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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