PF 2E Creature Creation Attempt 2

Attempt number 2 at building a monster for RPG Superstar. This time using the Monster Generator on the site.

Still working on the first one.

I did the first one the old fashioned way. It’s still a work in progress. Lots of flipping pages in multiple books. It’s fun, but time consuming. If this were Dungeon Crawl Classics, I’d have been done ages ago.

For round 2 I decided to go with a statistically simpler creature and used the beautiful Monster Generator at I absolutely love this little web app! I suspect the mighty Stephen Glicker designed it and wow does it ever help with the whole process. All one has to do is inject creativity.

For this monster creation session, I went with the High Ogre. It’s an Ancestry of Ogres that evolved down a different path from their more brutish cousins. They are building an advancing civilization akin to humans or dwarves.

This one is still a work in progress. I’m going to add some spells, resistances and a weakness or two before I release it into the wild.

More on this creature as it develops. I have so many more planned in the next two months, including three that will be submitted for judging. Please feel free to give me feedback on social media, messaging or email. Thank you!

Arcane April Writing Prompts

#ArcaneApril writing prompts. Just for fun. Follow along if you wish. Create a magic item, spell, monster, or artwork for the generic fantasy setting (d20) of your choosing.

Writing prompts are a great way to stay on track and out of trouble with my blog.

Please create a (preferably balanced) magic item, spell, monster, or artwork based on the writing prompts below for the fantasy rules of your choice. I will be posting these under #ArcaneApril on social media. It’s just for fun. I might eventually compile these as a supplement of sorts.

  1. Jester
  2. Wood
  3. Electricity
  4. Positivity
  5. Speed
  6. Magnetism
  7. Queen
  8. Heart (Love)
  9. Sports
  10. Communication
  11. Information
  12. Dice (Luck)
  13. Fright
  14. Loop/Ring
  15. King
  16. Time
  17. Darkness
  18. Light
  19. Freedom
  20. Automaton/Golem
  21. Healing
  22. Elemental
  23. Prince/Princess
  24. Gold
  25. Negativity
  26. Ethereal
  27. Wish
  28. Movement
  29. Madness
  30. Evocation

Content Creators aka Influencers…

TLDR: This is NOT an attack or attempt to harass anyone. These are observations and opinions based on my experience. This is hopefully a clearer post than the one the other day. No one is named specifically. I have outlined what I believe Wizards of the Coast is doing with their recent efforts. No judgments.

Who am I compared to someone with 100K+ followers on social media? Who am I compared to the mighty Wizards of the Coast? It’s just my opinion. Thank you.

Please do not mistake this article for an “attack.”

By definition influencers hold sway over an audience. It’s somewhat easy to forget those massive follower counts when you see them on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn every day and they talk to us as if we’re all friends. Or rather it’s easy to forget those follower counts represent people (and probably a percentage of bots, alts, or fake accounts (which is everyone, not just social media influencers.)

God help you if you get on the wrong side of one of these people! Nothing like having even 1% of their rabid fanbase angry at you on Twitter. By that, I mean it sucks. Don’t even use their names if you can avoid it. It’s not worth the hassle, trust me.

You can heap praise on them all day and never even get noticed. You can defend them publicly and no one will bat an eye. But Lord have mercy if something you say with an influencer’s name on it can even be construed as “attacking them.” I guess disagreeing with someone or asking people to use some discernment is an attack nowadays.

No one is being attacked here!

Now, if I had to guess somebody is probably already freaking out because I’m “attacking content creators” for accepting WotC’s gifts and getting paid to go to a Summit, etc. Which is absolutely NOT the case! I’m not even saying “bad Wizards of the Coast.”

Have fun hanging out in Washington. Rack up a massive bill on WotC’s corporate dime. Eat prime rib and a big salad for me. Enjoy it. Seriously, I wish I was going. Who wouldn’t?

