" There are some seriously innovative concepts put forth in Relics & Rituals II, and a lot of great spells that can be used in any D20 setting and not Scarred Lands alone. "
Title: Relics and Rituals II: Lost Lore by Sword & Sorcery Games
Format: Scarred Lands D20 Magic Supplement
Reviewing Monkey: Genghis Kong
The Hype: A sequel to the popular Relics & Rituals magic supplement for the Scarred Lands D20 setting (or any compatible D20 setting, for that matter), including unusual magical styles, magic items, unique spells, prestige classes, and even bonus Psionics material.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: For a supplement revolving around a greater range of magical items and abilities, Relics and Rituals II has a surprising amount of story information and detail. Sections on the history of Scarred Lands astrology and tattoo magic give greater depth and insight into the theme, and the prestige classes are presented not only as interesting player options (as in so many other vanilla-bland WotC supplements) but as detailed cultures serving a purpose within the setting and enhancing the overall story of the game itself. The greatest strength of story, however, comes in the detailed section on Psionics in the Scarred Lands setting, using a previously established (and fascinating) phenomenon of the Slarecian language virus and the Slarecians themselves as the source of the unusual non-magical powers system. In total, this monkey was impressed by the amount of story that could be packed into a supplement expected to contain a whole lot of spells and nothing more. 4.5 out of 5.
Layout and Presentation: I must admit, the book is laid out a bit haphazardly, as I really couldn't figure out what the intended order of the sections was supposed to be - it was somewhat counter-intuitive. The borders of the pages have the standard Scarred Lands labyrinth on them, which is a bit too eye-catching (not interesting so much as distracting) and takes up a bit too much of the page. The artwork is of fairly good quality, and the artists make a good accounting of their abilities. Melissa Uran's sketchy anime style is represented, though a bit messily in places, and Tim Truman has some hit-and-miss artwork between the pages, with some grand successes and a few lumpy and awkward pieces you won't look at twice. Leanne Buckley's artwork is nothing less than stunning; this Mongol monkey may not know art, but he knows what he likes, and Leanne Buckley's work is swiftly becoming one of his favorite parts of Sword & Sorcery material, following closely behind the bananas they give us when our reviews are finished. Most noteworthy and welcome is the expanded Spell Lists for all classes, detailing spells not only from the Players Handbook but also from all current Sword & Sorcery supplements. This is a killer bonus for anyone trying to get a quick look at all available magic spells 3.5 out of 5.
Playability: There are some seriously innovative concepts put forth in Relics & Rituals II, and a lot of great spells that can be used in any D20 setting and not Scarred Lands alone. The magic items, with a little tinkering, fit easily into any campaign setting, and most of the magic systems are sound enough that they can be used in just about any game. That being said, there is still a large amount of material in this book that is Scarred Lands-specific, and it will take a very creative gamemaster to make it useable in a generic D&D campaign. Some of the prestige classes are rather limited-use, as well. However, the book is 90% translatable into any setting, and with a good spread of low-to-high-level magics and abilities, it is sure to find use in any gaming group. 3.5 out of 5.
Desired Content: Relics & Rituals II strikes home as one of the most content-heavy supplements this monkey has ever seen. You want interesting and useful magic spells for all occasions? They're here. Magic items of a unique and clever nature? Them, too. Alternate magic systems and combinations for Divine and Arcane spells? Yes, that's included. And then they give you more. Astrology, tattoo magic, high ritual, clever prestige classes, feats - this book throws it all at you and then some. It even has a full chapter on Psionics in the Scarred Lands, including new Prestige Classes, Psionic abilities, and rules variants. Turning one of the most under-supplemented rules sets into a truly cool and complex part of the Scarred Lands setting is an unexpected but brilliant addition to this already fantastic supplement. 5 out of 5.
|Somehow, Sword & Sorcery games has taken magic, arguably one of the most complicated roleplaying game systems in D20, and managed to make it both more complex yet more fun at the same time. What could have been a very dense and boring tome of spell rehash after derivative spell rehash has instead proved to be an insightful and clever grouping of alternate magic concepts made playable within the D20 system as a whole and more specifically within the already vibrant and complex Scarred Lands setting. You could not possibly ask for more material in a single supplement.|
The Good: Droves of useful material applicable to the D20 system as a whole, including an interesting and useable Psionics section.
The Bad: Unintuitive layout and a few hard-to-adapt, setting-specific sections.
The Overall Ugly: More magic information than you can shake your runestaff at.
What it's Worth: Market