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  • By: Andy Collins
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Pages: 286
  • Price: $34.95

Dungeons & Dragons Magic Item Compendium

By Tim Janson     July 07, 2007

"Dungeons & Dragons Magic Item Compendium" by Andy Collins.
© Wizards of the Coast
Dunegons & Dragons players today just don’t know how good they have it. Back in the ancient days of the late 70’s and early 80’s, we AD&D players had the DM’s guide and that was about it. Sure, the Dragon Magazine always had new magic items or you could create your own but those were not “official”. Today, however, Wizards of the Coast is putting out a veritable dragon’s horde of new supplements regularly and among the best of the recent releases is The Magic Item Compendium. Over 100, magic items are packed into this gorgeous 286 page, hardcover tome. Everything from minor magical trinkets to artifacts and relics are included in a well organized, and wonderfully written book that is a must have for players and DM’s alike.
The book is organized into six chapters on Armor, weapons, clothing, tools, magic item sets, and using magic items and is bolstered by two comprehensive appendices listing magic items by price and random treasure. One of the things that I really like about the new magic item system is the infusing of normal armor, shields, swords, with magical properties that don’t necessarily make them unique, one-of-a-kind items.
For example, in the Armor/shield category, there are over sixty different magical properties that can be added to the item (as long as it is already at least a +1 item or better) to enhance its qualities. One such property is Healing. This property will heal 2d8+5 points of damage automatically when the wearer is brought down to –1 to –9 hit points…i.e., rescue from death! The Speed property allows the user to produce the effects of a haste spell 3 times per day. All of these properties can be added to armor or shields. Next, there are over 25 unique armors and shields. 
The Weapons chapter is similar to armor in that it first lists all of the different properties that can be added to a +1 or better weapon, as well as the price, caster level, aura, and activation required. Again, there are dozens of different properties listed with their full effects leaving it to the DM to decide what they want to create. There are some great unique items in weapons as well. These all include full descriptions of the appearance and powers, and most of them have a drawing that accompanies the weapon as well.
The items in clothing are all unique items and run the gamut of everything from amulets and boots to gloves and rings and everything in between. Chapter four is really a hodgepodge of everything else not included in the first three chapters. Here you’ll find items such as bags, orbs, musical instruments, rods, runestaffs, tomes, and more.
Chapter five’s subject is magical item sets. These are groups of three to six unique magic items that provide extra bonuses and abilities when worn together. What I love about these is that they will make great items to set about on separate quests to find and locate. And it had better be pretty hard to do so because they will make for some pretty powerful characters should all the items be found.
Finally, chapter six covers the usage of magic items…where to buy them, how to craft them, where to place them in a dungeon, etc…
It felt like the good, old days again just browsing through page after page of this treasure trove. The art is fantastic as usual. One of the best Supplements to come out in a long time.


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TayDor 7/7/2007 2:03:34 PM
I posted a comment yesterday and it seems to have dissapeared. Oh well. This is a great book..good buy. Not only for the massive increase in magic items, but it provides new treasure tables that combine the items from this book with the items from the DMG. Yes, he's a little off initially as there were quite a few resources for magic items. You left off a couple of the more obvious 2nd ed ones, Merlin. "Tome of Magic" and "Artifacts and Relics" (or whatever that one was called.) As for 3rd eds glut of books? Like 2nd ed, you do not have to buy every book. I'm running a 3.5 game right now only using Core books (DMG, PHB, and MM)
Halfluck1 7/7/2007 2:21:29 PM
Merin, I will agree that 2nd edition did have a plethora of guide books containing specific race or class-based items. The author of the review comments that he's specifically talking about the late '70s and early '80s, ADND 1.0 if you will. Had the reviewer qualified it as the first edition of ADND I think it would have made for a much cleaner opening. The Wizards of the Coast is (much more than TSR was) a company that understands marketing and product development. They have one system that works, and they base ever RPG world or game on that system. That individual system, though, can be adapted or specialized in a million different ways depending upon what source books you purchase. And they are going to keep cranking out new source books every fiscal quarter. If I were a teenager now and if I played as much DND as I did back when I was a teenager, I don't know how I would have afforded it. Now, due to a lack of a playing group and the increasing complexity of the miniature-based combat, the only DND I play is called Neverwinter Nights.
snallygaster 7/7/2007 10:35:59 PM
I played AD&D back when it first came out. Back then, there really was just the Holy Trinity of source books - the DM Guide, Players Handbook, and the Monster Manual. Of course there were modules, but other than that we were scrounging for whatever we could get our hands on - Dragon magazine articles and independently published material that looked like it had been Xeroxed rather than printed. I got out of gaming just before the huge avalanche of gaming source books, campaigns, etc. hit the market. I'd love to play it again, but just don't have the time. It's good to see that evidently some people out there are still playing the old-fashioned paper & pencil & dice version.
TayDor 7/8/2007 4:00:36 AM
Some of us have gone web-based. E-mail groups and such.
lracors 7/8/2007 8:18:07 AM
I stopped bying the world material by WotC mainly because it was retreads of already existing products (the next D20 version of Waterdeep) I did buy Eberron only because I knew that at least the material would be new. It's just too bad that people don't have the time to play the old paper, pencil & dice version. It was as much of a social event as it was to play a game. I miss the 70-80's D&D but I'm glad to see that gaming is still going relatively strong.
tjanson 7/8/2007 3:41:50 PM
First...I wrote the review...not andy Collins...Collins is the writer of the book in question. Second, you guys misunderstood me...when I was talking about the dearth of supplements for AD&D, I am talking about the ORIGINAL version of the late 1970's....NOT the 2nd edition. The fact of the matter is that between 1978 AND say 1988, there was NOT a lot of material put out for AD&D, at least not by today's standards when there are 3 or 4 hardcovers that come out every month.
tjanson 7/8/2007 3:50:07 PM
Merlin...Yes that is an IMPRESSIVE array of books...HOWEVER that array came out over the span of about a decade...nowadays, WOTc is putting out that much material in about 3 or 4 months. That's the difference. For example...the Original Unearthed Arcana came out in 1985 to expand the players handbook and DM's Guide which had come out in 1978. That's a SEVEN year span. As other older gamers have pointed out..if you were playing in the late 70's and early 80's as i was, you had to scrounge for new material. Older players will certainly remember Judges Guild who put out some very cheaply made, but very good supplements such as Tegal Manor and The City State of the Invincible Overlord. WOTC puts out more supplements in a year than TSR did in a decade. period!
tjanson 7/8/2007 3:52:28 PM
and the 3rd edition doesn't just SEEM bigger...it is by far...care to count how many 3rd edition supplements that are out there that are NOT revamps of old material...how bout anything to do with Eberron...
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