Honestly, are a lot of us “little people” rotten, stinking jealous? Yeah, probably. Full confession: I know I’m jealous. (*But I wouldn’t want to get accused of “building a platform based on misery.”)

It’s not a bribe, okay?

Someone famous said, “I can’t be bought off with a box of toys.”

Great. That’s true. WotC sends their gifts and perks out in good faith with no overt expectations that any Content Creator will act on any future information they might receive. Seriously. It’s always a choice. That is fact, not criticism. Ask any professional in PR, marketing or advertising.

Again, who doesn’t like getting a big box of free stuff in the mail? I don’t know any gamers that would turn that down. If worse comes to worse, accept it and donate it to someone. Or just have fun with it.

Wizards wants good public relations.

Yes, I’ve acknowledged previously that the big companies in the entertainment industry hand out goodie bags, trips, dinners, and so forth all the time. I used to hang with an employee of Ingram Entertainment. Trust me, I get it. There’s nothing new here.

WotC gives me the impression they’re trying to make nice with the D&D Community after the whole OGL debacle. That’s every corporation in America, right? Every company wants us to like them and their various products from alphabet soup to Zambonis.  Sincerely, nothing wrong with that.

But hey, I’m one very small voice barking in the dark out here. I took plenty of Public Relations as part of my BA in Journalism. I know what Wizards of the Coast is likely doing, and they’re succeeding at it. Good for them.

There is not a damn thing I’m going to say on this blog, social media, or anywhere that’s going to even be a blip on the friggin radar to anyone involved with WotC, their PR people, or even YouTube celebs. (I know this from all the times I’ve mentioned all the above on this blog, and no one gave two shitz then, either.)

What does all this mean?

Wizards of the Coast, the big corporate cog in an even bigger corporate machine (Hasbro) controls the narrative on D&D. They’re attempting to reign in a bunch of Content Creators aka Influencers to extend their control over the narrative even further. The one who broadcasts the loudest at the largest crowd of fans is going to be all that is heard.

Seriously, does anyone think what I have to say stacks up against someone with 100,000+ followers on Instagram? Or 10,000+ followers on Twitter? Why would they even care? I’m 0.000,001% or less of an Influencer’s audience. That’s like being the kid who sneezed in line outside of the movie theater showing Star Wars in 1977. Who cares?

You think anybody in the D&D community cares much what I have to say? It’s all WotC’s narrative. The people that are squarely in the WotC D&D camp are going to continue to shout down or have dozens of rabid fans shouting down anyone who dares disagree with WotC’s narrative.

That’s not a poke at any influencers, either. That’s what Public Relations does. It’s just part of the cycle. It’s how large corporations behave. They want to influence public opinion of their company.

I love my small, humble audience. You guys rock. But we’re not a community. We’re more like a very large family and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

So, I’ve worked it all out. I’m going to take a big old step back from talking about Wizards of the Coast, the Content Creator Summit, the movie, and any kind of “Influencer.” Someday, I might very well look back on this whole situation and know I was right about what was going to happen, but we’ll see.

I’m going to go back to writing more about games than gamers, influencers, whatever. If you don’t like my monsters, items, spells, or plot ideas, umm,,, Don’t use them? My social anxiety is much better for not engaging when I know better.

I’m going back to eating junk food and playing Fortnite now. I’ve got monsters to build and articles to write about magic items later. Hope you all have a good weekend, too.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate all of you. If I ever hit 10K, I’ll still be here for ya.


I was of two minds when writing this article. First was the voice saying, “Let it go.” The second was the gnawing in my gut that felt there was more to say about the whole topic.

All of us in the #ttrpgcommunity are seriously passionate about our games and even the industry. Much like every other community, we don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything. It happens.

Wizards of the Coast is the single largest company in the TTRPG industry. D&D is still top dog in terms of sales and brand recognition. Given that we’re all really passionate, is it any wonder many of us tend to go off on WotC? Unfortunately, we sometimes blow up at one another, too. It’s natural.

