I made a video review of the book that you can find here: https://youtu.be/rALWDbLCjQU
You can find a link to the Google document where I break down my thoughts on all its 700 (ish?) spells here
The point of the document is not for people to read through it all (that would be as insane as writing it) but rather if you do buy this book, and are looking to approve a specific spell, this may give you some idea of any problems the spell currently has.
I also point out some of the great spells in the book as well. You can find them labelled as (GREAT)
I guess if I had to summarize my findings I’d say that this book’s spells are filled with a mix of proofreading and balance problems.
- Either ignoring or just not understanding 5th edition mechanics.
- It has a lot of spells with unclear or vague text.
- The spells are not balanced for their level
- There are at least 140 spells that to me are clearly underpowered or clearly overpowered for their level (and not by a little)
- There are another 83 spells that are on the edge of being called either of these.
- It uses terminology that is not used in 5E (spellcasting level, caster level, and move action).
- Some spells are excessively complicated, require too many rolls, or require too much bookkeeping
But there are other issues with it’s spells as well.
- There is an over-reliance on referencing other spells in order to explain a spell’s effects.
- Too often you need the creature statblocks in one of Kobold Press’s other products to use these spells
- Though this is somewhat mitigated by the statblocks being open license, since you can find websites that provide them. They should still have been provided in this book.
- Some spells just handwave away challenges.
- The 1st level spell Mosquito Bane, for instance, lets you kill any insects (with less than 25 hp) within 50 feet of you without them even getting a chance to save against it.
- Some of the spells feel so situational that I think making them as a magic item would have made more sense.
The quality of the subclasses is much better than the spells. But they can be generic at times.
The formatting also needs work as well. About 50 pages worth of actual content gets thrown into an appendix for some reason (including subclasses, spells, and other features).
- They introduce new spell schools but then don’t treat the subclasses and spells in these schools consistently (some subclasses or spells end up in their associated school’s section, while others get thrown into another section of the book)
That isn’t to say it is all bad news. I think there is great content in the book. It just gets dragged down by all of this.
Also, a lot of the issues that were present in their past products weren’t addressed. Like many of these proofreading issues were present in the Midgard Heroes Handbook as well as earlier Deep Magic products.
Overall, the product just felt like it needed more time in the oven.