Written in a delightful and self-aggrandising style by Starlanko himself, the book itself is designed to have an in game existance, to be available to interested characters as well as to their players and the DM. Notes are provided regarding distribution and pricing for this option, particularly useful if you haven't read Libem Liborium - The Complete D20 Guide to Books yet.
After explaining this, the Introduction continues with Starlenko explaining why he's so fond of spells of the evocation school, and why he's chosen the ones presented for this book. Bascially, evocation is a good source of spells for the adventuring wizard because they are good for dealing damage directly to the opposition. There's also tactical information both general and spell-specific, to aid the budding evoker in using his spells to good effect. For example, if you like using area effect spells, choose one that uses something you know a defensive spell against - then cast that spell on the rest of your party lest they complain about being caught by the fringes of that fireball!
And so, on to the spells themselves, for window-dressing aside what you get here is a good collection of original spells from the school of evocation. One cannot help but delight in a useful second level damage-causing spell even if its name does rather conflict with the alternate reality of being a spellcaster that you are trying to inhabit when you play. Each spell is described in the conventional manner, with a statistic block and a description of what it does - albeit with rather more editorial comment from Starlenko than many spell collections give you (that's not a complaint, his comments are amusing!). The comments are kept separate from the standard description, though, so you can read or ignore them as you please. Interestingly, suggested verbal components are given in the common tongue (well, English) and in Draconic for those who like to actually say something when their character casts a spell. It's a nice touch. Many years ago I had a DM who insisted on verbal components and it really helped with the 'realism' of the game.
The spells themselves are well-thought out and original, and even without Starlenko the Magnificent's comments I can see plenty of uses for them next time I play a mage! Finally, tucked away at the back is a single feat, Scribe Generic Spellbook. Useful for a teaching wizard, it makes the spellbooks you write much easier for someone else to understand. It will be a hit at colleges of magic throughout your world.
Overall, a very good collection of spells presented in a most entertaining manner. Certainly worth reading if you play an Evoker, or run a game in which finding new magic is part of what makes it fun for your wizard characters.
Return to 50 New Ways to Blow Things Up - Starlanko the Magnificent's Big Book of Evocations page.
Reviewed: 26 December 2005