It is just my opinion. If you don’t agree, that’s cool. If you DO agree with what I’m saying, that’s great, too. I’m always open to a dialogue about that. If you don’t agree with me, please- write your own opinion, go on your channel, put your opinion on social media. I respect that even if I don’t necessarily agree. You can also contact me directly on social media or via email. I’ll do my best to listen with curiosity.

For those who may not know me, I’m not a huge fan of authority. I especially don’t like large corporations. Unfortunately, this ain’t my first rodeo and I know how large corporations like to operate.

Honestly, this whole controversy with the Creator Summit along with all of the arguing has been a bit too much for me. Yeah, I’m envious of people going to this thing, or conventions, or even leaving the house sometimes. I miss running games and meeting people occasionally…

I wish WotC would do more about the D&D game and for the fans. That’s the heart of the whole matter. Some of us just have different ideas about how to make D&D more awesome than ever.


Three Gladiator’s Magic Items

3 magic items for use in a generic fantasy setting (D20 Rules For when things get gladiatorial.

Use at your character’s own peril for most d20 Fantasy games.

Photo by Budgeron Bach on

Gladiator’s Sandals:
Once properly attuned, these sandals provide an extra 5′ move per turn when activated. This extra move may only be used 3 times per day (long rest.) Additionally, the wearer may call upon the goddess of speed and grace to grant an extra bonus action once per day (long rest. )

Gladius of Glerth:

This weapon functions as a +3 Shortsword of Sharpness, but there’s a catch. Each time the Sharpness effect is triggered, it ages the wielder by 1d3 years of their life. As far as anyone knows, Glerth lived a long and happy life and died of old age.

Gladiator’s Magnetic Buckler

This +1 Magic Buckler provides +2 AC when used in the off hand. Additionally, it may be used as a Light off-hand bludgeoning weapon that deals 1d4+1 damage.

This item is also mildly magnetic and will pick up a maximum of 5 lbs of metallic items it passes over. The items can be removed and discarded as a free action. This effect is always active and can’t be removed without destroying the item’s magical properties.

Thank you for stopping by today. We’re back to less controversial content for a while. I appreciate you so much for sticking with me.

OGL and CC-BY-4.0 Link.

Random Tidbits

Just a lot of random thoughts. Some serious, some not as much. Some about the TTRPG Industry, others more personal. It’s my opinion.

I need to slow down a bit today.

March 20th was pretty awful if I’m being honest. I’m just going to throw a lot of random stuff out there today. I originally had a much longer creature feature that I was working on. It’ll keep another day or two.

Content Warning: Suicide

We Almost Lost Someone.
Shortly before the rest of my world went to pieces, I learned a dear friend of mine attempted to take her life last week. She’s recovering in a psychiatric hospital last I heard. Fortunately, she’s still with us.

I’ve made a lot of friends on Twitter and Instagram. Some I get to know through their posts, others via direct messaging. We’ve lost other members of the #ttrpgcommunity , #ttrpgfamily , and elsewhere due to suicide.

I’m usually around if anyone wants to talk. I’m not a professional or a qualified counselor, but I am someone to talk with. All I can do is offer compassion and understanding.

Please, if you’re having thoughts, TALK TO SOMEONE!

Trans People.
I have met many transgender gamers and other folx since being on social media. They are some of the kindest, most sensitive, caring people you’ll ever meet. All the negativity being spouted by the various religious and political factions is garbage. Trans people are people. Please be kind.

(*Onto a completely different subject.)

My Blog, My Opinions.
I would like to politely remind everyone that all of the opinions expressed on my blog are mine unless otherwise noted. It’s the Internet. Chances are, someone has said worse. Also, I’m available on a lot of platforms to chat privately if you’d like to engage in a dialogue.

