DMs Guild Review – Blackstaff’s Book of Bloodlines

31 new sorcerer subclasses, and over 120 new spells.

This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Designed by: Micah WattElise CretelJeremy ForbingBryan HolmesRyan LangrIssac MayIam PaceKathleen Harrington

A sorcerer’s power is drawn from their origin. Whereas wizards study their craft and warlocks make a pact with a powerful entity, sorcerers are simply born with magic power due to their magical (or monstrous) bloodline, and drawn from their own willpower.

Blackstaff’s Book of Bloodlines is the follow-up to last year’s Tome of Wizardry, this time focusing on those naturally talented jerks, the sorcerers. With over 30 subclasses and over 120 spells, Book of Bloodlines is another stellar supplement brimming with content.

Everything I liked about Tome of Wizardry is here, including the professional layout, large quantity of interesting subclasses, and a huge, well-organized list of thematic spells that compliment each subclass.

For example, the Mistborn Bloodline draws power from the ethereal mists of Ravenloft, granting them immunity to the effects of fogs and clouds, casting Misty Step when enveloped by them, and eventually transforming into a gaseous form. That would be a very niche skillset if not for the new spells that the Mistborn is given, such as Acid Fog, Creeping Fog, Freezing Cloud, and Mist Tendrils. By utilizing the spells in conjunction with your own abilities and traits, you can take advantage of a specific, interesting (and not terribly party-friendly) character build.

I’m particularly fond of the Sanguiraptor Bloodline, which turns your sorcerer into a bit of an Animorph, allowing them to touch creatures to gain a non-attack trait, such as resistance or flight. The Nomad Mind is all about teleporting around the battlefield like a spell-slinging Nightcrawler, while Twin Bloodline is designed for two players who share their class resources, and eventually even their hit points.

Over half a dozen of the new subclasses are inspired by classic D&D monsters, including the Lich Bloodline, Medusa Bloodline, Eye Tyrant Bloodline, and Ceremorphosis Bloodline.

The Lich can choose powers like Paralyzing Touch and Frightening Gaze as they gain levels, and craft their own phylactery at 14th level to restore sorcery points and provide the half-orc’s Relentless Endurance of dropping to 1 hit point instead of dying. The Eye Tyrant’s abilities are mostly boring (augmented beam spells, immune to blinded), but if you manage to cast 8th level spells, you can cast Crown of the Beholder to gain all 10 eye rays from the beholder for the next minute.

eye tyrant spells

I’d be hesitant to allow a few of these subclasses at my table, however. The Ghost Bloodline grants the sorcerer all the powers of a damn ghost, including incorporeality, traveling into the ethereal realm, and possessing other humanoids, in addition to raising slain foes as specters under their control. If that’s not enough, they can cast spells such as Ghostly Possession, Summon Spectral Minions, and Move Through Matter that provide the same effects.

Other questionably balanced subclasses include the Cosmic Bloodline, which can grant flying speeds and at-will teleportation at 6th level, and the Battlemind, which gains temporary hit points, weapon resistances, weapon proficiences, and can use their CHA modifier to attack whenever they roll initiative, starting at level 1. Yeesh!

The new spells are a solid addition with some neat ideas of their own — and could conceivably act as spells any sorcerer could use. Ball Lightning summons lighting traps as movable orbs, Fate Changer can change a 1 to a 20 (or vice-versa) as a reaction, and Elemental Bridge is a neat twist on the common wall spells, forming a bridge that also acts as an elemental-themed trap for enemies. All the spells are helpfully included with their subclasses, as well as indexed at the end in multiple tables.

I personally think sorcerers are more rewarding than wizards, and likewise I found these subclasses a bit more interesting than in Tome of Wizardry, but no matter your preference, you can’t go wrong with these comprehensive, high-quality supplements.

Pros:

  • 31 new sorcerer origins, from beholders, mind flayers and liches, to blood magic, cursed magic, and even hatred-magic.
  • Every subclass has 3-5 thematically designed spells, for over 120 new spells.
  • New spells organized by name, level, school, and class.

Cons:

  • Some balance concerns with certain subclasses and abilities.

The Verdict: Inspired by monstrosities, fiends, fey, and undead, Blackstaff’s Book of Bloodlines features a welcome variety of outlandish (and not so outlandish) sorcerer subclasses and spells.

This review has been sponsored by the publisher Find more 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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