Friday, August 14, 2009

Marvelous Magic (Part 1)

So I was looking through a stack of books this morning (looking for my copy of LBB #3…still doing research into the mass combat and dominion section of my B/X Companion), and ran across a copy The Book of Marvelous Magic by Gary Gygax and Frank Mentzer. Oh boy.

I was looking for this earlier and am glad I found it when I did. Those who don’t recognize it may be forgiven. I know I have never perused it thoroughly myself. The copy I own originally belonged to my little brother…he picked it up from the used book store in Montana for use in D&D games (he ran a couple as a DM himself, waaay back in the day). This must have been circa 1986-87. I remember being none-too-impressed with the book when he showed me.

The reason for my lack of enthusiasm is easy to explain: this copious book of magical items is for use with Mentzer’s BECMI rules. By 1986 I was playing ONLY AD&D and wouldn’t stoop to putting “lame-o” magic into my campaign (though now that I’m taking a closer look, I see there are conversion rules in the back to bring things into AD&D…ah, how quick we are to judge!). So I pretty much passed over it, and it has only ended up in my collection because…well, because a lot of the stuff from our days as kids have ended up in my collection (including my brother’s copy of Toon, though I keep in a box in the garage…I don’t want that crap anywhere near my REAL games).

Anyhoo, I was perusing the book this morning over a yogurt and couldn’t help but notice a few interesting things…like the fact that it was published AFTER Mentzer’s Basic, Expert, and Companion sets, but BEFORE the Master rules (at least, there’s no mention of the Master rules in it. BoMM was published in 1985 as was the Master set). And that there are errors in it (the girdle of giant strength is in the Expert set, NOT the Companion set!). Maybe when I was a kid I just missed error like this in the TSR books, but I seem to recall them being pretty dang consistent. Ah, well.

I know I’ve been taunting folks the last couple days with releasing some more of my B/X Companion in post form (trust me, I want people to read it, too! I don’t THINK I’m doing it as a simple mental exercise!). But now that I’ve got my hands on this, I think I should do an inventory of what it contains, as far as duplicating items. Not that this will keep me from putting specific items in my B/X CompanionFOR EXAMPLE, I am including a hat of deception, very similar to the hat of disguise present in both the Book of Marvelous Magic (BECMI) AND Unearthed Arcana (AD&D). The reason I am including it is that it is a pertinent item for high level thieves and spies (mostly useful for intrigue, though it has its applications for certain types of dungeon crawl).

BUT if an item is present, and presented better, I may want to rip it off, or at least match my description to the item. Again, this is not always the case: I have a muzzle of training that does NOT function like the muzzle of training in BECMI (in fact, I should probably change its name to reflect this), seeing as how mine can actually be used to train creatures. Likewise, I too included magic wax of sealing, but if functions differently from BoMM’s sealing wax. However, I do like the BoMM description of potential uses.

Anyway, the point is it looks like I need to do some research and make some edits…which means I’m not nearly as close to completing the chapter (or posting sample pages) as I had hoped.

Sorry, folks!
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