I Never Claimed to Be the Expert on Everything:
Yeah. Hi. (*I’m not going to degrade myself here.) I will say that if I screw up, I’ll own it. I’m not so arrogant as to believe I know it all and I never make mistakes.

All anyone can ever do is say what they see from their perspective, regardless. That doesn’t make it a fact. It’s all perception.

Kind Intentions Most of the Time.
I’m more than willing to dive back into an article, change text, pics, whatever. I’m not on here to cheese people off. Yes, with opinions it’s going to happen. But there is such a thing as damage control. 😅

YouTube Icons:
Normally, if I mention a YouTube channel or a TTRPG community icon, it’s because I admire their work. That was the case yesterday only it didn’t come across that way in the slightest and I apologize once more.

Wizards of the Coast:
I will not apologize for anything I’ve said about WotC and their corporate drones. I don’t trust them. I don’t like what they’re doing to the game I love. I don’t like their corporate McCulture. Their PR people are doing a wonderful job of trying to cover up their mistakes back in January. (Or are they?)

HOWEVER! That is not intended as a slight toward anyone on YouTube, Twitch, etc. Content Creators/Influencers are the lifeblood of the D&D Community. Please understand some of us little people are nowhere near trusting WotC ever again, and they’d have to go a long way to get me back personally right now.

Please Don’t Believe Everything WotC Tells You.
I know I’m barking in the dark again. I’m just trying to save people from what very well might be the disappointment of One D&D and their VTT platform. Right now their people are trying to put a shiny new coat of paint on a very big pile of bullsh🦆t. Hasbro/WotC just wants us to open our wallets for them again.

The same goes for Kyle Brink. He’s only as good as the script PR feeds him. He can lie through his teeth one day and they’ll find a way to completely spin it around the next. Don’t think I’ve forgotten his quote, whether it was misquoted or not. I have my interpretation.

But don’t take my word for it because-

I’m Small Potatoes.
I’m just one guy with a blog and a few social media accounts. I have some very wonderful regular followers and subscribers. I’m grateful for every last one and know a lot of them by name. I love you all.

Yes, I occasionally drop a name like G***** *i or Matt Mercer. The one damn time someone big read my blog, it blew up in my face completely. Not my best day on the Internet or anywhere else.

Up until recently, I didn’t think anyone such as the big names I do drop from time to time ever read anything I wrote. Holy buckets, that’s cool. Now if we could just have notice taken of something more significant than this WotC hubbub. It’s great to see someone cared briefly, though…

One Thing Wrong.
I’ve heard more than once, “Do a hundred things right and no one bats an eye. Do one thing wrong and pretty much everyone notices.”

Well, that’s super true. I try to say a lot of good things about people, gaming, and other things I’m passionate about. But, I’m always going to call it like I see it whether someone with 183K+ followers agrees or not. I will not be a purveyor of toxic positivity. That said, I’m not trying to be a dick to most people, either. I’m especially not trying to arouse the ayre of 183K+ people on Twitter. (Just sayin… )

I’ve Fought Many Battles Across the Interwebs.

Family, I’ve been around since Usenet News. I’ve been a keyboard warrior, a crusading muckraker, even a fanatical lunatic on some issues. But if getting flamed and trolled repeatedly has taught me anything, it’s when not to pursue an argument.

I will go silent or back off on a good number of things these days. Forgiveness, kindness, and even empathy are a much better road. There are very few things worth slugging it out until the bitter last word (or a until a forum thread gets locked.)

Meditation Helps.
I used to say this a lot. I’m still a big believer in meditation for a lot of things. I need to get my own daily practice back on track. It’s surprisingly difficult with four kids in the house even in the wee hours of the morning. (LOL Not even kidding, though.) If you quiet your mind, everything comes into focus more clearly.

Back to Eating Cheetos in Nacho Cheese and Playing Heroes of the Storm.
Believe it or not, some bad habits can be good if you don’t overdo it. For me, it’s junk food and video games. It takes my mind off of things almost as much as meditation and helps me blow off steam.

