This article originally appeared in Pyramid #3
ARCHMAGICPublished by Mayfair Games
Written by Mike Nystul and Doub Tabb
Edited by Doug Tabb
Cover Art by Dave McKean
Tired of the same old boring Meteor Swarm? Cast Time Stop so many times you're sick of it? Have you felt stagnant every since you reached 18th level? If so, does Mayfair have a supplement for you...
Archmagic is the most recent release in MGI's Role Aids line -- releases compatible with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but not authorized or approved by TSR. Archmagic is a power supplement -- it's an expansion for those wizards who have reached 18th level, but still want to progress.
The boxed set contains three books -- the Gamemaster Sourcebook, Protectors and Places, and Worse Things.
The Gamemaster Sourcebook is the heart of the package. It offers several theories on how Archmagics work (my favorite is that they tap into an energy plane that the gods use to power themselves while on the Prime Material plane), new spell tables (with archmagic spells of up to 15th level!), a couple of sample archmagi (one good, one evil), almost a dozen new artifacts, a section on grimoires, and a large assortment of new spells.
It's the new spells that really stand out. From Celestial Realignment (which lets the wizard move the very stars and planets!) to Doom Inexorable (destroy all your enemies -- on the planet!) to Greater Apocalypse (destroy the world!) to Knell of Darkness (destroy all the undead in the world!), these are not for the faint of heart. In fact, most of the spells are not for use by PCs at all (in my opinion) -- but they make great adventure seeds.
Protectors and Places presents a series of lairs (of both archmagi and their minion) from simple caves to elaborate towers. There are several pull-out graphic aids to use as player handouts as well.
Finally, Worse Things is a ready-to-run adventure that involves the adventurers in the lives of an archmage...
Graphically, the game is solid (as is usual for MGI products). The only color throughout is blue, and the use of black type on gray background makes reading difficult in places, but overall the effect is pleasing.
The editing is first-rate. The only real glitch I found is on p. 8 of the Gamemasters Sourcebook, where the text refers to a "table below" that was printed above. Once I reread the surrounding paragraphs and looked at the table (and called Ray Winninger at MGI to make sure!), it was obvious that there weren't any missing tables.
While Archmagic is intended for use with AD&D, portions of it will be applicable to your GURPS (or any other) fantasy campaign. The advice on archmage motivations, strategy, etc., are particularly useful for anyone planning a high-powered magical NPC.
Of course, now that Archmagic is out for those high-level wizards, MGI will have to start giving other classes equal time! What about my 24th level Paladin? Or my 33rd level Cleric? When do they get a boxed set of their own? Fighters don't get anything cool...
[ed: At this point, the overly whiny reviewer was clubbed to death.]
-- Loyd Blankenship
Article publication date: October 1, 1993
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