Design Team: Owen K.C. Stephens and Rodney Thompson
Published by Wizards of the Coast
$29.95, Suggested Retail Price
Rumor has it that Wizards of the Coast is in business to make money. Now, I know that some of you may find this hard to believe. However, I tend to think that the rumors are right. Like any other business, WotC wants to keep cash flowing into its coffers. Rumor also has it that WotC decided to publish Dragon Magic because they had so much success in recent years selling anything with “magic” or with “dragon” in the title. A book called Dragon Magic was bound to be a profitable item, whether or not it was poorly designed.
The good news for us (and for WotC) is that Dragon Magic is worth every penny that us poor gamers will pay for it, and probably more.
This is not the first time that there has been an Dungeons and Dragons game supplement called Dragon Magic. Back in 1989, TSR published an adventure for the Dragonlance setting called Dragon Magic. This 64-page module, known as DLE2, was the middle of a trilogy that I remember fondly from my days in college. More than one obnoxious Kender met his match while I was running that series.
Maybe it is just nostalgia, but I like this new Dragon Game. The variant races alone make it an interesting supplement. And while, as a DM with too many power-hungry players I am wary of letting anyone run a Fireblood dwarf, I really do enjoy reading about them.
One of the more interesting features of Dragon Magic is the Draconic Class Features. The Draconic Class Features are essentially minor modifications to core classes that give those core classes something of a draconic flavor. The mechanics are relatively sound, but here again may be a bit overpowered. For example, I get a paladin and a cleric turning undead. I think I might have a problem with one rebuking or commanding… what else… dragons! Here again, I think I’ll just keep this volume to myself, to be used for NPCs!
The weakest part of Dragon Magic is probably, ironically, the magic section. While it is nice to find some spell support for the Hexblade and the Shugenja, but I had a hard time finding anything truly useful in terms of spells. I do like the synergy between characters with dragon blood and some minor enhancements to the spells. It’s an interesting concept, but I think rather than giving characters a boost because of their dragon blood, they made the spell weaker to begin with so that being dragonblooded could bring it up to a “normal” level.
The artwork and overall layout of Dragon Magic is pretty decent. I would like to have seen more actual dragons in the artwork, but then again I’m a bit of a sucker for dragon game art.
My recommendation: Buy the book, read it, and enjoy it. Be wary of trying to use the mechanics in your game. Some feel lame, many feel overpowered. Don’t let it fall into players’ hands.