We’re Blogging TTRPG Content Tomorrow, Darn It!
I’m dead serious when I say that. I want to get back to writing about monsters and starships instead of all of this more serious stuff. Let’s have some fun.

Thank you ALL for being here. I appreciate you. My foot is not always magnetically attracted to my mouth. Is Mercury in retrograde right now?

Apology for Yesterday’s Article.

My article titled, “Influencer? Content Creator? Shill?” had some opinions that should have been directed at WOTC and not the fine folks attending the summit, I would like to apologize for taking my frustrations on WOTC out on people who didn’t deserve my anger. I’ll be more careful going forward.

I’m sorry.

I know one person was deeply hurt by my words, I would like to extend a dialogue and personal apology to you if you’d like it, and understand I cannot take back what I said, I just want you to know that I feel a deep remorse in hurting you, because I do in fact admire you greatly.

Additionally, and by mistake I misgendered a reporter, this has been rectified in the original article, and i will do my best to avoid mistakes of this caliber in the future, again I apologize for this.

Freedom Day March 2023 Edition.

All in all, I’m grateful for every last one of my readers. I think the days and months ahead are going to be filled with positivity and new experiences. My mind goes to that time when I’m living my best life, doing what I love, and supporting everyone I care so much about.

We made it this far.

This post is probably going to be pretty short given the issues I seem to be having with WordPress these days. Since last we left our hero (?) I was struggling with a serious fear of inadequacy on multiple levels, and anxiety on just about every level. Depression, too. I’ve had my SSDI hearing. New opportunities to further my dream of having a game design/writing career have sprouted up.

I’ve been working with this blog for over a year, but due to a hiccup last year, my first cycle stopped at 100 and then skipped a day. I’m not trying to brag. I’m just marveling over the fact we’ve made it this far together.

Welcome if you’re new. Thank you if you’re a regular.

My SSDI experiences have taught me a couple of things. One is that I’m pretty messed up over a year and a half out of work. Those guys did a number on my mental health on top of everything else. It’s a tough climb getting that back and I’m not there yet. Of course I’m not allowed to say who, what, or even how due to various NDAs and stuff. (Groan.)

This blog is one of my last bastions of sanity on top of being a growing source of TTRPG news and opinions. I do a little bit of everything here. It’s like having my brain backed up on a server somewhere. Plus it keeps me sane. (*Really.)

Two possibilities coming up that should be exciting.

First, the TTRPG setting Urban Arcana is getting a reboot. I’m working on 200 word submission pitches until I find a good one. That’s been a lot of fun so far.

Second is the one I have a bit more trepidation about. I’ve been talking about it the last couple of days. The RPG Superstar 2023 contest has started. I’m going to give it 100% I’m obsessing over possible monsters until I have three that I think are perfect to submit. I’ve come up with some pretty bizarre stuff so far.

Fun things on the horizon.

My 13 year old has a swim meet coming up in a couple of weeks that should prove to be a lot of fun. More on that when we get back from it. It will give me a chance to do some wandering around in one of my favorite places. (*Even though it forces me to people. Ick.)

I met a guy on Twitter from my old stomping grounds in Boone. We might get together one of these days and roll some dice. It’s interesting finding locals that are actually willing to hang out. (*Assuming I don’t have a panic attack? 😅)

It’s also concert season, the start of Little League, soccer, and even more swimming. We’re going to be running our butts off as a family for about the next three or four months. Luckily, I’m around to prep meals and drive kids to practice every evening.

A couple of quick housekeeping notes before I go.

My plans for building adventures in the GI Joe TTRPG, Operation White Box, and Transformers are on hold for the foreseeable future. My efforts to build some Cypher System and Pathfinder material are being stepped up. Trying not to let my ADHD pull me off of too many tasks and put me on others, but it’s a struggle sometimes.

