DriveThruRPG Review – The Book of Wondrous Magic

100 magic items, ranging from Common to Legendary.

A review copy of “The Book of Wondrous Magic 5e” was provided by the publisher. Find more RPG reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Designed by: M.T. Black Games

The Book of Wondrous Magic focuses heavily on magic items that aren’t weapons, shields, or armor, though you’ll still find around 20 swords, maces, staves, and ammunition, including a Deathmark Spear that can mark targets for extra damage, a Quaking Mace that can slam the ground for a shockwave, and a Razorvine Whip that grows serrated leaves that deal extra damage.

Most of what we’ll find are those other magic items: slippers, spectacles, talismans, wands, masks, figurines, and over a dozen rings. The compendium isn’t much to look at, but what’s inside is pure magic.

Each wondrous item bears only a single descriptive sentence, but it’s written evocatively and succinctly to paint an effective description in as few of words as possible (unlike this sentence).

For example, the Finger Bone Brooch: “This macabre item consists of five long, straight bones affixed in the shape of a pentagram and attached to a thin silver chain.” And the Dawnshield: “This glittering round shield is embossed with an image of the sun radiating golden streaks of light.” Perfect!

On the flip side, the supplement provides very little artwork. The small page (but large font!) and black and white layout resembles an ezine format. Not my favorite style, but it works well enough. Did I mention the gloriously large font? Yet there are only about 20 pieces of art for a 70-page, 100-item supplement, and only half of them are actual depictions of items. Disappointing.

But the meat of the supplement, the items, are absolutely fantastic, offering a welcome variety of clever ideas, many of which impose interesting parameters or restrictions on the players.

wondrous magic items

The Helm of the Citadel transforms into a 15-ft by 15-ft fortress with its own AC, hit points, and murder holes, a far better alternative to Leomund’s Bullshit Hut.

Light the Candle of the Iron Guardian to summon an armor warrior (Animated Armor). It sticks around for as long as the candle burns (four hours) but you can snuff it early to use it multiple times.

Transform into a myriad of awesome creatures such as a manticore, black pudding, grick, and pegasus with the Mantle of Many Shapes — but each shape can only be used once!

Plant the Murderous Miniature in soil to grow a full-grown berserker, but make sure there are enemies nearby or it turns on you! Write down instructions using the Quill of Commission to charm the person that reads it, and bestow a random powerful buff from a d20 table on an ally with the Rod of Remarkable Gifts.

I also love the new Common magic items compared to the mostly lame stuff that was added in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Frostray Goggles grant the Ray of Frost cantrip (with a humble +4 to hit and 1d6+1 cold damage), the Hat of Useful Conjuration lets you pull adventuring gear out of your hat, while the orbiting Stone Eye whispers upcoming danger by providing +1 to initiative rolls. Nice!

Not every item is completely brilliant and inventive; there are the usual assortment of themed staves that grant spells, items that boost attributes, and a few that simply rework stuff from the Dungeon Master’s Guide (the Robe of Vivid Heraldry basically combines Bag of Tricks with Robe of Useful Items).

But for the most part I was quite impressed with The Book of Wondrous Items, a prime candidate for a supplement that’s much more than it appears.

 Pros:

  • 100 magic items, from Common to Legendary.
  • Fantastic assortment of interesting items and useful effects.
  • Common magic items that aren’t totally lame.
  • Succinct descriptions for each item.

Cons:

  • Very little item artwork.

The Verdict: While not the most attractive item compendium to flip through, The Book of Wondrous Magic is one of the better 5e magic item supplements thanks to a diverse collection of fun items and clever ideas.

A review copy of “The Book of Wondrous Magic 5e” was provided by the publisher. Find more RPG reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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