My fondest memories of playing Dungeons & Dragons as an adult would have been during the hayday of the 3.5 rule set. One of the best things about 3.5 was all of the source books. One of the worst things about 3.5 was all of the source books. This was especially the case if you were playing a spellcaster and your dungeon master allowed spells from source books and the official D&D publications like Dragon. I’ve since found myself gravitating back to 3.5 due to the popularity of games like Pathfinder that have kept the 3.5 rule set alive after Wizards of the Coast discontinued the rules in favor of the 4th Edition D&D rules.
Wizards of the Coast just released a reprint of their new hardcover Spell Compendium. This is just like the old spell compendiums of 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and has the same content as the original printing of the 3.5 book. This source book has taken spells from Dragon magazine, web articles from the WotC website, supplements such as Complete Arcane and Manual of the Planes. The quality of this printing is just superb and is actually the best looking D&D source book I own with foil artwork and and embossed cover.
Here are the highlights of this book:
Balance & Revisions (new to the reprint): The authors took all of the spells from the various sources and tweaked them based on game balance and player feedback. As a DM myself, I’m far more likely to allow the spells within this book as they have addressed some of the over powered spells that were first released in Dragon.
Renamed Spells (unique to the source book): This is where it might cause some confusion, but most of the spells were given a more generic name and in some cases a more descriptive name. The primary change was to spells named after a specific wizard within a campaign setting. I loved casting Tensor’s Floating Disk as much as the next wizard, but unless your in Greyhawk, who the heck is Tensor? For example, Aganazzar’s scorcher is now just called scorch.
Consolidation of Spells: Since I’m always a fan of carrying fewer books around for my games the Spell Compendium will always be with my core 3.5 books as I run my games.
Disclosure: A copy of the book was provided for the purpose of this review.