All in all, I’m grateful for every last one of my readers. I think the days and months ahead are going to be filled with positivity and new experiences. My mind goes to that time when I’m living my best life, doing what I love, and supporting everyone I care so much about.

Take care. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you!

Just as Tough Now as It Was Then?

I’m still going to do it. I have zero expectations of winning anything. If I hear anything back, I’ll probably faint. Not holding my breath, though. However, I could really use that cash prize from any level. Not holding my breath on the publishing clout, however.

Is the Old Guard in the TTRPG Industry Guilty of Gatekeeping?

I listened to the entire podcast, and I gotta say I’m not as enthused as I once was about doing RPG Superstar or ever working for Paizo. Maybe I’m wrong. I dunno. It just sounds to me the same way it did back in the old T$R days all over again. Just slightly younger voices. Here’s the link to the Roll for Combat Podcast.

I’m not saying they’re doing anything wrong. I have zero beef with Jessica Redekop, Stephen Glicker, and Mark Seifter. Roll for Combat is a good podcast. I like DMs Lair (Luke,) too. I’m sure they’re tons of fun to work with if you’re a TTRPG industry professional. This is not a hack job on them or the podcast.

I don’t feel welcome in that particular corner of the community any more.

I’m hearing a lot of contradiction with the introduction of this year’s RPG Superstar. Glicker in particular makes me nervous as a judge and as the contest coordinator.

“Anyone can enter,” they said.
“It’s a foot in the door for the TTRPG industry,” they said.
“It’s anonymous. Anyone can win,” they said.

They also said:
We’ve had people win three Gold medals in one year.
Many of the contestants have gone on to work in the industry.
If you’re a winning entry, you’re good enough to work professionally.

And the thing that gets me- you have a public vote, that gets promoted any/every way possible.

How does it stay anonymous if you can promote your work on social media beforehand?

The nice Roll for Combat crew spent the better part of three freakin hours explaining what they look for in a winning entry. The reason I say RPG Superstar sounds a lot sketchy is because we hear the word “professional” in about every other sentence. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, the term “professional” anything tends to set me off into rant mode. As much as I love the TTRPG industry, I still hate most things McCorporate America.

There is public voting from the end of May until the middle of June. The winners of the popularity contest go onto the judges. How do the judges NOT see the various writers and submissions?

How do the judges NOT see the various writers and submissions? The Author’s name is literally attached and publicly visible.

It’s no wonder the approximately top 25 every year are industry vets or even well known by the judges. I don’t much care for popularity contests. And this whole thing looks skewed. I hope I’m wrong. Someone feel free to email me or drop a comment. Maybe I’m looking at this from the wrong angle. (This blog is not about “Fear me for I am always right about everything!:”)

And for every lucky contestant in the Silver and Copper tiers, you know there are probably 10 more that got to hear “Sorry, kid. Better luck next year. Join our Discord and continue buying our products.”

Yes, this is a contest with cash prizes and we don’t all get a trophy.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that there are going to be hundreds, maybe thousands of entries that don’t get selected. That’s life. That’s how these things work. Tough break. Better luck next year. I wonder if they’ll even say anything to the rest of us who don’t get selected. (*Yes, I’m counting my entries amongst the dead on the proverbial cutting room floor.)

I don’t have a problem with failure. We’re longtime friends. As long as I failed because of my own flaws, I can take it. Fine. Whatever. Tomorrow is a new day.

So why are we here, exactly?

I wrote an article as part of a series here on the blog over a year ago. You can find it here. I keep telling myself that it’s not as hard to break into the TTRPG industry now as it was back in the early 1990s.

The more I hear these Roll for Combat folks talk, the more I hear the old T$R editors, who were famous for not working with new talent. “Come back when you’ve been published elsewhere, kid.” they’d say. Paizo is not dissimilar to Wizards of the Coast. Technically they are the next biggest fish in the pond. I guess it’s no surprise Paizo is starting to sound or act like Hasbro/WotC.

How many times are we going to hear that something a fan submitted was utter trash, but something the pros submitted was solid gold. How many times are we going to hear, “better luck next year,” when we know darn good and well it was good enough this year. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this whole contest sounds a bit suspicious to me. Maybe it’s the bitter old skeptic talking, or maybe I’m once again only paranoid until proven correct.

I love how we hear how RPG Superstar is a good way for writers to break into the industry, but the judges are looking for material written by industry professionals. Seifter helped write the Gamemastery Guide for PF2E. Jessica Redekop works for Paizo. Yay credentials, but at the same time, that could also be misconstrued as gatekeeping.

We just went through a scandal with WotC and the OGL. That scandal makes a lot of us not want to ever trust WotC again. Maybe Roll for Combat, RPG Superstar, and Paizo better take a long hard look at the message they’re putting out.

WotC fooled around and found out what happens when a company angers its fanbase. I realized there is no expectation of impartiality or even fairness among the judges. This is run by Glicker to fill up pages for a Battlezoo Bestiary type product. They’re letting the fans put in all the work while the contributors get a pittance and a pat on the back.

All of that having been said…

I’m still going to do it. I have zero expectations of winning anything. If I hear anything back, I’ll probably faint. Not holding my breath, though. However, I could really use that cash prize from any level. Not holding my breath on the publishing clout, however.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you being here. I’m letting my skepticism get in the way of a good time. Tomorrow is the 19th. Freedom Day post will be coming.

Secrets of the Sylvera Academy 1 Preview.

I’m excited for The Secrets of Sylvera Academy. It’s got good spell mechanics. Some of the spells harken back to ye olden days of AD&D 1E and others let it rip in 5E. So much goodness in these pagers.

A wonderful new 5E supplement by Single Step Gaming now on Kickstarter.

Here’s the link on Kickstarter. Highly recommend taking a look. The pledges are very reasonably priced and the content is pure golden dynamite so far. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at some of the content and I’m blown away.

Caster Dueling.

The first thing one will notice are the rules for caster duels. This makes counterspelling more than just counterspell. Enemy throws fireball? Block with Cone of Cold and so on. It nicely emulates two wizards blasting it out until they’re completely out of spells or one of them goes down to a mighty blast from the other. One could also do a bardic battle of the bands with this system. The possibilities are pretty wild from settling bar bets to taking down BBEGs.

The spell section of this book is intense.

There are a LOT of great spells in this supplement. I’m not going to go level by level on all of them, but I’ll mention some that definitely stand out. There are definitely some I want my (family) group to test out. I would have given $10 to have some of these back in the day. I love utility, illusion, and shadow spells. This book has all that and more.

Clap of Thunder is a cantrip with a tiny amount of damage and 5′ of knockback. Good old knockback. Castable by Sorcerer, Wizard, and Warlock among others. I think it would be fun to use on a Monk/Sorcerer multiclass.

The other outstanding Cantrip to me is Combined Casting. For every 2 acolytes assisting the caster, a spell can be cast one level higher. It makes me think of witches’ covens, warlock cults, even bardic troupes coming together to make a lower level spell something spectacular. Somewhat ceremonial, but definitely a keeper.

I also liked the utility and some of the damage components of Hedgerow, Infernal Weapon, and Stonespike. I like Druid casting, and I think Hedgerow is going to be useful in and out of combat. I think Infernal Weapon is handy for Bards and a possible staple spell for Warlocks.

First, Second and Third Level Spells of note:

Air Shield is a solid Level 1 utility along with Faelyn’s Flaming Armor. Glamur reminds me of the good old Illusionist days. Charged Bolt and Hailstone are great replacements for Magic Missile. Nature’s Speed for Rangers and Druids would be incredible. The spell grants climb or swim speed equal to the target’s movement for 8 hours.

The Level 2 spells really stood out, perhaps more than some of the other levels. Arcane Sling is a magical slingshot with some pretty respectable damage. Gill Growth is a great 8 hour replacement for Water Breathing. Shield of the Dead is very cool. (*I don’t want to give too many spoilers.) Void Sword is another must-have for Warlocks in particular.

I want to talk about Summon Vehicle specifically. This spell totally rocks. My group would have gone bonkers for this back in the day. It’s a 24 hour summonable cart, coach, rowboat, or whatever transportation the caster desires. As a huge fan of the old Mouse Cart magic item, I can’t recommend this spell too much for any party. It gets the job done.

Third Level spells are interesting and useful. Blur Reality is just bizarre as the name suggests. Eamon’s Hear Traps is a very strange, but useful utility. It takes some of the surprise out of the “Click” rule. (*I’ll go over that one elsewhere.)

Haloras’ Knowledge of Other Lives. Hats off to whomever thought of this spell. D&D has needed this for a while now. The caster reaches back into their lineage with a d12 roll and pulls out features from another class. Man, I sure hope some of my character’s ancestors were Paladins.

I also want to really praise the spell, Traveler’s Sanctuary. It creates a 15′ radius sphere safe from the elements for 1 hour. Higher level castings grant more time. This might be a good one to cast with the Combine Spell cantrip.

Spell levels Four, Five, and Six have some noteworthy items.

At Fourth level the spells are really friendly to Warlocks and Necromancers in particular. Rain of Blood, Shared Torment, Shadow’s Touch, and Wall of Shadows are all in that kinda “Dark Arts” category. There’s even a spell called “Defense Against the Void Arts.”

At Fifth level, Beam of Brilliance reminds me a lot of Sun Ray. Ice Prison reminds me of a Diablo spell effect which is to say it’s cool. Armor of the Dead is also kind of in the Diablo vein of things. I like it!

There are only five Sixth Level spells in this supplement. I absolutely have to talk about Scythe of Armageddon. The material component for this thing is the bone of a CR 10 or higher creature. The caster snaps it and unleashes

a Void energy war scythe that does insane amounts of damage + poison. How to make your BBEG cry in one hit.

Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Level spells are short, powerful lists.

Part of me thinks these spells are underrepresented in a lot of books, but how many campaigns get to caster levels high enough to throw these around nowadays? It’s rare to get to cast the groovy high end stuff. Some of these make good use of it, though.

Folklore (Seventh) plus and kind of scrying tool is likely going to ruin the DM’s well laid master plans. Wall of Force will make archers lose their marbles. Stonewall reminds me of some Old School D&D. I like it a lot.

Unspeakable Nothingness- cool name for a spell. World shattering effects for an 8th Level spell. Kudos for coming up with this one. I pray my characters never get hit with it.

Dalton’s Traveling Taproom and Orb of Transport at Level 9 turn the most intense casting levels into something super useful. These two spells are an especially good choice for a Wizard who knows long rest is on the horizon. The Ending of All Things is aptly named and does what one would expect. Yikes.

Conclusion and overall impression

Overall, this book delivers on mechanical elements. Some things looked tough to adjudicate, but upon thorough reading it has so far turned out not to be broken. So far as I can tell there’s nothing in this supplement I would object-to as a DM. Others might not rule it that way given it’s a third party book.

Maybe it could use a few more graphics with some of the spells? I know how hard it is to score good art, though. Smaller publications like this one struggle. After about Fifth Level Spells, art would have been useful to break up some of the blank spaces. It’s a small thing.

I would have also liked to have seen a little more flavor text with some of the spells and more about the academy itself. There’s a low key Strixhaven or even Hairy Potter vibe going on. I would have liked to have seem more text similar to the snippet on Page 6 (or thereabouts.) I think Sylvera Academy has some good lore possibilities.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it. Please go take a look at Sylvera Academy now on Kickstarter. Special thanks to Single Step Gaming for providing this preview copy.

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